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Fake Ultimate Mook
A monster whose massive, terrifying appearance is offset by such a massive, terrifying handicap that it rarely presents any actual threat at all. Essentially, they're regular Mooks, just bigger (and slower, much slower). Later, you may encounter fully-powered versions of the Fake Ultimate Mook, or you may fight many of them at once, but a single one is of minimal threat.

Often caused by Statistically Speaking and/or Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors.

For actual bosses, see the Warm-Up Boss and/or Anticlimax Boss.

Contrast with Giant Mook, which is proportionally stronger because of its size; and the Boss in Mook Clothing. Polar opposite of the Killer Rabbit, which is an extremely cute or otherwise harmless-looking creature that will grin and hand you your ass if given the opportunity. When it comes to Mooks, its opposite is Invincible Minor Minion. Compare Surprisingly Easy Mini-Quest for other situations where a tough fight or problem gets resolved with surprising ease. Subtrope of Paper Tiger.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Action Adventure 
  • In Batman: Arkham Asylum, the first Titan mutant you face is all huge, ugly, super-strong and invincible. He dies by himself after a minute due to imperfections in his mutation process.
  • Castlevania: Symphony of the Night opens up with the castle entrance, with the first enemies being giant wolves (the Wargs) that are twice the size of Alucard. However, because this is A Taste of Power segment, you kill them all in one hit. Stronger varieties appear much later on, but they're not much of a threat. Dawn Of Sorrow also features them, and they are no stronger than the common axe armours they appear with.
    • Rondo of Blood has giant golems in the first level, which also reappear (with the same sprite, no less) in Portrait of Ruin. They tower above your character and look menacing enough, but they're actually quite easy to kill and slow to attack.
  • The Giant Smiles in killer7 are these. While somewhat annoying, they can be easily dispatched by walking up to them to set them off, then running away and watching as they very slowly topple over and explode.
  • Devil May Cry 4 had the Mega Scarecrow. It was very large and had great health, but was also to slow to ever land an attack unless you were careless.
  • In certain Kirby games (Squeak Squad and Amazing Mirror, to be specific), there are giant versions of the Waddle Dees. The only way they're more powerful than their smaller kin? You need to hold the inhale button for a second or two to build up enough power to eat one. Oh, and they take slightly more damage to kill any other way—including simply running into them and taking the hit.
  • The first boss of any Mega Man X sequel will typically be the largest or second largest boss in the game. And by far the easiest.
  • Mega Man ZX had a giant mechanical snake in the forest as its first boss. Complete with cutscene where it looks even more imposing.
  • The Elite Pirates from the first Metroid Prime game were stupidly easier than the Troopers, or even the regular Pirates. Thermal Visor, lock onto the cannon on their shoulder, fire a Super Missile...splat. Usually dead before they get an attack in. Even if they survive the cannon exploding right against their neck, their only real attack at that point is a shockwave along the ground, which you basically have to have your arms fall off at that exact moment not to be able to jump over.
    • The fake Kraid in Super Metroid. Kraid was the hardest boss in the first Metroid, in Super there is an enemy that looks just like him but isn't challenging at all. Even the proper boss in that game is a warm up boss.
  • The Anti-Runners you encounter near the end of Mirror's Edge. They're lawmen who have been specially trained to catch runners like Faith, but they can be avoided easily enough just by doing what you excel at and running. The ordinary cops you encounter throughout the game? They can and will kill you easily just by shooting you.
  • The early game bosses and some enemy battleships in Naval Ops Warship Gunner, suffer similar problems to the EVE example below. A Destroyer with the best engines and as many tri-barreled cannons as it can fit on it will be one of your best ships throughout the game as it can avoid most gunfire and dish it out equally hard in return. And then YOU can become the FUM when you take on enemy carriers, as your lack of AA coverage means small and fast divebombers can hassle you with impunity until you take out the carrier.
  • Star Control 2. Just after refueling the Starbase, a big and scary Ilwrath battleship confronts you... with only a skeleton crew and a malfunctioning cloaking device. It's what passed for a ship-to-ship combat tutorial in 1992.
  • One of the first levels of Super Mario Galaxy has a Giant Goomba that goes down with one Spin Attack.
    • The giant monsters in world 4 of Super Mario Bros. 3 definitely qualify. Though they tower over the pint-sized Mario, Giant Goombas still die after jumping on them just once.
      • Conversely, you occasionally get swarms of really tiny Goomba which are harder to stomp on and do just as much damage. In Super Mario Bros. 3, however, they usually hide under Brick Block which they also use as a means of offense, or else are dropped by certain types of Paragoomba, in which event they simply hinder Mario's jump.
    • A certain Koopa in stage 3-1 of Super Paper Mario, upon seeing you, will hit a block and grab the Mega Star it produces to become a screen-filling 8-bit version of itself. Not only it is not invincible, but it's actually weaker then a normal Koopa statistically.

