%% Image selected per Image Pickin' thread: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/posts.php?discussion=1330675503028080100
%% Please do not change or remove without starting a new thread.
[[quoteright:250:[[Franchise/SpiderMan http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/rsz_razor_fist_william_scott_3750.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:250:[[WeaponsForHands Good at combat.]] [[AwesomeButImpractical Very bad at feeding himself]].]]

->''"It's simple: Overspecialize, and you breed in weakness. It's slow death."''
-->-- '''Major Motoko Kusanagi''', ''Anime/GhostInTheShell''

CompetitiveBalance exists so that there is some symmetry between specific advantages and the NecessaryDrawback. If someone can hit hard but are easily hurt, they are a GlassCannon. If they are [[SuperStrength unstoppably strong]] but slow moving they are a MightyGlacier. A crippling overspecialization occurs when an obscenely powerful advantage makes a trade-off that limits how [[AwesomeButImpractical effective it is]].

In some RealTimeStrategy games, unit types are often specialized beyond all reason. They often have only one weapon, effective against just one particular kind of enemy, and usually cannot defend themselves at all if their particular weapon is ineffective. The most prominent examples can be seen in this genre: explosives will deal low damage to infantry, while Anti-Aircraft cannons can't defend against ground units. This is usually a result of game balance. After all, if tanks are effective enough against other tanks ''and'' infantry, then why build anything else? Additionally, until recently, most units in games were depicted with only one weapon. A few might've had a second gun used for attacking enemy fliers, but that was about it.

Can result from a TacticalRockPaperScissors design scheme, or from intensive MinMaxing in a character build.
People who do this for ElementalRockPaperScissors are suffering from PoorPredictableRock.

See also AntiAir and StrongFleshWeakSteel. Compare to AnAdventurerIsYou, where this is used to force players to work together. See also SacrificedBasicSkillForAwesomeTraining for a characterization equivalent. SeverelySpecializedStore is a comedic variation.

Don't confuse "having a weakness" or "not being the best at everything" or even "not being quite good enough" as being this trope. Don't be tempted to list something because it failed in some way unless you can point a finger at its crippling specialty!

The opposites of this trope are the RedMage, JackOfAllStats, and MasterOfAll. At the other extreme that loops right back is MasterOfNone, where the character has no great specialization... but sucks at everything anyway.



!!Video Games

[[folder:Action Game]]
* In the old SSI game ''Gemstone Warrior'', your character is only armed with a crossbow and a small number of OneHitKill fireballs. He can find a dagger in the game but it's purely decorative and can't be used in battle, so if you run out of ammunition then your only option is to run away until you find more.
* Being a pure gunner is a trait in a number of old '80s games including Nightstalker from the Intellivison and Tutakhamen for the Apple II. These games have you start off with nothing. So you must find your gun which is strong enough to kill most enemies in one shot and has unlimited range, but has only a SMALL number of bullets. You have no melee ability so once you run out of ammo, then the game becomes a race to avoid your enemies until you find another gun or reach the next level.
* While a strategic game at its broadest gameplay level, Strategic Simulation Inc's ''Cyber Empires'' was more of a top-down brawl shooter, and features a small assortment of HumongousMecha to choose from. The two most notably overspecialized units are the Dragon and the Crossbolt. The Dragon can kill other cyborgs single-handedly by covering them in napalm, but is otherwise small and weak beyond close range. On the other end of the scale, the Crossbolt trades speed and close-range firepower for a quad-rack guided missile launcher, making it excellent at long range but less than useless at close range. When either unit is unable to play to its strengths, they can be destroyed en masse by more flexible units such as the Achilles.

[[folder:Adventure Game]]
* In the first and fourth ''{{Gobliiins}}'' games, the player controls three [[OurGoblinsAreDifferent goblins]] whose specializations border on the ridiculous. One can only pick up and place objects (only one at a time), another can only punch things, and the third can only cast spells. Apparently, the other two goblins haven't grasped the concept of, well, [[IncrediblyLamePun grasping]].
* ''VideoGame/LegoDimensions'':
** [[VideoGame/{{Portal2}} Chell]] is overly-specialized in terms of abilities. The only ability she has is the Portal Gun, which no other character has, but is only ever used to access optional secret areas in the main story.
** [[Film/BackToTheFuture Marty McFly]] only has one ability: Sonar Smash, an ability the [[Franchise/{{Batman}} Batmobile]] in the starter pack can be upgraded to have, and one most other characters have in addition to other abilities.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Solatorobo}}'', this is what Merveille says is wrong with [[spoiler:Nero and Blanck]], as though they live for [[spoiler:The Order]] and can perfectly perform their one duty of [[spoiler:controlling Lares and Lemures]], once that duty is fulfilled, they have no reason to exist. Those who are imperfect, like [[spoiler:their brother Red]], are free to grow and develop in any way they choose, not bound to any one destiny.
* In ''TheLostVikings'', only Eric can run and jump; only Balrog can attack; and only Olaf can defend. Simillarly to the {{Gobliiins}} series, the premise takes TeamWorkPuzzleGame aspect up to [[NintendoHard a ridiculous level.]]

[[folder:Fighting Game]]
* A number of characters in ''VideoGame/MarvelVsCapcom3'' suffer from this. [[CharacterTiers Top tier characters]] are typically [[JackOfAllStats Jacks-of-All Stats]] and often {{Flying Brick}}s. Other potent characters, such as [[ComicBook/ImmortalIronFist Iron Fist]], ComicBook/GhostRider, and [[VideoGame/FinalFight Mike Haggar]], often find themselves in low tiers simply because their overspecialization, well, cripples them.
** Iron Fist is a LightningBruiser. He practices ConfusionFu, transitioning seamlessly between kung-fu moves to mixup opponents. He can even cast [[StatusBuff Status Buffs]] to adapt to his enemy. His weakness? ''[=MvC=] 3'' features [[InASingleBound Super Jumps]], [[DoubleJump Double Jumps]], TeleportSpam and Flight. It's remarkably easy for any enemy to wage HighAltitudeBattle. But because Iron Fist has no AntiAir attacks, he is unable to effectively reach anyone airborne. And because two of his most important moves his Launcher and his Dragon's Touch are only effective on ''standing'' enemies, he can't effectively damage airborne fighters even after he catches them.
** Ghost Rider is a LongRangeFighter, through use of his [[WhipItGood chain whip]] and [[PlayingWithFire hellfire]]. In theory, he should be able to prevent his enemies from ever approaching him. It turns out, however, that Ghost Rider's one-dimensional strategy is rather predictable, which renders him easily approachable. And once that's done, he's nearly completely unable to cope with enemies in close proximity to him, especially just above and behind him. It doesn't help that many teleports put characters in ''exactly'' this location.
** Mike Haggar is a MightyGlacier ''to the letter'', boasting incredibly high powered attacks from all angles, a projectile-proof SpinAttack, potent AntiAir, and vicious combo-starting throws to break enemy defenses. He's not someone you'd like to approach. His weakness, of course, is that ''you don't have to approach him''. Haggar may be able to break an incoming projectile, but only while standing in place. He can't quite shrug off the BulletHell many characters can produce. With no strong mobility options and no means to pull enemies towards himself, Haggar is left unable to cope with any LongRangeFighter.
* ''VideoGame/DissidiaFinalFantasy''
** Poor, poor VideoGame/{{F|inalFantasyII}}irion. On the ground, Firion is a ''monster'': a MightyGlacier with deadly mid to close range moves that chain into HP hits--''three'' of them--a projectile, one of the hardest HP attacks in the game to dodge (that doesn't belong to a {{Boss|Battle}} character), a [[CounterAttack defense and counter]] move that is a practically guaranteed HP hit, and the ability to ground dash, which handily helps remedy the speed problem. ...Once he ''leaves'' the ground, though, he has none of that. Once he is in the air, he is a bad way. This overspecialization happens to be crippling because in his game, most everyone else is at least competent in the air (with at least three explicit specialists in air fighting), and many of the stages are fragmented enough that staying on the ground exclusively is not possible and the game flow tends to naturally take fighting to the air. Poor Firion.
*** They went so far in the sequel as to design stages that punish people for jumping into the air to give Firion a chance, as well as minor overhauls of the game making ground-fighting more viable and interesting for more characters, adding new characters with an eye to making them more balanced for ground vs airplay, and removing the 'infinite air jumps' oversight of the first game with the result that now staying in the air is much harder. Interestingly, they decided the answer to Firion's overspecialization was to overspecialize even more in his niche, adding a highly powerful and dangerous new attack to his ground arsenal, which, combined with better functionality on his air game (he can chain his weak air attacks together more easily, and aerial swordslash will now floor-crash the opponent back into Firion's turf) makes him a monstrously tough opponent except on stages where ground combat is just hopeless period.
** Terra has a slightly crippling specialization-only a few of her Bravery attacks chain directly into HP Attacks, and the ones that do are so laughably easy to dodge that even the dumbest computer opponents can do it. The remedy to this is that her actual HP Attacks are very difficult to dodge, especially in EX Mode where she can cast them twice in rapid succession. Still causes her issues with the extremely reactive AI opponents-most of Inward Chaos comes to mind.
* In ''[[VideoGame/GundamVsSeries Gundam Extreme Vs. Full Boost]]'', the [[Anime/MobileSuitGundamWing Gundam Epyon]] is generally considered such a weak [[HumongousMecha mobile suit]] that it actually has its own level in the game's CharacterTiers, despite being ranked at 3000 points (the highest possible in the game, which gives it high HP and attack power). The reason for this is that Epyon wields only melee weapons (a large LaserBlade and a WhipSword), meaning it has no way of attacking beyond short range and '''must''' weather its opponent's guns and missiles in order to do any damage. When Epyon appeared in the earlier game ''Gundam vs. Gundam Next'', it had the advantage of an AssistCharacter that provided a DeflectorShield, but the ''Full Boost'' version lacks this, which puts it at an incredible disadvantage even ''before'' you factor in the fact that ''Full Boost'' is biased towards ranged combat.
* ''VideoGame/SuperSmashBros'' has [[VideoGame/PunchOut Little Mac]]. A BoxingBattler, with powerful ground game, moves with super armor, very fast moving speed and a one-hit KO punch. However, since boxing doesn't ever get off the ground, Mac's air game is extremely poor both in strength and in ability to get back to the battlefield.
** [[VideoGame/KidIcarus Palutena]] is underwhelming in almost every aspect that is not named Lightweight or Super Speed (both of which are custom specials and thus cannot be used in with anyone mode). This alone makes Palutena easily one of the biggest [[TierInducedScrappy Tier Induced Scrappies]] in the Wii U and 3DS versions.
* For a non-gameplay example, El Fuerte from ''StreetFighterIV'' is a really good chef... as long as he's making mexican food. Anything else turns him into a CordonBleughChef.

[[folder:First Person Shooter]]
* In ''VideoGame/BattlefieldBadCompany 2'' you have a choice of 4 specializations. It is possible to be crippled by the Medic's lack of explosives, or by the Recon's lack of ammo. Just as much as it is to be crippled by the Assault's [[MasterOfNone lack of specialization]].
* All the classes in ''VideoGame/TeamFortress2'' are very specialized, which is part of the game balance. No class is effective against all other classes, but each is devastating against one or two classes. They do have an item or two to make them a bit more versatile, but the only real exception is the JackOfAllStats Soldier, designed to be at least moderately effective in most potential situations.
** The Demoman holds onto this trope with a deathgrip. Both his primary and secondary weapons are explosive (which can cause self-damage if he's near the projectiles when they detonate), inaccurate over long ranges and don't directly hit enemies (unless aimed and timed specifically). However this leads to his overspecialization at mid-range, which no other class (other than a Sniper with a Huntsman) is any good at.
*** During the WAR! update, the Demoman was given the Chargin' Targe, a shield that replaces his stickybomb launcher with a charging rush that turns his melee attacks into guaranteed [[CriticalHit criticals]]. This has given rise to a new way to play the class; the "Demoknight". It involves using the Targe (or the other shield, the Splendid Screen) alongside one of the many sword and axe-like melee weapons he's received since then, giving him the ability to overspecialize in melee (especially if you equip the boots that increase health by replacing the grenade launcher).
** The Pyro's flamethrower is, [[VideogameFlamethrowersSuck as one might imagine, a short ranged weapon]]. [[AmbiguousGender Their]] long range alternative is [[ShortRangeShotgun a shotgun]], or a flare gun which has significant travel time, a firing arc, and can only load one shot at a time. This makes Pyros absurdly good at ambushing, but not that useful at other forms of combat [[DifficultButAwesome unless you have the skill for it.]]
** Contrary to how [[LeeroyJenkins some players may act]], the Heavy is also over-specialized for damage at short range. Few of his weapons are accurate at long range or do enough damage to justify 'suppressing fire' if opponents are a distance away, since the primary weapon reduces the Heavy's already slow speed [[DoNotRunWithAGun to an absolute crawl]] and the secondary shotguns spread a great deal.
** Pretty much no matter how you load your Spy, you're almost entirely limited to stabbing people in the back. In a fair fight, between equally skilled players, the spy will pretty much always lose. Fortunately, the spy's cloak allows him to avoid fair fights as much as possible.
** As might be expected, Snipers are generally not strong in a close-range situation. The main weapon unlock that helps them at that range, the Huntsman, lacks the ability to zoom in or to hold a [[ChargedAttack charged shot]] for very long, inverting their threat ranges somewhat, but not making up for [[GlassCannon their squishiness]] at close range.
*** The Sniper's inability to push an offensive or handle most of their counters, coupled with their association with players who care more about kills than objectives, has led to them being declared the class least needed in large numbers. It's often said that a team with more than two or three Snipers is doomed to failure. "[[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6cm2iFmASBc It's like Christmas morning. It's like Christmas morning. It's like Christmas morning.]]"
** Scouts put the 'agile' into FragileSpeedster, possessing a powerful SawnOffShotgun but lacking sufficient power and health to hold an area for long. They are also handicapped by enclosed areas that don't allow them to take advantage of their superior speed and maneuverability.
** Medics heal people, and that's pretty much it. He can build up an Ubercharge which is devastating when used correctly, but that's charged by, you guessed it, healing people. Going CombatMedic will get you killed (and then kicked from the server for not doing your job correctly), as his weapons are only useful as {{Emergency Weapon}}s.
** Engineers build buildings, upgrade buildings, and maintain buildings. They can defend buildings from a Spy, but without their buildings they're pretty much useless.
** Many weapons provide a bonus so situational as to become useless, such as the scout's Wrap Assassin (which launches a ball that makes targets bleed but does barely any damage and is difficult to hit with), the Engineer's Short Circuit (which destroys projectiles but makes you run out of metal, your primary resource as Engineer, very quickly), or the Pyro's Neon Annihilator (which deals crit damage to players who are, or have recently been, underwater, although most maps don't feature water). The king of this is the Sun-On-A-Stick, a melee weapon for the Scout that only has a benefit when hitting someone on fire. This pretty much requires you to be buddies with a Pyro for the duration of using it. Otherwise, it's only real change from the stock bat is a ''25% damage reduction''.
* A story example in ''Videogame/{{Evolve}}''. Ebonstar was well prepared to defend Shear against pirates, corp raiders, and mercenaries using a series of heavy cannon emplacements and EMP missiles. Unfortunately their reliance on anti-spacecraft weaponry meant they had no heavy firepower for ground combat. As the monsters didn't use spacecraft to get to Shear these weapons were useless against them, allowing the monsters to demolish their bases and slaughter their solders with little resistance.

[[folder:Mecha Game]]
* The ''TabletopGame/HeavyGear'' video games occasionally do this, with one of the worst offenders being the Mammoth strider, an enormous, heavily armored machine with the ability to carry frankly absurd amounts of firepower... which [[MightyGlacier was slow as dirt]] and steered like a cow. It had no ability to dodge enemy shots, and relied solely on thick armor to survive extended fights.
* Common in the ''VideoGame/MechWarrior'' franchise due to it spawning from the ''TabletopGame/BattleTech'' game. Several 'Mechs are dedicated long or short range specialists, or focus on one tactic in particular, and suffer significantly when not fighting in their preferred range bracket. The [[GlassCannon lack of foot speed or defensive armor]] on these models tends to compound their difficulties. Notable examples include the ''Hollander'' sniper 'Mech and the ''Hunchback'' close-combat 'Mech, both of which are powerful at their respective range brackets, but quickly and readily countered by one another's ranges. Overspecialization can be exacerbated by the [[DesignItYourselfEquipment MechLab]], such as a player stripping ''all'' their long range weapons in favor of more shotguns. ''[=MechWarrior=] Living Legends'' showed the pitfalls of overspecilization with the introduction of alternate asset types such as [[PoweredArmor battlearmor]] and [[SpacePlane aerospace fighters]]; a weapon good at killing mechs at range will be pretty awful at killing a battlearmor [[SnipingTheCockpit pounding through your cockpit canopy]].
* ''VideoGame/SDGundamCapsuleFighter''
** Many units are designed to be this way and usually suffer for it, thanks to its ElementalRockPaperScissors gameplay: Rock-type units excel in fighting in close range and are able to get in close quickly, but suffer by not having the quickness to shoot back in long range, if they have guns at all. Scissor-type units is more of a JackOfAllTrades and tend to be easily pounced on by Rock-types. Paper-types excel in long range attacks, even going so far as to be able to shoot from across a stage. However, their swing is incredibly lacking, if they have blades at all.
** The S-Rank Gundams from ''Anime/MobileSuitGundamWingEndlessWaltz'' really suffer from overspecialization: Wing Zero Custom excels in shooting at long range, but crumples at close range; Altron specializes in melee attacks, but doesn't have consistent range attacks aside from a grappling attack; Sandrock Custom specializes in stunning attacks but can easily lose that with a Vaccine item; Heavyarms Custom specializes in Tanking, but loses out in mobility and firepower; and Deathscythe Hell specializes in stealth attacks and BackStab, but crumples because of the lack of defense.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Armored Core}}'' 4 and For Answer, some standard schematics that fall into this. Good examples include the AALIYAH and GAN-01-SS frames. You can also throw any of BFF's designs into this. And we haven't even touched on some of the individual pilots yet. *cough* SHINKAI *cough*

* Although very specialized characters are commonplace in [=MOBA=]s so teamwork is necessary, Chromie in ''VideoGame/HeroesOfTheStorm'' is a very spectacular case of a hero so specialized that it becomes crippling on several levels : she can deal heavy damage in teamfights from a safe distance constantly, put traps that can hold enemies in place (but also making them invulnerable) for a short time and kill them in an instant when the effect expires, often killing a hero at full health by herself that way, and harass enemies in lanes with a constant barrage of heavy-damaging projectiles. However, her main damaging ability and her traps only affect enemy heroes, her basic attacks are weak, her health is low, her only ability that can affect non-heroic units has a farly long cooldown and she lacks mobility and reliable crowd control, making her nearly useless against map objectives, very bad at pushing and sieging and extremly easy to kill when caught off-guard. In a game like ''Heroes Of The Storm'' where gaining control of a map objective is as valuable as winning teamfights, a Chromie player that doesn't use her abilities to their full effect during teamfights won't be of any help when a map objective is contested.

