You've just unlocked an absolutely useless Joke Character. Weak attack, laughable specials, etc. And yet, your buddy next door uses him every time... and always kicks your ass.
Is he Cherry Tapping? Nope; the last time you won was when you put it on "random." He's discovered how to use the Lethal Joke Character.
The designers, looking for balance, have sneaked in one obscure, impossible-to-master, but incredibly rewarding technique for this character, and using it, you'll win every time... if you can get it down. But doing so requires skill, practice, and the ability to see the potential in the seemingly-useless. It's a sort of Obfuscating Stupidity applied to the game mechanics.
Compare Elite Tweak. See also Difficult but Awesome, whose deadly potential is more obvious, but still requires effort to unleash. Unlike a Magikarp Power, the Lethal Joke Character always had this ability to kick ass; it just requires a lot of skill to use him. Take a look at Lethal Joke Item for useless inventory and skills that eventually become overpowered. Heart Is an Awesome Power is the non-gameplay version. Not to be confused with Fighting Clown, which is a silly character whose advantages are obvious while here they aren't, or Mechanically Unusual Fighter, which is intended to be a viable option without resorting to an obscure tactic.
As with Joke Character, this is a Game Trope. For non-game examples, see Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass.
Has absolutely nothing to do with Alan Moore.
The Skeleton form in Castlevania: Circle of the Moon is clumsy, can be destroyed in one hit (0 Defense, which in that game means any attack deals infinite damage), and throws not-very-effective little bones as its attack... except for the instances where the standard, not-very-effective little bone is replaced by a comically huge, 9999-damage one. It's tricky to use, but highly effective if done properly, most notably against bosses.
The same is true of Castlevania: Chronicles of Sorrow: the Skeleton soul is almost useless, as the thrown bone only does respectable damage at the beginning of the game, but every once in a while, that huge bone comes out and all your problems are solved.
Castlevania: Lament of Innocence and Castlevania: Curse of Darkness featured a secret character named Pumpkin. In LoI, Pumpkin becomes playable after beating the game as Joachim: his max HP is lower than Leon's, but he starts with far more MP, hearts, higher defense and the Vampire Killer whip. He also starts with all special attacks and posesses an unique subweapon that he can't replace that also posesses a random assortment of other subweapons' Item Crashes. He's also a much smaller target and thus he has an easier time avoiding some enemy attacks. In CoD, he is a secret Innocent Devil who is almost useless in combat (and very easy to kill by monsters), but provides huge stat bonuses for the player as long as it is alive.
Mobile Suit Gundam : Encounters In Space has traditional Joke Characters in the Ball and Core Fighters, but a number of other suits can be dangerous. Perhaps the best example would be the Japanese-only MS-06SHAKU Zaku II Shaku Yumiko Custom. Custom Zaku? Uh oh. Custom bright pink Zaku? A little odd, but after Char and Johnny Ridden, it'll frighten most dedicated players. Custom bright pink Zaku decorated with bright pink hearts◊? Not so scary, especially since its damage and speed is the same as normal Zaku IIs and it can be carved up by an experienced GM pilot with a bullpup machinegun. Its distinguishing feature? An i-field powerful enough that it can sit down in front of a Big Zam and smile smugly, because with said I-field it takes minimal damage from beam weapons, and thus can tear apart beam-only/beam-dominant mobile suits like the Gundam Blue Destiny units or Gundam Physalis.
Gundam Extreme Vs has the old fan favorite joke MS, the Acguy, as a playable suit. However, while in most games the Acguy appears in it's weak and pathetic, here it is fairly fast and has three different Support MS's it can call up, meaning you can easily find yourself Zerg Rushed by Acguy variants.
Extreme Vs. Full Boost adds Patrick Colasour's GN-XIII from Gundam 00 to the mix via DLC. Like the Acguy, it's ranked in the lowest of the game's four Character Tiers, meaning it has comparatively low damage output and Hit Points. However, it has exceptional mobility thanks to its barrel roll maneuver, a temporary Super Mode, and can have seemingly infinite ammunition if the player carefully manages its two guns (its GN lance machinegun and GN beam rifle). On top of everything else, its Finishing Move involves grappling the enemy and exploding, dealing massive damage at the cost of reducing the GN-XIII to 1 HP, just like one of the more famous instances of this trope.
The mecha combat action game Another Century's Episode 3 allows the player to unlock the Gotchko, a small, relatively basic unit from Overman King Gainer. It would seems like a bit of a joke character, or maybe just an affectionate inclusion to play to the fans of King Gainer... until you actually use it. The unit, with few or no upgrades, is one of the most powerful units in the game simply because of the ridiculous range and accuracy it has for its two weapons. It is restricted to ground stages, and cannot actually fly, but it doesn't need to.
Banjo-Tooie allows Banjo to transform into a washing machine. While the one attack available here (firing underpants) isn't exactly lethal, it's the most useful transformation in the game thanks to its other abilities.
In the Resident Evil Outbreak games, one of the weaker survivors is Jim Chapman, a slightly cowardly skinny dude who works in the city's subway system. His big move is that he can play dead, which makes monsters ignore him most of the time. However, he also comes equipped with his Lucky Coin, using which makes Jim stand still and flip it in the air. If it comes down heads up, Jim gets a permanent +15% boost to his critical hit rate that can stack up to three times. Since crits in Outbreak knock monsters flying and inflict massive damage, this turns Jim into a pipe-swinging engine of destruction, capable of bludgeoning his way through zombies like it's nothing.
Unlockable NPC characters in the Outbreak series occasionally fall under this trope. While they're essentially reskins of the main 8 characters, each of them have various stats altered. Notable are the "Mr./Mrs. Colors" skins, which are essentially colored stick figures with faces on them. Some of these have better stats than the default characters. Mr. Green, the stick figure equivalent of Jim, is one of the best Jim skins in the game.
Beat 'Em Up
Cut from the US version of Streets of Rage 3 is Ash, a Manly Gay character who runs and screams like a girl and has a limited move set (no air attacks). However, his main attack, a weak-looking slap, can tear even bosses apart in seconds.
It does have Shiva as a hidden character. Although tough as a boss, Shiva lacks the variety of moves other characters have (such as a back attack or a directional super) to be as useful. Unless you realize that his default move (the one that replaces any move he doesn't have) is a short elbow jab that can infinite chain anybody.
In Guardian Heroes, there are several joke characters including Nando the bunny. However, if one were to go into 6-player versus mode with a team of at least three Nandos, that player will DOMINATE everyone else. Nando is incredibly tiny and has virtually no delay time between punches. Three or more at time can hit any character so many times that they won't be able move and it's inescapable. This even includes the couple of gods the player can use.
The Novice class in Ragnarok Battle Offline seems to be completely true to the source material at a glance, having terrible HP and MP, slow and weak attacks (Some of which result in them tripping or knocking themselves out), an extremely slow ground movement speed (Some characters can walk faster then either gender can dash), and only two skills, one of which is practically useless due to it only resorting a measly five HP per use (In a game where HP goes into the thousands range). However, once you place enough points in the right stats, they become capable of busting out highly destructive special attacks that can clear most of the screen in a single use, assuming you know the button inputs (Though as they're Cast From HP, they can only be abused to the fullest with the aid of an Acolyte ally who can heal them). The male Novice also has a sweetspot on one of his basic air attacks that makes it deal a massive amount of damage (A fact the female Novice compensates for by being a more competent fighter overall).
Collectible Card Games
In Collectible Card Games, cards that look useless, but subtle rules interaction (or later releases) makes them killer.
High Tide. Initially easy to overlook (Fallen Empires was not a particularly popular set), later expansions brought assorted super powerful cards which this card would then fuel. Combined with several similar cards, it led to the ubiquitous "Combo Winter" era in the game's history.
Yet another example: The card Donate. Who knew that giving away your own cards could be so effective?
Donate is at its best when paired with yet another Lethal Joke Card, Illusions of Grandeur; the combo turns a temporary life-boost into a One-Hit Kill. This particular combo is the basis of the "Trix" decktype, which was considered a Game Breaker at the time.
Speaking of Donate, there's Bazaar Trader, who does the same thing with an added utility you'd never think of: you can target yourself with his ability. Red has a lot of cards that take control of an enemy's creatures for just one turn, but if you give those temporarily stolen cards to yourself with Bazaar Trader, the permanent effect overrides the temporary one and you get to keep the creature until the end of the game.
Ornithopter looks mostly harmless: A flying 0/2 is pretty useless. The 'thopter's real value for combos is that it has zero cost - and you won't be using it for attacking. Hint: Enduring Renewal. It has also fueled cards like Arcbound Ravager and other components of the ravager affinity deck, including Cranial Plating, which made it into a lethal evasive attacker. Amusingly, old versions of the rulebook (printed before any of those other cards existed) ended with an italicized notice: "Our condolences to anyone who has been killed by an Ornithopter."
Or it can be used to sneak in stuff using ninjutsu.
Lion's Eye Diamond is the most infamous example of this in Magic. It was meant to be a useless "balanced" version of the Black Lotus, giving you free mana at the price of discarding your entire hand, leaving you with no spells to spend your mana on. InQuest magazine called it the worst card in the Mirage expansion set, and it was often cited as the prime example of a Junk Rare in its early years. Then people realized that once you could get around the lose your hand drawback, the LED was basically an unrestricted Black Lotus. It didn't take long for the Lion's Eye Diamond to land in the Banned and Restricted lists once people figured out how to do that, especially after various cards were made that allowed spells to be cast from the graveyard, played around with the Discard mechanic, and did other such shenanigans that turned the LED's drawback into a boon. Nowadays, the Lion's Eye Diamond is a permanent resident of the Vintage Restricted list, a common sight in the Legacy scene, and the most expensive card in the Mirage expansion set.
Tarmogoyf was originally printed as "pre-print" (a foreshadowing of cards to come, one of the gimmicks of the Future Sight set) solely so that its reminder text could reference two card types that didn't yet exist in the game (Planeswalker and the rarely used Tribal). However, it wound up being such an efficient win condition that it is the most expensive card printed in the past ten years.
Norin the Wary is a joke cowardly character; his "ability" is that he runs away any time any player casts a spell or attacks, which translates to never accomplishing anything on his own. So naturally, someone eventually managed to go undefeated in a Modern tournament using a deck where nearly every other creature comboed with him in some way.
One With Nothing is a spell that causes you to simply discard your hand for no apparent benefit. However, a popular deck at the time won by playing cards that punished opponents for having lots of cards and then forcing them to draw extra; One With Nothing became a Game Breaker by buying multiple turns' worth of time for one measly mana.
Goblins. In story, illustration, and card flavor, goblins are depicted as stupid, unpleasant nuisances little more respectable than cockroaches, who have very strange ideas about self-preservation, often placing more value on dying in new and creative ways than, you know, not dying. In fact, being Explosive Breeders is the only thing keeping the entire species from wiping itself out, across multiple settings. Plus, they're ugly. In gameplay mechanics, however, that combination of overwhelmingly numerous, suicidally reckless, and maniacally hostile makes them a force to be reckoned with, and decks built around the goblin creature type are some of the most powerful.
Related to this? Goblins and Giants. Since giants are generally very expensive, they are a perfect match for the the little buggers. The creators noted this, with goblins that actually reduce the cost of summoning giants or giants that use goblins for effects.
And starting with Shards of Alara and the shard of Jund, the other large creature type in Red that Goblins synergize with? Dragons.
Yu-Gi-Oh!: The Ojama Brothers are a trio low-level Normal Monsters with goofy looks and zero attack points, which, naturally, makes them useless. That was, until Konami released a number of Support Cards for them, starting with a Spell Card that wipes your opponent's field for free if you have all three out, and also including a pair of fusions that lock down your opponent's ability to summon their own monsters, a couple of "Cousins" that can help search and bring them out, and a number of spells which boost their attack (Including their own field) as well as search and summon them.
There's also four cards based off of Parodius, resembling four plastic men riding paper airplanes. Two of them are Normal Monsters with almost no attack or defense, but the other two are Union Monsters (monsters that can turn themselves into Equip cards) and when unioned to the others, make them impressively powerful.
Skull Servants. These are well known as being among the weakest monsters in the game with no effect, low points, and no support... Until the release of King of the Skull Servants, a creature that gains 1000 attack points for every Skull Servant in your graveyard, as well as every King of the SS. After that there was Lady in Wight and Wightmare, who both are treated as Skull Servant while in the graveyard. This means that with all of these cards in the grave, King can easily become a monster with 11000 attack points. To put this in perspective, This is over twice as much as the highest attack in the game.
Similarly, there's Mokey Mokey. A 300/100 fairy with no effects. Its flavor text says "Sometimes he gets mad and that is dreadful." But then its support cards come in - three Mokey Mokeys can be fused to create Mokey Mokey King, which despite having the same low stats allows you to summon as many Mokey Mokeys as you have in your graveyard when it leaves the field (destroyed, returned to the deck, etc.), and the spell card Mokey Mokey Smackdown increases Mokey Mokey's attack to 3000 for 1 turn if a fairy type monster you control is destroyed. The official ruling is that if a Mokey Mokey is summoned after the effect is activated, it gets the effect too. Chain all three together and you probably get very close to beating your opponent in 1 round.
Low-level Normal Monsters in general qualify. Low stats? You bet. No effects? Comes with the territory. But they are fast. Cards like Common Charity, White Elephant's Gift, and Heart of the Underdog give them a surprising amount of draw power, while Human-Wave Tactics, The League of Uniform Nomenclature, and Enchanted Fitting Room make filling the field with them easy. Level 1 Monsters are favored thanks to a little card called Triangle Power, which boosts their ATK and DEF by 2000 at the cost of destroying them later... which slots in well with ace card Law of the Normal. Law can only be played when you have five Level 2 or lower Normals, but it destroys all cards on the field and in both player's hands except those Normals. Play Triangle Power, then Law, and your opponent will be facing down a combined total of over 10,000 ATK with nothing to defend themselves.
A variation of this is a trio of cards: Oppressed People, People Running About, and United Resistance. All three are weak, effect-less, and common... but they have a personal Trap, Huge Revolution, that can only be used when all three are together. It nukes your opponent's entire hand and field.
