Junk Rare
aka: Worthless Rare

The gold symbol on the middle-right says it's a rare card. The text says the developers are laughing at you.

There are the awesome, powerful rare cards that you're eagerly praying to see when you crack open a booster pack...and then there are these. A Junk Rare is weak, narrow, useless, or otherwise undesirable, and to make matters worse, it's rare, meaning that even if you wanted to get rid of it, you can't because there's always the possibility that you'll never obtain another copy of that card. So much for Power Equals Rarity.

Naturally, one player's Awesome, but Impractical is another player's Who Cares How Impractical It Is, It's Awesome! And one should never underestimate the power of Narm Charm. And 100% Completion. It's also possible that someone may even find a use for it and it turns out its not as bad as once thought.

This trope is not exclusive to Collectible Card GamesRandom Drops can qualify as well, and when they do they are often also Vendor Trash.

May be Awesome, but Impractical, Cool, but Inefficient, or a Useless Useful Spell. If it's only available through a special promotion, it's a Promotional Powerless Piece of Garbage.


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  • The pinball version of Hercules by Atari. Although only 300 tables of the game were made, it requires constant maintenance due to its massive size and playing it is regarded as rather blah (the table's physics feels sluggish due to the increased mass of the ball without a corresponding increase in table slant).
  • Any of the pinball machines created by SEGA in the 1970's. They are historically significant as Japan's first commercial-scale pinball machines, and were popular enough for SEGA to continue making them for several years. However, they used a lot of unique parts produced only by SEGA, no company currently exists that creates replacement parts, and for the parts that can be 3-D printed, no templates have been made. As a result, as parts break on existing machines, the only solution is to cannibalize parts from other SEGA pinball machines.
  • Orbitor 1 is unique for having a playfield that isn't complately flat, causing the ball to swerve around and trace unusual paths. It is a rarely seen novelty, but is just that—the playfield itself is so empty that there's barely anything to shoot for, and once the novelty wears off on Orbitor 1, what's left is an incredibly boring game.
  • New Canasta is a basketball-themed Enhanced Remake from a small vending machine producer from Spain and is the first mass-market pinball machine to carry several distinctions: The first to have an HD monitor, the first to use an acrylic surface instead of wood, the first to have magnetic switches rather than mechanical switches, and the first to use only LEDs instead of incandescent bulbs. The company is too small to create very many, but a number of small oversights came together to render the game far less appealing than the machine it was remade from.note 