[[folder:Puzzle Game]]
* ''VideoGame/PuzzleQuest'' and its sequel ''Galactrix'': Pumping all your [[PointBuySystem skill points]] into one or two types of mana/energy gives you near GameBreaker power with some of your spells/attacks[[note]]With the exception of PQ's Knight class, where pouring nearly everything into Battle and Morale turns you into a MightyGlacier.[[/note]] but at the cost of under-powering the rest of your arsenal. And that's assuming you don't run into an enemy who has high-resistance to or can counter that particular mana/energy type (and you will) leaving you to muddle through with weak attacks while it pounds you at full strength.
* ''VideoGame/MarvelPuzzleQuest'' can hurt you with this trope. Having a team of three who have a predominant set of colors will hurt you bad if you plan wrong. For instance, creating a team comprised of the one-star Iron Man (Model 35), two-star Thor (Marvel NOW) and two-star Steve Rogers (Captain America) nets you a team sharing the same two colors - red and yellow. As well, Steve and Iron Man share blue. Since Thor's attack set is dependent on all three of his colors (red does damage and makes yellow blocks, yellow does damage and makes green blocks and green damages all opponents), you would have to choose between Iron Man's heavy-hitting attacks, Steve's shield-fueled recharges or saving up to bring the thunder down.

[[folder:Real Time Strategy]]
* In ActOfWar, and it's SpiritualSuccessor ActOfAggression, the US army suffers from this. Tough and experienced, their units outclass any other in a particular role, but are almost useless outside of that. For example, the F-15 (F-22 Raptor in [[ActOfAggression AoA]]) is the strongest fighter plane in the game, but only carries Anti-Air Missiles.
* ''VideoGame/AgeOfEmpiresIII''
** Mortars are incredibly powerful against buildings and ships but can't be used at all against any other unit.
** Pikemen are good against all cavalry, but useless against infantry and artillery.
* ''VideoGame/BattleRealms'' both uses and avoids this trope. All ranged units can also attack in melee (but most of them are horrible at it), while most tier 1 melee units have only a melee attack and nothing else. The tier 2 and 3 melee units of the Dragon and Serpent clans have a secondary ranged weapon, however, which is useful in a pinch. There are also 7 damage types (slashing, piercing, blunt, crushing, fire, explosion and magic) and all units have different resistances to each type -- any commander who tries to overspecialize by fielding an army of one unit type will quickly find that this is not a good idea since they can be quickly countered by a smaller number of units whose attacks screw them over.
* Combat in the second ''VideoGame/TheBattleForMiddleEarth'' game tends to consist of a desperate attempt to get the right type of unit fighting the right enemy, because if they're fighting the wrong type they get slaughtered. Well, unless they're fully upgraded elven archers, who can usually mow down an entire cavalry unit while they're charging. Or fully upgraded Rohirrim, which can trample right over pikes. Incidentally, these two units are the ones capable of both melee and ranged combat. The first game even allowed you to merge two infantry units into one. If one unit was melee fighters, while the other one was archers, then the archers would take the back rows and first while the infantry holds off the enemy. In the case of two joined elven archers battalions, the ones in the back would use their bows, while the front lines would switch to swords.
* ''VideoGame/DawnOfWar'', much like [[TabletopGame/{{Warhammer40000}} it's source material]]. Anti-vehicle weapons are useless against infantry except for knockback, regular weapons can only do ScratchDamage against vehicles, melee specialists ''must'' get in melee range to do anything, and most ranged infantry crumble in the face of melee combat. However, in the ''Soulstorm'' expansion all ranged-units could attack air units, and in the sequel anti-vehicle weapons turn infantry into LudicrousGibs; their real weakness is their low rate of fire.
* In the ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquer'' games, units '''usually''' have only one weapon, and are on their own extremely vulnerable to units impervious to their single weapon. A rifleman never has rockets or other explosives to use against vehicles, a grenadier has only grenades and no firearm for self-defense, a rocket soldier only carries rockets effective against vehicles and aircraft, tanks never have machine guns for close defense against infantry, and so on. This often results in absurd situations such as an infantryman being able to take several rockets to the face before dying, but dying easily to a shotgun blast. This is sometimes in spite of the fact that the unit's sprite/model, or promotional images, will show it with additional anti-personnel weapons. The series also harbors one near constant aversion, however - the Mammoth Tank and its successors have almost always had a big pair of cannons for taking out buildings and vehicles, and ground-to-air missiles for dealing with airborne enemies. They can also run infantry over.
** Lampshaded as of ''Red Alert 3'' with the background information on the Allied Hydrofoil unit, which has a weapon jammer device. The background states that Allied tank crewmen and fighter pilots asked why their units could not also be equipped with jammers, but engineers the world over have encountered unspecified technical difficulties designing vehicles with multiple weapons. ''Red Alert 3'' actually changed the whole model on this one, given that all units in that game have a special ability of some type, and for about half those units that ability is a [[DualModeUnit second weapon]]. The hydrofoil's primary is an anti-aircraft gun.
*** Those in the modding community for early games can attest that technical limitations make it impossible to mount more than two weapons on any given object and even then, the two are mutually exclusive when it comes to target selection. (Specifically, the primary weapon can force-fire at the ground, onto terrain objects and is normally used against enemies; the secondary can only attack stuff the primary either can't or where the primary would do less damage, PERIOD.)
** One of the worst units in the series is the Tank Destroyer in ''Red Alert 2'', the unit itself can only do maximum damage to enemy vehicles, but it can barely hit infantry (though can still run them over) and can only do minor damage to buildings which can be easily repaired while it's still firing.
** Snipers in all games can one hit kill most infantry, but useless against anything else. However, in ''C&C 3'', they get a passive ability to spot for Juggernauts.
** Commandos in ''Tiberium Wars''. They are devastatingly effective against buildings and infantry, and exactly ONE type of vehicles: Walkers. There are, prior to the expansion, exactly 3 units of this classification, and at least one was considered AwesomeButImpractical and another was an artillery unit. In the expansion they were made a bit more useful, with a few new variants of the walkers appearing and being genuine threats, while an entire faction focused on infantry.
** In ''Generals'', several of the specialist commanders unfortunately fall victim to this. Gen. Granger, the air force commander of the United States, has access to [[CoolPlane King Raptors]] and has second-to-none air power, but he can't even build the basic tank. Gen. Kwai of China can build exceptional tanks very quickly..... Which will quickly fall to anti-tank units and he has ''no'' artillery meaning he won't be able to effectively and safely assault fortified positions. Prince Kassad [[StealthExpert is a master of staying undetected and infiltrating enemy positions]], but he'll get his ass handed to him if he needs to fight in big open ground battles or actually besiege a defended base, plus if he wants any tanks, he'll have to steal them from the enemy. Gen. Townes, the technology specialist of the United States, loves using lasers to counter vehicles and protect his base from missiles, but infantry rushes give him a headache, and all his shiny gadgets are useless if someone manages to unplug him from his huge power grid.
*** Averted by the standard Humvee, which starts with an anti-infantry attack and can get an anti-armor missile, but more importantly can be filled with up to five Missile Defenders or insta-death-to-infantry Pathfinders, or some combination thereof.
*** Anti-armor infantry absolutely suck at killing other infantry, even when outnumbering them.
*** Infantry stationed inside structures are completely safe from attack, letting them destroy most enemies quickly... but a single flashbang or spray of napalm/toxin will instantly kill everyone inside the building, often giving the killer several promotions.
*** Aurora Bombers are invulnerable when attacking- until they drop their bomb, at which point they'll soon be very dead. With very good micro, they can be used as a fire magnet.
*** The Chinese Overlord tank can avert this trope somewhat by installing an anti-air and infantry gatling gun (its main weapons are anti-armor), though it's still slower than molasses in winter and vulnerable to anti-armor weapons.
** In ''Red Alert 3'', the Apocalypse Tank (a Mammoth Tank {{Expy}}) has lost its anti-aircraft missiles in favor of a big magnet that pulls enemy vehicles towards its circular saw. Basically, the tank has been redesigned to be more effective against vehicles, something it was already good at, while leaving it vulnerable against airstrikes.
** Hammer Tank played with it, since its special ability is an absorption beam which in addition of draining the HP of the enemy while repairing itself, but is also able to steal the weapon of enemy vehicles destroyed while it is targeting them, effectively giving the Hammer Tank a second primary weapon, and possibly an ability to engage air targets.
** Two units introduced in ''[[VideoGame/CommandAndConquerTiberium Kane's Wrath]]'' are dedicated anti air, however the AI doesn't seem to know this and often sends them in place of normal tanks, where they get torn apart due to their lack of ground weaponry.
** In all three ''Red Alert'' games, Attack Dogs (and later bears) could only harm infantry as they're only using their paws and teeth (and thus, could not harm vehicles or buildings at all), and could sniff out Spies and Thieves, none of which were particularly useful compared to the time-honored tactic of tank rush (at least not until ''[=RA3=]''). Squids and dolphins had a similar problem as while both are invisible to the enemy until he bumped into them, they could only attack aquatic units. Squids have it even worse, as they can't move after they've started attacking a ship. However, all of them are devastatingly good at what they do; dogs and bears insta-kill anything they ''touch'', squids disable ships when attacking them and does this instantaneously, and dolphins' sonic attack not only pierces multiple targets, but also deal respectable damage with a fast firing rate.
** Speaking of Spies and Thieves, in the original Red Alert both were only good for infiltrating enemy bases; they had NO weapons on them. However, get either into their target buildings and you can severely cripple your opponent (pray your opponent either isn't soviet or hates dogs though).
* In ''Frontline Attack: War over Europe'', the only armoured vehicles that have any effectiveness against infantry are the light armoured cars. You can send 20 Pershing tanks to attack an enemy base, but if there's just one team of anti-tank infantry, or grenadiers, or a flamethrower squad, not one of those Pershings will survive. Escort them with M8 Greyhounds, and watch them all die as the light anti-tank emplacements blow up the M8s, then the flamethrower squads do their work on the Pershings. And don't take your own infantry either, because enemy buildings have machine guns, and most infantry is actually crap at anti-infantry work.
* In ''VideoGame/CossacksEuropeanWars'', several kinds of units armed with firearms are completely incapable of defending themselves in close combat, and will simply retreat in face of such an attack. This is particularly ridiculous in the case of the Russian unit called a ''strelets'', which carries a large poleaxe (as is historical, and these poleaxes were of course used in close combat) which is solely used to ''rest their arquebuses on!''
* ''VideoGame/GroundControl''
** Anti-air Terradynes cannot target anything on the ground and rocket Terradynes cannot target infantry.
** In ''Ground Control 2'', helicopter-type units will just [[CurbStompBattle own armoured vehicles]], such as tanks, with impunity because the tanks have no defense from aircraft. Most units armed with guided missiles can't attack infantry; the in-universe explanation is that individual soldiers are too small for missile tracking to work.
* Most units in ''VideoGame/{{Homeworld}}'' are this. The attack bomber is a fighter extremely lethal against warships but useless against fighters and corvettes; most anti-fighter units are fighters or corvettes. The defender is a small fighter with a powerful and fast-firing weapon that will wreak havoc among enemy fighters but is too slow to avoid fire from enemy warships. The defense fighter and defense field frigate block enemy mass driver rounds but does nothing against beam, plasma and missile weapons and is otherwise useless. The mine-layer lays mines to make an area impassable from warships but is useless against fighters. The ion frigate's ion cannon has a powerful punch against warships, but can fire only in front of it and is slow turning, and a squadron of bombers will disintegrate it in a single passage. The drone frigate is a frigate that houses a group of point-defense drones that will annihilate enemy fighters but does nothing against enemy ships. And all the non-combat units only do their main function: the salvage corvette salvages ships and data, the collectors collect resources, etc. All other units are overspecialized for one job, but the different load out of weapons allows them to do something else too (the Mothership and carriers serves mainly to build other ships and carry and repair fighters and corvettes but can also work as anti-fighter units, the assault frigate is good at fighting other frigates and fend off corvettes, etc.)
** Slightly averted with the Somtaaw in ''VideoGame/HomeworldCataclysm'', whose ships are more generalized. In-universe, this is necessary for such a small kiith, since they can't afford to build large numbers of specialized ships. Instead of corvettes, they have fighters that can [[FusionDance combine]] into corvette-like ships with double the firepower and a different special ability. Instead of anti-capital ion cannon frigates, they have multi-beam frigates that aren't as good against cap ships but can slice through fighter screens. Their most powerful unit (the ''Archangel''-class dreadnought), though, is designed to take on multiple opponents at a time, being armed with four homing energy cannons, two heavy ion cannons, and six missile launchers, not to mention a repulsor that can push away enemies to beyond their weapons range. While it loses out in a one-to-one fight to the Taiidani/Beast ''Qwaar-Jet''-class heavy cruiser, the point is to ''not'' make it a one-to-one fight.
* ''VideoGame/HyruleTotalWar'':
** The Gorons are an entire race of melee fighters. They have one ranged unit, a bomb thrower who loses to just about any other faction's missile unit. On the other hand, they get amazing charge bonuses and exceptional movement speed due to their ability to roll around. Their game plan is literally rolling armoured bowling balls at the enemy.
** The Fairies of Tarm have the opposite problem. Almost all of their units can [[BeamSpam shoot deadly lasers]], and their ultimate unit can vaporise entire columns of men with a OneHitKill WaveMotionGun. Unfortunately, they're Tinkerbell-esque fairies and hence practically anybody can just swat them like bugs if they get close enough.
** The Darknut Legion is an entire faction of {{BFS}}-wielding [[MightyGlacier heavy infantry]], and all but two of their units can't even run due to the weight of their armour. However, this same armour makes them immune to practically anything shorter than a siege weapon.
* While we're on it, ''VideoGame/RomeTotalWar'' has many examples. Nearly all of Egypt's units gain stamina bonuses when fighting in the desert... and takes penalties in any other terrain. Oh, and they become hopeless in high-money battles due to their very poor armour. Carthage has a great roster of infantry, cavalry and WarElephants, but they have a ''complete lack'' of archers. The worst offender though is Britain - largely mediocre infantry (barring a few exceptions), limited to slingers and no conventional cavalry, but they have light and heavy chariots[[note]]Chariots are arguably AwesomeButImpractical as they cost a ton to maintain and produce, come in woefully small units, are easily countered by phalanxes, and die quickly if they get bogged down and surrounded[[/note]].
* ''VideoGame/LittleKingsStory'' gives us the Chef. He can kill a [[DemonicSpiders Cock-a-Doodle]] in one hit. He's useless in almost any other task (well, about as useless as carefree adults), and he's expensive as hell. The only reason you'd buy more than one is if your first one got killed.
* ''VideoGame/MetalFatigue''
** Combots that dual-wield ranged weapons do twice as much damage in the same amount of time but absolutely suck at melee combat. Not only they do very little damage by bashing the opponent with the guns, such a build has much less HP and armor than a melee build which in turn is a real powerhouse that can close up into melee range and wreck the ranged combot before it can inflict any real damage. On the other hand, melee combots have two banes: hit-and-run attacks by missile cars and Nemesis trucks[[note]]whose only real function is paralyzing combots via a self-destruct EMP[[/note]] supported by bombers[[note]]since melee weapons can't attack air units[[/note]]. Both of these threats are cannon fodder to ranged combots who can easily OneHitKill the offenders without having to chase after them.
** Flying combots are excellent {{Lightning Bruiser}}s... as long as they have time to land since while flying, they have zero armor which means AA towers can really tear them up. Plus the part that makes the combot fly has absolutely laughable HP. If we take these two into count, a flying combot is actually a FragileSpeedster GlassCannon: it has firepower AND mobility but it sucks in defensive capabilities so it's only good if the target isn't surrounded by AA.
* Occurs to some degree in ''VideoGame/SinsOfASolarEmpire''. Light carrier-type cruisers have no onboard weapons, just their two fighter or bomber squadrons. Siege frigates and support cruisers have ship-to-ship weapons, but they're rather wimpy. Siege frigates are extremely weak against other ships/buildings, but are the only non-capital ships that can bombard a planet. Torpedo boats in the expansion packs make mincemeat out of buildings and starbases, but are unable to attack other ships/bombard planets.
* ''Franchise/StarCraft''
** The ''Brood War'' expansion introduced new units to all three factions (Terran Valkyrie, Protoss Corsair, Zerg Devourer) which have no function other than to attack air units, particularly masses of air units. If your opponent uses a strategy other than mass Mutalisks they were pretty much useless... but given how fond some players were of mass Mutalisks, one could see the reason for doing so.
** The original game's "Guardian Aspect" Mutalisk was this trope. A very powerful ground attack with incredible range (enough to take out stationary attackers before getting into their range), but slow as molasses and possessing no air attack whatsoever. If you failed to back them up with anti-air units, they'd get wiped out.
** ''VideoGame/StarCraftII'' puts a few more units into perspective with all three races:
*** Like the predecessor, Terran Siege Tanks, the ground based bombardment unit of the race, are ground only and their siege mode lays waste to enemy infantry units and have decent success with ranged armored ground units. They can't attack air units at all and weak melee units that are able to reach the minimum range of siege mode leaves the tank helpless to the [[CherryTapping zerglings]]. However, after an update the siege tank got hit with a nerf that weakened its bombardment attack. It is still dangerous in groups, but now it's less absurd in dealing damage with only a single tank.
*** Zerglings of the Zerg race are the same as siege tanks, only in the opposite way. Fast, weak and small, they do well in large masses and rushes at the target(s) to get their dangerously sharp claws tearing up their prey. Of course, they can only attack ground units and have no defense against air units. It's the basis of the ZergRush of course.
*** The Corruptors of Zerg are essentially the Devourers in ''Brood War'' without splash damage and added a special ability. Their mutation to Brood Lords is technically the same as the previous mutation to Guardians (from mutalisks, only this is from corruptors) other than the unit shooting broodlings instead of acid balls.
*** Zealots are in the same niche as zerglings, except they are slower, a lot more powerful (and expensive) and they still can't hit air units. The thing that helps them attack ranged units is an upgrade available in the game.
* The ''Galactic Armory'' mod for ''VideoGame/StarRuler'' has weapons [[ArmorPiercingAttack excellent at killing shields]] but don't hurt armour or the physical ship.
* ''VideoGame/SupremeCommander''
** Most anti-air units are only able to fire at air units, but the Cybran T1 and Cruiser both have a switch to change their weapons from homing missiles to dumb-fire rockets for fighting surface targets. Spread means that it's more effective from the latter, which is fighting large ships, but in groups the former becomes remarkably dangerous.
** The UEF Anti-Tactical-Missile Defense, which is basically a Phalanx CIWS. It can only shoot down tactical missiles.
** While most naval units for the UEF and Cybrans have some AA guns mounted on them, the Aeon ships lack any AA, instead mounting them on small, cheap attack boats which are incapable of engaging anything OTHER than air. However their Frigate at least gets torpedo defenses in return and the Cruiser ships are better for AA overall.
* ''VideoGame/TotalAnnihilation'' did this about as naturally as possible. Every weapon in the game can fire at just about any target (and ''will'' try to if necessary), but only the anti-air units have the turning speed, range, or homing ability to actually ''catch'' air units 95 out of 100 times. While this meant that generally only anti-air units could take out aircraft, ever so often, you'd see a fighter or bomber shot down by an artillery cannon.
* ''VideoGame/WarcraftIII'''s human faction has a unit called the Steam Tank, which does fantastic damage to buildings... but can't attack ''any'' units. Its sole use is to damage enemy structures. ''The Frozen Throne'' expansion pack remedied this a bit by giving the player the option of buying an improvement that added a rapid-fire, multitarget (though weak) attack that can only be used against flying units.
* The "Forces of Corruption" ExpansionPack to ''VideoGame/EmpireAtWar'' has the most powerful [[TheSyndicate Zann Consortium]] warship, the ''Aggressor''-class Star Destroyer, being a good example of this. While its firepower is comparable to that of an Imperial Star Destroyer, the ship has a total of 4 weapons. Two of these are fixed forward firing weapons linked to fire one immediately after another (an ion blast followed by a plasma blast), designed to cripple enemy capital ships. The two {{Wave Motion Gun}}s fire very slowly but can taken on an ISD. However, should the enemy destroy the two big guns, all the ''Aggressor'' has left are two turbolasers that aren't much of a threat against a determined enemy.
* The Sniper from the ''VideoGame/{{Commandos}}'' series suffers from this in the original game. While everyone has several different abilities, the Sniper gets precisely one unique ability: his rifle. Granted, it is silenced, but he is given very little ammunition and a relatively short (for a sniper) maximum range. The later games alleviate this by allowing him (and the rest of the team) to engage in hand-to-hand combat and tie up unconscious enemies and use normal rifles and submachineguns and at least provide more opportunities to acquire ammo for his sniper rifle.
* ''VideoGame/EmpireEarth'':
** The game uses TacticalRockPaperScissors for its units (arrow beats spear beats sword beats arrow, battleship beats frigate beats galley [[DeathOfAThousandCuts bea-does more damage against]] battleship), though it's not as crippling as most examples given the vast numbers of units that can come into play (swarming units is a very common scenario, archers can deal damage to swordsmen by virtue of outranging them, and battleships have so much life and damage that they'll often win against galleys, though at heavy cost). Further muddled in the later ages, when gun-type damage becomes a factor, later on when tanks show up (allowing for specialized infantry that's strong against tanks or infantry) and later still, when damage type becomes gun or laser (the anti-tank tank and infantry disappear at this point, leaving only the laser-armed basic soldier (who can attack helicopters and flying cybers but not airplanes) and laser tank).
** In addition the the usual ArbitraryMinimumRange and slow rate of fire, artillery comes in anti-building (higher damage) and anti-unit (splash damage) variants, and later adds anti-tank units. Rams (and the very first siege unit, a man named Sampson [[TelephonePolearm dragging around a really big log]]) can only attack buildings at melee range, while siege towers have no attack and serve only to get units on the other side of a wall.
** AntiAir units, well, can only attack air.
** The only TRPS that remains relevant throughout is the naval one, where galleys are eventually replaced by submarines, who can't even be targeted by battleships. Strangely, battleships ''can'' hit underwater targets if they're amphibious (the Hyperion and Poseidon cybers).
*** Submarines further specialize into attack submarines (who can only hit naval units) and nuclear submarines (who can only hit ground units and structures).
*** Cruisers can only attack air, and aircraft carriers depend on escorts as their fighter-bombers are even weaker than the land-based kind.
*** The frigate, mostly averts this, being the only ship capable of attacking any naval unit (and ground unit) [[EvolvingWeapon at all stages of its existence]], including when it was called a War Raft that consisted of a paddler and a caveman chucking big rocks at enemies.
** Airplanes are either able to attack air targets (fighters), ground targets (bombers) or both ([[BreadEggsBreadedEggs fighter-bombers]]) but far less efficiently than the other two.
*** The anti-tank fighter can only attack ground units, not structures.
*** Helicopters can't attack aircraft, and specialize in either anti-infantry or anti-tank damage (or in the Sea King's case, only submarines, but by God does it kill them good).
** {{Hero Unit}}s are either Warriors (high HP and attack, and provide a 50% defense aura to nearby units, but regenerate slowly and can only heal faster at a hospital) or Strategists (can reduce enemy defense by 50% and heal allies, but have a pathetically low attack that they won't even use unless ordered to, and the same health problems as the Warrior). And you can only have one at a time in skirmish games.
** Tends to be the case in skirmish games [[MarathonLevel that start during prehistory and end in the Nano Age]]- the AI civilizations (determined by starting era) have preset bonuses, meaning they might have terrifyingly overpowered horse archers or spearmen early on, which will of course be obsolete and unbuildable by the game's end. Naturally, bonuses that last throughout the game (ranged infantry, economy, priests and prophets, artillery...) are much more expensive.
* In ''VideoGame/ConquestFrontierWars'', carriers lack any weapons of their own, only capable of launching wings of fighters. While it does allow them to strike from afar without risking the ship, if an enemy gets within directed-fire range of their own weapons, the carrier is as good as dead, especially if they use specialized anti-fighter ships to turn the fighters into mincemeat. While the Terrans only have one carrier type, most Mantis ships are carriers with only a few directed-fire ships available to cover them. Even their most powerful ship is a super-heavy carrier. The Celareons don't use carriers, since they don't like to throw away their lives without a good reason. That said, carriers can be very useful, especially if they strike from beyond a natural barrier, such as an asteroid field or a nebula. If they're beyond the target's visual range, the target will need to look for the carrier. Additionally, very few ships have anti-fighter weapons.