    Fighting Game 
  • Chicken Warrior had the bomb-throwing chickens. Sure, it's a ranged attack and explosion does hurt a lot ... but the bomb itself slowly travels in a long arc, and the attack itself is telegraphed beforehand, so it's child's play to get out of the way.
  • In Gotcha Force, all of the Fortress Borgs except the Final Boss can be taken down by a single borg of nearly any type with a ranged attack with just a little effort dodging. Dragon Borgs are very similar, although they're slightly more maneuverable. However, due to being mostly terrestrial, they're even big targets to melee specialists (except for the lightning element dragons, who make sparks when they stomp).
  • The giant Goombas in Super Smash Bros. Brawl's Adventure mode. Like the small ones, they are vulnerable to the classic Goomba Stomp...but their size makes them even easier to hit. They do have to be stomped more than once, and their attack hits you very hard, but since they're stunned a bit after being stomped, it's child play to just stay on top of them until they're damaged enough.
  • In Tekken, this is the reason why Kuma/Panda is often regarded as a Joke Character; it's big and has long, easy combos, but its limbs are too short to actually reach its opponent.

    First Person Shooter 
  • With the development of circle-strafing and mouse-aiming, even the mighty Cyberdemon has become this, at least in the original Doom. Later games based on the engine (i.e. Plutonia Experiment, Doom 64) usually used level design (i.e. small rooms, tight corridor mazes) to prevent you from simply circle-strafing him to death.
    • Similarly, in the original Doom the Spider Mastermind (Episode 3 endboss) was far easier to defeat than the Cyberdemon (Episode 2 endboss) not least because Episode 3 allowed the player to use the original BFG. In addition, the Cyberdemon has more hitpoints (4000 vs. the Spider Mastermind's 3000). 3000 hit points, incidentally, is less than the maximum possible damage done on a close-range BFG shot, so unlike the Cyberdemon, the Spider Mastermind can be a One-Hit Kill for a lucky space marine.
  • The Hunters in Halo look like they're all that, but thanks to an infamous mistake in Halo: Combat Evolved, they go down in one hit to any orange area with a headshot weapon, which they are oh so eager to expose. However, this mistake was removed in every subsequent Halo game, and they are now considerably harder to kill.
  • The helicopter gunship in Level 3 of Perfect Dark 64 can be taken down in just one single blast of a rocket (thankfully displayed by mooks on the office level). The ship (and rocket) belong to a multi-trillion dollar evil corporation. A robotic drone on a later level is invulnerable until you crash a taxi into it.
    • Same could be said for the Skedar after only a few quick glimpses of one a few levels earlier and a cutscene of it knocking down the Carrington Institute's very solid steel door you finally get to fight it only to find out it's just another mook that only takes a few shots to kill.
  • The first time you encounter a Harvester in Quake IV, it impales and curbstomps two of your fellow Red Shirt tanks, but for you, the battle's mostly a pushover, as its machine gun fire can be easily circle-strafed and its missiles can be shot down.