     Tabletop Games  

  • Magic: The Gathering has a lot of these, usually on purpose. Mark Rosewater, the game's head designer, wrote a lengthy defense of the practice titled "Rare, but Well Done," in which he discusses in great detail why this trope exists.
  • The Star Wars Customizable Card Game had Epic Events, which typically required not only that you use associated cards, but your opponent use associated cards; for instance, Attack Run depended on your opponent using the Death Star and you having Death Star: Trench and Proton Torpedoes. All were rare.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • Gate Guardian. Useless unless you also have Sanga of the Thunder, Suijin and Kazejin (which are themselves pretty rare) and have them all on the field at the same time. And if you had actually managed to do that, due to the aforementioned monsters' effects it would be far more sensible to keep them on the field rather than waste them to summon Gate Guardian.
    • Pretty much any card that requires another card to play. This can be worse if the "summoning" card is a rare in of itself. Venominion and Venominaga are good examples, with one being Ultra Rare and the other being Secret Rare. Venominaga however can only be played with Venominion's ability (with almost no exception), so even if you did score this extremely-rare card, there was no way you could play it unless you shelled out the money for the other, or got lucky with the pack again.
      • Archetype boss monsters in general fell into this, especially during the GX era, where Awesome, but Impractical was pretty much the norm. Volcanic Doomfire, Ultra Rare (one per 24 packs) cover card for Force of the Breaker, required a card that required another card that were both only useful with a bunch of other cards, leading to it being played rarely. The two most commonly-used cards from that set were easily Gravekeeper's Commandant (Rare, meaning one per pack) and Raiza the Storm Monarch (Super Rare, one per five packs). Raiza and Commandant actually cost more than Doomfire on the aftermarket.
    • The Japanese sets include a rarity called "Normal Rare" where, even if the cards don't appear to be Rare, they are very hard to find. Oftenly, cards that fall on "Normal Rare" are worse than your ordinary Commons. Just see for yourself. Luckily (or not), the Normal Rare rarity doesn't exist anywhere else, and it's much easier to find these cards.
      • Unfortunately the English version of the game has them too, just under a different name, "Short Print," but a much higher ratio.
    • Probably the earliest examples of Junk Rare were Celtic Guardian and most fusions in Legend of Blue-Eyes White Dragon. One was Super Rare - the same rarity as powerful Spells like Raigeki, Dark Hole, and Swords of Revealing Light - but they had lower stats than Commons like Uraby and Skull Red Bird and Rares like Giant Soldier of Stone and Aqua Madoor. On top of that, they were later available in the starter decks. (This was an odd bit of The Artifact; LOB was a combination of several sets, and Guardian had been released in some of the earliest sets, where they were strong enough to justify their rarity. They had been packed in with stronger cards from later sets, and then their rarities hadn't changed.)
    • The most infamously bad rare card to date is a card called "Fusionist". While all fusion monsters at the time were Rare, Fusionist stood out as not only was it weak (even for a fusion monster at the time) and was a Rare, but it actually had lower stats than Mystical Sheep #2, one of its component parts. This means that the only reason you'd ever want to play Fusionist was to abuse the fact that it did not take up your one summon per turn. If you actually wanted stats, just playing Mystical Sheep #2 would have been better.
    • How about Sealmaster Meisei from Ancient Sanctuary? A vanilla 1100 attack monster whose gimmick relies on two floodgate cards that contradict each other. It is simply insulting to see cards get this kind of rarity in set released much later despite its potential support.
    • Speaking of normal monsters, Dark Rabbit is probably the worst offender. It took about a decade to have this card printed in the TCG, and it appeared as a rare in a 5D's booster pack. It's a 1200/1500, which appeared in one episode of the series. Pegasus fans, rejoice?
    • The Poker Knights were reprinted in the middle of the GX era in the Elemental Energy set. They were mildly prominent in the anime, but that doesn't justify a set of cards whose best play is, by spending your Normal Summon for two turns to summon a pair of mediocre Level 4s, summoning one slightly stronger Level 5 (with stats equal to common Level 4s like Insect Knight) being printed as rare.
  • In Pokémon:
    • Evolved (Stage 1 and Stage 2) Pokémon are mostly rare, and require basic Pokémon first. (You can get around using a Stage 1 with Pokémon Breeder (also Rare), but you still need the common basic Pokémon.)
    • Another example would be the super Awesome, but Impractical legends, and some rares are actually extremely weak and nigh unplayable, like early Magneton, Pidgeot, etc.
    • Rarity seems to be more related to the Pokémon featured than the potential for playability. There have been instances in every tournament season up to the present (2010-11) of a player doing well with a deck using nothing above Uncommon, the second-lowest rarity, though such decks have never moved beyond the national level. There was one time a World Championship winner's deck used only 4 Rares out of 60 cards per deck. (There were at least three rarities above Rare at that time. And if you're curious, it was the Lunatone-Solrock deck.)
  • In the early days of Heroclix, this is applied to uniques like Juggernaut without the helmet and original-costume Cyclops. Adding keywords didn't help these guys much. And the newer sets have gems like Spider-Man villain The Spot, Mr. Miracle & Oberon duo, and Queen of Fables.
  • The Star Trek: Collectible Card Game had a bit of a Running Gag with cards concerning Mot the Barber, the blue-skinned Bolian in charge of taming Picard's wild head of hair. Mot himself was a Red Shirt; Mot's Advice was barely useful. Barber Pole? It literally does nothing. And, just to make it more fun, all these cards were uncommon, not rare. (The final(ish) set for the game had a card, In for a Trim, that made use of these cards.)
  • This happens due to random assignment tables in BattleTech: just because you got assigned an extremely rare 'Mech is no indicator of its usefulness or battlefield prowess. The Ostscout, for instance, is one of the rarest 'Mechs in the game, but is a Fragile Speedster that carries almost no effective weaponry or armor and is relegated to a passive reconaissance role at best. This extended to the rarity system in the Battletech CCG, where it was possible for the rare card in a booster to be a Lightning Bruiser such as the Ryoken B...or a nearly pointless Joke Character like the Baboon. This gets even worse if the random table includes things like prototypes or primitive tech—it's possible to get assigned the very first 'Mech design ever built that way. Hope you like having a slow, inefficient, underarmed museum piece!

