Created By: Takaoldaria on March 23, 2013 Last Edited By: Arivne on March 24, 2016

Lethal Joke Attack

You would think this attack is useless. It\'s not.

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Trope
The Lethal Joke Attack is a counterpart to the Lethal Joke Item and the Lethal Joke Character : It looks silly or useless, but used right, it can very well lead to a Curb-Stomp Battle.

They can roughly be split into two types:
  1. Serious, where the attack is overlooked due to the fact it doesn't look really useful.
  2. Silly, where the attack is overlooked because it..looks silly.

Compare Not Completely Useless, where the attack is only useful against one particular boss or obstacle.


Examples

  • Super Smash Bros.:
    • Super Mario Bros.. Luigi's taunt, a little sorry-for-himself kick, is the only one that can damage opponents. It only does 1% of damage with very low knockback, but use it on somebody hanging from a ledge, and the victim will be sent hurling downward, in flames.
    • Pokémon. In the same series, Jigglypuff's Down Special is Rest, who makes it sleep. However, during the first frames of the attack, anyone in contact with Jigglypuff will rocket skyward, with a special effect applied.
  • In Kid Icarus: Uprising, the Celestial Firework just makes a firework explode in front of the user, who doesn't do much damage or set up for anything, but, like offensive powers, it grants the user invincibility for a second, allowing players with enough timing to use it to avoid a attack when there is no place to dodge.
  • In Team Fortress 2, some of the taunts do damage, and a few like the Pyro's flaming Kamehame Hadoken are a One-Hit Kill. You can use these during the "humiliation" phase when a losing team has all their weapons confiscated. They have long start-up animations, so managing a kill with one is difficult.
  • The Goblin Punch skill in Final Fantasy V normally just works like a regular attack, but if the user's and target's levels are the same, it will deal eight times the damage.
  • In Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Deadpool has his ultimate attack which makes him put on a feminine pose and strut towards his opponent. If the opponent attacks Deadpool while he is strutting, Deadpool knocks them around with their own health bar and hyper combo meter!
  • Bloody Roar: Primal Fury. Being a Lethal Joke Character herself, it comes as no surprise that Uriko's moveset includes two attacks of this nature.
    • The first is her command throw (qcf BL), in which she spins her opponent, dizzying them. It doesn't inflict any damage, but it leaves them in a stagger state which cannot be shaken off, as the the opponent continues to spin. Uriko can simply wait 'til they're in a back turned state before unleashing a combo that inflicts automatic counter damage. Between her attack speed, and the sheer number of hits she can string together, it can easily lead to a free round!
    • Her 'Rising Sky' is only available to her while she's in beast form, and replaces her standard neutral throw. It only inflicts chip damage, but results in an OTG crossup that (again) staggers her opponent as she swithes sides with them. Which (again) allows her to quickly inflict counter damage. Given the speed and attack power increases that come with her cat form... you guessed it.
  • Tekken: Kuma has a move called Deadly Wind. It's not hard to attempt, but it has a ridiculously short range. However, getting it to hit will guarantee a very humiliating victory.

Community Feedback Replies: 29
  • March 23, 2013
    DracMonster
    Do you have any examples? Ones where its not automatically a case of Lethal Joke Character? I cant think of any.
  • March 23, 2013
    Takaoldaria
    Updated. I didn't have the time to add examples at the first draft.
  • March 23, 2013
    MiinU
    How does the Kid Icarus Uprising example fit the trope?

    From what I can see, it's more a defensive glitch that players can take advantage of, if they're aware of it, and happen to be skilled enough to exploit it. But in what way is it lethal, since the Celestial Fireworks barely does any damage?
  • March 23, 2013
    Takaoldaria
    It's not a glitch, when using the Fireworks, it has the same little effect indicating invincibility than the offensive powers, and it's "lethal", because that invincibility can often mean the difference between life and death, especially against huge shots like a Club's or explosions from Cannons, and it can be used lots of times,being rather small on the grid where you place your powers, compared to others. (5 for level 1, 10 for level 2, when most powers have only 2 to 4 uses.)
  • March 23, 2013
    DracMonster
    Ah wait now I can think of one:

    • In Team Fortress 2, some of the taunts do damage, and a few like the Pyro's flaming Kamehame Hadoken are a One Hit Kill. You can use these during the "humiliation" phase when a losing team has all their weapons confiscated. They have long start-up animations, so managing a kill with one is difficult.
  • March 23, 2013
    Takaoldaria
    Thanks! I overlooked that one, as I never played TF 2. It's added.
  • March 23, 2013
    Takaoldaria
    • The Goblin Punch skill in Final Fantasy V normally just works like a regular attack, but if the user's and target's levels are the same, it will deal eight times the damage.
  • March 23, 2013
    spacemarine50
  • March 23, 2013
    Koolkev
  • March 24, 2013
    MiinU
    • Bloody Roar: Primal Fury: Being a Lethal Joke Character herself, it comes as no surprise that Uriko's moveset includes two attacks of this nature.
      • The first is her command throw (qcf+BL), in which she spins her opponent, dizzying them. It doesn't inflict any damage, but it leaves them in a stagger state which cannot be shaken off, as the the opponent continues to spin. Uriko can simply wait 'til they're in a back turned state before unleashing a combo that inflicts automatic counter damage. Between her attack speed, and the sheer number of hits she can string together, it can easily lead to a free round!
      • Her 'Rising Sky' is only available to her while she's in beast form, and replaces her standard neutral throw. It only inflicts chip damage, but results in an OTG crossup that (again) staggers her opponent as she swithes sides with them. Which (again) allows her to quickly inflict counter damage. Given the speed and attack power increases that come with her cat form... you guessed it.
  • March 24, 2013
    Stratadrake
    Don't we already have something like Lethal Joke Weapon? Hmm ... I see it's a redirect, but I don't see any distinction here.
  • March 24, 2013
    TrueShadow1
    ^ Lethal Joke Item is an item, this one is about attack and skills. Two different things.
  • March 25, 2013
    Chabal2
    Final Fantasy X has one, sort of: it does damage based on how many enemies the target has killed. So if you first see it used on Combat Medic Yuna, it will likely do very little damage and laughed off, at least until it targets one of your heavy hitters.
  • March 25, 2013
    Stratadrake
    ^^ And the difference is...?
  • March 25, 2013
    StarSword
    Fixed a formatting mistake. @Koolkev, you only use square brackets in links when you want the link to read as something else (e.g. [[CluckingFunny chicken]] reads as chicken). Doing that when there's no text replacement replaces the Wiki Word with a number.
  • March 25, 2013
    MrRuano
    • Tekken: Kuma has a move called Deadly Wind. It's not hard to attempt, but it has a ridiculously short range. However, getting it to hit will guarantee a very humiliating victory.
  • March 27, 2013
    TrueShadow1
    ^^^Uhh, really? An item is a physical thing. It's something that generally can be used by anyone. If it's an equipment, then you equip it. You usually find them in treasure chests or buy them in stores. An attack is that...an attack. It's something that you perform. A 'Potion' is an item. It's something that you use. 'Punch' is an attack. It's something that you perform. There may be some overlap, like 'Throw a Grenade' is an attack you perform by using an item, but that doesn't mean all of them are the same.
  • April 22, 2013
    randomsurfer
    The title character of The Horribly Slow Murderer With The Extremely Inefficient Weapon eventually kills his victim by repeatedly slapping him with a kitchen spoon.
  • April 22, 2013
    Lumpenprole
    In the movie Willow, the sorceress queen didn't think much of having an acorn tossed at her- until it started to turn her to stone, and it took a brief but desperate struggle using all her power to overcome it.
  • March 23, 2015
    DAN004
  • March 24, 2015
    Arivne
  • March 24, 2015
    DAN004
    Who wanna grab this before I do?
  • March 24, 2015
    randomsurfer
    In Squirrel Girl's first appearance she defeats Doctor Doom by sending her squirrel friends to hound him into giving in.
  • March 24, 2015
    BKelly95
    Non Video Game example:
    • One episode of 227 has Mary and Lester stop at a toy store to pick up an item, only to discover the "clerk" on duty is actually a burglar trying to break into the bank next door. Shortly afterward, Pee-Wee Herman of all people joins the list of hostages. (Sandra stops by later and gets captured as well.) They later make an escape attempt where Pee-Wee attacks the burglar with toys, the last one being a bubble blower. While the burglar is laughing at him, Pee-Wee throws the bubble solution in his eyes and lets the others subdue him.
  • March 25, 2015
    Chabal2
    Chrono Trigger: The Nus have an attack that does exactly 1 damage. Laughable, yes, except their only other attack is an HP To One.
  • March 25, 2015
    randomsurfer
    Get Smart: In "Our Man in Toyland" KAOS is smuggling US secrets out of the country inside talking "Polly Dolly" dolls purchased in the toy department of a store. 99 and 86 get undercover jobs there, and they end up using the most dangerous weapons on the planet - children's toys - to fight their way through the KAOS agents trying to kill them.
  • March 25, 2015
    oneuglybunny
    Film
    • The film depiction Midway about the Battle of Midway Island during World War II shows two battle groups of torpedo planes from the USS Enterprise and the USS Yorktown engage the superior Japanese assault force. Tragically, most of the planes had defective arming mechanisms that dropped the torpedoes much too soon, leaving the pilots to conduct futile strafing runs. They were massacred. Admiral Yamamoto believed that the American Navy had nothing left, and ordered the launch of a second wave of bombers to finish off Midway Island. It was at this moment that the dive bombers from the USS Hornet arrived, catching the enemy fleet at the worst possible moment: with their fighters flying too low and their anti-aircraft guns aimed for torpedo planes. The dive bombers attacked the carriers almost unmolested, leaving three of four carriers burning and useless.
  • March 10, 2016
    DAN004
    I'm confused as to the scope of this trope. Is this about only an attack that looks silly but is actually useful, or an attack that really is nigh-useless, except for using it in a certain way/situation?
  • March 24, 2016
    WalterSmith
    A few Pokemon moves are known for being extremely useful regardless of their base power and distribution.

