[[quoteright:350:[[ComicBook/TheAvengers http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/infinity_stones_avengers.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:You had one job Steve!]]

->''"If you have a big MacGuffin that pretty much protects your entire kingdom, you need to have a contingency plan in case you don't have the MacGuffin anymore!"''
-->-- '''Josh Scorcher''', ''[[WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic Bronies React:]] [[https://youtu.be/xZ8KQEXC46I?t=2009 Season 6 Premiere]]''

The heroes have finally found the MacGuffin. After so much effort and YourPrincessIsInAnotherCastle, they're going to return it, use it, or whatever they were supposed to do with it.

Then somebody breaks it, [[DiabolusExMachina making the]] [[ShaggyDogStory whole endeavour pointless.]]

A particularly frustrating form of a DiabolusExMachina. The other characters' reactions usually range from shock to an anger burst. Double points if the MacGuffin can NEVER be replaced.
In a story where TheGoodGuysAlwaysWin, if the villain gets their hands on the MacGuffin, it's either taken from them or this happens.

This usually happens during the middle of the series, not during a GrandFinale which would change the course of who wins. Often used in a ShaggyDogStory.

Contrast DismantledMacGuffin, where the MacGuffin is not broken, but is meant to be put back together. Often leads to NoMacGuffinNoWinner. This only refers to objects, so a LivingMacGuffin (obviously) does not count.

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!!Examples:

[[AC:{{Anime}} And {{Manga}}]]
* ''Manga/CardCaptorSakura'': Sakura accidentally releases all the clow cards from what was supposed to be their final resting place.
* ''{{Manga/Naruto}}'': In an anime filler story one well-placed fart dashes all the immense effort invested into securing a legendary bug that was supposed to track Sasuke from the residual smell on some of his possessions.
* ''Manga/InuYasha'': The main story kicks off when Kagome shoots an arrow at a bird-shaped {{youkai}} that had stolen the Shikon Jewel. The arrow hits both the creature and the jewel, resulting in a DismantledMacGuffin and a quest to recover all the shards to restore the jewel back to its completed whole.
* In ''Manga/TokyoMewMew'', the MacGuffin, Mew Aqua, is supposedly broken on multiple occasions. Subverted, as Mew Aqua does not break, and the Mew Aqua they thought they broke is not real.
* A brutal version plays out at the climax of ''Anime/PokemonHeroes''. After Ash and the others disabled the [[LostSuperweapon DMA]] and saved Latios from being used as its battery, the Soul Dew acting as a power source for it became corrupted; Annie [[TooDumbToLive touched it out of curiosity which caused it to shatter]]. As the Soul Dew controls the waters of Alto Mare, its destruction resulted in a colossal tidal wave that would've wiped out everyone in the city. It was stopped by the combined psychic firepower from Latias and Latios using the last of his power, [[NotQuiteSavedEnough which wound up killing him in the process in order to create a new Soul Dew]].

[[AC: ComicBooks]]
* The Trope Picture comes from ''ComicBook/JonathanHickmansAvengers''. In an attempt to stop an Incursion from happening, the Illuminati and Captain America use the Infinity Gems to stop it. It works, but the Gems have a shit fit, shattering all but the Time Gem, who just disappears.
* In the ''Minds'' arc of ''ComicBook/CerebusTheAardvark'', Cerebus' helmet, medallions, and sword are revealed to be artifacts crafted by the first of his aardvark ancestors, and that they could empower the aardvark statue in the Pigt temple to become a mecha-like monster that he could use to conquer the world. However, he had sold the helmet to have money for a vest and paint for his medallions several issues prior to coming across the statue, so this future never came to pass for him.

[[AC: FanWorks]]
* In the ''FanFic/TheFifthAct'' Cloud accidentally breaks the extra vials carrying the [[{{Panacea}} spring water]] when he fought the Grand Horn with Zack, losing Genesis's chance to cure Angeal's degeneration quickly.
** The entire plot is kicked off when Cloud accidentally breaks a mastered Time materia.