[[folder:Role Playing Game]]
* Gaius from ''VideoGame/TalesOfXillia2''. The guy is a LightningBruiser, easily dealing more damage than any other party member, and he's extremely fast as well. But, he can only deal Fire, Light and Slashing-type damage, excluding linked artes and affinities. In a game where exploiting the enemy's weaknesses could mean the difference between victory and defeat, Gaius doesn't have many enemies that he's overtly powerful against.
* ''VideoGame/CityOfHeroes'' has this to a degree, but you have to ''try'' for it. You can make a Blaster with all the primary set attacks, as many tertiary/epic attacks as possible, and maybe a travel power, and dump a bajillion damage (and maybe some accuracy) enhancements in, that overall gives enough attacks to be able to blow nearly anything in the game away; unfortunately you'll have no defense, and draw so much aggro that the best tanks and healers in the game will look on helplessly as you get stepped on. Speaking of tanks and healers, you can dump so much into the stay alive/keep them alive sets that you're utterly useless soloing unless you like spending 30+ minutes per random mission. [[BrokenBase Controversially]] [=Cryptic/NCsoft=] implemented features like diminishing returns and power set restructuring that made these types of setups not only difficult to accomplish, but redundant and more-or-less pointless.
** From a non-gameplay perspective, some of the Freakshow (gang members who replace their body parts with cybernetics) are described as this: "The Metal Freak's devotion to the cause is obvious- he's had both arms replaced with robotic contraptions that are good only for destruction. He must rely on other Freaks to feed him, but in combat he is a whirling nightmare."
* ''VideoGame/{{Diablo}}''
** In ''Diablo II'' this is often done intentionally: your character may be completely unable to kill cold immune enemies, but that's okay if there are no cold immunes in your [[LevelGrinding favourite hunting grounds]] and you got rushed to said top level area without killing more than a handful of enemies on your way. There was a time when javazons were popular: they were only viable in ''one level'' but that just happened to be the farming hotspot.
** In the first ''Diablo'', the sorceror's spells are devastating against non-resistant enemies, and are even competent against resistant enemies, but there are certain enemies that are immune to ''all damage-based magic'' near the end of the hardest difficulty. Hope you brought Stone Curse and a good melee weapon (or a high-level Golem).
* Qunari in the ''Franchise/DragonAge'' franchise are divided into a FantasticCasteSystem where each qunari is expected to fulfill their assigned task and no other. When the Arishok's military force was stranded in Kirkwall in ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'', they had no priests or diplomats and therefore nobody capable or even willing to explain why they were there, [[spoiler:allowing radical elements of the Chantry to provoke them to go to war with the moderate Viscount]].
* In ''VideoGame/DragonForce'' on the Saturn, archers fit this trope. Their only strength is against harpy troops, but they're either weak against, or average against everything else.
* ''VideoGame/DungeonsAndDragonsOnline'' has the Sorcerer class that can use far fewer spells than ordinary Wizards, they cannot swap between spells on the fly either, but they have much greater magical reserves to draw upon, making them able to hit harder with the same spells and cast them for much longer. However, having few spells to choose from can quickly make a Sorcerer useless - specializing in only fire based spells will not help a player against opponents with fire immunity.
* ''VideoGame/GoldenSun''
** The versatile ClassAndLevelSystem and [[AwesomeButImpractical skewed casting system]] makes it easy to adjust [[MagicKnight warrior-type]] characters to do anything needed in combat, leaving the [[SquishyWizard caster-type]] characters in the dust [[MundaneUtility unless there's a rock that needs moving]].
** In ''VideoGame/GoldenSunDarkDawn'', most of the player characters have healing abilities in their base classes, even when they're otherwise warrior-types. This means squishy pure-healer Rief is functionally useless, [[MundaneUtility unless there's a bucket you need to fill with water]].
* Mint from ''VideoGame/TalesOfPhantasia'' is the only purely supportive character in the ''Franchise/TalesSeries'', all of the healers falling into the CombatMedic archetype. While it's not an issue in her game of origin, it makes her rather obsolete in the crossover titles like ''Tales of VS'' and the ''[[TalesOfTheWorld Radiant Mythology]]'' series.
* Many, many ''Franchise/{{Pokemon}}'':
** Rampardos is a GlassCannon with ridiculous Attack and decent HP, but its defenses and Speed are so low it falls in a couple of hits, and its pure Rock-typing does it no favors. Ninjask is ludicrously fast (one of the fastest in the game, and its ability makes it only go faster), but is not only easily walled with poor attacks and an average Attack stat, its bad defensive Bug/Flying typing and really low defenses make it really only useful for Baton Passing, as it learns a few good set-up moves. Too fragile to do much else though.
** Shedinja, which can only be hit by super effective attacks and passive damage but only has 1HP at any level. Not to mention five weaknesses. And there's a ''lot'' of passive damage attacks.
** This can apply to many {{Mon}}s concerning [[{{Metagame}} their movesets and whatnot.]] Many of them can only learn a small type pool, effectively making them one trick ponies. Take the Dugtrio family, for example. Their attacks mostly consist of shaking the ground, shaking the ground harder, randomly shaking the ground at varying strength levels, and burrowing underground and then [[RunningGag shaking the ground as they come up]]. But because of their high speed and ability that prevents opponents running away from them, they are great for picking off opponents weak to those moves.
** Deoxys can take several different forms. The Attack and Normal forms have the highest attacks and special attacks in the series and a fantastic speed, but their defenses and {{Hit Point}}s are so weak that they go down in one hit from about anything. Its defense form has superior defenses, but can't really dish anything out. Speed form however, is more of something between a LightningBruiser and a JackOfAllStats.
** A Skitty with the ability Normalize will use all moves as if they were Normal-type. While this means constant STAB bonuses and being able to use moves against types that normally resist them, it also means anything the Skitty does will be resisted by Rock and Steel types, and it is ''completely'' useless against Ghosts. This is especially problematic in ''VideoGame/PokemonMysteryDungeon'' if you get a Skitty as your character; be thankful the game allows Normal moves to do slight damage against Ghosts.
** Shuckle. It's got [[StoneWall ludicrously high Defense stats]], but all of its other stats are practically non-existent. There are a few tricks to turn Shuckle into a powerhouse, but this usually leaves it very vulnerable.
** Absol has an absurdly large movepool and great Attack, but a good chunk of it is wasted due to its average at best Special Attack. Especially so in Generation III, where the Dark-type is considered Special.
*** This was somewhat rectified in Gen. VI with Mega Absol, who in addition to a small increase in Attack, gets massive increases to Special Attack and Speed. However, Mega Absol's paper-thin defenses makes it a GlassCannon.
** The Blissey family is specialized as an ultra-high health tank against special attacks, but it is so vulnerable to physical attacks that it ultimately only serves as a MetalSlime during the metagame. Creator/GameFreak is surely aware of this, since they littered the BonusDungeon of ''VideoGame/PokemonBlackAndWhite'' with trainers who only use the Blissey family.
** [[VideoGame/PokemonBlackAndWhite Gen. V]] Pokemon have significantly less type range overall in their movesets compared to previous generations. Generally, they get moves in their own type(s) and a few [[NonElemental Normal moves]], along with some Status-type moves. Moves outside their typing are rather difficult to come by. Grass-types in general tend to have this kind of typing trouble.
** The Ultra Beasts all have one or two very high stats, while the rest are pitifully low. As an example, [[FragileSpeedster Pheromosa has phenomenal Speed and very high offenses, but its low defenses means a small breeze will KO it]]. The only exception to the rule is Celesteela, [[JackOfAllStats who has well-balanced stats]] (aside from [[MightyGlacier very low Speed]]).
*** Special Poké Balls called Beast Balls are developed to catch the Ultra Beasts, and they have an impressive 5x catch multiplier on them. Any other Poké Ball used on them (bar the Master Ball) only has a 1x multiplier. Use a Beast Ball on a normal Pokémon, and its multiplier drops to a pitiful ''.1x''.
** Gyms, their Trainers, and their Gym Leaders all follow a type specialization that can be exploited by the player with counter-strategies [[PoorPredictableRock using their obvious weaknesses]]. It's slightly rectified in later versions, as their Pokémon know moves to compensate. Several later Gym Leaders and Elite Four members do avert this sort of, but usually in some strange ways. Candice in Generation IV specialized in Ice-types, but had a Medicham, which is a Psychic/Fighting type. The weirdest would be Volkner and Flint in ''Diamond'' and ''Pearl'', who specialized in Electric-types and Fire-types respectively, however Volkner's four-mon team consists of only two Electric-types, and Flint only has two Fire-types on his team of five. (This was because in Diamond and Pearl, there only ''were'' two evolved Fire-type Pokemon, Rapidash and the starter Infernape, and Magmortar in [[OldSaveBonus Dual-Slot Mode]]. ''Platinum'' expanded the Pokedex, in part to give them teams that are closer to their specialized types.)
** Either your crime group comes from Orre or you assign very specific Pokemon species to your grunts. Teams Rocket and Galactic are reasonably safe from monotyping (even though their lineups are reasonably weak), but Aqua fears Grass/Electric and Magma loathes Water. Also on that note, Team Plasma does not take Fighting well (the grunts use Watchog and Dark types, N's only protection is Archeops and a Dragon, and even [[spoiler:Ghetsis]] can lose half his team to Fighting attacks).
*** [[spoiler: Ghetsis]] is also a storyline example: a little careful analysis of his team reveals that [[ArtificialBrilliance it is perfectly designed to counter N's]], such as [[spoiler: leading with Cofagrigus to bait for disguised Zoroark, and the moveset on his Hydreigon]]. He did not anticipate [[SpannerInTheWorks the player character's interference]], did not expect them to defeat (and befriend) N, and ''is not prepared to deal with them himself'', leading to his defeat and VillainousBreakdown.
*** This trope works against [[spoiler:Ghetsis]] in other ways. Due to the weakness structuring and move layout of his entire team, a good Water type can tank one or two members of his team before going down (the exception being Hydreigon). The most probable? Samurott. [[labelnote:*]]Teach Samurott Razor Shell, X-Scissor, Rock Smash, and Swords Dance, and bring some Full Restores, an X Speed and an X Accuracy. Set up during Cofagrigus using the items and Swords Dance; luck willing, Samurott will then proceed to ''one-shot everything [[spoiler:Ghetsis]] will throw at you, Hydreigon included!''[[/labelnote]]
** For the most part, Gen. V champion Alder. While he has extremely powerful pokemon, all but one can be easily taken out by Emboar (though one of these requires using a TM). And the one that can't? Druddigon, a Dragon-type so slow that a powerful Dragon or Ice move will take it out before it does any damage.
*** Similarly, in the sequels [[spoiler:Iris]] also has very powerful mons, but all of them are weak to either Fighting or Ice (the very first mon she sends out is weak to ''both'' types). The best choices for taking them out? Basically any strong Water-type other than Magikarp or the Seismitoad evolutionary line that can also learn good Fighting-type moves. The most probable candidate among those? Samurott.
** While Team Flare has a wider variety with some good defensive and offensive coverage, they still do not escape the "limited species" clause above. Theoretically, a Pokemon that learns both Fairy- and Ground-type attacks can wipe waves of grunts at a time.
*** Even worse is [[spoiler:Lysandre]], whose lineup makes one question how he planned to contain the Legendary [[spoiler:powering the ultimate weapon]] should it ever go rogue or wind up under the player trainer's command. [[spoiler:Mienshao and Honchkrow are both gimped against Yveltal (Mienshao in particular gets wiped by Oblivion Wing) and they, plus Mega Gyarados, are fodder for Xerneas.]] The only justification for any of this is that [[spoiler:Lysandre]] is completely nutbar, but [[spoiler:Ghetsis and]] Cyrus were stark raving mad, too.
** The player can deliberately invoke this using the "Choice" items. Choice Band, Specs, and Scarf increase the Attack, Special Attack, or Speed, respectively, of the Pokemon holding them, allowing them to either throw around absolutely devastating attacks or outspeed just about anything that doesn't boast a similar advantage. However, a Pokemon holding any of these items can only use one move until they switch out or lose the item. Particularly savvy players sometimes use this drawback to their advantage by forcing a Choice item onto an opponent's SupportPartyMember, generally rendering it useless for the rest of the match.
** In ''[[VideoGame/PokemonRubyAndSapphire Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire]]'', the Hoenn Elite Four is set up to the point where it's brought to its knees by ''one'' Pokemon, Gardevoir[[labelnote:*]]Thanks to the Gen VI retcon, Gardevoir is a Psychic/''Fairy'' type now. Gardevoir's new Fairy type gives it an advantage against Sidney's Dark-Types, Gardevoir can learn Shadow Ball and Thunderbolt to beat Phoebe's Ghosts and Glacia's Ice Pokemon (most of whom are part Water), and the crowning achievement: completely shutting down Drake's Dragon Pokemon with its Dragon immunity and Fairy attacks. None of the Pokemon the E4 uses seem strong enough, fast enough or pack the right attacks to stop Gardevoir either[[/labelnote]] The game then subverts this with the Champion, Steven, whose [[ExtraOreDinary Pokémon]] have a strong advantage against Gardevoir.
*** Likewise [[TookALevelInBadass Mega Lopunny]] can crush the first three Elite Four with nothing but [=STAB=] moves and can destroy Drake with Ice Punch. Steven on the other hand, has several Pokemon [[MightyGlacier bulky enough]] to survive then crush Mega Lopunny's [[GlassCannon less than stellar defenses]].
** And of course, [[RunningGag every game]] has that one Fisherman with a [[EpicFail full team of six Magikarp]].
* A problem in ''VideoGame/DeusExHumanRevolution'' is that it is quite possible to use your Praxis Points for a Jensen that specialized in sneaking around and computer hacking (and in fact the game actually ''encourages'' you to do that because of how easy it is to die in firefights) instead of combat, and might not even have a lethal weapon on you because of space limitations. Until the game suddenly throws an inescapable boss battle with Barrett at you and you have to figure out how to kill him without any augs or weapons while he's throwing grenades at you[[note]]the game does give you ''some'' slack by providing rooms with weapons and ammo but even with that it can be an uphill fight[[/note]]. This is alleviated in the Director's Cut, which significantly remaps the boss arenas to allow for any build to beat the bosses, though some are still easier than others[[labelnote:*]]Notably, a straight-up fight is now the ''worst'' option, as stealth, hacking, and other less confrontational methods will conserve resources that would otherwise be expended[[/labelnote]].
* ''VideoGame/AlphaProtocol'' predates ''Human Revolution'' in allowing you to build Mike Thorton completely to stealth/technical specifications and then kicking your arse with unskippable boss fights. At least unlike Jensen it's impossible to go completely unarmed and a heavy combat approach is quite viable.
* ''Franchise/MassEffect'': Jack in ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'' is specialised with two directed-force biotic attacks that don't penetrate shields and Warp Ammo, which is applied to her less-than-impressive firearms. Basically, this means that she is incredibly good at killing Husks, and incredibly bad at killing ''anything else''.
** Tali has a similar problem, except that instead of husks, her only real use is against geth and other mechs: her three powers are 1) a hack that only works on unarmoured, unshielded robots, 2) an attack that drains shields from anyone and the health from synthetics, but has no effect on organic flesh, biotic barriers, or armour, and 3) a drone that distracts people but serves mostly as setup rather than a killing blow. ''3'' buffed her by letting her hack sabotage the weapons of armed organics, letting the drain attack inflict full harm on biotic barriers and a little bit on organic health[[note]]plus, in the ''Citadel'' DLC, it can target CAT-6 Heavies that the otherwise more destructive Overload can't[[/note]], and giving her more to do with her drones.
** As a race, asari also fall victim to this with their ground forces having a focus on elite biotic commandos rather than a larger combined arms military, relying on their fellow Council Race turians for full scale warfare. This turns out to be less than ideal when [[spoiler: the Reapers attack Thessia while the turians are also bogged down fighting Reapers on their home front. Thessia falls swiftly once the Reapers win in space.]]
** it's the same with the salarians, who specialize in small covert strike recon and strike units at the expense of a sizable fleet or army, [[spoiler:which also bites them in the ass during the Reaper invasion]].
** The krogan are really only good at close-range ground fighting, since their eyes aren't positioned or adapted for long-range firefights but they ''are'' super-durable and strong enough to carry really large guns; additionally, while lacking a fleet is due to ruinous post-Rebellion sanctions rather than choice, they also lack an air force. On top of this, their ProudWarriorRaceGuy culture means that they have little in the way of agriculture or technological progress except as a side-effect of building more spectacular guns, although (if he's alive) Urdnot Wrex is fixing this by beating the crap out of any scientist who doesn't research what he tells them to. [[spoiler:Unlike the above two races, a lot of the time, they not only won't get their asses handed to them by the Reapers, they'll get a cure for the stillbirth plague afflicting them as well - when your specialisation is very much in demand, it turns out you can pretty much demand any kind of blank cheque you want and people who need it will sign on. Of course, this requires Shepard to take the Paragon option; in the Renegade path, the ways in which they've used it in past will ultimately sign their death warrant as a species.]]
* ''VideoGame/PhantasyStarII'' gives us Hugh Thompson, a biologist who comes armed with the ability to learn techniques which are especially effective against biological enemies. The problem is that few biologics have high defense that would require techniques to bypass, plus other characters will likely have techniques which are just as effective, if not ''more'', than anything Hugh can throw out, save for his instant death spells which [[UselessUsefulSpell tend to miss often, anyway]].
* ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'' essentially forces most classes into doing this for either of the three roles in raiding and dungeons, especially hybrids like druids who could theoretically do everything at once, but poorly. Tanks give up most of their damage-output for durability, Healers do the same for healing power and mana regeneration, and damage dealers give up most of their survival chances (and probably won't use what they have left to focus even more on dishing out as much as they can).
* ''VideoGame/GuildWars2'' did their darndest to try and [[AvertedTrope avert]] this. Primarily melee combatants have at least the option to equip ranged weapons (with a single-button quick-swap ability,) ranged attacks work in melee without penalty, most classes have some combination of single-target and area-effect abilities, and everyone has at least one healing ability. The stated mission was to do away with the "holy trinity" of [[FighterMageThief DPS, Tank, Healer]] but how much they succeeded or failed is... [[BrokenBase a divisive matter]] at best.
* In ''VideoGame/StarTrekOnline'', the original trinity of Federation endgame ships, the Exploration Cruiser Retrofit, the Tactical Escort Retrofit and the Long Range Science Vessel Retrofit (re: the ''Galaxy''-class, ''Defiant''-class and ''Intrepid''-class) were built around this, using the "holy trinity" that the ''Guild Wars 2'' example tried to do away with. The Exploration Cruiser was meant to be the Tank, the Tactical Escort was meant to be the DPS and the Long Rance Science Vessel was meant to be the Healer. However, as time passed, these lines blurred away, but the Exploration Cruiser got left in the dust. It's durable, but without the strength of firepower, it's not going to do much.
* ''VideoGame/KingdomHearts358DaysOver2'': Donald has the highest Magic stat out of all characters, but all of his other stats are bottom-of-the-barrel and the limited Magic system makes his bonus pretty moot. The character with the second highest Magic stat, Zexion, can actually deal physical damage with strong combo finishers due to the CriticalHit mechanics and his high Crit% stat.
* The Ishgardians of ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIV'' have built their entire culture around their thousand year war with the [[OurDragonsAreDifferent Dravanians]]. Everything they do is for the war effort which has stunted them significantly in other fields. One example is astrology. Sharlyan astrology reads all of the stars and grants healing magicks. Ishgardian astrology only focuses on one star to predict Dravanian movements.

