-->-- ''VideoGame/AncientDomainsOfMystery''

A video game offers you a variety of things to use against your enemies, you've been (or needed to be) making use of several and have been making progress just fine.

Then you meet a [[ThatOneBoss brick wall]].

Whatever you use seems to get you slaughtered in the end, and the only viable way you can think of is either a long battle of attrition or a near-impossible precision strike. As a last resort before you throw the controller out the window, you try something (whether it be an item, spell, weapon, move or another thing) that you pretty much forgot about as it seemed [[UselessUsefulSpell utterly useless]]. Then you proceed to blast through the "difficult" moment without breaking a sweat, as this "useless" thing has just the right properties to get you through this situation... Then it remains utterly useless for 99.9% of the rest of the game.

This isn't [[EleventhHourSuperpower something that you are "supposed", or necessarily need to]] use for that encounter, something TooAwesomeToUse you were saving up, something that is [[OutsideTheBoxTactic genuinely useful in different situations]] or something that [[MagikarpPower becomes awesome when upgraded]]; this is something you dismissed straight away (probably rightfully), whether because it sucked, or because of better alternatives, that just so happens to work perfectly (or, at the least, far better) for this specific situation, perhaps for some odd quality it has (that is sometimes also what makes it useless everywhere else), or some effect it has on an enemy. It almost goes without saying that this is a typical GuideDangIt moment.

Note that not all examples are as extreme as the one given at the start; this is any time where something is useless for most of a game but has an advantage over your main tools for some section or other, even if it is not a particularly large one.

Compare ChekhovsGun and ThisLooksLikeAJobForAquaman. This is different from the LethalJokeItem, which is actually useful for a broad range of enemies; it just ''appears'' useless at first, or requires something before becoming useful.

Expect gameplay spoilers in the examples.


* In ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaIISimonsQuest'', the Golden Dagger (obtained in the fifth mansion, right before the room with Dracula's Ring) is a powerful, straight-line projectile. However, it costs hearts to use, and by the time you get it, you have a ton of faster ways to deal with enemies. However, if you use it on Dracula, he'll be pinned to his starting location in the center of the room as long as you keep throwing them at him, becoming easy pickings (presuming you don't just use [[GameBreaker laurels]] to give yourself invincibility).
* In ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaIIIDraculasCurse'', Sypha's flame spell is strong, but it has about the same range as Trevor's whip, so generally it's better just to use the whip. However, Trevor can only damage Dracula's first form by whipping his head, while Sypha's flame can damage Dracula's first form anywhere.
* ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaPortraitOfRuin'' has Johnathan's Cream Pie subweapon. It's dark element, in a game where you're mostly fighting demons, it does about as much damage as you'd expect a pie to, and it's thrown in an awkward arc that doesn't give it much range. About the only thing it has going for it is the negligible MP cost. And the fact that it makes a bastardly sidequest boss much easier: He's among the few enemies that are actually weak to dark damage, boosting the damage up to passable, and the throwing arc is such that you can reliably hit the boss from a position that doesn't leave you immediately open to counterattacks.
* ''[[VideoGame/CastlevaniaChroniclesOfSorrow Aria of Sorrow]]'':
** There is one enemy, the Iron Golem. 9999 life and only takes 1 damage from any attack. It's also the same game that has the Killer Mantle soul that (allegedly) swaps the target's HP and MP values. Take a guess how much mana the Iron Golem has. The Killer Mantle is also equally useful against Red Minotaurs, another DemonicSpider found late in the game.
** The handgun found in the Underground Reservoir is next to useless. It has poor range despite being a ''gun'', can't pierce enemies, and halves your ATK attribute meaning it does miniscule damage. However it becomes immensely useful against the next to final boss [[spoiler:Julius Belmont]], turning ThatOneBoss into a pathetically easy ([[DamageSpongeBoss if drawn out]]) game of leading him around the arena staying just out of his normal attack range spamming him with bullets.
* ''Dawn of Sorrow'' has a similar use for the Imp soul, which temporarily effectively switches ''all'' enemies' HP and MP. Iron Golem, once again, has thousands of HP and about 15 MP. The multi-hit LethalJokeWeapon Terror Bear (which, like its name implies, is a stuffed bear filled with iron sand which Soma swings by holding one of its arms) makes it even easier.
* Flesh Golem soul in ''Aria'' and Ghoul soul in ''Dawn''. They make thing like Rotten Meat or Spoiled Milk restore HP, rather than damage you. Suddenly Spoiled Milk becomes an alternative to Super Potion (at least in Aria). %%Are these Poison Mushrooms or just plain Vendor Trash?
* The Scutum glyph in ''[[VideoGame/CastlevaniaOrderOfEcclesia Order of Ecclesia]]'' is, for the most part, functionally useless - it's just a shield that appears above your head, and doesn't appear in front of you like it is expected to. Its later forms, Vol Scutum and Melio Scutum, both appear in front of you. However, Scutum earns its respect in four battles:
** Goliath's punching attack to the ceiling causes rubble to drop. The rubble is easy to avoid on Normal mode, but Hard mode makes the ceiling drop much more debris, so Scutum is much more useful.