    MMO 
  • In Air Rivals, a lvl 19 BCU mission requires you to beat a lvl 65 boss in an early map. It goes down in one shot. Turns out that's a dud boss, done for the mission, much weaker than the real one (although the real one spawns right after the fake one is defeated, so yeah, you can still be doomed.
  • This is the reason Behemoths, huge monstrous demons, are known as the best enemies to farm in City of Heroes. A recent patch buffed them a bit though.
    • If your build features a lot of knockdown or knockback inducing attacks (like Super Strength with Air Supremacy from the Flight Pool) , it's quite easy to defeat a Behemoth, or even one of the larger Wailer Lord bosses because they won't be able to stand up.
    • "Oh my god, having Fire Armor as a tank sucks! I have almost no defense, my resistance is only against fire and a bit of cold, what good is—" Cue angels singing as a fire tank, that's been barely survivable proceeds, to solo an entire map full of Behemoths that only do fire damage but are not, strangely, resistant to it.
  • In EVE Online, frigates (the smallest combat ships in the game) are often used against battleships (the largest non-capital combat ships in the game) with great efficiency. The battleships guns are unable to track and hit the small, fast frigates and end up doing no damage most of the time. Mind you - should you stop just for a few seconds, you'll be torn apart very quickly - battleships with low refire guns are often quite capable of taking down an immobile frigate in a single volley. In fact, when in a gang, frigates are often used as "tacklers" - to stop the enemy from fleeing. It's not that uncommon to have a single frigate prevent a capital ship from jumping away for long enough to get reinforced by a friendly fleet. This means that your friend who just created an account can be ready for battle in just a few days - flying the "weakest" ship with great efficiency. Also, comparing the price of a frigate and battleship...
    • "My ship costs less than your ammunition. My modules were all picked off of rats. I don't even think my weapons are loaded. And I'm about to ruin your life."
  • King Yedes are pretty much this in Phantasy Star Online 2, they are bigger, much tougher and much deadlier Yedes while having some of the moves (albeit, thankfully, not the most threatening move) of the game's first boss, Rockbear. The catch is that their only ranged attack is very easy to see coming and dodge, and they have pitiful range beyond that, making any in-game class that's not a Hunter or Fighter have a very easy time against them. And, despite being most likely double to triple the size of your character, they're still vulnerable to grab attacks, and guess what type of attack does the Wired Lances (A weapon specific for the Hunter) specialize in? The only class which would have some sort of trouble would be the Fighter, but the Fighter has so much mobility and the King Yedes are so slow that this isn't a problem.
  • A particularly glaring example in World of Warcraft is where you fight Giants (with the bones of their victims still stuck to the soles of their boots) and dwarves in the same area. Somehow, they are pretty much equal in strength. Pretty much any large enemy that isn't an elite counts.
    • At first, Giants were all (or nearly all) elite mobs, and generally about as tough as they looked. This was eventually taken away, presumably to reduce the need for players to group up to deal with what is now early-level content.
    • Also quite notorious are the objects of a decent helping of quests asking you to slay an Elite Monster, which would normally require at least one other player's help. However, some of these Ultimate Mooks can be soloed with only moderate difficulty if the player knows what they're doing and can play their class well.
    • In the Well of Eternity instance, in Cataclysm, your party encounters a giant, molten infernal (a more badass version of the standard flaming rock golem demons.) Its AoE is enough to wipe the party, but thanks to a buff from Illidan, the mob in question is down in about a minute.

    Real Time Strategy 
  • Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun: Firestorm ends with Cabal deploying a huge unit against you: the Core Defender. It's bigger than anything else in the game, has a ton of health and it's armed with two massive lasers that One-Hit Kill everything but the toughest units, and only take a hit more to kill those as well. Surely it has powerful anti-air defenses as well, right? I mean, who in their right mind would design a massive end-game war machine and not protect it from air attack? Well, Cabal, apparently. Sic a few bombers on the thing and it's an almost effortless kill.
    • Oh and it's even worse if you lure it over an bridge, just blast the bridge up under it.
  • Most hero units and bosses in Warcraft III are crippingly weak to being rushed with large amounts of weak units. In the expansion, this is countered somewhat with the ability to do splash damage or attack multiple enemies.
    • The Alliance's Steam Tank/Siege Engine. A tank with huge armor (of the type used by buildings, making it even more resistant), lots of damage, what's not to like? For starters, the fact that it can only attack buildings.
      • The Expansion gives them a level in badass, and the ability to kill off massed air power like no one else.
    • The Night Elves have the ability to uproot their tree-buildings and use them to attack. While they do lots of damage, they move and attack about as fast as a tree grows, not to mention losing the Fortified armor that would make them harder to kill. A player's moment of panic on facing these things for the first time in the campaign last about five seconds.