     Video Games  

  • Video games themselves can be this. Games such as Action52 might be rare and valuable commodities, but they're also utter garbage gameplay-wise. In fact, many of them are rare because they were poorly designed and thus didn't sell well and are now only available in low quantities, making them valued items for collectors.
    • The Donkey Kong Country Competition Cartridge is one of the rarest video games ever released (only 2,500 copies are known to exist) and commands thousands of dollars to buy. With that in mind, the game itself is a completely unremarkable authorized romhack of the first Donkey Kong Country, only with the save option, multiplayer and animal tokens Dummied Out, and being impossible to complete since the game crashes if you complete Croctopus Chase, as the game was solely designed to be used in a Blockbuster high score competition with other players, and has a five minute time limit slapped onto it that can't be turned off. The very rare Star Fox Super Weekend and Nintendo World Championship cartridges fall into similar problems.
    • The infamous video game adaptation of The Guy Game was panned by critics (most notably Seanbaby in an issue of EGM) and is impossible to find, and for a very good reason, since the presence of an underage minor in a pornographic gamenote  makes it illegal to sell or own it.
  • The Philips CD-i was a poor seller in its day, cost 700 dollars at launch, and suffers from needing a (likely now-dead) battery that can't be changed without dremeling the motherboard open. It's also tricky to emulate, meaning that a console in good condition is generally your best option, and the controllers tend to break as well. The games themselves frequently run for hundreds of dollars. What do you get for your effort? For the most part, crappy edutainment or FMV games and the ability to watch the origins of some Youtube Poop videos with proper context.
  • In RuneScape:
    • It's possible, but extremely rare, to randomly receive 100 silver ore as a drop from most monsters with drop tables. Otherwise, silver ore is a common item, and even a hundred of them are only worth a few thousand gold in total. The dragon spear is obtained through a similar system (an extremely rare drop from the same wide variety of enemies) and is very close to completely worthless.
    • Clue scrolls occasionally reward the player with rare and valuable items...and other times, you get a handful of mundane colored firelighters.
    • In the Old School version, three tough bosses can drop jars filled with dirt, sand, and swamp muck. The bosses have an incredible low chance of dropping them (dirt is 1/1,000, sand is 1/2,000, and swamp has a 1/3,000 chance). The three jars are filled with mundane substances and have no known uses, but are still valuable because of their rarity.
  • Anchors are the rarest items in Super Mario Bros. 3: every other world has a secret level where collecting an untold number of coins gets you anchor. All the anchor does is stop the airship from changing its place on the map if you die. In World 5, a very rare glitch can make the airship fly to an unreachable square, so it's probably most useful there.
  • Pokémon:
    • There are plenty of rare Mons without much going for them in-battle: Tangela and Lickitung were this in the first generation, and subsequent games followed in their footsteps with such duds as Qwilfish and Dunsparce. However, Chimecho takes the cake here: In its debut games, it was located in a small area of a story location well off the beaten path, only had a 1% chance of appearing there, has a catch rate lower than some Legendary Pokémon, and was not used by any trainer in the game, so you couldn't use the Pokedex to find it. If you somehow got lucky enough to find and catch it, you learned that it's one of the weakest Psychic-types ever introduced, with mediocre stats and a terrible movepool.
    • Supposedly, Farfetch'd was a deliberate invocation of this trope. In Red and Blue it could only be gotten by trading a more-useful Spearow (who were thankfully common as all get out). While fine at lower levels, it wasn't an especially useful Pokemon once it leveled up more. It's a reference and parallel to a Japanese phrase "a duck comes bearing spring onions." Or a different interpretation which basically translates into "there's a sucker born every minute" — much like how a more useful mon had to be traded for it in the first generation.