[[AC:{{Film}}]]
* A minor one in ''Film/{{Apollo 13}}''. When the astronauts' carbon dioxide is getting too high and they discover the filters won't fit, Mission Control [[{{Macgyvering}} macgyvers]] a solution, which includes using a spare urine bag. Which leads to this exchange:
-->'''Fred Haise:''' Shit, I tore it. \\
'''Jack Swigert:''' Shit. \\
'''Fred Haise:''' Houston, what do we do if we rip the bag? Can we tape it? \\
'''Andy (CAPCOM - WHITE):''' They just tore the bag. \\
'''Technician ([[FacePalm facepalming]]):''' Oh, no.
** Thankfully, they have another one, and use that instead.
* In ''Film/BedknobsAndBroomsticks'', the characters have retrieved the Star of Astaroth, imprinted with the words for the Substituary Locomotion. But as they arrive home, they find the star has disintegrated during the journey. [[ShaggyDogStory And it turned out to be unnecessary]], as one of the kid's storybooks had an illustration of the star, and more importantly, the words to the spell.
* In Disney's ''Disney/{{Cinderella}}'', Lady Tremaine trips up the servant carrying the glass slipper, causing it to break. [[DoubleSubvertedTrope Luckily, Cinderella had the other one.]]
* [[ZigzaggedTrope Zigzagged]] on ''WesternAnimation/CloudyWithAChanceOfMeatballs'' with the FLDSMDFR kill code. As they fly to stop it, Flint almost drops the flash drive with the code, saying "[[TemptingFate Can you imagine if I dropped this?]]" The window then breaks and the drive gets sucked out. After much difficulty, Flint gets his father to e-mail him the code to his cell phone. He plugs it to the FLDSMDFR, activates it, and... it turns out his dad sent the wrong file!
* A humorous example; in ''WesternAnimation/IceAge'', the gang spends a whole scene trying to get a watermelon from a "cult" of dodos so they can feed it to the baby they're protecting. After a hilarious slow-motion sequence, Sid the Sloth finally manages to retrieve it from the onslaught of birds......only to spike it into the ground like a football, shattering it. [[spoiler: The baby simply eats the chunks off the ground.]]
* Played straight in ''Film/TransformersRevengeOfTheFallen'' with the Matrix of Leadership, but then inverted.
* Near the climax of ''Disney/{{Zootopia}}'', Judy and Nick discover a train car full of vital evidence, and Judy decides to hijack the entire train car and drive it to the police station. In the ensuing ChaseScene, the car gets derailed and everything goes up in a [[EveryCarIsAPinto fiery explosion]]. Fortunately they manage to rescue the small briefcase of evidence Nick suggested quietly slipping out with in the first place.

[[AC:{{Literature}}]]
* ''Literature/TheBooksOfEmber'':
** In ''The City of Ember'', the "Instructions for Egress" were mostly ruined by Lina's baby sister, Poppy, chewing on them; this turned what would have otherwise been a very quick and simple quest into a much more difficult and time-consuming ordeal as they tried to piece together what remained of the instructions.
** In ''The Diamond of Darkhold'', [[spoiler:Doon throws the diamond of Darkhold at a pack of wolves to save Lina. The diamond hits the rock that Lina is standing on and shatters into hundreds of pieces. Luckily, The diamond is only a sample. There are exactly one thousand diamonds in a hidden room in the cave. The diamonds are ancient technology that turns solar power into electricity]].
* In ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheOrderOfThePhoenix'', the record of the prophecy Voldemort tricks Harry into stealing from the ministry is shattered as Harry and his friends try to make their escape from the ministry, pursued by Voldemort's minions.
* In ''Literature/{{Beowulf}}'', Beowulf puts so much force behind Naegling, that he shatters it. Woops.
* In ''Literature/TheKalevala'', the Sampo is eventually destroyed in the final battle. [[NoMacGuffinNoWinner Everybody gives up and goes home]].

[[AC:Live-Action TV]]
* In ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'', after Buffy dies the second time, the Scoobies find a one-of-a-kind sacred urn that will let them resurrect her. Demons interrupt their spell, and the urn gets dropped and broken, but it turns out [[SubvertedTrope the resurrection was completed moments before that.]]

[[AC:VideoGames]]
* In ''VideoGame/{{Borderlands 2}}: Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate's Booty'', the Vault Hunter breaks the last part of Captain Blade's compass when breaking open the chest in which Herbert stored it. Fortunately, Herbert knows how to fix it.
* A flip-flopping example from the ''Franchise/RatchetAndClank'' series is the Dimensionator. In ''[[VideoGame/RatchetAndClankFutureToolsOfDestruction Tools of Destruction]]'', it is broken via unknown means after the final battle, preventing Ratchet from visiting the Lombaxes. Effort is put towards fixing it in ''[[VideoGame/RatchetAndClankIntoTheNexus Into the Nexus]]'', and yet again it winds up broken after the BigBad is put away with it. Ratchet can only laugh hysterically at his bad luck, however before the game ends Clank snatches it, [[SequelHook implying that he intends to fix it once more]].

[[AC:WesternAnimation]]
* In the ''WesternAnimation/KimPossible'' movie, ''A Sitch in Time'', Ron accidentally ends up breaking the villains' ultimate weapon, the Tempus Simia ([[AltumVidetur Latin]] for Time Monkey), which he was warned could very well [[RealityBreakingParadox unravel the very fabric of spacetime itself]]. However, it [[DeusExMachina fortunately decides to instead send all the characters back to where they were at the beginning of the film]], with the only changes being that [[LetUsNeverSpeakOfThisAgain there is no longer an existing Tempus Simia]], and they all have [[RippleEffectProofMemory trace memories of their adventure through time]].
* ''WesternAnimation/TazMania'': Taz does this to the golf trophy at the end of "Return of the Road to Taz-Mania Strikes Back".
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'': In the pilot two-parter, the main characters recover the Elements of Harmony only for the villain to snatch them away and smash them to bits. Fortunately, they repair themselves when the heroes prove themselves worthy.

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