History Main / CripplingOverspecialization

24th Feb '18 7:18:46 AM ShinyManaphy
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* Naoto, the final party member in ''VideoGame/Persona4'', specialises in the [[LightEmUp Light]], [[CastingAShadow Dark]] and [[InfinityPlusOneElement Almighty]] spells, which are all things that only the protagonist can normally use. Unfortunately, Light and Dark are instant-kill attacks that don't hit often ''and'' are entirely useless against bosses. Almighty can't be blocked or resisted, but it uses up a massive amount of SP, meaning that if Naoto wants to hit anything reliably she's not going to be doing it for long. She's almost totally useless in boss fights and doesn't have much extended usability in normal dungeon play. Fortunately, the UpdatedRerelease ''Persona 4 Golden'' solved this problem by giving Naoto access to the highest-level single-target spells of the other four elements, meaning that Naoto now has a way to harm bosses and avoid running out of SP.
20th Feb '18 2:37:45 AM Cryoclaste
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* In ''VideoGame/TheLostVikings'', only Eric can run and jump; only Baleog can attack; and only Olaf can defend. Simillarly to the {{Gobliiins}} series, the premise takes TeamWorkPuzzleGame aspect up to [[NintendoHard a ridiculous level.]]

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* In ''VideoGame/TheLostVikings'', only Eric can run and jump; only Baleog can attack; and only Olaf can defend. Simillarly to the {{Gobliiins}} ''VideoGame/{{Gobliiins}}'' series, the premise takes TeamWorkPuzzleGame aspect up to [[NintendoHard a ridiculous level.]]
6th Feb '18 1:14:03 PM Eddy1215
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* ''Disney/{{Zootopia}}'': The ranks of the ZPD are filled with animals of various sizes. Extra Large (elephants, rhinos, polar bears), Large (lions, tigers), Medium (rams, wolves) and Small (bunny[[spoiler:,fox]]). The trope comes into play when the responding or assigned officer is inappropriate for