    Role Playing Game 
  • The Badass Psychos in Borderlands have significantly more health than the standard Psychos. On the other hand, their melee attacks are significantly weaker and they don't rush at you with an armed grenade when low on health, making them far less of a threat than standard Psychos.
    • Borderlands 2 had rebalanced Badass Psychos and made them enemies to be feared. However, it fell into the same trap with the Crystalisks. While they had very large health, they were also slow, easy to hit, and their projectiles both had both low speed and were widely telegraphed.
  • In Chrono Trigger, you face a "Golem Boss", which is supposedly more powerful than the previously encountered Golems (according to Dalton). You fight it on the wing of a flying airship though, and it is afraid of heights. After a couple of turns, it simply flees.
  • In Dark Souls's storyline, the Darkwraiths were so feared that the city of New Londo was flooded to seal them away. In concept, they are terrifying warriors wearing skeletal armor and attacking relentlessly with sword swings, kicks, and an unblockable grab that leeches the player's humanity. In execution, their telegraphed, predictable attacks and their slow turning speed leave them constantly open to backstabs.
  • The Wendigos in Diablo II are hulking, monstrous beasts over twice the size of a human. They are regularly beaten to death by level 1 characters using the weapons they start the game with. Their snowy counterparts on the other hand...
    • Demon Troopers and Demon Raiders in Act III of Diablo III. Compared to the grunt demons, flying demons and demon hounds, these look fairly imposing, large, and armored, while holding an Epic Flail. They're actually pretty weak in terms of durability, and their attack is very slow and not even that painful at all.
  • In Fallout 3, the standard Super Mutants are surprisingly weak; they're armed with slow-firing, inaccurate bolt-action hunting rifles, and can be brought down with a handful of headshots from the standard 10mm pistol (the first weapon you get in the game). This is in contrast to the original Fallout series, where even the lowest-level Super Mutants were tough bruisers armed with miniguns, and Super Mutants as a whole were the 2nd most difficult enemy faction in the game (second only to the U.S. Government's Powered Armor stormtroopers). The Super Mutant Brutes and Super Mutant Masters you fight later in Fallout 3 are still pretty tough, though.
    • Ironically, the Hunting Rifles they use are actually good when used with VATS. You can take one down with three rifle shots, and loot their bodies, receiving more ammo than when you started.
    • Enclave Troopers in Fallout 3 are late-game Fake Ultimate Mooks. Compare this to Fallout 2, where Enclave Troopers can cut though even the toughest of the end-game groups.
    • In Fallout 3, there is a Random Encounter with a resident Demonic Spider Deathclaw in it, regardless of level. Luckily, this Deathclaw had a leg crippled beforehand, making it very, very slow, and lacking a ranged attack, easy prey. Though its important to double-check the leg's condition before engaging in combat; there is a random encounter that involves a perfectly healthy deathclaw, and getting too close to one of those will get you mauled to death.
      • Deathclaws in general lose their Demonic Spider status if player has the right stats. While most pronounced in Fallout 3, having powered armor also neutered the threat in original games. You could be armed with a meager pistol and just trade shots for awhile and wait for a good critical to kill one or the other in one hit. Alternatively, you can just craft a Dart Gun, which can cripple all of a Deathclaws limbs in one shot. Fallout: New Vegas, finally remedies this , especially with level scaling Deathclaws in Lonesome Road, which can kill most any character in one or two(at the most) hits regardless of armor.
    • Fallout: New Vegas has its own Fake Ultimate Mook in the Honest Hearts DLC. Yao Guai return from Fallout 3, and the locals seem to think that they're Hell on wheels. While they're competent enemies, they lack any kind of ranged attack and have merely decent damage and hit points. Already significantly weaker than the Mojave's Deathclaws, Yao Guai are ultimately rendered Fake Ultimate Mooks by the geography of Honest Hearts—it takes place almost entirely in meandering canyons, meaning that shooting them from high ground makes them drop with ease.
      • A tribal even comments that you probably don't have anything as bad as Yao Guai where you're from, despite Yao Guai being considerably easier to deal with than about 80% of the enemies in the Mojave—and being no match whatsoever for the armed tribals you fight for most that very DLC.
    • The boss of Old World Blues, the Giant Robo-Scorpion, has up to 3000 HP depending on the player's level, but can be taken out with a single critical hit from the Tarantula-calibrated Sonic Emitter.
  • In Final Fantasy VII Any big enemy with a level that is a multiple of 4 qualifies because it is weak against Level 4 suicide (which takes off 31/32 of it's current HP). Few enemies are weak, but there are a few really powerful ones (like Dragons and Malboros) that are, allowing them to be killed in two hits.
    • Found near the end of the final dungeon in Final Fantasy IV is Zemus's Breath, a monster named for the Big Bad, plays the boss battle music, is a Palette Swap of a legitimately dangerous monster... and only ever casts Libra on you. It's apparently "Reporting to Zemus", but it doesn't matter how many Libras it gets on you; the final battle plays out exactly the same. It has an annoying (but not especially terrible) counterattack to magic, but otherwise it can't hurt you and is just a good punching bag for lots of EXP in the end.
  • The boss monsters in Final Fantasy Tactics A2 partially qualify. While they are definitely powerful, their size (3x3 squares) and the fact they can't move makes them drop pretty fast. Especially if a good number of clanmembers have Counter and get an extra hit in everytime the boss uses a bigger attack.
    • Final Fantasy XII has a kind of early-game enemy called Slavens, which are described as being "beasts of burden gone feral" that are twice as tall as your characters, but that are barely any more dangerous than the wolves or bats from the areas they show up in.
    • The Sandworms in Final Fantasy X are a perfect example, having more HP then all of the bosses fought previously, completely dwarfing almost every enemy in size, and possessing rather high attack power. However, they have a crippling weakness to sleep and gravity, which makes them easy to deal with.
    • Final Fantasy X-2 has many of these. The game mostly uses enemies from the previous game, Final Fantasy X, but apparently just scrambled them and used them completely randomly. As such, you'll often encounter menacing enemies early on that not only clash with their surroundings, but take an extra hit to kill at most.
      • Also averted in that you can run into some absurdly powerful monsters early on too. The Macalania woods are a deathtrap at low level, and you can run into a Tonberry amidst Fake Ultimate Mooks in Mushroom Rock Road even at level 2.