Rescue Cat might be the most famous example. When it was created, most players dismissed it as a Com Mon with horrendous stats and a third-rate effect, utterly ignored even in Beast decks and only considered notable for its absurdly cute looks. Come Synchro Monsters and X-Saber Airbellum in particular, and Rescue Cat jumped from cutesy Com Mon to Game Breaker overnight. Its effect? Tribute it to summon two low-level Beasts, which are destroyed at the end of the turn. That's an instant Level 6 Synchro (and later, Rank 3 Xyz), right off the bat, just by itself, on a monster weak enough to be searched by dozens of effects.
The anime, and some of the games, featured the Ancient Treasure cards: Crystal Skull, Ashoka Pillar, and Cabrera Stone. They all have 0 ATK, all except Ashoka Pillar have 0 DEF, and they deal damage to you when they're Summoned or destroyed. The trick is that the damage they deal is pretty damn high, and if you have the right cards, such as Barrel Behind the Door or Spell of Pain, you can easily redirect it to your opponent. If you get all three out, you can activate Triangle - O, which destroys all cards on the field and redirects the damage to the opponent, most likely taking a massive bite out of your opponent's LP.
Gift Card increases your opponent's LP by 3000, which sounds like an extremely counterproductive idea... if not for cards like Nurse Reficule the Fallen Angel or Bad Reaction to Simochi, which reverse all LP gain for your opponent into damage. Three Gift Cards in combination with Reficule or Simochi can take down the opponent in one turn.
From the online card collection strategy game Poxnora there is a Champion called the "Magma Bunny" that had stats well below average for the Mana Cost. However, it had the ability to split off a copy (splitting its HP), and if you upgraded a useless ability you could pump its Mana Cost to huge levels. Senseless? Perhaps, except for two spells, one that sacrificed a champion to refund the full Mana Cost, and another spell that sacrifices a champion and deals damage equal to the Mana Cost to the nearest enemy champion. And each copy cloned off of the original had the same mana cost as the original. Then there also happened to be another (in most circumstances crappy) spell that allowed you to keep redeploying your Magma Bunny after Sacrificing it, over and over again. That Deck became known as the "Bunnies of DOOM!" Finally the mechanics were nerfed.
From the Pokémon Trading Card Game comes Durant, the source of the Durant Mill. The most Durant can deal is a pathetic 20 damage in an era where 100 damage or more is commonplace, and with only 70 HP, has less than half of the main attackers in the majority of popular tournament decks. Its potential, however, lies in its attack that doesn't deal damage: For each Durant the player has in play, "Devour" makes the opponent discard cards from the top of his or her deck. As there can be up to 4 Durants in play at a time, the opponent must discard up to 4 cards for each "Devour." Combine this with the card drawn at the beginning of each turn and search cards that burn through decks like Professor Juniper, and the Durant Mill became the only deck to see wide tournament play in the card game's entire history to create wins through depletion of the opponent's deck rather than knocking out Pokémon. Considering that Durant is ranked as Uncommon, the second-lowest rarity in the game, odds are the card designers didn't realize Durant's potential either. Durant became such a problem that a Heatmor card was produced specifically to eliminate Durant Mill decks. It didn't work.
In the ps1 video game Digimon Card game, the Rare tribe had some elements of this, with awful stats but ssome interesting support effects. In particular Numemon an Toy Agumon. Numemon was the usual monster that looked like poop and had stats to match, but when played from your hand as support forced the opponent to discard 2 cards in their evolution pile. On its own, card advantage and a delicious way to mess up your opponents tempo while you beat up their underevolved mons, run a bunch of them and you can force your opponent to use almost nothing but rookies, except with the odd champion for the rest of the duel! Toy Agumon hhad unimpressive stats but the broken effect of making both mons hp 200, meaning you could one hit ko the enemy even when they were an ultimate or a tweaked out armour, then heal next turn, possibly with another lethal joke, Pyschemon (hp becomes the same as opponent).
The Angry Chicken. Normally it's an unimpressive card with 1 attack, 1 health, and a cost of 1 mana. But if you can buff its max health and damage it without killing it, its enrage feature kicks in and gives it +5 attack, turning it into a very cheap Glass Cannon.
Murlocs have some of the lowest stats in the game, but they're generally cheap to play and some of them have synergies that work well with each other (some give stat boosts to other murlocs, others gain bonuses from being played alongside other murlocs, and still others bring more murlocs onto the field). Played properly, a murloc deck can crush an opponent in the early stages before the high-value cards make an appearance.
Super Smash Bros. has Toon Link and Young Link. A smaller, younger, lighter, and weaker version of Link with worse reach, their better speed and faster attacks, along with a few other things, make them better than the adult version; Young Link is only slightly better than adult Link in Melee, with neither considered tournament viable, but Toon Link is ranked 13th versus 35th for adult Link in Brawl.
Jigglypuff as demonstrated above seems to be this as well. Its sleeping attack (Rest) when timed correctly can cause other characters to be launched off the screen. It actually makes Jigglypuff the ideal character to beat the final Melee challenge, where you are up againt a Giga Bowser, Ganondorf, and Mewtwo. The enlarged hitbox of Giga Bowser makes the Rest attack Super Effective.
The Naruto: Clash of Ninja games had Akamaru the puppy who, unlike all the other human characters, was very tiny. Even though he only had a few attacks that don't do much damage, all the other character's attacks were designed to attack regular characters so a vast majority of them would fly over you. It came to the point that all of a character's intricate combos would be useless and they'd have to focus on aiming kunai or carefully timing sweep kicks to hope to survive.
Naru from Battle Arena Toshinden 3 is one of these, by virtue of being the last unlockable character in the game. She's very small and carries a comparatively big sword, making her attacks slow, but also making her harder to hit. Her fighting style is close to that of her adopted father Kayin, so characters who know how to master him should be able to fight as Naru no problem.
The Chairperson in Rival Schools is pathetic in battle, as she trained in Saikyo, the martial arts style of the Joke Characterpar excellenceDan Hibiki. But her Team-Up Attack is one of the most powerful in the game, as it is the only one that recovers both health and super meter (all other healing Team-Ups only restore one of those two). She's useless as a player character, but invaluable as a teammate.
In SNK vs. Capcom: SVC Chaos he's got even more buffs. Suffice it to say that if you approach him with the same mentality as in the Marvel series, you're going to get trampled. Possibly literally. Let's see: Gadoshokoken that piffles out after a few feet, but covers the same area as a Haohshokoken, which means that it'll catch you in a jump every time, and it's a special. Stupid showy power punch (mimicing Ryo's similar super move which instantly dizzies enemies if it connects) that has a hideous recovery time if it connects, but does a LOT of damage, sends you flying across the screen, meaning that unless you land in the corner you can't punish it and the long windup functions as an autoguard that can block anything, even normally unblockable moves... and it's also a special. Same ol' dumb Dankukyaku that hits high, it's a lot faster than before and can easily punish fireballs. And of course, the Otoko Michi, his Exceed, takes off about half your life and does NO damage to him.
In Street Fighter Alpha, Dan also has this potential. His normals are some of the hardest-hitting in the game, and the Koryuken becomes invincible after a certain amount of attacks/taunts. If you're good at keeping count, this can lead to a humiliating defeat for your opponent when you hit them out of a super.
Dan is at the height of his power in Street Fighter IV making him downright decent. His Shisso Buraiken Ultra Combo has priority over Akuma's Shin Shun Goku Satsu Ultra. This is hilarious in actual matches, because as soon as Akuma's move activates, he can't escape. Also, his Super attack is a hilariously long autocombo that is easily punishable if you miss. However, if you manage to land it then it actually out-powers his Ultra attack by a good amount.
Super Street Fighter IV buffed Dan even more. His Koryuken and Gadouken moves now deal more damage than their counterparts, all variations of his Dankuukyaku are safe on block (leading to tricky setups if you know how to utilize them), his command taunts can now stop attacks, and his Shisso Buraiken Ultra Combo deals the same amount of damage as in SFIV, while everyone else's deals significantly less. He feels less like a joke character and more of a regular low-to-mid tier.
Dan's quite unusual in this respect. As acknowledged by this video, SSFIV Dan doesn't really have the complex, high-risk-high-reward capabilities of most Lethal Joke Characters, and were his moveset given to someone else, they'd likely be dismissed as merely below-average. Dan's main strength is in mind games: being such an infamous joke, few bother to train against Dan, and when he's selected, they tend to assume their opponent is Cherry Tapping. They are then blindsided by the fact that the gap between Dan and most top-tier characters isn't THAT wide, and when they start taking damage, they quickly lose focus out of fear of losing to Dan. That Dan happens to be very good at cheap shots is just the icing on the cake.
Ultra Street Fighter IV goes a step further- performing a ducking or jumping taunt fills his Super Meter, which is crucial for a character with some of the funniest taunts and which can throw off an opponent's game when being taunted by a supposed weakling like Dan. Now add the fact that his Shissho Buraiken has armor-breaker properties, and you'll wonder how much stronger Dan becomes in the future.
Phoenix Wright is quite possibly the most complicated, useless character in the hands of the wrong person. As his power stacks with his legal defense, players have to switch between threenote (two standard, one unlocked with evidence) attack modes while collecting relevant evidence to build a case; additionally, there are five different evidence pieces which all carry different special moves if used as attacks. Despite all these complications, however, collecting three pieces of evidence allow for Turnabout Mode, which has an exponential damage boost, allows super move variants, and can activate "Ace Attorney", one of the most damaging moves in the whole game (that cannot miss). Phoenix Wright's damage and speed boost when activating X-Factor is staggeringly high when he is the last man on his team, and if Ace Attorney is used on X-Factor, he can knock out any character even if they have a full HP bar. One bad move and Phoenix Wright can turn the entire game around.
Ultimate also gave us Rocket Raccoon. Yes, he's a walking raccoon with a gruff British accent, and his combos are very difficult to pull off, but he has great trapping ability, good keepaway, and is hard to hit due to being the smallest character in the roster.
If a player completes over 100 fights with Firebrand in their team, they are awarded the title "The Joke's on You!"
Street Fighter III: Sean probably qualifies; he's Ken's young student and attacks with basketballs, but he's actually quite good. He also strives to be everything Dan wasn't. They nerfed his balls off in 3S, though. The only character worse is Twelve, although the joke there might be how terrible Capcom was (is?) at balancing games. Also notable in Sean's case is that he's actually worse than Dan in the storyline.
Also, Q. He has a 9:1 match-up vs. Makoto (her Karakusa beats EVERYTHING HE HAS), some very telegraphed attacks and bad-to-average normals that leave him very vulnerable on block — yet he also has the best kara-throw (tied with Chun-Li), a command-throw which can be made throw-invincible, a glitch which makes him throw-invincible for a split second, very good supers, and if you taunt 3 times his stamina increases from 1200 (good) to 2050(stupidly good). There are two spaces for Q on the tier list; normal Q is usually near the bottom. "Q with three taunts"? About two spaces away from Chun-Li. If that doesn't sound like much, SF 3 Chun-Li is generally considered a Game Breaker.
In Street Fighter IV, El Fuerte also qualifies for this trope. Soon after the game was released, a near-infinite Fierce punch loop was discovered that would allow him to stun enemies in seconds. Capcom decided not to patch this, with the justification that the loop was extremely difficult to perform, and that El Fuerte had little else going for him as a character.
On the "joke" side, he's got ludicrous premises, hammy voice actors, comical-looking attacks with silly food-themed names — it's difficult to take him seriously. On the lethal side, he's got a level of mobility second only to Vega, an unpredictable array of attacks, rapid aerial defense, and high comboability. In the right hands, he's got quite a lot going for him.
Speaking of Capcom Vs. games, Roll in Tatsunoko vs. Capcom has been improved upon. She still has a low stamina (with Karas being the lowest), but she is tiny, has a disjointed hitbox thanks to her broom, and has a fast air-dash. Her ground combos can lead to her Roll Sweep-Sweep special move, which can hit a grounded foe and CANNOT BE ESCAPED! She has a LEVEL 1 hyper move that recovers her health decently too! Her attacks also deal good amount of damage! It was also somewhat recently discovered that if she sweeps up the puddles she can produce with a special move with hers with another special move, she becomes even stronger, nearing some of the strongest characters strength-wise with a maximum of 5 swept-up puddles (or just a single one if she uses the super version of the sweep-up attack).
In SNK's Gals Fighter (a.k.a. Queen of Fighters) for the Neo-Geo Pocket, you can unlock Kyo Kusanagi's non-martial artist girlfriend, Yuki. She looks like a harmless schoolgirl, and she's often surprised whenever she wins, but her attacks can be deadly. She can fight by swinging her school bag around, advancing from one end of the screen to the other. She screams out a Big "NO!" to stop air attacks cold. And best (or worst, depending on your point of view) of all, she has a 12-hit slap move that is dangerous all by itself, but can be easily chained to her scrambling super attack for up to 33 hits, the highest in the game!!
At first glance, Yachiru in Bleach: Blade of Fate seems worthless. She has two moves, a dash attack and her Battle Aura, and one super that's a stronger version of the aura. If you use her personal Spirit Card deck, however, you'll see it's all Stability (which prevents her attacks from being stopped if she gets hit) and Spirit Pressure Increase. That's the trick - use her dash to corner her opponent, then bust out her super, and the opponent can't escape taking every hit. If you have three super bars, that's most of their health. No wonder she's a Cute Bruiser.
Sadly, Dark Souls hit her with a Nerf. Personal Spirit Card decks were removed, her attacks have much more wind-up, and she randomly trips, regulating her to normal Joke Character status. Amusingly, Hanataro can make a claim to this status - unlike Shattered Blade, he only has two attacks that heal the enemy, and one of his special attacks inflicts paralysis, which is like a "Free Air Combo" ticket.
Even in Shattered Blade, Hanataro can make this claim. If used correctly, he can be one of the most powerful characters in the game. His special attack can inflict over half a health bar's worth of damage. This is only beaten out by Byakuya's Bankai attack, which is really saying something.