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* ''Disney/{{Zootopia}}'': The ranks of the ZPD are filled with animals of various sizes. Extra Large (elephants, rhinos, polar bears), Large (lions, tigers), Medium (rams, wolves) and Small (bunny[[spoiler:,fox]]). The trope comes into play when the responding or assigned officer is inappropriate forfor the task at hand. During the Weaselton chase, Judy is clearly better suited for pursuit than Officer [=McHorn=]. Yet later in the movie, Judy is shown struggling to provide crowd control at Gazelle's peace rally.
* ''Film/HappyGilmore'': The titular character, in both his sports. His hockey suffers when he builds his slapshot to the exclusion of all else, and his golf game suffers when he refuses to train his short game and relies on his extremely long drive. He gets better at the golf side and accepts training, though.
* In ''Film/QuigleyDownUnder'', Marston assumes Quigley's refusal to carry a backup weapon to his extended rifle and dismissal of revolvers as something he "never had much use for" mean that he's only effective at sniping. [[spoiler:Averted. Quigley is actually a damn good shot with a revolver. He just prefers the rifle.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Jokes]]
* A man was working in an office overlooking a park. Over the course of a day he saw two city park workers - one would dig a hole, and then the other would fill it in. This went on all morning, so the man wandered down on his lunch break to ask about it. "Well," said one of the workers "I dig the holes, Charlie puts the tree in, and then Bob here fills them in. Thing is, Charlie's sick today."
** Funnily enough, this is a bit TruthInTelevision at times: sometimes union rules make it so that the guy who ''drives'' the truck isn't allowed to ''take the box off the truck'' and must wait for the one who can to arrive - useful to keep people from being pressed into doing a ton of work that is outside what was agreed to, for little or no further compensation, but sometimes in certain situations it can get [[ObstructiveBureaucrat crazy nitpicky]].
** Less charitably, some unions and other organizations invoke this trope to create jobs. The term is [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Featherbedding feather-bedding]].
** This can even be as specific as the type of joints/connections used in a desk or other furniture. This can lead to situations where the first worker disassembles the desk partially, then finds a joint he's not certified to work with; they then call in someone else to undo that joint; the first worker comes back and finishes disassembling it; then another worker packs it up and moves it to the new location; the first worker starts to reassemble it; the second worker assembles the problem connection; and finally, the first worker finishes assembling the desk. That's seven steps to move a single desk, involving at least three different workers. And they wonder why costs are so high....
* Finnish joke: Why do the Finnish police officers always go on pairs? One can read and the other can write.
** Subversion: Why do the Soviet militsiya go in three? One can read, one can write and one watches those dangerous intellectuals.
* An old [[RussianHumour Russian joke]]: what's narrow medical specialization? Two nurses giving a person an enema; the first one knows ''how'' and the second one knows ''where''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* In Creator/LewisCarroll's ''Literature/ThroughTheLookingGlass'', Humpty Dumpty is an expert on words and definitions, so much that he claims to be able to assign definitions to words and make them mean anything he pleases (literally). However, he seems to be very bad at math; when Alice tells him that 365 minus one equals 364, he asks her to do that out on paper so he can be sure. (Contrariwise, it could be Alice and the readers are ''wrong'' about the sum's total in a world running on dream logic. We don't get to find out.)
* Used in Creator/PhilipKDick's short story "The Variable Man": the eponymous man is a jack-of-all-trades tinker picked up from the past by scientists in a highly specialized future. They need him to fix something that no one has the specialization for.
* ''The Literature/BookOfSwords'' has three primary examples. The first being the sword of heroes, which if not used against dragons just acts like a very well crafted sword. The second is the sword of siege, which if not used against earth or stone, acts likewise. This is from a series of books where comparatively speaking, the most powerful of these swords had the power to kill deities. Since every sword has a NecessaryDrawback, Overspecializing also seems like not too big a deal after a while... [[spoiler:until the wielder of Shieldbreaker needs to fight unarmed opponents.]]
* In ''Literature/{{Lensman}}'' the overspecialised ships are frequently either laden down with defence shield generators ("I can't hurt you but you can't hurt me") or all weapon (frequently one ''big'' WaveMotionGun style weapon) and tend to accompany each other in large groups. The fleet flagship, ''Directrix'', is all combat-management and defence shields but never goes out and about without an englobing escort of [[MightyGlacier Maulers]].
* Happens to some [[WitchSpecies Insequent]] in ''[[Literature/TheChroniclesOfThomasCovenant The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant]]''. They gain their powers through knowledge, so an Insequent who studies only one or two specific things may be powerless in situations not involving them. For example, [[EvilSorcerer the Harrow]] has made a study of [[TheUndead the Demondim]] and related creatures, meaning he can tear through them like wet tissue paper all day - but he [[BigBadWannabe goes down like a chump]] against [[spoiler:a Kastenessen-powered Roger Covenant]].
* In the sci-fi book ''Literature/{{Matched}}'' this is one of the main tenets of the Society. Nobody learns anything but what they have to know, including of the past. The Society chose 100 of the best of everything from the past for everyone to know about. They also even extended this to choice, in that nobody should have to choose anything that they don't know about.
* ''Literature/MyDarkAndFearsomeQueen'': Thalia is a goddess of unimaginable power. The only catch is, to use her power she has to chant an incantation, and the more precision required, the longer the chant becomes. In a rapidly changing battlefield situation, she's practically useless unless you want to crush everything in a mile radius.
* The cruiser ''Literature/HonorHarrington'' commanded in the first book of her series had been refitted as a testbed around a nigh-unstoppable weapon, however the reduction in normal weapons load and extreme short range of the prototype weapon meant the only way the ship was effective in combat against an equal or larger opponent was to either somehow to sneak in close enough to fire the weapon, or pray the ship could hold together long enough on an near-inevitable suicide run to get close enough to fire the weapon. But then, ''Fearless'' was intended to be used as a testbed for additional development and testing work. It was not intended to be used in a actual battle until [=BuWeaps=] had worked out enough of the bugs to make it practical. Too bad the First Space Lord didn't get the memo...
** This is stated to be the problem with the ''jeune ecole'', who believe that any new development completely change the paradigm of warfare, instead of simply shifting it (mirroring the RealLife Jeune Ecole, who insisted on building only small torpedo ships instead of heavily-armored cruisers).
* Discussed in Jean Auel's ''Literature/EarthsChildren'' series. Woolly mammoths, by becoming so specialized and adapted to such a narrow climate range, ensured they'd survive and exploit a unique niche on the dry, cold ice age tundra, but such specialization also meant that warmer, wetter climates would be utterly devastating. Furthermore, the Neanderthal Clan was in danger of becoming extinct because the men could not learn how to gather and cook food and the women could not learn how to make weapons and hunt, which was why they had to live together in groups. A lone Neanderthal was a dead Neanderthal.
* Creator/RobertAHeinlein's ''Literature/TimeEnoughForLove'' contains the opinion that specialization is sub-human:
-->'''Lazarus Long''': "A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."
* ''Literature/WorldWarZ'' this appears to be one of the reasons the initial outbreak wipes out human armies, shown with the US Army specifically. Modern military thinking is no good against an enemy that can be neither shocked nor awed, and their standard tactics like targeting center of mass, dropping bombs, and setting targets on fire betray them. However, more detailed analyses by readers with actual military knowledge reveals that the zombies happen to be coated in PlotArmor, and Brooks {{nerf}}s standard weapons against them. Also, he has the military hold off on weapons that can effectively turn most squishy targets to paste from miles away until the Zacks are in visual range. Not to mention the military suddenly forgetting everything it knew about the Zacks from the black ops they mentioned, and not learning about their resistance to explosives from the Israelis either. The military also does a number of things that just ''stupid'', like setting up their fire base without making any attempt to secure it (and sure enough the entire area is infested). [[RuleOfDrama In reality]], the military would've rolled right over the Zacks.
* The ''Lancer''-class frigate from the ''Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse'' was specifically designed as a counter to the starfighter-heavy Rebel Alliance/New Republic fleet. It's a 250-meter ship [[BeamSpam bristling with laser cannons]], intended as a flak boat to protect other capital ships. Unfortunately, in addition to being [[AwesomeButImpractical too expensive and manpower-intensive]], it had no heavy weaponry for fending off capital ships, so most admirals eschewed it in favor of expendable TIE screens.
* ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime'':
** This is Aginor/Osan'gar's main obstacle towards being an effective villain. As a [[FunctionalMagic channeler]] he's overwhelmingly powerful (among the [[QuirkyMinibossSquad Forsaken]] he's behind only [[TheDragon Ishamael]] and maybe [[TheStarscream Lanfear]]), but he's really only good at doing one thing- using {{magitek}} to [[EvilutionaryBiologist make monsters]]. Problem is that while this made him essential to the Shadow in the Age of Legends, in the [[AfterTheEnd modern world]] the necessary magitek no longer exists, and every time he's in a straight fight he tends to [[UnskilledButStrong attack a lot]] ineffectively before getting [[CurbStompBattle curbstomped]]. He ends up dying having been one of the least effective Forsaken.
** {{Subverted}} by the minor character Androl Genhald. His talent at magic is very weak, with one exception: he can create larger [[TeleportersAndTransporters gateways]] than much stronger channelers could with ease. Many of the other magic-users mockingly name him "Pageboy" since all he's good for (that they know of) is carrying messages over long distances. However, this turns out to be an ''incredibly'' versatile skill with [[PortalCombat many offensive applications]]. Besides {{Tele Frag}}ging and {{Portal Cut}}ting enemies, being able to open a portal leading to a subterranean reservoir of pressurized magma with a thought is at least as useful as being able to cast {{Fireballs}}.
* In Creator/PhilipJoseFarmer's ''Literature/TheLovers'', the main character is a professional Jack of all Trades (JOAT). His whole job is to make sure that medical research specialists know about advances in other fields that can be applied to their specialty.
* In ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'' novel ''Literature/ProvenGuilty'', Daniel escapes from Hammerhands by climbing into the treehouse, figuring his handless pursuer can't follow him up a ladder.
* In ''The Book of Five Rings'', UsefulNotes/MiyamotoMusashi criticizes at great length schools who teach only one weapon, or whose style relies on the use of a specific weapon. This overemphasis leaves the fighter unable to use the most advantageous weapon(s) available for the circumstances. He even discouraged over-reliance on the [[DualWielding nitouken]] form, which he had formulated.
* In ''Literature/SkulduggeryPleasant'', the eponymous character goes up against an opponent with ridiculously overdeveloped fire magic. After that opponent fell into a river during the fight and ''literally dissolved'' due to an extreme weakness to water, Pleasant explains to the protagonist that becoming strong in one area of magic necessitates a corresponding weakness to its opposite. Could also count as a case of ElementalRockPaperScissors.
* The Tanith First-And-Only of ''Literature/GauntsGhosts'' are '''scarily''' effective in their specialties of stealth, scouting and infiltration, with the events of ''Traitor General'' being the most comprehensive example of their skill. Unfortunately the Imperial Guard mostly just [[WeHaveReserves throws people in the meat grinder]] and hope they come out with fewer casualties than the enemy, with the Ghosts frequently getting slaughtered. This is most apparent in the trench warfare in ''Straight Silver'', and the siege battle in ''Only In Death''.
* Three examples from ''Literature/TheElenium'' and ''Literature/TheTamuli'' by David Eddings:
** When the Zemochs first encountered The Church Knights and their heavy armor in combat, they didn't understand that the purpose of it was protection; they simply knew it made the enemy look fearsome, so they made their own armors with serrated blades and other imposing-looking additions. This caused two problems: it still didn't provide any protection, and all the protrusions served to help ''guide'' weapons to vulnerable spots.
** In ''Literature/TheSapphireRose'' when the hero's party are approaching the villain's stronghold, they come across a rank of warriors in armor in formation. Upon engaging them, they figure out that they're actually animated suits of armor and are scarily effective at combat, but never break formation, leading them to figure out that they've been enchanted to guard ''the flagstone they're standing on''. One careful trip through and one errant shove to send the armors into each other and the way was clear.
** In ''The Tamuli'', the Cyrgai were a [[ProudWarriorRaceGuy proud warrior race]] that pretty much stomped everyone they came across until they ran into [[LinearWarriorsQuadraticWizards the Styrics]], who soundly defeated them and then cursed their land so that any Cyrgai who left their borders would die. The Cyrgai had access to half-breeds that got around this limitation, and the leaders ordered their soldiers to focus on producing more of them, which they did...to the exclusion of producing more of their own. Their women were too old to bear children by the time this was figured out, leading to them having ''bred themselves out of existence'' if not for divine intervention.
* ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'': This is one of the reasons why Harry was able to defeat [[spoiler:Hannah Ascher]] in ''Literature/SkinGame'' even though [[spoiler:she is far better than Harry with fire magic. While she is strong and having her magic capabilities buffed by Lasciel she is both inexperienced and is, most importantly, only thinking [[AttackAttackAttack offensively]]]]. This is in [[{{Foil}} contrast]] to Harry, who is both experienced in magical combat ''and'' experienced in fighting both offensively and defensively which means he is able to [[spoiler:block and redirect Hannah's magic towards the roof of the cave, resulting in several tons of rock falling on top of her]]. This is partially subverted in that Harry is explicitly stated to have more raw power than Hannah Ascher, her inexperience and overspecialisation creates a problem for her only because they're fighting indoors and she's throwing around crazy amounts of fire. Harry beats her by taking advantage of that but he also demonstrates that he can just blast her out of his way with magical brute force.
* A number of the superpowers in ''Literature/WildCards'' count. Even aces and jokers who get really useful powers often find that there's only so many situations they actually use them.
** Veronica, who has the power to induce crippling fear and weakness in men... but ''only'' in men. Cue her getting the shit kicked out of her by a female supervillain who's also a trained fighter.
** Sewer Jack is a shapeshifter. A shapeshifter who only has one other form. Said form is the form of a big alligator. He doesn't find many uses for his power beyond swimming and biting things.
* A North-Going Zax and a South-Going Zax meet head-on in the story "The Zax" from "Sneetches and Other Stories" by Dr. Seuss. Since both stubbornly refuse to take even a single step to the East or West, both are still stuck in place at the end of the story, which is at least long enough for a highway overpass to be built over them.
* Benedikt of ''[[Literature/{{Quarters}} The Quartered Sea]]'' is the best damn [[MagicMusic Singer]] of [[ElementalPowers water]] in all of Shkoder, but he can't sing any other quarter at all, which has severely hampered his career and left him socially isolated from his fellow bards. But it makes him a natural choice as a crew member for a seagoing exploration ship.
* ''Literature/TheStormlightArchive'': Every individual Order of the Knights Radiant had its own role, and stepping too far outside that role could cause them to lose their powers. In ''Literature/WordsOfRadiance'', Kaladin wants to punish Amaram (and to a lesser extent Sadeas), but Syl repeatedly points out that Windrunners protect the innocent--punishing the guilty is a job for a Skybreaker. Unfortunately, there aren't any Skybreakers around, so Kaladin keeps trying to find ways to justify striking back, both to himself and to Syl.
* Ronnie Cheung of ''Literature/TheGoneAwayWorld'' stops ''just'' short of this trope:
-->Ronnie had made a choice about how far down the road of becoming a human killing machine he was prepared to go, and allowing his training to warp his body to the point where he was in some measure ''only'' suited to that task was exactly where he drew the line.
** The narrator notes this when he discovers that [[spoiler:Humbert Pestle]] did ''not'' stop short of this trope. Unfortunately, he discovers this when [[spoiler:Pestle]] attacks him, so it's not as helpful as it might be.
* In ''Literature/TheHungerGames'', Katniss notes that while Careers are bred and trained for the actual combat, which is why they have a disproportionate number of victories, their FatalFlaw is that they are completely incapable of surviving without supplies, almost always losing when the supplies at Cornucopia are destroyed. [[spoiler:Naturally, Katniss decides to use this fact to her advantage and does the same.]]
* In ''Literature/KonoSubarashiiSekaiNiShukufukuO'', this is basically the reason why Kazuma's team is such a handful.
** Fitting for a goddess, Aqua's Arch-Priest abilities are top-notch, [[TurnUndead able to purify even the most powerful undead effortlessly]]. Thanks to the devotion of her followers, Aqua has access to virtually unlimited mana reserves, allowing her to cast deity-tier water and healing spells like Resurrection with ease. Unfortunately, the party rarely encounters any undead, and most of the creatures they face are resistant to water attacks.
** Megumin is an exceptionally skilled and powerful mage, but can only use one spell per day because she refuses to expend her mana for anything other than the extremely taxing Explosion. Using that spell drains her to the point that she collapses from exhaustion and needs to be carried.
** Darkness is a Crusader with ludicrously high strength, endurance, and defence stats, but is absolutely terrible at hitting things with her weapon.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/GameOfThrones'':
** In the Season 3 Blu-ray ''Histories and Lore'', Littlefinger reasons that the true cause of the Targaryens' downfall was their reliance on dragons and their obsession with reclaiming this advantage after the dragons died out, though Varys counters that they continued ruling quite stably for more than a century.
** The Unsullied are supposed to be heavy infantry without peer, famed for their utterly impenetrable spear walls. When they're deployed patrolling city streets however, they're easily overcome by untrained guerillas with daggers.
** While he's perfectly cunning and intelligent for a warrior, Jaime has built his entire life, career, reputation, and self-respect around being one of the best ''swordsmen'' in the kingdom... who then loses his sword hand early in Season 3.
--> '''Jaime:''' It's a good thing I am who I am. I'd have been useless at anything else.
* The fact that the ''Series/{{Lexx}}'' has no other weapons or defenses apart from its planet-shattering WaveMotionGun have caused plenty of trouble to the protagonists over the course of the series. Could be justified, if His Divine Shadow wanted it easily re-taken if it ever fell into the wrong hands. (Which, in fact, it did.) Presumably it would've had escort ships along to defend it if it'd ever been used as intended.
* On ''Series/GoodEats'', one of host Alton Brown's real pet peeves is "unitaskers" -- kitchenware with precisely ''one'' use, which he dislikes for wasting space and usually having larger price tags. Alton's said that the only single-purpose item he'll allow in his kitchen is the fire extinguisher...and then during the 10th Anniversary Special, he finds another use for it: [[http://youtu.be/WWhjgX33wtU making (carbonated) smoothies.]]
* Unlike previous ''Franchise/SuperSentai'', the team in ''Series/KaizokuSentaiGokaiger'' have no inherent special powers, instead relying on the powers of their predecessors via the Ranger Keys. This came to bite them in the ass when, in the first movie, the Keys were stolen from and used against them, leaving the Gokaigers to fend for themselves. It was only fortunate that their direct predecessor team, ''Series/TensouSentaiGoseiger'', were able to help get their powers back. (For the uninitiated, the Gokaigers' basic arsenal only consisted of a Gokai Saber and Gokai Gun each at the time.) Later averted in the series itself when the keys were stolen again, but the team got them back themselves, even beating copies of their suited forms in the process.
* In ''Series/{{Thunderbirds}}'', Thunderbird 3 is the only one that can go into space and Thunderbird 4 is the only one that can go underwater, but that's ''all'' they can do, and while underwater rescues [[ThisLooksLikeAJobForAquaman happen far more often than they really should]] space rescues only happen two or three times in the entire series. In most rescues this leaves Scott and Virgil in Thunderbirds 1 and 2 to do almost all of the work while Alan and Gordon mostly just assist them.
* On ''Series/TheSingOff'', after the least technically proficient groups have been weeded out, the groups that are very skilled in one particular style of music and have a hard time adapting that style to incorporate other influences are usually the next eliminated, as versatility is something the judges value very highly.
* Similarly, after ''Series/RuPaulsDragRace'' weeds out the least impressive queens, the next queens eliminated tend to be the ones who are so specialized in a certain skill, such as lip-syncing or stunning fashion, that they usually stumble in areas outside their expertise. The winners of the competition as well as the most popular ones with the fans are queens that tend to have a variety of skills, but still have a specialty.
* In ''Series/VanHelsing'': Axel has rigged up numerous defenses for the hospital. The final one is a corridor filled with UV lamps, something no vampire can pass. [[spoiler:A human, [[HoistByHisOwnPetard specifically a former vampire turned human by Vanessa]], however can easily walk down the hall and smash the lights, allowing the vampires to safely advance behind him.]]
* ''Franchise/TheFutureIsWild'' has a quite literal example with the Terabytes, termite-like insects. They're divided into separate castes which are very good at what they do (gum-spitters trap the [[{{Planimal}} Garden Worms]] the Terabytes harvest algae from, water-carriers store water, rock-borers do the burrowing, transporters carry stuff, queens lay eggs), but almost all of them save the transporter caste either have ''no legs at all'' or vestigal legs, and require the transporters to carry them around. Transporters have it less overspecialized since they're also capable of cutting off the algae appendages of Garden Worms.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* In TabletopGame/{{Chess}}, conventional CharacterTiers rate Bishops as equal to Knights, though Bishops are actually the better pieces in a lot of positions because of their long movement range and ability to defend squares either adjacent or on the opposite side of the board. They are, however, overspecialized in that they can never move through or onto any square of opposite color to their starting place, which can lead to "bad Bishop" positions, in which a Bishop is trapped behind chains of allied Pawns on squares of the same color.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}''
** The [[SpaceElves Eldar]] have this as their Hat. Each Eldar going down the Path of the Warrior dedicates themself to one Aspect of war at a time; Dark Reapers deal long-ranged death to enemy heavy infantry, Striking Scorpions can unleash enough close combat attacks to cut through hordes of light infantry, and so on. But while each type of Aspect Warrior may excel in its battlefield role, they're usually screwed if put up against a different type of threat, so those Dark Reapers won't last long in close combat, while hostile heavy infantry can shrug off the Striking Scorpions' flurry of attacks. The saying goes that if you pit five Space Marines against five Eldar, four of the Eldar will die while the survivor single-handedly cuts down the Space Marines, because that's what she was trained for.
** The Tau have some of the best guns in the game, and its military focuses on getting the most out of them, but the race is just pathetic in close combat. The Tau have recognized this at least and can bring in allied alien auxiliaries that are better-suited for melee, but even so, those close combat "specialists" would be considered mediocre at best in any other army and are better at counter-charging than leading an assault.
*** The Tau caste system means that every Tau in the setting is trained to be good at combat (Fire), diplomacy (Water), piloting (Air), engineering/research (Earth) or leadership (Ethereal) - and is not expected to develop skill outside their assigned field. This is particularly notable among the Air Caste, who have been so purpose-bred that they actually have extremely fragile bones that mean that even if you were going to have them fight outside a fighter or bomber, they would die swiftly.
*** One of the Tau's auxillary species, the Kroot, takes this in a very unusual direction. To make things short, Kroot have LegoGenetics that allow them to [[CannibalismSuperpower absorb useful genes from consumed prey and incoporate those genes into their own DNA, empowering themselves by replicating those traits]]. However, they suffer from a form of PowerIncontinence that means that if they keep eating that kind of meat, their [=DNA=] becomes increasingly like the creature they're eating. For example, continue eating the flesh of non-sapient herbivores, and a Kroot will ''become'' a non-sapient herbivore with only genetic legacy connecting it to its former Kroot state. The Kroot homeworld, Pech, has no ecosystem niche that isn't filled by some form of devolved Kroot.
** The Tyranids ran into this when the Dark Eldar finally got a new codex. One of the Tyranids' trademarks is an array of multiple-Wound, high-Toughness, monstrous creatures that turned out to be highly susceptible to Dark Eldar weaponry causing [[ChunkySalsaRule Instant Death]] or dealing Poisoned attacks that neutralize a high Toughness value.
** Within the Chaos Daemons list, each of the gods have a specific vocation: Khorne and Slaanesh are geared towards combat, but Khorne relies on a comparatively smaller number of more hard hitting attacks, allowing them to blunt through medium infantry (such as Tau and Space Marines) and vehicles, while Slaaneshi units have high initiative and a ton of rending attacks, making them more suited to hordes and really heavy infantry. Nurgle units focuses on insane durability combined with poisoned weapons to fight against high toughness creatures, but lack any sort of armor penetration needed to break through armor. Tzeentch, understandably, focuses on magic but rarely have any units good enough to support with said magic (almost every single one of their units is a squishy wizard). This means that each of the four god's daemons were designed to support another god's troops, but for those who prefered playing mono-god lists, this can leave you with one or more areas severely lacking (Slaanesh, for example, has almost no staying power, so in an objectives match they will quickly die out due to their low toughness and save. Conversely Mono-Nurgle can't do much if they're expected to annihilate their enemy, since their primary purpose is to survive and tarpit). The only exception to this is the Soul Grinder, who can be kitted out to fill several combat roles.
** This is also encouraged in tournament play. Consider a Space Marine Tactical Squad equipped with a Flamer and a Lascannon. The former is a short-ranged weapon that can be used while moving against a swarm of light infantry, while the latter is a long-ranged anti-tank weapon that can't be fired after moving. If either weapon is fired, the other is probably not in a situation to contribute anything, whereas a dedicated anti-tank or anti-infantry squad would be fighting with better efficiency against its viable targets. The rule Combat Squads was specifically made to resolve this issue; you can now split your 10-man squad into 2 5 man squads and give the melee-oriented Sergeant and assault weapon gunner to the squad most likely to run ahead, while the lascannon dude can sit back with his squad of 4 meatshields happily pounding away at enemy armour.
** Deliberately invoked by the Imperial Guard, at company level. Any Imperial Guard regiment would be trained and equipped for a single role, be it foot infantry, mounted infantry, mechanized infantry, artillery, armour, whatever. The intention being that a single company has to rely on others for combined arms warfare, and hence won't survive long going rogue.
** The Chaos Maulerfiend is a dedicated tank killer that can also pick off units without close-range anti-armour: it has multiple high-strength attacks, and can access more if you went for magma cutters over lasher tendrils, all of which hit the rear armour of a tank or other vehicle, and as an AV 12 vehicle it can eat entire squads of Eldar or Orks. However, its total lack of any ranged weapons means it's incredibly vulnerable to anti-tank fire even with its Daemonic Invulnerable save, and while it has much better stats than a random infantryman, its Initiative and Weapon Skill are below those of a Space Marine Dreadnought or Chaos Helbrute, meaning that a one-on-one duel with another melee walker is unlikely to end well for it.
** The Adeptus Mechanicus will take a dive into this trope when [[GodzillaThreshold things get dire enough]] by actually innovating and building an Ordinatus, a gigantic war machine that is more or less built around a ludicrously huge and powerful piece of armament specialized ''only'' to the conflict at hand, and rarely if ever see use again due to fear of losing them because they were used for the wrong problem. Of course, the advantage of building a superweapon around a conflict is that it'll usually be won right afterwards; you may not get to use that fortress-cracking sound-cannon, Titan-melting plasma gun or DrillTank that can carry entire companies of guardsmen again, but whatever you needed it for will never again be a problem.
** The Admech deliberately invoke this with their Skitarii armies on the fly. "Doctrina Imperatives" transmitted from distant command centres specialize their troops towards shooting or melee to a greater or lesser degree as conflicts develop. In their case, effectiveness is zig-zagged somewhat. Sure, those Vanguard may fight like old men after you finally push though the [[ImprobableAimingSkills laser-accurate volleys of rifle fire]] for a moment, but fifteen seconds later the [[WeHaveReserves second Maniple in line]] will have popped Hyperaction Protocols and fight better than the daemons of Khorne. Skitarii Primus leaders even throw thousands of their soldiers into the grinder deliberately to gather intelligence about how best to command the actual army following behind. They die gladly, as for the Mechanicus [[MartyrdomCulture "Survival is nothing, Data is All".]]
** The Bnaeblade and its sisters are all built around tackling a single problem really well: Shadowswords and Doomhammers for killing titans, Stormswords for urban warfare, Stormblades for cheaper and more mobile Shadowswords, and Baneblades for unleashing eleven barrels of hell on everything. All of them move like a morbidly obese elephant who's pregnant with triplets and can't do anything other than what they're specialized for: if, for example, a Stormsword finds something its too large to fit through but can't plow through it's dead in the water.
* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons''
** In 4th Edition, one has the option of using a significant number of their starting stat points to boost a single score to 18 (potentially a 20 if the character gets a bonus to that score from race). However, this costs such a prohibitive number of points that all the rest of that character's stats will be Below Par, at the very best. Since defenses and secondary abilities of powers are often based on scores not directly related to a class' primary attack stat, this usually leaves a character open to attack. And since many feats have ability score prerequisites, the choicest of these will often be out of reach of a character who has overspecialized a single stat. Note that this can be entirely nullified by having a well-balanced group (ie. a bard with maxed Charisma and terrible defenses in a group with many tanks/strikers will never get attacked if the group remembers to keep her in the back/center).
** D&D in general, really. For every single ability in 3.5, there's at least one way to reduce or negate the damage. Fighters who specialise in the longsword will find themselves disadvantaged against an opponent who negates all damage that isn't piercing. A sorcerer that only chooses fire spells will not have a fun time against the monster with fire immunity. Rogues dread encounters against enemies that are immune to sneak attacks (which are many). At higher levels it's not uncommon for fighters to carry multiple weapons made of many different materials, just so they can be prepared for any situation. This is one reason why LinearWarriorsQuadraticWizards is in full effect: spellcasters who prepare their spells from a list can avoid this trap by changing their spells in accordance with the situation.
*** D&D's unofficial Tier System reinforces this fact. The Top Tier classes can either learn every spell of their paradigm they come across, have access to their entire spell lists by default, or can replicate any spell in the game. (The Cleric and Druid can also function as melee on top of all that, hence the [[GameBreaker CoDzilla]] term in the metagame). The Tier Two classes are equal to the tier ones in raw power, but lack the versatility of their counterparts. As the tier thread puts it: "''If the Tier 1 classes are countries with 10,000 nuclear weapons in their arsenal, these guys are countries with 10 nukes. Still dangerous and world shattering, but not in quite so many ways.''"
** In 4e, the selection of attack powers available at each level - and this applies to several fighting and magic using classes - can differ between direct attacks that affect one opponent (the sin qua non of the "striker") and area of affect attacks (bursts and blasts) that can damage many targets. The latter tend to do less damage and may not have as good a hit chance as the former. Without a mix, a character can be vulnerable to either solo monsters or minions.
** Many powergamers in all TTRPGS, but especially D&D, who have their pet "broken" builds run into a serious problem when faced with [=GMs=] who throw unexpected challenges at them; by relying on shattering the game in one particular place, they are vulnerable when challenged out of their depth by the GM.
* In the classic Metagaming Concepts game ''Rivets'', the premise is simple: all the people are dead, and the remaining Boppers (Battlefield Orientated Pre-Programmed Eradicator Robots) are fighting it out over the resources they need. The trouble is, these Boppers are pretty stupid, 'average IQ only slightly higher than that of most kitchen appliances'. Each player has to choose what type of unit each type of unit attacks. That's right. You don't program an individual unit, you program a type of unit to go after another type of unit. If you're attacked by a unit you're not programmed to attack, you're screwed. You can, however, reprogram them, but that means bringing every one of that unit type back to your base/factory.
* In the ''Literature/{{Dragonlance}}'' mythos, one legend says the wizard Magius fell in battle as the Orders of High Sorcery prohibited mages from carrying ''any'' weapon at the time leaving them to rely solely on magic making them defenseless if their spells and items became exhausted. Since his death mages have been permitted to carry a dagger (or staff) for defending themselves.
* ''TabletopGame/BattleTech''
** The [=BattleMechs=] are prone to this, as well as subverting this. You can either have a general jack-of-all-trades or a specialized 'Mech that's doomed once someone skips out of its range bracket. Also, under the latest rules, most (not all) 'Mech-scale weapons do only a small fraction of their regular damage to conventional infantry, which can become a problem at those distances where the infantry can actually shoot ''back''. {{Justified|Trope}} in that 'Mechs are meant to used in concert (IE, fire-support standing ''behind'' the close-assault mechs, scouts staying in cover and acting as spotters for long-distance artillery, high-speed mechs flanking while the main assault force holds the enemies' attentions, etc.). Individual 'Mechs are specialists; the military units they make up are intended to be balanced. Then the Clans showed up with their versatile [=OmniMech=] designs and the Inner Sphere soon caught up and started reverse-engineering captured Clan [=BattleMechs=] in order to compete with their advanced technology. Though [=OmniMechs=] themselves also do have their limitations as well, one being that they are not fully modular, which can hamper potential configurable designs for a would-be creative pilot.
** One of the earliest Subversions of this is the Stalker-class Assault Battlemech, which carries both large and medium lasers, as well as both Long and Short range missiles, giving it the ability to fight at ''every'' range. Ironically, it's the most well-rounded mech of it's time despite having ''no ballistic weapons'' and relying entirely on energy and missile ones.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Exalted}}''
** Specifically warned against in the character creation chapter of the core rulebook. Creation has a lot of different challenges to overcome, and you'll be lucky if you're just bored if you don't have a charm that's useful to the situation. Also, it's kinda frustrating having to start a new charm tree from the relatively weak and boring prerequisite charms when you've reached the "total powerhouse" stage of your career. (Other advice: buy the "increase your hit points" charm at least once.)
** The Primordials, the transcendently powerful beings that created the setting, each have their own themes, and are absolutely all-powerful, invincible, and unassailable within those themes; Authochthon is the Craftsman, Malfeas is the King, She Who Lives In Her Name is the Organizer, the Ebon Dragon is the Corrupter, etc. The thing is, each Primordial is not only absolutely helpless outside of those themes, but absolutely incapable of even thinking outside of them. For example, Malfeas is incapable of any kind of subtlety, compromise, or anything else that requires him to act from a position of anything less than absolute power and authority, and She Who Lives In Her Name cannot be unpredictable or spontaneous in any way.
** Applying this and its relative MinMaxing in the ''Shards of the Exalted Dream'' spinoff Burn Legend will get you curbstomped on a regular basis. The guy with Strength 5 and lots of Grapples - say, a Mugen who invests heavily in Wrestling and the linked Mugen techniques - will get his ass handed to him by a simple Whistling Stone Atemi. Burn Legend is based very heavily on TacticalRockPaperScissors, meaning that showing up as Captain Scissors is begging for everyone else to pull out their cheap, low-ranked Rock technique and smash you into a pulp.
* In ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering'' there's a branch of decks known as Combo decks that fall into this. They aim to do one specific thing using a certain combination of cards. When this thing happens [[InstantWinCondition they usually win instantly]]. If they can't get the cards in or one of them gets destroyed, they're usually left with a sub-par deck. Combo decks tend to be very good against 'raw power'/'aggro' decks because comboed cards will dismantle an equal number of individual cards without synergy (even though said cards tend to be stronger individually), and are vulnerable to control decks that systematically block or remove the components of a combo. These are popular among some casual players, who don't care nearly as much about a reliable win/lose percentage as about the fact that it's absolutely [[RuleOfFunny hilarious]] to use a finishing attack featuring an unblockable attacker whose power and toughness grow by a factor of 32 [[SerialEscalation every turn]].
* In ''Tabletopgame/YuGiOh'' you will see some decks that would be Overpowered...only if played against a specific deck. For instance, The Allies of Justice mean certain death to Light Decks, but are powerless against anything that isn't Light. In newer Generation, The Heraldic and Heraldry ace monsters (used by Tron in the anime) are the embodiment of Xyz monsters' nightmares, being able to drain their Attack, Effects, and even names. Unfortunately, many players still use Synchros and don't rely on Xyz, making these cards laughably useless against them. (Though the OneWingedAngel form of Number 69 might still be able to put a dent in anything the opponent might summon).
** Conversely, many trap and magic cards are designed specifically to revolve around a single monster. Cards that appear regularly on the show, such as Dark Magician, Kuriboh, and Blue-Eyes White Dragon tend to have numerous trap and magic cards devoted specifically to them. It's very possible for someone overspecialize their deck and end up stuck with too many of these cards in their hand without the central monster being available or playable, a folly often demonstrated by AI players in the video games that are based on the TCG.
** Many archetypes, especially after the Extra Deck became central, tend to have their Main Deck focus on getting to the Extra Deck as quickly and often as possible. This results in them being completely unable to do much of anything when the Extra Deck is inaccessible for some reason (for instance, [[http://yugioh.wikia.com/wiki/Dimensional_Barrier Dimensional Barrier]] or [[http://yugioh.wikia.com/wiki/Crimson_Blader Crimson Blader]]), because their Main Deck is so focused on bringing out the materials for their summons that the materials can't do anything. Gimmick Puppets are a good example; the only effect in the entire Main Deck that isn't based on summoning Level 8 monsters is Egg Head's 800 burn damage.
** The basis of 'anti-meta' decks. Usually, these decks focus specifically on countering whatever the current high tier deck(s) is, often with surprisingly effective results. However, whenever these decks end up facing other kinds of decks such as lower-tier "rogue" decks, they quickly start to fall apart.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Shadowrun}}'''s character creation mechanics have always favoured focused characters by rewarding specialization. It's generally held that a good shadowrunning team consists entirely of specialists who throw nine or more dice at a non-overlapping set of very specific skills instead of made entirely of what usually becomes {{Master Of None}}s.
** However, with minimal system mastery it is trivial to create characters who are very good at their desired specialty, and also have decent competence in some secondary skillset, averting the trope.
* BDSM decks in the erotic card game ''Furoticon''. Sadists inflict pain counters on opponents that debuff most characters but masochists treat them as buffs.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''Webcomic/EightBitTheater'':
** All the main characters have this to some degree or another, but especially BlackMage and Fighter. Black Mage is one of the most powerful and destructive casters in the setting, but is incapable of dealing with situations in any way other than simply blasting it (and often misses), and Fighter is a swordmaster who is sufficiently skilled to break the laws of reality, but has no idea how to function in all other aspects of life.
** Sarda does this on purpose with his individual spells so that they can't be used against him. For example, he has a spell that he uses to make Black Mage puke up his innards, and another to rewrite reality according to his whims. When Black Mage uses these spells, he finds out that they are, respectively, a "make Black Mage puke up his innards" spell and a "rewrite reality according to Sarda's whims" spell. Regardless of who is casting them.
--->'''Black Mage:''' When Sarda casts a spell to hurt you, and you learn that spell, '''[[MagicAIsMagicA you learn to cast a spell that hurts you.]]'''
* ''Webcomic/SaturdayMorningBreakfastCereal'' has [[http://www.smbc-comics.com/?db=comics&id=739#comic Bulletproof Man]], who is only invulnerable to bullets, and [[http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=870#comic these boxers]], who try to solve all problems by punching it. Subverted by [[http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=457#comic this witch]] who surprises an opponent relying on AntiMagic.
* ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick''
** [[spoiler:Zz'dtri]] has fine-tuned his build around countering Vaarsuvius' "blaster-caster" approach to combat. When Vaarsuvius figures out that this leaves him with a weakness to more mundane tactics, and starts fighting smart, [[http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0800.html the tables quickly turn.]]
** Vaarsuvius also suffers from this, especially in the earlier comics (later comics show more flexibility on V's part). V's a spellcaster, but [[WhenAllYouHaveIsAHammer seems to focus on the 'blow-things-up' part of magic]]. V also tends to dump other stats, meaning V has poor physical ability and charisma. As such, when faced with something that can resist direct magical assaults, V's stymied. Which happens quite a bit.
-->"Thrice-cursed Spell Resistance! It's almost like the universe is trying to deliberately force some form of arbitrary equality between those of us who can reshape matter with our thoughts and those who cannot."
** Roy encounters a half-ogre who has specialised in a very specific style of spiked chain fighting. Aside from being based on incorrect rules interpretations, he is also restricted to a very specific movement pattern, which Roy uses to maneuver him [[GravityIsAHarshMistress off a cliff to his death]].
** A spell rather than a person, but Vaarsuvius knows the spell Bugsby's Cat-Retrieving Hand, a spell that summons a giant hand that can pick up cats, and ''only'' cats. That being said, it's been useful on two separate occasions.
* The Vespiary squad in ''Webcomic/GirlGenius'' are trained to efficiently destroy some of the most dangerous creatures in the series. Against anything else they can be considered noncombatants.
* ''WebComic/DarthsAndDroids'' features Pete, a {{Munchkin}} who maxed all the skills he thought that would be useful in a space RPG campaign. As a result, he generated R2-D2, "a short, squat robot with no arms", and in {{Alternate Universe}}s he generated a bunch of other, equally useless characters.
* ''Webcomic/TwentyFirstCenturyFox'': Back in her school days, Dr. Cavor was a member of her school's orchestra. [[http://techfox.comicgenesis.com/d/20070827.html Artillery section]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Ruby Rose, the main character of ''WebAnimation/{{RWBY}}'' is an extremely talented warrior with her WeaponOfChoice [[SinisterScythe Crescent Rose]], but isn't so good ''without'' it. This has gotten her into more than one situation where she needed to fight, but didn't have Crescent Rose on hand, and so could really only try to dodge (though she did kick a Griffon to death). The Volume 5 Yang Trailer shows that Ruby actually finds fighting with her fists to be completely pointless ''because'' she has Crescent Rose and tries to ignore Yang's attempt to train her in fighting hand to hand. Ozpin calls her out in Volume 5 and forces her to train in this way.
* [[Creator/StuartAshen Chef Excellence]]: [[MemeticBadass excellent at bags]], [[JokeCharacter useless at everything else]]. Just the bags. Keep bags. Keep bags in mind. Bags, Excellence, bags. And everything will be alright.
-->''[[MadLibsCatchPhrase An Excellent Breakdown]]''
* In ''Website/{{Cracked}}'' videos, Dan O'Brien plays an [[AdamWesting exaggerated version of himself]] with encyclopedic pop culture knowledge but toally ignorant of real world history, politics, etc., except how they relate to his favoured works of fiction.
* Dr. Carlos Chronos of ''WebVideo/TheTimeGuys'' is a brilliant inventor, but can apparently only make [[TimeMachine time... items]].
* Often a deciding factor in ''WebAnimation/DeathBattle'', where often the two fighters are more or less evenly matched from a technical standpoint, but one has more variety to their abilities, particularly when the specialization of the overspecialized one happens to be something the generalist knows how to counter (such as in [[Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda Link]] vs. [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII Cloud]]) or the specialization is in something not particularly applicable to combat (such as in [[Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda Zelda]] vs. [[Franchise/SuperMarioBros Peach]]). Special mention to [[VideoGame/MortalKombat Raiden]] versus [[ComicBook/TheMightyThor Thor]] and [[Manga/FairyTail Natsu Dragneel]] versus [[Manga/OnePiece Portgas D. Ace]], where Raiden was overly specialized in electric attacks in a fight where both parties were more or less immune to electricity (and had a severe strength and durability disadvantage otherwise on top of it) and Ace was overly specialized in fire attacks in a fight where both parties were more or less immune to fire (though unlike Raiden, physically he was still enough of a matchup to hold a stalemate for a time).
* In LetsPlay/SomethingAwfulDungeonsAndDragons Let's Play, Minerelle is a character who relies on her massive Arcana roll to accomplish as much as possible. As a result of this, she isn't particularly useful in situations where she can't just throw Arcana at it till something happens. She suffers a bit from overspecializing in combat as well, since most of her attacks target the enemy's Will defense (and the one that doesn't was a fairly recent addition). As a result, whenever the party goes up against anything with an above average Will, she pretty much has no way to contribute to the battle
