->''"When was it that the transformation to the legendary warrior of the Saiyan race was reduced to a child's plaything?"''
-->-- '''Vegeta''', ''Anime/DragonBallZ''

It's the second season of your show, and a new group of evildoers has shown up to challenge your heroes. Despite spending all last season training and defeating the legions of evil, they get creamed -- uh oh, they forgot to account for the SortingAlgorithmOfEvil. Using those same old moves again? That's SoLastSeason.

The SoLastSeason phenomenon ensures that by the second episode of the second season, ''somebody's'' bound to get a power-up, and that any attacks learned before that power-up are worthless. This is a necessary consequence of the SortingAlgorithmOfEvil, but an awfully predictable one. Of course, if the whole team doesn't get the upgrade, there's always the danger that stragglers CantCatchUp.

There's a good chance the NonSerialMovie will ignore this and just [[BigBudgetBeefUp make their abilities more powerful]] to avoid the problems of ContinuitySnarl and ComicBookTime, but some fans are just as liable to complain that the characters are using the same old abilities.

Extremely common in [[MagicalGirl magical girl shows]], as their attacks seem to be much more rigidly defined than other genres. Magical girls' new season powerups are often accompanied by new outfits -- almost always nearly identical to their old ones, save with a FrillyUpgrade.

When applied to a PostScriptSeason, results in PlotLeveling.

A variant occurs in video games, where early weapons like pistols become less useful as [[SortingAlgorithmOfWeaponEffectiveness heavier firepower like machine guns and explosive devices are made available]] to counter the increasing protection offered to opponents.
----
!!Examples

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* This happens every time a new BigBad is introduced in ''Anime/DragonBallZ''.
** The Super Saiyan transformation goes from [[TheChosenOne legendary and exclusive]] to being shared by a handful of individuals at once with ascended stages beyond the standard grade.
*** Possibly most notable with Gohan's final upgrade in the series. Once he attains that, he neither has to nor is able to transform into a Super Saiyan ''at all'' anymore.
*** Though he is [[ContinuitySnarl seen in Super Saiyan form]] in works set after ''Z''.
** Goku's Kaioken technique is almost never seen used by him after the first season when he first transformed into a Super Saiyan.
*** WordOfGod and a filler episode demonstrated that a combination of the two could have [[DeadlyUpgrade deadly]] consequences for the user.
** Weighted clothing. First appears near the end of ''Dragon Ball'' as an effective means of showing IAmNotLeftHanded, all but disappears by the Cell Saga. To quote the abridged series...
--->'''[[WebVideo/DragonBallZAbridged Piccolo:]]''' That concept just sort of lost meaning after a while, didn't it?
*** Basically the idea of training in weighted clothing was replaced by training in artificial gravity chambers. Vegeta, for example, likes to train in ''500 times Earth's gravity'', which adds far more weight to him than any amount of clothing could.
** One major exception is Tien's Solar Flare. Even the most powerful opponents can't defend themselves from a sudden burst of blinding light.
* ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'' featured this frequently. For Ichigo, his bankai alone is practically useless after the arc where he first learns it and his Shikai is useless as soon as he learns Bankai.
** His SignatureMove, Getsuga Tensho, which Urahara says [[InformedAbility would have taken his arm off if he hadn't put up his shield]] and is used to completely blow away Byakuya's Shikai and makes a crater in the ground turns from a FinishingMove to a [[BeamSpam spam move]] after the Soul Society Arc, often needing two of them sandwiching the opponent just to mildly injure him. This is even after the fact Zangetsu stated [[CallingYourAttacks knowing the name of the move would strengthen it]].
** Lampshaded in 270 and 271 of the manga; Ichigo manages to surprise Ulquiorra with his Hollow Powers and nearly blows up the room using his Getsuga Tensho. Ulquiorra can't even block it and gets caught in the smoke it makes. Cut to Nel celebrating that everything's okay... [[NoSell and Ulquiorra comes out of the smoke battered and]] [[ClothingDamage missing a bit of his sleeves]], [[NoSell but nothing else.]] As the English Dub puts it;
--> '''Ulquiorra:''' "I'm quite surprised. Was that it? Finished, Ichigo?"
--> '''Ichigo:''' [[ThisCannotBe It... can't...]]
--> '''Ulquiorra:''' ''([[CrowningMomentOfFunny Patting dust]] [[CasualDangerDialog off his]] sleeve [[TheStoic nonchalantly]])'' Hmph. [[GoodIsBoring Yes, it would appear it was.]]"
** However, unlike most protagonists subjected to this trope, Ichigo doesn't learn newer, more powerful moves to replace the Getsuga Tensho, or even (except in [[DangerousForbiddenTechnique one special case]]) learn improved versions of the Getsuga Tensho. He simply gets stronger and makes it effective again...until the next, even more powerful villain shows up, which results in the cycle repeating. One thing he does (way too infrequently) to improve its effectiveness is, instead of [[SwordBeam firing the Getsuga right away]] is leave it surrounding his blade and slice his opponent, then fire off the attack while his sword is already inside their body. This guarantees a hit and bypasses their defenses...but it's still the same attack.
* ''Anime/SailorMoon'' did this a few times, and spent an episode on each of the girls' power-ups. Generally speaking, you could predict when someone would get an upgrade when they were in an episode of a new season and had to fight alone despite already having their butts kicked in a team effort.
** The major exception was, [[{{Filler}} unsurprisingly]] a [[OvertookTheManga post-first-season mini arc]] where each girl got a semi-new attack that managed to take out a MonsterOfTheWeek ''by themselves''. How two lonely teenagers growing a magic tree in their basement managed to make stronger monsters than the first season's demon queen sorceress is a moot point, [[{{Filler}} given it never comes up again]].
** Some of the characters did actually use their new attacks multiple times, later on. This was used to great effect at the end of the season when [[spoiler: the two BigBad characters were able to negate all of the characters' upgraded attacks with virtually no effort during the season finale, even interrupting(!) Sailor Moon when she tries to use her teammates' attempt as cover for charging her attack. It knocks her out of her stock footage, for crying out loud.]]
** The [[Manga/SailorMoon manga]] did this a few times as well. In particular, the first four chapters of the Dead Moon arc feature each of the four Guardian Senshi being targeted by the Dead Moon Circus and, though their encounter, getting strong enough to break Nehellenia's seal on their powers and upgrading to their Super forms.
* The relationship-driven ''Anime/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaAs'' stretches the downtime after the initial defeat to a full two episodes, so that the (quite literal) upgrade only makes its appearance in the third, and isn't seen until even later, but it still follows the pattern: new season, new villain, defeat, upgrade.
** In {{Anime/StrikerS}}, Nanoha breaks out the Blaster Mode for the final confrontation, which increases the power of all her attacks and provides {{Attack Drone}}s that can cast spells remotely or allow her to cast the same spell multiple times, but [[CastFromHitPoints causes damage to both Nanoha and her device]]. Fate also has an improved version of her [[FragileSpeedster Sonic Form]] and a more powerful LaserBlade.
** As part of the author's plans to take the "MagicalGirl" out of "MagicalGirlLyricalNanoha", ''Force'' takes this to an extreme by making ''magic itself'' [[AntiMagic completely useless]] against the new villains, forcing the good characters to completely abandon their entire powersets in favor of [[IThoughtItWasForbidden previously tightly regulated mass-based weapons]] as well as questionably reliable new weapons that convert magic energy into non-magical energy blasts.
** This is strangely ''inverted'' in regards to unaided flight. In the first two seasons it's a very common ability and every mage is capable of doing it. Then in Strikers it suddenly became a much rarer skill and about half of the cast is ground-bound.
* ''MermaidMelodyPichiPichiPitch'': The EleventhHourSuperPower song "KODOU" was reduced in the second season to about the power level of "Legend of Mermaid", the first number the girls ever got. And the weaker songs than "KODOU"? They were removed from the battle roster (practically) and stored for emotional moments only; it is a musical, after all.
* Rarely will the characters on ''Anime/YuGiOh'' and ''Anime/YuGiOhGX'' use their old cards once they get a new/"more powerful" deck, one exception being Manjyome, who uses cards from different themed decks every duel.
** Happens within the in-show card game in terms of what cards do as well. It's pretty funny looking at the earliest episodes and seeing everyone lauding a card that had 3000 attack points or five cards that instantly end a game compared to what later villains could and would pull out to keep their opponents from effectively battling at all, destroying their monsters instantly, negating their enemy's ability to deal damage, and so on.