    • Final Fantasy XIII has quite a few early on. Somewhat useful for emphasizing the stagger system, in which enemies suddenly become weak if you can keep a good chain of attacks coming. Centurion enemies encountered from Chapter 10 are a pretty good example. They're big and look very flashy, but are insanely easy to stagger and, due to their size, very easy to get an infinite-air-juggle going on.
  • In Front Mission III, the final battle of Alisa's Story has the Big Bad riding in a ridiculously large wanzer (compared to your party's wanzers). Being so large, he takes up a considerable amount of squares, making him incredibly easy to hit. The boss also doesn't move, and while his HP is fairly high, his defense is laughable.
  • Battle alphas were some of the most powerful monsters in the first Geneforge, so it's a bit of a surprise in the beginning of the third game when, after a whole bunch of them kill most of your teachers, one of them attacks you. Not to worry, though—it's already badly wounded, and you can finish it off in a couple of hits. (Full-strength battle alphas don't appear for quite a while longer, and make for much more respectable foes.)
  • In the 'Exodus' chapter of Hellgate: London, the track tunnel of an evacuating train is completely blocked by a towering fiend. After it falls surprisingly easily, a series of them appear along the tracks, no more dangerous than standard Mooks entering from side tunnels. It's not until the end of the line that the level's real boss appears.
  • Monsters that are 3x3 squares in size in Jeanne D Arc. An attack that affects more than one square at once (common for magic-users and spear-wielders) will hit them multiple times, doing considerable damage and negating their health advantage.
  • The Antlion in Magical Starsign. It takes up both DS screens, but it's weak to one of your first party members' magic and goes down quickly. It's only level 2, according to the game's Bestiary.
  • Krogan enemies in Mass Effect 2. In Mass Effect 1, the average krogan mook was a durable Lightning Bruiser who soaked up tons of damage, regenerated very fast, and would frequently sprint towards the player to beat him to death with a few melee attacks. They usually came armed with shotguns that had a decent range, and could also fire extremely damaging Carnage (long-range balls of plasma). Finally, if you killed one with anything other than Cryo, Incendiary, or Toxic ammo, it would just get up and have to be killed again before it finally stayed dead. In the second game, their speed is drastically reduced, their melee attacks are nowhere near as powerful, and they can't get up after being shot down anymore. Despite their high health, they are very slow, and usually just lumber towards you in a straight line while firing very Short Range Shotguns for Scratch Damage. They can still use Carnage as their only long-range attack, but it’s now slower and much easier to dodge. Most people find the supposedly weaker vorcha to be far more dangerous due to their automatic weapons, unpredictable movements, and ridiculously good aim.
  • Invoked in Paper Mario: the mini-boss Monstar in Chapter Six looks pretty menacing, and one of your partners, who provides useful intel on enemies, says he doesn't know this guy's attack power but expects it to be really high. Then he uses a super flashy, lengthy star-shower attack animation that ends up doing one damage. It turns out he's actually just a bunch of young star spirits trying to scare Mario away from their home, not realizing that he's their friend.
    • As a bonus to making it seem tougher than it is it is immune to elder star abilities. This was bound to scare players that started the fight with one of these abilities (no other enemies are immune to those abilities) and hadn't yet seen his weak attack.
  • Pokémon has its share of examples.
    • The (former) Trope Namer, Onix can usually be fought and captured early on in the games. Though they're towering snakes made out of stone, they have low stats in everything but physical Defensenote . Further hurting Onix is its Rock/Ground typing; while this type combination is beastly at offense, Onix doesn't have the power to take advantage of that. Even worse, it's absolutely horrible at special defense, granting poor Onix crippling weaknesses to two common elements; a Grass- or Water-Type attack will usually take it down in one hit unless it's got a massive level advantage.
      • Brock's Onix, in particular, was a particularly glaring example in the first generation. Level 14, stats just high enough to make it a challenging fight... but a Pidgey spamming Sand attack can make all that negligible due to the fact that its only offensive moves are Tackle and Bide. In fact, a Pidgey at level 5 could conceivably solo the entire fight.
    • Starting from Pokémon Black and White, it's become possible to, on rare occasions, encounter the fully evolved forms of the "pseudo legendary" Pokemon lines (Called such for having strength comparable to the weaker legendary Pokemon) in areas where their pre-evolutions can be found (Dragonite, Tyranitar, and Metagross in Black/White and Hydreigon in X/Y). While they're normally frightful opponents when in the possession of trainers, in the wild, they're anything but, due to their relatively lacking movesets, and—in case of each one other than Metagross—a capture rate that's actually higher than that of some significantly more common Pokemon, which makes snagging them on the first turn with a Quick Ball a fairly likely occurrence.
    • In competitive battling, Regigigas is a notable one. As a king of a trio of Legendaries, it has a massive 160 base Attack, and average 100 in everything else... but for the first five turns its Attack and Speed are halved, and it's very easy to destroy it in those turns alone.
      • Similarly, Slaking has great stats, but its ability forces it to skip every other turn.
    • The postgame trainers in Black and White and their sequels get hit by this hard. There is a significant level spike from the Elite 4, but the trainers are mostly using ComMons from the older games that have terrible base stats. Add in their average AI, and most of them are far easier to defeat than what you had to get through to reach that point.
    • Aggron, a Rock/Steel monster with a colossal base defense stat of 180 and nine resistances... But also 4x weaknesses to both Fighting and Ground. Since Fighting and Ground are two of the most common attacking types in the game, Aggron is easily One Hit KO'd by anyone who comes across it. The developers seem to have wised up to this in Pokémon X and Y, when its Mega Form was introduced, it was changed to pure steel, reducing damage from Fighting and Ground to a 'mere' 1.5x (thanks to its ability to reduce 25% of super-effective damage).
  • In the first dungeon of Tales of Symphonia, the party encounters a huge, respawning rock golem... that goes down no problem with Lloyd's wooden swords. Repeatedly. If anything, the thing is easier than the normal monsters in the dungeon, since there is only one at a time.