** Barlowe's homing fireball attack. Just stand below him and use it. All the fireballs just hit it and do nothing. Again, on Hard mode, this is almost required as they are nigh impossible to dodge.
** Eligor's crossbows are located above you for most of the fight, placing them at just the right angle for Scutum to block part of their firing pattern and render them easy to avoid.
** Finally, the Dracula fight, where it completely negates every shot that rains down during his Destruction Ray attack, which is quite tough to dodge otherwise. In combination with Melio Scutum, it can also effectively block his extremely deadly stream of bats attack.

[[folder:Final Fantasy]]
* Across the ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'' series in general:
** The status buff, Reflect can get this treatment. Reflect returns most magic spells back at the caster/caster's party. However, some enemies will cast Reflect on the player's party so that their healing or buffing spells are reflected back at the enemy party. Not only that, but most enemies that use elemental magic absorb what they are casting, thus reflecting magic back at them would just heal them. That is the main reason why Reflect is hardly used by the player, but if enemies cast Reflect upon themselves, the player party can cast Reflect on themselves and cast magic on themselves to bounce it back at enemies without a counter reflect (except for ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII'' where if the party and enemies have reflect, the spells will keep bouncing back and forth until Reflect fades for someone).
*** Azurah/Ashura/[[SpellMyNameWithAnS whatever]] of ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIV'' was a Puzzle Boss on these grounds. She had a powerful counterattack, but her only non-counter actions were healing herself, buffing herself and reviving herself. That last one is the clue that you're meant to put a Reflect on her, poke her, wait for her to revive whoever she killed, rinse and repeat. And/or put Reflects on your own team and magic her face off, but at least on the SNES version white magic didn't cause Reflect to wear off, making the [[DeathOfAThousandCuts "touch and wait"]] strategy less risky.
*** Alternately, sometimes you can dispel the enemies' Reflect spells and let them get blasted by their own spells. One particularly funny instance is against the fight against Seymour on Mt. Gagazet in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyX'', where he tries to bounce a Flare spell off his Reflect barrier to hit you. If you dispel his barrier before he gets the chance, he'll hit himself and then the game will snarkily note that the "Combination Failed".
*** In both ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVI'' and ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIX'', you can actually cast ''four'' spells on the enemies for the price of one. If all your characters have reflect status (through Wall Rings, casting Carbuncle, etc.) and you cast something like a Firaga-All or a Cura-All spell on them, every single one of those spells will be bounced back and hit the enemies. If there's only one enemy, he or she will take the full effects of all four spells at once. So much for ThatOneBoss...
* The Ancient Sword and Blood Sword in ''Videogame/FinalFantasyII''. Both have absolutely abysmal accuracy, meaning neither will land very many hits even with an experienced user. However, both of them have [[GameBreaker Game-Breaking]] properties against bosses. The Ancient Sword inflicts Curse, severely weakening an enemy's offensive and defensive stats, and the Blood Sword bases its damage off of the target's max HP—it ''will'' kill anything in sixteen hits, even the FinalBoss.
** The Sap spell is useless for depleting enemies' MP (Sap is fraction-based, meaning it will never leave an enemy at very low MP without exorbitant grinding) and Swap is too unreliable for topping up HP and MP from enemies. Both spells serve excellently for grinding MP early in the game when used on your own party members.
** The Barrier spell will see little use in the main game, but in Soul of Rebirth, it is invaluable for protecting your party members from status effects.
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyV'': has numerous other almost-useless classes with useful abilities; mastering those classes will confer those abilities on the Freelancer and Mime classes. For this reason, many players will level-grind with those classes and then never use them again.
** Geomancers' "Gaia" skill [[CrutchCharacter is incredibly useful for the first half of the game]], thanks to it giving you a wide variety of potent attacks, all of which requires 0 MP. In particular using it while walking across a swamp has a decent chance of causing an 100% instant death effect on all enemies. Other than that, Geomancers don't have much to offer... except when you face a dungeon with pit traps and damage floors: Geomancers can reveal pit traps upon walking on them (allowing you to go around or ''choose'' to go in) and allieviate damage from these floors. Of course, these are both learnable abilit'''ies''', so a Geomancer is only completely necessary in dungeons with both... and if you don't have anyone who's mastered the class already...
** Requiem is a song for bards that will do impressive damage to Undead, but nothing else. Initially, it's a case of dealing with Undead easily and nothing more, but in the Second World, shortly after you get access to the song, this skill is crucial in getting Golem, a wildly useful summon. You have to save from two enemies that are...you guessed it...undead, giving you and option that both gives you a way to kill them off easily without endangering Golem, who counts as an "enemy" in that battle.