    • Most baby Pokémon are also this. Many of them require you to capture and breed their evolved form(s), sometimes after obtaining a rare item, and then carry an egg around in one of your party slots until it hatches, for a Pokemon that is ultimately weaker than the one you started with due to being unevolved. Even raised up baby Pokémon are often worthless, as statistically there's no difference between a Raichu that started as a Pikachu and a Raichu that started as a Pichu. However, some Pokemon do have moves they can only learn in their baby forms (Wobbuffet, for example, can only learn Encore as a Wynaut) so there is some occasional use for them. Some appear in the wild in like regular Pokemon in later games though.
    • A set of berries in Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire were extremely rare, only being obtainable through e-Reader cards. Some of these matched consumable items already in the game. Being berries, however, they were easily renewed, so it offered some edge, at least. Some of these, however, matched other berry effects.
    • Pokémon X and Y has not one, but two event-exclusive moves that do nothing when used: Celebrate and Hold Hands. The latter doesn't even work in Single Battles!
    • In Pokémon Go, the player hatches Pokemon eggs by walking 2, 5, or 10 kilometers while playing the game. Eevee, while far from being a Com Mons, is one of the more common Pokemon to find in the world... and can hatch from the 10 km egg, which otherwise yields the rarest Pokemon. As a result from many players' frustration, this was eventually changed so it hatched from the shorter-distance, more common 5 km eggs instead.
  • The Goblin, Bomb and Mind Flayer summons in Final Fantasy IV and its sequel are dropped with 1/64 odds from the named monsters and are woefully underpowered. They're slightly more useful in the DS version and After Years, where they do more damage and cost less MP to use than equivalent black magic spells, and unlike the spell Break which can and often will miss, Cockatrice always works on an any enemy that's not immune to being turned to stone.
  • Nintendo World Championship 1990 is one of the rarest NES games in existence with an interesting piece of history behind it, considered to be the Holy Grail of game collections. However, as shown on The Angry Video Game Nerd, it exists as nothing more than a competition cart split between segments of three very common NES games: Super Mario Bros., Rad Racer and Tetris. Moreover, there are two versions: the gray one, which has a fairly standard label on it, albeit in black & white, and the gold one, which has a small label made with an ordinary printer and stuck onto the cartridge with glue. The gold one with the cheap label is worth thousands more.
  • World of Warcraft:
    • Back in the days of vanilla World of Warcraft, Molten Core's Sulfuron Harbinger encounter occasionally ended in disappointment when one of the items dropped was Shadowstrike. Sure, it had the gimmick of transforming into Thunderstrike and back. But it was a Polearm (so Priests, Mages, Warlocks, and Rogues couldn't use it) with inferior DPS to other two-handers (so Warriors and Paladins didn't want it) and no stat bonuses (so Hunters, Druids, and Shamans didn't want it either). No surprise that its nickname became "Vendorstrike", and later "Nexusstrike," as it became a reliable source of Nexus Crystals from disenchanting.
    • Thor'idal, the Stars' Fury, the legendary bow that had a very low chance to drop from Kil'jaeden, the final boss of the Burning Crusade expansion. While by no means a bad weapon, it's main gimmick was that it created its own ammo. However, this wasn't that useful since you could buy Timeless Arrows, the best ammo in the game, for fairly cheap and in large quantities, and Timeless Arrows + The Golden Bow of Quel'thalas, an epic bow that was far easier to get, ended up doing comparative damage to Thor'idal. Near the end of the expansion, changes to how Steady Shot worked with weapon and arrow damage actually made the Golden Bow a stronger weapon for Hunters, making Thor'idal an unnecessarily rare weapon for something that's not even really an upgrade.
  • Several named weapons in Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas have unique appearances, occasionally special effects, and are slightly better than their baseline counterparts, but are underpowered compared to most regular weapons. You'll be happy to claim Pacer's straight razor "Figaro", but you won't be fighting any serious battles with it. There are also a number of very rare yet worthless Vendor Trash items, such as the Rake.
  • Beets in Kingdom of Loathing no longer drop, and when they did it was only on ultra-rare occasions when resting. As a result, in the player economy a beet costs upwards of about two hundred million meat. This is in spite of the fact that the beet does absolutely nothing: it has no auto-sell value, it can't be traded to an NPC for anything, and you can't eat it, cook with it, or make cocktails with it.
