Giving the Sword to a Noob
"We can't trust the Sword of a Thousand Truths to a noob!"We have this brand new weapon that can turn the tide of the battle, drive back the Legion of Doom, save the day, and make the wielder look totally badass. All we need is to get it into the right hands! But are these aforementioned hands around? Nope! All you've got is the local Butt Monkey. Still, times are desperate; we really don't have a choice. Give it to them, and pray they don't do anything stupid! This typically ends in one of two ways:
— South Park, "Make Love, Not Warcraft"
- The idiot becomes a Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass, gets dangerous, and with a Crowning Moment of Awesome blows everyone away.
- They fail miserably. The viewer facepalms, and the Big Bad gives an Evil Laugh as he continues on his assault. This may result in the hero then taking up the sword from the fallen would-be hero, and then saving the day.
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Anime & Manga
- In Dragon Ball Z, Goku attempts to use the Spirit Bomb against Vegeta early in the series. However, since it's so difficult to charge up, he gets interrupted. When someone else attacks Vegeta, Goku gives what's left of the energy to Krillin, who's significantly less powerful than Goku. When he throws the attack, Krillin misses. However, Gohan is able to reflect it back toward Vegeta, scoring a successful hit. Unfortunately, since much of the energy was lost earlier, the Spirit Bomb fails to finish off its intended target, though it still deals a lot of damage. In other words, the attack fails, then is passed on to the noob, then misses, then is bounced back by another noob, then hits, but still fails to deal the necessary damage.
- In Fairy Tail, Cana briefly gained Fairy Glitter, one of the three ultimate magics of her guild. However, she got it only because she found the place where it could be bestowed upon her before the others and in a time of need. It turned out that she was incapable of using it correctly and, in the end, she's defeated and she loses the magic some time later, since it was a short time loan. Later, during the Grand Magical Games she is lent Fairy Glitter again so she can win a contest. Cana is able to use it properly the second time, proving that she's become a better wizard since the previous attempt.
- In the second chapter of Rave Master Shiba is too injured to fight when Demon Card attacks the island. The enemy is too strong for Haru to fight bare handed, so Shiba lends Haru his sword. Haru hasn't the slightest idea how to use it.
- Happens at the very beginning of Bleach. Rukia is injured enough that she can't fight after having been chewed up and spit out by a Hollow. So she looks over at Ichigo, a fifteen-year-old boy who, luckily for him, has latent Spiritual Pressure and some kung-fu training. She decides to give him half of her powers in order to save his family, but he takes all of it. Having literally never handled a sword before in his life, he quickly dispatches the monster and saves the day. Later revelations shed some light on this and made Ichigo more of a Chosen One, but for a long time he was apparently just that good, and nobody really sat down and tried to figure out why.
- Kill la Kill: In the last few episodes, Iori has been working around the clock to remake the Goku uniforms of the Elite Four, the strongest fighters on his side. The first uniform he completes is actually the local Butt Monkey Mako's uniform, which got shredded fifteen episodes and several months ago. When everyone demands to know why he gave her the upgrade first, he explains that while normally she's completely useless in a fight, when wearing her Fight Club Captain uniform, not only does she no longer need to be protected, she can actually help. The others can still fight without their uniforms.
- In The Helm from Dark Horse Comics, the eponymous magic helmet accidentally ends up in the hands of a morbidly obese, emotionally fragile manchild; the real chosen one, a stunningly handsome man of herculean proportions with a Badass Mustache, shows up about five minutes too late to claim it.
- DC has Major Bummer, a serious slacker who accidentally receives superpowers.
- In Ghostbusters II, Louis Tully gets a hold of a proton pack and makes his way to the museum to assist the Ghostbusters. Surprisingly, he's able to wield the particle thrower pretty well for a first-timer, holding it steady even if he's having no effect whatsoever on the building's barrier of mood slime. And then, the combined assault of the positive mood slime on Vigo, the other Ghostbusters firing on Vigo's painting, and New York's singing weakens the shell enough for Louis' attack to finish the job and shatter it.
- In Power Rangers RPM, the just-barely competent Ziggy is tasked with transporting the Series Green Morpher, only to activate it and become Ranger Green himself. In fairness, he only did it in desperation when The Dragon was about to get her hands on it. Even so, the fact remains that he is perhaps the least capable fighter of any Ranger in the entire franchise.