** Being based on an actual card game, new versions of old cards are created almost every other set. However, since most of the originals [[GameBreaker were insanely overpowered to the point of disrupting the game]], the new ones are markedly less useful.
** ''TabletopGame/DuelMasters'' was also somewhat guilty of this. To be fair, [[http://www.wizards.com/duelmasters/dm_autocard.asp?name=gatling_skyterror Gattling Skyterror]] or [[http://www.wizards.com/duelmasters/dm_autocard.asp?name=bolmeteus_steel_dragon Bolmeteus Steel Dragon]]? Then again, if they were going for what real players would use, there'd have been a [[http://www.wizards.com/duelmasters/dm_autocard.asp?name=crystal_lancer Crystal Lancer]] or two in the series.
* [[ZigZaggingTrope Zig-zagged]] in ''FutariWaPrettyCure''. Once the [[MidSeasonUpgrade Pretty Cure Rainbow Bracelets]] are introduced, it seems like the old Pretty Cure Marble Screw has been rendered obsolete (especially since it was already ineffective against last season's Ilkubo). However, Pretty Cure still fight without the bracelets sometimes, and are able to defeat [[MonsterOfTheWeek Zakenna]] and eventually even the [[QuirkyMinibossSquad Seeds of Evil]] with the Marble Screw.
** ''FutariWaPrettyCureMaxHeart'' starts out with the girls receiving their upgrades even before the "initial defeat" scenario could take place. Black, White and Luminous also got another upgrade in each of the movies.
** This was repeated in ''YesPrecure5 Go Go!'' and in the attached movies as well.
** Characters in the ''PrettyCure'' franchise reliably get a similar powerup at the ''halfway'' point of the season. This is always associated with some new piece of equipment which is summoned into existence when the better attack is needed, and which incidentally is [[MerchandiseDriven available in toy form]].
*** Why don't we just say all MagicalGirl shows that include [[FrillyUpgrade Frilly Upgrades]] and leave it at that?
* In the early parts of ''HunterXHunter'', Gon used a fishing pole as a signature weapon, Killua used special assassin skills such as a slow-paced DoppelgangerSpin, and Kurapica wielded sword-chucks. Once they learned to use [[FunctionalMagic nen]], their old gimmicks were quickly phased out.
* InuYasha began the series fighting only with his claws. Then he gets his sword, Tetsusaiga, and starts fighting primarily with that. Next he learns to use the Wind Scar, a powerful [[SwordBeam destructive wave attack]], under certain circumstances. Then he simultaneously learns to use the Wind Scar completely at will (after which it's use becomes at the same time much more common and [[TheWorfBarrage much less effective]]) and learns the [[CounterAttack Backlash Wave]]. Eventually, his sword is upgraded to gain forms that can cut through any [[DeflectorShields barriers]] ([[ContractualBossImmunity except those that the plot demands be impenetrable]]), launch a barrage of diamond shards, destroy/absorb an opponent's demonic energy, and open a portal to the underworld to send enemies directly to hell. Although none of Tetsusaiga's attacks ever become completely obsolete, this trope is still in effect, with each new upgrade or technique decreasing in actual combat effectiveness shortly after it is obtained (except the underworld portal, obtained near the end). This is most evident for the Wind Scar, which, when it is first learned, is talked about as Tetsusaiga's true potential to slay 100 demons in a single swing; but which, by the end of the series, is essentially Inuyasha's most basic attack. It's so bad that it's even [[LampshadeHanging lampshaded]] at one point by [[MasterOfIllusion Byakuya]] and [[NobleDemon Sesshoumaru]] [[CrowningMomentOfFunny who are discussing Inuyasha as he fights]].
-->'''Sesshoumaru:''' "Huh. Seems like he put another peculiar power in Tetsusaiga."
-->'''Byakuya:''' "But it's as if he won't use it. Meaning [[GenreSavvy for now]], his best weapon is Kongousouha."
** Also somewhat present with upgrades Kagome, Sango, and Miroku get near the end of the series (A new bow, an upgraded boomerang, and [[FeelNoPain poison]], respectively... yeah, Miroku kind of got the short end of the stick there); these allow them to be effective in the final portions of the story, when their prior abilities were declining in effectiveness (for Sango in particular).
* In the ''MobileSuitGundam'' franchise, the main character will often get an upgraded Gundam about halfway through the show; this occurs more often in full TV series than {{OVA}}s and movies.
** ''GundamWing'' seems to do this with the mook villains, since they're always trying to catch up with the ''heroes''. First it's the 15-year-old Leos, then they move on to the just-developed Tauruses, and finally to computer-operated Virgos. Despite maybe one or two episodes of the Gundam pilots struggling against the new mooks, they'll have managed to turn them into canon fodder pretty quickly. The poor anonymous nobodies can never catch a break, can they?
*** Averted in Seed Destiny with the Freedom Gundam (the protagonist's 2nd unit from the prequel), which is still many times more powerful than the newer mobile suits created between shows because it's special nuclear powered engine was declared illegal, and newer ones were built without it. It is eventually destroyed, but only due to Zaft going all out and sending an entire fleet to destroy it.
*** Highlighted in Mobile Suit Gundam 00's second season as to why Nena Trinity died. While almost everybody that survived the first season was bestowed new Gundam, improved GN-X machines, or new prototypes, she was the only character that was stuck having to use her outdated machine, the Throne Drei. [[spoiler: This ultimately was used in sealing her fate, but in Nena Trinity's defense, she couldn't get a new one as she was more concerned with actually surviving for four years, and she almost got a new mecha, the Arche Drei. Unfortunately for her, she didn't get it in time.]]
* In ''GaoGaiGar'' following the acquisition of the Goldion Hammer, Guy's original finishing technique (Hell and Heaven) universally fails to get the job done if he has to fall back on it. See: The 31 Primevals, Zonuda. The reasoning they gave for Hell and Heaven's failing was because Guy's cyborg body couldn't take the strain of repeated usage. He still used Goldion Hammer after he got [=GaoFighGar=] [[spoiler:and his Evoludar body]], but once the Hammer's lost, his [[spoiler:new body]] is more than enough for the attack.
** Strangely averted when the [=StealthGao=] II is introduced: the space-capable replacement for StealthGao also upgrades his Broken Magnum to Broken Phantom and the Protect Shade to Protect Wall. Both are shown to be ridiculously more powerful then the original versions (able to pierce armor and in one case ''punching a moon to bits''). But, for no explained reason [=GaoGaiGar=] still uses the original [=StealthGao=] when not in space, until FINAL.
*** The second part is addressed in FINAL. [=StealthGao=] II actually makes GGG's attacks ''too'' powerful, and Guy couldn't believe that Repli-Mamoru would summon it in the middle of a city, because of how much collateral damage it could cause.
* ''CodeGeass'' is one of the best examples of this. Every ten or so episodes someone makes a new generation of Knightmare Frame (mecha), which are completely capable of wiping the floor with the last generation, to the point where they are obsolete even if they were top tier previous generation stuff.
* Kazuma, the main character of ''YakitateJapan'' wins the first season breadbaking [[TournamentArc tournament]] in part by baking a loaf of bread so good that biting into it literally sends the judges souls' to heaven. (Which is populated by scantily dressed bunny-women). By the end of the second season this bread is dismissed as being woefully below the level of the current tournament. Fortunatly, he quickly crafts a bread so perfect that a single bite re-writes history and brings the Judge's long lost parents back to life (allowing him to win narrowly).
* ''MahouSenseiNegima'' specifically [[InvokedTrope invokes this]] once everybody gets to the magic world. Negi immediately runs into several opponents who totally outclass him, forcing him to go through another round of TrainingFromHell as well as start using BlackMagic. It's sort of [[JustifiedTrope justified]] by the fact that [[spoiler: at least one of the fights he loses was a setup by [[ObfuscatingStupidity Jack Rakan]] with the intent of forcing him to become stronger. If he won with his old tricks, then he obviously didn't need new ones.]]
* The main characters of ''OnePiece'' fall victim to this at times. Chopper gets hit ''hard'' by this once he starts fighting enemies he can't polish off in [[HourOfPower three minutes]].
** And it's a rule that Luffy will always finish off a BigBad with a new attack. Usually, this attack just becomes a part of his arsenal in later arcs.
* Don't expect to have a chance against any later villains if the highest state you can evolve to in ''Franchise/{{Digimon}}'' is Ultimate/Perfect, or have some new kind of evolution like DNA or Matrix evolving. And if under any circumstance you're not a main character and actually ''can'' evolve to the Ultimate/Mega level, expect to require Burst Mode to stand a chance against a villain of ''any'' importance later on. Oh well...at least you can be able to take on a few {{Mook}}s, because there will be ''plenty'' you can take on, just don't expect to be able to face off against the BigBad by yourself.