  • Team Fortress 2 suffers this due to the Crate Lottery. Within the game there are crates that contain items of various quality. It's already a lottery when you gamble with the crates for a valuable strange weapon or an unusual hat. To further increase the drama, there is a second subset of crates called Salvaged Crates. Within those is where junk status truly begins. The Salvaged Crate offers a chance at weapons that may or may not ever see a release in a regular crate or you can get a strange version of a weapon nobody really wants or use.
  • Any game with a loot system, such as the Diablo, Torchlight, and Borderlands series, will fall into this sooner or later thanks to the Random Number God. Particularly noticeable in Borderlands, where quests will often reward you with unique, named guns which statistically are nothing more than Vendor Trash.
    • Diablo III has this happen to whole classes of loot. The broken gray class of loot was always rarer than the common white class, and after about two years of patches, blue magic items tend to appear more often than so-called common ones at most levels.
  • FF XI's Voidwatch had absolutely abysmal drop rates for gear - as in .01% or lower (thankfully each player received their own loot, so there was no fighting over such rare drops). Most of the bosses with the good stuff had 2 such rare drops, and both were usually good in their own rite. However, depending on what jobs a person had leveled (or planned to level) it wouldn't be uncommon for 1 of the 2 items to be "junk". A notable example was 1 boss which dropped one of the best mage robes at the time - sought after by all casters. His 2nd drop was a bullet that was quite good, but only for a single job (out of 20), the Corsair. By the time you got your 5th .01% bullet to drop and still didn't get the robe, you were ready to go on a murderous rampage of the RNGods.
  • Final Fantasy XIV:
    • Aetherial grade gear, found in chests inside dungeons or as rare rewards from guildleves. This equipment is equal to a crafted high-quality item of the same item level, but with random stat bonuses as if it were already filled with a materia, where normal crafted gear instead had empty materia slots. But the stat bonus is random: caster equipment can come with strength, or tank equipment that adds piety, or anything that has a lot of skill speed or spell speed. Worse, these items can not be traded, and thus it's more common than not for a guildleve Aetherial drop to be unusable by one's current class, and either vastly under- or overlevelled for the player's compatible classes. They can at least be converted into materia, and equipped at a lower level than their normal equivalents, though.
    • Some individual pieces are rare, high-level, and still not worth finding or buying, for mechanical reasons. The primacy of weapon damage and lack of good off-hand items meant that the Allagan Sceptre, a Black Mage one-handed weapon, was less useful than its two-handed equivalent until patch 2.1 powered it up.
  • Kantai Collection: Quite a few rare (gold/rainbow background) ships are outclassed by its more common (blue/silver background) counterparts. This is most apparent in the Destroyer class, where the strongest ships in that particular class are almost all common drops with second remodels.
  • Smashy Road: Wanted has four tiers named common, rare, epic, and legendary. The epic tier has almost, if not all, of the worst cars in the game.
  • Animal Crossing: Many items in this game can be this: Depending on your perspective, many clothing items or furniture items can be this if it isn't something you want to have in your house or museum but you can't get rid of it because it can't be found in stores, ordered through the store kiosk and can only be obtained on a single day of the year, or a single playthrough with a given player character.
    • The best example of this is the Sloppy furniture series. All the items appear disheveled and messy and look like something that's ready to be thrown out. However, these items are only available if a villager decides to put them up for sale in Re-tail. Which only happens once in a blue moon. People are willing to pay millions of bells to get their hands on a whole set.
  • Cookie Clicker has one in the collection of eggs found when Easter is triggered - it's called "egg" (quotes and all), and all it does it improve production by +9 cookies per second (when even mid-game purchases on the same scale give hundreds of thousands for a single purchase). Without multipliers, depending on when it's bought, it could take months to pay for itself. And unlocking it is a 1% chance on every golden cookie click. Oh, and it has to unlock (though thankfully not be purchased) for an achievement. Though the absurdity of it all did make it into a fanbase inside-joke...