Bloody Roar: Primal Fury manages to do this with the normal final boss. In a tournament filled with individuals that turn into man-tiger or man-wolf forms, his basic beast form is a penguin. Not a human-sized penguin, or a superfast penguin, or a one that hits supernaturally hard. It's about two feet tall and squeaky. It attacks with wingslaps. His normal human form is a bit bishie, too, and not particularly strong with fairly short combos. He seems like a joke. Except a two foot tall penguin coincidentally happens to be far too short for most attacks, even many special powers, to hit. It can't be grabbed, and thus is very easy to turtle with, can be hard to predict, and can end up slapping enemy combos apart. In some cases, you can force enemies to turn around while continuing their combo, leaving them very, very open. His Hyper Beast Mode is a short-lived human-sized phoenix form with a one-hit kill that acts more on the level of normal beast forms, and it's still a downgrade from the penguin.
The prior — and again, somewhat jokey - character Uriko, first made an appearance as the first game's final boss (against her will) and subsequent appearances unable to complete her transformation, so she looks like a catgirl instead of a weretiger, and acts like the former as well, and many of her techniques involve her losing balance or dizzying whether or not she's succesful. Why a lethal joke? Her basic and beast combos are infinitely chainable at the right tempo, and can keep all but the perfectly timed opponent juggled 'til their lifebar is done.
In Mace: The Dark Age, you can play as Pojo: The magic chicken with a code. Pojo is weak and has very few attacks, but is so small that most attacks miss entirely, including everything the final boss does.
In Tekken 3, we got Gon... who despite being a bit slow and short (or due to being short), cannot be attacked by high attacks, cannot be thrown, and has unblockable projectiles.
Not to mention Doctor B, who spends most of his time on his back, but provides quite a challenge as the end boss of an optional mini-game, and can be lethal in the hands of an expert player.
Hell, he's got an unblockable paralyzing attack, can do a sudden ground-stomping-kaboom after mindlessly evading your attacks, is practically unpredictable, etc. And he's got a killer 20-hit combo, while the rest of the characters have only 10-hit combos. The downside is that it can be hard to learn how to control him properly.
Tekken 6 has Roger Jr, both utterly ridiculous and thought by many to be top tier characters.
Tekken Tag Tournament 2 has some, too, like Lili's butler Sebastian, who has the same moveset as Lili. An old man using young girl's feminine, acrobatic moves? It may look pretty ridiculous, but a player who is good with Lili can kick some serious ass with Sebastian as well. Also, previously mentioned Doctor B appears as a DLC character. His movelist has been changed and now he surprisingly spends most of the time standing, but he still has a lot of joke moves. Here is a video about his infamous butt slide attack.
Most of the games in the DBZ Budokai series have at least one of these. Ginyu could qualify in the first four games — simply let the opponent beat him up, use Body Change (which switches the characters' respective health bars), and finish what your opponent started. This was heavily nerfed in Tenkaichi 2, however, to the point where the move is practically useless. That game's example of this trope is Videl, whom most players quickly dismiss because she has no long-range offense whatsoever, has a very small health bar, and has a weak short-range offense. However, she's fast. VERY fast. I'm talking "can string together 30-hit combos with minimal effort and finish them with a 75-hit combo" fast. Those hits may be weak, but they add up. Against a competent Videl, most opponents aren't even given a chance to breathe during their Death of a Thousand Cuts, much less mount any form of offense themselves.
Hercule. Unlike every other character in the game, his standard combo has no knockback whatsoever (on top of doing next to no damage). His Ultimate Blast can be either pathetic... or do only 1 damage. At first glance it seems his only saving grace is Present For You, a Blast 2 that can counter any close-range attack with a powerful bomb. Problem with that is, Hercule has a Blast 1 called False Courage that makes him immune to knockback. At long range, he can simply dodge everything and not care about what does manage to hit. At medium range, he can use a rush Blast 2 that has a tremendous amount of knockback (and in the meantime, he's charging energy to re-use it). At close range, Present For You. Game, set, match.
This also applies to Videl in the Raging Blast 2. While most see her as weak, she can combo opponents repeatedly into paralysi with a combination o melee and her signature skill. Her signature skill is a series of kicks that leave the opponent unable to counter and can be combo-ed with itself until you run out of ki, potentially getting combos in the hundreds of hits.
Neko-Arc in Melty Blood — despite being completely unplayable (literally) for half of the versions, Neko-Arc is ridiculously overpowered: very small height, good speed, and powerful ranged and throwing attacks. A safe strategy leans towards crouching in a corner continually tripping her until she runs out of health. Luckily, she doesn't do too much damage overall, and has about the worst defense in the game, but if a skilled player hits enough times...
Neko-Arc suffers from one problem - her only attack that's likely to land a hit on the opponent is her True Ancestor Beam, which requires magic circuit to use. Neko-Arc Chaos, on the other hand, combines all of Neko-Arc's advantages with some of Nrvnqsr Chaos' far-reaching attacks... *shudder*
Both Neko-Arcs (in modes retaining their unique paper air-dash) can actually stay out of an attacker's reach for a ridiculous period of time. If they gain a life advantage during a match, then get hit in mid air near the peak of their high jumps, they can air-recover (resetting their actions) and air-dash slowly across the screen... TWICE.
Shingo Yabuki of The King of Fighters '97, who is less effective in terms of technique but still has lots of damage potential in him, thanks to his ability to do random critical hits. Basically, it's a bit hard to have him hit you, but when he does hit, he'll break your defenses more than once. Yeowch.
Also in The King of Fighters are Chang and Choi. Both characters look and act goofy and are part of the "joke" team, but are absolutely lethal in the right hands. The AI also tends to play them very well, making them lethal joke characters in normal play.
The USA Team of Lucky, Brian and Heavy D! is meant as a joke team, but the characters can be nasty in the right hands. The winner of a recent major Japanese KOF tournament had Heavy D! in his team.
"Meant" being the key word there. The only real joke out of the three is Lucky. Heavy D! is extremely fast and powerful, and Brian has surprisingly extensive combo ability.
The Japanese version of Marvel Super Heroes has Anita, Donovan's companion from Darkstalkers as a hidden character. Anita is small so many attacks fly right over her. Her super move "Love For You" is the most devastating attack in the game: she throws a torrent of doll heads at you which hit for 99 hits, and even if you block you'll still lose half your life bar.
Mortal Kombat's Nightwolf was originally a parody of Thunder Hawk from Street Fighter. Except that he could run faster than a character was being thrown, and he had a fast recovery time, so you could set up a throw combo. He's still pretty good even in subsequent games, but no unblockable 100% combos.
And in the 2011 game, you have Freddy Krueger. While at first glance he seems little more than a novelty DLC character, his lethality is quickly realized when he reveals his excellent speed, long reach (which is obscene even when considering his claws), strong combos and teleport spamming abilities second only to Noob Saibot.
Speaking of T.Hawk and throwing, he almost epitomizes this trope in Super Street Fighter II Turbo. He's laughably bad and has nearly unwinnable matchups against half the cast, and at a disadvantage against another quarter. However, if at any time, he achieves a knockdown in the corner, he can start a loop of safe-jumping (attacking with his jumping weak punch, which strikes on a blocking opponent, but whiffs and allows him to land against somebody attempting to reverse him), and following this with a negative-edge (button-released) Typhoon throw. This pattern allows him to do a completely unbreakable sequence of throwing somebody over and over again in the corner until they die, making him the only character in any iteration of Street Fighter II with an instant-win tactic, provided he can set it up.
Many characters in SSFIIT have variations on this tactic, but are escapable in some way or another. Also, some characters can use a reversal move to counter this trap, but T.Hawk will simply block the reversal if his Typhoon did not work. This usually leads to more pain.
Kurumi of Vanguard Princess. Unlike the super-beings that are the rest of the cast, she is just a schoolgirl, and has only one move, but is the only character who can chain combo (deadly in this game as combos tend to be low in number and hit at near full power to compensate,) and as of the latest revision her supers are basically a One-Hit Kill.
Someone made a version of Mario for M.U.G.E.N called "NES Mario." NES Mario is just like what you think, the version of Mario from Mario 1, and he's tiny at that. He can only attack by jumping on enemies and he dies in two hits (if you don't press the button to turn into Super Mario again at the expense of some of the lifebar, a merciful addition). However, there's something that makes him lethal: Fighting game characters flinch when hit, Mario does not. If you get a window of opportunity, you can just keep on stomping your foe and finish them off in less than a minute.
There's also the Metool from Mega Man X. It takes twice the damage from any attack, hence dying twice as fast as a regular character. However, it's tiny and very hard to normally damage, it can juggle opponents with its Spread Shot, has access to its signature helmet guard which makes it invulnerable to ANYTHING, an unblockable super where a bunch of metools rush the enemy for a third of their health, and finally, its ultimate attack drops the Metool Daddy from Mega Man 4 on the enemy for a One-Hit Kill.
Zappa from Guilty Gear. Due to the random nature of his ghost summons, he's just as unpredictable to the person playing him as he is to his opponent, and his really powerful ghost takes a long time to set up... but once Raoh appears, the fight is more or less over. Plus he's good for just plain freaking opponents out with his constant babbling and impossible contortions.
There is actually a method of consistently selecting a summon for Zappa based on the 2nd digit of the game timer. This makes him considerably more dangerous.
Death Vegas has two lethal joke characters: Duff, a fat guy wearing a Hawaiian shirt and a crown, and Lourdes, a plunger-wielding cleaning lady. Both of them have nasty counterattacks and are capable of holding their own against a roster that includes a karate expert, an martial artist assassin, a tazer-wielding FBI agent, and a roided-up boxer.
Hidden character and in-game shop-owner Mel, from Power Stone 2. She has three special attacks; of these, two do low damage and are difficult to connect with. The third also does low damage; unlike any other special attack however, it can be used up to four times in a row. Combine with Mel's special ability to triple-jump out of range, and suddenly the opposition is being crushed by a never-ending rain of unavoidable moneybags spawned by an untouchable foe.
Pet Shop from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is a bird whose Stand, Horus is an ice elemental who only allows him to fire tiny icicles and stalagmites at his enemies which do little damage, as well as having the lowest health in the game. However, being a bird, he's the only character in the game who can fly seamlessly around the battlefield, meaning he's able to dodge just about any attack by simply flying over it, and has some of the most spammable moves in the game, one of which is incredibly powerful.
The tourneys for the game actually consider him to be the highest tiered character. Some even have him banned from use in competitive play.
Fighting game Eternal Champions 2 (Also known as Eternal Champions: Challenge from the Dark Side) had, as an unlockable character, Crispy, a chicken with no special moves and not many regular moves to speak of either. But he was also so small that the majority of the other characters' moves couldn't hit him, and opponents could only block his attacks while crouching (except his jumping attacks). The character was supposed to be just a cute novelty character, but he was ridiculously hard to beat, even when played by an inexperienced player. He was practically invincible in the hands of someone who knew what they were doing. (The fact that the game introduced a "juggling" mechanic that the bugs hadn't exactly been worked out of, and that Crispy was too small for other characters to juggle but fast enough to easily juggle anyone else didn't help.)
Kuma in Tekken 1, 2, and 6. Kuma is a bear with a big hit box and crappy range (though less of a problem in Tekken 2), he moves slow and his moves are predictable. On the plus side in Tekken 2 and 6 he attacks at a decent speed. For some reason from Tekken 3 they decided to nerf him into a crappy Joke Character , then Tekken 6 undid a lot of the damage, and gave him a whole bunch of new moves, including the fact he can now juggle! He still moves slow, he still has crap range, a big hitbox and can be very predictable if not played properly... but he attacks at a decent pace and he still has his high power meaning he can put on a lot very quickly. Yay rebalancing!
Not to mention the "Bear Fart." It's hard to connect, but it's one of the most powerful moves in any Tekken game and practically a OHKO if it connects.
In Gundam: Battle Assault 2, the player can unlock such powerful cheese machines like the Big Zam, Epyon, deceptively-ridiculous Zeong, the f***ing Dark Gundam, the more under-the-radar Hydra Gundam, the Missile spam crazy Heavyarms Custom, and the custom Psycho Gundam Mk. III. Sharing the spotlight with these titans of argh is... a Ball, piloted by barely-above-no-name Shiro Amada. Not to denigrate his status as a pilot or a protagonist, but Shiro isn't exactly on a par with Newtypes like Char or zombie-cyborgs like Major Ulube or even pretty boy aces like Treize Kushrenada. Still, people fear the Ball, all for one reason: sheer speed. Ball is the second-fastest character in the game, and has a trick by which it can stop its vernier boost and rapidly descend with an attack. This lightning-fast cross-up could then be canceled into his damaging jackhammer attack or his even-more-damaging 120mm cannon shot. Even without any mega-specials and pitiful defense, the trusty Ball managed to crush almost anyone in its path.
Likewise, the Ball of Mobile Suit Gundam: Federation vs Zeon has the lowest armor and most limited weaponry of any suit, while being slow and having rather limited boost power. A Rick Dom or most Mobile Armors can blow it up in a single shot. It's mostly in-game for plot purposes. It can still be ridiculously lethal in the right hands, though, since where you'd only get a couple Rick Doms, players using the Ball get at least six, and often many more, all of which are small targets devoted to long-range attacks. They can only take down real mobile suits by nibbling them to death, but they cannibble things to death.
One of the base classes in Soulcalibur III is the Dancer. Its initial weapon discipline is a pair of tambourines. Despite the silly-looking nature of the moveset, it's A) incredibly fast, B) two of the tambourine weapons (Mazurka and Terpischore) have the ability to heal the character with every successful hit, and C) many of its most basic moves utterly break the A.I.. Use the class enough times also unlocks the Soul of Xianghua, meaning access to her infamous "Great Wall" attack.
Castlevania: Judgment has Maria Renard. Not only is she a generally silly character (a Cute Witch amongst Gothic Horror types), her attacks are quirky and even prone to misfiring, causing her to break her own combos. But, if handled properly and kept at the right range, she can devastate her opponents.
Shigechi in Jojos Bizarre Adventure All Star Battle. A small, fat, really weird-looking high school student, Shigechi has the Stand Harvest, which manifests as a bunch of tiny insect-men. They're expended for his special attacks, which forces him to constantly replenish them - and the move to do so leaves him open for a split-second. However, he's short, and (unlike Iggy) his hitbox reflects this - high attacks can't touch him when he's on the ground. Many of his attacks hit low, which is an advantage because many players rarely think to block low. One of his special attacks drops stuff on the enemy - which makes it an overhead in a game where there are not a surfeit of overheads. For a character who died horribly only a few chapters after his introduction, Shigechi is surprisingly able to hold his own.