* In ''WebVideo/ToBoldlyFlee'', each of Terl's [[FacelessGoons crew]] is responsible for exactly one aspect of flying his ship, and there is only one crewmember assigned to each task. Therefore, [[WebVideo/TheAngryJoeShow Angry Joe]] is able to cripple Terl and Zod's offensive capabilit by shooting the one weapons officer.
* Exaggerated for laughs in the Machinima/TeamServiceAnnouncement ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6cm2iFmASBc Class Balance]]'', where the ''entire BLU team'' of ''VideoGame/TeamFortress2'' is Snipers, all of them oblivious to the fact that they're losing the King of the Hill match.
** In ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXzOaB7BaCU Demoknights and Battle-Medics]]'', the Demoknight is useless against the Sentry nest, but not against [[spoiler:performing a double kill to save the Soldier's life]]. Battle-Medic, however, is ''completely'' useless, and the Soldier rejects him.
* When the WebVideo/GameGrumps play ''[[Franchise/MobileSuitGundam Gundam: Battle Assault 2]]'', Danny spends the whole game playing as Big Zam, a titanic mobile suit who Arin admits right from the start is overpowered ("Guess what your main attack is. ''Walking''.") He spends the whole video [[CurbStompBattle literally walking all over Arin]] when he's not also playing an overpowered boss-level mobile suit, until he finally gets behind Big Zam and makes short work of him while Danny's still trying to figure out how to ''turn around''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/TheVentureBrothers'': Jefferson Twilight, Blacula Hunter. He's also got plenty of other, support skills, but YouDidntAsk.
--> And they haven't been taken by Blaculas. Though I'm not prepared to rule out Caucasian vampires.
** O.S.I. agent Headshot is a good sniper...and that's it. A rather miniscule skill-set for a secret agent.
* Combustion Man of ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'' has the unique Firebending ability to focus his energy through an eye tattoo on his forehead, and release it as explosive blasts. While incredibly powerful, it lacks any kind of versatility, and he is apparently incapable of any other techniques. It also makes him quite vulnerable, as any form of disruption to his chi (such as by a blow to the head) can disable his ability to do it. [[spoiler:Or cause him to explode]]. He is also apparently unaware of it being disrupted.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra''
** [[FictionalSport Pro-benders]] often suffer from this. While characters like Bolin and Tahno are among the top competitors in their chosen field, their sport's long-range fighting style is laughable when used in real combat. Pro-benders tend to fight as if they're still on the game field, and will sling fixed amounts of rock or water at an enemy. Get up close and a pro-bender's defense falls apart. In comparison, someone with Avatar Korra's comprehensive education in the traditional bending styles will move between long- and short-range fighting as necessary, and will use the whole environment against an enemy.
** The reverse was true when Korra first joined the Fire Ferrets. She was literally a last-minute replacement when their previous waterbender no-showed, and started out by thrashing the opposing players with highly effective attacks...that were against the rules, resulting in fouls against Korra. Just like what's good in a pro-bending isn't necessarily good in a fight, what's good in a fight isn't necessarily good in pro-bending.
** The Metalbending Police of Republic City are shown to be this. The Equalists' tactics and gear were designed to counter the Metalbender's tactics and the police got routed in every open clash between the two and there weren't enough combat oriented benders of other nations to counter them (at least until the United Military shows up). They learned from this and from season 2 on, showed a more diverse police force (including firebender Mako), backed up by members of The White Lotus (and later [[spoiler:The Airbenders]]).
** The Chi-blockers, themselves were examples of this trope for similar reasons as Ty Lee. There was plenty of fire, water and earthbenders in Republic City to prepare against, but only a handful of [[BlowYouAway airbenders]] that already use an evasive style that makes [[BadassFamily Tenzin and his children]] the hardest to take down as well as having zero experience against a fellow non-bender like [[BadassNormal Asami]], who also has one of their [[StaticStunGun gloves]] to [[HoistByTheirOwnPetard OHKO them]] at a more efficient rate than any of her teammates.
** Ming Hua has what most refer to as Psychic Waterbending because she doesn't have arms, which the water functions as instead. This gives her greater control over water than most other benders and she is far more dextrous with her water-arms than a normal person is with theirs (for example she can quickly scale the side of a cliff with her water arms alone). [[spoiler:Ming Hua is later killed because her water arms made a direct conduit to her heart, so that any electric attack against her would be instantly fatal. Prior to this, she was completely vulnerable to firebenders who specifically targeted the water around her as she has no combat ability when she can't bend.]]
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'':
** The town of Ogdenville makes nothing but barley, even their history is centered about barley. When the barley got tainted, this cause their entire business to go bust, and sent their town into a depression!
** When Milhouse tries to get the role of a boy who points in a play, he fails because the direction he's asked to point isn't the same he trained for.
** In a WesternAnimation/TreehouseOfHorror episode Homer is standing in a bunker when France launches a 6 megaton nuclear missle at Springfield. Homer is lucky that it was a 6 megatonner, because the shelter was designed for 6 megatons, "no more, no less."
* In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/WaitTillYourFatherGetsHome'', Harry drops his car off at the service garage, then comes back later to find they're not finished. Perplexed that a mechanic is standing by his car doing nothing, Harry asks why the man isn't working on it. "I only do headlights," the mechanic explains. "''Left'' headlights."
* ''WesternAnimation/FostersHomeForImaginaryFriends'' had an episode where the home was overrun with Scribbles (imaginary friends conjured up from infants), which as their name implied, were basically floating black line scribbles. Initially thought annoying and bothersome, they were shown as being very adept at doing chores, yet each Scribble could only do one task (such as washing the dishes, but not putting them away) or they "overload" and start shrieking until calmed down.
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic''
** Unicorn ponies find their magical abilities quite limited outside their special talent, as illustrated by their Cutie Mark, such as Rarity mostly being good at magic related to tailoring and illusions. Twilight Sparkle on the other hand, by virtue of having her talent be magic in general, knows a vast variety of spells, to the point where she can levitate the top of a water tower, float it through a barn full of cows (''milking the cows in the process'') and make the water tower into a makeshift baby bottle, while also causing the wind to play a lullaby.
** Twilight is cripplingly overspecialized in other ways, however. In "Winter Wrap-up" she tries to [[PaintingTheFrostOnWindows help clean up winter]] without her magic (because that's the traditional way), but because she's so used to using magic for everything, she screws up anything she tries to do physically (starting with putting on her saddle). [[spoiler:She eventually leans to non-magically contribute with her TRUE strength, that of an uber-delegating ScheduleFanatic.]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'', Bender is a bending unit, meaning he's ''very'' good at bending things, but isn't very good at anything else. In one episode, when the Robot Mafia drops an unbendable girder on Flexo, the only solution that Bender can think of is to try to bend it off of him anyway. ("Well, I don't know anything about lifting, so we only have the one option!") Miraculously, he succeeds, but falls apart in the process. On the other hand, Bender manages to pull WhenAllYouHaveIsAHammer moments from time to time, performing non-bending tasks by seeing them as being (in his words) "primitive, degenerate forms of bending".
** In one of the Tales of Interest shorts, Fry says that he's good at video games and bad at everything else. This is actually good because of the premise of the Tale of Interest, being that real life was (quite literally) like a game.
** Doctor Zoidberg is eventually revealed to ''invert'' this trope. After years of being shown to be an inept surgeon who frequently does more harm than good, it's revealed in one episode that he ''is'' in fact an incredibly gifted and ''unmatched' surgeon... for aliens. Humans are quite possibly the one species in the universe he doesn't have training for, but it's the species that he's most around.
* In ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime'', Bella Noche is a being of AntiMagic capable of neutralizing the magic of all of the wizards in Wizard City. However, when Betty managed to get to her, Bella Noche was taken down with little more than a punch.
* In one episode of ''WesternAnimation/DuckTales1987'', Big Time assaulted the Money Bin wearing an armored assault suit. Upon breaking into the vault, he's greeted by Scrooge in a tank, but isn't worried since his armor can withstand a 60 millimeter shell...only for Scrooge to reveal his tank fires ''61'' millimeter shells.
-->'''Big Time''': Whoa! That's one millimeter too many! ''(Gets blasted out of the Money Bin)''
* ''WesternAnimation/KingOfTheHill'': In "Bobby Goes Nuts", Bobby decides to win fights by [[GroinAttack kicking his opponents in the testicles]] after attending a woman's self-defense course. He eventually kicks Hank, [[YouAreGrounded who tries to ground Bobby and take away his video games]], but is still too injured. Peggy eventually goes after Bobby herself, who finds out that women don't have testicles, and is quickly taken down.
* In one ''WesternAnimation/FairlyOddParents'' short, "The Temp", when Cosmo and Wanda are away and Timmy needs a temporary fairy godparent, he finds that the temp is good at making toys. Unfortunately, toys are all he can make, which doesn't help when a fire breaks out in Timmy's room and it can't be wished away. In the end, the reason for this is because the temp turns out to be one of {{Santa Claus}}'s elves.
* In ''WebAnimation/MightyMagiswords'', the titular magiswords are magical [[OddlyShapedSword Oddly Shaped Swords]] that are usually only good for one specific function, and few can be used as, well, actual swords.
* ''WesternAnimation/StevenUniverse'':
** [[MakingASplash Lapis Lazuli]] is powerful enough to take control of ''all'' the world's ocean water and control it to her advantage, as well as [[ImaginationBasedSuperpower fashion it into various forms for combat]]...but she's pathetically weak physically-wise (by Gem standards), so in a place where there's little water to use, even a Gem like [[WeakButSkilled Pearl]] could take her down quickly since she's shown no offensive abilities that don't relate to water.
** Homeworld's [[KillerRobot shattering]] [[AttackDrone Robinoids]] possess a powerful [[WaveMotionGun laser]] that can destroy stone and [[OneHitKill shatter gems]] but they only attack if they actually detect a [[HeartDrive gem]] and creatures that lack gems (like humans) are invisible to them and they won't even fight back if one attacks them.
* In ''{{WesternAnimation/Ben 10}}'', Ripjaws is a form that is incredibly powerful underwater, being able to move incredibly quickly and having good strength, which means he can quickly turn the tide of the battle in his favor. The problem? He's almost completely useless on dry land; while he's still got incredibly powerful jaws, he needs water to ''breathe'', which makes for quite a bit of suffering when he's nowhere near a body of water.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Real Life]]
* Animals that are very well adapted to their natural environment are much more sensitive to environmental changes. This is most noticeable in apex predators, the ones that have few natural predators and are at the top of the food chain. Adaptable, preferably omnivorous animals are much more likely to survive any kind of extinction event or environmental change.
** The saber-tooths, whose massive choppers were designed for hunting large megafauna such as mastodons, woolly rhinos, and giant bison. But when the megafauna died out at the end of the ice age due to a combination of climate change and the arrival from Africa of [[ExpospeakGag an adaptable, omnivorous animal that proved to be much better at hunting large megafauna than the sabers]], the sabers were unable to adapt to a diet of smaller game, and so followed their massive prey to oblivion.
** Cheetahs, specializing in ultimate sprinting, have a very light build and not much strength compared to other large African predators. Against lions, hyenas, leopards and hunting dogs, all a cheetah can do is run. When it comes to prey, anything larger than a Thompson's gazelle is off-limits to most cheetahs (some males can become large and robust enough to take down yearling wildebeests). However, it may be subverted, as some cheetahs have learned to bring down larger prey by hunting in groups. Cheetah mothers sometimes have their cubs eaten by baboons, being unable to defend them. While baboons have an impressive build and sharp teeth, this is not something they could get away with against, for instance, a leopard. The other drawback of the speed is win or lose, the burst of speed leaves the cheetah too tired to do ''anything'' to the point that other predators can survive off stealing their kills, so the individual cheetah is always living off ''just enough'' meat to get by, if even that.
** The giant panda, which evolved in a time when there were massive forests of bamboo and becoming one of the few large animals that could the eat the stuff seemed like a good idea... before the bamboo forests started shrinking and breaking up into smaller areas, with the panda's diet effectively holding them prisoner on rapidly sinking islands. Thanks, of course, in part to Chinese bamboo farmers, and the propensity of farmers to kill things that like to eat their crops. It also doesn't help that the panda eats a vegetarian diet with what is essentially a carnivore's digestive tract. The panda in many ways represents a cascade failure of the evolutionary process, a series of "good enough" kludges that let it just barely hang on in its environment. They do however have one very important evolutionary adaptation that will pretty much ensure their survival; being adorable. [[WhatMeasureIsANonCute First priority endangered animal!]] However, this adaptation doesn't apply to ''each other'' considering their issues of either not raising their own cubs or just not interested in breeding at all due to simple apathy.
** It's speculated that crippling overspecialization is what killed off the Neanderthals. They were strong and could use tools, and their bulky bodies ensured that they could easily withstand the cold European climates they had to face. However, they required a lot of daily calories, and were primarily meat-eaters (their diets probably consisted of about 80% meat. Scientific evidence shows that Neanderthals had digestive tracts specifically evolved to digest meat). When the larger animals they relied on died off, Neanderthals couldn't adapt quickly enough and thus died off themselves. However, this may not be as true as previously thought, as examination of Neanderthal remains has shown that they actually ate a broad variety of foods based on what was available, including individuals who appear to have had almost entirely vegetarian diets. And DNA sequencing has shown that they [[BoldlyComing frequently interbred with modern humans]].
** The majority of parasites, thanks to intense competition, are absurdly specialised, most only capable of infesting one, maybe two species. Some even require passing between ''multiple species'' in order to complete its life cycle.
** The prehistoric pterosaur ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nyctosaurus Nyctosaurus]]'' was a definite example, making this trope OlderThanDirt. It was so adapted to flight that it even lost those nifty little wing claws that would have assisted with ground locomotion. Since ''Nyctosaurus'' would have to land one way or another, the way it might have walked is a subject of debate. The current theory is that ''Nyctosaurus'' used its wings like walking sticks, using them to stablize itself as it shuffles around on its hindlegs.
** It's theorized that this trope contributed to the extinction of the broad-billed parrot of Mauritius. Its surviving mainland relatives feed on hard palm seeds that have passed through the digestive tracts of larger animals, then been scavenged from dung by the parrots. On Mauritius, the chief herbivores that would have pre-digested such seeds were the dodo and the native giant tortoises, both of which were hunted to extinction in the 17th century. Together with deforestation, this doomed the parrots that depended on such animals' leavings for food.
** Other examples include the giant shark ''megalodon'', which was specially adapted to hunt giant whales in tropical or temperate waters, and went extinct when they moved into the Arctic, and the giant ratfish ''Helicoprion'', who was so ridiculously over-specialised [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helicoprion#/media/File:Helicoprion_NT_small.jpg no one is even sure what it was supposed to eat]].
* The Germans made the ultimate in crippling overspecialization during UsefulNotes/WW1 with the Paris Gun - a [[{{BFG}} mammoth gun]] that shot shells so high and so far they had to compensate for the fact that the Earth's rotation could put shells off target. While the gun's range was impressive, it burned through barrels so quickly they needed to load progressively larger shells for each shot, could only shoot around 20 shots a day, and the accuracy was so poor it only stood a chance of hitting a large city.
* During the 1930s, the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force and the Imperial Japanese Navy both demanded that their fighter aircraft be made as light as possible, [[FragileSpeedster emphasizing maneuverability and range at the expense of armour protection]]. This was complemented by a very rigorous and selective training program that produced exceptional pilots, resulting in Japanese dominance of the skies against less capable Allied pilots and their often-mediocre machines between 1940 and 1942. However, by 1943, Army Ki-43 and Navy [=A6M=] ("Zero") fighters found themselves hacked out of the sky by Allied aircraft with increasingly powerful engines, which allowed for [[LightningBruiser superb high-speed performance without sacrificing protection]]. In the process, the Japanese lost many of their carefully-trained, veteran pilots, which adversely affected the quality of future pilots, who could not benefit from the experience of their forebears. Japanese training doctrine and industrial capability simply could not keep up with the Allies; by the end of the war, they were reduced to expending their novice pilots and obsolescent aircraft in suicidal ''kamikaze'' attacks against Allied shipping, and what few experienced pilots and advanced fighters that remained could not effectively challenge Allied air superiority over their home territories.
* Conversely, the Brewster [=F2A=] Buffalo was terrible for the exact opposite reason. Built according to misguided naval requirements, the Buffalo was so overloaded with armor and equipment that it was underpowered and often ''broke'' its undercarriage when landing. Deployed by some Allied forces in the Pacific Theater during the beginning of the war, it was woefully inadequate compared to the far lighter and more agile Japanese fighters. Pilots nicknamed the plane [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast "the Flying Coffin"]] not only because it was so badly outmatched, but also because it lacked dedicated protection for the pilot.
** The [[UsefulNotes/FinnsWithFearsomeForests Finnish Air Forces]] were able to use the Brewster to good effect against Russian bombers during the Winter War, which was in large part due to the fact that they stripped off all unnecessary weight and were generally facing even more mediocre aircraft.
* In the same period, the Royal Italian Navy was crippled by two simple government decisions: the Royal Italian Air Force would get complete control on any and all aircrafts that weren't recon seaplanes (with no direct link between the fleet and the aircraft squadrons), and warship design would concentrate on speed to the expense of armour or range. This resulted in a fleet with no carriers and air support and ships that were either embarrassingly more fragile than most of their counterparts (destroyers, light cruisers and heavy cruisers) or short ranged (the ''Littorio''-class battleships, that were fast, well-armoured, better armed than even the ''Bismarck'', and extremely short ranged). This strategy was explicitly designed to combat the carrier-less French Navy.[[note]] In fact the Italian ships were designed ''specifically'' to take on the French ships, with battleships taking on the enemy heavy cruisers and battleships, heavy cruisers taking on the equally fast but outgunned French light cruisers, light cruisers chasing down and destroying the enemy large destroyers, and destroyers acting as commerce raiders and using their extreme speed for torpedo runs on enemy battleships.[[/note]] However, against the more aggressive, balanced, and carrier-supported Royal Navy, it was a major disaster. The Royal Navy handed the Italians many avoidable defeats (the most crushing being the Battle of Cape Matapan, in which torpedo bombers put the battleship ''Vittorio Veneto'' out of commission for months and indirectly caused the loss of three heavy cruisers and two destroyers) and, ultimately, the loss of almost all of Italy's merchant fleet and defeat in the North African campaign.
* With the invention of guided missiles in the early years of the Cold War, the US thought gun armament on aircraft were obsolete, and so they lost many jet fighters in the Vietnam War. The F-4 Phantom was armed with the then state-of-the-art AIM-7 Sparrow missiles, which were capable of locking on to a target far outside of visual range. However, the Rules of Engagement mandated that the pilots make visual contact before firing their missiles. The problem with this was that the missiles ''would not lock on'' at that range (not to mention that they required the pilot to keep the radar focused on the target, which is easy when it hasn't seen you yet, but becomes impossible to do when it's dodging and weaving all over the place), and the pilots got slaughtered by the [=MiG=]-21 and, more embarrassingly, the obsolete [=MiG=]-17. Though the F-4 had an externally mountable "gun pod", it was often bulky and unreliable. Seeing this mistake, subsequent jet fighters became equipped with integrated gun armament and all pilots receive training in dogfighting.
** The B and C models of the F-35 seem to be repeating the mistakes of the F-4. Due to the Marines' insisting on SVTOL capability and the Navy's unique requirements for carrier-based operations, these models had to remove the A model's integrated cannon to save space and weight within the fuselage. Like the F-4, the B and C also have an external gun pod that can be mounted but this takes away space for missiles and fuel tanks that the tiny plane can't necessarily spare.
* Monocultural practices whereby only a single crop is grown in a given area can be more profitable and productive than diversified polycultural practices. However, this requires the extensive use of fertilizers to counteract the inevitable depletion of nutrients in soil, and can be easily disrupted by adverse weather conditions, pest invasions, and the spread of disease.
** Bananas. Before the 1950s, the single largest banana cultivar by far was the Gros Michel, which was favoured since it could survive in temperate climates and was easily shipped without any special care. Because bananas were bred at the time of their original domestication to remove the seeds from their fruit, they [[CloningBlues can only reproduce parthogenically]], meaning that they are extremely slow to develop a resistance via natural mutation. This meant that the entire Gros Michel cultivar was vulnerable to, and ultimately nearly wiped out by, a single disease. The modern banana cultivar of choice is the Cavendish, which has precisely the same level of market penetration, and precisely the same potential for global collapse if the same disease mutates (as it already has) and goes global, or if a new pathogen emerges.
** Similar to the banana situation, the Irish Potato Famine involved the collapse of production of Ireland's staple food crop, the potato, resulting in mass starvation. While the situation is a bit more complicated than a single crop failing making everyone starve to death, as Ireland produced other crops which it exported to the United Kingdom, it still resulted in big problems due to the means of distribution and how people fed themselves when they had British landowners. Bad blood from the famine eventually resulted in Ireland withdrawing from the UK.
* This trope is part of two different hypotheses explaining colony collapse disorder, i.e. the sudden die-off of honeybee colonies. According to the first hypothesis, centuries of selecting bees for useful traits (producing more honey, pollinating certain plants more efficiently) has reduced genetic diversity within commercial bee populations, leaving them vulnerable to pathogens. In the second one, feeding bees a diet of pollen from just one species of plant (i.e. one of the commercial food crops) leaves them with a less healthy immune system than feeding them pollen from several different plant species.
* Some specialized martial arts play this trope straight, but especially jodo. It is intended to defeat one single type of weapon (katana) on the hands of an unarmoured opponent who is assumed to fight fair. Against any other opponents jodo is pretty much useless.
* The Confederacy during UsefulNotes/TheAmericanCivilWar. The infrastructure of the Southern US was so focused on cash crops like cotton and tobacco that there was exactly ''one'' factory capable of producing cannons. There wasn't enough arable land to maintain cotton production for tax revenue ''and'' grow enough food to support an army. Even with the government building railroads, laying telegraph lines, and confiscating food from private farms for the war effort, the Confederate army was often malnourished and always short on manufactured goods like uniforms and guns. The problems of supply facing the Confederate army were so acute that [[http://civilwartalk.com/threads/soldiers-shoes.73013/ some historians have suggested]] that the Battle of Gettysburg was precipitated by a Confederate brigade's attempt to raid a shoe warehouse.
** Ironically, the Confederacy went into the war thinking that this trope would help them. They believed that they had such a stranglehold on world cotton production that Britain and France would have to intervene on their side in order to keep their textile mills running, and that Northern industry's dependence on Southern cotton would bankrupt their economy and lead them to sue for peace. Pro-secession Southern demagogues in the run-up to the Civil War referred to it as [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_Cotton "King Cotton"]].\\\
Unfortunately for them, they found that the Union and their potential European allies were ''not'' as cripplingly overspecialized as they had hoped, as the Indian and Egyptian cotton industries boomed once the US Navy started blockading and capturing Southern ports and cutting off their primary source of income. Furthermore, the UK had been stockpiling cotton reserves over the last few years, sensing the growing instability in the US, a move that was assisted by the bumper crops that the South had been producing in the late 1850s. Finally, while British industry ran on Southern cotton, the nation also depended on the North for a quarter of its food supply, so intervention in support of the Confederacy would mean long bread lines in the event of a drawn-out war.
* In another sense, the dependence of the American South, the Caribbean, Latin America, UsefulNotes/TsaristRussia, and similar agricultural economies on chattel slavery, serfdom, and peonage wound up screwing them in the long run. Bonded labor was unpaid, coerced, captive, and overall far cheaper than wage labor, especially in agriculture, with the only expenses being for food (which, on plantations, the laborers often grew for themselves on small personal plots), clothing, and a shack to sleep in. Wage laborers, meanwhile, demanded paychecks big enough to cover all of their living expenses and those of their families, as well as decent working conditions -- and when they didn't get them, they could either quit and find a new job, move to a homestead out west, or unionize. In the short term, bonded labor [[http://www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange/2013/09/economic-history-2 produced a ton of prosperity]], albeit chiefly at the top rungs of the socio-economic ladder.\\\
However, the constant fear of [[TurnedAgainstTheirMasters rebellion]] and runaways meant that slaves, serfs, and peons were often kept un- or under-educated (sometimes by law) so as to prevent them from getting any "uppity" ideas, leaving them unskilled and suited for little beyond working in the fields. Furthermore, bonded labor made agriculture so profitable that the planters saw little need to invest in anything else and diversify their economies, leaving other industries to wither on the vine as the plantations sucked up all of the available capital. As skilled labor grew more important thanks to the Industrial Revolution, the bonded labor economies suffered a devastating shortage of human capital that left them falling far behind the world's industrial regions in overall productivity and prosperity. Even in agriculture, bonded labor allowed inefficient farming techniques to persist by artificially depressing the cost of labor such that it masked the other costs. Farmers that had to pay their field hands, or work their fields themselves with their families, wound up implementing innovative new farming techniques to improve productivity and make up for their lack of cheap labor, and once mechanization came into play (not only drastically reducing labor costs, but also requiring skilled workers to operate the tractors and machines), the advantages became exponential.\\\
In short, while bonded labor was a huge boon to the elites of society in the short term, in the long term it was an enormous drag on the economy and the nation at large that only grew as time went on, to the point where even the elites that had once prospered began to see their place in the world slip behind that of their industrial rivals. Many the regions of the world that had depended on bonded labor to support their economies in the past are now beset by all manner of poor social indicators, lagging behind their peers and struggling to overcome the legacy of a vast underclass. The American South only recovered its economic stature due to massive government investment in infrastructure and the Sun Belt boom starting in the postwar era (nearly a century after abolition) and even then several former slave states tend to be less economically prosperous and have lower overall living standards when compared to other states; the Caribbean islands only ceased being a backwater once tourism took over their economies; Latin America [[BananaRepublic became an American fiefdom]] for generations; and Russia required [[UsefulNotes/RedOctober a vicious revolution]] to fully undo the damage that serfdom had done to their society (which caused all manner of other problems in the process).
* Ancient Sparta had this problem on two fronts:
** Spartan soldiers had a reputation for being the most well-trained in Ancient Greece. However, they only trained one kind of troop - the heavy-infantry hoplite - and in fact trained their troops [[TheSpartanWay so hard]] that their army was relatively small. They had no cavalry, navy, or light infantry. The tactics they were able to execute were severely limited, and their army was too small to maintain extended conflicts.\\
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An enemy who refused to fight them head on could inflict them horrendous casualties. In the battle of Sphacteria 425 BC, the Athenian light skirmishers simply refused to fight them hand-to-hand and instead harassed them with javelins, running away in the face of danger. At the end of the day the Spartans were completely demoralized and surrendered. The Athenians had not suffered one single casualty.
** With every adult Spartan male devoted to military training and every adult Spartan female devoted to child-rearing, every other job was done by slaves. Sparta's economy and infrastructure was almost exclusively maintained by an enormous slave population. Whenever there was a revolt (which was often), the entire city-state ground to a halt and had to perform a brutal purge, and then go off and enslave some hapless nearby village as replacements.
* Interceptor fighters, such as [=MiG=]-25 and Lockheed F-104 Starfighter. They were designed on one single purpose on mind: to take off and climb to the ceiling altitude as quickly as possible, launch their missile load against the oncoming enemy bombers, and escape. They were made obsolete by surface-to-air missiles, which in turn obsoleted their intended targets, high flying heavy bombers. The much later introduction of [[JackOfAllTrades multi-role fighters]] such as the Su-30, the F-15[E], the F-16, and the F/A-18 only further proved the pointlessness of the interceptor concept. The Starfighter especially was good for only one thing: accelerating quickly and flying fast and high. It was insanely dangerous on any other flight modes and landing, and its losses on attrition were appalling - West Germany lost some 30% of its Starfighters on accidents, while Italy lost 36% of hers and Canada experienced a staggering 46% loss rate on hers. Even a normal aileron banking was dangerous on F-104 due to inertia coupling, and its T tail configuration was prone on deep stalls. It was far more dangerous to its own pilots than to the enemy - the F-104 kill to loss ratio in combat was 3 victories to 24 combat losses.
* Some [[CoolCar 1960s show rods]] went this way. The [[http://www.mrgasser.com/surfite.htm Surfite]] was designed to carry the driver and a surfboard. No room for a passenger or groceries (or a wetsuit, for that matter); Mini-powered, no explanation as to why a theoretical owner wouldn't just buy a Mini wagon was ever offered.
* The Blackburn TB was designed for one mission, and one mission only: to take out German zeppelins by dropping exploding darts on them. It was a complete failure, as it couldn't fly fast enough to catch zeppelins and couldn't climb high enough to drop its darts even if it could. Nine were built, contributed absolutely nothing to the war effort, and were junked in 1917.
* In an odd real life subversion, there was [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sideroxylon_grandiflorum a species of tree]] in Mauritius that was thought to be germinated by the dodo bird. People believed that, since the dodo went extinct, the tree itself had started to decline. It turned out that this wasn't true; the tree could easily germinate through other birds and did not need the dodo alone to survive.
* In the '50s and '60s, the UsefulNotes/{{Detroit}} automakers took ready advantage of America's seemingly bottomless supply of cheap gasoline and structured their entire business models around the production of cars that, by modern standards, are absolutely titanic. While they also made smaller cars, such vehicles were seen as purely economy cars for those who couldn't yet afford the full-size sedans that got the lion's share of the automakers' interest and [=R&D=] investment. Then came the 1973 oil crisis, and [[OhCrap gasoline stopped]] [[TerminallyDependentSociety being cheap]]. Detroit's self-styled reputation for building the biggest, most luxurious automobiles in the world suddenly turned into a liability as Japanese and German automakers that ''did'' put serious investment into smaller cars (UsefulNotes/{{Japan}} and UsefulNotes/WestGermany having never been able to take cheap oil for granted) took massive chunks out of the American market, chunks that Detroit has never been able to reclaim even after it started figuring out how to build good compact cars.
* On a larger scale, entire countries can see their economies revolve around a single resource, to the point where they risk economic crisis in the event of a drop in commodity prices. Worse, it's a SelfFulfillingProphecy in many cases -- economists call it the [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dutch_disease Dutch disease]], after UsefulNotes/TheNetherlands saw its manufacturing sector go into a tailspin in the '60s and '70s following the discovery and exploitation of the Groningen natural gas field. Basically, as revenues from resource extraction increase, the nation's currency gets stronger, making manufacturing exports less competitive due to exchange rates (it becomes more expensive to export, and less expensive to import). The plantation economies described above are an historic example, while today, the Middle Eastern petrostates are the most famous example of this due to their ''extreme'' dependence on oil prices to remain economically afloat. For instance, only 18% of Saudi Arabia is actually employed, and they import 70% of their food. Their ''only'' notable domestic industry is petrochemicals. Large countries with greater pools of commodities are usually insulated by economic diversity and the sheer size of the economies, but for smaller ones, it can be a real problem.
* Local, and even national economies can be devastated if their sole means of income loses value for one reason or another:
** When the American automotive industry discovered it would be cheaper to outsource their manufacturing, Detroit, and other nearby cities in Michigan, faced a steep decline that has left these once vibrant urban communities looking like a third world slum.
** When oil prices were high, Hugo Chavez provided government subsidies for everyone on everything in UsefulNotes/{{Venezuela}}, provided they proved their loyalty to him. When oil prices dropped, a domino effect took place, and the country now faces civil unrest due to shortages of food and basic supplies, and their economy is screwed up that farmers can't afford to farm.
** The plight of the former industrial heartlands of many European countries is rather similar. They used to be their country's economic engines built on coal and steel, but due to a variety of factors, among them the increasing effort needed to mine more coal out of slowly exhausted mines they entered a decline. However, The Ruhr area in Germany seems to be on the course of successfully reinventing itself even while other similar regions are still facing problems with no clear sign of an end.
* Creator/ECComics star "Ghastly" Graham Ingels is considered one of the best horror comic artists in history...unfortunately he specialized a little ''too'' much in horrible grotesque imagery; when horror comics got banned in the fifties, he was unable to adapt to a more family-friendly style and his career quietly died.
* In UsefulNotes/{{Tennis}}, the French Open aka Roland Garros takes place on clay courts that favor defenders due to their slowness and high bounce giving players more time to reach the ball and return it in ways difficult for their opponent to hit. Because of this, it was historically considered to be the hardest Grand Slam to win with many great players' tactics being ill-suited for the clay surface... and many French Open champions are clay-court specialists who have performed ''poorly'' at other Slams, until more recent times. A good example is Rafael Nadal, who has won Roland Garros ''ten'' times (as of 2017) but has had far more irregular performances in other courts.
* UsefulNotes/{{Baseball}} has the concept of the "Mendoza Line", a minimum level of batting average competency below which a player's presence in the major leagues is very difficult, if not impossible, to justify no matter how good defensively he is (pitchers are exempt because their trade is extremely specialized, and in the DH-rule American League they don't normally bat at all). The most common cutoff is .200, though definitions can vary from .190 to .220[[note]]For comparison, someone batting .300 is considered an excellent hitter and .400 is legendary (the last MLB player to hit .400 in a season was Hall-of-Famer Ted Williams in 1941)[[/note]]. It's named after Mario Mendoza, who played in the mid-1970's to early 1980's and was a very good defensive shortstop but was definitely not good at the plate (several seasons saw him with sub-.200 averages, though in the last couple of years of his career after the term began gaining traction in baseball circles he did get a little better and by the end his career average was .215). Anyone with a more extreme imbalance in defensive and offensive capabilities is going to fall into this trope and isn't likely to remain in the big leagues for long.
* Tends to happen to railroad vehicles at times.
** The West German class 103 is a six-axle electric express train locomotive. Introduced in 1970 (four prototypes came in 1965 already), it used to be one of the most powerful single-section locomotives at its time, but it was actually designed to haul first-class intercity and Trans-Europ-Express trains with five to seven cars and needed its power for high acceleration at high speeds of up to 200 [=km/h=]. These trains were introduced in 1971, but they ceased to exist only eight years later when the first-class Intercity trains were turned into two-class trains with usually ten to twelve cars, sometimes even a few more, which operated twice as frequently. The 103 wasn't made to endure that, so by the mid to late 1980s, the locomotives were worn out. Using them on slower local trains (while giving some of the heavy Intercity trains to its half as strong predecessors which wore out even quicker) turned out to be a bad idea because constantly running them below 160 [=km/h=] led to damages, not to mention that it was uneconomical. Nonetheless, they carried on hauling fast Intercity and [=InterRegio=] trains until shortly after the millennium when they were displaced by the class 101 and new ICE [[UsefulNotes/HighSpeedRail high-speed trains]].
** High-comfort and luxury trains in general. Their rolling stock often becomes useless when they're phased out, mostly it's too expensive in service and seats too few paying passengers for cheaper train classes.\\
For example the Trans-Europ-Express trains: They started in 1957 with four brand-new purpose-built classes of Diesel trains or [=DMUs=]. When more and more [=TEEs=] were changed to locomotive-hauled trains in the 1960s, it became increasingly difficult to use the "old" rolling stock. For example, Germany used its trains as national Intercity trains for a while and as touristic trains in the 1980s, but Switzerland and the Netherlands sold their identical trains to Canada. The dome cars that were introduced to the ''Rheingold'' in 1962 and the ''Rheinpfeil'' in 1963 could barely be used on any other trains, so after the ''Rheinpfeil'' ceased to exist in 1979 and the ''Rheingold'' was reformed one last time in 1983, the Deutsche Bundesbahn had to sell them to a private operator of touristic trains that eventually sold them to Switzerland. Bar cars in general (these dome cars had a bar, too) were standard in German [=TEEs=] but used nowhere else, so when the TEE network began to crumble around 1980, had no more use for them. France had the probably most comfortable TEE cars of all, the Grand Confort cars which made up most of their national [=TEEs=]. When these disappeared, they all fell into disuse and were eventually sold to Cuba.
** Banking locomotives were built to push heavy trains uphill on steep ramps. They were often big, heavy, powerful and rather slow. Eventually, however, the locomotives that pulled the trains became powerful enough so that bankers weren't necessary anymore. Now where else to use them? They were too slow for regular main line services, too heavy for branch lines and too big and cumbersome for switching. Thus, sometimes entire classes of banking locomotives were scrapped when they weren't even old.
** The three Chesapeake & Ohio M-1 steam turbine locomotives were the largest passenger train steam locomotives ever built. They were meant to haul a new express train from the East Coast to Cincinnati, the ''Chessie''. However, not only were these locomotives so complicated that finding any faults was difficult at best but the ''Chessie'' was simply nixed before its inauguration. Since the Chesapeake & Ohio had no other heavy express train lines, and these monsters weren't good for anything else, the M-1 were scrapped before they were even two years old.
** While one would think that in the era of open borders and (once more) increasing interest in rail as a mode of transport and travel all throughout Europe, running trains across borders would be easier than ever. Unfortunately, it isn't. And this trope is partially to blame. Back in the day the majority of all trains were locomotive hauled and at least steam locomotives had to be changed at quite regular intervals anyway. So at each border the locomotive was simply switched while customs and border control did their thing and the train would drive on. Nowadays however, the vast majority of all long distance trains are electrical multiple units, which means you ''can't'' switch out the locomotive. So the voltage matters and there are only a handful of borders in Europe where the voltage is the same on both sides. Furthermore, there are various systems by which the train "communicates" with the track (in lieu of traditional signals) - those were invented several times in different countries and they are mostly not compatible with one another. The European Union has seen this problem decades ago and tried to introduce some common standards, but on the one hand an existing system is hard to change from and on the other hand during the period of transition trains have to be capable of both the old and the new system. So there are trains that have to be capable to handle three or four different voltages and three or four different safety standards, which is of course ''possible'', but it is not ''cheap''. The whole thing becomes even more dicey when any European rail manufacturer wants to sell trains abroad, especially when they want to sell to the US, which has unique regulations for practically all aspects of railroading.
* The Roman legions were undoubtedly the best heavy infantry of their time and won Rome countless victories. But their strength came at the expense of the other branches of the military. Roman cavalry were, while highly trained, more of a scouting force and relatively few in number, and what archers and light infantry they had was usually composed of foreign auxiliaries, who had less training and, more importantly, a lot less reason to stand and fight if the going got tough than the Romans did. This specialization directly led to a number of spectacular defeats:
** At [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Cannae Cannae]], it was the crushing defeat of the Roman cavalry by their African opponents that allowed Hannibal to execute his brilliant encirclement maneuver against an army that still heavily outnumbered his own forces.
** During the Roman invasion of Parthia in 53 BC, Roman cavalry and skirmishers were once again utterly inadequate for defending against the constant harassment by Parthian horse archers. When the bulk of the Parthian army was finally engaged at [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Carrhae Carrhae]], the Romans were already at the breaking point due to lack of supplies and attrition, and the highly mobile Parthian cavalry force easily exploited gaps in the slow-moving Roman formations.
** In the [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Teutoburg_Forest Battle of the Teutoburg Forest]], the Romans were attacked in terrain that rendered their traditional heavy infantry tactics largely useless. Worse, much of the auxiliary light infantry that was supposed to screen their extremely vulnerable flanks owed their loyalty more to the Germanic chieftain Arminius than to Rome and either let German raiders slip through the lines or actively joined in the slaughter.
* The Parthians themselves later fell prey to this trope in the first century, as they only had cavalry and most generals weren't smart enough to bring with them large numbers of spare arrows while the Romans learned their lesson and started bringing with them adequate numbers of light infantry, armoured cavalry and even mounted archers: in about 150 years of conflict, the Parthian victories would be very few, while the Romans overran Ctesiphon (the Parthian capital) ''five times'' and being prevented from utterly annexing the Parthians due being overstretched. Their Sasanid successors would fare much better (while ultimately defeated and weakened to the point the Arabs could overran their whole empire, they resisted much longer and, right before the campaign that left them crippled, they come extremely close to ''winning'') precisely because they ''weren't'' overspecialized, supporting their cavalry with infantry (both barely-trained and lightly-equipped conscripts, good quality heavy infantry and capable archers) and war elephants (useless against the Romans but useful against other enemies).
* According to [[http://kotaku.com/the-story-behind-mass-effect-andromedas-troubled-five-1795886428 this account]] of the TroubledProduction of ''VideoGame/MassEffectAndromeda'', most of the problems that the game suffered from had to do with the fact that Creator/ElectronicArts forced Creator/BioWare to use their in-house Frostbite game engine, which by all accounts suffered mightily from this. Designed by DICE for use in the ''VideoGame/{{Battlefield}}'' games, Frostbite is, by all accounts, an excellent engine for a team that's making a FirstPersonShooter, and incredibly difficult to work with for a team that's making anything else, such as an open-world space exploration game with numerous procedurally-generated planets. [=BioWare=]'s main Edmonton team had a hard enough time programming ''VideoGame/DragonAgeInquisition'' to work with Frostbite, and their inexperienced B-team in Montreal just was not up to the task, spending much of production just figuring out workarounds with Frostbite while finding themselves forced to [[WhatCouldHaveBeen scale back their ambitious plans for the game]].
* Overfitting problem in machine learning is basically this: the learning algorythm creates a [[ComplexityAddiction very complex hypothesis]] that fits the learning data set perfectly but fails to generalize on any data outside it. It can be showed with [[https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/68/Overfitted_Data.png/300px-Overfitted_Data.png this image]] where the blue line is the result of an overfit hypothesis.
[[/folder]]
6th Feb '18 1:03:30 PM bitemytail
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* In ''VideoGame/ActOfWar'', and its SpiritualSuccessor ''VideoGame/ActOfAggression'', the US army suffers from this. Tough and experienced, their units outclass any other in a particular role, but are almost useless outside of that. For example, the F-15 (F-22 Raptor in [[ActOfAggression AoA]]) is the strongest fighter plane in the game, but only carries Anti-Air Missiles.