    *Nuzzle is an Electric-type move which can be learned only by Pikachu and its look alikes. Although it has a measle 20 base power, it always paralizes the opposing Pokemon. In short, it is a Taunt-proof Thunder Wave.

    *Any move powered-up by Technician (an ability that boosts every move with a base power no higher than 60) or Parental Bond (which allows the Pokémon to use the same move twice) can be extremely powerful. For example, Mega Kangaskhan can use Power-up Punch (a 40 base power Fighting-type move) to double its attack ''twice'', whereas Schyther can exploit a boosted Aerial Ace (a 60 base power Flying-type move) to wreck anything that doesn't resist it.

    *Hidden Power is a 60 base power move which type is determined by the Pokémon 's I Vs. Although it has always been a special move since the DiamondAndPearl Generation IV special-physical split, and [[Nerf slightly depowered]] in PokemonXAndY Generation VI, it is still powerful enough to 1HKO Pokemons with one or more double weaknesses (E.g. 1HKOing Hydreigon with Hidden Power Fairy).

    *Fake Out is another usually underestimated attack. Although it's a 40 base power move and it only hits in the first turn, it can still cripple Pokémon using either Sturdy (an ability thay avoids a 1HKO at full health), Multiscale (which halves the opposing Pokemon's attack power at full health) or Focus Sash (an item that works just like the aforementioned Sturdy).

    *In double battles, moves such as Gastro Acid and Simple Beam can nullify the crippling effects of Truant and Slow Start, that is the main reason Slaking and Regigigas are considered Blessed With Suck. If you're lucky, you can istantly turn the tables and win the match.

    *Head Smash is a nice 150 base power Rock-type move with a nasty drawback: whenever it hits the target, the attacking Pokemon receives a ton of recoil damage. Since it would be too risky to spam this move, players are used to teaching their Pokemon less powerful Rock-type moves such as Stone Edge or Rock Slide. However, one Pokemon can use this move at its full potential: Tyrantrum. Thanks to its secret ability Rock Head, which nullifies recoil damage, set-up moves such as Dragon Dance, an overall nice movepool and type, it has access to a recoil-free STAB Rock type move stronger than Hyper Beam. It can still miss the target, though.
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