First/Third Person Shooter
The Monkey of TimeSplitters 2 and its sequel, Future Perfect. With character attributes off, the monkey still retains its MUCH smaller hitbox, making him VERY hard to hit. Worse yet, his hitbox is BELOW the neutral position viewline, meaning opponents need to deliberately aim downwards to make their shots count, adding to the inaccuracy. With attribs on, his speed combines with the already almost gamebreaking hitbox, making him literally impossible to damage with non-hitscan weapons if played right.
Monkey is only a Joke Character at the select screen. As soon as you face him you realize he's a Game Breaker. There is even a stat that which keeps track of how many times you've played as him and he's overall seen as a cheat character. Modes like Monkey Assistant is a nightmare: The last player gets a team of monkies wielding rocket launchers after them. One should also not forget Robofish, who is probably an even more Lethal Joke Character. First he is really hard to unlock in all the games. Secondly he is a robot with a fish bowl for its head. After that he's equally fast and short as monkey, but since his body is as thin as it gets, he has a smaller hitbox. Even the head is hard to hit. The Shoal is also worth fitting up here. He's a floating whale with a top hat. The reason he's good is that when you realize he lacks legs he's harder to hit. He's got a fairly large torso, but the head is not part of the whale, but a fish on top. It's pretty small and unassuming and not very different from all the other fishes floating around him, thus it's very rarely anybody ever does a headshot on him.
Hunk from Resident Evil 4's Mercenaries mode has no knife and a TMP that burns through ammo in seconds. Careful aim and good use of his one-hit-kill neck breaker special move can allow you to take out packs of enemies while gaining far more ammo from drops than you used, while the TMP's fast rate of fire allows you to lock down larger groups and even some minibosses. Not to mention you also spawn with 3 frag grenades. The only problem is if you run out of ammo, you don't have a backup weapon and can't even break open containers to look for more.
Hack and Slash
In Dynasty Warriors 5, one of the (MANY) characters is Zuo Ci, an old man whose weapon is a deck of cards. At first glance, especially compared to massive pike-wielding badasses, this seems exceptionally lame. And yet his attacks, while not especially powerful, tend to hit EVERYONE even remotely close to him. In a game where it's quite common to be surrounded by 30-40 Mooks, this is invaluable.
Actually, Zuo Ci only looks like a joke. In reality, he had the best stats of any character in the game- all of his stats were on par with the highest of any other character, and he had epic combo abilities. If you knew what you were doing with him, it was possible to defeat even "invicinble" bosses you were supposed to avoid.
The Qiao sisters and their twin fans are rather weak, in damage dealing terms. Still, if they're played correctly, they can defeat dificult enemies in levels where the rest of characters would have to run for their lives.
Further mention goes to Xiao Qiao, whose ultimate weapon in DW3 had the instant death element imbued onto her final charge attack string. Use it on an enemy officer and watch his/her life bar deplete instantly.
Also, in the online version, Zuo Ci's weapon seems to be the weakest out of all of them, inversely having one of the WORST stat averages of the game, the average high of the weapon is actually poor quality if compared to other weapons, and having a mostly gimmicky moveset. Unless you get the right combination of first and 6th charge attack. If done right, you can have a perfect assist weapon, second only to none. You could have the ability to naturally stun, freeze, or burn any opponent without using items, and if you do then you can stack up the advantage by using a combination of 2-3 elements depending on your luck with the weapon attacks. Being able to inflict status effects stacks well with the activation skill, you get a debuff and slowly lose health, one of the weapon's higher stats, and give a bonus in attack and defense to all friends, as well as heal them. You don't play this weapon for it's stats.
With the recent buff to the deck, it's gotten even more lethal. Instead of shooting three energy shots, the deck now shoots fire, just like Zuo Ci's. Combined with the decks musou attack, you've easily got a slightly less powerful true musou.
Talking about online, a less straight out joke weapon is the Feather fan, not to be confused with the strategist's fan of the same game that is also a feather fan but uses black feathers, because you can ask anybody online about Zhuge Liang, the character that this weapon moveset is based off of, and they will tell you it sucks. However, those who do know how to use it are in for a treat. It has very high defense, life, and attack upgrades, comparable the weapon based off The Dragon from the dynasty warrior games, and a deadly Musou attack is hard to aim, being a spamming of beams forward, but if you manage to connect you get a very effective stunlock that is impossible to get out of once hit unless the attacker stop or misses. Along with that it has only one really good normal attack, a moving wall attack, and it makes it confusing if somebody starts using other parts of the combo, you aren't likely to see the Charge 4 in combat, making it confusing when it's suddenly used to knock you and anybody near you away after you trap a user.
The Tonfas are viewed as pathetic weapons due to their range, strange stat locations, and somewhat less than stellar emblems. Its charge 5, however, can naturally set things on fire, a very valuable attack to have. Ironically, it also has a large range and is very easy to hit someone from behind, effectively making guarding useless. Combined with a lightning orb, and you'll have an essentially undodgable attack.
Gracia from Samurai Warriors 2 is pathetically weak if played like a traditional character... but her special skills are absurdly more potent than anyone else in the game, to the point of bordering on Game Breaker. She can boost her stats at will, restore health, and blast with obscenely powerful attacks, all at the cost of a bit of Musou Meter — and she quickly gets skills that cause it to constantly regenerate or accelerate its normal regeneration.
She's ridiculously effective on a horse, also. While her normal attacks are essentially her flailing her tiny fists at people (little damage, no range), her mounted attack is lobbing fireballs of doom. Gracia + Matsukaze = apocalyptic destruction.
Diablo IIs expansion Lord of Destruction features the Assassin which has a skill called Blade Fury which is weak in comparism to other traps the Assassin can set and receives barely a better base damage to mana cost ratio if you spend more skill points into it. The catch of this skill is that it gets stronger the stronger you get yourself as it inflicts 75% weapon damage to enemies. This becomes even more impressive when you realize that it also causes the traits of your weapons like elemental damage as well as the traits you add to it by other means like armor or skills. So if your weapon possesses Mana Steal you have a ranged attack that refills your mana as long as it hits, if your weapon possesses Knockback it will push enemies away from you and if your weapon possesses the ability to randomly cast spells it will cast that spell with a similar ratio where it hits and it costs almost no mana at all. The downsides of it are that you can't move while you use it (you can't move while you cast most spells anyway), it only hits single enemies as long as it doesn't cast other spells and enemies are still able to avoid or block it (though as evasions and blocks are often tied to an animation they might be hit by the next blade as soon as they recover from defending). This is an example of a literal death of a thousand cuts for bosses outside of the screen caused by a spam attack.
Dynasty Warriors: Gundam has its fair share of units that are, well, underwhelming—most of these are the MechaMook Mobile of their respective factions and series. Most of them won't set the world on fire, but occasionally some will surprise players with their powers.
The GINN from Mobile Suit Gundam SEED, which at first glance is an unimpressive fighter with a machine gun and a plain sword, not even a beam saber. However, it spontaneously pulls out a gigantic beam cannon for its Limit Break, which can be upgraded to become just as powerful as any Class 1 suit with a similar attack.
The first Mobile Suit Gundam gives us the Gouf, a slow, somewhat plodding fighter with a short sword and a weak machine gun...that has armor for days and uses its Heat Rod to stun and beat down entire crowds of mobile suits.
The Acguy from the same series is a goofy, fan-favorite mobile suit that is weak, but combines a surprisingly fast speed with a charge attack that sends it rolling across the ground and bowling over entire squads of enemy suits; it may not kill them quickly, but enemies will be hard pressed to keep up with the little bowling ball.
The king of this trope, however, is Beargguy from Model Suit Gunpla Builders Beginning G. A rather silly-looking Acguy variant designed to resemble a teddy bear, Beargguy isn't any better than the Acguy it's made from at first glance thanks to low stats and weak physical attacks. That is, until it starts using its special attacks, at which point it reveals itself to be a Macross Missile Massacre-spewing, Beam Spamming monstrosity. It retains the Acguy's rolling charge attack, but now it fires waves of homing missiles with every tumble. Rather than the puny machine guns the Acguy is forced to use, it has laser eyes. Finally, instead of the simple claw attack that the Acguy has for a Limit Break, Beargguy fires sprays of energy blasts from a beam recorder (read as the wind instrument). This means that the Beargguy can launch a flurry of missiles, use the damage caused by them to charge its Limit Break, then use that to knock down enemies so it can start its missile attack again.
In Ragnarok Online, a class called the Super Novice can be obtained if one creates a regular Novice and keeps it from obtaining a class until base lv 45. The Super Novice at first seems to have a great deal of potential, being allowed to acquire almost all the skills the 1st class Jobs can use, and having a collective pool of 99 points (instead of the usual 50 1st class Jobs usually have) to allocate them to. However, Super Novices can only use the same crappy gear novices have, and along with their abysmally low HP/SP gains from leveling up, can easily be killed in one or two hits. Their real strength shines if built like a Mage class, as, since casting time for spells is determined by the game's DEX stat, using the right gear, maxing their base DEX stat, and using all the DEX skill buffs available to them, the Super Novice can nearly be able to instantly cast spells. If coupled with a Bard skill that even further lowers casting time and after-cast delay, players can effectively make efficiently-leveled Super Novices into living, Fire Bolt-spewing maching guns...as long as their puny SP holds out, anyway. Or if built for AGI they get the highest flee in the game and if their XP is kept between 99 and 100% they will get up if killed with a host of buffs making them a strange little tank so long as they're not being mobbed.
The Toy Cars in Burnout Paradise. They're miniaturized Power Wheels-style versions of some of the regular cars. They're quite a bit slower than their normal-sized counterparts... but they are much easier to weave through traffic and extremely durable (some of the tougher ones can ram a bus head-on and not wreck.) Their maneuverability and light weight makes them great for Stunt Runs as well (the Toy P12 88 Special in particular gets an obscene amount of hang time.)
The Flatmobile of Flat Out 2 is so comically fast that any typical player simply cannot control it. However, said acceleration is equally reciprocated in its brakes, and at sane speeds it can out-handle any vehicle in the game. In the hands of a truly skilled gamer, no other vehicle can possibly compete, even in the infamous destruction derbies.
The Need for Speed Underground 2 Toyota Corolla. This car looks hilariously outdated, being a box-shaped mid-'80s car in a game about flashy modern ricers, and it is one of the starter cars alongside the unimpressive Peugeot 106 and Opel Corsa. Oh, and it is also by far the best car in the game, beating Skylines and Supras left and right thanks to its very accurate handling. Still laughing?
This car is often amazingly good also in other NFS games. In Carbon, it is considered a BONUS alongide concept cars, and his handling makes the skilled player even able to stay behind a Murcielago in canyon races. In Pro Street this car is able to beat even the Drift King (and it is a tier one, the weakest of the game), and if fully tuned with Stage 4 parts (very much time consuming since they can be only won) can win in each game mode except the most difficult drag races.
In Real World drift races it is still a popular car. There must be a reason.
Similarly, when tuned to the max with Junkman parts, the starter cars in Most Wanted are among the best cars in the game. Try owning multiplayer races with a Fiat Punto. Ah, the humiliation.
Or tuning a Volkswagen Golf to be faster than a Bugatti Veyron.
Ridge Racer 4 has the Age Solo Ecureuil, a mini car that has one gear but can go from 0 to 180 in three seconds. And you have to race against it in the Extra Trial to unlock it. The car would then appear twice with an extra gear in Ridge Racer(s) 2 for the PSP: once as the Angelus Kid and again as the Crinale Kid.
Over the course of its run, arcade game series Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune gives us two which are particularly Lethal Joke Characters: the absolutely diminutive Subaru R2 and the hulking Toyota Hi Ace. To clarify, the former is a dinky Kei Car and the latter is a huge minivan in a game series which is about tuners getting outputs of 600 horsepower and way up. The R2 is low-power but very lightweight, making it one of the most agile and surefooted cars in the game and the Hi Ace is a huge brick of automobile that needs to hit trucks to take the hint that it might want to get out of its lane.
The Toyota Celsior and Aristo (Lexus LS and GS, respectively) are cars that, while high-powered, are more designed for luxury than performance. As such their racing ability is questionable, and their in-game performance reflects it...unless you play VS mode. As the heaviest cars in the game, they are the hardest to push around, making it easy to knock away higher-tier cars into traffic or even walls. They also have only 4 gears instead of the standard 5 or 6, making them easier to shift especially in VS mode where the constant slamming of cars into things leads to frequently-fluctuating gears for other vehicles.
Amy in Sonic R. Only one other character has a top speed worse then her. However, her advantage is having good acceleration and no speed penalty with rain weather effects turned on because she automatically hovers over water. Also, her special move temporarily makes her faster then Super Sonic- the best character in the game -but at the cost of control.
Cream the Rabbit from Sonic Riders has the lowest top speed in the game, and plenty of characters have better handling and acceleration than her. She tells other people to go easy on her (and not sarcastically). However, she is the lightest character, meaning her boosts last the longest in a game where you can do boosts at will (provided your gauge hasn't emptied out). Put her on the Light Board, which decreases a character's weight, and she can replenish her boost gauge faster than her boosts run out. An experienced Cream player, once they start boosting, will never stop boosting. She has to go easy on her competitors. (She got a Nerf in later Sonic Riders games—it seems her lethality was not entirely intentional.)
The Light Board in general in the first game is this. It doesn't just make boosts last longer, it adjusts your character's cruising speed to the speed of said boost with the speed raising up to match higher boosting speeds when you level up! The handling becomes extra touchy and there's lots of things you can do to negate the bonus if you're not careful with your maneuvering, but if you can handle the absurd speed that the boost gives, you can go through an entire race at 250 on a singular boost!