to:

* In ''VideoGame/ActOfWar'', and its SpiritualSuccessor ''VideoGame/ActOfAggression'', the US army suffers from this. Tough and experienced, their units outclass any other in a particular role, but are almost useless outside of that. For example, the F-15 (F-22 Raptor in [[ActOfAggression [[VideoGame/ActOfAggression AoA]]) is the strongest fighter plane in the game, but only carries Anti-Air Missiles.
6th Feb '18 1:02:22 PM bitemytail
Is there an issue? Send a Message


* In ''videoGame/ActOfWar'', and its SpiritualSuccessor ''VideoGame/ActOfAggression'', the US army suffers from this. Tough and experienced, their units outclass any other in a particular role, but are almost useless outside of that. For example, the F-15 (F-22 Raptor in [[ActOfAggression AoA]]) is the strongest fighter plane in the game, but only carries Anti-Air Missiles.

to:

* In ''videoGame/ActOfWar'', ''VideoGame/ActOfWar'', and its SpiritualSuccessor ''VideoGame/ActOfAggression'', the US army suffers from this. Tough and experienced, their units outclass any other in a particular role, but are almost useless outside of that. For example, the F-15 (F-22 Raptor in [[ActOfAggression AoA]]) is the strongest fighter plane in the game, but only carries Anti-Air Missiles.
6th Feb '18 12:57:35 PM bitemytail
Is there an issue? Send a Message


* In ActOfWar, and it's SpiritualSuccessor ActOfAggression, the US army suffers from this. Tough and experienced, their units outclass any other in a particular role, but are almost useless outside of that. For example, the F-15 (F-22 Raptor in [[ActOfAggression AoA]]) is the strongest fighter plane in the game, but only carries Anti-Air Missiles.

to:

* In ActOfWar, ''videoGame/ActOfWar'', and it's its SpiritualSuccessor ActOfAggression, ''VideoGame/ActOfAggression'', the US army suffers from this. Tough and experienced, their units outclass any other in a particular role, but are almost useless outside of that. For example, the F-15 (F-22 Raptor in [[ActOfAggression AoA]]) is the strongest fighter plane in the game, but only carries Anti-Air Missiles.