  • Realm Grinder: Most of the Lore Artifacts give no upgrade whatsoever and often have a small, specific and hidden chance to dig up.
  • Plants vs. Zombies Heroes: Any "Super-Rare", "Event", or "Legendary" cards that aren't good in play would qualify.
    • Doubled Mint. Legendary card, and hypothetically capable of having the highest stats in the game. But due to this, the chances anybody will let it survive even one turn are nonexistent, and thusly, it's entirely negated.
    • Gargantuar's Feast. A Legendary trick that summons 3 random, hard-hitting Gargantuars that the Plant Hero can't do anything about would be cool. But the fact that it's so expensive (12 brains) that you'll hardly ever get a chance to play it. In order to be viable, you basically need to combo it with an Event card, Gargologist, which means using a low-tier Tier-Induced Scrappy.
    • Interdimensional Zombie. Its special, Legendary-worthy ability? When you play a Science zombie, it transforms into a random zombie that costs 3 brains. Its low cost and above-average health do nothing to help the fact that it's a Rare in a Legendary's clothing.
  • Terraria:
    • Played straight with the pre 1.3 Enchanted Sword, a rare sword with the ability to fire damaging energy beams with each swing. It is one of the rarest items in the entire game. The game has a small chance of spawning the Enchanted Sword somewhere underground in a destructible background stone when you first generate a world. There is no indication that the sword has spawned and since it's in a random spot underground you could potentially spend a thousand hours in a world with an Enchanted Sword and never know it's there. Even then, there is only a 1/3 chance that the sword in the background stone is the real deal - the other 2/3's are wooden swords that don't even drop upon destroying the stone. On the off chance that luck is in your favor, and you finally somehow manage to find an Enchanted Sword... you'll find that it isn't exactly groundbreaking, especially in comparison to the plethora of much more common, much more powerful items you can find even before Hardmode. It deals only one point of damage more than the Light's Bane, a low tier, fast-but-weak archetype of weapon. The ability to fire energy beams isn't all that special, even pre-Hardmode. The Ice Blade, another pre-Hardmode weapon, does the same thing, is almost as damaging, and is far easier to acquire. Made significantly less junky and rare as of 1.3, where, in addition to the usual stone generations, very obvious Enchanted Sword shrines can spawn (structures with a vertical, one-tile beacon of negative space that stretches extremely far up, sometimes even visible from the surface) that are common enough to reliably find at least two or three with ease in a large world. The Enchanted Sword has also been buffed to now be faster than the aforementioned Light's Bane and stronger than the Blood Butcherer, a mid-tier, slow-but-strong weapon, with its sword beam now doing it much more of a favor with the increased damage, ultimately bringing its newfound power much more in line with its lowered, more justified rarity. Additionally, 1.3 also brought the Arkhalis, which has a 1/10 chance to spawn in place of a real Enchanted Sword, seemingly bringing the entire Enchanted Sword category out of infamy for good.
    • Exaggerated with the Slime Staff. It has the lowest drop rate of any enemy-dropped item: only a 1 in 10,000 chance, and even Pinky only has a 1% chance to drop it, the highest out of all Slime enemies. This makes it potentially the rarest of any of the summon weapons, on top of being the weakest with a mere 8 damage and no ranged ability. However, combining this weapon with the Greedy Ring's effectsnote  and a specially-structured arena can turn it into a very profitable cash cow that nets dozens—if not hundreds—of gold coins in a few minutes, so it's not completely valueless.
    • Downplayed with the Coin Gun. It's the rarest drop in a pirate invasion, having a 0.25% chance to drop from the Flying Dutchman Ship (Meaning one in every 400 ships has one), a 0.05% chance to drop from Captains, and a 0.0125% chance to drop from anything else. It has a very high damage stat, but you need coins to use it. It has a power of 200... When using platinum coins. Unless you have a good money farm, it's very hard to get this weapon to its peak damage.
  • Stheno has this reputation in Fate/Grand Order, as a 4-star (out of 5) Assassin with poor stats, poor skills, and a single-target debuff Noble Phantasm that is contingent on the target being male. A strengthening quest added later did give Stheno a useful Attack buff skill, but that's all she's got.

Alternative Title(s): Crap Rare, Worthless Rare, Useless Rare