- This was the whole premise of Mr. Terrific; Stanley Beamish, the 'weak & droopy daffodil', was the only man who could take the power pill.
- Zoey 101 does a "sports" subversion of this trope in the episode "Disc Golf." Zoey feeling guilty for benching Nicole as they can only have 5 players on their roster (and Nicole is terrible at the sport) fakes injuring her hand to allow Nicole sub in for her at the chance to win the game. Nicole still misses the first shot out of three and the other team offer to return the disc since she "practically won the game for them" but they instead flee the game (being teenage criminals by some coincidence) causing Zoey and her friends to win the game.
- In Skulduggery Pleasant, Valkyrie Cain manages to be semi-competent at Necromancy in the third book when given Solomon Wreath's cane. She still doesn't kill the Big Bad, but that's fine because even an army of super-skilled heroes couldn't.
- Later, Darquesse picks up Alternate Mevolent's god-killer sword in her fight against him. She quickly finds out she is completely incompetent at swordplay, and discards it.
- In the second of Jack Williamson's stories of the Legion of Space, the heroes fight their way to the heart of the world-ship of The Cometeers, finally capturing the one device that can harm their otherwise indestructible bodies. They then promptly hand it to the one person who has frozen up every previous time he has confronted the main villain, and has good reason to believe he is psychologically incapable of lifting a finger against him.
- In The Dresden Files, when the bearer of a Fae Mantle dies, their Mantle's next bearer is decided wholly by whoever is closest at the time. That person's sanity and pre-existing loyalties are not taken into account. This is a pity, because Mantles are Very Important to the Fae-Outsider war.
- Malazan Book of the Fallen.
- Newbie Captain Ganoes Paran becomes the Master of the Deck of Dragons, essentially gaining the power to decide who gets to be a power player among the gods and some other nifty tricks, but the closest he's ever gotten involved with sorcery before was sleeping with a mage. That mage, Tattersail, was supposed to become the Mistress of the Deck, but dies unexpectedly, so the power jumps ship to Paran as the one who'd been closest to her. He resists it so much it eats a hole in his guts, but eventually accepts the power and turns out to be both a competent and imaginative Master of the Deck.
- And later in the fifth volume, Midnight Tides, Rhulad Sengar gets his hands on the sword of the Crippled God. He is utterly incompetent in using its powers for the good, no matter how much he tries. Of course, it's subverted because the Crippled God intended for that to happen and deliberately staged it so that Rhulad would get it. Hannan Mosag, the one whom the sword was supposedly actually meant for, would have been quite competent and thus not as easily manipulated as Rhulad Sengar.
- In DuckTales, mild-mannered accountant Fenton Crackshell acquired his secret identity as Gizmo Duck when he unwittingly used the password that activated a nearby suit of robot armor Gyro Gearloose had intended for a more-competent user.
- The Trope Namer is the South Park episode "Make Love, Not Warcraft". The in-game Serial Killer that the main characters are trying to kill needs to be finished with the GM-only item The Sword of 1000 Truths, but to get it to the kids (who are the only ones capable of fighting the guy) they need to trust Stan's incompetent fourth-level Warrior father with the item. When this suggestion is proposed, the above quote is the response from one of the GMs. Randy fulfills his task of getting the Sword to Stan, but doesn't use it.
- Another funny moment is when Randy arrives in the nick of time to give the sword to Stan... but doesn't know how to give items.
- Ironically, this is something of an aversion: Randy not only doesn't use the sword, presumably it has a level requirement such that he CAN'T. Still fits the spirit of the trope, though, since he's incompetent not only as a wielder of the sword, but even as a courier.
- In Ben 10, the all-powerful Omnitrix, which allows its user to turn into any creature in the known universe... wasn't meant for Ben. It was actually meant for his grandfather Max, who is a skilled alien hunter. And in a What If? episode, it's discovered that Gwen would have been far more adept at using the device, having unlocked its full abilities in a single night, while it would take Ben years to consciously figure out the master control. The sequel series also drive the point home that while Ben isn't the worst choice as the welder and is perfectly capable of saving the universe several times over, he is far from the best being for the job.