* ''Disney/{{Zootopia}}'': The ranks of the ZPD are filled with animals of various sizes. Extra Large (elephants, rhinos, polar bears), Large (lions, tigers), Medium (rams, wolves) and Small (bunny[[spoiler:,fox]]). The trope comes into play when the responding or assigned officer is inappropriate for the task at hand. During the Weaselton chase, Judy is clearly better suited for pursuit than Officer [=McHorn=]. Yet later in the movie, Judy is shown struggling to provide crowd control at Gazelle's peace rally.
* ''Film/HappyGilmore'': The titular character, in both his sports. His hockey suffers when he builds his slapshot to the exclusion of all else, and his golf game suffers when he refuses to train his short game and relies on his extremely long drive. He gets better at the golf side and accepts training, though.
* In ''Film/QuigleyDownUnder'', Marston assumes Quigley's refusal to carry a backup weapon to his extended rifle and dismissal of revolvers as something he "never had much use for" mean that he's only effective at sniping. [[spoiler:Averted. Quigley is actually a damn good shot with a revolver. He just prefers the rifle.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Jokes]]
* A man was working in an office overlooking a park. Over the course of a day he saw two city park workers - one would dig a hole, and then the other would fill it in. This went on all morning, so the man wandered down on his lunch break to ask about it. "Well," said one of the workers "I dig the holes, Charlie puts the tree in, and then Bob here fills them in. Thing is, Charlie's sick today."
** Funnily enough, this is a bit TruthInTelevision at times: sometimes union rules make it so that the guy who ''drives'' the truck isn't allowed to ''take the box off the truck'' and must wait for the one who can to arrive - useful to keep people from being pressed into doing a ton of work that is outside what was agreed to, for little or no further compensation, but sometimes in certain situations it can get [[ObstructiveBureaucrat crazy nitpicky]].
** Less charitably, some unions and other organizations invoke this trope to create jobs. The term is [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Featherbedding feather-bedding]].
** This can even be as specific as the type of joints/connections used in a desk or other furniture. This can lead to situations where the first worker disassembles the desk partially, then finds a joint he's not certified to work with; they then call in someone else to undo that joint; the first worker comes back and finishes disassembling it; then another worker packs it up and moves it to the new location; the first worker starts to reassemble it; the second worker assembles the problem connection; and finally, the first worker finishes assembling the desk. That's seven steps to move a single desk, involving at least three different workers. And they wonder why costs are so high....
* Finnish joke: Why do the Finnish police officers always go on pairs? One can read and the other can write.
** Subversion: Why do the Soviet militsiya go in three? One can read, one can write and one watches those dangerous intellectuals.
* An old [[RussianHumour Russian joke]]: what's narrow medical specialization? Two nurses giving a person an enema; the first one knows ''how'' and the second one knows ''where''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* In Creator/LewisCarroll's ''Literature/ThroughTheLookingGlass'', Humpty Dumpty is an expert on words and definitions, so much that he claims to be able to assign definitions to words and make them mean anything he pleases (literally). However, he seems to be very bad at math; when Alice tells him that 365 minus one equals 364, he asks her to do that out on paper so he can be sure. (Contrariwise, it could be Alice and the readers are ''wrong'' about the sum's total in a world running on dream logic. We don't get to find out.)
* Used in Creator/PhilipKDick's short story "The Variable Man": the eponymous man is a jack-of-all-trades tinker picked up from the past by scientists in a highly specialized future. They need him to fix something that no one has the specialization for.
* ''The Literature/BookOfSwords'' has three primary examples. The first being the sword of heroes, which if not used against dragons just acts like a very well crafted sword. The second is the sword of siege, which if not used against earth or stone, acts likewise. This is from a series of books where comparatively speaking, the most powerful of these swords had the power to kill deities. Since every sword has a NecessaryDrawback, Overspecializing also seems like not too big a deal after a while... [[spoiler:until the wielder of Shieldbreaker needs to fight unarmed opponents.]]
* In ''Literature/{{Lensman}}'' the overspecialised ships are frequently either laden down with defence shield generators ("I can't hurt you but you can't hurt me") or all weapon (frequently one ''big'' WaveMotionGun style weapon) and tend to accompany each other in large groups. The fleet flagship, ''Directrix'', is all combat-management and defence shields but never goes out and about without an englobing escort of [[MightyGlacier Maulers]].
* Happens to some [[WitchSpecies Insequent]] in ''[[Literature/TheChroniclesOfThomasCovenant The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant]]''. They gain their powers through knowledge, so an Insequent who studies only one or two specific things may be powerless in situations not involving them. For example, [[EvilSorcerer the Harrow]] has made a study of [[TheUndead the Demondim]] and related creatures, meaning he can tear through them like wet tissue paper all day - but he [[BigBadWannabe goes down like a chump]] against [[spoiler:a Kastenessen-powered Roger Covenant]].
* In the sci-fi book ''Literature/{{Matched}}'' this is one of the main tenets of the Society. Nobody learns anything but what they have to know, including of the past. The Society chose 100 of the best of everything from the past for everyone to know about. They also even extended this to choice, in that nobody should have to choose anything that they don't know about.
* ''Literature/MyDarkAndFearsomeQueen'': Thalia is a goddess of unimaginable power. The only catch is, to use her power she has to chant an incantation, and the more precision required, the longer the chant becomes. In a rapidly changing battlefield situation, she's practically useless unless you want to crush everything in a mile radius.
* The cruiser ''Literature/HonorHarrington'' commanded in the first book of her series had been refitted as a testbed around a nigh-unstoppable weapon, however the reduction in normal weapons load and extreme short range of the prototype weapon meant the only way the ship was effective in combat against an equal or larger opponent was to either somehow to sneak in close enough to fire the weapon, or pray the ship could hold together long enough on an near-inevitable suicide run to get close enough to fire the weapon. But then, ''Fearless'' was intended to be used as a testbed for additional development and testing work. It was not intended to be used in a actual battle until [=BuWeaps=] had worked out enough of the bugs to make it practical. Too bad the First Space Lord didn't get the memo...
** This is stated to be the problem with the ''jeune ecole'', who believe that any new development completely change the paradigm of warfare, instead of simply shifting it (mirroring the RealLife Jeune Ecole, who insisted on building only small torpedo ships instead of heavily-armored cruisers).
* Discussed in Jean Auel's ''Literature/EarthsChildren'' series. Woolly mammoths, by becoming so specialized and adapted to such a narrow climate range, ensured they'd survive and exploit a unique niche on the dry, cold ice age tundra, but such specialization also meant that warmer, wetter climates would be utterly devastating. Furthermore, the Neanderthal Clan was in danger of becoming extinct because the men could not learn how to gather and cook food and the women could not learn how to make weapons and hunt, which was why they had to live together in groups. A lone Neanderthal was a dead Neanderthal.
* Creator/RobertAHeinlein's ''Literature/TimeEnoughForLove'' contains the opinion that specialization is sub-human:
-->'''Lazarus Long''': "A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."
* ''Literature/WorldWarZ'' this appears to be one of the reasons the initial outbreak wipes out human armies, shown with the US Army specifically. Modern military thinking is no good against an enemy that can be neither shocked nor awed, and their standard tactics like targeting center of mass, dropping bombs, and setting targets on fire betray them. However, more detailed analyses by readers with actual military knowledge reveals that the zombies happen to be coated in PlotArmor, and Brooks {{nerf}}s standard weapons against them. Also, he has the military hold off on weapons that can effectively turn most squishy targets to paste from miles away until the Zacks are in visual range. Not to mention the military suddenly forgetting everything it knew about the Zacks from the black ops they mentioned, and not learning about their resistance to explosives from the Israelis either. The military also does a number of things that just ''stupid'', like setting up their fire base without making any attempt to secure it (and sure enough the entire area is infested). [[RuleOfDrama In reality]], the military would've rolled right over the Zacks.
* The ''Lancer''-class frigate from the ''Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse'' was specifically designed as a counter to the starfighter-heavy Rebel Alliance/New Republic fleet. It's a 250-meter ship [[BeamSpam bristling with laser cannons]], intended as a flak boat to protect other capital ships. Unfortunately, in addition to being [[AwesomeButImpractical too expensive and manpower-intensive]], it had no heavy weaponry for fending off capital ships, so most admirals eschewed it in favor of expendable TIE screens.
* ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime'':
** This is Aginor/Osan'gar's main obstacle towards being an effective villain. As a [[FunctionalMagic channeler]] he's overwhelmingly powerful (among the [[QuirkyMinibossSquad Forsaken]] he's behind only [[TheDragon Ishamael]] and maybe [[TheStarscream Lanfear]]), but he's really only good at doing one thing- using {{magitek}} to [[EvilutionaryBiologist make monsters]]. Problem is that while this made him essential to the Shadow in the Age of Legends, in the [[AfterTheEnd modern world]] the necessary magitek no longer exists, and every time he's in a straight fight he tends to [[UnskilledButStrong attack a lot]] ineffectively before getting [[CurbStompBattle curbstomped]]. He ends up dying having been one of the least effective Forsaken.
** {{Subverted}} by the minor character Androl Genhald. His talent at magic is very weak, with one exception: he can create larger [[TeleportersAndTransporters gateways]] than much stronger channelers could with ease. Many of the other magic-users mockingly name him "Pageboy" since all he's good for (that they know of) is carrying messages over long distances. However, this turns out to be an ''incredibly'' versatile skill with [[PortalCombat many offensive applications]]. Besides {{Tele Frag}}ging and {{Portal Cut}}ting enemies, being able to open a portal leading to a subterranean reservoir of pressurized magma with a thought is at least as useful as being able to cast {{Fireballs}}.
* In Creator/PhilipJoseFarmer's ''Literature/TheLovers'', the main character is a professional Jack of all Trades (JOAT). His whole job is to make sure that medical research specialists know about advances in other fields that can be applied to their specialty.
* In ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'' novel ''Literature/ProvenGuilty'', Daniel escapes from Hammerhands by climbing into the treehouse, figuring his handless pursuer can't follow him up a ladder.
* In ''The Book of Five Rings'', UsefulNotes/MiyamotoMusashi criticizes at great length schools who teach only one weapon, or whose style relies on the use of a specific weapon. This overemphasis leaves the fighter unable to use the most advantageous weapon(s) available for the circumstances. He even discouraged over-reliance on the [[DualWielding nitouken]] form, which he had formulated.
* In ''Literature/SkulduggeryPleasant'', the eponymous character goes up against an opponent with ridiculously overdeveloped fire magic. After that opponent fell into a river during the fight and ''literally dissolved'' due to an extreme weakness to water, Pleasant explains to the protagonist that becoming strong in one area of magic necessitates a corresponding weakness to its opposite. Could also count as a case of ElementalRockPaperScissors.
* The Tanith First-And-Only of ''Literature/GauntsGhosts'' are '''scarily''' effective in their specialties of stealth, scouting and infiltration, with the events of ''Traitor General'' being the most comprehensive example of their skill. Unfortunately the Imperial Guard mostly just [[WeHaveReserves throws people in the meat grinder]] and hope they come out with fewer casualties than the enemy, with the Ghosts frequently getting slaughtered. This is most apparent in the trench warfare in ''Straight Silver'', and the siege battle in ''Only In Death''.
* Three examples from ''Literature/TheElenium'' and ''Literature/TheTamuli'' by David Eddings:
** When the Zemochs first encountered The Church Knights and their heavy armor in combat, they didn't understand that the purpose of it was protection; they simply knew it made the enemy look fearsome, so they made their own armors with serrated blades and other imposing-looking additions. This caused two problems: it still didn't provide any protection, and all the protrusions served to help ''guide'' weapons to vulnerable spots.
** In ''Literature/TheSapphireRose'' when the hero's party are approaching the villain's stronghold, they come across a rank of warriors in armor in formation. Upon engaging them, they figure out that they're actually animated suits of armor and are scarily effective at combat, but never break formation, leading them to figure out that they've been enchanted to guard ''the flagstone they're standing on''. One careful trip through and one errant shove to send the armors into each other and the way was clear.
** In ''The Tamuli'', the Cyrgai were a [[ProudWarriorRaceGuy proud warrior race]] that pretty much stomped everyone they came across until they ran into [[LinearWarriorsQuadraticWizards the Styrics]], who soundly defeated them and then cursed their land so that any Cyrgai who left their borders would die. The Cyrgai had access to half-breeds that got around this limitation, and the leaders ordered their soldiers to focus on producing more of them, which they did...to the exclusion of producing more of their own. Their women were too old to bear children by the time this was figured out, leading to them having ''bred themselves out of existence'' if not for divine intervention.
* ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'': This is one of the reasons why Harry was able to defeat [[spoiler:Hannah Ascher]] in ''Literature/SkinGame'' even though [[spoiler:she is far better than Harry with fire magic. While she is strong and having her magic capabilities buffed by Lasciel she is both inexperienced and is, most importantly, only thinking [[AttackAttackAttack offensively]]]]. This is in [[{{Foil}} contrast]] to Harry, who is both experienced in magical combat ''and'' experienced in fighting both offensively and defensively which means he is able to [[spoiler:block and redirect Hannah's magic towards the roof of the cave, resulting in several tons of rock falling on top of her]]. This is partially subverted in that Harry is explicitly stated to have more raw power than Hannah Ascher, her inexperience and overspecialisation creates a problem for her only because they're fighting indoors and she's throwing around crazy amounts of fire. Harry beats her by taking advantage of that but he also demonstrates that he can just blast her out of his way with magical brute force.
* A number of the superpowers in ''Literature/WildCards'' count. Even aces and jokers who get really useful powers often find that there's only so many situations they actually use them.
** Veronica, who has the power to induce crippling fear and weakness in men... but ''only'' in men. Cue her getting the shit kicked out of her by a female supervillain who's also a trained fighter.
** Sewer Jack is a shapeshifter. A shapeshifter who only has one other form. Said form is the form of a big alligator. He doesn't find many uses for his power beyond swimming and biting things.
* A North-Going Zax and a South-Going Zax meet head-on in the story "The Zax" from "Sneetches and Other Stories" by Dr. Seuss. Since both stubbornly refuse to take even a single step to the East or West, both are still stuck in place at the end of the story, which is at least long enough for a highway overpass to be built over them.
* Benedikt of ''[[Literature/{{Quarters}} The Quartered Sea]]'' is the best damn [[MagicMusic Singer]] of [[ElementalPowers water]] in all of Shkoder, but he can't sing any other quarter at all, which has severely hampered his career and left him socially isolated from his fellow bards. But it makes him a natural choice as a crew member for a seagoing exploration ship.
* ''Literature/TheStormlightArchive'': Every individual Order of the Knights Radiant had its own role, and stepping too far outside that role could cause them to lose their powers. In ''Literature/WordsOfRadiance'', Kaladin wants to punish Amaram (and to a lesser extent Sadeas), but Syl repeatedly points out that Windrunners protect the innocent--punishing the guilty is a job for a Skybreaker. Unfortunately, there aren't any Skybreakers around, so Kaladin keeps trying to find ways to justify striking back, both to himself and to Syl.
* Ronnie Cheung of ''Literature/TheGoneAwayWorld'' stops ''just'' short of this trope:
-->Ronnie had made a choice about how far down the road of becoming a human killing machine he was prepared to go, and allowing his training to warp his body to the point where he was in some measure ''only'' suited to that task was exactly where he drew the line.
** The narrator notes this when he discovers that [[spoiler:Humbert Pestle]] did ''not'' stop short of this trope. Unfortunately, he discovers this when [[spoiler:Pestle]] attacks him, so it's not as helpful as it might be.
* In ''Literature/TheHungerGames'', Katniss notes that while Careers are bred and trained for the actual combat, which is why they have a disproportionate number of victories, their FatalFlaw is that they are completely incapable of surviving without supplies, almost always losing when the supplies at Cornucopia are destroyed. [[spoiler:Naturally, Katniss decides to use this fact to her advantage and does the same.]]
* In ''Literature/KonoSubarashiiSekaiNiShukufukuO'', this is basically the reason why Kazuma's team is such a handful.
** Fitting for a goddess, Aqua's Arch-Priest abilities are top-notch, [[TurnUndead able to purify even the most powerful undead effortlessly]]. Thanks to the devotion of her followers, Aqua has access to virtually unlimited mana reserves, allowing her to cast deity-tier water and healing spells like Resurrection with ease. Unfortunately, the party rarely encounters any undead, and most of the creatures they face are resistant to water attacks.
** Megumin is an exceptionally skilled and powerful mage, but can only use one spell per day because she refuses to expend her mana for anything other than the extremely taxing Explosion. Using that spell drains her to the point that she collapses from exhaustion and needs to be carried.
** Darkness is a Crusader with ludicrously high strength, endurance, and defence stats, but is absolutely terrible at hitting things with her weapon.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/GameOfThrones'':
** In the Season 3 Blu-ray ''Histories and Lore'', Littlefinger reasons that the true cause of the Targaryens' downfall was their reliance on dragons and their obsession with reclaiming this advantage after the dragons died out, though Varys counters that they continued ruling quite stably for more than a century.
** The Unsullied are supposed to be heavy infantry without peer, famed for their utterly impenetrable spear walls. When they're deployed patrolling city streets however, they're easily overcome by untrained guerillas with daggers.
** While he's perfectly cunning and intelligent for a warrior, Jaime has built his entire life, career, reputation, and self-respect around being one of the best ''swordsmen'' in the kingdom... who then loses his sword hand early in Season 3.
--> '''Jaime:''' It's a good thing I am who I am. I'd have been useless at anything else.
* The fact that the ''Series/{{Lexx}}'' has no other weapons or defenses apart from its planet-shattering WaveMotionGun have caused plenty of trouble to the protagonists over the course of the series. Could be justified, if His Divine Shadow wanted it easily re-taken if it ever fell into the wrong hands. (Which, in fact, it did.) Presumably it would've had escort ships along to defend it if it'd ever been used as intended.
* On ''Series/GoodEats'', one of host Alton Brown's real pet peeves is "unitaskers" -- kitchenware with precisely ''one'' use, which he dislikes for wasting space and usually having larger price tags. Alton's said that the only single-purpose item he'll allow in his kitchen is the fire extinguisher...and then during the 10th Anniversary Special, he finds another use for it: [[http://youtu.be/WWhjgX33wtU making (carbonated) smoothies.]]
* Unlike previous ''Franchise/SuperSentai'', the team in ''Series/KaizokuSentaiGokaiger'' have no inherent special powers, instead relying on the powers of their predecessors via the Ranger Keys. This came to bite them in the ass when, in the first movie, the Keys were stolen from and used against them, leaving the Gokaigers to fend for themselves. It was only fortunate that their direct predecessor team, ''Series/TensouSentaiGoseiger'', were able to help get their powers back. (For the uninitiated, the Gokaigers' basic arsenal only consisted of a Gokai Saber and Gokai Gun each at the time.) Later averted in the series itself when the keys were stolen again, but the team got them back themselves, even beating copies of their suited forms in the process.
* In ''Series/{{Thunderbirds}}'', Thunderbird 3 is the only one that can go into space and Thunderbird 4 is the only one that can go underwater, but that's ''all'' they can do, and while underwater rescues [[ThisLooksLikeAJobForAquaman happen far more often than they really should]] space rescues only happen two or three times in the entire series. In most rescues this leaves Scott and Virgil in Thunderbirds 1 and 2 to do almost all of the work while Alan and Gordon mostly just assist them.
* On ''Series/TheSingOff'', after the least technically proficient groups have been weeded out, the groups that are very skilled in one particular style of music and have a hard time adapting that style to incorporate other influences are usually the next eliminated, as versatility is something the judges value very highly.
* Similarly, after ''Series/RuPaulsDragRace'' weeds out the least impressive queens, the next queens eliminated tend to be the ones who are so specialized in a certain skill, such as lip-syncing or stunning fashion, that they usually stumble in areas outside their expertise. The winners of the competition as well as the most popular ones with the fans are queens that tend to have a variety of skills, but still have a specialty.
* In ''Series/VanHelsing'': Axel has rigged up numerous defenses for the hospital. The final one is a corridor filled with UV lamps, something no vampire can pass. [[spoiler:A human, [[HoistByHisOwnPetard specifically a former vampire turned human by Vanessa]], however can easily walk down the hall and smash the lights, allowing the vampires to safely advance behind him.]]
* ''Franchise/TheFutureIsWild'' has a quite literal example with the Terabytes, termite-like insects. They're divided into separate castes which are very good at what they do (gum-spitters trap the [[{{Planimal}} Garden Worms]] the Terabytes harvest algae from, water-carriers store water, rock-borers do the burrowing, transporters carry stuff, queens lay eggs), but almost all of them save the transporter caste either have ''no legs at all'' or vestigal legs, and require the transporters to carry them around. Transporters have it less overspecialized since they're also capable of cutting off the algae appendages of Garden Worms.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* In TabletopGame/{{Chess}}, conventional CharacterTiers rate Bishops as equal to Knights, though Bishops are actually the better pieces in a lot of positions because of their long movement range and ability to defend squares either adjacent or on the opposite side of the board. They are, however, overspecialized in that they can never move through or onto any square of opposite color to their starting place, which can lead to "bad Bishop" positions, in which a Bishop is trapped behind chains of allied Pawns on squares of the same color.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}''
** The [[SpaceElves Eldar]] have this as their Hat. Each Eldar going down the Path of the Warrior dedicates themself to one Aspect of war at a time; Dark Reapers deal long-ranged death to enemy heavy infantry, Striking Scorpions can unleash enough close combat attacks to cut through hordes of light infantry, and so on. But while each type of Aspect Warrior may excel in its battlefield role, they're usually screwed if put up against a different type of threat, so those Dark Reapers won't last long in close combat, while hostile heavy infantry can shrug off the Striking Scorpions' flurry of attacks. The saying goes that if you pit five Space Marines against five Eldar, four of the Eldar will die while the survivor single-handedly cuts down the Space Marines, because that's what she was trained for.
** The Tau have some of the best guns in the game, and its military focuses on getting the most out of them, but the race is just pathetic in close combat. The Tau have recognized this at least and can bring in allied alien auxiliaries that are better-suited for melee, but even so, those close combat "specialists" would be considered mediocre at best in any other army and are better at counter-charging than leading an assault.
*** The Tau caste system means that every Tau in the setting is trained to be good at combat (Fire), diplomacy (Water), piloting (Air), engineering/research (Earth) or leadership (Ethereal) - and is not expected to develop skill outside their assigned field. This is particularly notable among the Air Caste, who have been so purpose-bred that they actually have extremely fragile bones that mean that even if you were going to have them fight outside a fighter or bomber, they would die swiftly.
*** One of the Tau's auxillary species, the Kroot, takes this in a very unusual direction. To make things short, Kroot have LegoGenetics that allow them to [[CannibalismSuperpower absorb useful genes from consumed prey and incoporate those genes into their own DNA, empowering themselves by replicating those traits]]. However, they suffer from a form of PowerIncontinence that means that if they keep eating that kind of meat, their [=DNA=] becomes increasingly like the creature they're eating. For example, continue eating the flesh of non-sapient herbivores, and a Kroot will ''become'' a non-sapient herbivore with only genetic legacy connecting it to its former Kroot state. The Kroot homeworld, Pech, has no ecosystem niche that isn't filled by some form of devolved Kroot.
** The Tyranids ran into this when the Dark Eldar finally got a new codex. One of the Tyranids' trademarks is an array of multiple-Wound, high-Toughness, monstrous creatures that turned out to be highly susceptible to Dark Eldar weaponry causing [[ChunkySalsaRule Instant Death]] or dealing Poisoned attacks that neutralize a high Toughness value.
** Within the Chaos Daemons list, each of the gods have a specific vocation: Khorne and Slaanesh are geared towards combat, but Khorne relies on a comparatively smaller number of more hard hitting attacks, allowing them to blunt through medium infantry (such as Tau and Space Marines) and vehicles, while Slaaneshi units have high initiative and a ton of rending attacks, making them more suited to hordes and really heavy infantry. Nurgle units focuses on insane durability combined with poisoned weapons to fight against high toughness creatures, but lack any sort of armor penetration needed to break through armor. Tzeentch, understandably, focuses on magic but rarely have any units good enough to support with said magic (almost every single one of their units is a squishy wizard). This means that each of the four god's daemons were designed to support another god's troops, but for those who prefered playing mono-god lists, this can leave you with one or more areas severely lacking (Slaanesh, for example, has almost no staying power, so in an objectives match they will quickly die out due to their low toughness and save. Conversely Mono-Nurgle can't do much if they're expected to annihilate their enemy, since their primary purpose is to survive and tarpit). The only exception to this is the Soul Grinder, who can be kitted out to fill several combat roles.
** This is also encouraged in tournament play. Consider a Space Marine Tactical Squad equipped with a Flamer and a Lascannon. The former is a short-ranged weapon that can be used while moving against a swarm of light infantry, while the latter is a long-ranged anti-tank weapon that can't be fired after moving. If either weapon is fired, the other is probably not in a situation to contribute anything, whereas a dedicated anti-tank or anti-infantry squad would be fighting with better efficiency against its viable targets. The rule Combat Squads was specifically made to resolve this issue; you can now split your 10-man squad into 2 5 man squads and give the melee-oriented Sergeant and assault weapon gunner to the squad most likely to run ahead, while the lascannon dude can sit back with his squad of 4 meatshields happily pounding away at enemy armour.
** Deliberately invoked by the Imperial Guard, at company level. Any Imperial Guard regiment would be trained and equipped for a single role, be it foot infantry, mounted infantry, mechanized infantry, artillery, armour, whatever. The intention being that a single company has to rely on others for combined arms warfare, and hence won't survive long going rogue.
** The Chaos Maulerfiend is a dedicated tank killer that can also pick off units without close-range anti-armour: it has multiple high-strength attacks, and can access more if you went for magma cutters over lasher tendrils, all of which hit the rear armour of a tank or other vehicle, and as an AV 12 vehicle it can eat entire squads of Eldar or Orks. However, its total lack of any ranged weapons means it's incredibly vulnerable to anti-tank fire even with its Daemonic Invulnerable save, and while it has much better stats than a random infantryman, its Initiative and Weapon Skill are below those of a Space Marine Dreadnought or Chaos Helbrute, meaning that a one-on-one duel with another melee walker is unlikely to end well for it.
** The Adeptus Mechanicus will take a dive into this trope when [[GodzillaThreshold things get dire enough]] by actually innovating and building an Ordinatus, a gigantic war machine that is more or less built around a ludicrously huge and powerful piece of armament specialized ''only'' to the conflict at hand, and rarely if ever see use again due to fear of losing them because they were used for the wrong problem. Of course, the advantage of building a superweapon around a conflict is that it'll usually be won right afterwards; you may not get to use that fortress-cracking sound-cannon, Titan-melting plasma gun or DrillTank that can carry entire companies of guardsmen again, but whatever you needed it for will never again be a problem.
** The Admech deliberately invoke this with their Skitarii armies on the fly. "Doctrina Imperatives" transmitted from distant command centres specialize their troops towards shooting or melee to a greater or lesser degree as conflicts develop. In their case, effectiveness is zig-zagged somewhat. Sure, those Vanguard may fight like old men after you finally push though the [[ImprobableAimingSkills laser-accurate volleys of rifle fire]] for a moment, but fifteen seconds later the [[WeHaveReserves second Maniple in line]] will have popped Hyperaction Protocols and fight better than the daemons of Khorne. Skitarii Primus leaders even throw thousands of their soldiers into the grinder deliberately to gather intelligence about how best to command the actual army following behind. They die gladly, as for the Mechanicus [[MartyrdomCulture "Survival is nothing, Data is All".]]
** The Bnaeblade and its sisters are all built around tackling a single problem really well: Shadowswords and Doomhammers for killing titans, Stormswords for urban warfare, Stormblades for cheaper and more mobile Shadowswords, and Baneblades for unleashing eleven barrels of hell on everything. All of them move like a morbidly obese elephant who's pregnant with triplets and can't do anything other than what they're specialized for: if, for example, a Stormsword finds something its too large to fit through but can't plow through it's dead in the water.
* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons''
** In 4th Edition, one has the option of using a significant number of their starting stat points to boost a single score to 18 (potentially a 20 if the character gets a bonus to that score from race). However, this costs such a prohibitive number of points that all the rest of that character's stats will be Below Par, at the very best. Since defenses and secondary abilities of powers are often based on scores not directly related to a class' primary attack stat, this usually leaves a character open to attack. And since many feats have ability score prerequisites, the choicest of these will often be out of reach of a character who has overspecialized a single stat. Note that this can be entirely nullified by having a well-balanced group (ie. a bard with maxed Charisma and terrible defenses in a group with many tanks/strikers will never get attacked if the group remembers to keep her in the back/center).
** D&D in general, really. For every single ability in 3.5, there's at least one way to reduce or negate the damage. Fighters who specialise in the longsword will find themselves disadvantaged against an opponent who negates all damage that isn't piercing. A sorcerer that only chooses fire spells will not have a fun time against the monster with fire immunity. Rogues dread encounters against enemies that are immune to sneak attacks (which are many). At higher levels it's not uncommon for fighters to carry multiple weapons made of many different materials, just so they can be prepared for any situation. This is one reason why LinearWarriorsQuadraticWizards is in full effect: spellcasters who prepare their spells from a list can avoid this trap by changing their spells in accordance with the situation.
*** D&D's unofficial Tier System reinforces this fact. The Top Tier classes can either learn every spell of their paradigm they come across, have access to their entire spell lists by default, or can replicate any spell in the game. (The Cleric and Druid can also function as melee on top of all that, hence the [[GameBreaker CoDzilla]] term in the metagame). The Tier Two classes are equal to the tier ones in raw power, but lack the versatility of their counterparts. As the tier thread puts it: "''If the Tier 1 classes are countries with 10,000 nuclear weapons in their arsenal, these guys are countries with 10 nukes. Still dangerous and world shattering, but not in quite so many ways.''"
** In 4e, the selection of attack powers available at each level - and this applies to several fighting and magic using classes - can differ between direct attacks that affect one opponent (the sin qua non of the "striker") and area of affect attacks (bursts and blasts) that can damage many targets. The latter tend to do less damage and may not have as good a hit chance as the former. Without a mix, a character can be vulnerable to either solo monsters or minions.
** Many powergamers in all TTRPGS, but especially D&D, who have their pet "broken" builds run into a serious problem when faced with [=GMs=] who throw unexpected challenges at them; by relying on shattering the game in one particular place, they are vulnerable when challenged out of their depth by the GM.
* In the classic Metagaming Concepts game ''Rivets'', the premise is simple: all the people are dead, and the remaining Boppers (Battlefield Orientated Pre-Programmed Eradicator Robots) are fighting it out over the resources they need. The trouble is, these Boppers are pretty stupid, 'average IQ only slightly higher than that of most kitchen appliances'. Each player has to choose what type of unit each type of unit attacks. That's right. You don't program an individual unit, you program a type of unit to go after another type of unit. If you're attacked by a unit you're not programmed to attack, you're screwed. You can, however, reprogram them, but that means bringing every one of that unit type back to your base/factory.
* In the ''Literature/{{Dragonlance}}'' mythos, one legend says the wizard Magius fell in battle as the Orders of High Sorcery prohibited mages from carrying ''any'' weapon at the time leaving them to rely solely on magic making them defenseless if their spells and items became exhausted. Since his death mages have been permitted to carry a dagger (or staff) for defending themselves.
* ''TabletopGame/BattleTech''
** The [=BattleMechs=] are prone to this, as well as subverting this. You can either have a general jack-of-all-trades or a specialized 'Mech that's doomed once someone skips out of its range bracket. Also, under the latest rules, most (not all) 'Mech-scale weapons do only a small fraction of their regular damage to conventional infantry, which can become a problem at those distances where the infantry can actually shoot ''back''. {{Justified|Trope}} in that 'Mechs are meant to used in concert (IE, fire-support standing ''behind'' the close-assault mechs, scouts staying in cover and acting as spotters for long-distance artillery, high-speed mechs flanking while the main assault force holds the enemies' attentions, etc.). Individual 'Mechs are specialists; the military units they make up are intended to be balanced. Then the Clans showed up with their versatile [=OmniMech=] designs and the Inner Sphere soon caught up and started reverse-engineering captured Clan [=BattleMechs=] in order to compete with their advanced technology. Though [=OmniMechs=] themselves also do have their limitations as well, one being that they are not fully modular, which can hamper potential configurable designs for a would-be creative pilot.
** One of the earliest Subversions of this is the Stalker-class Assault Battlemech, which carries both large and medium lasers, as well as both Long and Short range missiles, giving it the ability to fight at ''every'' range. Ironically, it's the most well-rounded mech of it's time despite having ''no ballistic weapons'' and relying entirely on energy and missile ones.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Exalted}}''
** Specifically warned against in the character creation chapter of the core rulebook. Creation has a lot of different challenges to overcome, and you'll be lucky if you're just bored if you don't have a charm that's useful to the situation. Also, it's kinda frustrating having to start a new charm tree from the relatively weak and boring prerequisite charms when you've reached the "total powerhouse" stage of your career. (Other advice: buy the "increase your hit points" charm at least once.)
** The Primordials, the transcendently powerful beings that created the setting, each have their own themes, and are absolutely all-powerful, invincible, and unassailable within those themes; Authochthon is the Craftsman, Malfeas is the King, She Who Lives In Her Name is the Organizer, the Ebon Dragon is the Corrupter, etc. The thing is, each Primordial is not only absolutely helpless outside of those themes, but absolutely incapable of even thinking outside of them. For example, Malfeas is incapable of any kind of subtlety, compromise, or anything else that requires him to act from a position of anything less than absolute power and authority, and She Who Lives In Her Name cannot be unpredictable or spontaneous in any way.
** Applying this and its relative MinMaxing in the ''Shards of the Exalted Dream'' spinoff Burn Legend will get you curbstomped on a regular basis. The guy with Strength 5 and lots of Grapples - say, a Mugen who invests heavily in Wrestling and the linked Mugen techniques - will get his ass handed to him by a simple Whistling Stone Atemi. Burn Legend is based very heavily on TacticalRockPaperScissors, meaning that showing up as Captain Scissors is begging for everyone else to pull out their cheap, low-ranked Rock technique and smash you into a pulp.
* In ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering'' there's a branch of decks known as Combo decks that fall into this. They aim to do one specific thing using a certain combination of cards. When this thing happens [[InstantWinCondition they usually win instantly]]. If they can't get the cards in or one of them gets destroyed, they're usually left with a sub-par deck. Combo decks tend to be very good against 'raw power'/'aggro' decks because comboed cards will dismantle an equal number of individual cards without synergy (even though said cards tend to be stronger individually), and are vulnerable to control decks that systematically block or remove the components of a combo. These are popular among some casual players, who don't care nearly as much about a reliable win/lose percentage as about the fact that it's absolutely [[RuleOfFunny hilarious]] to use a finishing attack featuring an unblockable attacker whose power and toughness grow by a factor of 32 [[SerialEscalation every turn]].
* In ''Tabletopgame/YuGiOh'' you will see some decks that would be Overpowered...only if played against a specific deck. For instance, The Allies of Justice mean certain death to Light Decks, but are powerless against anything that isn't Light. In newer Generation, The Heraldic and Heraldry ace monsters (used by Tron in the anime) are the embodiment of Xyz monsters' nightmares, being able to drain their Attack, Effects, and even names. Unfortunately, many players still use Synchros and don't rely on Xyz, making these cards laughably useless against them. (Though the OneWingedAngel form of Number 69 might still be able to put a dent in anything the opponent might summon).
** Conversely, many trap and magic cards are designed specifically to revolve around a single monster. Cards that appear regularly on the show, such as Dark Magician, Kuriboh, and Blue-Eyes White Dragon tend to have numerous trap and magic cards devoted specifically to them. It's very possible for someone overspecialize their deck and end up stuck with too many of these cards in their hand without the central monster being available or playable, a folly often demonstrated by AI players in the video games that are based on the TCG.
** Many archetypes, especially after the Extra Deck became central, tend to have their Main Deck focus on getting to the Extra Deck as quickly and often as possible. This results in them being completely unable to do much of anything when the Extra Deck is inaccessible for some reason (for instance, [[http://yugioh.wikia.com/wiki/Dimensional_Barrier Dimensional Barrier]] or [[http://yugioh.wikia.com/wiki/Crimson_Blader Crimson Blader]]), because their Main Deck is so focused on bringing out the materials for their summons that the materials can't do anything. Gimmick Puppets are a good example; the only effect in the entire Main Deck that isn't based on summoning Level 8 monsters is Egg Head's 800 burn damage.
** The basis of 'anti-meta' decks. Usually, these decks focus specifically on countering whatever the current high tier deck(s) is, often with surprisingly effective results. However, whenever these decks end up facing other kinds of decks such as lower-tier "rogue" decks, they quickly start to fall apart.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Shadowrun}}'''s character creation mechanics have always favoured focused characters by rewarding specialization. It's generally held that a good shadowrunning team consists entirely of specialists who throw nine or more dice at a non-overlapping set of very specific skills instead of made entirely of what usually becomes {{Master Of None}}s.
** However, with minimal system mastery it is trivial to create characters who are very good at their desired specialty, and also have decent competence in some secondary skillset, averting the trope.
* BDSM decks in the erotic card game ''Furoticon''. Sadists inflict pain counters on opponents that debuff most characters but masochists treat them as buffs.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''Webcomic/EightBitTheater'':
** All the main characters have this to some degree or another, but especially BlackMage and Fighter. Black Mage is one of the most powerful and destructive casters in the setting, but is incapable of dealing with situations in any way other than simply blasting it (and often misses), and Fighter is a swordmaster who is sufficiently skilled to break the laws of reality, but has no idea how to function in all other aspects of life.
** Sarda does this on purpose with his individual spells so that they can't be used against him. For example, he has a spell that he uses to make Black Mage puke up his innards, and another to rewrite reality according to his whims. When Black Mage uses these spells, he finds out that they are, respectively, a "make Black Mage puke up his innards" spell and a "rewrite reality according to Sarda's whims" spell. Regardless of who is casting them.
--->'''Black Mage:''' When Sarda casts a spell to hurt you, and you learn that spell, '''[[MagicAIsMagicA you learn to cast a spell that hurts you.]]'''
* ''Webcomic/SaturdayMorningBreakfastCereal'' has [[http://www.smbc-comics.com/?db=comics&id=739#comic Bulletproof Man]], who is only invulnerable to bullets, and [[http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=870#comic these boxers]], who try to solve all problems by punching it. Subverted by [[http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=457#comic this witch]] who surprises an opponent relying on AntiMagic.
* ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick''
** [[spoiler:Zz'dtri]] has fine-tuned his build around countering Vaarsuvius' "blaster-caster" approach to combat. When Vaarsuvius figures out that this leaves him with a weakness to more mundane tactics, and starts fighting smart, [[http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0800.html the tables quickly turn.]]
** Vaarsuvius also suffers from this, especially in the earlier comics (later comics show more flexibility on V's part). V's a spellcaster, but [[WhenAllYouHaveIsAHammer seems to focus on the 'blow-things-up' part of magic]]. V also tends to dump other stats, meaning V has poor physical ability and charisma. As such, when faced with something that can resist direct magical assaults, V's stymied. Which happens quite a bit.
-->"Thrice-cursed Spell Resistance! It's almost like the universe is trying to deliberately force some form of arbitrary equality between those of us who can reshape matter with our thoughts and those who cannot."
** Roy encounters a half-ogre who has specialised in a very specific style of spiked chain fighting. Aside from being based on incorrect rules interpretations, he is also restricted to a very specific movement pattern, which Roy uses to maneuver him [[GravityIsAHarshMistress off a cliff to his death]].
** A spell rather than a person, but Vaarsuvius knows the spell Bugsby's Cat-Retrieving Hand, a spell that summons a giant hand that can pick up cats, and ''only'' cats. That being said, it's been useful on two separate occasions.
* The Vespiary squad in ''Webcomic/GirlGenius'' are trained to efficiently destroy some of the most dangerous creatures in the series. Against anything else they can be considered noncombatants.
* ''WebComic/DarthsAndDroids'' features Pete, a {{Munchkin}} who maxed all the skills he thought that would be useful in a space RPG campaign. As a result, he generated R2-D2, "a short, squat robot with no arms", and in {{Alternate Universe}}s he generated a bunch of other, equally useless characters.
* ''Webcomic/TwentyFirstCenturyFox'': Back in her school days, Dr. Cavor was a member of her school's orchestra. [[http://techfox.comicgenesis.com/d/20070827.html Artillery section]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Ruby Rose, the main character of ''WebAnimation/{{RWBY}}'' is an extremely talented warrior with her WeaponOfChoice [[SinisterScythe Crescent Rose]], but isn't so good ''without'' it. This has gotten her into more than one situation where she needed to fight, but didn't have Crescent Rose on hand, and so could really only try to dodge (though she did kick a Griffon to death). The Volume 5 Yang Trailer shows that Ruby actually finds fighting with her fists to be completely pointless ''because'' she has Crescent Rose and tries to ignore Yang's attempt to train her in fighting hand to hand. Ozpin calls her out in Volume 5 and forces her to train in this way.
* [[Creator/StuartAshen Chef Excellence]]: [[MemeticBadass excellent at bags]], [[JokeCharacter useless at everything else]]. Just the bags. Keep bags. Keep bags in mind. Bags, Excellence, bags. And everything will be alright.
-->''[[MadLibsCatchPhrase An Excellent Breakdown]]''
* In ''Website/{{Cracked}}'' videos, Dan O'Brien plays an [[AdamWesting exaggerated version of himself]] with encyclopedic pop culture knowledge but toally ignorant of real world history, politics, etc., except how they relate to his favoured works of fiction.
* Dr. Carlos Chronos of ''WebVideo/TheTimeGuys'' is a brilliant inventor, but can apparently only make [[TimeMachine time... items]].
* Often a deciding factor in ''WebAnimation/DeathBattle'', where often the two fighters are more or less evenly matched from a technical standpoint, but one has more variety to their abilities, particularly when the specialization of the overspecialized one happens to be something the generalist knows how to counter (such as in [[Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda Link]] vs. [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII Cloud]]) or the specialization is in something not particularly applicable to combat (such as in [[Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda Zelda]] vs. [[Franchise/SuperMarioBros Peach]]). Special mention to [[VideoGame/MortalKombat Raiden]] versus [[ComicBook/TheMightyThor Thor]] and [[Manga/FairyTail Natsu Dragneel]] versus [[Manga/OnePiece Portgas D. Ace]], where Raiden was overly specialized in electric attacks in a fight where both parties were more or less immune to electricity (and had a severe strength and durability disadvantage otherwise on top of it) and Ace was overly specialized in fire attacks in a fight where both parties were more or less immune to fire (though unlike Raiden, physically he was still enough of a matchup to hold a stalemate for a time).
* In LetsPlay/SomethingAwfulDungeonsAndDragons Let's Play, Minerelle is a character who relies on her massive Arcana roll to accomplish as much as possible. As a result of this, she isn't particularly useful in situations where she can't just throw Arcana at it till something happens. She suffers a bit from overspecializing in combat as well, since most of her attacks target the enemy's Will defense (and the one that doesn't was a fairly recent addition). As a result, whenever the party goes up against anything with an above average Will, she pretty much has no way to contribute to the battle
* In ''WebVideo/ToBoldlyFlee'', each of Terl's [[FacelessGoons crew]] is responsible for exactly one aspect of flying his ship, and there is only one crewmember assigned to each task. Therefore, [[WebVideo/TheAngryJoeShow Angry Joe]] is able to cripple Terl and Zod's offensive capabilit by shooting the one weapons officer.
* Exaggerated for laughs in the Machinima/TeamServiceAnnouncement ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6cm2iFmASBc Class Balance]]'', where the ''entire BLU team'' of ''VideoGame/TeamFortress2'' is Snipers, all of them oblivious to the fact that they're losing the King of the Hill match.
** In ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXzOaB7BaCU Demoknights and Battle-Medics]]'', the Demoknight is useless against the Sentry nest, but not against [[spoiler:performing a double kill to save the Soldier's life]]. Battle-Medic, however, is ''completely'' useless, and the Soldier rejects him.
* When the WebVideo/GameGrumps play ''[[Franchise/MobileSuitGundam Gundam: Battle Assault 2]]'', Danny spends the whole game playing as Big Zam, a titanic mobile suit who Arin admits right from the start is overpowered ("Guess what your main attack is. ''Walking''.") He spends the whole video [[CurbStompBattle literally walking all over Arin]] when he's not also playing an overpowered boss-level mobile suit, until he finally gets behind Big Zam and makes short work of him while Danny's still trying to figure out how to ''turn around''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/TheVentureBrothers'': Jefferson Twilight, Blacula Hunter. He's also got plenty of other, support skills, but YouDidntAsk.
--> And they haven't been taken by Blaculas. Though I'm not prepared to rule out Caucasian vampires.
** O.S.I. agent Headshot is a good sniper...and that's it. A rather miniscule skill-set for a secret agent.
* Combustion Man of ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'' has the unique Firebending ability to focus his energy through an eye tattoo on his forehead, and release it as explosive blasts. While incredibly powerful, it lacks any kind of versatility, and he is apparently incapable of any other techniques. It also makes him quite vulnerable, as any form of disruption to his chi (such as by a blow to the head) can disable his ability to do it. [[spoiler:Or cause him to explode]]. He is also apparently unaware of it being disrupted.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra''
** [[FictionalSport Pro-benders]] often suffer from this. While characters like Bolin and Tahno are among the top competitors in their chosen field, their sport's long-range fighting style is laughable when used in real combat. Pro-benders tend to fight as if they're still on the game field, and will sling fixed amounts of rock or water at an enemy. Get up close and a pro-bender's defense falls apart. In comparison, someone with Avatar Korra's comprehensive education in the traditional bending styles will move between long- and short-range fighting as necessary, and will use the whole environment against an enemy.
** The reverse was true when Korra first joined the Fire Ferrets. She was literally a last-minute replacement when their previous waterbender no-showed, and started out by thrashing the opposing players with highly effective attacks...that were against the rules, resulting in fouls against Korra. Just like what's good in a pro-bending isn't necessarily good in a fight, what's good in a fight isn't necessarily good in pro-bending.
** The Metalbending Police of Republic City are shown to be this. The Equalists' tactics and gear were designed to counter the Metalbender's tactics and the police got routed in every open clash between the two and there weren't enough combat oriented benders of other nations to counter them (at least until the United Military shows up). They learned from this and from season 2 on, showed a more diverse police force (including firebender Mako), backed up by members of The White Lotus (and later [[spoiler:The Airbenders]]).
** The Chi-blockers, themselves were examples of this trope for similar reasons as Ty Lee. There was plenty of fire, water and earthbenders in Republic City to prepare against, but only a handful of [[BlowYouAway airbenders]] that already use an evasive style that makes [[BadassFamily Tenzin and his children]] the hardest to take down as well as having zero experience against a fellow non-bender like [[BadassNormal Asami]], who also has one of their [[StaticStunGun gloves]] to [[HoistByTheirOwnPetard OHKO them]] at a more efficient rate than any of her teammates.
** Ming Hua has what most refer to as Psychic Waterbending because she doesn't have arms, which the water functions as instead. This gives her greater control over water than most other benders and she is far more dextrous with her water-arms than a normal person is with theirs (for example she can quickly scale the side of a cliff with her water arms alone). [[spoiler:Ming Hua is later killed because her water arms made a direct conduit to her heart, so that any electric attack against her would be instantly fatal. Prior to this, she was completely vulnerable to firebenders who specifically targeted the water around her as she has no combat ability when she can't bend.]]
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'':
** The town of Ogdenville makes nothing but barley, even their history is centered about barley. When the barley got tainted, this cause their entire business to go bust, and sent their town into a depression!
** When Milhouse tries to get the role of a boy who points in a play, he fails because the direction he's asked to point isn't the same he trained for.
** In a WesternAnimation/TreehouseOfHorror episode Homer is standing in a bunker when France launches a 6 megaton nuclear missle at Springfield. Homer is lucky that it was a 6 megatonner, because the shelter was designed for 6 megatons, "no more, no less."
* In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/WaitTillYourFatherGetsHome'', Harry drops his car off at the service garage, then comes back later to find they're not finished. Perplexed that a mechanic is standing by his car doing nothing, Harry asks why the man isn't working on it. "I only do headlights," the mechanic explains. "''Left'' headlights."
* ''WesternAnimation/FostersHomeForImaginaryFriends'' had an episode where the home was overrun with Scribbles (imaginary friends conjured up from infants), which as their name implied, were basically floating black line scribbles. Initially thought annoying and bothersome, they were shown as being very adept at doing chores, yet each Scribble could only do one task (such as washing the dishes, but not putting them away) or they "overload" and start shrieking until calmed down.
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic''
** Unicorn ponies find their magical abilities quite limited outside their special talent, as illustrated by their Cutie Mark, such as Rarity mostly being good at magic related to tailoring and illusions. Twilight Sparkle on the other hand, by virtue of having her talent be magic in general, knows a vast variety of spells, to the point where she can levitate the top of a water tower, float it through a barn full of cows (''milking the cows in the process'') and make the water tower into a makeshift baby bottle, while also causing the wind to play a lullaby.
** Twilight is cripplingly overspecialized in other ways, however. In "Winter Wrap-up" she tries to [[PaintingTheFrostOnWindows help clean up winter]] without her magic (because that's the traditional way), but because she's so used to using magic for everything, she screws up anything she tries to do physically (starting with putting on her saddle). [[spoiler:She eventually leans to non-magically contribute with her TRUE strength, that of an uber-delegating ScheduleFanatic.]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'', Bender is a bending unit, meaning he's ''very'' good at bending things, but isn't very good at anything else. In one episode, when the Robot Mafia drops an unbendable girder on Flexo, the only solution that Bender can think of is to try to bend it off of him anyway. ("Well, I don't know anything about lifting, so we only have the one option!") Miraculously, he succeeds, but falls apart in the process. On the other hand, Bender manages to pull WhenAllYouHaveIsAHammer moments from time to time, performing non-bending tasks by seeing them as being (in his words) "primitive, degenerate forms of bending".
** In one of the Tales of Interest shorts, Fry says that he's good at video games and bad at everything else. This is actually good because of the premise of the Tale of Interest, being that real life was (quite literally) like a game.
** Doctor Zoidberg is eventually revealed to ''invert'' this trope. After years of being shown to be an inept surgeon who frequently does more harm than good, it's revealed in one episode that he ''is'' in fact an incredibly gifted and ''unmatched' surgeon... for aliens. Humans are quite possibly the one species in the universe he doesn't have training for, but it's the species that he's most around.
* In ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime'', Bella Noche is a being of AntiMagic capable of neutralizing the magic of all of the wizards in Wizard City. However, when Betty managed to get to her, Bella Noche was taken down with little more than a punch.
* In one episode of ''WesternAnimation/DuckTales1987'', Big Time assaulted the Money Bin wearing an armored assault suit. Upon breaking into the vault, he's greeted by Scrooge in a tank, but isn't worried since his armor can withstand a 60 millimeter shell...only for Scrooge to reveal his tank fires ''61'' millimeter shells.
-->'''Big Time''': Whoa! That's one millimeter too many! ''(Gets blasted out of the Money Bin)''
* ''WesternAnimation/KingOfTheHill'': In "Bobby Goes Nuts", Bobby decides to win fights by [[GroinAttack kicking his opponents in the testicles]] after attending a woman's self-defense course. He eventually kicks Hank, [[YouAreGrounded who tries to ground Bobby and take away his video games]], but is still too injured. Peggy eventually goes after Bobby herself, who finds out that women don't have testicles, and is quickly taken down.
* In one ''WesternAnimation/FairlyOddParents'' short, "The Temp", when Cosmo and Wanda are away and Timmy needs a temporary fairy godparent, he finds that the temp is good at making toys. Unfortunately, toys are all he can make, which doesn't help when a fire breaks out in Timmy's room and it can't be wished away. In the end, the reason for this is because the temp turns out to be one of {{Santa Claus}}'s elves.
* In ''WebAnimation/MightyMagiswords'', the titular magiswords are magical [[OddlyShapedSword Oddly Shaped Swords]] that are usually only good for one specific function, and few can be used as, well, actual swords.
* ''WesternAnimation/StevenUniverse'':
** [[MakingASplash Lapis Lazuli]] is powerful enough to take control of ''all'' the world's ocean water and control it to her advantage, as well as [[ImaginationBasedSuperpower fashion it into various forms for combat]]...but she's pathetically weak physically-wise (by Gem standards), so in a place where there's little water to use, even a Gem like [[WeakButSkilled Pearl]] could take her down quickly since she's shown no offensive abilities that don't relate to water.
** Homeworld's [[KillerRobot shattering]] [[AttackDrone Robinoids]] possess a powerful [[WaveMotionGun laser]] that can destroy stone and [[OneHitKill shatter gems]] but they only attack if they actually detect a [[HeartDrive gem]] and creatures that lack gems (like humans) are invisible to them and they won't even fight back if one attacks them.
* In ''{{WesternAnimation/Ben 10}}'', Ripjaws is a form that is incredibly powerful underwater, being able to move incredibly quickly and having good strength, which means he can quickly turn the tide of the battle in his favor. The problem? He's almost completely useless on dry land; while he's still got incredibly powerful jaws, he needs water to ''breathe'', which makes for quite a bit of suffering when he's nowhere near a body of water.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Real Life]]
* Animals that are very well adapted to their natural environment are much more sensitive to environmental changes. This is most noticeable in apex predators, the ones that have few natural predators and are at the top of the food chain. Adaptable, preferably omnivorous animals are much more likely to survive any kind of extinction event or environmental change.
** The saber-tooths, whose massive choppers were designed for hunting large megafauna such as mastodons, woolly rhinos, and giant bison. But when the megafauna died out at the end of the ice age due to a combination of climate change and the arrival from Africa of [[ExpospeakGag an adaptable, omnivorous animal that proved to be much better at hunting large megafauna than the sabers]], the sabers were unable to adapt to a diet of smaller game, and so followed their massive prey to oblivion.
** Cheetahs, specializing in ultimate sprinting, have a very light build and not much strength compared to other large African predators. Against lions, hyenas, leopards and hunting dogs, all a cheetah can do is run. When it comes to prey, anything larger than a Thompson's gazelle is off-limits to most cheetahs (some males can become large and robust enough to take down yearling wildebeests). However, it may be subverted, as some cheetahs have learned to bring down larger prey by hunting in groups. Cheetah mothers sometimes have their cubs eaten by baboons, being unable to defend them. While baboons have an impressive build and sharp teeth, this is not something they could get away with against, for instance, a leopard. The other drawback of the speed is win or lose, the burst of speed leaves the cheetah too tired to do ''anything'' to the point that other predators can survive off stealing their kills, so the individual cheetah is always living off ''just enough'' meat to get by, if even that.
** The giant panda, which evolved in a time when there were massive forests of bamboo and becoming one of the few large animals that could the eat the stuff seemed like a good idea... before the bamboo forests started shrinking and breaking up into smaller areas, with the panda's diet effectively holding them prisoner on rapidly sinking islands. Thanks, of course, in part to Chinese bamboo farmers, and the propensity of farmers to kill things that like to eat their crops. It also doesn't help that the panda eats a vegetarian diet with what is essentially a carnivore's digestive tract. The panda in many ways represents a cascade failure of the evolutionary process, a series of "good enough" kludges that let it just barely hang on in its environment. They do however have one very important evolutionary adaptation that will pretty much ensure their survival; being adorable. [[WhatMeasureIsANonCute First priority endangered animal!]] However, this adaptation doesn't apply to ''each other'' considering their issues of either not raising their own cubs or just not interested in breeding at all due to simple apathy.
** It's speculated that crippling overspecialization is what killed off the Neanderthals. They were strong and could use tools, and their bulky bodies ensured that they could easily withstand the cold European climates they had to face. However, they required a lot of daily calories, and were primarily meat-eaters (their diets probably consisted of about 80% meat. Scientific evidence shows that Neanderthals had digestive tracts specifically evolved to digest meat). When the larger animals they relied on died off, Neanderthals couldn't adapt quickly enough and thus died off themselves. However, this may not be as true as previously thought, as examination of Neanderthal remains has shown that they actually ate a broad variety of foods based on what was available, including individuals who appear to have had almost entirely vegetarian diets. And DNA sequencing has shown that they [[BoldlyComing frequently interbred with modern humans]].
** The majority of parasites, thanks to intense competition, are absurdly specialised, most only capable of infesting one, maybe two species. Some even require passing between ''multiple species'' in order to complete its life cycle.
** The prehistoric pterosaur ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nyctosaurus Nyctosaurus]]'' was a definite example, making this trope OlderThanDirt. It was so adapted to flight that it even lost those nifty little wing claws that would have assisted with ground locomotion. Since ''Nyctosaurus'' would have to land one way or another, the way it might have walked is a subject of debate. The current theory is that ''Nyctosaurus'' used its wings like walking sticks, using them to stablize itself as it shuffles around on its hindlegs.
** It's theorized that this trope contributed to the extinction of the broad-billed parrot of Mauritius. Its surviving mainland relatives feed on hard palm seeds that have passed through the digestive tracts of larger animals, then been scavenged from dung by the parrots. On Mauritius, the chief herbivores that would have pre-digested such seeds were the dodo and the native giant tortoises, both of which were hunted to extinction in the 17th century. Together with deforestation, this doomed the parrots that depended on such animals' leavings for food.
** Other examples include the giant shark ''megalodon'', which was specially adapted to hunt giant whales in tropical or temperate waters, and went extinct when they moved into the Arctic, and the giant ratfish ''Helicoprion'', who was so ridiculously over-specialised [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helicoprion#/media/File:Helicoprion_NT_small.jpg no one is even sure what it was supposed to eat]].
* The Germans made the ultimate in crippling overspecialization during UsefulNotes/WW1 with the Paris Gun - a [[{{BFG}} mammoth gun]] that shot shells so high and so far they had to compensate for the fact that the Earth's rotation could put shells off target. While the gun's range was impressive, it burned through barrels so quickly they needed to load progressively larger shells for each shot, could only shoot around 20 shots a day, and the accuracy was so poor it only stood a chance of hitting a large city.
* During the 1930s, the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force and the Imperial Japanese Navy both demanded that their fighter aircraft be made as light as possible, [[FragileSpeedster emphasizing maneuverability and range at the expense of armour protection]]. This was complemented by a very rigorous and selective training program that produced exceptional pilots, resulting in Japanese dominance of the skies against less capable Allied pilots and their often-mediocre machines between 1940 and 1942. However, by 1943, Army Ki-43 and Navy [=A6M=] ("Zero") fighters found themselves hacked out of the sky by Allied aircraft with increasingly powerful engines, which allowed for [[LightningBruiser superb high-speed performance without sacrificing protection]]. In the process, the Japanese lost many of their carefully-trained, veteran pilots, which adversely affected the quality of future pilots, who could not benefit from the experience of their forebears. Japanese training doctrine and industrial capability simply could not keep up with the Allies; by the end of the war, they were reduced to expending their novice pilots and obsolescent aircraft in suicidal ''kamikaze'' attacks against Allied shipping, and what few experienced pilots and advanced fighters that remained could not effectively challenge Allied air superiority over their home territories.
* Conversely, the Brewster [=F2A=] Buffalo was terrible for the exact opposite reason. Built according to misguided naval requirements, the Buffalo was so overloaded with armor and equipment that it was underpowered and often ''broke'' its undercarriage when landing. Deployed by some Allied forces in the Pacific Theater during the beginning of the war, it was woefully inadequate compared to the far lighter and more agile Japanese fighters. Pilots nicknamed the plane [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast "the Flying Coffin"]] not only because it was so badly outmatched, but also because it lacked dedicated protection for the pilot.
** The [[UsefulNotes/FinnsWithFearsomeForests Finnish Air Forces]] were able to use the Brewster to good effect against Russian bombers during the Winter War, which was in large part due to the fact that they stripped off all unnecessary weight and were generally facing even more mediocre aircraft.
* In the same period, the Royal Italian Navy was crippled by two simple government decisions: the Royal Italian Air Force would get complete control on any and all aircrafts that weren't recon seaplanes (with no direct link between the fleet and the aircraft squadrons), and warship design would concentrate on speed to the expense of armour or range. This resulted in a fleet with no carriers and air support and ships that were either embarrassingly more fragile than most of their counterparts (destroyers, light cruisers and heavy cruisers) or short ranged (the ''Littorio''-class battleships, that were fast, well-armoured, better armed than even the ''Bismarck'', and extremely short ranged). This strategy was explicitly designed to combat the carrier-less French Navy.[[note]] In fact the Italian ships were designed ''specifically'' to take on the French ships, with battleships taking on the enemy heavy cruisers and battleships, heavy cruisers taking on the equally fast but outgunned French light cruisers, light cruisers chasing down and destroying the enemy large destroyers, and destroyers acting as commerce raiders and using their extreme speed for torpedo runs on enemy battleships.[[/note]] However, against the more aggressive, balanced, and carrier-supported Royal Navy, it was a major disaster. The Royal Navy handed the Italians many avoidable defeats (the most crushing being the Battle of Cape Matapan, in which torpedo bombers put the battleship ''Vittorio Veneto'' out of commission for months and indirectly caused the loss of three heavy cruisers and two destroyers) and, ultimately, the loss of almost all of Italy's merchant fleet and defeat in the North African campaign.
* With the invention of guided missiles in the early years of the Cold War, the US thought gun armament on aircraft were obsolete, and so they lost many jet fighters in the Vietnam War. The F-4 Phantom was armed with the then state-of-the-art AIM-7 Sparrow missiles, which were capable of locking on to a target far outside of visual range. However, the Rules of Engagement mandated that the pilots make visual contact before firing their missiles. The problem with this was that the missiles ''would not lock on'' at that range (not to mention that they required the pilot to keep the radar focused on the target, which is easy when it hasn't seen you yet, but becomes impossible to do when it's dodging and weaving all over the place), and the pilots got slaughtered by the [=MiG=]-21 and, more embarrassingly, the obsolete [=MiG=]-17. Though the F-4 had an externally mountable "gun pod", it was often bulky and unreliable. Seeing this mistake, subsequent jet fighters became equipped with integrated gun armament and all pilots receive training in dogfighting.
** The B and C models of the F-35 seem to be repeating the mistakes of the F-4. Due to the Marines' insisting on SVTOL capability and the Navy's unique requirements for carrier-based operations, these models had to remove the A model's integrated cannon to save space and weight within the fuselage. Like the F-4, the B and C also have an external gun pod that can be mounted but this takes away space for missiles and fuel tanks that the tiny plane can't necessarily spare.
* Monocultural practices whereby only a single crop is grown in a given area can be more profitable and productive than diversified polycultural practices. However, this requires the extensive use of fertilizers to counteract the inevitable depletion of nutrients in soil, and can be easily disrupted by adverse weather conditions, pest invasions, and the spread of disease.
** Bananas. Before the 1950s, the single largest banana cultivar by far was the Gros Michel, which was favoured since it could survive in temperate climates and was easily shipped without any special care. Because bananas were bred at the time of their original domestication to remove the seeds from their fruit, they [[CloningBlues can only reproduce parthogenically]], meaning that they are extremely slow to develop a resistance via natural mutation. This meant that the entire Gros Michel cultivar was vulnerable to, and ultimately nearly wiped out by, a single disease. The modern banana cultivar of choice is the Cavendish, which has precisely the same level of market penetration, and precisely the same potential for global collapse if the same disease mutates (as it already has) and goes global, or if a new pathogen emerges.
** Similar to the banana situation, the Irish Potato Famine involved the collapse of production of Ireland's staple food crop, the potato, resulting in mass starvation. While the situation is a bit more complicated than a single crop failing making everyone starve to death, as Ireland produced other crops which it exported to the United Kingdom, it still resulted in big problems due to the means of distribution and how people fed themselves when they had British landowners. Bad blood from the famine eventually resulted in Ireland withdrawing from the UK.
* This trope is part of two different hypotheses explaining colony collapse disorder, i.e. the sudden die-off of honeybee colonies. According to the first hypothesis, centuries of selecting bees for useful traits (producing more honey, pollinating certain plants more efficiently) has reduced genetic diversity within commercial bee populations, leaving them vulnerable to pathogens. In the second one, feeding bees a diet of pollen from just one species of plant (i.e. one of the commercial food crops) leaves them with a less healthy immune system than feeding them pollen from several different plant species.
* Some specialized martial arts play this trope straight, but especially jodo. It is intended to defeat one single type of weapon (katana) on the hands of an unarmoured opponent who is assumed to fight fair. Against any other opponents jodo is pretty much useless.
* The Confederacy during UsefulNotes/TheAmericanCivilWar. The infrastructure of the Southern US was so focused on cash crops like cotton and tobacco that there was exactly ''one'' factory capable of producing cannons. There wasn't enough arable land to maintain cotton production for tax revenue ''and'' grow enough food to support an army. Even with the government building railroads, laying telegraph lines, and confiscating food from private farms for the war effort, the Confederate army was often malnourished and always short on manufactured goods like uniforms and guns. The problems of supply facing the Confederate army were so acute that [[http://civilwartalk.com/threads/soldiers-shoes.73013/ some historians have suggested]] that the Battle of Gettysburg was precipitated by a Confederate brigade's attempt to raid a shoe warehouse.
** Ironically, the Confederacy went into the war thinking that this trope would help them. They believed that they had such a stranglehold on world cotton production that Britain and France would have to intervene on their side in order to keep their textile mills running, and that Northern industry's dependence on Southern cotton would bankrupt their economy and lead them to sue for peace. Pro-secession Southern demagogues in the run-up to the Civil War referred to it as [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_Cotton "King Cotton"]].\\\
Unfortunately for them, they found that the Union and their potential European allies were ''not'' as cripplingly overspecialized as they had hoped, as the Indian and Egyptian cotton industries boomed once the US Navy started blockading and capturing Southern ports and cutting off their primary source of income. Furthermore, the UK had been stockpiling cotton reserves over the last few years, sensing the growing instability in the US, a move that was assisted by the bumper crops that the South had been producing in the late 1850s. Finally, while British industry ran on Southern cotton, the nation also depended on the North for a quarter of its food supply, so intervention in support of the Confederacy would mean long bread lines in the event of a drawn-out war.
* In another sense, the dependence of the American South, the Caribbean, Latin America, UsefulNotes/TsaristRussia, and similar agricultural economies on chattel slavery, serfdom, and peonage wound up screwing them in the long run. Bonded labor was unpaid, coerced, captive, and overall far cheaper than wage labor, especially in agriculture, with the only expenses being for food (which, on plantations, the laborers often grew for themselves on small personal plots), clothing, and a shack to sleep in. Wage laborers, meanwhile, demanded paychecks big enough to cover all of their living expenses and those of their families, as well as decent working conditions -- and when they didn't get them, they could either quit and find a new job, move to a homestead out west, or unionize. In the short term, bonded labor [[http://www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange/2013/09/economic-history-2 produced a ton of prosperity]], albeit chiefly at the top rungs of the socio-economic ladder.\\\
However, the constant fear of [[TurnedAgainstTheirMasters rebellion]] and runaways meant that slaves, serfs, and peons were often kept un- or under-educated (sometimes by law) so as to prevent them from getting any "uppity" ideas, leaving them unskilled and suited for little beyond working in the fields. Furthermore, bonded labor made agriculture so profitable that the planters saw little need to invest in anything else and diversify their economies, leaving other industries to wither on the vine as the plantations sucked up all of the available capital. As skilled labor grew more important thanks to the Industrial Revolution, the bonded labor economies suffered a devastating shortage of human capital that left them falling far behind the world's industrial regions in overall productivity and prosperity. Even in agriculture, bonded labor allowed inefficient farming techniques to persist by artificially depressing the cost of labor such that it masked the other costs. Farmers that had to pay their field hands, or work their fields themselves with their families, wound up implementing innovative new farming techniques to improve productivity and make up for their lack of cheap labor, and once mechanization came into play (not only drastically reducing labor costs, but also requiring skilled workers to operate the tractors and machines), the advantages became exponential.\\\
In short, while bonded labor was a huge boon to the elites of society in the short term, in the long term it was an enormous drag on the economy and the nation at large that only grew as time went on, to the point where even the elites that had once prospered began to see their place in the world slip behind that of their industrial rivals. Many the regions of the world that had depended on bonded labor to support their economies in the past are now beset by all manner of poor social indicators, lagging behind their peers and struggling to overcome the legacy of a vast underclass. The American South only recovered its economic stature due to massive government investment in infrastructure and the Sun Belt boom starting in the postwar era (nearly a century after abolition) and even then several former slave states tend to be less economically prosperous and have lower overall living standards when compared to other states; the Caribbean islands only ceased being a backwater once tourism took over their economies; Latin America [[BananaRepublic became an American fiefdom]] for generations; and Russia required [[UsefulNotes/RedOctober a vicious revolution]] to fully undo the damage that serfdom had done to their society (which caused all manner of other problems in the process).
* Ancient Sparta had this problem on two fronts:
** Spartan soldiers had a reputation for being the most well-trained in Ancient Greece. However, they only trained one kind of troop - the heavy-infantry hoplite - and in fact trained their troops [[TheSpartanWay so hard]] that their army was relatively small. They had no cavalry, navy, or light infantry. The tactics they were able to execute were severely limited, and their army was too small to maintain extended conflicts.\\
\\
An enemy who refused to fight them head on could inflict them horrendous casualties. In the battle of Sphacteria 425 BC, the Athenian light skirmishers simply refused to fight them hand-to-hand and instead harassed them with javelins, running away in the face of danger. At the end of the day the Spartans were completely demoralized and surrendered. The Athenians had not suffered one single casualty.
** With every adult Spartan male devoted to military training and every adult Spartan female devoted to child-rearing, every other job was done by slaves. Sparta's economy and infrastructure was almost exclusively maintained by an enormous slave population. Whenever there was a revolt (which was often), the entire city-state ground to a halt and had to perform a brutal purge, and then go off and enslave some hapless nearby village as replacements.
* Interceptor fighters, such as [=MiG=]-25 and Lockheed F-104 Starfighter. They were designed on one single purpose on mind: to take off and climb to the ceiling altitude as quickly as possible, launch their missile load against the oncoming enemy bombers, and escape. They were made obsolete by surface-to-air missiles, which in turn obsoleted their intended targets, high flying heavy bombers. The much later introduction of [[JackOfAllTrades multi-role fighters]] such as the Su-30, the F-15[E], the F-16, and the F/A-18 only further proved the pointlessness of the interceptor concept. The Starfighter especially was good for only one thing: accelerating quickly and flying fast and high. It was insanely dangerous on any other flight modes and landing, and its losses on attrition were appalling - West Germany lost some 30% of its Starfighters on accidents, while Italy lost 36% of hers and Canada experienced a staggering 46% loss rate on hers. Even a normal aileron banking was dangerous on F-104 due to inertia coupling, and its T tail configuration was prone on deep stalls. It was far more dangerous to its own pilots than to the enemy - the F-104 kill to loss ratio in combat was 3 victories to 24 combat losses.
* Some [[CoolCar 1960s show rods]] went this way. The [[http://www.mrgasser.com/surfite.htm Surfite]] was designed to carry the driver and a surfboard. No room for a passenger or groceries (or a wetsuit, for that matter); Mini-powered, no explanation as to why a theoretical owner wouldn't just buy a Mini wagon was ever offered.
* The Blackburn TB was designed for one mission, and one mission only: to take out German zeppelins by dropping exploding darts on them. It was a complete failure, as it couldn't fly fast enough to catch zeppelins and couldn't climb high enough to drop its darts even if it could. Nine were built, contributed absolutely nothing to the war effort, and were junked in 1917.
* In an odd real life subversion, there was [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sideroxylon_grandiflorum a species of tree]] in Mauritius that was thought to be germinated by the dodo bird. People believed that, since the dodo went extinct, the tree itself had started to decline. It turned out that this wasn't true; the tree could easily germinate through other birds and did not need the dodo alone to survive.
* In the '50s and '60s, the UsefulNotes/{{Detroit}} automakers took ready advantage of America's seemingly bottomless supply of cheap gasoline and structured their entire business models around the production of cars that, by modern standards, are absolutely titanic. While they also made smaller cars, such vehicles were seen as purely economy cars for those who couldn't yet afford the full-size sedans that got the lion's share of the automakers' interest and [=R&D=] investment. Then came the 1973 oil crisis, and [[OhCrap gasoline stopped]] [[TerminallyDependentSociety being cheap]]. Detroit's self-styled reputation for building the biggest, most luxurious automobiles in the world suddenly turned into a liability as Japanese and German automakers that ''did'' put serious investment into smaller cars (UsefulNotes/{{Japan}} and UsefulNotes/WestGermany having never been able to take cheap oil for granted) took massive chunks out of the American market, chunks that Detroit has never been able to reclaim even after it started figuring out how to build good compact cars.
* On a larger scale, entire countries can see their economies revolve around a single resource, to the point where they risk economic crisis in the event of a drop in commodity prices. Worse, it's a SelfFulfillingProphecy in many cases -- economists call it the [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dutch_disease Dutch disease]], after UsefulNotes/TheNetherlands saw its manufacturing sector go into a tailspin in the '60s and '70s following the discovery and exploitation of the Groningen natural gas field. Basically, as revenues from resource extraction increase, the nation's currency gets stronger, making manufacturing exports less competitive due to exchange rates (it becomes more expensive to export, and less expensive to import). The plantation economies described above are an historic example, while today, the Middle Eastern petrostates are the most famous example of this due to their ''extreme'' dependence on oil prices to remain economically afloat. For instance, only 18% of Saudi Arabia is actually employed, and they import 70% of their food. Their ''only'' notable domestic industry is petrochemicals. Large countries with greater pools of commodities are usually insulated by economic diversity and the sheer size of the economies, but for smaller ones, it can be a real problem.
* Local, and even national economies can be devastated if their sole means of income loses value for one reason or another:
** When the American automotive industry discovered it would be cheaper to outsource their manufacturing, Detroit, and other nearby cities in Michigan, faced a steep decline that has left these once vibrant urban communities looking like a third world slum.
** When oil prices were high, Hugo Chavez provided government subsidies for everyone on everything in UsefulNotes/{{Venezuela}}, provided they proved their loyalty to him. When oil prices dropped, a domino effect took place, and the country now faces civil unrest due to shortages of food and basic supplies, and their economy is screwed up that farmers can't afford to farm.
** The plight of the former industrial heartlands of many European countries is rather similar. They used to be their country's economic engines built on coal and steel, but due to a variety of factors, among them the increasing effort needed to mine more coal out of slowly exhausted mines they entered a decline. However, The Ruhr area in Germany seems to be on the course of successfully reinventing itself even while other similar regions are still facing problems with no clear sign of an end.
* Creator/ECComics star "Ghastly" Graham Ingels is considered one of the best horror comic artists in history...unfortunately he specialized a little ''too'' much in horrible grotesque imagery; when horror comics got banned in the fifties, he was unable to adapt to a more family-friendly style and his career quietly died.
* In UsefulNotes/{{Tennis}}, the French Open aka Roland Garros takes place on clay courts that favor defenders due to their slowness and high bounce giving players more time to reach the ball and return it in ways difficult for their opponent to hit. Because of this, it was historically considered to be the hardest Grand Slam to win with many great players' tactics being ill-suited for the clay surface... and many French Open champions are clay-court specialists who have performed ''poorly'' at other Slams, until more recent times. A good example is Rafael Nadal, who has won Roland Garros ''ten'' times (as of 2017) but has had far more irregular performances in other courts.
* UsefulNotes/{{Baseball}} has the concept of the "Mendoza Line", a minimum level of batting average competency below which a player's presence in the major leagues is very difficult, if not impossible, to justify no matter how good defensively he is (pitchers are exempt because their trade is extremely specialized, and in the DH-rule American League they don't normally bat at all). The most common cutoff is .200, though definitions can vary from .190 to .220[[note]]For comparison, someone batting .300 is considered an excellent hitter and .400 is legendary (the last MLB player to hit .400 in a season was Hall-of-Famer Ted Williams in 1941)[[/note]]. It's named after Mario Mendoza, who played in the mid-1970's to early 1980's and was a very good defensive shortstop but was definitely not good at the plate (several seasons saw him with sub-.200 averages, though in the last couple of years of his career after the term began gaining traction in baseball circles he did get a little better and by the end his career average was .215). Anyone with a more extreme imbalance in defensive and offensive capabilities is going to fall into this trope and isn't likely to remain in the big leagues for long.
* Tends to happen to railroad vehicles at times.
** The West German class 103 is a six-axle electric express train locomotive. Introduced in 1970 (four prototypes came in 1965 already), it used to be one of the most powerful single-section locomotives at its time, but it was actually designed to haul first-class intercity and Trans-Europ-Express trains with five to seven cars and needed its power for high acceleration at high speeds of up to 200 [=km/h=]. These trains were introduced in 1971, but they ceased to exist only eight years later when the first-class Intercity trains were turned into two-class trains with usually ten to twelve cars, sometimes even a few more, which operated twice as frequently. The 103 wasn't made to endure that, so by the mid to late 1980s, the locomotives were worn out. Using them on slower local trains (while giving some of the heavy Intercity trains to its half as strong predecessors which wore out even quicker) turned out to be a bad idea because constantly running them below 160 [=km/h=] led to damages, not to mention that it was uneconomical. Nonetheless, they carried on hauling fast Intercity and [=InterRegio=] trains until shortly after the millennium when they were displaced by the class 101 and new ICE [[UsefulNotes/HighSpeedRail high-speed trains]].
** High-comfort and luxury trains in general. Their rolling stock often becomes useless when they're phased out, mostly it's too expensive in service and seats too few paying passengers for cheaper train classes.\\
For example the Trans-Europ-Express trains: They started in 1957 with four brand-new purpose-built classes of Diesel trains or [=DMUs=]. When more and more [=TEEs=] were changed to locomotive-hauled trains in the 1960s, it became increasingly difficult to use the "old" rolling stock. For example, Germany used its trains as national Intercity trains for a while and as touristic trains in the 1980s, but Switzerland and the Netherlands sold their identical trains to Canada. The dome cars that were introduced to the ''Rheingold'' in 1962 and the ''Rheinpfeil'' in 1963 could barely be used on any other trains, so after the ''Rheinpfeil'' ceased to exist in 1979 and the ''Rheingold'' was reformed one last time in 1983, the Deutsche Bundesbahn had to sell them to a private operator of touristic trains that eventually sold them to Switzerland. Bar cars in general (these dome cars had a bar, too) were standard in German [=TEEs=] but used nowhere else, so when the TEE network began to crumble around 1980, had no more use for them. France had the probably most comfortable TEE cars of all, the Grand Confort cars which made up most of their national [=TEEs=]. When these disappeared, they all fell into disuse and were eventually sold to Cuba.
** Banking locomotives were built to push heavy trains uphill on steep ramps. They were often big, heavy, powerful and rather slow. Eventually, however, the locomotives that pulled the trains became powerful enough so that bankers weren't necessary anymore. Now where else to use them? They were too slow for regular main line services, too heavy for branch lines and too big and cumbersome for switching. Thus, sometimes entire classes of banking locomotives were scrapped when they weren't even old.
** The three Chesapeake & Ohio M-1 steam turbine locomotives were the largest passenger train steam locomotives ever built. They were meant to haul a new express train from the East Coast to Cincinnati, the ''Chessie''. However, not only were these locomotives so complicated that finding any faults was difficult at best but the ''Chessie'' was simply nixed before its inauguration. Since the Chesapeake & Ohio had no other heavy express train lines, and these monsters weren't good for anything else, the M-1 were scrapped before they were even two years old.
** While one would think that in the era of open borders and (once more) increasing interest in rail as a mode of transport and travel all throughout Europe, running trains across borders would be easier than ever. Unfortunately, it isn't. And this trope is partially to blame. Back in the day the majority of all trains were locomotive hauled and at least steam locomotives had to be changed at quite regular intervals anyway. So at each border the locomotive was simply switched while customs and border control did their thing and the train would drive on. Nowadays however, the vast majority of all long distance trains are electrical multiple units, which means you ''can't'' switch out the locomotive. So the voltage matters and there are only a handful of borders in Europe where the voltage is the same on both sides. Furthermore, there are various systems by which the train "communicates" with the track (in lieu of traditional signals) - those were invented several times in different countries and they are mostly not compatible with one another. The European Union has seen this problem decades ago and tried to introduce some common standards, but on the one hand an existing system is hard to change from and on the other hand during the period of transition trains have to be capable of both the old and the new system. So there are trains that have to be capable to handle three or four different voltages and three or four different safety standards, which is of course ''possible'', but it is not ''cheap''. The whole thing becomes even more dicey when any European rail manufacturer wants to sell trains abroad, especially when they want to sell to the US, which has unique regulations for practically all aspects of railroading.
* The Roman legions were undoubtedly the best heavy infantry of their time and won Rome countless victories. But their strength came at the expense of the other branches of the military. Roman cavalry were, while highly trained, more of a scouting force and relatively few in number, and what archers and light infantry they had was usually composed of foreign auxiliaries, who had less training and, more importantly, a lot less reason to stand and fight if the going got tough than the Romans did. This specialization directly led to a number of spectacular defeats:
** At [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Cannae Cannae]], it was the crushing defeat of the Roman cavalry by their African opponents that allowed Hannibal to execute his brilliant encirclement maneuver against an army that still heavily outnumbered his own forces.
** During the Roman invasion of Parthia in 53 BC, Roman cavalry and skirmishers were once again utterly inadequate for defending against the constant harassment by Parthian horse archers. When the bulk of the Parthian army was finally engaged at [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Carrhae Carrhae]], the Romans were already at the breaking point due to lack of supplies and attrition, and the highly mobile Parthian cavalry force easily exploited gaps in the slow-moving Roman formations.
** In the [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Teutoburg_Forest Battle of the Teutoburg Forest]], the Romans were attacked in terrain that rendered their traditional heavy infantry tactics largely useless. Worse, much of the auxiliary light infantry that was supposed to screen their extremely vulnerable flanks owed their loyalty more to the Germanic chieftain Arminius than to Rome and either let German raiders slip through the lines or actively joined in the slaughter.
* The Parthians themselves later fell prey to this trope in the first century, as they only had cavalry and most generals weren't smart enough to bring with them large numbers of spare arrows while the Romans learned their lesson and started bringing with them adequate numbers of light infantry, armoured cavalry and even mounted archers: in about 150 years of conflict, the Parthian victories would be very few, while the Romans overran Ctesiphon (the Parthian capital) ''five times'' and being prevented from utterly annexing the Parthians due being overstretched. Their Sasanid successors would fare much better (while ultimately defeated and weakened to the point the Arabs could overran their whole empire, they resisted much longer and, right before the campaign that left them crippled, they come extremely close to ''winning'') precisely because they ''weren't'' overspecialized, supporting their cavalry with infantry (both barely-trained and lightly-equipped conscripts, good quality heavy infantry and capable archers) and war elephants (useless against the Romans but useful against other enemies).
* According to [[http://kotaku.com/the-story-behind-mass-effect-andromedas-troubled-five-1795886428 this account]] of the TroubledProduction of ''VideoGame/MassEffectAndromeda'', most of the problems that the game suffered from had to do with the fact that Creator/ElectronicArts forced Creator/BioWare to use their in-house Frostbite game engine, which by all accounts suffered mightily from this. Designed by DICE for use in the ''VideoGame/{{Battlefield}}'' games, Frostbite is, by all accounts, an excellent engine for a team that's making a FirstPersonShooter, and incredibly difficult to work with for a team that's making anything else, such as an open-world space exploration game with numerous procedurally-generated planets. [=BioWare=]'s main Edmonton team had a hard enough time programming ''VideoGame/DragonAgeInquisition'' to work with Frostbite, and their inexperienced B-team in Montreal just was not up to the task, spending much of production just figuring out workarounds with Frostbite while finding themselves forced to [[WhatCouldHaveBeen scale back their ambitious plans for the game]].
* Overfitting problem in machine learning is basically this: the learning algorythm creates a [[ComplexityAddiction very complex hypothesis]] that fits the learning data set perfectly but fails to generalize on any data outside it. It can be showed with [[https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/68/Overfitted_Data.png/300px-Overfitted_Data.png this image]] where the blue line is the result of an overfit hypothesis.
[[/folder]]
----