Multiplayer Online Battle Arena
Teemo in League of Legends is a cuddly bipedal hamster wearing a scout hat and wielding a blowpipe, fighting for the "scout's code" (this is a game featuring demons, insane mages, brutes with axes and lots of blood and destruction). His ability set includes a "Blinding Dart", passive poison blowdarts, a speed boost that does nothing else, the ability to go invisible when standing still, and exploding mushroom traps. None of this really helps him during teamfights, cementing his position as troll pick among the less savvy community. There is even a stream by the developers, dedicated solely to watching Teemo die. But then you realise that his entire kit is designed to make him maddeningly uncatchable and capable of running circles around any bulky melee champion, trolling them around until they die to poison. Sending him against the typical top lane bruiser is guaranted to render that bruiser useless while Teemo builds up a gold lead and invests this into items like Liandry's Torment which gives his otherwise laughable mushroom traps a burn DoT. And he will make sure to plant those mushrooms in your jungle so you can't even move around the map without taking damage in a most irritating fashion. Although his viability is tied to the viability of top lane bruisers which has been in decline, he has actually been a top pick for a while.
You just won a teamfight, but you are all at low health. You retreat into a "friendly" bush and ploomfENEMY TRIPLE KILL. The common joke is that Teemo possesses a "universal taunt" because of this aspect.
Techies in Defense of the Ancients: All-Stars. His kit consists of: mines, remote mines, stun mines, and the ability to blow himself up for damage. He has no offensive capabilities to speak of. However, if he manages to place and arm a stun mine in the middle of a teamfight, it inflicts an insane 6 second area effect stun that pretty much equals gg. Also, a stacked mine nest is an instant kill, so you have to walk around with a gem of truesight at all times or risk instantly dying to nothing exploding on top of you.
Destroy The Godmodder has a few, especially the creepy dummy in game 2. It doesn't work well without being properly directed or helped apparently, and despite being a useless gag from game 1, is next to invincible and incredibly over powered now.
Sheena. He's a lecherous Upper-Class Twit with not-so-special stats. Basically, a character that most casual players would never use. However, long-time players of Suikoden swear by him, because he has something casual players tend to overlook. Sheena comes with three free Rune Slots, giving him insane twinking potential. With very little effort, one could very easily turn him into a Game Breaker.
An even worse case is Hai Yo, who could also acquire three free rune slots... and is a cook.
In the third game, the dogs, which are normally just pathetic, can preform a unite attack that can do over 4,000 damage to an enemy.
There's also the beavers: Cute talking critters and elite waterborne soldiers. Correctly used, they will turn most army battles into sick jokes and to add insult to injury, they don't even have a Gameplay and Story Segregation: storywise, it's when they join the heroes that their army start to get the upper hand in the war.
An interesting addition is Viki; up until 5, she was an above average mage but always fell short to other more powerful spellcasters. However, in this edition, she is a definite Game Breaker, as her unique skill 'Chain Magic', when fully upgraded, can clear entire battlefields due to her ability to cast very powerful spells a second time at no additional cost about 60%-80% of the time! Equip her with a Fire, Lightning, or Pale Gate Rune and watch the destruction!!
In Suikoden III you have Augustine Nabor. This member of the Narcissist archetype (most of which are fairly useless characters) is androgynous and foppish, and has the added drawback of requiring you to purchase a rare and fairly expensive accessory to recruit. He also has the ability to raise his Parry stat up to an S rank naturally and can raise his Swing stat up to an S with a few pieces of equipment (one of which is the one you need to recruit him so you have to have it anyway). This allows him to fend off nearly any nonmagical attack against him with ease and can multi-hit enemies when he attacks. If he is properly leveled, he can defend Budehuc castle during Thomas chapter 2's military battles pretty much by himself and he can go toe to toe with Yuber, the game's resident villainous annihilation machine.
Also from Suikoden III, Rico. The retainer to knight-errant Fred Maximilian, she looks like Strawberry Shortcake, has virtually no magical ability to speak of, and her weapon is a hammer that maxes out at two hits, tops. Her Combination Attack with Fred deals double damage, but puts her in the turn-skipping "Unbalanced" state. Then you look at her skill list and realize that she can build up to an A+ rank in a rare skill that prevents Unbalanced...meaning you can spam the Combination Attack (almost) every turn.
Finally, there's Juan. This straw-chewing bumpkin is one of the residents of Budehuc Castle, and is permanently saddled with a Waking Rune, which forces him to start each battle with the Sleep status. This is easily fixable with a Yellow Scarf accessory, though, and as a martial artist, his Swing skill is extremely high; at higher levels, he can get as many as six attacks per round in a game where fast normal attacks are key.
The most famous of these is Wobbuffet. When it was first introduced in Pokémon Gold and Silver, its gimmick of only being able to counterattack and a tiny movepool of only 4 moves left it quite difficult to use without prediction. However, with the advent of its ability Shadow Tag, which prevents the opponent from switching out against it, and expanding its movepool ever so slightly (by 3, but only one of them is really needed), it made the jump from never-used tier to actually being fairly powerful so unbelievably broken that no competitive player will agree to play against one, a designation it shares only with the most powerful Olympus Mons. It wasn't until Pokémon Black and White until the Power Creep finally caught up with it.
And even then it's still considered a major threat, just not so much that it should be banned.
Another Pokemon that could qualify is Pikachu itself. Equip it with a Light Ball and it gains incredible attack power, but it's still a Glass Cannon. In addition, in Pokémon Emerald and later, breeding a Pikachu equipped with a Light Ball would result in the offspring knowing the super-powerful "Volt Tackle" attack. Its evolved form is tougher but is unable to use the item.
Then there's Dunsparce, notable in that it has a special ability, Serene Grace, that was originally exclusive to the event-only pokemon Jirachi. In GSC it was completely useless, but with this ability Dunsparce has a high chance of causing status effects thanks to its ability, meaning you could completely immobilize the enemy opponent if you taught it moves that caused confusion, paralysis, freezing, attraction, flinching and others much more easily than any other "annoyer" pokemon.
Smeargle has astoundingly horrible stats, but it's still popular because it can use any move in the game. exceptions Shadow attacks from Pokémon Colosseum and Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness and the Chatter move introduced in Generation IV that only Chatot can learn. Its Sketch move can copy any other move in the game as of Generation III except for Struggle, a move that can only be used when all other moves are out of PP, which means Smeargle can still use it. This leads to a very effective moveset where Smeargle can Baton Pass the Ingrain effect, making the next Pokemon immune to Whirlwind and Roar (switching out without Baton Pass forfeits all stat boosts and other similar temporary statuses) and being able to recover an additional 1/16th of max HP each turn. There's also the Endure/Spore/Endeavor/Dragon Rage w/Salac berry combo, a variant of the FEAR strategy below. Speed is the only decent stat Smeargle gets, and it's the only stat it needs.
Even more terrifyingly, it gets the ability Moody from the Dream World, an ability that has already proved broken on things like Bidoof. In addition to being able to pile up random boosts from its ability, it can Baton Pass them to a real sweeper. After that, cue Total Party Kill.
FEAR. Which stands for Focus Sash, Endeavor, Quick Attack, Rattata. (Which is the clean version, some prefer "Fuckin' Evil Annoying Rodent" as the meaning.) Basically, the strategy of using a ridiculously low-leveled Rattata equipped with Focus Sash (that saves the Pokemon from death once, leaving it with one last HP), use Endeavor (that lowers the opponent's HP to the same value as yours) and then finalizing it with Quick Attack (which will always attack first). There are several ways of counter-attacking this plan, but it's still an ingenious way of defeating an Olympus Mon with a Com Mon. A much more useful version of the strategy involves combining Focus Sash and Endeavor with the Hail weather effect, which deals damage to non-Ice types after every turn and can be induced permanently by Abomasnow unless another weather-changing move or Pokemon is used, and the "Magic Guard" ability exclusive to the Clefairy line, which blocks residual damage such as Hail (Sandstorm works as well, though not as effectively as more things resist it). After Endeavor is used, the Hail will finish off most Pokemon, resulting in a one-turn KO. If your opponent doesn't have a Ghost-type (which is immune to Endeavor) or Ice-type on their team, Cleffa, Clefairy, or Clefable is guaranteed to take down at least one Pokemon each, and the fact that each count as a separate species means you can have all three on one team.
Along the same vein as FEAR, a similar technique can be used to turn Magikarp into something capable of sweeping entire teams of ubers and legendaries. Really.
Gen V gives us the SABER strategy. This time it stands for Sturdy Aron (shell) Bell Endeavor Recovery. Essentially Pokemon with Sturdy will now allow a Pokemon at full health to surivive any attack with one HP similar to the effect of Focus Sash. Endeavor works the same way but Endeavor also triggers Shell Bell which will restore all of a low level's Pokemon's HP. Notably it was part of the strategy (when applied to Nosepass) that allowed this player to beat Cynthiawith an entire team full of level one Pokemon.
Shedinja is another pokemon that may fit this trope. With a max HP of 1, most people would think this is a joke character, but the fact that it is only affected by attacks that are super effective means that it is immune to 12 out of 17 types of attack, making it invincible when used against the right enemies, most notably Kyogre.
In Gen V, the move Soak changes the pokémon type to Water. If you use it in a double battle, Shedinja will only be affected by Electric and Grass attacks.
In HeartGold and SoulSilver, contests are replaced by the Pokéthlon, a sport variety of Minigames. Each Pokémon has different stats in a category for how well they do in the competitions. The officially weakest Pokémon, Sunkern, has Pokéthlon stats comparable to Olympus Mons; the likes of Mew, Giratina's Origin Forme, and the Olympus Mon itself, Arceus. And Ditto. On top of that, its slightly-better evolved form, Sunflora, doesn't have these stats. However, it's maximum stats are full, but its base stats are 1. And there is no way to get them all to full.
Rotom was an Awesome, but Impractical levitating Electric/Ghost type with an awesome movepool/typing but no stats introduced in Diamond and Pearl... which, in Platinum, gained the ability to transform into a handful of ridiculous yet incredibly badass alternate forms, such as a washing machine, toaster oven, lawn mower, handheld fan, and refridgerator. Now, these frankly ridiculous variants? They have excellent defensive stats, special moves that give them great coverage, and very nice Special Attack. One of the best Pokemon in the game... is a washing machine. Of course, anyone who actually looks at it stats will notice right away that Rotom's appliance forms are no joke, but if you just have this kinda useless Pokémon that suddenly transforms into an appliance...
There's also Spinda, a Pokemon usually lambasted for its TERRIBLE stats. However, with the introduction of the Dream World, it gained access to the ability Contrary, which turns its stat drops into stat boosts. The Dream World also gave it the move Superpower, which would normally cut its Attack and Defense, but now RAISES them instead. Unfortunately, the only way to get a Spinda with this move is if you got it from the Dream World, and when move tutors in Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 started teaching Superpower, Spinda didn't get it.
This Pokemon, while usually only used to learn lots of HM moves, becomes surprisingly beasty when its Hidden Ability Moody is in play. This ability makes it randomly gain a slight boost in one stat and a slight drop in another each turn. With enough stalling, it can become such a surprisingly deadly force that it was nearly banned. Who's that Pokemon? Bibarel.
That Pokemon was not particularly shabby in the 4th gen, if proper use was made of the Simple ability (doubling all stat changes) and its tremendous movepool (including a handful of buffs and a variety of decent attacks).
Diggersby is a goofy-looking early-game rabbit that has decent HP and defenses, but little else to note... Unless it has its Hidden Ability of Huge Power, which doubles its Attack. Those Earthquakes will really hurt. To put it in perspective: at maximum stats, Diggersby hits harder than Groudon, and nearly as hard as Mega Tyranitar (or even harder, if Diggersby has a Choice Band).
Talonflame seems like your average early game bird Pokémon (other than being Fire/Flying instead of Normal/Flying). Even it's stats seems like they're on par with most birds, with it's best stat being Speed, and only having it's other stats being okay. However, one thing that separates it from the other birds, is it's hidden ability, Gale Wings. Gale Wings gives priority to all of it's Flying Type moves, including the powerful Brave Bird, and the healing in Roost. This ability turns what would be an average bird Pokémon, into one of the best revenge killers in the game. Add Flare Blitz for extra coverage, give it a Choice Band, Sharp Beak, or Life Orb, and you have a bird that will kill you if you so much as look at it funny.
With the proper usage of status buffs and Baton Pass, anything can be turned into a nigh-unstoppable death machine. Even a Ratatta.
Prankster: Generation V introduced this wonderful new ability that adds priority to non-damaging indirect attacks, letting them go ahead of "normal" priority moves. For a significant number of less-powerful pokemon, this ability suddenly gives them the means to make their move before most other vastly more fearsome opponents can curbstomp them, letting them completely mess up sweepers, bulky attackers, and even some tanks/bulky stallers simply by going before them and using moves like Taunt, Substitute, Will O' Wisp, Thunder Wave, Recover, Leech Seed, Tailwind, Trick Room, Sunny Day, Rain Dance, Hail, Sandstorm, Moonlight, Tail Glow, Swords Dance, Nasty Plot, Baton Pass, and so on. Go on, search "Prankster Whimsicott" or "Prankster Sableye" or "Prankster Volbeat" on Youtube or Google and watch battle records/read war stories where these low-powered Pranksters take dangerous matchups and turn them on their head.
Klefki. It's a weird-looking sentinent key ring Pokémon with lousy stats other than Defense. However, it has the Prankster ability, the highest amount of powerful status moves of any Prankster user, and also has the best defensive typing in the game (Steel/Fairy). Needless to say, they're a pain to fight.
In general, usage of prankster has gotten so high in competitive play that it ceases to be a surprise. And even knowing what to expect, it's still really difficult to not get messed up by them.
If you're confused about why you went through so much effort to unlock the seemingly useless Onion Knight in the DS remake of Final Fantasy III, then you obviously don't know that the Onion Knight's stat growth explodes at levels 90-99. In addition, they have access to all types and levels of magic from level 1, so they can be used to cast non-stat based spells (such as status cures) at lower levels then usual.
The good old Spoony BardEdward himself from Final Fantasy IV, despite the flak the guy gets. Even in the U.S. version which Nerfed his abilities, he could be put to good use if you just knew how to use him. Firstly his weapon was a projectile like bows and arrows that had infinite ammo and inflicted status ailments at no cost, which more than made up for their comparably low attack. This also meant you could put him in the back row to half the damage he took without halving his attack (the biggest pro of projectile weapons). Secondly he had amazing stat growth, particularly HPnote He and Cid are the only characters in the game to reach 9999HP at level 99, and Edward has the highest overall base attack in the game at that level. If you put a bit of time into grinding him and you used him to charm or put all the enemies to sleep while you had the rest of your party concentrate their fire on one enemy at a time, Edward would become a Crutch Character that would carry you all the way to the attack on Baron.