[[folder:Simulation Games]]
* Chihaya Kisaragi from ''VideoGame/TheIdolmaster'' has an obscenely high vocal stat from the beginning. She will excel at anything vocal related but extra effort is going to have to be made to get her to do good at visual and dance. In the sequel, teammates can help.
* ''[[Videogame/{{X}} X-Universe]]''
** [[MacrossMissileMassacre Missile frigates]] in ''X3: Terran Conflict'' are normally just {{glass cannon}}s, weak on defense but able to level entire sectors from extreme range. However the Boron Kraken [[PointDefenseless eschews any form of point-defense]] in favor of more missile launchers. This essentially means they have no way to protect themselves from incoming missiles, save for spamming their own missiles at enemy missiles and hoping they hit.
*** The OTAS Sirokos missile frigate is designed specifically for launching [[DropPod boarding pods]] at enemy craft, and can carry ten more [[BoardingParty marines]] than any other missile frigate (30 instead of 20) ... at the cost of having no method of attack other than {{ramming|AlwaysWorks}}. It works fine for boarding [=TLs=][[note]]giant freighters that can transport stations from shipyard to jobsite[[/note]], but it can't really do anything else.
** [[PlanetTerra Terran]] and [[EliteArmy AGI Task Force]] ships are incapable of mounting Commonwealth weaponry used by every other faction ([[BeePeople besides the Kha'ak]]), forcing them to use the more limited Terran arsenal, which lacks in fast projectile weapons to kill [[GoddamnBats M5s and M4s]], and they are completely lacking a frigate-size weapon, making their [[LightningBruiser otherwise awesome]] Yokohama and Aegir frigates pathetically weak at fighting ships of their size or larger (unless they're equipped with the [[RecursiveAmmo Wraith missile]]).

[[folder:Sports Games]]
* Small players in ''VideoGame/ArcStyleBaseball3D'' only excel at running the bases fast. The rest of their stats are worthless. Why? They don't field better unlike the Normal type, they don't hit strong, their pitches are slow and inefficient, and worst of all: their special ability in batting? It's called "Quick dash", and makes the player run faster than normal towards first base. But it's almost always a ground ball to the infielders, who will most likely put you out anyway. So you'll probably only use them to get doubles instead of singles when that tiny time gap that would put out any normal runner allows the small character ro reach second base just in time.

[[folder:Third-Person Shooter]]
* From ''Videogame/KidIcarusUprising'':
** Clubs excel at melee attacks, and their charged attacks hit anyone close to the wielder for massive damage. However, clubs' charged attacks have a limited range, and they don't have a basic ranged attack at all. In Air Battles, they do hit a bit further with their "shockwaves", but the range is pretty bad and it's quite likely that many enemies on a given Air Battle segment will be impossible to hit with a club.
** On the opposite end are Staves, which have powerful charged attacks with impressive ranges, but so-so basic ranged attacks and lousy melee attacks. The most extreme example of this is the Flintlock, a "Staff" (it's actually a ''rifle'') that can hit enemies up to ''120 meters'' away, but practically does ScratchDamage at best with its melee attacks.

[[folder:Tower Defense]]
* Happens to the ''enemies'' in the TowerDefense game ''VideoGame/TowerMadness''. The towers you build (save the fully upgraded Missile Launcher) do either [[PureEnergy energy]], [[StuffBlowingUp explosive]], or [[ShockAndAwe electrical]] damage. PoweredArmor aliens come in three varieties- Light, Heavy and Bionic, each of which is resistant to one type of damage, but weak against the other two (light resists energy, heavy resists explosives, and bionic resists electricity). If you place two turrets of different damage types, they're pretty much sunk.

[[folder:Turn Based Strategy]]
* In ''Great Little War Game'', the bazooka deals less damage to infantry than the grunt trooper (rifleman) does. The behemoth, an enormous tank, will deal less damage to infantry than the bazooka does. Finally, the MLRS, an artillery truck, will also deal little damage to infantry.
* ''VideoGame/NintendoWars''
** Units in the ''VideoGame/AdvanceWars'' series can usually only (effectively) attack a few types of other units. For example, infantry can attack vehicles, copters and other infantry to varying degrees of effectiveness with their firearms, but cannot even engage ships or planes. Some units have a primary and secondary weapon however, which they use against different opponents. The most notorious example is the Missile unit, a devastating anti-air unit that is incapable of firing on anything that doesn't fly. It's also rather weak in the armor department. Woe to the player that accidentally deploys this one on a map without air units.
** ''Days of Ruin'', features a new unit called the seaplane which totally averts this trope and can attack every single unit with its main weapon. The downside? It has practically no fuel or ammo and so has to be restocked constantly by units with little or no attack capabilities. And it can only be produced by the expensive Carrier unit, which has little purpose beyond that and the ability to supply and repair up to two aircraft units at once.
*** It also features the Anti-Tank, an expensive form of artillery with the ability to counterattack. Unlike other ranged units, it cannot attack sea units and is less effective than the basic artillery against anything but tanks, especially considering the price. It also has the Flare unit, which shoots Flares to light areas in FogOfWar and doesn't suffer from as many stiff penalties the recon does in forest terrain.
** Some [=COs=]. Max, for instance, has powerful melee units but incredibly weak ranged units. His opposite Grit is generally considered to be a GameBreaker. Other [=COs=] suffer from specialization in units or circumstances not present on all maps at the cost of unit types that ''are'' present on nearly every map (for example, Sonja has attack penalties on ''all'' units but increased range in FogOfWar, which isn't present on every map).
* In most ''VideoGame/FireEmblem'' games archers are helpless in melee, and entire classes ([[WhiteMage cleric, troubadour]], etc.) have ''no'' combat skills whatsoever, leaving them doomed if the enemy catches them off-guard. In some games, Archers only promote to Snipers which still only use Bows (but have higher stats so it's not as much of a problem if they're caught off guard) while other classes that only use melee may be able to gain access to bows. This might make them useless if it weren't for their high damage output with bows and how longbows are sometimes only usable by snipers. In ''Sacred Stones'' it was possible to promote a cleric/priest into a Bishop or a Sage, while mages can be promoted into a Sage or Mage Knight. Sages had higher magic and access to anima, light and staves, while Bishops can only use Light and Staves and Mage Knights may only use Anima and Staves. Mage Knights rode a horse so had higher movement, which didn't count for much as physic and rescue staves already work at long range and you already have good horseback units, while Bishops are only good for killing undead, which you do fight a lot of in the game, but they're only REALLY useful in a post game that gives you nothing but bragging rights rewards. Sage is definitely the better class for option for both.
* Happens a lot in ''VideoGame/GalacticCivilizations 2''. Typically, when computer-controlled, a race focuses on one type of weapons and armour. Terrans, for example, tend to use armour (good vs. mass drivers - basically huge space guns) and lasers (which are blocked by shields), while Drengin tend to focus on mass driver cannons and armour plating. The player, on the other hand, has the option of focusing on areas the closest races are weak against. This then leads to a second example of this trope where your fleet of Terran-killing shielded missile cruisers runs into a squadron from another race with missile defences and heavy-duty mass driver guns who proceed to eat them alive. [[LensmanArmsRace So you have to go research]] armour and mass drivers to exploit ''their'' weaknesses and hope that you don't run into a third race who like armour and missiles. It's also ludicrously easy to capitalize on a ''potential'' enemy's specialization. In some cases, a race will develop a particular weapon (say, mass drivers), and also the defense against that weapon (armor). You can then trade money for ''their own defense research'', and send your now-fully protected ships against his helpless vessels. On higher difficulty levels, you can do this exactly once, and then the AI will counter-research and murder you.
* In the ''VideoGame/SpaceEmpires'' games the enemy tends to focus on just one type of weapon.
** Ironically, this is the result of the most flexible part of the programming in an AI's "generate a ship design" module - it's capable of taking advantage of both optionally available weapon techs and unusual hull classes, but that complexity makes it hard to then do more than go down a list of weapon types and use the first available one. In ''IV'' it's certainly possible to write AI which forces mixtures of weapons into a ship (it'll be less certain the AI will actually design and build any of that template) or to create multiple ship class templates using different weapon types and force building a mixture of them (though the AI can't distinguish among them when creating fleets and using them). In ''V'' it's theoretically possible to break all of these limits but it might be simpler to just write a new game than do the necessary level of modding.
* In ''VideoGame/SwordOfTheStars'' there are ways to counter, weaken and negate pretty much every weapon type. Being overreliant on one weapon type often leads to this as the enemy researches and equips the appropriate counters.
** Drone carriers can fall into this. While dreadnought versions usually have enough mounted weaponry to act as TheBattlestar, those below the wall of battle have the majority of their firepower on their drones and become much less useful once PD works its way through said parasite craft.
** Interceptor missiles are even better than phasers against big PD targets like guided torpedoes and drones, but are completely unable to maneuver against other missiles. This was eventually subverted in the sequel, though their low rate of fire still makes them less than optimal.
** Shield Breakers [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin are excellent at killing shields]] but don't do anything against the ship proper.
** Polarized plasma weapons are an evolution of other plasma weapons you can research, whereby plasma bolts are shaped into thin discs for firing. They slice right through thick armor, but they're terribly weak against shielded targets, making more conventional weaponry the better option.
** Dreadnoughts fitted with Impactors (enormous [[MagneticWeapons railguns]]) can obliterate other capital ships, [[KineticWeaponsAreJustBetter often more quickly]] than with equivalent energy weapons, especially since they tend to push enemy ships away to beyond energy range. However good luck hitting smaller ships, since Impactors often miss anything smaller and faster than a similar sized ship as your own.
** Likewise, the mighty siege driver can be fitted to a dreadnought and [[NoKillLikeOverkill fires literal asteroids]] for planetary bombardment. The unfortunate side effect is that it tends to miss anything ''smaller'' than a planet. Also, it's [[AwesomeButImpractical usually unnecessary]] to bring one to a planetary bombardment when a fleet of well-rounded ships can do the job equally well. It's only use would be strategic (i.e. to bombard a planet from far away and then jump away to avoid the defenders).
** Deflectors and disruptors generate a forward-facing shield that is utterly impenetrable to kinetic and energy weapons, respectively (torpedoes happen to fall into both categories). Unlike complete shields, they can't be brought down with sufficient firepower. This, effectively, makes ships that are exclusively focused on kinetic or energy weaponry useless, although kinetic shots can still impart some momentum onto the target.
* ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWars''
** [[Manga/GetterRobo Getter 3 and Getter Poseidon]] are pretty much built for underwater battles because they don't suffer from movement limitation. The main problem is the fact that most of the battles takes place in Air, Ground or Space which the other forms excells in. Add to the fact that most of its attacks can't hit Airborne units (including the [[LimitBreak Daisetsuzan Oroshi]] and it become fairly apparent why its the least useful despite the damage output). To compensate for this, Musashi and Benkei gain some of the more useful Seishins amongst their teammates to use in their own Getter forms.
** This frequently happened to the Getter Liger and Getter Two as well, for its ussual [[RunningGag inability to attack flying units]]. In fact, a sizable amount of players said that Getter-1 is the form that you will use 99 % of the time, and you should give it movement adapters anyway.
* ''VideoGame/SidMeiersAlphaCentauri''
** Almost all air units can't capture bases. You've got to use ground units (for bases on the ground) or sea units (for bases in the sea) for that.
** The Believers have only one way to win the game without a huge difference in player skill. Expand as quickly as possible and attack anyone nearby. The only way for them to win is to gain a huge advantage early game through expansion, so they can field enough of their undoubtedly weaker, poorly equipped forces to overwhelm the other factions. With a player skill difference, it is possible for the Believers to win in other ways, but they will not perform as well as other factions with any other strategy. This strategy is problematic because several factions can very easily stop the Believers in their tracks by exploiting their weaknesses. In the expansion, assuming equal player skill, it is effectively impossible for the Believers to go toe to toe with the Nautilus Pirates due to the fact Pirates will have centuries to build up their naval forces before the Believers could even hope to mount an attack capable of taking an unguarded sea base.
* ''VideoGame/{{Battle for Wesnoth}}'' gives us the Dark Adept, a low-level "black" magic-user with a couple of accurate and fairly powerful magical ranged attacks that has ''no melee capability whatsoever'' and is thus a helpless target for anything that attacks it with melee weapons, which basically means "any enemy unit that's not a Dark Adept itself". (If it manages to live to become a Dark Sorcerer, though, it gains a moderately effective staff attack.) On the other end of the spectrum, you can find the Dwarvish Ulfserker (a melee-only unit that when engaged in close combat always fights until either it or its opponent is dead) and the Horseman (also melee-only with its only attack being a charge for double damage both inflicted and received), as well as their level 2 Dwarvish Berserker and Lancer counterparts that do exactly the same, only with more powerful attacks and extra hit points.
* It's up to you if you want to do this in ''VideoGame/EndlessSpace'', since you get to design all your ships. However, while every pirate ship you encounter starts with just kinetic weaponry, if you overspecialized to deal with that, your ships will be cut apart when the pirates start mounting armor defenses, lasers and missiles.
* It's possible to build Snipers this way in ''XCOMEnemyUnknown''. Making them ''extremely'' good at sniping means that they won't be good at anything else: moving, close range combat, etc. This type of build is also punished in ''XCOM Enemy Within'', which introduces stealthy melee combatant aliens that, once they start choking a soldier (like a sniper who's all alone), won't stop unless another soldiers shoots it off. This can be countered by giving your sniper an immunity to strangulation with the Bioelectric Skin [[BioAugmentation Gene Mod]], which also revealed cloaked enemies nearby.
* ''VideoGame/{{Nectaris}}'' has the Atlas, a very powerful and long-range anti-ground artillery cannon...that cannot move. Once it's unloaded from a Mule or other transporter, it isn't going anywhere. It is very good at picking off advancing enemies, but not if they get too close because it also cannot attack directly in front of it. The DOS version of the game also has the Thunder, which is the anti-air equivalent.
* ''VideoGame/{{Civilization}}'':
** Submarines are very strong against other ships, but without giving them one-use missiles, they cannot attack land targets.
** The fanmade [[http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=305690589 Tojo's Imperial Japan]] faction downplays this issue. Unlike most other naval-focused factions that usually have some aspect that's still useful on land, both Tojo's Unique Ability and the stronger of his Unique Units require access to water to be used. While you're not completely helpless on a landlocked map, you still lack a major edge, so you'd better choose a different faction. The specialisation comes in on watery maps. His Unique Ability gives Science for each Coast or Ocean tile acquired, with double that in conquered cities, meaning it's possible to gain even lategame techs in less than 10 turns by conquering enemy coastal cities. It also gives a 50% bonus to producing naval units in conquered cities, meaning quickly building massive fleets is possible. And that Unique Unit that needs water, the Yamato-class battleship, has a bonus against cities that synergises perfectly with this need to conquer cities for Science, while its ability to carry fighters synergises with the other Unique Unit, the Zero, to provide great protection against air attack.