to:

* ''Disney/{{Zootopia}}'': The ranks of the ZPD are filled with animals of various sizes. Extra Large (elephants, rhinos, polar bears), Large (lions, tigers), Medium (rams, wolves) and Small (bunny[[spoiler:,fox]]). The trope comes into play when the responding or assigned officer is inappropriate for the task at hand. During the Weaselton chase, Judy is clearly better suited for pursuit than Officer [=McHorn=]. Yet later in the movie, Judy is shown struggling to provide crowd control at Gazelle's peace rally.
* ''Film/HappyGilmore'': The titular character, in both his sports. His hockey suffers when he builds his slapshot to the exclusion of all else, and his golf game suffers when he refuses to train his short game and relies on his extremely long drive. He gets better at the golf side and accepts training, though.
* In ''Film/QuigleyDownUnder'', Marston assumes Quigley's refusal to carry a backup weapon to his extended rifle and dismissal of revolvers as something he "never had much use for" mean that he's only effective at sniping. [[spoiler:Averted. Quigley is actually a damn good shot with a revolver. He just prefers the rifle.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Jokes]]
* A man was working in an office overlooking a park. Over the course of a day he saw two city park workers - one would dig a hole, and then the other would fill it in. This went on all morning, so the man wandered down on his lunch break to ask about it. "Well," said one of the workers "I dig the holes, Charlie puts the tree in, and then Bob here fills them in. Thing is, Charlie's sick today."
** Funnily enough, this is a bit TruthInTelevision at times: sometimes union rules make it so that the guy who ''drives'' the truck isn't allowed to ''take the box off the truck'' and must wait for the one who can to arrive - useful to keep people from being pressed into doing a ton of work that is outside what was agreed to, for little or no further compensation, but sometimes in certain situations it can get [[ObstructiveBureaucrat crazy nitpicky]].
** Less charitably, some unions and other organizations invoke this trope to create jobs. The term is [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Featherbedding feather-bedding]].
** This can even be as specific as the type of joints/connections used in a desk or other furniture. This can lead to situations where the first worker disassembles the desk partially, then finds a joint he's not certified to work with; they then call in someone else to undo that joint; the first worker comes back and finishes disassembling it; then another worker packs it up and moves it to the new location; the first worker starts to reassemble it; the second worker assembles the problem connection; and finally, the first worker finishes assembling the desk. That's seven steps to move a single desk, involving at least three different workers. And they wonder why costs are so high....
* Finnish joke: Why do the Finnish police officers always go on pairs? One can read and the other can write.
** Subversion: Why do the Soviet militsiya go in three? One can read, one can write and one watches those dangerous intellectuals.
* An old [[RussianHumour Russian joke]]: what's narrow medical specialization? Two nurses giving a person an enema; the first one knows ''how'' and the second one knows ''where''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* In Creator/LewisCarroll's ''Literature/ThroughTheLookingGlass'', Humpty Dumpty is an expert on words and definitions, so much that he claims to be able to assign definitions to words and make them mean anything he pleases (literally). However, he seems to be very bad at math; when Alice tells him that 365 minus one equals 364, he asks her to do that out on paper so he can be sure. (Contrariwise, it could be Alice and the readers are ''wrong'' about the sum's total in a world running on dream logic. We don't get to find out.)
* Used in Creator/PhilipKDick's short story "The Variable Man": the eponymous man is a jack-of-all-trades tinker picked up from the past by scientists in a highly specialized future. They need him to fix something that no one has the specialization for.
* ''The Literature/BookOfSwords'' has three primary examples. The first being the sword of heroes, which if not used against dragons just acts like a very well crafted sword. The second is the sword of siege, which if not used against earth or stone, acts likewise. This is from a series of books where comparatively speaking, the most powerful of these swords had the power to kill deities. Since every sword has a NecessaryDrawback, Overspecializing also seems like not too big a deal after a while... [[spoiler:until the wielder of Shieldbreaker needs to fight unarmed opponents.]]
* In ''Literature/{{Lensman}}'' the overspecialised ships are frequently either laden down with defence shield generators ("I can't hurt you but you can't hurt me") or all weapon (frequently one ''big'' WaveMotionGun style weapon) and tend to accompany each other in large groups. The fleet flagship, ''Directrix'', is all combat-management and defence shields but never goes out and about without an englobing escort of [[MightyGlacier Maulers]].
* Happens to some [[WitchSpecies Insequent]] in ''[[Literature/TheChroniclesOfThomasCovenant The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant]]''. They gain their powers through knowledge, so an Insequent who studies only one or two specific things may be powerless in situations not involving them. For example, [[EvilSorcerer the Harrow]] has made a study of [[TheUndead the Demondim]] and related creatures, meaning he can tear through them like wet tissue paper all day - but he [[BigBadWannabe goes down like a chump]] against [[spoiler:a Kastenessen-powered Roger Covenant]].
* In the sci-fi book ''Literature/{{Matched}}'' this is one of the main tenets of the Society. Nobody learns anything but what they have to know, including of the past. The Society chose 100 of the best of everything from the past for everyone to know about. They also even extended this to choice, in that nobody should have to choose anything that they don't know about.
* ''Literature/MyDarkAndFearsomeQueen'': Thalia is a goddess of unimaginable power. The only catch is, to use her power she has to chant an incantation, and the more precision required, the longer the chant becomes. In a rapidly changing battlefield situation, she's practically useless unless you want to crush everything in a mile radius.
* The cruiser ''Literature/HonorHarrington'' commanded in the first book of her series had been refitted as a testbed around a nigh-unstoppable weapon, however the reduction in normal weapons load and extreme short range of the prototype weapon meant the only way the ship was effective in combat against an equal or larger opponent was to either somehow to sneak in close enough to fire the weapon, or pray the ship could hold together long enough on an near-inevitable suicide run to get close enough to fire the weapon. But then, ''Fearless'' was intended to be used as a testbed for additional development and testing work. It was not intended to be used in a actual battle until [=BuWeaps=] had worked out enough of the bugs to make it practical. Too bad the First Space Lord didn't get the memo...
** This is stated to be the problem with the ''jeune ecole'', who believe that any new development completely change the paradigm of warfare, instead of simply shifting it (mirroring the RealLife Jeune Ecole, who insisted on building only small torpedo ships instead of heavily-armored cruisers).
* Discussed in Jean Auel's ''Literature/EarthsChildren'' series. Woolly mammoths, by becoming so specialized and adapted to such a narrow climate range, ensured they'd survive and exploit a unique niche on the dry, cold ice age tundra, but such specialization also meant that warmer, wetter climates would be utterly devastating. Furthermore, the Neanderthal Clan was in danger of becoming extinct because the men could not learn how to gather and cook food and the women could not learn how to make weapons and hunt, which was why they had to live together in groups. A lone Neanderthal was a dead Neanderthal.
* Creator/RobertAHeinlein's ''Literature/TimeEnoughForLove'' contains the opinion that specialization is sub-human:
-->'''Lazarus Long''': "A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."
* ''Literature/WorldWarZ'' this appears to be one of the reasons the initial outbreak wipes out human armies, shown with the US Army specifically. Modern military thinking is no good against an enemy that can be neither shocked nor awed, and their standard tactics like targeting center of mass, dropping bombs, and setting targets on fire betray them. However, more detailed analyses by readers with actual military knowledge reveals that the zombies happen to be coated in PlotArmor, and Brooks {{nerf}}s standard weapons against them. Also, he has the military hold off on weapons that can effectively turn most squishy targets to paste from miles away until the Zacks are in visual range. Not to mention the military suddenly forgetting everything it knew about the Zacks from the black ops they mentioned, and not learning about their resistance to explosives from the Israelis either. The military also does a number of things that just ''stupid'', like setting up their fire base without making any attempt to secure it (and sure enough the entire area is infested). [[RuleOfDrama In reality]], the military would've rolled right over the Zacks.
* The ''Lancer''-class frigate from the ''Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse'' was specifically designed as a counter to the starfighter-heavy Rebel Alliance/New Republic fleet. It's a 250-meter ship [[BeamSpam bristling with laser cannons]], intended as a flak boat to protect other capital ships. Unfortunately, in addition to being [[AwesomeButImpractical too expensive and manpower-intensive]], it had no heavy weaponry for fending off capital ships, so most admirals eschewed it in favor of expendable TIE screens.
* ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime'':
** This is Aginor/Osan'gar's main obstacle towards being an effective villain. As a [[FunctionalMagic channeler]] he's overwhelmingly powerful (among the [[QuirkyMinibossSquad Forsaken]] he's behind only [[TheDragon Ishamael]] and maybe [[TheStarscream Lanfear]]), but he's really only good at doing one thing- using {{magitek}} to [[EvilutionaryBiologist make monsters]]. Problem is that while this made him essential to the Shadow in the Age of Legends, in the [[AfterTheEnd modern world]] the necessary magitek no longer exists, and every time he's in a straight fight he tends to [[UnskilledButStrong attack a lot]] ineffectively before getting [[CurbStompBattle curbstomped]]. He ends up dying having been one of the least effective Forsaken.
** {{Subverted}} by the minor character Androl Genhald. His talent at magic is very weak, with one exception: he can create larger [[TeleportersAndTransporters gateways]] than much stronger channelers could with ease. Many of the other magic-users mockingly name him "Pageboy" since all he's good for (that they know of) is carrying messages over long distances. However, this turns out to be an ''incredibly'' versatile skill with [[PortalCombat many offensive applications]]. Besides {{Tele Frag}}ging and {{Portal Cut}}ting enemies, being able to open a portal leading to a subterranean reservoir of pressurized magma with a thought is at least as useful as being able to cast {{Fireballs}}.
* In Creator/PhilipJoseFarmer's ''Literature/TheLovers'', the main character is a professional Jack of all Trades (JOAT). His whole job is to make sure that medical research specialists know about advances in other fields that can be applied to their specialty.
* In ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'' novel ''Literature/ProvenGuilty'', Daniel escapes from Hammerhands by climbing into the treehouse, figuring his handless pursuer can't follow him up a ladder.
* In ''The Book of Five Rings'', UsefulNotes/MiyamotoMusashi criticizes at great length schools who teach only one weapon, or whose style relies on the use of a specific weapon. This overemphasis leaves the fighter unable to use the most advantageous weapon(s) available for the circumstances. He even discouraged over-reliance on the [[DualWielding nitouken]] form, which he had formulated.
* In ''Literature/SkulduggeryPleasant'', the eponymous character goes up against an opponent with ridiculously overdeveloped fire magic. After that opponent fell into a river during the fight and ''literally dissolved'' due to an extreme weakness to water, Pleasant explains to the protagonist that becoming strong in one area of magic necessitates a corresponding weakness to its opposite. Could also count as a case of ElementalRockPaperScissors.
* The Tanith First-And-Only of ''Literature/GauntsGhosts'' are '''scarily''' effective in their specialties of stealth, scouting and infiltration, with the events of ''Traitor General'' being the most comprehensive example of their skill. Unfortunately the Imperial Guard mostly just [[WeHaveReserves throws people in the meat grinder]] and hope they come out with fewer casualties than the enemy, with the Ghosts frequently getting slaughtered. This is most apparent in the trench warfare in ''Straight Silver'', and the siege battle in ''Only In Death''.
* Three examples from ''Literature/TheElenium'' and ''Literature/TheTamuli'' by David Eddings:
** When the Zemochs first encountered The Church Knights and their heavy armor in combat, they didn't understand that the purpose of it was protection; they simply knew it made the enemy look fearsome, so they made their own armors with serrated blades and other imposing-looking additions. This caused two problems: it still didn't provide any protection, and all the protrusions served to help ''guide'' weapons to vulnerable spots.
** In ''Literature/TheSapphireRose'' when the hero's party are approaching the villain's stronghold, they come across a rank of warriors in armor in formation. Upon engaging them, they figure out that they're actually animated suits of armor and are scarily effective at combat, but never break formation, leading them to figure out that they've been enchanted to guard ''the flagstone they're standing on''. One careful trip through and one errant shove to send the armors into each other and the way was clear.
** In ''The Tamuli'', the Cyrgai were a [[ProudWarriorRaceGuy proud warrior race]] that pretty much stomped everyone they came across until they ran into [[LinearWarriorsQuadraticWizards the Styrics]], who soundly defeated them and then cursed their land so that any Cyrgai who left their borders would die. The Cyrgai had access to half-breeds that got around this limitation, and the leaders ordered their soldiers to focus on producing more of them, which they did...to the exclusion of producing more of their own. Their women were too old to bear children by the time this was figured out, leading to them having ''bred themselves out of existence'' if not for divine intervention.
* ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'': This is one of the reasons why Harry was able to defeat [[spoiler:Hannah Ascher]] in ''Literature/SkinGame'' even though [[spoiler:she is far better than Harry with fire magic. While she is strong and having her magic capabilities buffed by Lasciel she is both inexperienced and is, most importantly, only thinking [[AttackAttackAttack offensively]]]]. This is in [[{{Foil}} contrast]] to Harry, who is both experienced in magical combat ''and'' experienced in fighting both offensively and defensively which means he is able to [[spoiler:block and redirect Hannah's magic towards the roof of the cave, resulting in several tons of rock falling on top of her]]. This is partially subverted in that Harry is explicitly stated to have more raw power than Hannah Ascher, her inexperience and overspecialisation creates a problem for her only because they're fighting indoors and she's throwing around crazy amounts of fire. Harry beats her by taking advantage of that but he also demonstrates that he can just blast her out of his way with magical brute force.
* A number of the superpowers in ''Literature/WildCards'' count. Even aces and jokers who get really useful powers often find that there's only so many situations they actually use them.
** Veronica, who has the power to induce crippling fear and weakness in men... but ''only'' in men. Cue her getting the shit kicked out of her by a female supervillain who's also a trained fighter.
** Sewer Jack is a shapeshifter. A shapeshifter who only has one other form. Said form is the form of a big alligator. He doesn't find many uses for his power beyond swimming and biting things.
* A North-Going Zax and a South-Going Zax meet head-on in the story "The Zax" from "Sneetches and Other Stories" by Dr. Seuss. Since both stubbornly refuse to take even a single step to the East or West, both are still stuck in place at the end of the story, which is at least long enough for a highway overpass to be built over them.
* Benedikt of ''[[Literature/{{Quarters}} The Quartered Sea]]'' is the best damn [[MagicMusic Singer]] of [[ElementalPowers water]] in all of Shkoder, but he can't sing any other quarter at all, which has severely hampered his career and left him socially isolated from his fellow bards. But it makes him a natural choice as a crew member for a seagoing exploration ship.
* ''Literature/TheStormlightArchive'': Every individual Order of the Knights Radiant had its own role, and stepping too far outside that role could cause them to lose their powers. In ''Literature/WordsOfRadiance'', Kaladin wants to punish Amaram (and to a lesser extent Sadeas), but Syl repeatedly points out that Windrunners protect the innocent--punishing the guilty is a job for a Skybreaker. Unfortunately, there aren't any Skybreakers around, so Kaladin keeps trying to find ways to justify striking back, both to himself and to Syl.
* Ronnie Cheung of ''Literature/TheGoneAwayWorld'' stops ''just'' short of this trope:
-->Ronnie had made a choice about how far down the road of becoming a human killing machine he was prepared to go, and allowing his training to warp his body to the point where he was in some measure ''only'' suited to that task was exactly where he drew the line.
** The narrator notes this when he discovers that [[spoiler:Humbert Pestle]] did ''not'' stop short of this trope. Unfortunately, he discovers this when [[spoiler:Pestle]] attacks him, so it's not as helpful as it might be.
* In ''Literature/TheHungerGames'', Katniss notes that while Careers are bred and trained for the actual combat, which is why they have a disproportionate number of victories, their FatalFlaw is that they are completely incapable of surviving without supplies, almost always losing when the supplies at Cornucopia are destroyed. [[spoiler:Naturally, Katniss decides to use this fact to her advantage and does the same.]]
* In ''Literature/KonoSubarashiiSekaiNiShukufukuO'', this is basically the reason why Kazuma's team is such a handful.
** Fitting for a goddess, Aqua's Arch-Priest abilities are top-notch, [[TurnUndead able to purify even the most powerful undead effortlessly]]. Thanks to the devotion of her followers, Aqua has access to virtually unlimited mana reserves, allowing her to cast deity-tier water and healing spells like Resurrection with ease. Unfortunately, the party rarely encounters any undead, and most of the creatures they face are resistant to water attacks.
** Megumin is an exceptionally skilled and powerful mage, but can only use one spell per day because she refuses to expend her mana for anything other than the extremely taxing Explosion. Using that spell drains her to the point that she collapses from exhaustion and needs to be carried.
** Darkness is a Crusader with ludicrously high strength, endurance, and defence stats, but is absolutely terrible at hitting things with her weapon.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/GameOfThrones'':
** In the Season 3 Blu-ray ''Histories and Lore'', Littlefinger reasons that the true cause of the Targaryens' downfall was their reliance on dragons and their obsession with reclaiming this advantage after the dragons died out, though Varys counters that they continued ruling quite stably for more than a century.
** The Unsullied are supposed to be heavy infantry without peer, famed for their utterly impenetrable spear walls. When they're deployed patrolling city streets however, they're easily overcome by untrained guerillas with daggers.
** While he's perfectly cunning and intelligent for a warrior, Jaime has built his entire life, career, reputation, and self-respect around being one of the best ''swordsmen'' in the kingdom... who then loses his sword hand early in Season 3.
--> '''Jaime:''' It's a good thing I am who I am. I'd have been useless at anything else.
* The fact that the ''Series/{{Lexx}}'' has no other weapons or defenses apart from its planet-shattering WaveMotionGun have caused plenty of trouble to the protagonists over the course of the series. Could be justified, if His Divine Shadow wanted it easily re-taken if it ever fell into the wrong hands. (Which, in fact, it did.) Presumably it would've had escort ships along to defend it if it'd ever been used as intended.
* On ''Series/GoodEats'', one of host Alton Brown's real pet peeves is "unitaskers" -- kitchenware with precisely ''one'' use, which he dislikes for wasting space and usually having larger price tags. Alton's said that the only single-purpose item he'll allow in his kitchen is the fire extinguisher...and then during the 10th Anniversary Special, he finds another use for it: [[http://youtu.be/WWhjgX33wtU making (carbonated) smoothies.]]
* Unlike previous ''Franchise/SuperSentai'', the team in ''Series/KaizokuSentaiGokaiger'' have no inherent special powers, instead relying on the powers of their predecessors via the Ranger Keys. This came to bite them in the ass when, in the first movie, the Keys were stolen from and used against them, leaving the Gokaigers to fend for themselves. It was only fortunate that their direct predecessor team, ''Series/TensouSentaiGoseiger'', were able to help get their powers back. (For the uninitiated, the Gokaigers' basic arsenal only consisted of a Gokai Saber and Gokai Gun each at the time.) Later averted in the series itself when the keys were stolen again, but the team got them back themselves, even beating copies of their suited forms in the process.
* In ''Series/{{Thunderbirds}}'', Thunderbird 3 is the only one that can go into space and Thunderbird 4 is the only one that can go underwater, but that's ''all'' they can do, and while underwater rescues [[ThisLooksLikeAJobForAquaman happen far more often than they really should]] space rescues only happen two or three times in the entire series. In most rescues this leaves Scott and Virgil in Thunderbirds 1 and 2 to do almost all of the work while Alan and Gordon mostly just assist them.
* On ''Series/TheSingOff'', after the least technically proficient groups have been weeded out, the groups that are very skilled in one particular style of music and have a hard time adapting that style to incorporate other influences are usually the next eliminated, as versatility is something the judges value very highly.
* Similarly, after ''Series/RuPaulsDragRace'' weeds out the least impressive queens, the next queens eliminated tend to be the ones who are so specialized in a certain skill, such as lip-syncing or stunning fashion, that they usually stumble in areas outside their expertise. The winners of the competition as well as the most popular ones with the fans are queens that tend to have a variety of skills, but still have a specialty.
* In ''Series/VanHelsing'': Axel has rigged up numerous defenses for the hospital. The final one is a corridor filled with UV lamps, something no vampire can pass. [[spoiler:A human, [[HoistByHisOwnPetard specifically a former vampire turned human by Vanessa]], however can easily walk down the hall and smash the lights, allowing the vampires to safely advance behind him.]]
* ''Franchise/TheFutureIsWild'' has a quite literal example with the Terabytes, termite-like insects. They're divided into separate castes which are very good at what they do (gum-spitters trap the [[{{Planimal}} Garden Worms]] the Terabytes harvest algae from, water-carriers store water, rock-borers do the burrowing, transporters carry stuff, queens lay eggs), but almost all of them save the transporter caste either have ''no legs at all'' or vestigal legs, and require the transporters to carry them around. Transporters have it less overspecialized since they're also capable of cutting off the algae appendages of Garden Worms.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* In TabletopGame/{{Chess}}, conventional CharacterTiers rate Bishops as equal to Knights, though Bishops are actually the better pieces in a lot of positions because of their long movement range and ability to defend squares either adjacent or on the opposite side of the board. They are, however, overspecialized in that they can never move through or onto any square of opposite color to their starting place, which can lead to "bad Bishop" positions, in which a Bishop is trapped behind chains of allied Pawns on squares of the same color.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}''
** The [[SpaceElves Eldar]] have this as their Hat. Each Eldar going down the Path of the Warrior dedicates themself to one Aspect of war at a time; Dark Reapers deal long-ranged death to enemy heavy infantry, Striking Scorpions can unleash enough close combat attacks to cut through hordes of light infantry, and so on. But while each type of Aspect Warrior may excel in its battlefield role, they're usually screwed if put up against a different type of threat, so those Dark Reapers won't last long in close combat, while hostile heavy infantry can shrug off the Striking Scorpions' flurry of attacks. The saying goes that if you pit five Space Marines against five Eldar, four of the Eldar will die while the survivor single-handedly cuts down the Space Marines, because that's what she was trained for.
** The Tau have some of the best guns in the game, and its military focuses on getting the most out of them, but the race is just pathetic in close combat. The Tau have recognized this at least and can bring in allied alien auxiliaries that are better-suited for melee, but even so, those close combat "specialists" would be considered mediocre at best in any other army and are better at counter-charging than leading an assault.
*** The Tau caste system means that every Tau in the setting is trained to be good at combat (Fire), diplomacy (Water), piloting (Air), engineering/research (Earth) or leadership (Ethereal) - and is not expected to develop skill outside their assigned field. This is particularly notable among the Air Caste, who have been so purpose-bred that they actually have extremely fragile bones that mean that even if you were going to have them fight outside a fighter or bomber, they would die swiftly.
*** One of the Tau's auxillary species, the Kroot, takes this in a very unusual direction. To make things short, Kroot have LegoGenetics that allow them to [[CannibalismSuperpower absorb useful genes from consumed prey and incoporate those genes into their own DNA, empowering themselves by replicating those traits]]. However, they suffer from a form of PowerIncontinence that means that if they keep eating that kind of meat, their [=DNA=] becomes increasingly like the creature they're eating. For example, continue eating the flesh of non-sapient herbivores, and a Kroot will ''become'' a non-sapient herbivore with only genetic legacy connecting it to its former Kroot state. The Kroot homeworld, Pech, has no ecosystem niche that isn't filled by some form of devolved Kroot.
** The Tyranids ran into this when the Dark Eldar finally got a new codex. One of the Tyranids' trademarks is an array of multiple-Wound, high-Toughness, monstrous creatures that turned out to be highly susceptible to Dark Eldar weaponry causing [[ChunkySalsaRule Instant Death]] or dealing Poisoned attacks that neutralize a high Toughness value.
** Within the Chaos Daemons list, each of the gods have a specific vocation: Khorne and Slaanesh are geared towards combat, but Khorne relies on a comparatively smaller number of more hard hitting attacks, allowing them to blunt through medium infantry (such as Tau and Space Marines) and vehicles, while Slaaneshi units have high initiative and a ton of rending attacks, making them more suited to hordes and really heavy infantry. Nurgle units focuses on insane durability combined with poisoned weapons to fight against high toughness creatures, but lack any sort of armor penetration needed to break through armor. Tzeentch, understandably, focuses on magic but rarely have any units good enough to support with said magic (almost every single one of their units is a squishy wizard). This means that each of the four god's daemons were designed to support another god's troops, but for those who prefered playing mono-god lists, this can leave you with one or more areas severely lacking (Slaanesh, for example, has almost no staying power, so in an objectives match they will quickly die out due to their low toughness and save. Conversely Mono-Nurgle can't do much if they're expected to annihilate their enemy, since their primary purpose is to survive and tarpit). The only exception to this is the Soul Grinder, who can be kitted out to fill several combat roles.
** This is also encouraged in tournament play. Consider a Space Marine Tactical Squad equipped with a Flamer and a Lascannon. The former is a short-ranged weapon that can be used while moving against a swarm of light infantry, while the latter is a long-ranged anti-tank weapon that can't be fired after moving. If either weapon is fired, the other is probably not in a situation to contribute anything, whereas a dedicated anti-tank or anti-infantry squad would be fighting with better efficiency against its viable targets. The rule Combat Squads was specifically made to resolve this issue; you can now split your 10-man squad into 2 5 man squads and give the melee-oriented Sergeant and assault weapon gunner to the squad most likely to run ahead, while the lascannon dude can sit back with his squad of 4 meatshields happily pounding away at enemy armour.
** Deliberately invoked by the Imperial Guard, at company level. Any Imperial Guard regiment would be trained and equipped for a single role, be it foot infantry, mounted infantry, mechanized infantry, artillery, armour, whatever. The intention being that a single company has to rely on others for combined arms warfare, and hence won't survive long going rogue.
** The Chaos Maulerfiend is a dedicated tank killer that can also pick off units without close-range anti-armour: it has multiple high-strength attacks, and can access more if you went for magma cutters over lasher tendrils, all of which hit the rear armour of a tank or other vehicle, and as an AV 12 vehicle it can eat entire squads of Eldar or Orks. However, its total lack of any ranged weapons means it's incredibly vulnerable to anti-tank fire even with its Daemonic Invulnerable save, and while it has much better stats than a random infantryman, its Initiative and Weapon Skill are below those of a Space Marine Dreadnought or Chaos Helbrute, meaning that a one-on-one duel with another melee walker is unlikely to end well for it.
** The Adeptus Mechanicus will take a dive into this trope when [[GodzillaThreshold things get dire enough]] by actually innovating and building an Ordinatus, a gigantic war machine that is more or less built around a ludicrously huge and powerful piece of armament specialized ''only'' to the conflict at hand, and rarely if ever see use again due to fear of losing them because they were used for the wrong problem. Of course, the advantage of building a superweapon around a conflict is that it'll usually be won right afterwards; you may not get to use that fortress-cracking sound-cannon, Titan-melting plasma gun or DrillTank that can carry entire companies of guardsmen again, but whatever you needed it for will never again be a problem.
** The Admech deliberately invoke this with their Skitarii armies on the fly. "Doctrina Imperatives" transmitted from distant command centres specialize their troops towards shooting or melee to a greater or lesser degree as conflicts develop. In their case, effectiveness is zig-zagged somewhat. Sure, those Vanguard may fight like old men after you finally push though the [[ImprobableAimingSkills laser-accurate volleys of rifle fire]] for a moment, but fifteen seconds later the [[WeHaveReserves second Maniple in line]] will have popped Hyperaction Protocols and fight better than the daemons of Khorne. Skitarii Primus leaders even throw thousands of their soldiers into the grinder deliberately to gather intelligence about how best to command the actual army following behind. They die gladly, as for the Mechanicus [[MartyrdomCulture "Survival is nothing, Data is All".]]
** The Bnaeblade and its sisters are all built around tackling a single problem really well: Shadowswords and Doomhammers for killing titans, Stormswords for urban warfare, Stormblades for cheaper and more mobile Shadowswords, and Baneblades for unleashing eleven barrels of hell on everything. All of them move like a morbidly obese elephant who's pregnant with triplets and can't do anything other than what they're specialized for: if, for example, a Stormsword finds something its too large to fit through but can't plow through it's dead in the water.
* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons''
** In 4th Edition, one has the option of using a significant number of their starting stat points to boost a single score to 18 (potentially a 20 if the character gets a bonus to that score from race). However, this costs such a prohibitive number of points that all the rest of that character's stats will be Below Par, at the very best. Since defenses and secondary abilities of powers are often based on scores not directly related to a class' primary attack stat, this usually leaves a character open to attack. And since many feats have ability score prerequisites, the choicest of these will often be out of reach of a character who has overspecialized a single stat. Note that this can be entirely nullified by having a well-balanced group (ie. a bard with maxed Charisma and terrible defenses in a group with many tanks/strikers will never get attacked if the group remembers to keep her in the back/center).
** D&D in general, really. For every single ability in 3.5, there's at least one way to reduce or negate the damage. Fighters who specialise in the longsword will find themselves disadvantaged against an opponent who negates all damage that isn't piercing. A sorcerer that only chooses fire spells will not have a fun time against the monster with fire immunity. Rogues dread encounters against enemies that are immune to sneak attacks (which are many). At higher levels it's not uncommon for fighters to carry multiple weapons made of many different materials, just so they can be prepared for any situation. This is one reason why LinearWarriorsQuadraticWizards is in full effect: spellcasters who prepare their spells from a list can avoid this trap by changing their spells in accordance with the situation.
*** D&D's unofficial Tier System reinforces this fact. The Top Tier classes can either learn every spell of their paradigm they come across, have access to their entire spell lists by default, or can replicate any spell in the game. (The Cleric and Druid can also function as melee on top of all that, hence the [[GameBreaker CoDzilla]] term in the metagame). The Tier Two classes are equal to the tier ones in raw power, but lack the versatility of their counterparts. As the tier thread puts it: "''If the Tier 1 classes are countries with 10,000 nuclear weapons in their arsenal, these guys are countries with 10 nukes. Still dangerous and world shattering, but not in quite so many ways.''"
** In 4e, the selection of attack powers available at each level - and this applies to several fighting and magic using classes - can differ between direct attacks that affect one opponent (the sin qua non of the "striker") and area of affect attacks (bursts and blasts) that can damage many targets. The latter tend to do less damage and may not have as good a hit chance as the former. Without a mix, a character can be vulnerable to either solo monsters or minions.
** Many powergamers in all TTRPGS, but especially D&D, who have their pet "broken" builds run into a serious problem when faced with [=GMs=] who throw unexpected challenges at them; by relying on shattering the game in one particular place, they are vulnerable when challenged out of their depth by the GM.
* In the classic Metagaming Concepts game ''Rivets'', the premise is simple: all the people are dead, and the remaining Boppers (Battlefield Orientated Pre-Programmed Eradicator Robots) are fighting it out over the resources they need. The trouble is, these Boppers are pretty stupid, 'average IQ only slightly higher than that of most kitchen appliances'. Each player has to choose what type of unit each type of unit attacks. That's right. You don't program an individual unit, you program a type of unit to go after another type of unit. If you're attacked by a unit you're not programmed to attack, you're screwed. You can, however, reprogram them, but that means bringing every one of that unit type back to your base/factory.
* In the ''Literature/{{Dragonlance}}'' mythos, one legend says the wizard Magius fell in battle as the Orders of High Sorcery prohibited mages from carrying ''any'' weapon at the time leaving them to rely solely on magic making them defenseless if their spells and items became exhausted. Since his death mages have been permitted to carry a dagger (or staff) for defending themselves.
* ''TabletopGame/BattleTech''
** The [=BattleMechs=] are prone to this, as well as subverting this. You can either have a general jack-of-all-trades or a specialized 'Mech that's doomed once someone skips out of its range bracket. Also, under the latest rules, most (not all) 'Mech-scale weapons do only a small fraction of their regular damage to conventional infantry, which can become a problem at those distances where the infantry can actually shoot ''back''. {{Justified|Trope}} in that 'Mechs are meant to used in concert (IE, fire-support standing ''behind'' the close-assault mechs, scouts staying in cover and acting as spotters for long-distance artillery, high-speed mechs flanking while the main assault force holds the enemies' attentions, etc.). Individual 'Mechs are specialists; the military units they make up are intended to be balanced. Then the Clans showed up with their versatile [=OmniMech=] designs and the Inner Sphere soon caught up and started reverse-engineering captured Clan [=BattleMechs=] in order to compete with their advanced technology. Though [=OmniMechs=] themselves also do have their limitations as well, one being that they are not fully modular, which can hamper potential configurable designs for a would-be creative pilot.
** One of the earliest Subversions of this is the Stalker-class Assault Battlemech, which carries both large and medium lasers, as well as both Long and Short range missiles, giving it the ability to fight at ''every'' range. Ironically, it's the most well-rounded mech of it's time despite having ''no ballistic weapons'' and relying entirely on energy and missile ones.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Exalted}}''
** Specifically warned against in the character creation chapter of the core rulebook. Creation has a lot of different challenges to overcome, and you'll be lucky if you're just bored if you don't have a charm that's useful to the situation. Also, it's kinda frustrating having to start a new charm tree from the relatively weak and boring prerequisite charms when you've reached the "total powerhouse" stage of your career. (Other advice: buy the "increase your hit points" charm at least once.)
** The Primordials, the transcendently powerful beings that created the setting, each have their own themes, and are absolutely all-powerful, invincible, and unassailable within those themes; Authochthon is the Craftsman, Malfeas is the King, She Who Lives In Her Name is the Organizer, the Ebon Dragon is the Corrupter, etc. The thing is, each Primordial is not only absolutely helpless outside of those themes, but absolutely incapable of even thinking outside of them. For example, Malfeas is incapable of any kind of subtlety, compromise, or anything else that requires him to act from a position of anything less than absolute power and authority, and She Who Lives In Her Name cannot be unpredictable or spontaneous in any way.
** Applying this and its relative MinMaxing in the ''Shards of the Exalted Dream'' spinoff Burn Legend will get you curbstomped on a regular basis. The guy with Strength 5 and lots of Grapples - say, a Mugen who invests heavily in Wrestling and the linked Mugen techniques - will get his ass handed to him by a simple Whistling Stone Atemi. Burn Legend is based very heavily on TacticalRockPaperScissors, meaning that showing up as Captain Scissors is begging for everyone else to pull out their cheap, low-ranked Rock technique and smash you into a pulp.
* In ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering'' there's a branch of decks known as Combo decks that fall into this. They aim to do one specific thing using a certain combination of cards. When this thing happens [[InstantWinCondition they usually win instantly]]. If they can't get the cards in or one of them gets destroyed, they're usually left with a sub-par deck. Combo decks tend to be very good against 'raw power'/'aggro' decks because comboed cards will dismantle an equal number of individual cards without synergy (even though said cards tend to be stronger individually), and are vulnerable to control decks that systematically block or remove the components of a combo. These are popular among some casual players, who don't care nearly as much about a reliable win/lose percentage as about the fact that it's absolutely [[RuleOfFunny hilarious]] to use a finishing attack featuring an unblockable attacker whose power and toughness grow by a factor of 32 [[SerialEscalation every turn]].
* In ''Tabletopgame/YuGiOh'' you will see some decks that would be Overpowered...only if played against a specific deck. For instance, The Allies of Justice mean certain death to Light Decks, but are powerless against anything that isn't Light. In newer Generation, The Heraldic and Heraldry ace monsters (used by Tron in the anime) are the embodiment of Xyz monsters' nightmares, being able to drain their Attack, Effects, and even names. Unfortunately, many players still use Synchros and don't rely on Xyz, making these cards laughably useless against them. (Though the OneWingedAngel form of Number 69 might still be able to put a dent in anything the opponent might summon).
** Conversely, many trap and magic cards are designed specifically to revolve around a single monster. Cards that appear regularly on the show, such as Dark Magician, Kuriboh, and Blue-Eyes White Dragon tend to have numerous trap and magic cards devoted specifically to them. It's very possible for someone overspecialize their deck and end up stuck with too many of these cards in their hand without the central monster being available or playable, a folly often demonstrated by AI players in the video games that are based on the TCG.
** Many archetypes, especially after the Extra Deck became central, tend to have their Main Deck focus on getting to the Extra Deck as quickly and often as possible. This results in them being completely unable to do much of anything when the Extra Deck is inaccessible for some reason (for instance, [[http://yugioh.wikia.com/wiki/Dimensional_Barrier Dimensional Barrier]] or [[http://yugioh.wikia.com/wiki/Crimson_Blader Crimson Blader]]), because their Main Deck is so focused on bringing out the materials for their summons that the materials can't do anything. Gimmick Puppets are a good example; the only effect in the entire Main Deck that isn't based on summoning Level 8 monsters is Egg Head's 800 burn damage.
** The basis of 'anti-meta' decks. Usually, these decks focus specifically on countering whatever the current high tier deck(s) is, often with surprisingly effective results. However, whenever these decks end up facing other kinds of decks such as lower-tier "rogue" decks, they quickly start to fall apart.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Shadowrun}}'''s character creation mechanics have always favoured focused characters by rewarding specialization. It's generally held that a good shadowrunning team consists entirely of specialists who throw nine or more dice at a non-overlapping set of very specific skills instead of made entirely of what usually becomes {{Master Of None}}s.
** However, with minimal system mastery it is trivial to create characters who are very good at their desired specialty, and also have decent competence in some secondary skillset, averting the trope.
* BDSM decks in the erotic card game ''Furoticon''. Sadists inflict pain counters on opponents that debuff most characters but masochists treat them as buffs.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''Webcomic/EightBitTheater'':
** All the main characters have this to some degree or another, but especially BlackMage and Fighter. Black Mage is one of the most powerful and destructive casters in the setting, but is incapable of dealing with situations in any way other than simply blasting it (and often misses), and Fighter is a swordmaster who is sufficiently skilled to break the laws of reality, but has no idea how to function in all other aspects of life.
** Sarda does this on purpose with his individual spells so that they can't be used against him. For example, he has a spell that he uses to make Black Mage puke up his innards, and another to rewrite reality according to his whims. When Black Mage uses these spells, he finds out that they are, respectively, a "make Black Mage puke up his innards" spell and a "rewrite reality according to Sarda's whims" spell. Regardless of who is casting them.
--->'''Black Mage:''' When Sarda casts a spell to hurt you, and you learn that spell, '''[[MagicAIsMagicA you learn to cast a spell that hurts you.]]'''
* ''Webcomic/SaturdayMorningBreakfastCereal'' has [[http://www.smbc-comics.com/?db=comics&id=739#comic Bulletproof Man]], who is only invulnerable to bullets, and [[http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=870#comic these boxers]], who try to solve all problems by punching it. Subverted by [[http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=457#comic this witch]] who surprises an opponent relying on AntiMagic.
* ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick''
** [[spoiler:Zz'dtri]] has fine-tuned his build around countering Vaarsuvius' "blaster-caster" approach to combat. When Vaarsuvius figures out that this leaves him with a weakness to more mundane tactics, and starts fighting smart, [[http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0800.html the tables quickly turn.]]
** Vaarsuvius also suffers from this, especially in the earlier comics (later comics show more flexibility on V's part). V's a spellcaster, but [[WhenAllYouHaveIsAHammer seems to focus on the 'blow-things-up' part of magic]]. V also tends to dump other stats, meaning V has poor physical ability and charisma. As such, when faced with something that can resist direct magical assaults, V's stymied. Which happens quite a bit.
-->"Thrice-cursed Spell Resistance! It's almost like the universe is trying to deliberately force some form of arbitrary equality between those of us who can reshape matter with our thoughts and those who cannot."
** Roy encounters a half-ogre who has specialised in a very specific style of spiked chain fighting. Aside from being based on incorrect rules interpretations, he is also restricted to a very specific movement pattern, which Roy uses to maneuver him [[GravityIsAHarshMistress off a cliff to his death]].
** A spell rather than a person, but Vaarsuvius knows the spell Bugsby's Cat-Retrieving Hand, a spell that summons a giant hand that can pick up cats, and ''only'' cats. That being said, it's been useful on two separate occasions.
* The Vespiary squad in ''Webcomic/GirlGenius'' are trained to efficiently destroy some of the most dangerous creatures in the series. Against anything else they can be considered noncombatants.
* ''WebComic/DarthsAndDroids'' features Pete, a {{Munchkin}} who maxed all the skills he thought that would be useful in a space RPG campaign. As a result, he generated R2-D2, "a short, squat robot with no arms", and in {{Alternate Universe}}s he generated a bunch of other, equally useless characters.
* ''Webcomic/TwentyFirstCenturyFox'': Back in her school days, Dr. Cavor was a member of her school's orchestra. [[http://techfox.comicgenesis.com/d/20070827.html Artillery section]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Ruby Rose, the main character of ''WebAnimation/{{RWBY}}'' is an extremely talented warrior with her WeaponOfChoice [[SinisterScythe Crescent Rose]], but isn't so good ''without'' it. This has gotten her into more than one situation where she needed to fight, but didn't have Crescent Rose on hand, and so could really only try to dodge (though she did kick a Griffon to death). The Volume 5 Yang Trailer shows that Ruby actually finds fighting with her fists to be completely pointless ''because'' she has Crescent Rose and tries to ignore Yang's attempt to train her in fighting hand to hand. Ozpin calls her out in Volume 5 and forces her to train in this way.
* [[Creator/StuartAshen Chef Excellence]]: [[MemeticBadass excellent at bags]], [[JokeCharacter useless at everything else]]. Just the bags. Keep bags. Keep bags in mind. Bags, Excellence, bags. And everything will be alright.
-->''[[MadLibsCatchPhrase An Excellent Breakdown]]''
* In ''Website/{{Cracked}}'' videos, Dan O'Brien plays an [[AdamWesting exaggerated version of himself]] with encyclopedic pop culture knowledge but toally ignorant of real world history, politics, etc., except how they relate to his favoured works of fiction.
* Dr. Carlos Chronos of ''WebVideo/TheTimeGuys'' is a brilliant inventor, but can apparently only make [[TimeMachine time... items]].
* Often a deciding factor in ''WebAnimation/DeathBattle'', where often the two fighters are more or less evenly matched from a technical standpoint, but one has more variety to their abilities, particularly when the specialization of the overspecialized one happens to be something the generalist knows how to counter (such as in [[Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda Link]] vs. [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII Cloud]]) or the specialization is in something not particularly applicable to combat (such as in [[Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda Zelda]] vs. [[Franchise/SuperMarioBros Peach]]). Special mention to [[VideoGame/MortalKombat Raiden]] versus [[ComicBook/TheMightyThor Thor]] and [[Manga/FairyTail Natsu Dragneel]] versus [[Manga/OnePiece Portgas D. Ace]], where Raiden was overly specialized in electric attacks in a fight where both parties were more or less immune to electricity (and had a severe strength and durability disadvantage otherwise on top of it) and Ace was overly specialized in fire attacks in a fight where both parties were more or less immune to fire (though unlike Raiden, physically he was still enough of a matchup to hold a stalemate for a time).
* In LetsPlay/SomethingAwfulDungeonsAndDragons Let's Play, Minerelle is a character who relies on her massive Arcana roll to accomplish as much as possible. As a result of this, she isn't particularly useful in situations where she can't just throw Arcana at it till something happens. She suffers a bit from overspecializing in combat as well, since most of her attacks target the enemy's Will defense (and the one that doesn't was a fairly recent addition). As a result, whenever the party goes up against anything with an above average Will, she pretty much has no way to contribute to the battle
* In ''WebVideo/ToBoldlyFlee'', each of Terl's [[FacelessGoons crew]] is responsible for exactly one aspect of flying his ship, and there is only one crewmember assigned to each task. Therefore, [[WebVideo/TheAngryJoeShow Angry Joe]] is able to cripple Terl and Zod's offensive capabilit by shooting the one weapons officer.
* Exaggerated for laughs in the Machinima/TeamServiceAnnouncement ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6cm2iFmASBc Class Balance]]'', where the ''entire BLU team'' of ''VideoGame/TeamFortress2'' is Snipers, all of them oblivious to the fact that they're losing the King of the Hill match.
** In ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXzOaB7BaCU Demoknights and Battle-Medics]]'', the Demoknight is useless against the Sentry nest, but not against [[spoiler:performing a double kill to save the Soldier's life]]. Battle-Medic, however, is ''completely'' useless, and the Soldier rejects him.
* When the WebVideo/GameGrumps play ''[[Franchise/MobileSuitGundam Gundam: Battle Assault 2]]'', Danny spends the whole game playing as Big Zam, a titanic mobile suit who Arin admits right from the start is overpowered ("Guess what your main attack is. ''Walking''.") He spends the whole video [[CurbStompBattle literally walking all over Arin]] when he's not also playing an overpowered boss-level mobile suit, until he finally gets behind Big Zam and makes short work of him while Danny's still trying to figure out how to ''turn around''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/TheVentureBrothers'': Jefferson Twilight, Blacula Hunter. He's also got plenty of other, support skills, but YouDidntAsk.
--> And they haven't been taken by Blaculas. Though I'm not prepared to rule out Caucasian vampires.
** O.S.I. agent Headshot is a good sniper...and that's it. A rather miniscule skill-set for a secret agent.
* Combustion Man of ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'' has the unique Firebending ability to focus his energy through an eye tattoo on his forehead, and release it as explosive blasts. While incredibly powerful, it lacks any kind of versatility, and he is apparently incapable of any other techniques. It also makes him quite vulnerable, as any form of disruption to his chi (such as by a blow to the head) can disable his ability to do it. [[spoiler:Or cause him to explode]]. He is also apparently unaware of it being disrupted.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra''
** [[FictionalSport Pro-benders]] often suffer from this. While characters like Bolin and Tahno are among the top competitors in their chosen field, their sport's long-range fighting style is laughable when used in real combat. Pro-benders tend to fight as if they're still on the game field, and will sling fixed amounts of rock or water at an enemy. Get up close and a pro-bender's defense falls apart. In comparison, someone with Avatar Korra's comprehensive education in the traditional bending styles will move between long- and short-range fighting as necessary, and will use the whole environment against an enemy.
** The reverse was true when Korra first joined the Fire Ferrets. She was literally a last-minute replacement when their previous waterbender no-showed, and started out by thrashing the opposing players with highly effective attacks...that were against the rules, resulting in fouls against Korra. Just like what's good in a pro-bending isn't necessarily good in a fight, what's good in a fight isn't necessarily good in pro-bending.
** The Metalbending Police of Republic City are shown to be this. The Equalists' tactics and gear were designed to counter the Metalbender's tactics and the police got routed in every open clash between the two and there weren't enough combat oriented benders of other nations to counter them (at least until the United Military shows up). They learned from this and from season 2 on, showed a more diverse police force (including firebender Mako), backed up by members of The White Lotus (and later [[spoiler:The Airbenders]]).
** The Chi-blockers, themselves were examples of this trope for similar reasons as Ty Lee. There was plenty of fire, water and earthbenders in Republic City to prepare against, but only a handful of [[BlowYouAway airbenders]] that already use an evasive style that makes [[BadassFamily Tenzin and his children]] the hardest to take down as well as having zero experience against a fellow non-bender like [[BadassNormal Asami]], who also has one of their [[StaticStunGun gloves]] to [[HoistByTheirOwnPetard OHKO them]] at a more efficient rate than any of her teammates.
** Ming Hua has what most refer to as Psychic Waterbending because she doesn't have arms, which the water functions as instead. This gives her greater control over water than most other benders and she is far more dextrous with her water-arms than a normal person is with theirs (for example she can quickly scale the side of a cliff with her water arms alone). [[spoiler:Ming Hua is later killed because her water arms made a direct conduit to her heart, so that any electric attack against her would be instantly fatal. Prior to this, she was completely vulnerable to firebenders who specifically targeted the water around her as she has no combat ability when she can't bend.]]
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'':
** The town of Ogdenville makes nothing but barley, even their history is centered about barley. When the barley got tainted, this cause their entire business to go bust, and sent their town into a depression!
** When Milhouse tries to get the role of a boy who points in a play, he fails because the direction he's asked to point isn't the same he trained for.
** In a WesternAnimation/TreehouseOfHorror episode Homer is standing in a bunker when France launches a 6 megaton nuclear missle at Springfield. Homer is lucky that it was a 6 megatonner, because the shelter was designed for 6 megatons, "no more, no less."
* In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/WaitTillYourFatherGetsHome'', Harry drops his car off at the service garage, then comes back later to find they're not finished. Perplexed that a mechanic is standing by his car doing nothing, Harry asks why the man isn't working on it. "I only do headlights," the mechanic explains. "''Left'' headlights."
* ''WesternAnimation/FostersHomeForImaginaryFriends'' had an episode where the home was overrun with Scribbles (imaginary friends conjured up from infants), which as their name implied, were basically floating black line scribbles. Initially thought annoying and bothersome, they were shown as being very adept at doing chores, yet each Scribble could only do one task (such as washing the dishes, but not putting them away) or they "overload" and start shrieking until calmed down.
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic''
** Unicorn ponies find their magical abilities quite limited outside their special talent, as illustrated by their Cutie Mark, such as Rarity mostly being good at magic related to tailoring and illusions. Twilight Sparkle on the other hand, by virtue of having her talent be magic in general, knows a vast variety of spells, to the point where she can levitate the top of a water tower, float it through a barn full of cows (''milking the cows in the process'') and make the water tower into a makeshift baby bottle, while also causing the wind to play a lullaby.
** Twilight is cripplingly overspecialized in other ways, however. In "Winter Wrap-up" she tries to [[PaintingTheFrostOnWindows help clean up winter]] without her magic (because that's the traditional way), but because she's so used to using magic for everything, she screws up anything she tries to do physically (starting with putting on her saddle). [[spoiler:She eventually leans to non-magically contribute with her TRUE strength, that of an uber-delegating ScheduleFanatic.]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'', Bender is a bending unit, meaning he's ''very'' good at bending things, but isn't very good at anything else. In one episode, when the Robot Mafia drops an unbendable girder on Flexo, the only solution that Bender can think of is to try to bend it off of him anyway. ("Well, I don't know anything about lifting, so we only have the one option!") Miraculously, he succeeds, but falls apart in the process. On the other hand, Bender manages to pull WhenAllYouHaveIsAHammer moments from time to time, performing non-bending tasks by seeing them as being (in his words) "primitive, degenerate forms of bending".
** In one of the Tales of Interest shorts, Fry says that he's good at video games and bad at everything else. This is actually good because of the premise of the Tale of Interest, being that real life was (quite literally) like a game.
** Doctor Zoidberg is eventually revealed to ''invert'' this trope. After years of being shown to be an inept surgeon who frequently does more harm than good, it's revealed in one episode that he ''is'' in fact an incredibly gifted and ''unmatched' surgeon... for aliens. Humans are quite possibly the one species in the universe he doesn't have training for, but it's the species that he's most around.
* In ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime'', Bella Noche is a being of AntiMagic capable of neutralizing the magic of all of the wizards in Wizard City. However, when Betty managed to get to her, Bella Noche was taken down with little more than a punch.
* In one episode of ''WesternAnimation/DuckTales1987'', Big Time assaulted the Money Bin wearing an armored assault suit. Upon breaking into the vault, he's greeted by Scrooge in a tank, but isn't worried since his armor can withstand a 60 millimeter shell...only for Scrooge to reveal his tank fires ''61'' millimeter shells.
-->'''Big Time''': Whoa! That's one millimeter too many! ''(Gets blasted out of the Money Bin)''
* ''WesternAnimation/KingOfTheHill'': In "Bobby Goes Nuts", Bobby decides to win fights by [[GroinAttack kicking his opponents in the testicles]] after attending a woman's self-defense course. He eventually kicks Hank, [[YouAreGrounded who tries to ground Bobby and take away his video games]], but is still too injured. Peggy eventually goes after Bobby herself, who finds out that women don't have testicles, and is quickly taken down.
* In one ''WesternAnimation/FairlyOddParents'' short, "The Temp", when Cosmo and Wanda are away and Timmy needs a temporary fairy godparent, he finds that the temp is good at making toys. Unfortunately, toys are all he can make, which doesn't help when a fire breaks out in Timmy's room and it can't be wished away. In the end, the reason for this is because the temp turns out to be one of {{Santa Claus}}'s elves.
* In ''WebAnimation/MightyMagiswords'', the titular magiswords are magical [[OddlyShapedSword Oddly Shaped Swords]] that are usually only good for one specific function, and few can be used as, well, actual swords.
* ''WesternAnimation/StevenUniverse'':
** [[MakingASplash Lapis Lazuli]] is powerful enough to take control of ''all'' the world's ocean water and control it to her advantage, as well as [[ImaginationBasedSuperpower fashion it into various forms for combat]]...but she's pathetically weak physically-wise (by Gem standards), so in a place where there's little water to use, even a Gem like [[WeakButSkilled Pearl]] could take her down quickly since she's shown no offensive abilities that don't relate to water.
** Homeworld's [[KillerRobot shattering]] [[AttackDrone Robinoids]] possess a powerful [[WaveMotionGun laser]] that can destroy stone and [[OneHitKill shatter gems]] but they only attack if they actually detect a [[HeartDrive gem]] and creatures that lack gems (like humans) are invisible to them and they won't even fight back if one attacks them.
* In ''{{WesternAnimation/Ben 10}}'', Ripjaws is a form that is incredibly powerful underwater, being able to move incredibly quickly and having good strength, which means he can quickly turn the tide of the battle in his favor. The problem? He's almost completely useless on dry land; while he's still got incredibly powerful jaws, he needs water to ''breathe'', which makes for quite a bit of suffering when he's nowhere near a body of water.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Real Life]]
* Animals that are very well adapted to their natural environment are much more sensitive to environmental changes. This is most noticeable in apex predators, the ones that have few natural predators and are at the top of the food chain. Adaptable, preferably omnivorous animals are much more likely to survive any kind of extinction event or environmental change.
** The saber-tooths, whose massive choppers were designed for hunting large megafauna such as mastodons, woolly rhinos, and giant bison. But when the megafauna died out at the end of the ice age due to a combination of climate change and the arrival from Africa of [[ExpospeakGag an adaptable, omnivorous animal that proved to be much better at hunting large megafauna than the sabers]], the sabers were unable to adapt to a diet of smaller game, and so followed their massive prey to oblivion.
** Cheetahs, specializing in ultimate sprinting, have a very light build and not much strength compared to other large African predators. Against lions, hyenas, leopards and hunting dogs, all a cheetah can do is run. When it comes to prey, anything larger than a Thompson's gazelle is off-limits to most cheetahs (some males can become large and robust enough to take down yearling wildebeests). However, it may be subverted, as some cheetahs have learned to bring down larger prey by hunting in groups. Cheetah mothers sometimes have their cubs eaten by baboons, being unable to defend them. While baboons have an impressive build and sharp teeth, this is not something they could get away with against, for instance, a leopard. The other drawback of the speed is win or lose, the burst of speed leaves the cheetah too tired to do ''anything'' to the point that other predators can survive off stealing their kills, so the individual cheetah is always living off ''just enough'' meat to get by, if even that.
** The giant panda, which evolved in a time when there were massive forests of bamboo and becoming one of the few large animals that could the eat the stuff seemed like a good idea... before the bamboo forests started shrinking and breaking up into smaller areas, with the panda's diet effectively holding them prisoner on rapidly sinking islands. Thanks, of course, in part to Chinese bamboo farmers, and the propensity of farmers to kill things that like to eat their crops. It also doesn't help that the panda eats a vegetarian diet with what is essentially a carnivore's digestive tract. The panda in many ways represents a cascade failure of the evolutionary process, a series of "good enough" kludges that let it just barely hang on in its environment. They do however have one very important evolutionary adaptation that will pretty much ensure their survival; being adorable. [[WhatMeasureIsANonCute First priority endangered animal!]] However, this adaptation doesn't apply to ''each other'' considering their issues of either not raising their own cubs or just not interested in breeding at all due to simple apathy.
** It's speculated that crippling overspecialization is what killed off the Neanderthals. They were strong and could use tools, and their bulky bodies ensured that they could easily withstand the cold European climates they had to face. However, they required a lot of daily calories, and were primarily meat-eaters (their diets probably consisted of about 80% meat. Scientific evidence shows that Neanderthals had digestive tracts specifically evolved to digest meat). When the larger animals they relied on died off, Neanderthals couldn't adapt quickly enough and thus died off themselves. However, this may not be as true as previously thought, as examination of Neanderthal remains has shown that they actually ate a broad variety of foods based on what was available, including individuals who appear to have had almost entirely vegetarian diets. And DNA sequencing has shown that they [[BoldlyComing frequently interbred with modern humans]].
** The majority of parasites, thanks to intense competition, are absurdly specialised, most only capable of infesting one, maybe two species. Some even require passing between ''multiple species'' in order to complete its life cycle.
** The prehistoric pterosaur ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nyctosaurus Nyctosaurus]]'' was a definite example, making this trope OlderThanDirt. It was so adapted to flight that it even lost those nifty little wing claws that would have assisted with ground locomotion. Since ''Nyctosaurus'' would have to land one way or another, the way it might have walked is a subject of debate. The current theory is that ''Nyctosaurus'' used its wings like walking sticks, using them to stablize itself as it shuffles around on its hindlegs.
** It's theorized that this trope contributed to the extinction of the broad-billed parrot of Mauritius. Its surviving mainland relatives feed on hard palm seeds that have passed through the digestive tracts of larger animals, then been scavenged from dung by the parrots. On Mauritius, the chief herbivores that would have pre-digested such seeds were the dodo and the native giant tortoises, both of which were hunted to extinction in the 17th century. Together with deforestation, this doomed the parrots that depended on such animals' leavings for food.
** Other examples include the giant shark ''megalodon'', which was specially adapted to hunt giant whales in tropical or temperate waters, and went extinct when they moved into the Arctic, and the giant ratfish ''Helicoprion'', who was so ridiculously over-specialised [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helicoprion#/media/File:Helicoprion_NT_small.jpg no one is even sure what it was supposed to eat]].
* The Germans made the ultimate in crippling overspecialization during UsefulNotes/WW1 with the Paris Gun - a [[{{BFG}} mammoth gun]] that shot shells so high and so far they had to compensate for the fact that the Earth's rotation could put shells off target. While the gun's range was impressive, it burned through barrels so quickly they needed to load progressively larger shells for each shot, could only shoot around 20 shots a day, and the accuracy was so poor it only stood a chance of hitting a large city.
* During the 1930s, the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force and the Imperial Japanese Navy both demanded that their fighter aircraft be made as light as possible, [[FragileSpeedster emphasizing maneuverability and range at the expense of armour protection]]. This was complemented by a very rigorous and selective training program that produced exceptional pilots, resulting in Japanese dominance of the skies against less capable Allied pilots and their often-mediocre machines between 1940 and 1942. However, by 1943, Army Ki-43 and Navy [=A6M=] ("Zero") fighters found themselves hacked out of the sky by Allied aircraft with increasingly powerful engines, which allowed for [[LightningBruiser superb high-speed performance without sacrificing protection]]. In the process, the Japanese lost many of their carefully-trained, veteran pilots, which adversely affected the quality of future pilots, who could not benefit from the experience of their forebears. Japanese training doctrine and industrial capability simply could not keep up with the Allies; by the end of the war, they were reduced to expending their novice pilots and obsolescent aircraft in suicidal ''kamikaze'' attacks against Allied shipping, and what few experienced pilots and advanced fighters that remained could not effectively challenge Allied air superiority over their home territories.
* Conversely, the Brewster [=F2A=] Buffalo was terrible for the exact opposite reason. Built according to misguided naval requirements, the Buffalo was so overloaded with armor and equipment that it was underpowered and often ''broke'' its undercarriage when landing. Deployed by some Allied forces in the Pacific Theater during the beginning of the war, it was woefully inadequate compared to the far lighter and more agile Japanese fighters. Pilots nicknamed the plane [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast "the Flying Coffin"]] not only because it was so badly outmatched, but also because it lacked dedicated protection for the pilot.
** The [[UsefulNotes/FinnsWithFearsomeForests Finnish Air Forces]] were able to use the Brewster to good effect against Russian bombers during the Winter War, which was in large part due to the fact that they stripped off all unnecessary weight and were generally facing even more mediocre aircraft.
* In the same period, the Royal Italian Navy was crippled by two simple government decisions: the Royal Italian Air Force would get complete control on any and all aircrafts that weren't recon seaplanes (with no direct link between the fleet and the aircraft squadrons), and warship design would concentrate on speed to the expense of armour or range. This resulted in a fleet with no carriers and air support and ships that were either embarrassingly more fragile than most of their counterparts (destroyers, light cruisers and heavy cruisers) or short ranged (the ''Littorio''-class battleships, that were fast, well-armoured, better armed than even the ''Bismarck'', and extremely short ranged). This strategy was explicitly designed to combat the carrier-less French Navy.[[note]] In fact the Italian ships were designed ''specifically'' to take on the French ships, with battleships taking on the enemy heavy cruisers and battleships, heavy cruisers taking on the equally fast but outgunned French light cruisers, light cruisers chasing down and destroying the enemy large destroyers, and destroyers acting as commerce raiders and using their extreme speed for torpedo runs on enemy battleships.[[/note]] However, against the more aggressive, balanced, and carrier-supported Royal Navy, it was a major disaster. The Royal Navy handed the Italians many avoidable defeats (the most crushing being the Battle of Cape Matapan, in which torpedo bombers put the battleship ''Vittorio Veneto'' out of commission for months and indirectly caused the loss of three heavy cruisers and two destroyers) and, ultimately, the loss of almost all of Italy's merchant fleet and defeat in the North African campaign.
* With the invention of guided missiles in the early years of the Cold War, the US thought gun armament on aircraft were obsolete, and so they lost many jet fighters in the Vietnam War. The F-4 Phantom was armed with the then state-of-the-art AIM-7 Sparrow missiles, which were capable of locking on to a target far outside of visual range. However, the Rules of Engagement mandated that the pilots make visual contact before firing their missiles. The problem with this was that the missiles ''would not lock on'' at that range (not to mention that they required the pilot to keep the radar focused on the target, which is easy when it hasn't seen you yet, but becomes impossible to do when it's dodging and weaving all over the place), and the pilots got slaughtered by the [=MiG=]-21 and, more embarrassingly, the obsolete [=MiG=]-17. Though the F-4 had an externally mountable "gun pod", it was often bulky and unreliable. Seeing this mistake, subsequent jet fighters became equipped with integrated gun armament and all pilots receive training in dogfighting.
** The B and C models of the F-35 seem to be repeating the mistakes of the F-4. Due to the Marines' insisting on SVTOL capability and the Navy's unique requirements for carrier-based operations, these models had to remove the A model's integrated cannon to save space and weight within the fuselage. Like the F-4, the B and C also have an external gun pod that can be mounted but this takes away space for missiles and fuel tanks that the tiny plane can't necessarily spare.
* Monocultural practices whereby only a single crop is grown in a given area can be more profitable and productive than diversified polycultural practices. However, this requires the extensive use of fertilizers to counteract the inevitable depletion of nutrients in soil, and can be easily disrupted by adverse weather conditions, pest invasions, and the spread of disease.
** Bananas. Before the 1950s, the single largest banana cultivar by far was the Gros Michel, which was favoured since it could survive in temperate climates and was easily shipped without any special care. Because bananas were bred at the time of their original domestication to remove the seeds from their fruit, they [[CloningBlues can only reproduce parthogenically]], meaning that they are extremely slow to develop a resistance via natural mutation. This meant that the entire Gros Michel cultivar was vulnerable to, and ultimately nearly wiped out by, a single disease. The modern banana cultivar of choice is the Cavendish, which has precisely the same level of market penetration, and precisely the same potential for global collapse if the same disease mutates (as it already has) and goes global, or if a new pathogen emerges.
** Similar to the banana situation, the Irish Potato Famine involved the collapse of production of Ireland's staple food crop, the potato, resulting in mass starvation. While the situation is a bit more complicated than a single crop failing making everyone starve to death, as Ireland produced other crops which it exported to the United Kingdom, it still resulted in big problems due to the means of distribution and how people fed themselves when they had British landowners. Bad blood from the famine eventually resulted in Ireland withdrawing from the UK.
* This trope is part of two different hypotheses explaining colony collapse disorder, i.e. the sudden die-off of honeybee colonies. According to the first hypothesis, centuries of selecting bees for useful traits (producing more honey, pollinating certain plants more efficiently) has reduced genetic diversity within commercial bee populations, leaving them vulnerable to pathogens. In the second one, feeding bees a diet of pollen from just one species of plant (i.e. one of the commercial food crops) leaves them with a less healthy immune system than feeding them pollen from several different plant species.
* Some specialized martial arts play this trope straight, but especially jodo. It is intended to defeat one single type of weapon (katana) on the hands of an unarmoured opponent who is assumed to fight fair. Against any other opponents jodo is pretty much useless.
* The Confederacy during UsefulNotes/TheAmericanCivilWar. The infrastructure of the Southern US was so focused on cash crops like cotton and tobacco that there was exactly ''one'' factory capable of producing cannons. There wasn't enough arable land to maintain cotton production for tax revenue ''and'' grow enough food to support an army. Even with the government building railroads, laying telegraph lines, and confiscating food from private farms for the war effort, the Confederate army was often malnourished and always short on manufactured goods like uniforms and guns. The problems of supply facing the Confederate army were so acute that [[http://civilwartalk.com/threads/soldiers-shoes.73013/ some historians have suggested]] that the Battle of Gettysburg was precipitated by a Confederate brigade's attempt to raid a shoe warehouse.
** Ironically, the Confederacy went into the war thinking that this trope would help them. They believed that they had such a stranglehold on world cotton production that Britain and France would have to intervene on their side in order to keep their textile mills running, and that Northern industry's dependence on Southern cotton would bankrupt their economy and lead them to sue for peace. Pro-secession Southern demagogues in the run-up to the Civil War referred to it as [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_Cotton "King Cotton"]].\\\
Unfortunately for them, they found that the Union and their potential European allies were ''not'' as cripplingly overspecialized as they had hoped, as the Indian and Egyptian cotton industries boomed once the US Navy started blockading and capturing Southern ports and cutting off their primary source of income. Furthermore, the UK had been stockpiling cotton reserves over the last few years, sensing the growing instability in the US, a move that was assisted by the bumper crops that the South had been producing in the late 1850s. Finally, while British industry ran on Southern cotton, the nation also depended on the North for a quarter of its food supply, so intervention in support of the Confederacy would mean long bread lines in the event of a drawn-out war.
* In another sense, the dependence of the American South, the Caribbean, Latin America, UsefulNotes/TsaristRussia, and similar agricultural economies on chattel slavery, serfdom, and peonage wound up screwing them in the long run. Bonded labor was unpaid, coerced, captive, and overall far cheaper than wage labor, especially in agriculture, with the only expenses being for food (which, on plantations, the laborers often grew for themselves on small personal plots), clothing, and a shack to sleep in. Wage laborers, meanwhile, demanded paychecks big enough to cover all of their living expenses and those of their families, as well as decent working conditions -- and when they didn't get them, they could either quit and find a new job, move to a homestead out west, or unionize. In the short term, bonded labor [[http://www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange/2013/09/economic-history-2 produced a ton of prosperity]], albeit chiefly at the top rungs of the socio-economic ladder.\\\
However, the constant fear of [[TurnedAgainstTheirMasters rebellion]] and runaways meant that slaves, serfs, and peons were often kept un- or under-educated (sometimes by law) so as to prevent them from getting any "uppity" ideas, leaving them unskilled and suited for little beyond working in the fields. Furthermore, bonded labor made agriculture so profitable that the planters saw little need to invest in anything else and diversify their economies, leaving other industries to wither on the vine as the plantations sucked up all of the available capital. As skilled labor grew more important thanks to the Industrial Revolution, the bonded labor economies suffered a devastating shortage of human capital that left them falling far behind the world's industrial regions in overall productivity and prosperity. Even in agriculture, bonded labor allowed inefficient farming techniques to persist by artificially depressing the cost of labor such that it masked the other costs. Farmers that had to pay their field hands, or work their fields themselves with their families, wound up implementing innovative new farming techniques to improve productivity and make up for their lack of cheap labor, and once mechanization came into play (not only drastically reducing labor costs, but also requiring skilled workers to operate the tractors and machines), the advantages became exponential.\\\
In short, while bonded labor was a huge boon to the elites of society in the short term, in the long term it was an enormous drag on the economy and the nation at large that only grew as time went on, to the point where even the elites that had once prospered began to see their place in the world slip behind that of their industrial rivals. Many the regions of the world that had depended on bonded labor to support their economies in the past are now beset by all manner of poor social indicators, lagging behind their peers and struggling to overcome the legacy of a vast underclass. The American South only recovered its economic stature due to massive government investment in infrastructure and the Sun Belt boom starting in the postwar era (nearly a century after abolition) and even then several former slave states tend to be less economically prosperous and have lower overall living standards when compared to other states; the Caribbean islands only ceased being a backwater once tourism took over their economies; Latin America [[BananaRepublic became an American fiefdom]] for generations; and Russia required [[UsefulNotes/RedOctober a vicious revolution]] to fully undo the damage that serfdom had done to their society (which caused all manner of other problems in the process).
* Ancient Sparta had this problem on two fronts:
** Spartan soldiers had a reputation for being the most well-trained in Ancient Greece. However, they only trained one kind of troop - the heavy-infantry hoplite - and in fact trained their troops [[TheSpartanWay so hard]] that their army was relatively small. They had no cavalry, navy, or light infantry. The tactics they were able to execute were severely limited, and their army was too small to maintain extended conflicts.\\
\\
An enemy who refused to fight them head on could inflict them horrendous casualties. In the battle of Sphacteria 425 BC, the Athenian light skirmishers simply refused to fight them hand-to-hand and instead harassed them with javelins, running away in the face of danger. At the end of the day the Spartans were completely demoralized and surrendered. The Athenians had not suffered one single casualty.
** With every adult Spartan male devoted to military training and every adult Spartan female devoted to child-rearing, every other job was done by slaves. Sparta's economy and infrastructure was almost exclusively maintained by an enormous slave population. Whenever there was a revolt (which was often), the entire city-state ground to a halt and had to perform a brutal purge, and then go off and enslave some hapless nearby village as replacements.
* Interceptor fighters, such as [=MiG=]-25 and Lockheed F-104 Starfighter. They were designed on one single purpose on mind: to take off and climb to the ceiling altitude as quickly as possible, launch their missile load against the oncoming enemy bombers, and escape. They were made obsolete by surface-to-air missiles, which in turn obsoleted their intended targets, high flying heavy bombers. The much later introduction of [[JackOfAllTrades multi-role fighters]] such as the Su-30, the F-15[E], the F-16, and the F/A-18 only further proved the pointlessness of the interceptor concept. The Starfighter especially was good for only one thing: accelerating quickly and flying fast and high. It was insanely dangerous on any other flight modes and landing, and its losses on attrition were appalling - West Germany lost some 30% of its Starfighters on accidents, while Italy lost 36% of hers and Canada experienced a staggering 46% loss rate on hers. Even a normal aileron banking was dangerous on F-104 due to inertia coupling, and its T tail configuration was prone on deep stalls. It was far more dangerous to its own pilots than to the enemy - the F-104 kill to loss ratio in combat was 3 victories to 24 combat losses.
* Some [[CoolCar 1960s show rods]] went this way. The [[http://www.mrgasser.com/surfite.htm Surfite]] was designed to carry the driver and a surfboard. No room for a passenger or groceries (or a wetsuit, for that matter); Mini-powered, no explanation as to why a theoretical owner wouldn't just buy a Mini wagon was ever offered.
* The Blackburn TB was designed for one mission, and one mission only: to take out German zeppelins by dropping exploding darts on them. It was a complete failure, as it couldn't fly fast enough to catch zeppelins and couldn't climb high enough to drop its darts even if it could. Nine were built, contributed absolutely nothing to the war effort, and were junked in 1917.
* In an odd real life subversion, there was [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sideroxylon_grandiflorum a species of tree]] in Mauritius that was thought to be germinated by the dodo bird. People believed that, since the dodo went extinct, the tree itself had started to decline. It turned out that this wasn't true; the tree could easily germinate through other birds and did not need the dodo alone to survive.
* In the '50s and '60s, the UsefulNotes/{{Detroit}} automakers took ready advantage of America's seemingly bottomless supply of cheap gasoline and structured their entire business models around the production of cars that, by modern standards, are absolutely titanic. While they also made smaller cars, such vehicles were seen as purely economy cars for those who couldn't yet afford the full-size sedans that got the lion's share of the automakers' interest and [=R&D=] investment. Then came the 1973 oil crisis, and [[OhCrap gasoline stopped]] [[TerminallyDependentSociety being cheap]]. Detroit's self-styled reputation for building the biggest, most luxurious automobiles in the world suddenly turned into a liability as Japanese and German automakers that ''did'' put serious investment into smaller cars (UsefulNotes/{{Japan}} and UsefulNotes/WestGermany having never been able to take cheap oil for granted) took massive chunks out of the American market, chunks that Detroit has never been able to reclaim even after it started figuring out how to build good compact cars.
* On a larger scale, entire countries can see their economies revolve around a single resource, to the point where they risk economic crisis in the event of a drop in commodity prices. Worse, it's a SelfFulfillingProphecy in many cases -- economists call it the [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dutch_disease Dutch disease]], after UsefulNotes/TheNetherlands saw its manufacturing sector go into a tailspin in the '60s and '70s following the discovery and exploitation of the Groningen natural gas field. Basically, as revenues from resource extraction increase, the nation's currency gets stronger, making manufacturing exports less competitive due to exchange rates (it becomes more expensive to export, and less expensive to import). The plantation economies described above are an historic example, while today, the Middle Eastern petrostates are the most famous example of this due to their ''extreme'' dependence on oil prices to remain economically afloat. For instance, only 18% of Saudi Arabia is actually employed, and they import 70% of their food. Their ''only'' notable domestic industry is petrochemicals. Large countries with greater pools of commodities are usually insulated by economic diversity and the sheer size of the economies, but for smaller ones, it can be a real problem.
* Local, and even national economies can be devastated if their sole means of income loses value for one reason or another:
** When the American automotive industry discovered it would be cheaper to outsource their manufacturing, Detroit, and other nearby cities in Michigan, faced a steep decline that has left these once vibrant urban communities looking like a third world slum.
** When oil prices were high, Hugo Chavez provided government subsidies for everyone on everything in UsefulNotes/{{Venezuela}}, provided they proved their loyalty to him. When oil prices dropped, a domino effect took place, and the country now faces civil unrest due to shortages of food and basic supplies, and their economy is screwed up that farmers can't afford to farm.
** The plight of the former industrial heartlands of many European countries is rather similar. They used to be their country's economic engines built on coal and steel, but due to a variety of factors, among them the increasing effort needed to mine more coal out of slowly exhausted mines they entered a decline. However, The Ruhr area in Germany seems to be on the course of successfully reinventing itself even while other similar regions are still facing problems with no clear sign of an end.
* Creator/ECComics star "Ghastly" Graham Ingels is considered one of the best horror comic artists in history...unfortunately he specialized a little ''too'' much in horrible grotesque imagery; when horror comics got banned in the fifties, he was unable to adapt to a more family-friendly style and his career quietly died.
* In UsefulNotes/{{Tennis}}, the French Open aka Roland Garros takes place on clay courts that favor defenders due to their slowness and high bounce giving players more time to reach the ball and return it in ways difficult for their opponent to hit. Because of this, it was historically considered to be the hardest Grand Slam to win with many great players' tactics being ill-suited for the clay surface... and many French Open champions are clay-court specialists who have performed ''poorly'' at other Slams, until more recent times. A good example is Rafael Nadal, who has won Roland Garros ''ten'' times (as of 2017) but has had far more irregular performances in other courts.
* UsefulNotes/{{Baseball}} has the concept of the "Mendoza Line", a minimum level of batting average competency below which a player's presence in the major leagues is very difficult, if not impossible, to justify no matter how good defensively he is (pitchers are exempt because their trade is extremely specialized, and in the DH-rule American League they don't normally bat at all). The most common cutoff is .200, though definitions can vary from .190 to .220[[note]]For comparison, someone batting .300 is considered an excellent hitter and .400 is legendary (the last MLB player to hit .400 in a season was Hall-of-Famer Ted Williams in 1941)[[/note]]. It's named after Mario Mendoza, who played in the mid-1970's to early 1980's and was a very good defensive shortstop but was definitely not good at the plate (several seasons saw him with sub-.200 averages, though in the last couple of years of his career after the term began gaining traction in baseball circles he did get a little better and by the end his career average was .215). Anyone with a more extreme imbalance in defensive and offensive capabilities is going to fall into this trope and isn't likely to remain in the big leagues for long.
* Tends to happen to railroad vehicles at times.
** The West German class 103 is a six-axle electric express train locomotive. Introduced in 1970 (four prototypes came in 1965 already), it used to be one of the most powerful single-section locomotives at its time, but it was actually designed to haul first-class intercity and Trans-Europ-Express trains with five to seven cars and needed its power for high acceleration at high speeds of up to 200 [=km/h=]. These trains were introduced in 1971, but they ceased to exist only eight years later when the first-class Intercity trains were turned into two-class trains with usually ten to twelve cars, sometimes even a few more, which operated twice as frequently. The 103 wasn't made to endure that, so by the mid to late 1980s, the locomotives were worn out. Using them on slower local trains (while giving some of the heavy Intercity trains to its half as strong predecessors which wore out even quicker) turned out to be a bad idea because constantly running them below 160 [=km/h=] led to damages, not to mention that it was uneconomical. Nonetheless, they carried on hauling fast Intercity and [=InterRegio=] trains until shortly after the millennium when they were displaced by the class 101 and new ICE [[UsefulNotes/HighSpeedRail high-speed trains]].
** High-comfort and luxury trains in general. Their rolling stock often becomes useless when they're phased out, mostly it's too expensive in service and seats too few paying passengers for cheaper train classes.\\
For example the Trans-Europ-Express trains: They started in 1957 with four brand-new purpose-built classes of Diesel trains or [=DMUs=]. When more and more [=TEEs=] were changed to locomotive-hauled trains in the 1960s, it became increasingly difficult to use the "old" rolling stock. For example, Germany used its trains as national Intercity trains for a while and as touristic trains in the 1980s, but Switzerland and the Netherlands sold their identical trains to Canada. The dome cars that were introduced to the ''Rheingold'' in 1962 and the ''Rheinpfeil'' in 1963 could barely be used on any other trains, so after the ''Rheinpfeil'' ceased to exist in 1979 and the ''Rheingold'' was reformed one last time in 1983, the Deutsche Bundesbahn had to sell them to a private operator of touristic trains that eventually sold them to Switzerland. Bar cars in general (these dome cars had a bar, too) were standard in German [=TEEs=] but used nowhere else, so when the TEE network began to crumble around 1980, had no more use for them. France had the probably most comfortable TEE cars of all, the Grand Confort cars which made up most of their national [=TEEs=]. When these disappeared, they all fell into disuse and were eventually sold to Cuba.
** Banking locomotives were built to push heavy trains uphill on steep ramps. They were often big, heavy, powerful and rather slow. Eventually, however, the locomotives that pulled the trains became powerful enough so that bankers weren't necessary anymore. Now where else to use them? They were too slow for regular main line services, too heavy for branch lines and too big and cumbersome for switching. Thus, sometimes entire classes of banking locomotives were scrapped when they weren't even old.
** The three Chesapeake & Ohio M-1 steam turbine locomotives were the largest passenger train steam locomotives ever built. They were meant to haul a new express train from the East Coast to Cincinnati, the ''Chessie''. However, not only were these locomotives so complicated that finding any faults was difficult at best but the ''Chessie'' was simply nixed before its inauguration. Since the Chesapeake & Ohio had no other heavy express train lines, and these monsters weren't good for anything else, the M-1 were scrapped before they were even two years old.
** While one would think that in the era of open borders and (once more) increasing interest in rail as a mode of transport and travel all throughout Europe, running trains across borders would be easier than ever. Unfortunately, it isn't. And this trope is partially to blame. Back in the day the majority of all trains were locomotive hauled and at least steam locomotives had to be changed at quite regular intervals anyway. So at each border the locomotive was simply switched while customs and border control did their thing and the train would drive on. Nowadays however, the vast majority of all long distance trains are electrical multiple units, which means you ''can't'' switch out the locomotive. So the voltage matters and there are only a handful of borders in Europe where the voltage is the same on both sides. Furthermore, there are various systems by which the train "communicates" with the track (in lieu of traditional signals) - those were invented several times in different countries and they are mostly not compatible with one another. The European Union has seen this problem decades ago and tried to introduce some common standards, but on the one hand an existing system is hard to change from and on the other hand during the period of transition trains have to be capable of both the old and the new system. So there are trains that have to be capable to handle three or four different voltages and three or four different safety standards, which is of course ''possible'', but it is not ''cheap''. The whole thing becomes even more dicey when any European rail manufacturer wants to sell trains abroad, especially when they want to sell to the US, which has unique regulations for practically all aspects of railroading.
* The Roman legions were undoubtedly the best heavy infantry of their time and won Rome countless victories. But their strength came at the expense of the other branches of the military. Roman cavalry were, while highly trained, more of a scouting force and relatively few in number, and what archers and light infantry they had was usually composed of foreign auxiliaries, who had less training and, more importantly, a lot less reason to stand and fight if the going got tough than the Romans did. This specialization directly led to a number of spectacular defeats:
** At [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Cannae Cannae]], it was the crushing defeat of the Roman cavalry by their African opponents that allowed Hannibal to execute his brilliant encirclement maneuver against an army that still heavily outnumbered his own forces.
** During the Roman invasion of Parthia in 53 BC, Roman cavalry and skirmishers were once again utterly inadequate for defending against the constant harassment by Parthian horse archers. When the bulk of the Parthian army was finally engaged at [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Carrhae Carrhae]], the Romans were already at the breaking point due to lack of supplies and attrition, and the highly mobile Parthian cavalry force easily exploited gaps in the slow-moving Roman formations.
** In the [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Teutoburg_Forest Battle of the Teutoburg Forest]], the Romans were attacked in terrain that rendered their traditional heavy infantry tactics largely useless. Worse, much of the auxiliary light infantry that was supposed to screen their extremely vulnerable flanks owed their loyalty more to the Germanic chieftain Arminius than to Rome and either let German raiders slip through the lines or actively joined in the slaughter.
* The Parthians themselves later fell prey to this trope in the first century, as they only had cavalry and most generals weren't smart enough to bring with them large numbers of spare arrows while the Romans learned their lesson and started bringing with them adequate numbers of light infantry, armoured cavalry and even mounted archers: in about 150 years of conflict, the Parthian victories would be very few, while the Romans overran Ctesiphon (the Parthian capital) ''five times'' and being prevented from utterly annexing the Parthians due being overstretched. Their Sasanid successors would fare much better (while ultimately defeated and weakened to the point the Arabs could overran their whole empire, they resisted much longer and, right before the campaign that left them crippled, they come extremely close to ''winning'') precisely because they ''weren't'' overspecialized, supporting their cavalry with infantry (both barely-trained and lightly-equipped conscripts, good quality heavy infantry and capable archers) and war elephants (useless against the Romans but useful against other enemies).
* According to [[http://kotaku.com/the-story-behind-mass-effect-andromedas-troubled-five-1795886428 this account]] of the TroubledProduction of ''VideoGame/MassEffectAndromeda'', most of the problems that the game suffered from had to do with the fact that Creator/ElectronicArts forced Creator/BioWare to use their in-house Frostbite game engine, which by all accounts suffered mightily from this. Designed by DICE for use in the ''VideoGame/{{Battlefield}}'' games, Frostbite is, by all accounts, an excellent engine for a team that's making a FirstPersonShooter, and incredibly difficult to work with for a team that's making anything else, such as an open-world space exploration game with numerous procedurally-generated planets. [=BioWare=]'s main Edmonton team had a hard enough time programming ''VideoGame/DragonAgeInquisition'' to work with Frostbite, and their inexperienced B-team in Montreal just was not up to the task, spending much of production just figuring out workarounds with Frostbite while finding themselves forced to [[WhatCouldHaveBeen scale back their ambitious plans for the game]].
* Overfitting problem in machine learning is basically this: the learning algorythm creates a [[ComplexityAddiction very complex hypothesis]] that fits the learning data set perfectly but fails to generalize on any data outside it. It can be showed with [[https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/68/Overfitted_Data.png/300px-Overfitted_Data.png this image]] where the blue line is the result of an overfit hypothesis.
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2nd Feb '18 10:01:05 PM patriciovalencia117
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* In ''VideoGame/BattlefieldBadCompany 2'' you have a choice of 4 specializations. It is possible to be crippled by the Medic's lack of explosives, or by the Recon's lack of ammo. Just as much as it is to be crippled by the Assault's [[MasterOfNone lack of specialization]].