** It should be noted that most Digimon seasons, especially the earlier ones, put limitations over the use of more powerful forms (that is, returning to the In Training/Baby2 stage, requiring time to re-evolve) so that the previous, less powerful forms still get some use. Even [[Anime/DigimonFrontier Frontier]], early on, would show characters varying between Human-form Digimon and Beast-form ones. [[Anime/DigimonSavers Savers]] played it completely straight, though - if a Digimon reaches a new level, don't expect to see the previous levels again.
* Happens in ''YuYuHakusho''. The Spirit Gun used to be like the ultimate Spirit Detective move, and Spirit Sword was pretty much the {{Badass}} incarnate. Hiei's extreme speed and skilled swordsmanship were ''really'' something to be afraid of, and Kurama's cunning mind, Rose Whip, and ability to summon plants from the demon world were just as fearsome. But then later, Spirit Shotguns, Double Spirit Swords, reverting to your demonic form and pulling plants [[GreenThumb out of nowhere]] and Dragon of the Darkness flames are the standard to beat... and who honestly ''doesn't'' have a sixth sense and some kind of Spirit Gun-like combat move or able to break the sound barrier by now?
** Averted by the end, when Yusuke's best attack was a really big Spirit Gun.
* At the beginning of the Vongola Ring Battle arc of ''Manga/KatekyoHitmanReborn'', Tsuna, in regular Dying Will Mode, got thrashed by the new arc's [[TheDragon Dragon]]. Dying Will Bullets are then used only for training for a bit, before they are fazed out completely in favor of Rebuke Shots and Hyper Dying Will Mode.
* Done almost literally in ''{{Zoids}}: Guardian Force'', when the former [[TheDragon Dragon]] is shown fighting off ''three'' Genosaurers, the same kind of Zoid he used earlier in the series (and, naturally, in the previous season).
** And done again in ''New Century Zero'', possibly using the same Genosaurers.
* In ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'', Bulbasaur was one of Ash's most used Pokémon, and managed to defeat many mons which would have an advantage over him. When Ash battles a Chikorita (Bulbasaur's [[VideoGame/PokemonGoldAndSilver sucessor]] as a Grass starter) with him ... he gets promptly beaten. Chikorita also manages to hold up against [[InstantAwesomeJustAddDragons Charizard]], which not only is fully evolved, but has a tremendous advantage in the ElementalRockPaperScissors.
** Somewhere between ''Sinnoh League Victors'' and ''Best Wishes'', the Team Rocket trio decided their old ButtMonkey status was So Last Season and returned in the new series having [[TookALevelInBadass taken several levels in Badass]] to become so strong Jessie on her own beat the ever-loving crap out of Ash and his new partner's Pokémon using her newly obtained Woobat. They even become so GenreSavvy they haven't blasted off since the beginning of the season.
* Played UpToEleven in ''InazumaEleven'', in contrast of the how useful special techniques are in the games because their power is partly calculated by the player's stat, anime version doesn't. Old shooting techniques don't work in the long run, and defensive skills are even more of the offenders, especially in the third season, where TheHero's uber saving techs can't save anything even a '''Sling Shot''' unless it's a newly debuted or upgraded skill, or his [[HotBlooded Hot Blood Gauge]] has just hit the roof.
** The exception is Endou's initial ''God Hand'' during a match with Dark Emperor, it's being used to stop shots inside the penalty area. Somehow, it's more effective than the two-tier-above ''Mugen the Hand G4.''
* In ''Anime/FutureGPXCyberFormula'', the Asurada car series suffers from this so that there can be [[MidSeasonUpgrade mid season upgrades]]. The Super Asurada 01 model is the most advanced and powerful racing car in the end of the TV series, but at the beginning of the ''Double One'' OVA, it can't catch up because Sugo Corp. doesn't have money to do a proper upgrade. A similar thing happens in ''SAGA'', at which this point Hayato's skill is nowhere to be blamed for his losses.
* In the ''Megaman Battle Network'' manga, Megaman.EXE has to upgrade and change power types so often to defeat the latest Big Bad that it becomes ridiculous. If you were to consider each upgrade as a multiplier, he ends up about 100x more powerful than he was at the very beginning. Add his training to that, and in the epilogue story, he is so powerful that his megabuster shoots bullets the size of small trashcans!
** In the anime, Anime/MegamanNTWarrior, Megaman unlockes Style Change at the end of season 1 and the majority of season 2. However, after using his [[spoiler: second]] strongest Style Change, Aqua Custom Style ([[spoiler: Bug Style was his strongest, which defeated the Grave Beast and restored everything to normal]]) to defeat Savage Man in the first episode of Axess, Savage Man uses a Dimensional Area to [[NewPowersAsThePlotDemands attack int the real world]], Lan and Megaman have to use [[FusionDance Cross Fusion to fuse in the real world]]. They defeat him, but according to Lan's father, Cross Fusion stopped Megaman from being able to use Style Change. On a plus side, Megaman gets Double Soul.
* The Ripple in ''Manga/JojosBizarreAdventure'' is rendered totally obsolete by Stands in Part III. In the manga Dio even mocks Joseph for surrounding his body with Ripple power, claiming that it may have caused trouble for him a century ago, but it's useless against [[TimeStandsStill The World]].
** Similarly, Dio ditches his ability to [[AnIcePerson freeze people's bodies]] and shoot [[EyeScream vitreous humor from his eyes at bullet speeds]] from Part 1 once he gets The World.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comics]]
* In the mid 90s, when Kyle Rayner became GreenLantern, villains would regularly attempt to exploit the ring's legendary vulnerability to yellow, only to find that his ring had no such flaw.
* At the start of the BronzeAge ''Comicbook/{{Superman}} #233'' had a story which turned all Kryptonite on Earth to iron. A bad guy gloated about how he has something which could kill Superman--Kryptonite. Superman promptly took the piece from him and ''ate it''.
* ''ComicBook/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'':
** Done in Season 8. In her first fight against the BigBad Twilight, Buffy uses the same scythe move she used to [[spoiler: slice Caleb in half]] in Season 7, only for Twilight to block it and says that he knows that move. However, it is not simply because Twilight is stronger than every other Big Bad, but because [[spoiler: he is Angel, and thus ''was actually there'' when she sliced Caleb. He's familiar with the technique.]]
** See Willow, probably ''the'' most powerful witch in the world, singlehandedly responsible for activating all the potential Slayers, a feat more impressive than the creation of the original Slayer to begin with. Then in Season 8 other magic users and monsters show up that can throw around equally impressive and powerful magic right back at her, including the formerly much-less talented witch, Amy. Even Buffy's Slayer abilities become pretty obsolete in the face of a giant army of full Slayers and Willow's magic.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Fan Fic]]
* From [[Fanfic/Swing123AndGarfieldodiesCalvinverse the Calvinverse]]: in ''Fanfic/CalvinAndHobbesIIIDoubleTrouble'', the Shadowfax were [[WeakenedByTheLight easily defeated with any kind of light.]] The ones in ''Fanfic/RetroChill'', however, are much bigger than the last ones, and are immune to light. This throws Hobbes for a loop, and it takes him a while to figure out that [[KillItWithIce ice]] is the new brand's weakness.
* In ''FanFic/MegaManReawakened'', every game adaptation sees Mega Man getting new, better armor.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films]]
* The "no can defense" Crane Technique that propelled a wounded Daniel-san to victory in ''TheKarateKid'' is easily deflected in ''The Karate Kid Part Two'', requiring him to use a new and different goofy finishing move to win.
* A similar occurrence took place in the 3rd ''Film/TheMightyDucks'' film. Their new coach went as far as to comment on how their "their little duck tricks" (the knuckle-puck, the flying V, etc.) won't work anymore. It's especially sad considering how cherished these "little tricks" were for the trilogy's legacy.
** Strangely, this lesson was learned immediately following a game in which the Ducks' tricks DID work—giving them an absurd offensive output (nine goals in a hockey game?).
** Except that after they scored those nine goals, the other team caught onto the tricks and rendered them ineffective, then took advantage of the Ducks' lackluster defense to score nine goals themselves, ending the game in a tie. So their new coach was fully justified in telling them they can't rely on the tricks.