** As for weapons, the Excalipoor was designed to be a [[JokeItem useless joke]], having high attack but always hitting for 1 damage. However, thanks to its unique damage mechanics, you can also use it as a replacement for its normal counterpart for Blue Mages. Since the game only looks at the internal damage value for weapons when calculating damage for attacks such as Goblin Punch, it does as much damage as you were wielding the genuine article. The same applies to the Ninja's Throw command, but once you throw it, you don't get it back. It has one more use, but that's covered under LethalJokeItem.
** Goblin Punch ''itself'' counts due to the fact that it does higher damage to an enemy when it's at the same level. Similarly, "Level X Status" spells, introduced in this game, always inflicts "Status" on any enemy whose level is a multiple of X.
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVI'':
** The Rasp spell, which [[ManaBurn eliminates enemy magic points]]. Most players overlook it for spells that do hit point damage - killing things the old-fashioned way, or for Osmose which, while weaker, [[ManaDrain also gives you those magic points]], saving on Ethers. However, there are several enemies[[note]]including both iterations of the Atma/Ultima Weapon and literally every enemy in the Fanatics' Tower[[/note]] that die if all their magic is depleted. On top of that, several of these have either {{Desperation|Attack}} or TakingYouWithMe magic attacks; if their magic is drained, they can't do the attack and leave you untouched as they die.
** Similarly, the Berserk spell doesn't tend to be much help because most enemies that you can't deal with more quickly just by killing them either have ContractualBossImmunity or powerful physical attacks or both. One exception is the [=MagiMaster=] boss at the top of the Fanatics' Tower, who casts powerful spells, can [[BarrierChangeBoss change his elemental weakness]], and casts a powerful Ultima spell as a TakingYouWithMe attack on death... unless he's Berserked, which turns him into a pussycat.
** Then there's Relm's Sketch command, which most people ignore, given that it's [[GuideDangIt even more unintuitive]] than Gau's rage ''and'' the attack depends on the (''current'') enemy you're targeting, not one from elsewhere you're (supposedly) imitating. (Unless you're trying to [[GoodBadBugs glitch the game]]). However, it's a OneHitKill against a few foes.[[note]]And often, it's not even an attack they themselves use, meaning that TacticalSuicideBoss is not in play.[[/note]]
** Similarly, you won't use Celes' Runic very often, but there are a few magic-dependent bosses that are significantly incapacitated by it. It counts on Celes outspeeding the enemy, however, ''and'' on you ''not'' using magic, [[AwesomeButImpractical as it absorbs the first spell cast after it's set]] (which is why people don't use it often).
** Umaro. He's generally not considered very useful because he's TheBerserker and you can never control him. However, that lack of control can actually be [[CursedWithAwesome a blessing in disguise]] in situations where you don't have access to your Command Window; you can't [[InterfaceScrew screw with an interface]] when there's no interface to screw with:
*** In the Colosseum, your characters are subject to a frustrating AIRoulette, but if you send in Umaro, he will never waste his turns with pointless actions and will only ever attack. If you equip him with the right Relics, he'll actually do very well.
*** In the Fanatics' Tower, Umaro can still attack freely when everyone else is limited to Magic and Items. Many people will cast Berserk on the [=MagiMaster=] boss to prevent him from changing his weakness...but it's possible to Berserk him into an element like Earth or Wind that can't be hit with conventional spells. If you don't have non-elemental spells like Flare, and can't drain his MP, the fight becomes {{Unwinnable}}...unless you brought Umaro, who can still destroy the [=MagiMaster=] for you even if he has to do it by himself. [[note]]If you try to use him against Magi Master, you'll '''[[TakingYouWithMe need]]''' someone with [=ReRaise=].[[/note]]
*** He's also useful when using Cyan's [[ChargedAttack Bushido]], since you can't input any commands for your other party members until Cyan is ready. Fortunately, Umaro doesn't need command input and will immediately attack whenever his turn comes up.
* The Squire class from ''Videogame/FinalFantasyTactics'': Tackle, Counter Tackle, and Rock Throw are all usually rather pathetic abilities as far as damage goes. What bumps them into Not Completely Useless territory, however, is their ability to knock the target back a square. This can enable you to open an exit path for that party member, force an attacker to come back rather than performing a hit-and-run, hit an opponent and shove them out of range for their own counter-attack...and send them plummeting off a sheer cliff to the tune of colossal, and likely ''fatal'' fall damage.
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIX'' has Ipsen's Castle, a dungeon where stairs and ceilings swap places, and your current weapons inflict ScratchDamage. Most of the treasures you find here are the lousy starter weapons for your party that they came with. This, along with the general "reversal" theme, is a clue that that's what you should be using, as weapons do ''more'' damage the ''weaker'' they are, making your starter weapons not useless after all.
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyX'' has several instances:
** Seymour on Mount Gagazet is one of less than a handful of enemies to use the Zombie attack. You can fight this battle the long and hard way with Aeons and Overdrives, or you can just keep a few vials of otherwise useless de-zombify medicine handy.