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* VideoGame/{{Battlefield}}
**
In ''VideoGame/BattlefieldBadCompany 2'' you have a choice of 4 specializations. It is possible to be crippled by the Medic's lack of explosives, or by the Recon's lack of ammo. Just as much as it is to be crippled by the Assault's [[MasterOfNone lack of specialization]].specialization]].
** ''VideoGame/Battlefield1'' follows a similar class balance to ''Bad Company 2'' albeit with class effectiveness dictated by weapon range. Notably, the Assault class is a close-range powerhouse with its submachine guns and shotguns yet is absolutely useless at shooting infantry from beyond 50 meters.
30th Jan '18 4:46:53 AM MagiMecha
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* Similarly, ''VideoGame/DragonballZDokkanBattle'' can hurt you with this trope. Some of the more recent meta has gone from boosting one color type to one ''specific'' type. This is bad because some players don't carry the right card to have on a team because that character just isn't that good. A player can find plenty of Vegito Blues or Super Saiyan Rose Goku Blacks but you'd be hard pressed to find a INT Kid Buu or a AGI Super Android #17.
30th Jan '18 4:35:02 AM MagiMecha
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* All of the three female leads in ''LightNovel/KonoSuba'' suffer from this to some degree. Aqua is a goddess who's exorcism abilities make her a DiscOneNuke against undead, and ''only'' undead. She also has water magic at her disposal, but it only comes in two flavors: "Harmless party trick" and "Massive collateral damage." Darkness is a very strong and sturdy tank, but her swordsmanship is awful to the point of being incapable of hitting ''anything''. Megumin has it worst of all: She's a low-level wizard who's [[MinMaxing Min-Maxed]] to the point of being able to cast Explosion, one of the most powerful offensive spells. This is also the ''only'' spell she knows, and she's only capable of casting it once before collapsing in a useless heap due to the energy drain. Explosion is also equally dangerous to both friend and foe and can't be cast underground or else it'll cause a cave-in (meaning she's completely useless in dungeons.)