* Used in ''Film/IndianaJonesAndTheTempleOfDoom'', in which Indy is pitted against *two* swordsman in a reprise of the iconic scene from ''Film/RaidersOfTheLostArk''. This time, Indy doesn't have his gun, and laughs sheepishly. (Considering that ''Temple Of Doom'' is supposed to be a prequel, this is rather odd indeed. Unless [[FridgeLogic being attacked by swordsman and using a gun to dispose of them is something that happens to Indy all the time]].)
* At the end of ''Film/IronMan2'', [[spoiler: Tony tries to use the "aimbot" that had taken out the Gulmira Ten Rings terrorists against Ivan Vanko's exposed head, complete with HUD showing the lock-ons, only for Vanko to re-equip his helmet and negate it.]]
* In ''IpMan 2'', we see three instances of this:
** Ip encounters opponents who can fight his RapidFireFisticuffs with their own.
** When Ip tries to pounce on the downed [[spoiler: Twister]] and use his RapidFireFisticuffs as a FinishingMove, only to get thrown off.
** In what is perhaps an invocation, Ip doesn't try the [[BuffySpeak pin-enemy-and-beatdown-like-training-dummy thing]] he used to finish General Miura on [[spoiler: the Twister]] even though it would be a clear juxtaposition with [[spoiler: Twister's NoHoldsBarredBeatdown-to-death of Master Hung.]]
* In the climax of ''Anime/FinalFantasyVIIAdventChildren [[ReCut Complete]]'', [[spoiler: [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII Cloud]] attempts to finish off Sephiroth with his old [[LimitBreak ultimate technique]], the Omnislash, only for all the lead up attacks to be deflected. When he goes for the finisher, Sephiroth ''impales'' him. He ends the fight with an even more powerful Omnislash to win.]]
* Subverted in ''Crackerjack''. Jack Simpson's reluctant Lawn Bowls mentor Stan tells him to stop using his novelty "flipper" bowl (lifted from a [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DlyG5wnW7I0 different sport]]) because it's ineffective and undignified and sadly Simpson has potential despite his utter lack of respect for the game. Simpson phases it out as he improves his game, only to be instructed to use it as a desperate measure on his last turn in the final game.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* We see this in action over the course of the ''Literature/HonorHarrington'' series. The People's Republic of Haven is so much larger than the Star Kingdom of Manticore that the fight would be no contest if not for Manticore's superior technology. Of course, once the fight is actually on Manticore must keep coming up with new innovations as the PRH steals or adapts to the last one. Every time this happens, their entire pre-existing navies are rendered virtually obsolete and they must build up again from scratch. This happens ten or twenty times over the course of the series, but the biggest leaps in innovation are:
** [[SubspaceAnsible FTL communication technology]] in the form of grav pulses, which allows Manticore unprecedented visibility into enemy formations.
** Missile pods, which allow ships of the wall to [[MoreDakka completely saturate the field with a rate of fire never before seen in space battles.]] Although the pods predate the start of the series, it's only after TechnologyMarchesOn that they become practical to use en masse.
** Ghost Rider project, which featured numerous advances into missile technology, such as ultracompact fusion reactors (which allowed unprecedented energy balances and thus a whole new classes of mobile decoys, penetrators and recon drones, as well as installing the FTL comms on them), multistage drives, improved stealth, advanced new missiles and drones, etc. In fact, the Ghost Rider was arguably even more of a game changer than the pod combat.
** Super-advanced [=LACs=] which serve as [[GlassCannon eggshells carrying cannons]] that allow a [[DeathOfAThousandCuts multitude of small craft to deal out damage]] each equal to a big craft, and finally,
** And then came Operation Buttercup, a Manticoran offensive that ''combined'' the new pod-oriented warship designs, new Super-[=LACs=] and their carriers, and armed this fleet to the teeth with the new Ghost Rider-based weaponry. Moreover, Manticorans managed to keep Havenites almost completely in the dark about all these developments, so when they were hit by the finally assembled new force, they were [[CurbStompBattle completely curb-stomped]].
** [[NinjaPirateZombieRobot Missile pods controlled by FTL transmissions]] that allow the missiles to be controlled by their mother ships in nearly real-time and avoid defenses with contemptuous ease.
** In the recent books the Solarian League, having become complacent in the 500-odd years that no one could even ''imagine'' fighting it, sailed headlong into the results of the two decades of the LensmanArmsRace described above. As of ''Storm From The Shadows'' [[ThisCannotBe they are largely still in denial]] about it, despite [[CurbStompBattle losing a couple of dozen fleets of various sizes with almost no losses]] to the Grand Alliance forces.

[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Franchise/PowerRangers'' often did this to introduce the new mecha in the first few seasons. When there was no more footage for the old zords, they had to justify their absence and introduce the mecha from the newer ''Sentai'' footage, often by showing that the previous mecha wasn't able to keep up with the new enemies anymore.
** Specifically, at the start of season 2, the Tyrannosaurus and Dragonzord were captured by the monster of the week, and the other four Dinozords frozen. While they were able to free them, new villain Lord Zedd immediately sent the main five Dinozords to their doom. Dragonzord survived initially, but the other five were replaced by the new Thunderzords. Dragonzord disappeared when the Green Ranger powers were destroyed, but he came back as the more powerful White Ranger with his new Tigerzord. The Thunderzords were destroyed at the start of season 3 by new villain Rito Revolto, and a few episodes later, they got the new Ninja Zords. The Ninja and Shogun Zords were simply rendered unusable when the Mighty Morphin powers were finally destroyed near the end of season 3. The Zeo Zord fleet was also never destroyed, but the Turbo powers and zords were desribed as more powerful, effectively making the Zeo stuff obsolete.
** ''Series/PowerRangersMegaforce'' returns to this trope in the conversion to ''Super Megaforce'', though in an odd way: when the Armada attacks, the X-Borg mooks are actually much stronger than their current powers, thus Gosei gives them the Legendary Morphers, which allows them to not only draw on new powers and machines, but also draw on the powers of the previous teams. ''However'', they ''don't'' lose their old powers, but certain fights show that the old Megaforce powers are just too weak against the Armada.
** ''Franchise/SuperSentai'' and other ''Rangers'' seasons do this on occasion, introducing new giant robots mid season that are much stronger then the ones they started with. Sometimes this causes the old robot(s) to not be used anymore, or only to be used as backup in ''really'' hard fights.
* Shows up in multiple Kamen Rider series in the same vein as the above mentioned Super Sentai. Most of the time a new villain appears that happens to be much too strong for the Kamen Riders' current arsenal, so they'll need to get a new SuperMode. In some seasons the rider even stops using his basic form, knowing it will be useless.
** In ''Series/KamenRiderBlackRX'', Black from the previous series ends up being transformed into the far stronger Kamen Rider Black RX. However, in this situation, it wasn't his idea, the villain [[NiceJobFixingItVillain decided to throw a solar powered Rider into the void of space, where he's directly exposed to the sun, causing him to evolve into Black RX]]
* In ''Series/KamenRiderDouble'', the Riders face the insanely powerful Weather Dopant, who keeps having the upper hand on them, until they gained new forms, capable of defeating the villain.
* All ''Franchise/MetalHeroes'', especially the Space Sheirff's have one weapon that kills every villain in the show, up to and including the BigBad, and an handful of mecha that they start with and never upgrade.
* In ''BigBadBeetleBorgs'', after defeating the previous monsters, a new monster named Nukus literally blows up their old powers, requiring them to become the stronger Beetleborgs Metallix. In a slight inversion, Nukus is still too powerful for them at first.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* In ''DungeonsAndDragons'' there is a huge rift between magic and non-magic weapons, due to damage reduction. If you don't have a magic weapon by a certain point, sucks to be you. Then later the same thing happens between Epic and magic weapons.
* ''{{Exalted}}'' used to have this deliberately built into the system; Charm trees would contain "speed bumps", Charms that would have a certain effect that a later Charm did better, meaning you never used the original again (except maybe when you needed a really cheap alternative). This system was later phased out in favour of Charms that permanently upgrade others, with the few occasions where one Charm renders another completely obsolete giving an XP refund for that Charm.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
''Because almost every game with a combat system, from shooters to [=RPG=]s, "suffers" from this, it's better to list the especially {{egregious}} cases (starter weapons are almost useless even for the first few mooks) or exceptions (starter weapons are as, or even more, useful as later ones):''
* Id Software's early shooters are a great example of this, to the point where all bullet weapons in the original ''VideoGame/Wolfenstein3D'' and ''VideoGame/{{Doom}}'' are functionally identical, except for their maximum firing rate.