Gau, easily the most misunderstood character in the game. Not quite as scrappy as Umaro (who is always, totally uncontrollable), but close second simply because his entire mechanic involves losing control over him. Oh, and to learn his spells, you have to grind the Veldt to learn monster abilities...and it's random. But pick up the right ones, and know how to deploy them, and he becomes the strongest character until the very end of the game. To really get the lethal joke character flavor though, it's worth noting that some of his strongest attacks come from monsters that are ridiculously weak. Who knew a little mouse met in the first half hour of the game would teach you to instantly kill someone?
In the original SNES game, he could use the Merit Award, which gives you access to any equipment whether or not it's normally something the character can equip. For most characters, it's an amusing and somewhat useful ability. Gau can't use any weapons, though, and his physical attack power is boosted to make up for it. Add a powerful weapon, and he has some of the highest physical power available... which is still not terribly impressive, because magic overpowers regular physicals anyway. So instead put on a Tempest katana, which randomly turns physical attacks into a hit-all wind attack, and use the Stray Cat Rage, which has a 4x damage physical skill. Now Gau will often hit every enemy for 4x damage on top of his boosted attack strength, at no cost. Add an Offering, which makes you attack 4 times in a row, and suddenly Gau sweeps everything. This setup was called "Wind God Gau", and was so powerful that the re-releases generally take away the ability for Gau to use the Merit Award at all.
Additionally, Relm starts off pretty useless; her physical attacks suck, and even when Sketch works, it's not very useful. However, take a look at her stat screen, and you realize that she has the highest natural Magic in the game, and though she doesn't start off with any spells, the nature of the Esper system allows the player to customize her magic any way they like. In the second half of the game, you can get some very useful magic-boosting equipment for her, giving her a Glass Cannon flavor due to not being quite as durable as most of the other characters (but the Esper system can help this too).
Mog isn't quite as underrated as the above two, but he can still be surprisingly powerful with the right equipment. His Dance ability, like Gau's, causes the player to lose control of him, and while the attacks might be cool-looking, the fact you can't control them makes the ability Awesome, but Impractical. In addition, the only weapons he can use are spears, which have decent-but-not-great damage output. Instead, where Mog's hidden strength lies is his ability to tank. He has the best natural defense stat in the game, and when equipped with the Snow Muffler, his defense can reach the Cap of 255, causing all physical attacks to do only one point of damage to him. Couple that with the Paladin Shield, and he's practically invincible. On top of that, if you know where to look, you can find a charm for Mog that eliminates random encounters when he's equipped with it, which can make getting through some bonus dungeons much faster.
In Tales of Symphonia, we have The Chosen One, Colette. She appears to be a frail girl, that, well, needs protecting — barely capable of holding her own in a fight. With only mediocre stats, low speed, an odd fighting style and Idiot AI, one would think she's not worth keeping in the party — even her magic is bad (q simple, low damage light spell, a status buff that takes forever to cast, an Awesome, but Impractical spell that kills her, and lastly a flashy spell that hardly hits anything) so why is she called a Game Breaker? She gets the game's strongest Physical Special Attacks — including one that only uses 14 TP, deals massive (x4.6) damage (and it's Lightning Elemental — a LOT of the game's enemies are weak to it...), another that can do x10 damage — and that stacks with another hidden ability: Her seemingly weak Pow Hammer attack can become Toss Hammer, a poisoning attack that NOTHING IN THE GAME (not even That OneBonus Boss) is resistant to, and anything afflicted by it drops it's HP down to 1 in a minute (this in action). She also has an easy to use Hi-Ougi. In the hands of any skilled player she's a force to be reckoned with and NOT someone to be underestimated.
Even in the hands of an unskilled player, combinining her Hammer Rain with Lloyd's level 2 Sword Rain arts in an Unison Attack provides the devastating Stardust Rain combination, which can connect for 100+ hits on its own against a sufficiently large opponent.
The Tales fangame, A.C.S., gives you the Kakashi Scarecrow (the training dummy from Tales of the Abyss. Its one attack shaves off about a quarter of the opponent's health bar... MuchHilarity Ensues.
In TOME you can switch on or off "silly" enemies; ones from different series that don't quite fit the series' "Lord of the Rings meets Dragonriders of Pern with the numbers filed off" theme. One of these enemies early on is a "floating mine." If you have enough skill in the Symbiote ability, you can fuse this to yourself and fire rockets. These work very well against Nazgul.
Fallout: New Vegas provides legendary versions of wasteland creatures, with the DLC 'Old World Blues' providing a bloatfly, the weakest of all enemies, powered up to such a ridiculous degree that it can kill even a max level character in 3 hits and tank a few miniature nuclear warheads.
Albion features a scientist called Rainer Hofstedt, who is easily the weakest character in the game, and is only in the party for story reasons. He's also one of the only two characters who can use one of the best weapons in the game (a gun, in a mostly medieval setting).
The demo came with an edited savegame, where he gets a magic ring, that allows him to hurl fireballs. Not too powerful, but it does a decent amount of damage, and doesn't require any attack skill to successfully hit the target.
In Final Fantasy, the Bard is usually thought of as a joke class, mainly because that most people outside of Japan were first exposed to it by Edward in Final Fantasy IV, then called II in North America, and he sucked. In the DSEnhanced Remake of IV, Edward gains "Life's Anthem" one level after you meet him, which is nearly a Game Breaker: It lets the entire team regenerate a set amount of HP every second for the duration. Thus, the best use for him is to make him go first, set up Life's Anthem to fully refill HP, then destroy the enemies. At higher levels, he gets "Hastemarch", a full-party haste, and "Hero's Rhyme", a full-party 10% boost to all stats.
In the GBA remake, Edward is actually capable of soloing the Big Bad at level 60. It's very hard, but possible, making him qualify as an even more lethal joke character. Of course, he has the worst possible stats in the beginning, only beaten by Tellah, who actually becomes weaker by leveling up. At least his unnecessary Strength-stat drops by 1 point frequently when he levels up. His Intelligence doesn't ever increase either, nor does his MP.
Arc The Lad gives us Poco, the first sidekick of The Hero, who happens to be a cowardly klutz who ended in the army drum corps. Once correctly leveled, he starts Dual Wieldingcymbals, shooting laser beams from his drum and can do a Doppelgänger Spin where an orchestra of Pocos bring destruction throught very loud sounds.
The portly Duane in Kingdom Under Fire: Circle of Doom is the only character who has no achievement for beating the game, has no real story quests to speak of, has comical dream sequences and foppish costumery, and tends to fall over when Dashing. His ranged attacks, though, are some of the strongest.
Exit Fate likes this trope. A talking cat that can't wear armor has surprisingly good offense and healing, a senile old man can spam spells faster than any other character in the game, and even a lawyer with no combat training can eventually function as a decent mage.
Robopon's first game has Teabot. Teabot is a little robot whose entire purpose is serving tea. You get one from your grandpa for completing your tower, and it's implied he bought it from a TV shopping channel. Its Monster Compendium data outright calls it "useless." Tell that to its high-powered software, and the fact that its basic attack can scrap enemies in one hit.
In Breath of Fire II, by combining your characters with Shaman spirits, they can become powered up in various ways. The more noteworthy combinations can actually change what your character looks like; most characters have one such morph, but Spar has three of them. You'd think the badass grass dragon transformation would be the best one, right? Nope. It's not the Cute Monster Girl morph, either. It's the tiny seed that walks by hopping. By casting Atk-Up on Spar in seed form and using the Bud attack, Spar can do absolutely ludicrous damage. Nothing quite beats the hilarity of overkilling evil demons by crashing a tiny hopping seed into them.
Cielo from Digital Devil Saga. His weakness is to status effects, which means that with Cielo in your party, not only might you have multiple characters fall asleep but the enemy will get an extra turn. He's also introduced relatively late, when the player has already sorted the other characters into various roles, so players often ignore him and fail to level him and learn his skills. While using Argilla as the healer, despite the fact her stats make her the best Black Mage. Late second playthrough, this becomes a fatal mistake.
While other characters can't do anything about their weaknesses until the lategame, and even then they can only resist those elements by taking up a skill slot, Cielo in the hands of a player who sees his potential can begin to null individual ailments as soon as he's introduced, equipping whatever nulls are best for the boss or dungeon. Nulling an enemy's attack causes them to lose a turn. In addition to that, Cielo's seemingly odd and useless stat distribution means that he's got an incredibly high dodge rate & good MP. Dodging an enemy's attack also causes them to lose a turn. It's very common to lose one or more characters to attacks that Cielo dodges without a scratch. Eating the enemy's turn icons make Cielo a defense character, and in addition to that his odds of survival mean that he's able heal and revive the party after a devastating blow, in addition to the fact that learning to null aliments also means Cielo can block and cure those ailments. Shoot the Medic First is impossible when the enemy can't hit the medic.
Like the skill Null Sleep, Cielo is also designed for the second playthough Bonus Boss, one of the hardest in JRPG history. Cielo's increased risk of getting hit by ailments plus invulnerability while asleep makes him the most likely to survive the otherwise unavoidable Gaea Rage, on top of the benefits of having no elemental weaknesses & dodging physical attacks.
Since so many players failed to see Cielo's potential in the first game, Atlus responded by making him an outright Gamebreaker in the second. They tweaked his weakness from "all ailments" to three specific ailments, lowered his odds of being affected by those ailments and increased his dodge rate. Most importantly, they allowed you to use him earlier in the game; a major source of frustration in the first game is that you only get Cielo after "damage plus ailment" attacks become increasingly common.
Devil Survivor 2: Hinako. Dance Battler that can't use the Dance attacks. Raises Agility concurrent to her Strength. Most players ignore her. At least, the ones that don't realize that the skill Multi-Strike, which determines the number of hits based on Agility, was made for her. Pair her with Pierce (which cancels Anti, Null and Drain Phys) and presto: Instant Game Breaker. Even better, give her Drain Hit (which converts damage dealt into HP recovery for the user) and she becomes a self-sustaining Lightning Bruiser.
In the Mass Effect 3 multiplayer, the volus characters are this to a T. When you look at their statuses, you see nothing but pitiful health and shields and awful weapon weight and when you play them, they can't cover through walls or perform a conventional melee attack. However, once you get used to the volus, you notice that, not only does their Shield Boost ability restore shields to both the user and allies in it's radius, it also can be specced to increase damage resistance by a whopping 40% while active - on the user and allies - on top of this, it makes the user (not allies) invincible for a second. A well-timed Shield Boost can even No Sell the Chunky Salsa Rule in some cases! On top of this, they're short - and more capable of exploiting the fact that Hit Scan weaponry doesn't track the barrel of the weapon that fired it than others by hiding behind chest-high walls without taking cover. And their light melee is replaced by an Invisibility Cloak, and their heavy melee is a Beehive Barrier that - like Shield Boost - provides a second of invincibility followed by a large defensive increase, and minor shield regeneration, while doing minor damage to and staggering any mooks who might be in melee range. Stack both effects with a Cyclonic Modulator IV, and the volus can be a Stone Wall to rival all characters except the Geth Juggernaut, and can even support his already-crazy defence with Shield Boost's DR buff.
Volus are also immune to the slowdown-while-firing effects of weapons such as the N7 Typhoon and Reegar Carbine - clever use of the volus Adept or Vanguard makes use of the Biotic Orb's passive cooldown buffs to wield heavier weapons than normal, using their godlybiotic abilities to keep their barriers up, while tearing down opponents with their Fun SizeCool Guns.
The Volus Sentinel stands out even among the volus; While they lack any non-firearm-based direct attacks except their Beehive Barrier, with clever use of Decoy, Combat Drone, and Shield Boost, they are quite capable of soloing even the highest difficulties... If you've got a few hours.
Chrono Cross has Mojo, an animate voodoo doll who's one of the first characters who can be recruited. His stats aside from agility are average at best, he looks silly, and he talks-om in a funny-om way. However, his ridiculously high agility means that his dodge chance is off the charts- at max stat level, his base evade percentage is 80%.
Disgaea: Hour of Darkness has the Scout and Thief classes. They have poor stats, poor aptitude so equipment boosts benefit them less than other classes, their only weapon proficiency is with Guns, and they're generally unfit for frontline combat. However, in the Item World, they are your MVPs. Scouts can use Geo Change to change the Geo Effects of the stage at random, removing harmful effects or creating Geo Panels on stages with none so you can earn bonuses earsier, and can use Dark Cannon to create a turret to attack enemies anywhere on the map, particularly useful in Item World as the randomized maps often puts enemies out of reach of even your spellcasters. Thieves meanwhile have a Throw range of 6, higher than any other class so they can quickly toss allies into position, and they're the only class able to steal from enemies competently — on the higher tiers of Item World enemies begin using top-grade equipment ripe for the plucking, and what you don't keep can be sold for a lot of money.
Baldurs Gate 2: Enhanced Edition has the Secret Character, Wilson the Bear. Being, well, an intelligent bear that communicates entirely through the word "growl", which the Bhaalspawn can understand for some reason, he plays by somewhat different rules than the regular party members you can recruit and his character concept is clearly Played for Laughs. He can't use equipment or potions of any kind, has no HLAs and his combat tactics are limited to 'bite stuff'. On the plus side, he gains Super Strength and a Healing Factor, as well as AC bonuses and enchantments on his claws, by levelling up and makes for an extremely damaging tank, albeit one completely lacking in combat options.
Star Control 2 has the Thraddash Torch ship. It's got laughably low crew, low speed, and a puny blaster which does pitiful damage at a pitiful fire rate. However, its special move is an afterburner that makes it the fastest ship in the game when used correctly... and unlike most other fast ships, its "puny" blaster has a long range and can't be stopped by point-defence. As such, a skilled player can use the Torch's extreme maneuverability to stay out of range while inflicting Death of a Thousand Cuts. It's so good at this, in fact, that it's the only ship customarily banned from competitive play.