    Roguelikes 
  • Hydras in Dwarf Fortress are by far the easiest Megabeast to defeat because, unlike the creature from Greek Mythology, they have no regenerative abilities. Blood loss from one head being damaged effects the whole body, thus their extra heads and necks give them a bunch of weak points. The grappling from all the mouths hurts like hell, but ranged weapons can hit it a a couple times and almost guarantee striking an artery.
  • In ZAngband, a greater hell-beast has 1500 HP, can cast spells, moves somewhat faster than normal, and eats through walls. Its description warns, "This unholy abomination will crush you. Flee while you can!" It's set to appear on the first dungeon level, just to scare players who don't know that its attacks do literally no damage.

    Shoot Em Up 
  • This big dude is the first Mini-Boss of Dogyuun who appears right after the very first wave of enemies. It fires spreads of shots, spawns smaller Mooks, fires huge rockets ...and drops very quickly. The Mini-Boss after that two smaller red things that circle the area and fire spreads) is considerably tougher.

    Survival Horror 
  • Dead Space 3 has Wasters, the Necromorphs of the polar explorers that have been frozen long ago and dual-wield ice picks. Not only is their ice-pick attack little more dangerous than attacks of regular Slashers, but they can be pulled from their hands with Stasis, then sent straight back destroying their upper body. Doing this does turn them in a more mobile monster, whose intestines form three Combat Tentacles. However, the transformation time is long enough to allow dismemberment before this form ever gets to attack.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Dungeons & Dragons, being bigger is only a nominal advantage at best, and can also be a notable disadvantage. While many very difficult monsters (dragons, for example) are large, oversized zombies are not really any harder than regular ones.
    • Weirdly, no rule explicitly states that larger beings are inherently stronger. Almost every size-increasing effect also explicitly increases Strength, and adding hit dice to animals and animal-like monsters will increase size and Strength simultaneously. Being larger does grant automatic bonuses to other things—notably, it increases the difficulty of most combat maneuvers (grappling, tripping, etc.), improves Intimidate checks, grants access to larger size categories of weapons (which are slightly more expensive but typically have noticeably increased damage), and extra reach (which is priceless). It also carries some built-in penalties—the most noteworthy are penalties to Hide checks, attack rolls (since everything is, relatively speaking, smaller to you), and Armor Class (since you're a bigger target to everyone else). Small characters get all of this in reverse. However, bigger weapons do much more damage (i.e. a large greatsword does 3d6, comapred to a medium greatsword doing 2d6).
    • A well known monster is the Tarrasque, a unique creature that originally was intended as kind of the ultimate boss creature for very high level groups which was so deliberately packed full of Nigh-Invulnerability that simply theorizing about how to kill it is a kind of invoked Lord British Postulate. In the 3rd Edition, people soon realized its terrible flaw: lacking any kind of ranged attack. At level 20 there are countless very easy ways to get your whole party the ability to fly and shoot spells from above. Later editions have tried to fix this chink in its armor, with 4E opting to make flying impossible around it while Pathfinder opts towards making it a very, very good jumper.
      • Of course, the Tarrasque was hardly the only case of this; in fact, its Nigh-Invulnerability makes it one of the lesser examples. Early 3rd Edition Monster Manuals are littered with enemies, often supposedly stronger than the Tarrasque, who couldn't engage airborne opponents at all. The Leviathan of MM 2 is an egregious case; its CR pegs it as the equal of four Tarrasques, but on top of having no flight or ranged attacks, it also has an Intelligence of 4, meaning one instance of ability damage will render it catatonic.
      • Oversized zombies are also hard to affect noticeably by turning, because the turning ability is based on the undead's hit dice and doesn't consider the possibility of a relatively low difficulty creature that has a lot of hit dice. (High difficulty creatures with few hit dice get turning resistance.)
  • in Mortasheen, Doomboros may look intimidating, but they're really cowardly, and their only real power is to transfer this fear to its opponents. But try to hurt its master...