* In the ''{{Franchise/Halo}}'' series, almost every weapon is useful from the start clear to the end of the games, with rapid-fire bullet hoses typically ending up as the ''least'' useful weapons. Even more unusually, the most useful weapon in the first game is commonly agreed to be the pistol that you get at the very beginning.
** This mirrors Bungie's earlier ''VideoGame/{{Marathon}}'' series, where all of the weapons also had their uses, and the pistols (especially when duel-wielded) were the best sharpshooting weapons in the game (though not to the ludicrous extent of ''Halo''). This does, however, raise the question of why the superhumanly strong player character [[ImperialStormtrooperMarksmanshipAcademy can't seem to get groupings tighter than several feet at a few yards]] with the assault rifle. Marathon explains this by having the assault rifle's description say it's notoriously badly designed. Perhaps the same is true of the Halo games?
* In ''VideoGame/HalfLife1'', the often-overlooked secondary fire of the starting pistol gives it both a faster rate of fire and greater damage output per bullet than the SMG, at the cost of having to reload more often (the pistol's 17-bullet magazine as opposed to the monster 50-bullet mag that the SMG packs) and a decrease in accuracy. At close range, it can mow down marines and take out Alien Grunts with a single mag.
* In ''VideoGame/DeusEx'' the humble pistol and riot prod, which you get at the very beginning of the game, remain effective until the very last level, provided you upgrade your character skills appropriately.
* ''Very'' averted in ''VideoGame/{{Unreal}}''. The Dispersion Pistol gets regular upgrades all through the game; by the final upgrade, it's as powerful as a weapon this side of a GameBreaker can be expected to be... unless you use the (rare) power amplifier item. Then it'll chew through even the building-sized enemies in a few shots.
** The GameBreaker properties of the upgraded (and amplified) DP were nerfed in a patch, as it could kill even the final boss in a few hits originally. Most of the other weapons also retain their usefulness throughout the game.
* ''WesternAnimation/HeavyMetal: FAKK 2'' presents a particularly strong version of this. After blasting your way through the first part of the game, act two sees you facing enemies far too powerful to be dealt with using your current weapons, the protagonist bluntly stating that she can't take them out, and it turns into stealth for the time being. Unusually for a game like this, you CAN kill them, but it takes far too much ammunition. Later levels turn these into pretty average opponents using later weapons, and turn earlier baddies into credible threats only in enormous numbers.
* In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIX'', while inside of Ipsen's Castle, the lower a weapon's attack power, the more damage it does.
* ''VideoGame/TimeShift'' has a particularly {{egregious}} example in the starting pistol. Between its low rate of fire, problematic accuracy, small magazine, and lack of regular enemies using it to drop ammo, most players will only use it to kill two mooks, probably through PistolWhip rather than the less reliable bullets. Averted with the second weapon found, the assault rifle, which remains useful throughout most of the game thanks to its large ammo capacity, reasonable accuracy, better chance of knocking armor off a bad guy, and attached grenade launcher -- it's actually a hard choice between it and the EMP cannon earned significantly later, mostly because the EMP cannon isn't as viable at long ranges. Inverted with the Thunderbolt crossbow, a sniper crossbow with explosive tips that will probably stay in your inventory when rocket launchers go flying around.
* The first round of a map in ''VideoGame/{{Counter-Strike}}'' consists of entirely pistols, as both sides begin with a meager $800 (usually). However, a skilled enough player can still use a pistol to great effect even in the later rounds when assault rifles and body armor shows up. The most powerful pistol, the [[strike:[[AKA47 Nighthawk]]]]"Deagle", can still kill an opponent with a single headshot except at very long range, and thus makes a great buy when you want to save money. Deagle, full armor, and some extra stuff? About two thousand dollars or so. [[GameBreaker AWP]]? Almost five thousand dollars ''by itself''.
* The original ''[[VideoGame/RatchetAndClank2002 Ratchet & Clank]]'' game manages to avert this trope for most of the game, until you get the R.Y.N.O, at which point all the other weapons become obsolete.
** [[VideoGame/RatchetAndClank The sequels]] also work to avert this: though later weapons are inherently more powerful then earlier ones, this can be counterbalanced by the earlier weapons accumulating more experience and upgrades that boost their usefulness. Of course, this doesn't apply to the NewGamePlus [[GameBreaker Game Breakers]].
* Particular averted in ''[[VideoGame/SuperRobotWarsOriginalGeneration Super Robot Taisen Original Generation 2]]''. While many of the prototypes from the first game like the Wildschwein and Wildraubtier had been put out of service and many costum mechs such as the Alteisen and Weissritter need an upgrade in the middle of the game, some units are still as powerfull as in first game like the SRX units.
** Even more averted with some of the mass produced mechas. Particular the Gespenst II M, a basic unit used by the main characters in the beginning of the first game. With some upgrades, parts and a good pilot they can still be extremely usefull later in the game. This comes particular from the build in jet Magnum, one of the rare chain attack capable weapons.
** Irmgult Kazahara's [[SuperRobot Grungust]]. Given to him early on in OG 1, and maintains usefulness all the way through OG 2 simply by being a well-balanced robot and Irm's criminally-cheap Spirit commands. Provided one gets him his Ace bonus and lowers his Spirit Point consumption, his [[PowerOfLove Love]] Command becomes a GameBreaker. Increased movement range? Check. Assured to never miss a shot for the next turn? Check. Impossible to be hit the next time an opponent sends a swing at you? Check. A 30% increase in evading all attacks for the rest of the turn after that? Check. Take 1/4 damage for the rest of the turn? Check. Get a boost in Will so you can use better attacks sooner? Check. [[GameBreaker Have your next attack do twice as much damage along with all the above, while costing only 1 extra Spirit Point in comparison to simply doubling the strength of your next move?]] ''Priceless''.
*** Generally in OG, with the exception of Alt and Weiss (and they didn't even need the upgrades that badly, they held their own throughout most of OG 2) once a character gets their signature mecha, it will be effective from then on. In OG Gaiden, nobody needed an upgrade from their OG 2 mecha, and the SRX team and Irm and Ring have been using the same machines since early OG 1. The only exception so far is Ibis, who's gone through 2 mecha and an upgrade throughout OG 2 and Gaiden, and still has yet to get her signature Altarion.
* In ''VideoGame/LufiaIIRiseOfTheSinistrals'', Tia's frying pan, well known as the weakest weapon in the game, can do significant damage if used on high level slimes.
* In ''VideoGame/{{BioShock|1}}'', one of the best plasmid, the [[ShockAndAwe Electro Bolt]] is also the first one you receive. Shock a splicer and they're imobilized while you wrench them to death. If they're standing in water, shock the water and they die instantly. Hit a machine and it will be disabled long enough to run up and hack it. [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking And you can activate broken door controls with it too]]. It's the most versitle plasmid in the game; never leave home without it. Also played straight in that it's less effective on later enemies and an upgraded "Electro Shock 2" plasmid becomes available.
** If it's not Electro Bolt, then it's the Telekinesis plasmid. It costs almost no Eve to use, and it can work on pretty much anything you can pick up. Since the picked-up object gets flung, it can be used as a projectile weapon. Flinging the dead body of a splicer as a weapon toward another splicer is usually a OHKO, giving you "ammo" for the next splicer. Or just use that dead splicer [[BulletproofHumanShield as protection]]. Either way, you're good to go.
** It's interesting to note that both VideoGame/{{BioShock|1}} and VideoGame/BioShock2 give you Electro Bolt as the first plasmid, but "Minerva's Den", the add-on to 2, saves it as a later one. It's probably because the developers were getting annoyed that they were making all these nifty powers and players were sticking with the first one.
** Likewise the first few weapons in BioShock - given strength upgrades your handy wrench is useful all the way through (especially for stealth kills) and the revolver remains an effective weapon - and a cheap and effective way to set off EnviroKills.
* Like the above example, in ''Franchise/DeadSpace'', properly upgraded, the plasma cutter can effectively remain a primary weapon (there's even an achievement for that) due to being highly precise, good rate of fire, and the ammo being extremely plentiful.
* In ''VideoGame/TotalOverdose: A Gunslinger's Tale in Mexico'', the character begins with a pistol and upgrades to more powerful weapons at about the same rate that he finds enemies to shoot them at him. But between mission stunt challenges train abilities that make the pistol more and more valuable. By mid-game the weapons escalation has peaked; the player is still upgrading acrobatic gunslinging while the enemies bring out more of the same. In the end, baddies can't keep up with the two-gunned wall-bouncing slow-mo triple-spins no matter how many assault rifles, explosives or military vehicles they send. Trope subverted: Pistols now ''are'' the heaviest weapons in the game.