The Tokos in both the PS3 and (Japan-only) DS versions of Ni no Kuni. In the PS3 version, they're Metal Slimes that level up extremely slowly, and have a tiny level cap—but their magic defense and evasion go up exponentially with each level, making them obscene magical tanks. In the DS version, the opposite is true—they level up ridiculously quickly, and have extremely high magic attack and MP, but only learn status skills. However, if given gems to give them different skills, they can become insane healers and magic attackers.
Due to the nature of the series, Monster Rancher has a ton of these—even if it looks ridiculous, it can be trained to be insanely strong. However, the species with the greatest inverse proportion between silly appearance and relative lethality are:
The Monols, which are essentially giant, hovering, blank rectangular slabs of rock. Naturally, however, they have powerful Stone Wall capabilities (because that's literally what they are), and they have psionic abilities hidden deep within their bodies that make them strong magic-based attackers.
The Doodles, who are literally living stick figures. In both games they appear in, they're the last monster you'll unlock. Their specialty? Lots and lots of expensive attacks that do massive damage.
Dragon Quest III has the odd example of the Goof Off or Jester in the remakes. Technically they're just a run-of-the-mill Joke Character that has low stats overall except Luck, can only use weak equipment, can't use magic, and do occasional random actions in battle that sometimes do nothing and sometimes do things like cause the enemy to lose a turn by laughing or score a critical hit but at any rate the player can't influence those actions. (The remakes do give them Whistle, which instantly triggers a random encounter at no cost, but naturally even that's just good for speeding up grinding and gold farming somewhat). However, once they reach Level 20 they can turn into a Sage, a class that can cast both healing and offensive spells and has better defense and equipment than Wizards. Since normally the player would get the Sage by using a one-shot item on a party member, recruiting and leveling up a Goof Off/Jester is the only way to get a party with multiple Sages.
X3: Terran Conflict has the Truelight Seeker, a unique M6 corvette given as a reward during the Goner plot. On paper it's pretty mediocre, with only 400 MJ of shields, a top speed of 138 m/s, no turrets, average reactor power, and it's a larger target than the Argon Centaur it's based on. However, its spinal slots can mount literally every gun in the game except the Impulse Ray Emitter, and some have turned it into a Glass Cannon by fitting it with Gauss cannons. This is a weapon usually mounted on capital ships, but the Truelight Seeker is just fast and agile enough to dogfight with it, and since it relies on ammunition rather than the ship's reactor it can hit far harder its size would suggest.
Dwarf Fortress infamously made fish too hardcore. Namely, the humble carp had just enough aggression to attack dwarves, and decent enough stats to force them into the water where they'd drown. Later, Toady owned up to the problem and patched it, but later adjustments to the strength and combat systems made fish dangerous all over again.
Giant. Sponge. It can't move. It can't bite or kick. It can't breathe air. However, its mass is so great that it can kill dwarves with the default "push" attack that all living things are coded to have, and because it lacks vital organs, it's impossible to kill without air-drowning or massive damage. Undead giant sponges can move and leave the water, are aggressive, and massive damage is literally the only way to stop them pushing all your dwarves to death.
The Harasser hovercraft in MechWarrior Living Legends has laughable armor, crap weapons, gets outran by some mechs that carry 3 times the weapons, and is prone to spontaneously flipping over from touching small rocks. The Harasser Delta "Toast 'n' Go" variant, better know as the Flamasser, carries a loadout of 6 flamethrowers. Like the other Harassers, it is hilariously top heavy and the addition of the flamethrowers makes the hovercraft melt when you fire. However, when carefully used, those 6 flamethrowers also cause enemy mechs to overheat so much that their arms fall off, instantly causes the fusion reactors on aerospace fighters to explode, and melts battlearmor in their suits. A newbie in one of these things is a free kill, while a pro driving one is an unstoppable boiling engine of fire and death spinning across the level at 160kph. A second deadly Harasser was added in 0.7.0, which carries 6 small X-pulse lasers capable of plinking away enemy armor with astonishing speed.
The Sparrowhawk scout plane is likewise a useless death trap in most players hands, but it is the destroyer-of-worlds in the hands of a pro pilot, as it is the single most agile unit in the game, capable of flying at 30 kph with no issues, or flying inside an enemy hangar and shoot at players repairing before safely doing a backflip and flying out. It has several variants designed specifically for taking out anything flying, as no other plane is capable of shaking off a Sparrowhawk if one gets on its tail, or, god help the enemy plane, if the Sparrowhawk is actually riding on the enemy's tail.
Vector Thrust has the antique MiG-21 Fishbed family and its Chinese knockoff cousins. At first glance, it's horrendous- paper armor and a tiny ammo pool as well make the starting variants something of a joke. If players invest the time and effort into upgrading the aircraft, however, they'll be rewarded with modernised Fishbed-93s and the like boasting high mobility and suprising stealthiness due to their small size- not to mention a very attractive arsenal of all-aspect and medium-range missiles that open up interesting avenues of air to air combat. Compared to the near-uselessness of early variants the a late-game Fishbed is a One-Hit-Point Wonder that can hold its own in dogfights against aircraft like the Su-47 and F-22 (provided they don't get sneezed at.)
Commoners in Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 are pretty much the useless class, with horrendous Base Attack Bonus, Hit Dice, and skills, as well as no class features. However, they're also the only class capable of taking "Chicken-Infested", a somewhat obscure "flaw" that has the potential to produce an infinite number of chickens in one round. It's still somewhat useless, but astute players can use the chickens to suffocate dungeons, fill canyons, swamp invading armies, provide an infinite food source, and make DMs rip their hair out.
Cautious building can net a character capable of creating swarms of angry, zombie chickens that explode for 1d6 negative energy damage.
Commoners can also qualify for the Survivor prestige class at level 1. Its only non-role play prerequisite is that you have to have your highest base save lower than your level (usually you start with at least one of the three base saves at two) and has exceedingly high defensive abilities. In the same list as the 'Chicken Infested' flaw you can find a flaw that causes enemies to arbitrarily attack the person with that flaw, which is also exclusive to commoners. Combining the two can potentially be quite potent... Assuming you can survive that first level.
The other two NPC classes, Expert and Adept, are not to be underestimated either. Expert can have any 10 skills, which is potentially very useful when source books contain ways to make skill use lethal. Adepts, despite their intent, actually have some useful spells on their list, and often at a low level, puting them quite high on the class tier lists.
A good way to spot the difference between beginners/noobs and experienced players is how they view the bard class. Anyone who's in the former will dismiss bards as spoony, the latter will point out Dragonfire Inspiration = +9D6 damage to attacks made by your party members at Level 6. To put that in perspective, the other major things at Level 6 are druids getting the ability to buff while in bear form and the melee classes finally getting a second attack (which always misses) and the mandatory Shock Trooper feat, none of these are as helpful to the party as an average +30 damage to each attack.
Perhaps even more impressive (in the hands of a skilled player) are the noncombat abilities of the bard. As the only Core base class capable of using both spells and skills, a properly played bard can do with a few rolls what would otherwise be difficult even with a large number of encounters.
Kobolds are tiny lizard creatures with a base challenge rating of 1/4, and about that many hit points. Tucker's Kobolds became famous in D&D fandom for being able to wipe fully-prepared Level 10 parties with nothing but clever tactics and items.
... our party scrambled down a side passage, only to be ambushed by more kobolds firing with light crossbows through murder holes in the walls and ceilings. Kobolds with metal armor and shields flung Molotov cocktails at us from the other sides of huge piles of flaming debris, which other kobolds pushed ahead of their formation using long metal poles like broomsticks. There was no mistake about it. These kobolds were bad.
Meet Pun-Pun the Kobold, who ascended to Godhood on level ONE.
Any creature can become a heck of a lot more dangerous than their base challenge rating would seem to indicate with the help of clever tactics and items. What makes kobolds special is that they combine statistics and fluff that make it perfectly in-character to come up with and implement clever tactics with an extremely low challenge rating. Add to that a racial bonus to making traps...
There is also one particular prestige class in D&D 3.5 which lampshades this trope in a dramatic way- the Divine Prankster class is available followers of trickster gods. Most of the classes abilities resemble those of a typical bard. Its signature ability, however, is called Killing Joke, a combat ability which takes three rounds to complete. On the first round, a targeted enemy is merely distracted by the user's annoying but apparently harmless taunting. On the second, the target gets a save to realize what is happening as the jibes begin to find the weak points in their mental armor. If successful, they can save themselves by plugging their ears or silencing the user. On the third round, the target dies instantly unless they are able to resist the mental strain as the barrage of divinely accurate insults and taunts shatters their will to live.
Warhammer 40,000 has the Emperor Battle Titan. It costs more to field than all but the very largest armies all by itself, and requires a scratch-built model about 4 feet high so it was obviously never intended to see actual play. However: It carries so many ludicrously powerful guns that it could conceivably kill its points cost in smaller Humongous Mecha in one volley, while an army composed entirely of anti-tank guns could never hope to get through its shields before being wiped out itself. It's only weaknesses are close combat, which the 104 infantry it can transport can counter, and that it's so tall that many of its weapons can't hit targets less than three feet away.
The joke army list called "Barrel of Monkeys". Basically, take Inquisitor Coteaz as a HQ, and build the whole army around Jokearo troops, who are basically alien space orangutans. Jokearo aren't just simple monkeys; they're a race of Idiot Savants who were likely created by ancient Precursors, and they're capable of producing incredibly advanced weapons technology, in fact they're even more advanced than the Eldar in some respects. Bring an army of Jokearo troops and your opponent will laugh at your fragile army of chimps, but you'll be the one laughing when he finds out that each Jokearo in the army is armed with a shiny little weapon ring which is the equivalent to a Lascannon, Multi-Melta and Heavy Flamer (notice "and" not "or"). While it won't win any tournaments, it's still an incredibly fun and surprisingly potent Glass Cannon army list.
Chaos Daemons in 6th Edition. It really plays to the idea of the fickle Chaos Gods: you can't even select wargear for your units, you have to buy a "chance" and then roll for it. The Warp Storm table, which activates every turn, has just as much chance to cripple your opponent's army as it does to yours, and the dice rolls don't scale in a linear fashion (you can get a great boon or a lethal handicap, they exist at both ends of the spectrum). Also, barring Tzeentchian daemons, they lack anything in the way of ranged firepower. However, with some incredibly powerful rules (if you can manage the rolls) and plenty of power weapons and invulnerable saves, along with the speed and immense close combat skill of the daemons themselves, they can be quite the force with a lot of skill and luck.
In Monopoly, the purple (or brown, depending on version) properties right at the beginning of the board qualify. As standard properties, they are classic Joke Characters, barely able to recoup the costs of upgrading them to hotels. However, because they are so widely viewed as worthless, a savvy player can generally acquire them fairly cheaply in trade and then put 4 (cheap) houses on each. When the inevitable housing shortage hits later in the game, you can upgrade them to hotels for a measly $100 extra dollars while freeing up 8 houses to put on your more lucrative properties.
: If you're fielding an Urbanmech, your opponents are going to laugh at you. It's puny, weakly armored and armed with an AC-10, which while formidiable, is still often outclassed by other 'Mechs. And worst of all, it's slow. 9 times out of 10, that is. Because that 10th time, you're probably using it in an urban environment where speed is not an issue, and it can duck under cover and snipe. And own most other 'mechs on the field not willing to punch through buildings to get it.
Turn Based Strategy
Another Super Robot Wars example is Boss Borot. Ooooh... Boss Borot. He isMagikarp Power incarnate, especially once you could start upgrading attack damage. In Super Robot Wars Advance, the upgrade mechanics meant you could buff him up more than Shin Getter Freaking Robo. Super Robot Wars J also gives him the ability to heal units along with the long-running staple of him resupplying him, and you get experience every time you heal someone. Not to mention a particular doujin puts Jiron Amos from Xabungle at the controls, and... just◊... take◊ a◊ look◊ at◊ its◊ power◊.
Think that's all the Borot can do? In Alpha Gaiden, once his will was high, just plant him in water and have him fight beam using enemies. They do 10 damage, HE kicks their ass. Also, if you buff his defense and HP, you can actually turn the Borot into a highly viable meat shield in J and W.
Not only that, but in J and W, he can use a Self Destruct attack when you think he may be of no more use if he takes too much damage. Crank up the Spirit commands to max and watch the fireworks. And it only costs a measly 10 in cash to repair. Not only that, there is often a meme of him being the true hero of whatever game he is in with the Self Destruct attack his mech has.
The Super Robot WarsCompactseries usually feature Leina Ashta of Gundam ZZ, Annoying Younger Sibling to Judou and Only Sane Man of the Shangri-La bunch, as a playable character. Lacking the abilities many MS pilots usually have, she's not a good pick for a Mobile Suit, but despite her low SP count and her tendency to draw critical hits (maybe a Shout-Out to her terrible luck in the series?), she is lethal in the right hands, as her stats are definitely not too shabby, and she has a pretty solid set of seishins. Put her in the Elmeth or the Alpha Aziel, and she will surprise you...
The Fire Emblem games are practically designed around allowing joke characters to turn into total badasses, provided that you can stand to level them up. Magikarp Power is common throughout the series, and units that start out weak tend to have good growths to make up for it.
Due to the introduction of "Battle Experience", Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn are especially guilty. The former has Makalov, who has pink clown hair, orange armor, and is best described as an all-around doofus. Oh, and he also enters the game badly under-leveled. With some TLC, though, Makalov's great growths can make him into one of your best Paladins.
Mist is the annoying younger sibling of Ike and enters the game badly underleveled while dressed in what can only be described as a sailor suit (in what is supposed to be a western fantasy setting). She is notable in the game for having some of the lowest strength growths and stat caps in the game while also having an amazing magic growth and stat cap. Unfortunately she uses swords as a weapon of choice, which makes her mediocre in battle at best. Until you give her one of the magic swords available in the game, which uses her magic stat for attacking and behaves pretty much like a magic tome. All of the sudden, you have a beastly unit capable of destroying anything... at least until her magic sword breaks.
This is only possible in Path of Radiance, however. In Radiant Dawn, magic swords do physical damage now. This makes Mist far less usable as an attacker, but allows for more than three sword users (one of whom isn't even in Radiant Dawn) to be able to effectively attack from afar, since every other sword user relies a lot more on the strength stat than the magic stat.