!!Non-Video Game Examples

[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* In ''HunterXHunter'', this happens during a tournament arc when [[BigBad Hisoka]] fights an opponent who had a grudge against him, Kastro. Kastro had basically dedicated himself to mastering a nen technique that was so absurdly complex that it left him completely unable to use any other nen techniques, and even limited his ability to learn other non-nen based techniques, so that the opponent only had one (admittedly pretty strong) martial arts move. Worse, once this ability [[spoiler: Doppleganger]] was dispelled, Kastro is completely powerless.
* ''Anime/MazingerZ'': Several [[{{Robeast}} Mechanical Beasts]] had a fighting style entirely based on the weapon or device they were equipped with, and when they lost it, the battle was finished shortly after (even though they usually tried to put up a good fight). Jinray S1 (episode 24) best weapon was its amazing flight speed (Match 5!) that it used to dive at its enemy, striking it with lightning bolts and missiles and fleeing away. Since it could hit him and and run away before he could even spot it, Kouji got a very hard time... until he blew up one of its rockets. Unable to perform its hit-and-run tactics, Jinray was helpless. Holzon V3 (Episode 17) was armed with huge [[ThisIsADrill drills]] to burrow underground and set off earthquakes, making it deadly... unless you forced it to return to surface, where it was a crappy fighter. Kajimofu T7 (episode 48) combined both its [[HandBlast palm blasts]] and its missile launcher to hit its adversary. It was a very efective, destructive tactic... but when [[ActionGirl Sayaka]] and [[ButtMonkey Boss]] ripped its arms off, the battle was over because its missile launcher was not strong enough on its own.
* ''Manga/{{Naruto}}''
** Members of most clans seem to suffer from this, as they tend to ''only'' use the clan's signature techniques even when they could learn others. Plus their specialization can be found out just by knowing their last name. Teamwork is greatly stressed and teams typically consist of 4 people from different clans or backgrounds, so the "crippling" part is usually guarded against, though they tend to have a specialised theme (eg. Team Gai are all Taijustu types, but different types of Taijutsu; Team Kurenai / 8 specialize in tracking, but different types of tracking, etc.). It is also not uncommon for different teams to work together, or for members to join other teams temporarily.
** Subverted by the Uchiha clan. Though played straight at beginning levels, where the abilities their Sharingan gives them (move copying, enhanced perception) can only go so far, once they reach a certain point and unlock its evolution, the Mangekyo Sharingan, they've basically won the SuperpowerLottery. And in the unlikely event that the Mangekyo doesn't get the job done there's a whole other level, [[spoiler:the Rinnegan]], which puts the user above basically everything else in the universe, up to and including various {{Eldritch Abomination}}s.
** Possibly also subverted by the Aburame clan--while they indeed only have a handful of jutsu, the main jutsu is basically the ability to control a swarm of chakra-eating bugs, which is actually extremely versatile and effective, so a lot less crippling overall. Too bad Shino doesn't get more screentime.
** The Raikage is this in spades. He uses taijutsu and focuses on melee combat using his high speed and strength to overwhelm the enemy. We see that when he tosses Sasuke around like a ragdoll. However, he tries to do the same against the ''much'' stronger [[spoiler:Madara Uchiha... and it doesn't work too well]]. He has no long ranged jutsus at all, or even summoning, bunshins displayed, or anything to make up for his style's weaknesses. Thus, he's the only Kage [[spoiler:to under perform in the War. Especially against Madara, since he needs [[BadassGrandpa Onoki]]'s help to even breach Madara's Susano'o.]]
** Similarly Rock Lee uses taijutsu but that's because he can't do anything else, to top it off he doesn't bring any weapon and so he relies exclusively on hand-to-hand combat. This is a world where some people can kill you by staring or can burn you if you touch them so it's kind of a problem for a ninja.
** Hidan of the Akatsuki is immortal, which should make him powerful, but it doesn't. He only has one real power, which requires him to ingest someone's blood after cutting them, then create a ritual circle, stand in it, and he becomes a living voodoo doll for that person. He uses it to kill Asuma. Once this technique is analyzed, there are a few weaknesses. If Hidan is removed from the circle, the effect ends. Furthermore, while immortal, he can be chopped up to remove the threat he poses. Finally, he has to attack someone with melee in order for the technique to work. A user of long ranged combat who is powerful enough to disable him will have no problem doing so.
** [[MusicalAssassin Tayuya's]] powers themselves were fairly versatile: creating illusions and controlling summoned demons with music. But she still suffered from this as she didn't carry a single tool (not even a kunai) besides her flute, which she needs to craft her illusions. So of course the moment her flute is lost or damaged she's pretty much screwed.
** Doto and his snow ninjas, the villains of the first movie. They have special chakra-armor, small devices that deflect or negate chakra based attacks. This renders many of the team's attacks useless but in the finale Kakashi points out the big hole in the logic of the chakra-armor: it protects against chakra attacks but does to nothing to protect from normal ''physical attacks''. He then exploits this to defeat TheDragon by piledriving the guy off a small cliff headfirst. If his armor was better it might have protected him from the impact but because his armor was so specialized against chakra, [[RealityEnsues he gets killed by the fall]].
* ''Manga/{{Kinnikuman}}'': Hawaii champion Jessie Mavia had this problem. He was absolutely unrivaled in his ability to counter and reverse attacks, but as a result had no original techniques of his own. Kinnikuman achieved victory in his fight by realizing this, [[IShallTauntYou goading Jessie into attacking him]], and [[HoistByHisOwnPetard hoisting him by his own petard]].
* ''Manga/SaintSeiya'': [[TheHero Seiya's]] master, Marin, taught her disciple this "If you meet someone stronger than you, attacks his best weapon. If he punches hard, aim for his arms. If he kicks strong, aim for his legs. After you destroy it, you will be able to win with no trouble." Early on the series, Seiya met Bear Geki, a warrior had focused his training in reinforcing his arms to the point of he could easily throtle ''grizzly bears''. As soon as Seiya managed breaking his arms, Geki was defenseless and the battle was over.
* ''Franchise/{{Gundam}}'':
** ''Anime/MobileSuitGundam'': [[AllThereInTheManual According to the backstory]], when Zeon was developing a machine to match the Gundam, their choices were the Gelgoog and the Gyan. The Gyan was melee-focused, armed with a beam sword and a shield full of mini-missiles and short-range bombs, and intended to work in concert with the Rick Dom (which was, surprise surprise, manufactured by the same company). This extreme focus caused it to lose out to the more self-sufficient Gelgoog, meaning only three Gyans were ever made, and one shows up as a MonsterOfTheWeek while Gelgoogs appear as {{Mooks}} from that point on.
*** The Gelgoog, in turn, added its own overspecialization. It was designed to Char Aznable's own standards, as Zeon's most influential ace. This meant that anyone who wasn't as skilled as Char couldn't make a Gelgoog work the way it should. A lot of pilots died to technically inferior opponents as a result.
** In ''Anime/MobileSuitGundamSEED'' the Buster Gundam was a purely ranged suit with no close-range options, while the Duel Gundam is almost pure melee with very little ranged options (ZAFT corrected that quickly with the "Assault Shroud" MechaExpansionPack). Interestingly, the Strike Gundam manages to be both this and JackOfAllStats since it can change its loadout. In Sword Strike mode the closest thing it has to a ranged weapon are beam boomerangs and rocket propelled anchors which can draw a target into closer range. In Launcher strike mode it has the same problem as the Buster, its only close-range weapons are a small pair of barely used daggers. Most other suits, despite having clear specialty, manage to avert this, and the five Gundams were meant to operate as a team.
** ''[[Anime/MobileSuitCrossboneGundam Crossbone Gundam]]'' has [[TheEmpire the Jupiter Empire]] try to counter the eponymous Gundams with a trio of [[HumongousMecha mobile suits]] that excel in one area exactly: the Quavarze is a GlassCannon, the Abijo a FragileSpeedster, and the Tortuga a StoneWall. This comes back to bite them when [[TheHero Tobia]] manages to circumvent their advantages and exploit their weaknesses (grabbing the Abijo so it can't dodge his attacks, attacking the Tortuga in the joints where its thick armor and beam shield can't protect it). Earlier on, [[AcePilot Kincaid Nau]] bests the trio in a similar manner (not dodging the weak attacks of the Abijo, closing range on the Quavarze, and flanking the Tortuga before it can deploy its shield). With a Gundam whose arms had already been sliced off.
** In ''Anime/{{Gundam00}}'' the Sadalsuud's unwieldy nature made it useless for anything other than long range combat and even then only as a sensor. The Abul Hool literally HAD NO ARMS and had to make do with its quasi-jet mode.
*** The units used by the Innovades also have a habit of being like this. The Gadessa has no real ranged weapon other than the Mega-launcher. When it gets blown up, suddenly your opponent is a LOT harder to hit. The Garazzo is of no different in that it replaces the Mega launcher with beam claws, leaving it without any effective ranged weapon ''ever''.
** ''[[Anime/MobileSuitGundamAge Gundam AGE's]]'' Age-1 Titus. It overspecializes in strong melee attacks, but it is dropped off just a few episode after its debut because its heavy armor and lack of range weapons makes it unable to hit any faster unit in space combat.
** ''Anime/GundamSentinel'' has the [=FAZZ=] units, a trio of Mobile Suits designed to test out the Full Armor pack for the [[Anime/MobileSuitGundamZZ ZZ Gundam]]. Had plenty of ammo, but lacked any means to defend itself in melee range, which gets all three suits destroyed when they go up against the Gundam Mk. V.
** ''Anime/AfterWarGundamX'' meanwhile has the Correl. It's designed to be so fast that it can inflict DeathOfAThousandCuts on most enemy mobile suits it fights with a beam knife. On the other hand, it can't use any weapons ''other'' than said beam knife due to the speeds involved. Not to mention stripping off so much armor to achieve that maneuverability renders it very vulnerable to ''Vulcans.''
** ''Anime/GundamBuildFightersTry'' first gives us Team Angelfish, who is a team comprised of all marine Mobile Suits - a Z'Gok, a Gogg and an Zock. In the water, they're unstoppable. Yuuma wonders what they'd do if they went up against opponents in another terrain. [[spoiler:They'd self-destruct rather than get involved in a CurbStompBattle.]]
*** Then, there's Teams SRSC, who used three EZ-8s designed to combat the Build Burning, the Lightning and the Powered GM Cardigan. Their synergy is completely thrown off when Fumina brings out the Winning Gundam instead of the Cardigan as they had no information on it.
*** Ultimately Fumina's Winning Gundam and Yuuma's Lightning Gundam proved to be this. Winning Gundam is so focused on being the super-awesome support for the Lightning and Sekai's Build Burning that Fumina's never bothered to actively familiarize herself with her own weapons, making her crumble when forced to fight. The Lightning Gundam is a sniper unit, despite being based off of the [=Re-GZ=], and is also a manifestation of Yuuma's desire to keep others away from him, thus he crumples when others get close. The Star Winning and the Lightning Full Burnian fix these problems.
** Subverted in ''Anime/MobileSuitGundamWing''. The Epyon is the only mobile suit without ''any'' ranged option whatsoever, perhaps the only one across the whole franchise. [[note]]It even lacks the machine guns used to shoot down incoming missiles, which is standard issue even for Mook Mobile Suits.[[/note]] This doesn't stop it from being the most powerful Mobile Suit of the series (tied with Wing Zero) thanks to [[CombatClairvoyance the Zero System]].
* ''Anime/RurouniKenshin'': Kenshin Himura is a master swordsman, but is hopeless at unarmed combat and often gets confused by enemy swordsmen that [[CombatPragmatist throw in punches or kicks between sword strikes]]. Less so in the anime. Averted by Saito Haijime, who fights entirely with varying types of stabbing, but is such an excellent swordsman that he doesn't need anything else. Saito is also an expert boxer and is willing to use other weapons like his ''belt''. In one of the last chapters of the manga Kenshin tells a member of the latest QuirkyMinibossSquad -- one who specialized in countering stabbing techniques but was defeated by Saito anyway -- that if defeating Saito's Gattotsu was enough to defeat Saito himself, Kenshin would have killed him years ago.
* Most ''Manga/RanmaOneHalf'' characters, but especially one shot practitioners of MartialArtsAndCrafts. There's really not THAT much call for the use of Martial Arts Chess, is there? Hilariously, Ranma often make a point of adhering to their rules and restrictions just so he can learn their style properly, and then incorporate their strengths into his "Anything-Goes" school (based off averting this trope entirely), as well as the satisfaction of beating them at their own game. He only occasionally bend or break the rules after he learns what he's supposed to do.
* Early on in ''Manga/MahouSenseiNegima'', the explanation for Negi's need to [[ShipTease kiss]] girls in his class is to give them artifacts. Because a traditional mage is useless in unarmed combat and it takes time to cast and activate offensive magics. So they need a partner to defend them and distract the opposing forces. After a few fights where this was a problem for Negi, he learned kenpo. Evangeline explains that eventually any magic practitioner will reach a point where [[LinearWarriorsQuadraticWizards it no longer matters]].
* ''Manga/{{Bleach}}''
** [[spoiler:Wonderwiess]] was made for the purpose of using this trope. Giving up speech, intelligence, memory and reasoning so as to have the ability to seal [[spoiler:Ryujinjakka's flames]].
** Several of his opponents thought this about [[BigBad Aizen]], believing that if he didn't use his [[MasterOfIllusion sword's powers]], he'd be easier to take down. [[CurbStompBattle He quickly proves them wrong.]]
* ''Manga/{{Eyeshield 21}}'': Monta, the Deimon wide receiver, is only good at catching. This makes him bad at his original favorite sport, baseball, but good at American football. Sena is dazzlingly fast, but had no strength to push another in power games. Takami, thanks to his build and training, is a quarterback with precise and high- altitude pass, but thanks to injury in his legs, can't move quick enough to avoid sacking. Kurita is [[MightyGlacier obscenely strong and unmovable, but also can't run to save his life]]. And Yukimitsu, all that he had is [[AwesomenessByAnalysis ability to deduce possible pass route on the fly]] and [[{{Determinator}} sheer determination]], and [[WeakButSkilled that's all]]. Fortunately, the team is directed by a psychotic genius who knows exactly how to make all the specializations form a coherent, powerful whole.
* The Fang Regalia in ''Manga/AirGear'', a set of [[RollerBladeGood A-T]] wheels can be seen this way as it deprives the user the ability to jump. Instead, it allows the user to release ''RazorWind'' [[ArtMajorPhysics from their A-Ts]].
* All the characters in ''Manga/FairyTail'' have one type of magic that they use, and frequently run into opponents with powers custom tailored to trump that one specific magic, most notably one of the Vanish Brothers, whose power was to nullify fire magic, and he just happened to have been fighting the fire mage. Or Yuta, who can nullify magic, but only one type at a time. Only a few mages show spells outside the speciality, such as Ultear who possesses two schools of magic or the Thunder God tribe who possess eye magic aside from their main magics, though many mages do make up for lack of magic variety with hand-to-hand skill, weapons like Lucy's whip, or [[MasterOfOneMagic using their magic in unorthodox ways]]. Erza is a subversion, since while she uses one type of magic, her magic involves changing her armor and weapons to suit the situation.
* ''Anime/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaStrikers''
** Nanoha's training of the forwards doubly subverts this. First Nanoha aims the training to sharpen each member on their own unique abilities to the edge, but avoided the "crippling" part by also reinforcing their teamwork tactics in order to cover each other's weaknesses. Then, she reveals that the "overspecialization" part of the training only covers phase 1-2, and once they dominated their main abilities Nanoha proceeds to balance them by giving them experience and alt-modes for their [[EmpathicWeapon devices]] that allow them to face battle conditions outside of their main area of expertise by themselves.
** Hayate, meanwhile, plays this trope straight. She's the resident [[PersonOfMassDestruction nuke-girl]] of the TSAB, evidenced by the fact that they send out evacuation warnings whenever she takes to the battlefield. The only problem with this is that she cannot use any spell other than nuke level ones and she needs assistance to aim said spells. She even admits that [[WhiteMage Caro]] would beat her in singles combat even without said girl's dragons because she was trained by Nanoha.
* Clare starts out as this in ''Manga/{{Claymore}}''. She's ranked as the weakest warrior in the Organization because she neglected the standard youma fighting skills to specialize in fighting [[OneWingedAngel Awakened Beings.]] Initially, Awakened Beings are rare enough that the other Claymores consider her to be TheLoad. By the time the TimeSkip rolls around, Awakened Beings are coming out of the woodwork, and regular youma are little more than mooks.
* Happened to Ash in ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}''. Even though Grotle still won at times, it became absolutely pitiful when it was Torterra, having never won a single battle. Ash's team in the Sinnoh sage was mainly based on small, [[LightningBruiser fast Pokémon who can deliver hard hits, as well as take some too]]. But a [[StoneWall damn near immobile tank]] like Torterra was just not his style, and never really adapted to it.
* ''LightNovel/InfiniteStratos''
** Ichika's IS is a close-ranged fighter, so in a ranged fight he has to dodge or absorb shots thrown at him until he can get close enough. Unless another IS user allows him to use their ranged weapons. Averted with Rin, who has a weapon that has some medium range capabilities.
** Laura's A.I.C. (Active Inertial Canceler) seems to nullify any attack thrown at her, but she has to stay focused on the attacker for it to work. So if someone else shoots her from behind...
** Cecilia's IS is designed solely for long ranged combat, so if an attacker can close the distance before she can take them out, she usually seems screwed. Chifuyu also comments in one episode that she's also designed to take on multiple opponents, but in the anime at least, she only ever fights against one opponent at a time.
* Katsumi Morikawa, the resident ButtMonkey of ''Anime/CardfightVanguard''. He is a genuinely good player, but he is so obsessed with powerful Grade 3 monsters that his deck balance is ridiculously top-heavy.
* In ''Manga/{{The Lucifer And Biscuit Hammer}}'', several of the Beast Knights are somewhat overspecialized for their own good, usually on the scale and speed of the opponents they can fight. Yuki and Subaru need critical time to charge up and aim their CombinedEnergyAttack, and risk any enemy escaping or tearing into them before they can fire. Yuuhi's fighting style is highly mobile anti-personnel, limiting his ability to directly harm the golems [[spoiler:but making him perfect for taking down the other Knights]]. Hanako's [[AnIcePerson ice attacks]] rely on having a supply of water to hand, often only as much as she can carry. Fortunately, the other Knights cover for their limits and provide them the opportunities they need to bring their power into play.
* Sylphiel of ''LightNovel/{{Slayers}}'' is an extremely skilled WhiteMagicianGirl, but has absolutely ''no'' talent for offensive magic. Her attempt to cast Flare Arrow produced a weak and PainfullySlowProjectile that was [[EpicFail shaped like a carrot]]. Later subverted when [[spoiler:she learns to cast ''[[UnholyNuke Dragon Slave]]'' of all things.]]
* This is the premise of ''LightNovel/ICouldntBecomeAHeroSoIReluctantlyDecidedToGetAJob''. Raul was training to be a heroic knight to fight the demon lord. Which doesn't translate well in the world of business once that path is cut short.
* In ''Anime/PantyAndStockingWithGarterbelt'', angel weapons can only kill ghosts, demons, and angels. Against humans and zombies, they are about as effective as BB Guns or Nerf swords. They ''can'' kill humans and zombies if used indirectly, like when Panty shot a propane tank next to some zombies to make it explode.
* ''Manga/SilverSpoon'': Most of the students of Yezo High agricultural school have severely specialized knowledge relating to the jobs they wish to take as adults or the work their family does, on par with college students in their field. Just don't expect much with other subjects. Hachiken, as an academic JackOfAllTrades, often ends up having to tutor his friends but can also organize their disparate skill sets into a cohesive team. (When it comes to pizza, anyway.)
* Early in ''Manga/BakusouKyoudaiLetsAndGo'', the main characters' machines suffer from this on the competitive level: Magnum Saber is too fast and too light it can't take corners properly; Sonic Saber is good at tackling curves, but loses time on straights and zig-zagged roads; Spin Axe is only superior at chicanes; finally, Tridagger X dominates the straights, but it is too agressive on cornering it slows down greatly.
* In ''Manga/DragonBall'', while preparing to fight Cell, Trunks comes up with a variation of the [[GoldenSuperMode Super Saiyan]] transformation that involves large, bulky musculature. He hides it from his father, Vegeta, fearing that it would cause him shame to see that his son has surpassed him. It's not until he brings it out in battle against Cell that he realizes his mistake: [[MightyGlacier in focusing on raw strength, he has neglected to develop his speed]]. All the punchy-punchy in the world doesn't make a difference if he can't land a hit, and as he is handily defeated he reflects that his father, a seasoned warrior who would know better, likely considered developing himself along the same lines and decided against it for exactly that reason.
* Mito of ''Manga/ShokugekiNoSoma'' is cripplingly overspecialised towards cooking meat. When compelled by cooking contest rules to present a ''don'' (rice bowl) her dish, while technically well executed, is disharmonious and overemphasises the expensive cut of meat used.
* ''Manga/{{Parasyte}}'': The parasite who killed [[spoiler:Shinichi's mother]] always goes for a OneHitKill by stabbing its enemies in the heart. When Jaw realizes this, he's quick to protect his host's heart in prevision and behead the enemy parasite from behind after playing dead.
* ''Manga/AssassinationClassroom'' has quite a lot of this, going in hand with AssassinOutclassin and ItOnlyWorksOnce. Once someone's full plan or main skills are revealed, it's easier for Koro-sensei and others to guard against them.
** Irina is a infiltration-assassin who seduces people to get close and then kill them. Once she's found out she's in trouble, as her combat skills aren't so good. Her former teacher even tries to have her removed from assignment in Class E once her cover is blown and she only managed to stay by subverting the trope at the last second, using her seduction on someone she knew it wouldn't work on to get his guard down about her trying something else. [[spoiler: Averted in the Island arc, as the kids were so used to her they did not expect a betrayal.]]
** Ritsu is an AI inside a terminal that has gun ports. She can reshape the guns and change their ammo and targeting as much as she wants, and her programming is good enough so that she gets better with each try at assassinating Koro-sensei, who is not allowed to impede her. She is defeated by the students wrapping duct tape around her terminal, forcing the gun ports to stay closed, because she was interrupting their studies.
** Itona is a human boy with tentacles that can match Koro-sensei's. But they take up so much brainpower that he cannot even compensate or an alteration in a plan on his own, requiring the aid of Shiro both in fully plotting an assassination and ordering him on what to do when his target does something unpredictable.
* Tokyo-3 and NERV HQ from ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'' is a gigantic city with an even more gigantic and extensive bunker underneath it designed specifically for defending against attacks from Angels. However, ''The End Of Evangelion'' shows the one thing that NERV headquarters is utterly defenseless against: [[spoiler: Other humans. More specifically, a JSSDF invasion, who overtake the facility almost effortlessly.]]
* ''LightNovel/TheDevilIsAPartTimer'': The archangel Sariel has the power to [[AntiMagic nullify Sacred Energy]], making him quite a dangerous opponent to users of sacred power (i.e. Emi Yusa). Of course, it's ''only'' Sacred Energy he can nullify, meaning he's completely powerless against demons like Maou.
* In ''LightNovel/HeavyObject'' Elites have specialized training and genetic modification so they can pilot Objects, but the regimen is designed for a specific Object. They cannot pilot any other type of Object which means if they are defeated in battle it could be years before an appropriate replacement becomes available. Milinda in particular has concerns early on due to being trained for the increasingly out-dated First Generation Objects.
** Second Generation Objects are designed to dominate a theater of action. Within that theater they have a massive advantage, but outside of it they are likely to be at a disadvantage to even a First Generation Object.
** The enemy support unit in the first Alaskan campaign relied almost entirely on their Object and radar installations. The entire unit consisted of armed technicians, lacking any tanks, planes, or even actual infantry. When their Object was destroyed the survivors were wiped out by Froleytia's tanks and infantry.
* In ''Anime/YuGiOh'', Yami Marik's deck is tailor-made for fighting Yugi and no one else, so duelists like Mai and Joey give him more trouble.
* In ''Manga/YuYuHakusho The Movie: Poltergeist Report'', Kuwabara is faced with a demon capable of copying opponents' {{Ki Attack}}s, including his own [[LaserBlade reiki sword]]. Kuwabara pumps all his spirit energy into his sword so that the demon will do the same, then once they've both expended all their energy, the more physically capable Kuwabara puts him down with a simple haymaker.
* Shirou lampshades this with his [[Anime/FateStayNightUnlimitedBladeWorks Unlimited Blade Works]] ability during his final battle with Gilgamesh, stating that, were he to go up against any of the other servants, he wouldn't stand a chance, given that the rest of them have mastered one weapon, whereas he possesses a huge amount of weapons without having mastered any of them. Against Gilgamesh, however, he holds a great advantage, as his weapons are already at his beck and call, whereas Gilgamesh has to call them from a different dimension.
* In ''LightNovel/LordMarksmanAndVanadis'', Tigre is one of the greatest archers in existence. With a bow and arrows, he's almost unstoppable. However, he ''only'' trained with a bow and has no skill in other weapons like swords.
* ''Manga/{{Nanbaka}}'' has its protagonist Jyugo, whose only real specialty is breaking out of prison, get a OneHitKO when facing Hajime early on. However, at that point in time he's already demonstrated this specialty includes breaking out of handcuffs, so [[{{Foreshadowing}} it seems odd]] that he still has some very obvious black shackles on. [[spoiler: The shackles in question turn him into a mindless murdering machine [[BladeBelowTheShoulder with blade arms]] once he's angered sufficiently, and Hajime can't stop him once he starts to rampage.]]
* The [[MasterSwordsman Assassin]] of ''VisualNovel/FateStayNight'' is a man with literally nothing besides swordplay - he was not given a name, taught to read, and lived his entire life practicing a technique that would allow him to cut down a bird in flight. The end result is a man who can use martial arts to [[BeyondTheImpossible warp reality in order to strike from three directions simultaneously.]] However, imperfections in his weapon can create blind spots in the technique, and compared to other servants, aside from this [[OneHitKill overwhelming attack,]] he is the absolute bottom of the barrel in terms of combat ability.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* ''Comicbook/ArchieComicsSonicTheHedgehog'':
** The battle suit used by [[BigBad Eggman]] in issues 175-177 was designed specifically to outmatch Sonic, which it [[CurbStompBattle proceeded to do marvelously]]. However, this meant that when the ''other'' Freedom Fighters took it on, it went down in a matter of ''panels''.
** The various Metal Sonics used to be designed with extremely specific functions, but unfortunately they weren't ''competent'' outside of that function. This resulted in some very embarrassing defeats for Eggman, such as a Metal Sonic that was specifically designed to be good at fighting Sonic... only for Amy to come along and flatten it like a empty drink can with her hammer. Robotnik eventually learned his lesson from this; when he made a sentient, unique Metal Sonic, he focused on combining the best traits from all the previous models. He ''also'' gave Metal the data collected by previous models, allowing Metal Sonic to react properly whenever the heroes try an old trick. Thus where previous models were [[IneffectualSympatheticVillain ineffectual after the first try]], this one is a terrifying ImplacableMan who can take on four people at once in a fight and still be strong enough for a race afterwards.
* The page image depicts villain Razorfist from the Franchise/MarvelUniverse. He had both hands removed and replaced with blades to maximize his combat ability. He now needs servants to feed him and attend to his basic personal hygiene. Plus, every time he's arrested, the blades are replaced with prosthetic hands to which he's unable to adjust, as shown in an issue of ''Toxin''.
* As part of his TrainingFromHell, recurring Captain Britain villain Slaymaster repeatedly punched boulders with his left hand until his entire hand was covered in a thick callous, which he ground to a deadly point. He described the ordeal as a "ninja trick" and admitted that it had made his hand useful only as a weapon.
* The Archie ''ComicBook/MegaMan'' comic features Crash Man and Needle Man, who have drills and needle-shooting guns in place of actual hands. This makes them dangerous in combat, but incapable of performing practical tasks like lifting things. It also means that if they're weapons are damaged, than they're helpless. A running gag involves Crash Man resenting his creator for not giving him hands.
* This is the fatal flaw of Franchise/SpiderMan villain Overdrive; he has the power to alter, transform, or improve any vehicle near him. This is incredibly useful... as long as there's some vehicles around for him to actually use. He also can't alter any other machines, just vehicles. This wouldn't be a problem if Overdrive knew anything about hand-to-hand combat, but he's a mechanic by trade and isn't very strong so he's useless without a vehicle around. Spidey and other heroes frequently beat him by either forcing him into an area away from any vehicles or simply waiting to ambush him; after all, he can't spend his whole life inside a car.