    Turn Based Strategy 
  • In Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones, the Cyclopi are really huge, but do quite a bit less damage than you'd expect... and to add insult to injury, their attacks are easily evaded. Add their low resistance or vulnerability to a Sacred Twin weapon, and they go down like rocks.
    • The fact that they can only use axes also means that they're easy prey for a sword user, especially a blademaster with over 30% crit. (Oh, and if you thought they had trouble hitting most of your units, just wait until you send a sword-user at them.)
      • The fact that they use axes also contributes to that whole "easily evaded attacks" thing, as axes are the strongest, but heaviest and least accurate (physical) weapons in the game. note  Too bad for the Cyclopi that the power of axes is insufficient to compensate for their surprisingly low Strength... though they do have high Constitution, so it's not like even the bigger axes slow them down much. (But they're already plenty slow and inaccurate without being weighed down by their weapons.)
  • In most Star Wars games, the Star Destroyer is a classic one, but Star Wars: Rebellion is by far the most glaring example. An Alliance Escort Carrier armed with five squadrons of X-wings and one of Y-wings can take out nearly any Star Destroyer The Empire throws at you until he gets the TIE Defenders and Executor-class Super Saxton Star Dreadbringers.
    • Was actually quite a balance issue: The Imperials get far more powerful ships to start with, but they're vulnerable to much cheaper hardware that the rebels can mass produce in a hurry. Two Nebulon-B Frigates or a few squads of Y-Wings can trash a Star Destroyer, and the unshielded TIE fighters and Interceptors aren't a huge help. This was one of two things that heavily disadvantaged the Empire in a HQ victory game: if the rebels got lucky and started with a strong enough fleet, they could take Coruscant almost immediately and there was very little the Imperial player could do about it.
  • Reapers in the original X-COM. They're large and intimidating, but they can only attack in melee and can't fit through most of the doors on the level. Their HP is good enough that six or seven hits from the basic rifle are needed to bring them down, but their size makes them a relatively easy target for your troops. It also roughly quadruples the damage they take from grenades and other explosive weapons thanks to a quirk of the game engine. X-COM being X-COM, however, Reapers are still relatively dangerous for an example of this trope, particularly in the early game; its melee attack is a nearly guaranteed One-Hit Kill before you research actual armour, and unlike the alien ranged weapons there isn't a possibility of it missing.

Non-gaming examples:

    Anime 
  • Anbu from Naruto. When they actually get into a fight, they're degraded to mook status, those formerly Badass masks now cementing their status as Cannon Fodder.

    Film 
  • In Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter, Jesus fights a bo staff wielding monk, the last atheist besides the two leaders themselves. Despite his flashy entrance, all he did was show off and get downed in one kick by an unimpressed Jesus.
  • Stormtroopers from Star Wars. They are "Elite Mooks" with Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy. While they have infamously bad performance in a few iconic scenes, they still are pretty dangerous most of the time. Examples include a squad of stormtroopers easily slaughtering a similarly-sized rebel force in the very first fight in the series, incapacitating and capturing Leia and later Han, stomping out the rebels on Hoth, and several times forcing the main heroes to flee, just escaping by the skin of their teeth, because they'll die if they stay there and fight.

    Literature 
  • A recurring theme in Discworld and The Carpet People, another work by Terry Pratchett, is "Always choose a bigger enemy - it makes him easier to hit". Usually this means in terms of numbers, but occasionally it's this trope.
  • The Shadow-Forgers in The Wheel of Time are the rock golems that create the cursed swords wielded by Myrddraal. They're also noted to be peerless warriors. However, they're also very slow, and so when Rand's force attacks Thakan'dar in the final book, the Forgers turn away from their work to deal with them- but before they can actually join the fight, they're disabled by Rand's channelers with minimal effort.

    Television 
  • A rather bizarre example is found in Heroes. Volume 3 involved the company building having a breakout from Level 5 and were said to be all big and strong and "worse than Sylar." None of them survived the volume. Heck, in the last episode, Mr. Bennet releases all the surviving Level 5 Supervillains so they can help distract Sylar. They all last less than two minutes, tops.
  • Z Putty Patrollers from "Power Rangers". They were considered Elite Mooks, but after the Rangers discovering their weakness (Off Button at their back), they ended up even less effective than the Rita's mooks, who at least occasionally required a protracted fight.
  • The Prisoner: Number 2 in "Hammer Into Anvil". At the start of the episode, he seems to be the most dangerous, sadistic, tenacious, calm, hands-on Number 2 in the series so far. Number 6 easily and utterly destroys him.