** Seymour's third encounter is one of the only bosses that can be poisoned in the entire game. The extra damage can pile up over time if you poison him at the beginning of the battle, and he never cures it on himself.
** Yuna's Nul-spells, a low-cost spell that hits the entire party and will protect them from one attack that matches the nulled element ([=NulBlaze=] will protect you from fire, [=NulTide=] will protect you from water, et cetera), are considered useless by some players. However, they can be very handy indeed when you know exactly what kind of elements are coming. Flans and Elements, in particular, will attack with specific elements, and if you cast the appropriate Nul- spell in time you won't be hurt at all. They're also very helpful the first time you fight Seymour, since he repeatedly casts each elemental spell in a specific order. If you know what's coming next (and the Sensor ability will explain the sequence to you), you can make what would be ThatOneBoss much more bearable.
** Petrifying enemies doesn't usually count for much in many ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'' games, but in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyX'' it's another matter entirely:
*** Having Rikku use Petrify Grenades on underwater fiends will instantly kill them, as they [[LiterallyShatteredLives sink to the bottom and shatter]].
*** In the desert on the way to the Al Bhed Home, you'll run into these weird plant fiends that will automatically cast Confusion on you every time you hit them...unless you use Kimahri's Stone Breath on them. Who'd have guessed that it would be so hard to confuse someone when you're petrified and about to shatter?
*** You can also use Stone Breath to one-shot Seymour's Guado Guardian escorts, who have this nasty Cover-Protect-Auto Potion loop. [[GuideDangIt You're supposed to steal a high potion from them to disable it,]] but this way is easier.
** Speaking of Kimahri Ronso, many complain that he is redundant because there's no need for a multitasker in a game where switching inactive characters into the party at any time and vice versa is one of the main gameplay mechanics, but those people forget several things:
*** He can make a useful backup mage or provide additional status effects, which can complement the party member who is supposed to specialize in these things, or even take their place if that party member isn't available;
*** He's the only character besides Auron whose weapons normally have the Piercing trait. This is especially helpful at the start of the game, before Auron actually joins the party.
*** Similarly, Kimahri can be used as a thief as soon as you get your first Level 1 Key Sphere for the Sphere Grid, which is a lot sooner than when Rikku is found.
*** He is also the closest character to the powerful Ultima spell in the sphere grid (which is blocked by several high tier locks). If you delay upgrading him until you gain the spheres needed to unlock it, you can use a teleport sphere to move a more devoted caster to the Ultima spell immediately.
** Rikku's Bribe attack seems virtually useless, given its obscenely high price against anything significant (25x the enemy's max HP in Gil for a guaranteed success), until you realise that Bribed enemies can give you a truckload of crafting items that're much harder or impossible to get anywhere else in large quantities.
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXI'' - The two hour ability (a supposedly extremely valuable job specific ability that can only be used every two hours) for Ninjas is Mijin Gakure. This ability kills the Ninja and deals damage based on their current HP. Due to [[HealthDamageAsymmetry the amount of health enemies have]], this ability is basically useless. It does not inflict enough damage to be worth using in any situation where a two hour is justified. There are two uses for it.
** Avoid the harsh penalty for death, since a secondary effect of Mijin Gakure is to remove all penalties for dying and being raised back to life.
** A poor man's Warp, since you can return to your home point after you die and again there is no death penalty for doing it this way. This has become less useful due to how easy it is to Warp through higher level spells and items.
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyTacticsAdvance'':
** Undead enemies rise again a few turns after being killed, unless a skill like Burial is used on their remains. Needless to say, those skills are completely useless anywhere else in the game. In the sequel the same goes for the Bard skill Requiem, which damages undead.
** Oddly enough, the zombie status itself is rather useful - if you get zombified, you will automatically come back to life in several turns, without having to use Raise/Arise or a phoenix down!
** The Viking class is an awkward combo of stealing skills and spells. The spells are, for the most part, not worth using, with the exception of Tsunami, which can only be used if the caster is standing in water.

[[folder:Other Video Games]]
%%Please separate by Genre... or at least split off the RPG and MMORPG examples.
* The Undead Slayer in ''VideoGame/AdventureQuestWorlds'' is amazing in Doomwood due to its unique quality of quickly becoming well over 9000 by a Spirit Power system that only works when fighting undead. Its normal power when out of its element is pretty Dismal
* The Viy fight in ''VideoGame/LaMulana''. Going by how the rest of the game is set-up you are led to believe that Spears are your only option for this battle. However, as spears shoot directly downwards you must get right above the boss's eye to damage it, which also happens to be where all its most dangerous attacks comes from, making it one of the harder fights in the game. There is another weapon that turns out to be a savior; Throwing Knives seem pretty useless when you get them, so you tend to forget about them, as the shurikens do more damage and are faster horizontally and spears have better vertical damage and speed. However, the Knives property of "sliding" along the ground until they hit a wall allows you to just stand back (dodging some weak projectiles) and bombard Viy while coming under very minimal danger yourself, instantly turning it into a very easy fight. As a bonus, the Throwing Knives will damage the regenerating tentacles as well, making them much less of a hassle.