[[folder:Fan Fic]]
* It starts out looking like this will be the case for one of the Angels in ''Fanfic/ShinjiAndWarhammer40K'', as it tries and fails to use Eva-focused attacks like venomous spikes on Magnos Tancred (which is basically a tank with feet, and has none of the squishy biological components that were being targeted). [[spoiler: Then it [[MookMaker disgorges an army of relatively tiny monsters]], which kill two-thirds of Magnos Tancred's crew and begin slaughtering their way through Tokyo-3.]]
* In ''[[FanFic/PoniesOfOlympus Atlas Strongest Tournament]]'', [[TheRival Ran Biao]] trained her flame breath to be strong enough to melt Rarity's metal acupuncture needles; however, her reliance on this leaves her vulnerable to Rarity's ''diamond'' backup needles.
* Multiple ''{{Manga/Naruto}}'' fanfics, most notable ''[[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/5166693/1/Scorpion-s-Disciple Scorpion's Disciple]], have pointed out [[PuppetMaster Sasori's]] reliance on poisoned weapons as this by having him fight someone completely immune to poisons (generally Orochimaru or Naruto). Whether he lives to learn from such a weakness however varies from story to story.
* In ''FanFic/{{Horseshoes and Hand Grenades}}'', Sonada's fight against Ohsugi had her use her ponytail (which acted like a poisonous scorpion stinger) to attack. However, Ohsugi's weapons--a finned glove and slippers glued to craft foam) was upgraded by Nadeshiko and SOLU and once he uses them to remove the ponytail, it was all too easy for Ohsugi to punch her lights out.
* ''FanFic/ContractLabor'': During their honor duel in [[spoiler: chapter 21]], Keitaro gets the better of Motoko by mixing in gut-punches with swordplay, exploiting the fact that Motoko has only been seriously trained in swordsmanship.
* In ''FanFic/{{Fractured}}'', a ''MassEffect''[=/=]''StarWars''[[spoiler:[=/=]''[=Borderlands=]'']] [[MassiveMultiplayerCrossover crossover]] and its [[FanFic/SovereignGFCOrigins sequel]], a whole class of ships falls into this trope. "Aspirations Toward Infinity" ([[GiverOfLameNames lame names aside]]) ships are designed around their Reaper-killing guns, leaving them PointDefenseless and very un-[[TheBattlestar battlestar-like]] compared to more versatile Star Destroyers--no [[SpaceFighter starfighters]] here!
* You know how Hayate's mentioned about in Anime and Manga? This comes back to bite her in the ass in ''FanFic/WhiteDevilOfTheMoon'': since she's no good in close quarters single combat, [[Anime/SailorMoon Queen Beryl]] easily [[CurbStompBattle curb stomps]] her and steals the Jewel Seeds Hayate was holding.
* Kyoshun Keiji from ''FanFic/NarutoTheSecretSongsOfTheNinja'' has "unbalanced" eyes that give him vision like an eagle at long range. Combined with his almost supernatural abilities with shuriken, he's arguably among the best shuriken users in the entire ''world'', despite being only a genin. However, the drawback of this is that he can't focus his eyes on moving objects that are too close to him- on his first encounter with his new teammates, he went to shake hands with Naruto and ''missed.'' Predictably, this makes him completely pants at taijutsu and nearly completely incapable of defending himself at close range. Also, he's ''only'' good with shuriken, being average to poor with other thrown weapons such as kunai.
* In ''Fanfic/OpeningDangerousGates'', a demon trio tailors their abilities to serve as a ManOfKryptonite against Laxus. They then discover that they aren't really good at fighting anybody else.
* "Fanfic/TangledInTime" has Ganondorf [[InvokedTrope Invokes]] this by focusing on training Link only in magic so that if Link ever goes against him, he has no weapons skill with which to use the Master Sword or other tools to oppose him.
* In ''Fanfic/TealovesSteamyAdventure'', Snowcatcher has the special talent of catching snowflakes. When Tealove asks her to come along on her adventure (to find a magic tea plant in a distant mountain range), Snowcatcher is the first to point out that she wouldn't be remotely helpful on the trip. Naturally, she comes along anyway.
* The Italian remake of ''FanFic/BattleFantasiaProject'' has the Invaders, powerful aliens whose physiology makes using explosions and fire against them worse than useless, as they ''multiply'' ([[AllThereInTheManual production notes]] state it's the reason nobody just [[NukeEm nuked them]]: many would die due the overpressure, but the multiplication would end with them being more numerous than before). On the other hand, their physiology offers no protection against magical attacks or even simple kinetic energy, meaning that, when fighting a competent human army, they are [[CurbStompBattle massacred by bullets, frag grenades, high-explosive shells detonated high enough they are hit only by the high-speed fragments, canister shots, and]] [[NoKillLikeOverkill thermobaric weapons detonated high enough they are only hit by the overpressure]], and a competent magical girl can take on large numbers of them (in fact their first attack was defeated by ''one single magical girl'').
* In ''FanFic/ATeachersGlory'' the Third Hokage's FatalFlaw is that he is better with jutsu and war than policy - a bad flaw for a political leader. Similarly, Hiashi and Neji both suffer during the invasion due to flaws in their fighting styles and mind-sets.
* The biggest weakness of the [[EverythingsBetterWithDinosaurs Pangea Alliance]] in the MassEffect story ''FanFic/MesozoicEffect''. Their technology is several years beyond what the Council has, but all of their ships and defenses are designed to fight Reapers. They have serious problems trying to adjust their weapons and tactics for conventional battles.
* In ''Fanfic/{{Infinity}}'', Yuuno's defenses prove completely impenetrable to anything Tsukuyomi can throw at him (much like as against Vita, in the series), but his offensive abilities are too limited and weak to threaten her, either.
** [[spoiler: Lindy]], as you might have gathered from the fact that she [[spoiler: sealed the Garden of Time in the original anime]], specializes in sealing and energy manipulation, and can do very little with normal combat. [[spoiler: Chapter 25 demonstrates how little this matters when you have a plan and you are [[MamaBear very, very, angry at someone]].]]
** Hayate as well, [[UnskilledButStrong just like in the series]].
* In ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/2422891/10/The-Way-of-the-Apartment-Manager The Way of the Apartment Manager]]'', [[OriginalCharacter OC]] Yukiko is highly skilled with genjutsu for a mere genin, more so than most chuunin. However she's so pathetic with ninjutsu that she can't even manage the easiest fire jutsu which is designed to function like a match. The best she usually manages is blowing unusually dry air. Meanwhile her temporary teammate Naga is a powerful taijutsu user who utterly demolishes a chuunin specializing in taijutsu but has no real skill in ninjutsu, genjutsu, weapon use, or strategy.