* ''WorldOfWarcraft'' runs with this full-stop: whenever new ten man raid instances get introduced - a process which takes from 5 to 12 months - all loot obtained so far becomes inferior in comparison to newly introduced gear. Even the PvP gear vendors get updated with new tier of gear so it would keep up with [[PlayerVersusEnvironment PvE]] drops. All previously purchasable gear becomes obtainable for lesser, easier obtainable tokens, new 5-man instances often get introduced sporting the same quality of gear as previous 10 man ones, and the difficulty of said 10 man instances is drastically toned down to render them accessible to the more casual playerbase. This process occurs 2-3 times per expansion.
** As of expansions themselves, they represent a colossal leap in gear quality - for example, even the best gear from Wrath of the Lich King expansion for level 80 players becomes outdated compared to level 83 gear from Cataclysm. Character damage and health pools rise by as much as 3-5 times during the course of reaching new maximum level compared to the limit of the previous expansion.
*** The gear quality leap from Wrath of the Lich King to Cataclysm was one of the most egregious examples. The jump from Burning Crusade to Wrath of the Lich King, and Cataclysm to Mists of Pandaria, weren't so dramatic, as people could still use their high-level gear well into the midway point of levelling. In Mists, even some gear obtained from dungeons couldn't replace heroic-quality gear from Cataclym's last raid. Especially the case for Trinkets, which are hard to come by until max level.
** Certain items manage to outlive their purported quality due to being exceptionally well balanced, having no worthy replacement, or having an unique on-use effect. The so called Legendary weapons are purposely designed to last for the remainder of the expansion, as each is notoriously difficult to obtain and frequently involves a lengthy questline combined with running raid instances many times over. However, they often scale too well - for example, the spellcaster staff Dragonwrath had a chance of instantly doubling any harmful spell cast by the wielder. As this spell fully scales with all the caster's attributes, Dragonwrath would probably remain the single best weapon of all time if it wasn't eventually toned down.
** Skills and abilities, on the other hand, do not become outdated as they scale with characters' attributes (though before Cataclysm expansion, players needed to upgrade them manually at a trainer). The only exception are 'placeholder' skills such as Strike for warriors, which are baseline attacks designed to last until the character reaches level 10 and may select a proper specialization with unique abilities that replace it.
* Conversely, the player is expected to invest as little as possible in ''VideoGame/{{Diablo}} 2'''s starter skills and switch to using higher-tier skills as soon as possible. Unless the intention is to make a LethalJokeCharacter, that is.
* ''VideoGame/CityOfHeroes'' tries to avert this. The player is expected to use ALL of their powers over the course of the game, and attack powers have damage that scales up as you gain levels so that level 1 attack is still very useful at level 50.
** Similarly handled in ''VideoGame/ChampionsOnline''. Since movesets are completely customizable, players are expected to make every power choice count. The conditions for unlocking some standard abilities, primarily passives, have even been lowered recently so that players will be less likely to have to choose powers they'll never use just to access higher-level ones.
* The MagicalGirl version is [[InvokedTrope invoked]] by [[{{Tsukihime}} Arcueid]] in ''BattleMoonWars''. When Kaleido Ruby appears, she immediately designs a new outfit (specifically designed for [[PantyShot Panty Shots]]), and ''steals Caster's staff''.
* [[ZigZaggingTrope Zig Zagged]] with regards to ''AceCombat'' starter plane(s). ''Air Combat'' includes an outdated F-4 amongst 4th-generation fighters like the [=MiG-29=] and F-14. In ''2'' the starting planes are now the F-4 and A-4, with 4th-gen planes coming later. ''3: Electrosphere'' gives 4th-gen fighters like the Eurofighter from the start (though it's arguably just a twist on the conceit as 4th-gen birds in ''2045'' would be around as outdated as 3rd-gen ones in 2009), but ''4: Shattered Skies'' brings us back to the F-4 as a starter, as does ''X: Skies of Deception'' and ''X2: Joint Assault'', ''5: Unsung War'' gives the F-5 and ''Zero: Belkan War'' gives the F-1, F-5, and [=J35J=]. ''6: Fires of Liberation'' then makes the F-16 the starter plane, which is carried over into ''Assault Horizon'' while giving you more starter options ([=Mig-21bis=] and Mirage 2000-5)
** In short, ''AceCombat'' can't make up its mind as to the statistical quality of its starter plane(s).
* Iron weapons in most ''FireEmblem'' games may be weaker, but they're also cheaper, more durable, easier to hit with, and in many circumstances, enough to get the job done, even late in the game. Staffs are the same way; there are classy "mend" wands but the toy "heal" wands are almost as good in the hands of a skilled clergyman.
* Averted in ''{{Pokemon}}'' with the very first {{Mon}} you receive, which is fairly powerful and ultra-rare. The first one you ''catch'', however, is most likely a horribly weak [[ComMons ComMon]]. Except [[MagikarpPower Magikarp]].
** Don't forget Starly in the 4th gen games. It starts off looking like it'll just be like the earlier gen flying Mons(only to be used to fly around after a while), but it eventually evolves into Staraptor, a Mon that is very useful into the postgame, and even in the competitive scene.
* Averted to a degree by ''VideoGame/FrontMission 3'', where the various GiantRobot parts could be upgraded, and were generally a trade-off between several qualities rather than a straight progression.
* Ultimately sidestepped in the ''FatalFury'' series. In ''Fatal Fury 3'', Terry loses his fairly useful Rising Tackle anti-air maneuver in exchange for gaining the arguably more useful Power Dunk. By the next game, ''Real Bout'', however, he regains the Tackle and keeps the Dunk. (Notably, his ''KingOfFighters'' incarnation never lost the Tackle in the first place, simply gaining the Dunk.)
** Subverted in the ''Fatal Fury'' [=OVAs=]. In ''Fatal Fury: Legend of the Hungry Wolf'', Joe's Hurricane Upper turns out to be his saving grace in the battle against Raiden. However, in ''Fatal Fury 2: The New Battle'', the upgraded form, Screw Upper, doesn't even affect [[BigBad Krauser]] in any way.
* ''GuildWars'', since the starting skills and spells are not particularly more powerful that the ones you learn later in the game. However it can be played straight in the case of other campaigns: If you choose to begin one with an existing character from another campaign you will encounter enemies with new unknown spells, since your character already has a set of spells learned on the original campaign and those spells were not specially designed to counter the new campaign's ones it encourages you to learn those new skills.
* ''Franchise/{{Castlevania}}''
** ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaIISimonsQuest'' has two special weapons which do not require hearts to use, holy water and the dagger. What's notable is that while the latter becomes completely useless after you get the morning star, the former, the very first special weapon you get, has uses throughout the entire game (especially for pinpointing fake blocks), and in fact is required to get to Dracula.
** Jonathan in ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaPortraitOfRuin'' can't use the Vampire Killer properly, therefore it's one of the worst weapons to use throughout the game, even outclassed by the very first short sword you pick up. However, there is an optional BonusBoss where you can upgrade it, and it becomes one of the best weapons in the game from then on. Annoyingly, many of the mobility upgrades do this. You get the ability to jump on your partner's shoulder, then the better double jump like half an hour later. And then you get the super jump after the owl morph which allows you to fly, making the owl obsolete after like three uses.
* In VideoGame/MetalGear, you can get through at least 90% of the game with the handgun, one of the first weapons you find. There is simply no better weapon for dispatching the numerous troops you encounter. The machine gun is at best occasionally useful, the remote missile runs out too quickly to be of much use (and is available in only one location) and ''every other weapon'' is good for taking out bosses and absolutely nothing else. Nearly every other game in the series continues this pattern.
* ''RedFaction'' is a particularly egregious example of this... the weapons you get in the first half of the game that worked so well against the regular Ultor Guards become absolutely useless against the Mercs that show up in the game's second half. Instead, you have to grab a Precision Rifle off of the first Merc you kill and use that as your standard weapon for the rest of the game.
* In the ''VideoGame/AgeOfEmpires'' series, nearly every unit has some upgraded version, ranging from just 1 to having 3. However, the upgrades aren't always worth it, because they cost resources and the upgraded unit doesn't always gain much from it.
** The upgrades that are '''really''' worth it are civilizations' unique Guard upgrades, for instance the British upgrade to Life Guard Hussars or the Dutch upgrade to Nassau Halbardiers, because those provide additional benefits on top of the standard upgrade bonuses.