** The Throwing Knives did have one other big use-- Hell Temple. While the area may be filled with false floors, a thrown knife traces the actual path of the floor-- Passing right through the "gaps" to show the real path.
** Throwing Knives also make a small number of puzzles much easier than they would be with other, more obviously applicable weapons.
** The throwing knives are actually significantly stronger than shuriken, and can hit sufficiently large enemies twice (they go through most enemies). It's just that shuriken have a (usually) far superior movement pattern. And you can throw more shuriken at once than you can knives.
* The last boss of ''Videogame/MysticDefender'': it could be trivially defeated by using the weapon that bounces balls off walls and crouching in the lower right hand corner of the screen. The balls would bounce and hit the boss in just the right spot. The weapon was otherwise useless for most of the game.
* In ''VideoGame/WildArms3'', a skill by Luceid called "Dark Luceid" pretty much deals very low damage, even when Luceid is using it against you when you need to obtain him. Afterwards, you can fight an upgraded BonusBoss called Power Trask (basically, an upgraded "regular" Trask whom you defeated earlier). Now unlike regular Trask which can be defeated easily after knowing a trick, Power Trask suffers none such weakness. It is also highly defensive towards elemental magic (which your party has been relying on for a good chunk of the game). The non-elemental magic available doesn't hit hard enough and Power Trask is, quite simply, a pure StoneWall that laughs at your physical attacks. Cue Dark Luceid saving the day due to its mostly heretofore unknown "deal damage according to how many elemental resistances the target has" property. This same property is what usually makes it deal pitiful damage: not many enemies have full elemental resistance thus making this skill useless for 90% of the game. Makes you think that TheDevTeamThinksOfEverything doesn't it?
* Completing a sidequest involving [[NoSenseOfDirection directing an easily-lost scholar home]] in ''VideoGame/StarOceanTheSecondStory'' earns you a stick called the Funny Slayer that [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin instantly slays any enemies with "Funny" in their name when you hit them.]] Of course, the only enemies that fit that description(Funny Thieves) are TheGoomba and pretty much go down in one hit even if you were Level 1 and unarmed. That is, until you hit the middle floors of the [[BonusDungeon Cave Of Trials]], which contain Metal Funnys and Funny Thief lvl99s (one of which is a floor boss.)
* ''Franchise/MetalGear'':
** ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid'':
*** It is implied you must use your missile weapons for the battle against Vulcan Raven, which he can easily shoot down if you don't use them carefully. But, you can lay claymore mines around the arena and wait for him to step on them; this is one of the only good uses of claymore mines in the game.
*** In a similar manner, the relatively useless chaff grenades can be used to make the fight against the cyborg ninja much easier. They're also essential to taking out the M1 tank and can make the battle against Metal Gear Rex easier as well. Also, they can be helpful to walk around the staircase filled with survaillance cameras, which are deactivated for a while when you use a chaff grenade.
*** Remote-controlled Nikita rockets are slightly different: they are used for solving a puzzle near the beginning of the game, but after that see little use (as they aren't exactly especially stealthy). However, they are ''incredibly'' useful during the second Sniper Wolf boss fight (much easier than using a sniper rifle).
*** Snake's cigarettes at first appear to serve no purpose other than to slowly drain his health ([[SmokingIsCool while making him look cool]]). However, the smoke allows you to detect laser security sensors, although not as well as with infrared goggles. They also calm Snake's nerves and make his sniping aim more steady, although not as effectively as Diazepam.
** ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid2'':
*** Repeats the cigarettes gimmick from the previous game exactly.
*** After Ocelot takes your mask, the Gurlukovich Soldier uniform seems pointless - guards immediately recognise you, and it has no effect on your stats. However, if you put it on before walking in an area where you leave footprints, the guards will recognise the bootprint as one of theirs and ignore it.
*** Pentazemin (a drug which improves sniper rifle accuracy) can be found on the Tanker, a stage in which there is no weapons beside the USP and the M9. It appears to serve no function, but taking it causes the disorientating up-down motion of the camera (stronger in higher difficulty levels) to stop for a while, explained as it helping with seasickness (via the PlaceboEffect).
*** The RGB-6 is a grenade launcher in a game where grenades are ''already'' fairly useless. Enemies are very difficult to hit with it, the explosion alerts guards, and there is ''always'' a better way to take down your foes than this thing... until you face Vamp. When he dives into the water you can drop a few RGB-6 rounds in the water which will most likely hit him (and do decent damage), but even when they don't the blast depletes his OxygenMeter and forces him to surface, leaving him wide-open for another attack.