* In ''Film/TheGamersDorknessRising'', Joanna creates a fighter character for ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' with feats for winning initiative, making high-damage critical hits, and getting extra attacks every time she fells an enemy. As a result, her character is excellent at cleaning out hordes of minor enemies before anyone else can move. However, she has [[GlassCannon low armor class and hit points]], so tough enemies who can weather a critical hit or two, like bosses, can take her out easily. In fact there is exactly one combat encounter in the adventure against anything that isn't totally immune to them.
** Note that this example is not presented as crippling overspecialization within the movie, but rather as a really clever build with which the newbie proves her worth and abilities. The downside is not touched upon. until near the end of the movie where she is nearly taken out by one hit by the mini-boss
* ''Disney/WreckItRalph'':
** Combined with BlessedWithSuck, the fact that Felix's hammer can fix anything. The problem is, fixing is ''all'' it can do. When he tries to use it to break loose prison bars, he simply makes them stronger. With his hammer as his only weapon, Felix is at more than a bit of a disadvantage by the climax of the movie, where he's outside of his game (i.e. is perfectly capable of dying) and being attacked by mindless killing machines. Luckily he never has to find out a way to protect himself as he's with Calhoun, who has a gun, and not long after she runs out of ammo, Ralph saves the day.
** Ralph has the opposite problem; he can only ''wreck'' things, which in his own game makes him dangerous to be around and unpopular with the Nicelanders. Once thrust into the plot of the movie though, wrecking comes in ''very'' useful.
* The emotions of ''WesternAnimation/InsideOut'' are great at making Riley express the emotions they represent... but are incapable of making her express other emotions. That's what the other four emotions are for. This becomes a problem when Joy gets herself and Sadness sucked out of Headquarters, as Disgust's attempt at covering for Joy results in a sarcastic response, Fear ends up expressing doubt and denial, and Anger causes an argument that ends in Riley being [[GoToYourRoom sent to her room]].
* ''Disney/{{Zootopia}}'': The ZPD is a top-tier goon squad. Even Mr. Big's polar bear thugs come in undersized next to the ZPD. Unfortunately they don't appear too effective at dealing with quick, small animals that are good at hiding. [[FragileSpeedster Officer Hops]] proves much better at cornering these types, such as when she catches a weasel thief.
* ''Film/HappyGilmore'': The titular character, in both his sports. His hockey suffers when he builds his slapshot to the exclusion of all else, and his golf game suffers when he refuses to train his short game and relies on his extremely long drive. He gets better at the golf side and accepts training, though.

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

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

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/GameOfThrones'': In the Season 3 Blu-ray ''Histories and Lore'', Littlefinger reasons that the true cause of the Targaryens' downfall was their reliance on dragons and their obsession with reclaiming this advantage after the dragons died out, though Varys counters that they continued ruling quite stably for more than a century.
* The fact that the ''Series/{{Lexx}}'' has no other weapons or defenses apart from its planet-shattering WaveMotionGun have caused plenty of trouble to the protagonists over the course of the series. Could be justified, if His Divine Shadow wanted it easily re-taken if it ever fell into the wrong hands. (Which, in fact, it did.) Presumably it would've had escort ships along to defend it if it'd ever been used as intended.
* On ''Series/GoodEats'', one of host Alton Brown's real pet peeves is "unitaskers" -- kitchenware with precisely ''one'' use, which he dislikes for wasting space and usually having larger price tags. Alton's said that the only single-purpose item he'll allow in his kitchen is the fire extinguisher...and then during the 10th Anniversary Special, he finds another use for it: [[http://youtu.be/WWhjgX33wtU making (carbonated) smoothies.]]
* Unlike previous ''Franchise/SuperSentai'', the team in ''Series/KaizokuSentaiGokaiger'' have no inherent special powers, instead relying on the powers of their predecessors via the Ranger Keys. This came to bite them in the ass when, in the first movie, the Keys were stolen from and used against them, leaving the Gokaigers to fend for themselves. It was only fortunate that their direct predecessor team, ''Series/TensouSentaiGoseiger'', were able to help get their powers back. (For the uninitiated, the Gokaigers' basic arsenal only consisted of a Gokai Saber and Gokai Gun each at the time.) Later averted in the series itself when the keys were stolen again, but the team got them back themselves, even beating copies of their suited forms in the process.
* In ''Series/{{Thunderbirds}}'', Thunderbird 3 is the only one that can go into space and Thunderbird 4 is the only one that can go underwater, but that's ''all'' they can do, and while underwater rescues [[ThisLooksLikeAJobForAquaman happen far more often than they really should]] space rescues only happen two or three times in the entire series. In most rescues this leaves Scott and Virgil in Thunderbirds 1 and 2 to do almost all of the work while Alan and Gordon mostly just assist them.
* On ''Series/TheSingOff'', after the least technically proficient groups have been weeded out, the groups that are very skilled in one particular style of music and have a hard time adapting that style to incorporate other influences are usually the next eliminated, as versatility is something the judges value very highly.
* Similarly, after ''Series/RuPaulsDragRace'' weeds out the least impressive queens, the next queens eliminated tend to be the ones who are so specialized in a certain skill, such as lip-syncing or stunning fashion, that they usually stumble in areas outside their expertise. The winners of the competition as well as the most popular ones with the fans are queens that tend to have a variety of skills, but still have a specialty.

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

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

[[folder:Web Original]]
* [[Creator/StuartAshen Chef Excellence]]: [[MemeticBadass excellent at bags]], [[JokeCharacter useless at everything else]]. Just the bags. Keep bags. Keep bags in mind. Bags, Excellence, bags. And everything will be alright.
-->''[[MadLibsCatchPhrase An Excellent Breakdown]]''
* Dr. Carlos Chronos of ''WebVideo/TheTimeGuys'' is a brilliant inventor, but can apparently only make [[TimeMachine time... items]].
* Often a deciding factor in ''WebAnimation/DeathBattle'', where often the two fighters are more or less evenly matched from a technical standpoint, but one has more variety to their abilities, particularly when the specialization of the overspecialized one happens to be something the generalist knows how to counter (such as in [[Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda Link]] vs. [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII Cloud]]) or the specialization is in something not particularly applicable to combat (such as in [[Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda Zelda]] vs. [[Franchise/SuperMarioBros Peach]]). Special mention to [[VideoGame/MortalKombat Raiden]] versus [[ComicBook/TheMightyThor Thor]], where Raiden was overly specialized in electric attacks in a fight where both parties were more or less immune to electricity.
* In LetsPlay/SomethingAwfulDungeonsAndDragons Let's Play, Minerelle is a character who relies on her massive Arcana roll to accomplish as much as possible. As a result of this, she isn't particularly useful in situations where she can't just throw Arcana at it till something happens. She suffers a bit from overspecializing in combat as well, since most of her attacks target the enemy's Will defense (and the one that doesn't was a fairly recent addition). As a result, whenever the party goes up against anything with an above average Will, she pretty much has no way to contribute to the battle
* In ''WebVideo/ToBoldlyFlee'', each of Terl's [[FacelessGoons crew]] is responsible for exactly one aspect of flying his ship, and there is only one crewmember assigned to each task. Therefore, [[WebVideo/TheAngryJoeShow Angry Joe]] is able to cripple Terl and Zod's offensive capabilit by shooting the one weapons officer.
* Exaggerated for laughs in the Machinima/TeamServiceAnnouncement ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6cm2iFmASBc Class Balance]]'', where the ''entire BLU team'' of ''VideoGame/TeamFortress2'' is Snipers, all of them oblivious to the fact that they're losing the King of the Hill match.
** In ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXzOaB7BaCU Demoknights and Battle-Medics]]'', the Demoknight is useless against the Sentry nest, but not against [[spoiler:performing a double kill to save the Soldier's life]]. Battle-Medic, however, is ''completely'' useless, and the Soldier rejects him.
* When the WebVideo/GameGrumps play ''[[Franchise/MobileSuitGundam Gundam: Battle Assault 2]]'', Danny spends the whole game playing as Big Zam, a titanic mobile suit who Arin admits right from the start is overpowered ("Guess what your main attack is. ''Walking''.") He spends the whole video [[CurbStompBattle literally walking all over Arin]] when he's not also playing an overpowered boss-level mobile suit, until he finally gets behind Big Zam and makes short work of him while Danny's still trying to figure out how to ''turn around''.