* In the ''CommandAndConquer'' series, when a faction gains access to the [[TankGoodness Mammoth Tank]], it tends to replace their basic tank because of how much stronger it is (the Mammoth Tank in C&C3 can take on 3 of GDI's basic tanks and still win). Outside of the Mammoth Tanks, in more recent games, every factions has some advanced tank or HumongousMecha that is stronger then their basic tank. However, using advanced tanks in place of the basic ones isn't something universally done, because they cost a lot more, and are very slow. Some people actually prefer to stick with the basic tanks.
* In ''FinalFantasyVIII'' it doesn't really matter which weapon you have, as your power mostly depends on which magic you junction to your stats.
* In ''VideoGame/PaperMario'', this happens with two fights that immediately follow each other. [[spoiler: You use the seven {{MacGuffin}}s that you spent most of the game collecting to deactivate [[BigBad Bowser's]] invulnerability that he gets from his super MacGuffin. You beat him, and he retreats to the roof. You go to fight him there, he activates his invulnerability again, you use the same move to deactivate it that worked a few minutes ago, and... Plink! "Ha ha, you moron! That weak move doesn't affect me anymore!" Fortunately, [[DistressedDamsel Princess Peach]] uses the PowerOfLove to boost your {{MacGuffin}}s so that they can turn off Bowser's invulnerability again.]]
* Averted in ''{{Descent}}'': The starting "laser" - even without any upgrades - does more damage per shot than almost every other gun in the game. Other weapons have a better rate of fire (allowing you to kill things quicker) and/or faster/multiple projectiles (making it easier to hit things at long range), but against easy-to-hit opponents that aren't so dangerous you need to kill them ''now'', the laser is still effective, and is the most efficient energy weapon in the game.
* ''Franchise/DragonAge'' averts this by making some of the basic tier talents and spells (Shield Bash, Winter's Grasp, Heal, Stealth, Dirty Fighting, need I go on?) useful throughout the entire game, but plays it straight in the case of Shield Wall being unarguably better than Shield Defense and Shield Cover.
* A story, rather than gameplay example in ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'': the CoolStarship from the original game, ''Normandy'', is replaced by ''Normandy SR-2'', which is twice as big, packs a lot more punch, and comes with a ton of upgrades. Justified by [[spoiler:the original ''Normandy'' being destroyed by the Collectors in the opening cutscene]] and Shepard ''really'' needing a much more powerful vessel against these new enemies.
** Though ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'' does play this straight in terms of your weapons. For instance, the base assault rifle (the M-8 Avenger) doesn't deal as much damage as the upgrade assault rifle (the M-15 Vindicator) and isn't as accurate, with the Revenant Light Machine Gun leaving both in the dust, especially after you increase it's accuracy. The base submachinegun (M-4 Shuriken) has poor accuracy, low firing rate, and low damage compared to it's upgrade (M-9 Tempest).
* ''NeedForSpeed Underground 2'' is a direct sequel to the first, and you have your powerful Skyline (best car of the previous game, and the one any player will be likely to own) smashed in the opening cutscene. With the insurance money you can buy only a not-so-fast compact. Subverted since some of the starter cars can be even better than the Skyline in the right hands. The worst offender is the [[WhatAPieceOfJunk Toyota Corolla GT-S]]: a humble hatchback famously known in Japan as the "Hachiroku/AE86" that is actually ''the best car of the game'' that can [[InitialD surprise supercars]].
** Although specifically a Tier 2 car in the Collector's edition of ''NeedForSpeed Carbon'', it can beat the [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gRLjvimddXU final boss]].
* In ''{{Dragonica}}'', the Anti-Air Shot is one of the earliest skills the Archer gets. Fast forward a great many levels and more than one PrestigeClass and many of your PVP opponents will still deride it as a 'Win Button'.
* ''VideoGame/TimeSplitters'' is slightly odd as many times it inverts the trope, if one takes the various time periods as 'seasons.' Not only do the mechanical and futuristic enemies take a TON of punishment but future tech weapons aside from the homing launcher are somewhat over-specialised. As far as rapid weapons go, many death-matchers swear by the automatic pistol (fires as fast as you can mash, dual-wielded by a pro can [[MoreDakka fire FASTER than the Tommygun]], shotgun (which is preferred to the automatic if one is refraining from the weapon swap trick), Tommygun, SB90, and AK47 (Tommy with underslung grenade launcher) rather than the sci-fi autorifle (fires slow then ramps up, faster it fires lower the damage), lasergun (must be charged to really do damage and people will hoard explosives if available just to get around the shield), and sci-fi handgun (The reflecting bullets are deadly, especially in the first where it is VERY easy to headshot yourself in enclosed spaces as it travels a LOT faster.)
* ''Banjo-Tooie'' starts the player off with all the abilities that could be learned in ''VideoGame/{{Banjo-Kazooie}}'', some of which remain vital for progressing through the entire game, yet several of them immediately prove to be pointless in the new game world. For example, the first game requires the heroes to learn a move called the Beak Buster in order to pound in the many large buttons set in the ground, whereas the sequel allows those same buttons to be activated by simply stepping onto them, and later it becomes necessary to learn a more devastating ground-pounding move, the Bill Drill.
* While the first two VideoGame/ApeEscape game play this trope straight with [[spoiler:[[GameBreaker the Magic Punch]]]], VideoGame/ApeEscape 3 averts it. Everything in Ape Escape 3 has to be used sooner or later, especially in the [[MarathonLevel final 2 levels]]. Of course, the aversion mainly exists because [[spoiler:the Magic Punch]] was taken out of that game.
* As soon as the Shivans show up in {{Freespace}}, all your past weapons become useless against their shields.
* VideoGame/{{Persona4}} has this trope apply not only spells but to [[RedMage Yosuke]] and [[CuteBruiser Chie's]] roles in combat. Yosuke starts out with good physical and wind attacks as well as healing, but his physical attacks are quickly outmatched by Chie's and his healing spells are soon outdone by Yukiko's. However, his wind attacks not only stay strong but soon prove to be the [[InfinityMinusOneSword Infinity -1]] [[InfinityPlusOneElement Element]] and he also learns some of the best buffs and debuffs in the game around the time his healing spells turn completely obsolete. Chie goes through a similar cycle but at a slower pace, starting out with good physical and ice attacks as well as the ability to tank but her defensive capabilities and single target physical attacks start to lose their punch around the time Kanji shows up to pick up the slack and her ice magic loses almost all of its effectiveness around the time Teddy takes to the field with his much harder hitting ice spells. However, her multi-target physical attacks start to gain real use around that point and [[MagikarpPower come to a head by the end game]] with [[GameBreaker Agneyastra]].
* [[VideoGame/MegaManClassic Mega Man]]'s trust Mega Buster fails him in the opening to the Game Boy ''VideoGame/MegaManV'' when Terra shows up. His charged shot simply [[NoSell bounces off him harmlessly]], and after getting knocked out he gets the brand-new Mega Arm attack.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Robopon}}'', Legend1 rankings don't mean much in Majiko; the tournament there is for Legend1s exclusively.
* In ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaLordsOfShadow2'', a certain boss [[spoiler:Victor Belmont]] uses similar moves as the protagonist of the [[VideoGame/CastlevaniaLordsOfShadow first game]] Gabriel Belmont. His final moves is to summon the same demon Gabriel could summmon that instantly kills any non-boss enemy. Dracula [[spoiler:aka Gabriel Belmont]] simply summons the Void Sword and slices the demon to pieces before freezing and shattering it. The Black Knight also remarks that [[spoiler:Victor and the Brotherhood]] aren't going to get far relying on antiques like [[spoiler:Victor's Combat Cross.]]
* A story-wise example in ''VideoGame/StarCraft''. In ''Brood War'', the Psi Disruptor was introduced as a secret weapon and essentially the [[HordeOfAlienLocusts Zerg]]'s KryptoniteFactor by blocking their HiveMind, allowing the UED to take over most of the Swarm and leave Kerrigan considerably weakened until she managed to destroy it with help from her allies. As a result, in ''VideoGame/StarCraftIIHeartOfTheSwarm'', when Kerrigan [[RoaringRampageOfRevenge comes for him]], Arcturus Mengsk has his scientists create a new variant, the Psi Destroyer, which uses their HiveMind to ''destroy Zerg''... only to find out Kerrigan has made the acquisition of the Primal Zerg, who lack a HiveMind and as such [[NoSell are immune to the Psi Destroyer]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* In ''Literature/DimensionHeroes'', the Dimensional Guardians' powers are said to increase as the threats escalate in power.