* ''VideoGame/SpaceMegaforce'' has a few times that weapons that seem to be outclassed become life savers. In level eight, if you shoot the walls, pieces break off that can kill you. Most weapons, when upgraded, have bullet patterns that will hit the walls constantly. Your saving grace is the Sprite weapon, which is usually outclassed by the others. Also, when playing on Normal, Tricky, and Wild difficulties, weapons that don't do much damage per hit but can fill much of the screen with bullets tend to be good choices, but when you play on Hard or Hyper, the enemies become able to take much more damage before dying, which forces you to fight with weapons that do more damage to individual targets. Oddly enough, the weapon named "Multi-Direction Shot" turns out to be the best at this, making it excellent on Hard and Hyper but a poor choice for the other difficulty settings. (The game's difficulties, in order from easiest to hardest, are Normal, Hard, Hyper, Tricky, and Wild.)
* In ''VideoGame/MaximoGhostsToGlory'', Captain Cadaver is immune to all your attacks except for swinging your sword while crouching so you can hit his peg leg. This is one of the four times where crouching is useful. The other times occurs against bomb-throwing skeletons (attacking them normally causes their backpack of bombs to explode, whereas crouching and slashing at their legs causes them to collapse in a heap with a bomb still in hand and ticking), Hammer Devils (can be killed faster since their hammer is not getting in the way) and the crawling zombie torsos.
* ''VideoGame/EarthBound'':
** Master Belch can either be fought the easy way, with the Jar of Fly Honey, or [[SelfImposedChallenge the really hard way]], which involves the otherwise-meaningless HP Sucker and exploiting his weaknesses to Hypnosis and Paralysis. (You have to drain his HP from him because he won't take damage from attacks without the Fly Honey.)
** Mondo Mole is one of the few bosses that is susceptible to [[PsychicPowers PSI]] [[StandardStatusEffects Paralysis Alpha]].
** Shroooom! can be a rather tough boss...unless you use the otherwise nigh-useless PSI Flash Beta against him, which will either paralyze or kill him in one shot.
* In the ''VideoGame/MegaManClassic'' series, the weakness of the ({{True|FinalBoss}}) FinalBoss corresponds either to the most useless weapon or to the weapon which is a pain to hit with.
** The trend started with Bubble Lead in ''VideoGame/MegaMan2''; it ran along the ground, so it doesn't do well against most enemies. But it's the only weapon that works against the FinalBoss. It also earns its pay earlier in the Fortress with the disguised holes in the floor.
** Top Spin from ''VideoGame/MegaMan3'' is considered one of the most useless weapons in the series. However, any enemy that is weak against it has no invincibility frames against it. This includes Wily's final form. So, while it doesn't [[OneHitKO one-shot]] any of these enemies, it can be made to look like it does.
** In ''VideoGame/MegaMan7'', you remember those Wild Coils? You will when you fight Wily!
** In ''VideoGame/MegaMan8'', you can only use three weapons against... the ''first'' Fortress boss: [[AlwaysAccurateAttack Astro Crush]] and Ice Wave when he's by the wall, and the oft neglected Mega Ball [[ItMayHelpYouOnYourQuest that you got at the start of the game]]. It also replaces the Rush Coil and also permits you to perform [[DoubleJump multiple midair jumps]] if your timing is good.
** Actually averted more often than not with Sigma in the ''VideoGame/MegaManX'' series. In X1, he was weak to Rolling Shield, but the charged version actually shielded you, disqualifying it once you go either of the attack upgrades. In X2, he was weak to the Strike Chain, which had limited weapon use but [[UtilityWeapon was a good tool in several situations]]. In X3, he was weak to the X-Buster only.
** ''VideoGame/MegaManBattleNetwork'' brings a really odd one to the table. The Minibomb chip in the standard series games is useless - you can't hit with it worth a damn against most things and it barely does more damage than any of the many chips you do have that are way more accurate. For the series' platformer GaidenGame, however, it became a GameBreaker that went largely unnoticed because of its terrible history in the other games. For this one game, it was extremely easy and efficient to use, cheap to maximize your stock of, available right from the moment you hit [[DiscOneNuke New Game]], and because the explosion damaged enemies multiple times, was capable of one-shotting half the enemies in the game; and everything else could be taken down with a second one if it wasn't a boss or had an aura (as enemies in two endgame stages did).
* ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'':
** In the early days of raiding, Hunters received a new ability, Tranquilizing Shot. Its only use was to remove frenzy effects found on some of the bosses (which would make them much stronger). Ironically, due to issues Hunters had, this one trick made Hunters much more likely to even get into raids. The second expansion finally gives it a broader range of uses, even against other players. A similar case was the Mage spell Detect Magic (shows active buffs on the target) which was very helpful on some bosses that required the raid to dispel certain effects otherwise hard to see, but in this case, the spell was eventually removed (and buffs made always visible).
** Another classic case of this is the Warlock spell Detect Invisibility. Until Mages got a corresponding skill this was completely useless (Rogues use ''Stealth'', which is a different mechanic) with a few select locations that have invisible enemies. Even there it's not necessary to use the spell, but it avoids nasty surprises (especially in Naxxramas where the first player the monster spots usually gets killed in one hit.