    Webcomics 

    Sports 
  • Generally, this applies to teams who struggle despite sky-high payrolls; the biggest example of this at work is the New York Rangers. From the end of the 90's until the lockout of 2004, the Blueshirts loaded up on superstars such as Wayne Gretzky, Eric Lindros, Pavel Bure, Theoren Fleury, and Mark Messier (after a disastrous run in Vancouver). Adding onto that, they also added many solid second-tier players (Bobby Holik, Mathieu Schneider, John MacLean, Kevin Hatcher) and signed them to expensive contracts. They never made the playoffs during that span.
    • Ironically, the Rangers made the post-season with the new CBA intact, which included a salary cap.
  • In 2008, the Seattle Mariners became the first team in MLB history to lose 100 games with a payroll over $100M. They came less than $14M away from doing it again in 2010.
    • The Minnesota Twins were only one loss away from joining this list in 2011.
  • Newcastle United FC, despite a very liberal wage bill, ended up getting relegated after the 08-09 season.
  • In NCAA football, Clemson was the shining example of this. They regularly pull out Top 25 recruiting classes, but their ACC Championship in 2011 is only their first since 1991.
    • Basketball wise, Northwestern. As of the end of the 2012-13 season, they are still the only BCS note  conference team to not qualify for the NCAA Tournament. Even when accounting for prominent non-football conferences such as the Atlantic 10 and "New" Big East, the Wildcats are still the only ones without a Tournament appearance.
  • With Dan Snyder as the owner, the Washington Redskins have signed Deion Sanders, Brad Johnson, Albert Haynesworth, Shawn Springs, Clinton Portis, DeAngelo Hall, Adam Archuleta, LaVar Arrington, Donovan McNabb, Antwaan Randle El, and Robert Griffin III. They even brought in Super Bowl winning coaches Joe Gibbs and Mike Shanahan as well. However, the 'Skins only have two playoff appearances, one playoff win, and only one NFC East title to show for it.

    Card Games 
  • In Magic: The Gathering, anything really big has Awesome, but Impractical written all over it, though this just makes for players finding ways to cheat it into play. (Animate Dead is popular.)
    • Mana cost aside, there are a lot of ways of having a creature turn into this. Many potentially powerful creatures are ruined by drawbacks like echo (pay their casting cost again on the turn after you play them or sacrifice them), cumulative upkeep (pay an increasing cost every turn or sacrifice them), and many, many more.
    • Creatures also have the built-in disadvantage of being killable. Most creatures, whether they cost 1 mana or 9, can be killed with a removal spell that only costs 2 or 3 mana. This is why the most successful creatures in "Magic" are either relatively cheap, resistant to removal, or have an impact on the board even if they're killed right away.
    • There are also creatures that have intimidating-looking art but are subpar in terms of stats. Hill Giant is a good example.

    Real Life 
  • The MiG-25 Foxbat and its relationship with NATO mirrors this. Here was a high-speed interceptor which kept the West up at night until a Russian fighter pilot brought one to NATO by way of Japan, revealing the Foxbat to be a Fragile Speedster with the turning circle of an ocean liner that needed its engines rebuilt after it reached its Mach 2.8 top speed. Anything with air-air missiles that could get behind it first could kill it. Just ask the Iraqis.
    • Said defector also informed the West that a superior aircraft was being developed based on the MiG-25. The resulting MiG-31 Foxhound sacrificed some of the MiG-25's speed in favor of better (but still unspectacular) agility, and more importantly the ability to carry more and better long-range missiles, vastly better radar, and the ability to throttle up to full speed without being physically damaged.
  • The American SR-71 was designed to reach Mach 3 top speed and be a stealth plane, and the two goals proved incompatible. While it looked undeniably cool, the radar signature was still large enough to show up on regular civilian radars, to say nothing of military ones. Its 3 Mach speed came at the cost of practically non-existent payload and reliability - around a quarter of all Srs produced ended up crashing.
  • In the first half of the Second World War, the British Matilda II tank was the best armoured one by far. It had 75 mm armour plating on all sides (by contrast, German Pz. III and Pz.IV had 50 mm frontal and 30 mm side armour, while legendary T-34 only had all-around 45 mm plating). This advantage was more than offset by its weak 42 mm 2-pound cannon, roughly equivalent to 37 mm one on early Pz. III or Russian T-26, and deeply inferior to 76 mm weapons on T-34 and Pz. IV and pathetic mobility. The top speed was 25 km/h, at the time when all other tanks could do + 40 km/h, and distance traveled before refueling was even more pitiful.


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