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

[[folder:Real Life]]
* Animals that are very well adapted to their natural environment are much more sensitive to environmental changes. This is most noticeable in apex predators, the ones that have few natural predators and are at the top of the food chain. Adaptable, preferably omnivorous animals are much more likely to survive any kind of extinction event or environmental change.
** The saber-tooths, whose massive choppers were designed for hunting large megafauna such as mastodons, woolly rhinos, and giant bison. But when the megafauna died out at the end of the ice age due to a combination of climate change and the arrival from Africa of [[ExpospeakGag an adaptable, omnivorous animal that proved to be much better at hunting large megafauna than the sabers]], the sabers were unable to adapt to a diet of smaller game, and so followed their massive prey to oblivion.
** Cheetahs, specializing in ultimate sprinting, have a very light build and not much strength compared to other large African predators. Against lions, hyenas, leopards and hunting dogs, all a cheetah can do is run. When it comes to prey, anything larger than a Thompson's gazelle is off-limits to most cheetahs (some males can become large and robust enough to take down yearling wildebeests). However, it may be subverted, as some cheetahs have learned to bring down larger prey by hunting in groups. Cheetah mothers sometimes have their cubs eaten by baboons, being unable to defend them. While baboons have an impressive build and sharp teeth, this is not something they could get away with against, for instance, a leopard.
** The giant panda, which evolved in a time when there were massive forests of bamboo and becoming one of the few large animals that could the eat the stuff seems like a good idea at the time... before the bamboo forests started shrinking and breaking up into smaller areas, with the panda's diet effectively holding them prisoner on rapidly sinking islands. It also doesn't help that the panda eats a vegetarian diet with what is essentially a carnivore's digestive tract. The panda in many ways represents a cascade failure of the evolutionary process, a series of "good enough" kludges that let it just barely hang on in its environment. They do however have one very important evolutionary adaptation that will pretty much ensure their survival; being adorable. [[WhatMeasureIsANonCute First priority endangered animal!]]
** It's speculated that crippling overspecialization is what killed off the Neanderthals. They were strong and could use tools, and their bulky bodies ensured that they could easily withstand the cold European climates they had to face. However, they required a lot of daily calories, and were primarily meat-eaters (their diets probably consisted of about 80% meat. Scientific evidence shows that Neanderthals had digestive tracts specifically evolved to digest meat). When the larger animals they relied on died off, Neanderthals couldn't adapt quickly enough and thus died off themselves.
** The majority of parasites, thanks to intense competition, are absurdly specialised, most only capable of infesting one, maybe two species. Some even require passing between ''multiple species'' in order to complete its life cycle.
** The prehistoric pterosaur ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nyctosaurus Nyctosaurus]]'' was a definite example, making this trope OlderThanDirt. It was so adapted to flight that it even lost those nifty little wing claws that would have assisted with ground locomotion. Since ''Nyctosaurus'' would have to land one way or another, the way it might have walked is a subject of debate. The current theory is that ''Nyctosaurus'' used its wings like walking sticks, using them to stablize itself as it shuffles around on its hindlegs.
** It's theorized that this trope contributed to the extinction of the broad-billed parrot of Mauritius. Its surviving mainland relatives feed on hard palm seeds that have passed through the digestive tracts of larger animals, then been scavenged from dung by the parrots. On Mauritius, the chief herbivores that would have pre-digested such seeds were the dodo and the native giant tortoises, both of which were hunted to extinction in the 17th century. Together with deforestation, this doomed the parrots that depended on such animals' leavings for food.
* The Germans made the ultimate in crippling overspecialization during UsefulNotes/WW1 with the Paris Gun - a [[{{BFG}} mammoth gun]] that shot shells so high and so far they had to compensate for the fact that the Earth's rotation could put shells off target. While the gun's range was impressive, it burned through barrels so quickly they needed to load progressively larger shells for each shot, could only shoot around 20 shots a day, and the accuracy was so poor it only stood a chance of hitting a large city.
* During the 1930s, the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force and the Imperial Japanese Navy both demanded that their fighter aircraft be made as light as possible, [[FragileSpeedster emphasizing maneuverability and range at the expense of armour protection]]. This was complemented by a very rigorous and selective training program that produced exceptional pilots, resulting in Japanese dominance of the skies against less capable Allied pilots and their often-mediocre machines between 1940 and 1942. However, by 1943, Army Ki-43 and Navy [=A6M=] ("Zero") fighters found themselves hacked out of the sky by Allied aircraft with increasingly powerful engines, which allowed for [[LightningBruiser superb high-speed performance without sacrificing protection]]. In the process, the Japanese lost many of their carefully-trained, veteran pilots, which adversely affected the quality of future pilots, who could not benefit from the experience of their forebears. Japanese training doctrine and industrial capability simply could not keep up with the Allies; by the end of the war, they were reduced to expending their novice pilots and obsolescent aircraft in suicidal ''kamikaze'' attacks against Allied shipping, and what few experienced pilots and advanced fighters that remained could not effectively challenge Allied air superiority over their home territories.
* Conversely, the Brewster [=F2A=] Buffalo was terrible for the exact opposite reason. Built according to misguided naval requirements, the Buffalo was so overloaded with armor and equipment that it was underpowered and often ''broke'' its undercarriage when landing. Deployed by some Allied forces in the Pacific Theater during the beginning of the war, it was woefully inadequate compared to the far lighter and more agile Japanese fighters. Pilots nicknamed the plane [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast "the Flying Coffin"]] not only because it was so badly outmatched, but also because it lacked dedicated protection for the pilot.
** The [[UsefulNotes/FinnsWithFearsomeForests Finnish Air Forces]] were able to use the Brewster to good effect against Russian bombers during the Winter War, which was in large part due to the fact that they stripped off all unnecessary weight and were generally facing even more mediocre aircraft.
* In the same period, the Royal Italian Navy was crippled by two simple government decisions: the Royal Italian Air Force would get complete control on any and all aircrafts that weren't recon seaplanes (with no direct link between the fleet and the aircraft squadrons), and warship design would concentrate on speed to the expense of armour or range. This resulted in a fleet with no carriers and air support and ships that were either embarassingly more fragile than most of their counterparts (destroyers, light cruisers and heavy cruisers) or short ranged (the ''Littorio''-class battleships, that were fast, well-armoured, better armed than even the ''Bismarck'', and extremely short ranged). While this would have made sense had they fought the carrier-less French Navy as expected[[note]] In fact the Italian ships were designed ''specifically'' to take on the French ships, with battleships taking on the enemy heavy cruisers and battleships, heavy cruisers taking on the equally fast but outgunned French light cruisers, light cruisers chasing down and destroying the enemy large destroyers, and destroyers acting as commerce raiders and using their extreme speed for torpedo runs on enemy battleships[[/note]], especially in light of Italy's position in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea theorically allowing the Italian Royal Air Force to send their planes wherever was necessary, against the more aggressive, equilibrate and carrier-supported Royal Navy it was a major disaster, resulting in many avoidable defeats (the most crushing being the Battle of Cape Matapan, in which torpedo bombers put the battleship ''Vittorio Veneto'' out of commission for months and indirectly caused the loss of three heavy cruisers and two destroyers) and, ultimately, the loss of almost all of Italy's merchant fleet and defeat in the North African campaign.
* With the invention of guided missiles in the early years of the Cold War, the US thought gun armament on aircraft were obsolete, and so they lost many jet fighters in the Vietnam War. The F-4 Phantom was armed with the then state-of-the-art AIM-7 Sparrow missiles, which were capable of locking on to a target far outside of visual range. However, the Rules of Engagement mandated that the pilots make visual contact before firing their missiles. The problem with this was that the missiles ''would not lock on'' at that range (not to mention that they required the pilot to keep the radar focused on the target, which is easy when it hasn't seen you yet, but becomes impossible to do when it's dodging and weaving all over the place), and the pilots got slaughtered by the [=MiG=]-21 and, more embarrassingly, the obsolete [=MiG=]-17. Though the F-4 had an externally mountable "gun pod", it was often bulky and unreliable. Seeing this mistake, all jet fighters today are equipped with integrated gun armament and all pilots receive training in dogfighting.
* Monocultural practices whereby only a single crop is grown in a given area can be more profitable and productive than diversified polycultural practices. However, this requires the extensive use of fertilizers to counteract the inevitable depletion of nutrients in soil, and can be easily disrupted by adverse weather conditions, pest invasions, and the spread of disease.
** Bananas. Before the 1950s, the single largest banana cultivar by far was the Gros Michel, which was favoured since it could survive in temperate climates and was easily shipped without any special care. Because bananas were bred at the time of their original domestication to remove the seeds from their fruit, they [[CloningBlues can only reproduce parthogenically]], meaning that they are extremely slow to develop a resistance via natural mutation. This meant that the entire Gros Michel cultivar was vulnerable to, and ultimately nearly wiped out by, a single disease. The modern banana cultivar of choice is the Cavendish, which has precisely the same level of market penetration, and precisely the same potential for global collapse if the same disease mutates (as it already has) and goes global, or if a new pathogen emerges.
** Similar to the banana situation, the Irish Potato Famine involved the collapse of production of Ireland's staple food crop, the potato, resulting in mass starvation. While the situation is a bit more complicated than a single crop failing making everyone starve to death, as Ireland produced other crops which it exported to the United Kingdom, it still resulted in big problems due to the means of distribution and how people fed themselves when they had British landowners. Bad blood from the famine eventually resulted in Ireland withdrawing from the UK.
* This trope is part of two different hypotheses explaining colony collapse disorder, i.e. the sudden die-off of honeybee colonies. According to the first hypothesis, centuries of selecting bees for useful traits (producing more honey, pollinating certain plants more efficiently) has reduced genetic diversity within commercial bee populations, leaving them vulnerable to pathogens. In the second one, feeding bees a diet of pollen from just one species of plant (i.e. one of the commercial food crops) leaves them with a less healthy immune system than feeding them pollen from several different plant species.
* Some specialized martial arts play this trope straight, but especially jodo. It is intended to defeat one single type of weapon (katana) on the hands of an unarmoured opponent who is assumed to fight fair. Against any other opponents jodo is pretty much useless.
* The Confederacy during UsefulNotes/TheAmericanCivilWar. The infrastructure of the Southern US was so focused on cash crops like cotton and tobacco that there was exactly ''one'' factory capable of producing cannons. There wasn't enough arable land to maintain cotton production for tax revenue ''and'' grow enough food to support an army. Even with the government building railroads, laying telegraph lines, and confiscating food from private farms for the war effort, the Confederate army was often malnourished and always short on manufactured goods like uniforms and guns. The problems of supply facing the Confederate army were so acute that [[http://civilwartalk.com/threads/soldiers-shoes.73013/ some historians have suggested]] that the Battle of Gettysburg was precipitated by a Confederate brigade's attempt to raid a shoe warehouse.
** Ironically, the Confederacy went into the war thinking that this trope would help them. They believed that they had such a stranglehold on world cotton production that Britain and France would have to intervene on their side in order to keep their textile mills running, and that Northern industry's dependence on Southern cotton would bankrupt their economy and lead them to sue for peace. Pro-secession Southern demagogues in the run-up to the Civil War referred to it as [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_Cotton "King Cotton"]].\\\
Unfortunately for them, they found that the Union and their potential European allies were ''not'' as cripplingly overspecialized as they had hoped, as the Indian and Egyptian cotton industries boomed once the US Navy started blockading and capturing Southern ports and cutting off their primary source of income. Furthermore, the UK had been stockpiling cotton reserves over the last few years, sensing the growing instability in the US, a move that was assisted by the bumper crops that the South had been producing in the late 1850s. Finally, while British industry ran on Southern cotton, the nation also depended on the North for a quarter of its food supply, so intervention in support of the Confederacy would mean long bread lines in the event of a drawn-out war.
** In a moral sense, the British and French were also hard-pressed to support the Confederacy in light of the South's dependency on slavery, ironically enough. There were many elites in both countries who were at least somewhat inclined to intervene on behalf of the Confederates out of pragmatic interest; Southern cotton ran the factories of the industrialists, while there were some in the government and military who feared the rise of an [[AmericaTakesOverTheWorld American superpower]] and saw support for the Confederacy as a way to forestall and perhaps prevent its emergence. However, doing so would've likely been political suicide, as a majority of the British and French citizenry (particularly in the working and middle classes) were very much abolitionist in political orientation; they would not have taken well to their governments fighting on the same side as slaveholders. Once Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, neither country was inclined to intervene anymore.
* In another sense, the dependence of the American South, the Caribbean, Latin America, TsaristRussia, and similar agricultural economies on chattel slavery, serfdom, and peonage wound up screwing them in the long run. Bonded labor was unpaid, coerced, captive, and overall far cheaper than wage labor, especially in agriculture, with the only expenses being for food (which, on plantations, the laborers often grew for themselves on small personal plots), clothing, and a shack to sleep in. Wage laborers, meanwhile, demanded paychecks big enough to cover all of their living expenses and those of their families, as well as decent working conditions -- and when they didn't get them, they could either quit and find a new job, move to a homestead out west, or unionize. In the short term, bonded labor [[http://www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange/2013/09/economic-history-2 produced a ton of prosperity]], albeit chiefly at the top rungs of the socio-economic ladder.\\\
However, the constant fear of [[TurnedAgainstTheirMasters rebellion]] and runaways meant that slaves, serfs, and peons were often kept un- or under-educated (sometimes by law) so as to prevent them from getting any "uppity" ideas, leaving them unskilled and suited for little beyond working in the fields. Furthermore, bonded labor made agriculture so profitable that the planters saw little need to invest in anything else and diversify their economies, leaving other industries to wither on the vine as the plantations sucked up all of the available capital. As skilled labor grew more important thanks to the Industrial Revolution, the bonded labor economies suffered a devastating shortage of human capital that left them falling far behind the world's industrial regions in overall productivity and prosperity. Even in agriculture, bonded labor allowed inefficient farming techniques to persist by artificially depressing the cost of labor such that it masked the other costs. Farmers that had to pay their field hands, or work their fields themselves with their families, wound up implementing innovative new farming techniques to improve productivity and make up for their lack of cheap labor, and once mechanization came into play (not only drastically reducing labor costs, but also requiring skilled workers to operate the tractors and machines), the advantages became exponential.\\\
In short, while bonded labor was a huge boon to the elites of society in the short term, in the long term it was an enormous drag on the economy and the nation at large that only grew as time went on, to the point where even the elites that had once prospered began to see their place in the world slip behind that of their industrial rivals. Many the regions of the world that had depended on bonded labor to support their economies in the past are now beset by all manner of poor social indicators, lagging behind their peers and struggling to overcome the legacy of a vast underclass. The American South only recovered its economic stature due to massive government investment in infrastructure and the Sun Belt boom starting in the postwar era (nearly a century after abolition), the Caribbean islands only ceased being a backwater once tourism took over their economies, Latin America [[BananaRepublic became an American fiefdom]] for generations, and Russia required [[UsefulNotes/RedOctober a vicious revolution]] to fully undo the damage that serfdom had done to their society (which caused all manner of other problems in the process).
** Likewise with the colonial empires of the European powers. The economic structures of the colonies had been designed for the sole purpose of extracting raw resources to support the industry and prosperity of their mother countries. The locals were only allowed involvement in the governing structure and bureaucracy and the freedom to develop their own native industry when it was expedient or when the colonial powers were pretty much forced to, as was the case in the [[TheRaj British Raj]] and the [[UsefulNotes/{{Indonesia}} Dutch East Indies]] on account of their sheer size compared to their colonizers and in the UK's "white dominions" on account of the locals being seen as European and therefore civilized (making naked oppression hard to stomach for the mother country) -- and perhaps not coincidentally, these nations managed to emerge in better shape than most ex-colonies. Many colonies didn't even serve much economic purpose, acting as little more than refueling ports or (as was often the case in the "Scramble for Africa") [[CulturalPosturing national prestige projects]] that were promptly neglected outside the main port city. When the Europeans were left bankrupted by the World Wars and forced to pull out of their increasingly restive colonies to save money, the newly-independent nations were left poor, uneducated (the number of native college graduates in the Belgian Congo upon independence couldn't even fill a school bus), and with few solid, cohesive governing structures in place, making them easy prey to neo-colonialism and [[GunboatDiplomacy Cold War intrigue]].
* The Parthians themselves later fell prey to this trope in the first century, as they only had cavalry and most generals weren't smart enough to bring with them large numbers of spare arrows while the Romans learned their lesson and started bringing with them adequate numbers of light infantry, armoured cavalry and even mounted archers: in about 150 years of conflict, the Parthian victories would be very few, while the Romans overran Ctesiphon (the Parthian capital) ''five times'' and being prevented from utterly annexing the Parthians due being overstretched. Their Sasanid successors would fare much better (while ultimately defeated and weakened to the point the Arabs could overran their whole empire, they resisted much longer and, right before the campaign that left them crippled, they come extremely close to ''winning'') precisely because they ''weren't'' overspecialized, supporting their cavalry with infantry (both barely-trained and lightly-equipped conscripts, good quality heavy infantry and capable archers) and war elephants (useless against the Romans but useful against other enemies).
* Ancient Sparta had this problem on two fronts:
** Spartan soldiers had a reputation for being the most well-trained in Ancient Greece. However, they only trained one kind of troop - the heavy-infantry hoplite - and in fact trained their troops [[TheSpartanWay so hard]] that their army was relatively small. They had no cavalry, navy, or light infantry. The tactics they were able to execute were severely limited, and their army was too small to maintain extended conflicts.\\
An enemy who refused to fight them head on could inflict them horrendous casualties. In the battle of Sphacteria 425 BC, the Athenian light skirmishers simply refused to fight them hand-to-hand and instead harassed them with javelins, running away in the face of danger. At the end of the day the Spartans were completely demoralized and surrendered. The Athenians had not suffered one single casualty.
** With every adult Spartan male devoted to military training and every adult Spartan female devoted to child-rearing, every other job was done by slaves. Sparta's economy and infrastructure was almost exclusively maintained by an enormous slave population. Whenever there was a revolt (which was often), the entire city-state ground to a halt and had to perform a brutal purge, and then go off and enslave some hapless nearby village as replacements.
* Interceptor fighters, such as MiG-25 and Lockheed F-104 Starfighter. They were designed on one single purpose on mind: to take off and climb to the ceiling altitude as quickly as possible, launch their missile load against the oncoming enemy bombers, and escape. They were made obsolete by surface-to-air missiles, which in turn obsoleted their intended targets, high flying heavy bombers. The much later introduction of [[JackOfAllTrades multi-role fighters]] such as the Su-30, the F-15[E], the F-16, and the F/A-18 only further proved the pointlessness of the interceptor concept. The Starfighter especially was good for only one thing: accelerating quickly and flying fast and high. It was insanely dangerous on any other flight modes and landing, and its losses on attrition were appalling - West Germany lost some 30% of its Starfighters on accidents, while Italy lost 36% of hers and Canada experienced a staggering 46% loss rate on hers. Even a normal aileron banking was dangerous on F-104 due to inertia coupling, and its T tail configuration was prone on deep stalls. It was far more dangerous to its own pilots than to the enemy - the F-104 kill to loss ratio in combat was 3 victories to 24 combat losses.
* Some [[CoolCar 1960s show rods]] went this way. The [[http://www.mrgasser.com/surfite.htm Surfite]] was designed to carry the driver and a surfboard. No room for a passenger or groceries (or a wetsuit, for that matter); Mini-powered, no explanation as to why a theoretical owner wouldn't just buy a Mini wagon was ever offered.
* The Blackburn TB was designed for one mission, and one mission only: to take out German zeppelins by dropping exploding darts on them. It was a complete failure, as it couldn't fly fast enough to catch zeppelins and couldn't climb high enough to drop its darts even if it could. Nine were built, contributed absolutely nothing to the war effort, and were junked in 1917.
* In an odd real life subversion, there was [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sideroxylon_grandiflorum a species of tree]] in Mauritius that was thought to be germinated by the dodo bird. People believed that, since the dodo went extinct, the tree itself had started to decline. It turned out that this wasn't true; the tree could easily germinate through other birds and did not need the dodo alone to survive.
* In the '50s and '60s, the UsefulNotes/{{Detroit}} automakers took ready advantage of America's seemingly bottomless supply of cheap gasoline and structured their entire business models around the production of cars that, by modern standards, are absolutely titanic. While they also made smaller cars, such vehicles were seen as purely economy cars for those who couldn't yet afford the full-size sedans that got the lion's share of the automakers' interest and [=R&D=] investment. Then came the 1973 oil crisis, and [[OhCrap gasoline stopped being cheap]]. Detroit's self-styled reputation for building the biggest, most luxurious automobiles in the world suddenly turned into a liability as Japanese and German automakers that ''did'' put serious investment into smaller cars (UsefulNotes/{{Japan}} and UsefulNotes/WestGermany having never been able to take cheap oil for granted) took massive chunks out of the American market, chunks that Detroit has never been able to reclaim even after it started figuring out how to build good compact cars.
* On a larger scale, entire countries can see their economies revolve around a single resource, to the point where they risk economic crisis in the event of a drop in commodity prices. Worse, it's a SelfFulfillingProphecy in many cases -- economists call it the [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dutch_disease Dutch disease]], after UsefulNotes/TheNetherlands saw its manufacturing sector go into a tailspin in the '60s and '70s following the discovery and exploitation of the Groningen natural gas field. Basically, as revenues from resource extraction increase, the nation's currency gets stronger, making manufacturing exports less competitive due to exchange rates (it becomes more expensive to export, and less expensive to import). The plantation economies described above are an historic example, while today, the Middle Eastern petrostates are the most famous example of this due to their ''extreme'' dependence on oil prices to remain economically afloat. For instance, only 18% of Saudi Arabia is actually employed, and they import 70% of their food. Their ''only'' notable domestic industry is petrochemicals. Large countries with greater pools of commodities are usually insulated by economic diversity and the sheer size of the economies, but for smaller ones, it can be a real problem.
* Creator/ECComics star "Ghastly" Graham Ingels is considered one of the best horror comic artists in history...unfortunately he specialized a little ''too'' much in horrible grotesque imagery; when horror comics got banned in the fifties, he was unable to adapt to a more family-friendly style and his career quietly died.
* In UsefulNotes/{{Tennis}}, the French Open aka Roland Garros takes place on clay courts that favor defenders due to their slowness and high bounce giving players more time to reach the ball and return it in ways difficult for their opponent to hit. Because of this, it was historically considered to be the hardest Grand Slam to win with many great players' tactics being ill-suited for the clay surface... and many French Open champions are clay-court specialists who have performed ''poorly'' at other Slams, until more recent times. A good example is Rafael Nadal, who has won Roland Garros ''nine'' times (as of early 2016) but has had far more irregular performances in other courts.
* UsefulNotes/{{Baseball}} has the concept of the "Mendoza Line", a minimum level of batting average competency below which a player's presence in the major leagues is very difficult, if not impossible, to justify no matter how good defensively he is (pitchers are exempt because their trade is extremely specialized, and in the DH-rule American League they don't normally bat at all). The most common cutoff is .200, though definitions can vary from .190 to .220[[note]]For comparison, someone batting .300 is considered an excellent hitter and .400 is legendary (the last MLB player to hit .400 in a season was Hall-of-Famer Ted Williams in 1941)[[/note]]. It's named after Mario Mendoza, who played in the mid-1970's to early 1980's and was a very good defensive shortstop but was definitely not good at the plate (several seasons saw him with sub-.200 averages, though in the last couple of years of his career after the term began gaining traction in baseball circles he did get a little better and by the end his career average was .215). Anyone with a more extreme imbalance in defensive and offensive capabilities is going to fall into this trope and isn't likely to remain in the big leagues for long.
* Tends to happen to railroad vehicles at times.
** The West German class 103 is a six-axle electric express train locomotive. Introduced in 1970 (four prototypes came in 1965 already), it used to be one of the most powerful single-section locomotives at its time, but it was actually designed to haul first-class intercity and Trans-Europ-Express trains with five to seven cars and needed its power for high acceleration at high speeds of up to 200 [=km/h=]. These trains were introduced in 1971, but they ceased to exist only eight years later when the first-class Intercity trains were turned into two-class trains with usually ten to twelve cars, sometimes even a few more, which operated twice as frequently. The 103 wasn't made to endure that, so by the mid to late 1980s, the locomotives were worn out. Using them on slower local trains (while giving some of the heavy Intercity trains to its half as strong predecessors which wore out even quicker) turned out to be a bad idea because constantly running them below 160 [=km/h=] led to damages, not to mention that it was uneconomical. Nonetheless, they carried on hauling fast Intercity and [=InterRegio=] trains until shortly after the millennium when they were displaced by the class 101 and new ICE [[UsefulNotes/HighSpeedRail high-speed trains]].
** High-comfort and luxury trains in general. Their rolling stock often becomes useless when they're phased out, mostly it's too expensive in service and seats too few paying passengers for cheaper train classes.\\
For example the Trans-Europ-Express trains: They started in 1957 with four brand-new purpose-built classes of Diesel trains or [=DMUs=]. When more and more [=TEEs=] were changed to locomotive-hauled trains in the 1960s, it became increasingly difficult to use the "old" rolling stock. For example, Germany used its trains as national Intercity trains for a while and as touristic trains in the 1980s, but Switzerland and the Netherlands sold their identical trains to Canada. The dome cars that were introduced to the ''Rheingold'' in 1962 and the ''Rheinpfeil'' in 1963 could barely be used on any other trains, so after the ''Rheinpfeil'' ceased to exist in 1979 and the ''Rheingold'' was reformed one last time in 1983, the Deutsche Bundesbahn had to sell them to a private operator of touristic trains that eventually sold them to Switzerland. Bar cars in general (these dome cars had a bar, too) were standard in German [=TEEs=] but used nowhere else, so when the TEE network began to crumble around 1980, had no more use for them. France had the probably most comfortable TEE cars of all, the Grand Confort cars which made up most of their national [=TEEs=]. When these disappeared, they all fell into disuse and were eventually sold to Cuba.
** Banking locomotives were built to push heavy trains uphill on steep ramps. They were often big, heavy, powerful and rather slow. Eventually, however, the locomotives that pulled the trains became powerful enough so that bankers weren't necessary anymore. Now where else to use them? They were too slow for regular main line services, too heavy for branch lines and too big and cumbersome for switching. Thus, sometimes entire classes of banking locomotives were scrapped when they weren't even old.
** The three Chesapeake & Ohio M-1 steam turbine locomotives were the largest passenger train steam locomotives ever built. They were meant to haul a new express train from the East Coast to Cincinnati, the ''Chessie''. However, not only were these locomotives so complicated that finding any faults was difficult at best but the ''Chessie'' was simply nixed before its inauguration. Since the Chesapeake & Ohio had no other heavy express train lines, and these monsters weren't good for anything else, the M-1 were scrapped before they were even two years old.
** While one would think that in the era of open borders and (once more) increasing interest in rail as a mode of transport and travel all throughout Europe, running trains across borders would be easier than ever. Unfortunately, it isn't. And this trope is partially to blame. Back in the day the majority of all trains were locomotive hauled and at least steam locomotives had to be changed at quite regular intervals anyway. So at each border the locomotive was simply switched while customs and border control did their thing and the train would drive on. Nowadays however, the vast majority of all long distance trains are electrical multiple units, which means you ''can't'' switch out the locomotive. So the voltage matters and there are only a handful of borders in Europe where the voltage is the same on both sides. Furthermore, there are various systems by which the train "communicates" with the track (in lieu of traditional signals) - those were invented several times in different countries and they are mostly not compatible with one another. The European Union has seen this problem decades ago and tried to introduce some common standards, but on the one hand an existing system is hard to change from and on the other hand during the period of transition trains have to be capable of both the old and the new system. So there are trains that have to be capable to handle three or four different voltages and three or four different safety standards, which is of course ''possible'', but it is not ''cheap''. The whole thing becomes even more dicey when any European rail manufacturer wants to sell trains abroad, especially when they want to sell to the US, which has unique regulations for practically all aspects of railroading.