** Yet another rarely used skill is "Mind Soothe/Soothe Beast". What does it do? It reduces the radius of the target in which it attacks players. If the spell fails, it attacks the target. Nowadays almost forgotten, there were a few places where players could avoid some fights with it, and in a specific case it's often used as a means to let the Priest get close enough to the target safely to Mind Control it. Speaking of which...
** Mind Control, while perfectly viable in [=PvP=] used to have the fatal drawback of making the target ''very'' pissed at the caster (a [[SquishyWizard squishy Priest]]) when it breaks off. This was later changed along with the possibility to use the spell to force some enemies to cast very useful buffs on the Priest's party.
** Yet another overlooked spell is "Dampen/Amplify Magic", a buff that either decreases or increases magic effects (both damaging and healing). Since healing is almost always required and magic damage all too common, it's pretty much restricted to a choice few bosses that predominantly hurt with physical damage as a means to make healing a bit easier. The dampening variant is reasonably useful for Mages playing on their own though, since they have no healing spells.
* ''Franchise/{{Metroid}}''
** In ''VideoGame/MetroidPrime'', all of the charge combos work like this:
*** The Ice Spreader fires far too slowly to be of any use against normal enemies and most bosses. However, it also can freeze the first form of the final boss with one shot, causing massive amounts of damage in the process.
*** The Wavebuster uses far too much ammo to make it worth using... until you reach the end of your first visit to the Phazon Mines, where you fight an invisible enemy that you can't lock on to and is very quick. Suddenly, the ability to auto-target ''anything'' becomes very useful. And this enemy is even weak to the Wave Beam, mitigating the ammo requirement.
*** The Flamethrower does fast continuous damage, but it has a limited range and anything that isn't immune to the Plasma beam can be taken down in a few shots making it a huge waste of ammo. However, it is one of the few weapons that can penetrate the Omega Pirate's shield.
** Also in the Prime series, the hazard proximity bar in the HUD is generally considered a pointless aesthetic touch. But during certain boss fights like the Omega Pirate, Dark Samus 1, and Emperor Ing, it becomes incredibly useful for letting you know when you're dangerously close to a pool of Phazon, for example, since you can't see where you're strafing or backing away while locked on to the boss.
** Seeker Missiles are generally ignored aside from opening certain doors. However they turn out to be exceedingly useful for taking out the tentacles of Emperor Ing's first form. And in ''Prime 3'' their ability to lock 5 missiles onto a single enemy provide a semi-decent replacement for the absent Super Missiles or beam combos, and at least don't cost health unlike Hyper Missiles.
* One of the first weapons you get in ''Videogame/MetalMutant'' is some kind of lightning attack. It looks cool and is pretty strong in raw power, but it [[AwesomeButImpractical has an overly long charge time, its range is limited, and ]]''[[AwesomeButImpractical any ]]''[[AwesomeButImpractical hit will take you out of it]]. However, there is one certain enemy near endgame that is [[NighInvulnerable totally impervious to everything you have]] ''except'' for this weapon.
* Most ''VideoGame/{{Einhander}}'' strategy guides recommend the Endymion Mk. II and dismissed the GunsAkimbo Astraea fighter as AwesomeButImpractical. But, equipped with the right pair of gunpods (that seem fairly useless on the Endymion) the Astraea chews through mooks and bosses alike with ease.
* ''[[VideoGame/{{Diablo}} Diablo II]]'' features a Paladin ability called "Holy Bolt". Virtually useless unless you're focusing on healing teammates or damaging Undead. Of course, only a 1/4 of all the monsters in the game are Undead so you're helpless against everything else, but Holy Bolt does smash the daylights out of Undead.
** If you spec out a Paladin to maximize Holy Bolt's healing properties, you won't be able to hit any monsters past Act 3 Normal. On the other hand, with the right gear (Faster Cast Rate rings for the win) you can heal 500+ HP a second. Not bad for a game that allegedly doesn't have a healing class.
** Though the Sorceress's Blaze (which makes fire appear where you walk) is mostly useless, it makes an effective [[HitAndRunTactics kiting tactic]] against [[ThatOneBoss Duriel]]. More than most classes, the Sorceress desperately needs to stay out of his InstantDeathRadius; with Blaze, you can get him to [[ArtificialStupidity chase you around in a circle in your trail of fire]] until he eventually dies.
* Charred Newts in ''VideoGame/LufiaCurseOfTheSinistrals''. They fully restore IP, but IP regenerates naturally anyway and you can just use standard attacks against enemies or switch out to a different character with a full IP meter. The final boss fight against Daos gives Maxim the ability to freeze time with the Dual Blade, which lasts until his IP runs out. Popping a Charred Newt once Time Stop runs out lets you repeatedly freeze time and wail on Daos, letting you kill him ridiculously easily.
* ''VideoGame/DigitalDevilSaga'':
** Null Sleep/Avoid Sleeper (avoid any attack so long as you're affected with Sleep status) is completely useless against nearly every boss in the game. Except one, where it is, in point of fact, absolutely ''required'' to succeed. Oh, and that one specific fight? That would be [[spoiler: Demi-Fiend]], most definitively on the short-list for hardest boss ever in the history of gaming.