* SuperRobot villain Omega from the ''GlobalGuardiansPBEMUniverse'' uses this trope every time he appears. Part of his schtick is that, between his attacks on the heroes, he re-engineers himself to be immune to whatever defeated him before. Did you beat him once with an electro-magnetic pulse? Sorry, this time he's got tempest shielding. Burn through his chassis with a laser? Sorry, this time he's coated himself with a reflective polymer, making him resistant to lasers. The heroes had to figure out a new way to beat him every time he showed up.
* In ''WebVideo/AtopTheFourthWall'', when Mechakara returns, he prevents Linkara from repeating the [[Franchise/PowerRangers morphing]] that allowed him to win the first time. His stronger forcefield does the rest (though it can't stop a [[Series/PowerRangersZeo Zeonized]] Linkara).
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''{{Transformers}}: WesternAnimation/BeastWars''. The quantum surge turned some characters into Transmetals, granting them new weapons, new looks, and more power. Aside from the two Fuzors, new characters who showed up from that point on were also Transmetals... Until the Transmetal Driver was found and altered by Megatron, and the Transmetal 2s came into play, resultng in another round of upgrades and another look for new characters. Optimus went Transmetal, got an upgraded "Optimal" Transmetal form, and Megatron and Cheetor both went from normal to Transmetal, and then to Transmetal 2. Naturally, the final forms of all three were formidable presences on the battlefield, as was Blackarachnia, who skipped right to Transmetal 2... A full list of who was what when would be far too exhaustive for this wiki. Characters of either faction who never upgraded tended to seem slightly weaker as the Beast Wars raged on.
** Except Rhinox, one of about two characters who lived from the beginning to the end of the show without upgrading once, and remained awesome and invaluable right to the end. Arguably, everyone else upgraded up to ''his'' level.
* ''WesternAnimation/WinxClub'' takes it a bit further than just making previous power-ups worthless: they practically [[ForgottenPhlebotinum eradicated their existence without any real explanation]]. The season 2 endgame featured the girls earning their Charmix (even prompting a line of dolls based on this new power up). Season 3, except for a brief mention by Alfea's headmistress, has completely forgotten about Charmix, instead opting to change the Winx's fairy forms altogether with a whole new power up, the Enchantix (hello, more dolls). And this is despite the fact that none of the girls get their Enchantix until the end of the 6th episode of that season, and there are quite a few big battles, including one against the series' perennial Big Bads, between the start of the season and the first Enchantix's appearance; such battles should at the very least have brought up a mention of Charmix.
* ''WesternAnimation/JackieChanAdventures'' had this occur at the beginning of the fourth season. Up until this point all major villains had been Chinese in origin and Uncle was able to deal with them through normal conventions. The fourth season's villain however was Japanese and Uncle, not being Japanese or even able to read Japanese, couldn't use his regular spells on them. Luckily for him, he had a Japanese apprentice.
* In the second season of the ''WesternAnimation/{{WITCH}}'' TV series, the Guardians get an upgrade after the Veil over Meridian is lowered; four of the girls receive power increases and PsychicPowers, while Will finally gets access to her [[ElementalPowers elemental power]], [[spoiler:Quintessence]]. This led them to completely [[CurbStompBattle curb stomp]] season one's BigBad Phobos when he was broken out of prison.
* When ''WesternAnimation/WordGirl'' made the jump from shorts to a full TV series, she gained the power to make her costume appear and disappear at will.
* In ''WesternAnimation/CodeLyoko'', Jeremie manages to program everyone vehicles at the beginning of Season 2, and made a significant costume upgrade in Season 4. Also, Yumi gains a second tessen fan and Odd a [[DeflectorShields deflector shield]] in Season 2. Finally, Aelita gets [[EnergyBall energy fields]] at the beginning of Season 3 and then [[PowerGivesYouWings angel wings]] in Season 4, turning her into an ActionGirl.
** For techniques that become obsolete and stop being used, there are Ulrich's Triplicate and Triangulate powers. He attempts ''once'' to Triplicate in order to fight [[TheDragon William]], but gets immediately struck down. He never tries again for the whole Season 4, probably believing William can instantly tell apart the clones from the real Ulrich.
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheSpectacularSpiderMan'', Spidey gets his Venom suit mid-way through season 1, just in time for him to fight off the [[VillainTeamUp Sinister Six]]. In a subversion, he loses it soon after. In season 2 there's a notable ''lack'' of a mid-season powerup, despite the ever-increasing stakes; Spidey bemoans this.
* A variation of this occurs in ''[[WesternAnimation/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles2003 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles]]'' where, beginning with the fifth season, the turtles would get new weapons and abilities, which would be discarded in the following season. Season five had the turtles gain the mystical Fangs of the Dragon and super-ninja abilities, ''Fast Forward'' had the turtles use futuristic variations on their trademark weapons, and ''Back to the Sewer'' gave them Cybernaut weapons and armors while in cyberspace.
* This could count for ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'', since Aang can handle himself well against firebenders with only airbending and waterbending in the first season, but he needs to acquire new bending techniques in later seasons in order to defeat the enemies in those seasons, since air and water alone won't cut it.
** This is good example of it going hand-in-hand with the SortingAlgorithmOfEvil, with his first season opponents mostly being [[AntiVillain Zuko]], [[SmugSnake Zhao]], and mooks. Starting in season two he got to deal with [[MagnificentBastard Princess]] [[HeroKiller Azula]], [[EvilChancellor Long Feng]], [[EliteMooks the Dai Li]], and other more powerful foes.
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'': In "Keep Calm and Flutter On", Fluttershy learns, to her chagrin, that her Stare, which up until Season 3 has worked on all previous critters she's fixed it on, is ineffective on [[spoiler: Discord]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Real Life]]
* Happens fairly often in military history when one side develops a new weapon. World War One probably has the most examples of any single conflict.
** It was around for literally thousands of years. The best way to counter the enemy "high tech" heavy cavalry until the mid 1500s? Just have them charge your spearmen. By WW1 they were just giant targets.
** All through World War One soldiers were trained to fix bayonets to their rifles, when the last time a bayonet had affected a battle at all was probably Gettysburg. Add in the trench warfare in tight spaces and the length of a bayonet on a rifle, and it makes sense that if they were used at all, it was as knives (though the trench digging tools and actual trench knives did a better job).
*** Actually, bayonet charges are still used ocassionally in recent and current conflicts. The [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayonet#Bayonet_charge other wiki]] has a few examples.
*** France even had a term, the "spirit of the bayonet" that was used frequently early in the war, despite both sides using immense artillery, rifles, and other newer weapons.
** Greek Hoplite warfare was unchanged for centuries, then javelins were deployed against the phalanx, which required cavalry so as to fend of the skirmishers, which were best dealt with using the Hoplite's spears. Then things settled down for a few centuries before the Romans developed their Legions.
** The atomic bomb is so horrific, its main use without going past the point of no return (what wasn't known when it actually was used) is as a weapon of fear. Modern aircraft carriers can carry payloads just as destructive, but spread out over the aircraft carried and the ships' own missile systems. Thus all that destruction can be a lot more precise without fallout and other horrific collateral damage. Thus making it actually usable, and a credible threat for many situations.
* Happened to a comical level during the latter half of the Second World War as supplies began to run dry, as older cannons were brought back...and found to be totally ineffective anywhere but the back on most newer tanks. And the same happened with tanks, somewhat, especially for Germany, in order to have 'complete' combined arms regiments. They uparmoured the PanzerII with the F variant heavily, yet it still carried a measly 30mm which merely plinked off most anything it came up against. And it was horrible as an infantry tank too due to its long slender chassis not having enough room for many 'grapeshot' rounds or bullets.
* One of the major reasons for the AmericanCivilWar claiming so many lives was that the technology to kill people had advanced (rifles replacing old muskets being the most common example), while tactics (such as bayonet charges into the massed artillery and rifle fire) and medical techniques lagged behind.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:TV Tropes Wiki]]
* It started with a wiki...
* ContributorAnnouncements.
* WikiTechWishList.
* YouKnowThatThingWhere.
* Expanded Trope base past Television.
* EverythingsBetterWith X
* Crowning Moment Clones
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* "High Octane" NightmareFuel
* Useful Notes
* Alternate Wikis like...
** DarthWiki
** SugarWiki
** LaconicWiki
** QuotesWiki
* Indexes seem to be the rage now.
* Indexes are so last season, Troper Tales are where it's at now.
* The forums seem to be getting at least some action too. Probably still a close second to Troper Tales.
* It seems like the forums had pasted the Troper Tales and had pushed the discussion pages to the side.
* And don't forget the TVTropes Pantheon...
[[/folder]]

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