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* All of the three female leads in ''LightNovel/KonoSuba'' suffer from this to some degree. Aqua is a goddess who's exorcism abilities make her a DiscOneNuke against undead, and ''only'' undead. She also has water magic at her disposal, but it only comes in two flavors: "Harmless party trick" and "Massive collateral damage." Darkness is a very strong and sturdy tank, but her swordsmanship is awful to the point of being incapable of hitting ''anything''. Megumin has it worst of all: She's a low-level wizard who's [[MinMaxing Min-Maxed]] to the point of being able to cast Explosion, one of the most powerful offensive spells. This is also the ''only'' spell she knows, and she's only capable of casting it once before collapsing in a useless heap due to the energy drain. Explosion is also equally dangerous to both friend and foe and can't be cast underground or else it'll cause a cave-in (meaning she's completely useless in dungeons.)) Unlike the others, Megumin's problem isn't that she can't expand her repertory of spells, she just doesn't ''want'' to. She's perfectly happy to be this way and any attempts to get her to do otherwise would get ignored.
29th Jan '18 7:42:52 PM nombretomado
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* Interceptor fighters, such as MiG-25 and Lockheed F-104 Starfighter. They were designed on one single purpose on mind: to take off and climb to the ceiling altitude as quickly as possible, launch their missile load against the oncoming enemy bombers, and escape. They were made obsolete by surface-to-air missiles, which in turn obsoleted their intended targets, high flying heavy bombers. The much later introduction of [[JackOfAllTrades multi-role fighters]] such as the Su-30, the F-15[E], the F-16, and the F/A-18 only further proved the pointlessness of the interceptor concept. The Starfighter especially was good for only one thing: accelerating quickly and flying fast and high. It was insanely dangerous on any other flight modes and landing, and its losses on attrition were appalling - West Germany lost some 30% of its Starfighters on accidents, while Italy lost 36% of hers and Canada experienced a staggering 46% loss rate on hers. Even a normal aileron banking was dangerous on F-104 due to inertia coupling, and its T tail configuration was prone on deep stalls. It was far more dangerous to its own pilots than to the enemy - the F-104 kill to loss ratio in combat was 3 victories to 24 combat losses.

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* Interceptor fighters, such as MiG-25 [=MiG=]-25 and Lockheed F-104 Starfighter. They were designed on one single purpose on mind: to take off and climb to the ceiling altitude as quickly as possible, launch their missile load against the oncoming enemy bombers, and escape. They were made obsolete by surface-to-air missiles, which in turn obsoleted their intended targets, high flying heavy bombers. The much later introduction of [[JackOfAllTrades multi-role fighters]] such as the Su-30, the F-15[E], the F-16, and the F/A-18 only further proved the pointlessness of the interceptor concept. The Starfighter especially was good for only one thing: accelerating quickly and flying fast and high. It was insanely dangerous on any other flight modes and landing, and its losses on attrition were appalling - West Germany lost some 30% of its Starfighters on accidents, while Italy lost 36% of hers and Canada experienced a staggering 46% loss rate on hers. Even a normal aileron banking was dangerous on F-104 due to inertia coupling, and its T tail configuration was prone on deep stalls. It was far more dangerous to its own pilots than to the enemy - the F-104 kill to loss ratio in combat was 3 victories to 24 combat losses.
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