In Radiant Dawn, one of the starting characters is Meg, low leveled and rather weak. She seems to exist as a punchline to a dialog in the previous game... until you level her up a bit and realize her stats skyrocket. She can become one of the fastest heavy characters in the game, not to mention the luckiest, and gains tons of HP. Combined with her personal skill Fortune, she can't be critical thus making her a mighty tank. By the end of the game and trained right, she's one of the single most useful characters in the entire series!
Considering the amount of effort it takes to get her level ups, along with her low movement and the other low-level units you need to train at the same time, not to mention a poor speed cap, she's usually just an example of Joke Character.
In the DS remake of the first game, thieves are noted for only their ability to open chests and doors without keys and on first glance are useless in actual combat. Jules, the first thief you get in your army, has a completely hidden yet amazing stat progression. His combat stats level to the point where he can practically tank like a heavily armored Knight, plus getting two blows every single combat exchange and having an amazing chance to critical hit.
The very first aircraft in Advanced Strategic Command, Zeppelin. It has fairly low ammo on all weapons and the second worst Armor after unarmed AWACS plane. It also has good View, so it can avoid being spotted too early by most units and use its advantages to the fullest. At High altitude it can fly with impunity over almost anyone, including Anti-Air trooper. It carries 6 infantry units and lands almost anywhere, so no need to use light Paratroopers, anything from mine-laying variety to snipers can be brought right to the target. 6x infantry of the right type can quickly destroy almost anything, especially supported by the same zeppelin that delivered them, and by breaking ammo and fuel supply may doom much more than they can kill directly. Oh, and Zeppelins are cheap. As is infantry.
Claude in Super Heroine Chronicle is this who is also a representation of This Loser Is You. At low levels, he's quite pathetic with his walking range being only 3 tiles, his attacks are silly looking plus his accuracy is pretty low, and his main specialty is to heal and he's not even that great at it so why is he here? Those silly attacks? They can easily hurt an enemy stat gauge from full to almost nothing, allowing him to follow up on Soul Sympathy attacks, or he could also be used to support Soul Sympathy attacks from other heroines. His healing skill is the only skill that gives him 10 exp (unless he's healing a higher leveled ally or enemy) consistently. And when he finally does gain those levels, he could easily go farther with his walking distance. With a lot of patience (and we're talking about a long time of healing, ending turn and rinse and repeat), he could easily get to level 99, then end the battle and pump up his bonus stats from all that leveling to his attack. Watch as enemies can't hit him thanks to his high dodge rate, and he could literally be your One-Man Army. Of course, training him for that long is an absurd amount of time invested.
The SD Gundam G Generation franchise lets players put any character they want into any mobile suit they want, which means plenty of characters who are supporting cast members and/or non-combatants in their home series can be this trope. But the queen of them all (pun not intended) would probably have to be Relena Peacecraft from Gundam Wing; because she's an Actual Pacifist and political leader, her initial stats are all dismal except for her Leadership (which is usually the highest out of the entire Wing cast). However, her later-level stat gains are through the roof, meaning if you're willing to stick with her she can become a bona fide Lady of War. This actually makes Relena many players' preferred choice for power-leveling a new mobile suit, since she can more than cover for a starting MS's low stats.
Other Video Games
If you ever play the PvP racing game in Sonic Adventure 2:Battle, see Amy. She's easily the slowest of the available characters, however, she only needs to collect half as many rings to earn a special attack as Sonic or Shadow. In many levels Amy can spam special moves so quickly that her opponent may not even be able to move for minutes at a time. What's more, while Sonic and Shadow's time-freezing ability stops the opponent completely, Amy's only locks the player out of his controls; if they happen to be in the middle of some death-defying stunt (as they often are, given the nature of the game), they'll likely careen off into a pit, be sent back to the last checkpoint, and still have to wait out the remainder of the freeze. Meanwhile, Amy's collected enough rings to attack again...
Also, Amy has an unusually fast grinding speed.
Whether by design or accident, the characters that are treated as joke characters in Touhou Soccer tend to actually be really good. Meiling as a forward is excellent as a character (especially considering her price); Cirno has the best interception in the game that can stop just about anything; and Kaguya (in either position) are amazing for her cost.
In the video game Biker Mice from Mars, the player who chooses Vinnie is often mocked mercilessly - even with great acceleration and grip, the White Wonder is chastised for being pitifully slow and having an awful special attack (he just jumps in the air). However, a player who knows how to use Vinnie to his best potential will shut everyone up. Using his special attack many times in a row on a straight stretch will vault a player to the head of the pack... FAST! Slap a few engine upgrades on Vinnie and he will be on par with everyone else... AND still have the best acceleration and grip in the game! Every other player ALWAYS has a "WTF?!" reaction when seeing what Vinnie is truly capable of.
On top of this, while other characters can body-check opponents by power-sliding on turns, Vinnie does a full spin which can knock someone back around the corner entirely.
One of Dota 2 's strangest heroes, Meepo, comes of as this. He has terrible stats, and his first three abilities aren't really anything special either. But his ultimate is what makes him so unique. It passively creates a permanent replica of Meepo for each level + one more if he buys Aghanim's Scepter. Each Meepo clone can attack, use abilities, boots, and some bonus stats, meaning that at level six he turns from one terrible hero to two terrible heroes, and then to three and four and then finally five terrible heroes all bashing you in the face at once.
In the Wii game, Little King's Story, you have a simple jobs system at your disposal, and can change the abilities and attributes of your villagers. To train a class, one must first pay to acquire a building where you can upgrade a villager, and then an additional fee for each citizen converted. One such job is the "Gourmet Chef" class, which costs a tidy sum. However, once you have one, you learn he/she is near completely useless! They have mediocre stats, and can hardly do any work at all. However, you soon learn they can one-hit kill giant chickens, a very common and strong enemy. This turns them into a literal lethalchef. While this may seem situational, you will thank your lucky stars when you enter a kingdom populated almost entirely of them.
In Might and Magic Kings Bounty, the Sorceress is often described as the worst character in the game, due to her low Leadership and bad starting army. Indeed her start can be a little more difficult. Leadership only effects the amount of troops you can recruit and can be easily raised by giving money to your troops, and the Sorceress has the best gold income which only gets better; said income also lets you replace your army. She has the ability to cast spells, something that is costly and time-consuming for others, and this allows her to win early fights with fewer troops and resources than other characters. Before you're off the first island, her advantages will easily eclipse her disadvantages: you're put in a stronger postion in less time than other characters, your gold income is higher than anyone else's, and you're able to field the best army even though you wouldn't need an army as strong as the other characters to win battles! In the Genesis version, once she reaches her level 2 form, she can chain time stop into time stop giving you an infinite amount of time to complete the objective, even on hard, annihilating the game balance.
Strelets, the Russian unique skirmishers in Age of Empires III. Staggeringly weak attacks, low health, and generally regarded as a mere stepping stone to the more effective Musketeers, Halbardiers, and Russian cavalry, but given that Strelets cost 47 resources (compared to 100 for most infantry) and train nearly twice as fast, if you get a couple of the right upgrade cards you can drown your opponent with Strelets in Age 3.
The Ottoman civilization looks like this on paper; they have a steady trickle of free settlers instead of being able to buy them as fast as they can produce the resources which chokes their early-game growth and they have access to all of one (slow and very expensive) infantry unit, but if they can survive the early game their artillery and elite cavalry can make the endgame very one-sided.
In Football Manager, there is a team named RGOUR Minsk, who play in the Fourth Division of Belarus, which is a league that the game does not actually allow to be played, requiring a mod to make them playable. They have a perfect 20 out of 20 for their training facilities, youth facilities and junior recruitment. To explain how big that is, Barcelona, one of the greatest teams in the world, with a long established academy that produces talent by the handful, only has 20, 20 and 19.
Mega Man Powered Up has Oil Man. His gimmick is he can shoot a single blob of oil on to the ground, which he then either has to ride or let an enemy walk into. And it's incredibly weak. What kind of character is that? To a player who knows how to use him, one of the best ones in the game. As his Oil Surfboard does boatloads of damage, knocks off enemy shields, gives him a double-jump worthy of the gods, incredible speed, the ability to glide across water and a near-complete negation to enemy knockback. Same goes for Mega, which is essentially Mega Man if he never became a Super Fighting Robot. All he has is a dinky little kick, which doesn't even have the length of Roll's broom. Useless, right? Well no. It's actually one of the most powerful attacks in the game, can break most enemy shields and even causes Wily's first form to temporarily be stunned.
The KV-2 exemplifies this trope: It can be armed with the same 122mm gun as the KV-1 or a new 107mm gun, which bites quite hard, but slows the tank down. The third option KV-2 players usually take, however, is the infamous 152mm howitzer, aka the "derpgun" or the "trollcannon" known for its abysmal accuracy, incredibly lengthy reload time - and truly ridiculous damage with HE shells, dealing noticeable amount of pain to even Tier 10 tanks, and described by the game's own wiki as strong enough to send "the tank on the receiving end of the shell ... off the map and hurled into the sun". Absolutely suicidal to venture out alone with and so must be played in a support role, or in a platoon of three (which is at least as terrifying as a KV-1S platoon). Still, if you want a good laugh and the chance to put the fear of Random Number God into the enemy team, this is the tank to grab.
Speaking of the KV-1S, it actually gets thinner armor compared to the KV-2 and the T150, and it doesn't have the awesome 107 mm cannon. However, it's lighter, faster and has a turret that turns about as fast as a medium tank's. Most of all, it has access to the 122mm D-2-5T, which has amazing alpha damage at the expense of rate-of-fire and accuracy, making the tank an excellent city brawler. To give an idea as to how high the fear factor of this tank is, the said cannon serves as the second-to-top gun for the Tier-7 IS heavy, and as stock for it's Tier-8 successor, the IS-3
The Tier-2 T57 is the first US SPG. Typically, SPGs are slow, poorly-armored and ineffective at close range. However, the T57's speed, armor and weaponry are on par with Tier 3 TDs and better than any tank in its tier, being a nasty surprise for anyone who expected an easy kill.
The Tier-2 T18 is the first US TD. It has 51mm of frontal armor, equivalent to or better than many tanks two or three tiers higher, and access to a Tier 4 howitzer, making it the terror of recruit matches.
Then there's the T-28, which is about as big as the Motherland, meaning it's rubbish at hiding, though it's surprisingly fast for its size. Initially, it's armed with a pretty pathetic short barreled 76mm close support cannon. With wafer thin armor, it's not going to last too long against its more well-armored contemporaries, but, once it gets a proper engine and the long barreled 57mm ZiS-4, it quickly becomes a Glass Cannon quite capable of punching out higher tier tanks.
The Tier-4 M3 Lee, combining the downsides of medium tanks and TDs and the good sides of neither, is widely mocked, ridiculed and hated by American medium tank drivers because of its massive profile, lack of a rotating turret and tendency to get killed by almost anything. However, it has very strong front armor for its tier and upgrades to a very fast-firing high-penetration gun that is capable of shredding even Tier 6 tanks that aren't paying attention.
The ELC AMX, which has virtually no armor, terrible aiming time, matchmaking that will always pit it against higher tier opponents, and a turret that can't turn more than a few degrees left and right. However, it is among the smallest tanks in the game, with a profile so low that some tanks are incapable of depressing their guns low enough to actually hit it at point blank range. It is also very fast, with a maximum speed limit is 65 km/h and an incredible power-to-weight ratio of 37 hp/t when fully upgraded. In contrast to preceding French tanks, it also has a great selection of guns: though slow to load, its top 90 mm gun is easily one of the most powerful weapons available to any light tank. In the right hands, it can be a devilish nuisance if you stop trying to play it like a tank and start playing it more like a "Go-Kart with a Gun" (as it's been affectionately called).
More recently, and another shining example of this trope apart from the KV-2 is the Tier-6 British TOG II* premium heavy tank. It tends to get mocked by everyone on both teams in a match and has been dubbed "Train", "Boat" or "Whale". It's painfully slow, comically large (Longer than the Maus) and its armour is totally inadequate for it's tier. However, it's 80 ton bulk makes trying to ram it suicidal, 1400 hit points—double the Churchill III's health—allows it to absorb ridiculous amounts of damage, and it mounts the deadly OQF 17 Pounder Mk.VII, with very good accuracy, excellent Ro F and very good damage. Late game, it can go on enormous rampages, considering most tanks it will encounter will be injured by the time it reaches them.
Given it's immense weight and length, a TOG turned sideways on a bridge or other chokepoint can completely seal off avenues of attack to the enemy by becoming an almost-immobile piece of scenery, a tactic dubbed "TOG-blocking".
Also, a well-coordinated platoon of three TOG II*s is a Lethal Joke Team. Between them, the three could have more hit points than the rest of their team combined, allowing them to shrug off attacks while throwing out enough firepower to practically vaporize anything they meet as they move towards the enemy flag at a casual stroll.
The American Tier-4 "T40" Tank destroyer is a slower, slightly more durable T82 with a massive gaping hole on top that just screams "KILL ME!" It's also a Tank Destroyer with a gun 2 tiers above it's own, naturally faster firing due to being open topped, and happens to have an abnormally large view range and traverse, combined with its standard Tank Destroyer Camouflage rate and competent players, this generally results in an invisible spotter killing your scouts before they can see anything.
The humble Cruiser II, a Tier III British light tank. Not too many people play it, as most prefer the Cruiser IV's tree. It's slow, its armor isn't very strong, its starting gun is average and it doesn't have a ton of HP. However, it can equip the 3.7 inch Howitzer, a cannon firing tooth-loosening HE rounds that can annihilate almost any other tank of its Tier in a single shot. Get one or two kills in a match this way and people will begin to approach you a bit more cautiously or avoid you altogether. Faster tanks might attempt to close the distance and attack, but this usually winds up lethal to all parties involved. To give an idea of how powerful this gun is at this level, one can find it on the Cruiser II's Tier VI cousins, the Cromwell and the Churchill VII.
Rogue Squadron. The sequel Rogue Leader features Slave 1 as a bonus ship. Its slower than the Y-Wing (if you can believe that), can't turn worth a damn, has lousy shields, and its bottom-mounted blasters are awkward if not impossible to aim with. If an enemy ship gets behind you, you're dead. However, it has HomingClusterMissiles. One shot can wipe out entire squadrons of enemy fighters. That being said, once you run out of those... you're screwed.