** Cielo has mediocre stats and a weakness to any skill that inflicts status ailments. Virtually every enemy has an attack that inflicts status ailments, so Cielo is often times a bad choice, even against electric enemies who he is supposed to be most useful against. The one time he is legitimately useful is in the same fight where the aforementioned Null Sleep is required. The reason is because his weakness to status ailments means he is almost guaranteed to be hit with the sleep status ailment.\\
He's also surprisingly useful for [[spoiler:the second phase of the Ravana fight. Ravana likes to cast a spell that inflicts your entire party with the control-removing Hunger status and follow it up with an all-target Wind spell... which can be reflected back at him for huge damage. He also likes to cast the Hunger effect on his second action, letting him follow up with the Wind spell on the next turn with your reflect caster Hungry and unable to put the reflecting effect up. If you have Cielo on the field, though, Ravana will gain a press turn from Cielo's ailment weakness and cast that big spell immediately, before your reflect can wear off.]]
* In ''Videogame/{{Persona 4}}'' there are items that deal a fixed amount of damage, low even for the early parts of the first dungeon (and you don't find them till you get near the end of said dungeon!) make short work of {{Metal Slime}}s. Also good for exploiting elemental weaknesses without burning SP. Later on, however, you get the Magatama items, which deal 150 damage to all enemies; you'll likely find them useful on the bosses for the striptease and [[{{Retraux}} Void Quest]] dungeons.
* In ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIV'', Silent Prayer resets all stat changes to both sides of the battle. This isn't that useful for the most part, since by the time it's available, odds are you are making extensive use of {{Status Buff}}s for your allies, and you don't want that to reset. Merkabah, on the other hand, ''loves'' to increase his own stats while lowering yours, and the battle can go uphill for you in a hurry without Silent Prayer.
* ''VideoGame/AncientDomainsOfMystery'' hangs a lampshade on this with the "potion of uselessness." When drunk, it's... useless. When you throw it at a monster, it's... useless. If you dip an item in it... nothing happens. It's never an alchemical ingredient. And many, if not most, potions are useful for more than one of those reasons. But if thrown in the SlippySlideyIceWorld, it propels you along like any other thrown object...[[spoiler: and your god is impressed enough to give you an artifact for finding a use for it.]]
* In ''VideoGame/{{Iji}}'', the Resonance Reflector is normally too slow to recharge to be much use for you; you'd be better off [[WhyDontYaJustShootHim blasting the enemies with a]] BFG instead of trying to reflect their own projectiles back at them. You'd think it would be good for a PacifistRun (They're killing themselves, right?), only for [[FriendlyFireproof gameplay reasons]] the reflected projectiles count as yours, so no it isn't. Then comes the final boss, who has immensely strong armor... [[PlayingTennisWithTheBoss and a weapon that does far more damage than anything you've got, and that can be reflected.]]
** Version 1.6 changed the reflection mechanic so that deflecting an enemy projectile no longer counts as your kill. Unless of course, it's a projectile they reflected back at you, but with the reflector's load time, you probably won't be able to reflect it again anyway.
** The Resonance Reflector is an upgraded version of the Resonance Detonator, which is even more useless since it shares the Reflector's absurdly long reload time but its effect is identical to your kick attack (which is always a keypress away and doesn't require you to switch weapons). Kicking also takes a lot less time than charging the Detonator does. The only advantage provided by the Detonator is that it fires instantly when you press the button, while the kick only deals damage about half a second into the attack animation. Enter Tasen Shredders, vehicles that both Iji and the Tasen can use. Most of them spawn with a Tasen rider, but you can kick them off without destroying the Shredder - if you manage to hit a fast-moving vehicle with your foot in the split second before it knocks you down. Resonance Detonators make this feasible.
*** The Resonance Detonator has another use. It fires in a small circle away from you, hitting opponents who are not close enough to kick. Usually this doesn't mean much, as the ability is still too week to justify having as your only weapon. However, there will be numerous occasions where Iji is standing on a platform right above an opponent who can't hit her since he is unable to jump. The detonator can be safely loaded and allowed to charge without risk of harm, and if fired when the opponent is right along the ledge the Detonator will hit him despite iji being above him and unable to kick. This can be a bit tedious to do, but it does give a free kill without wasting ammo or risking enemy fire.
*** And one more use: the Resonance Detonator is the easiest and cheapest way to destroy Skysmashers. Too bad these only show up in the final sector.
* The Tractor Beam spell in ''VideoGame/TalesOfPhantasia'' is largely useless. In practice, it's supposed to be a useful spell (being the only non-elemental spell Arche can learn for a good long time), but it only works on enemies on the ground. The problem is that many of ''[=ToP=]'''s enemies (roughly about 1/3) are flying enemies that are NEVER on the ground, while most of the rest are fond of jumping around like rabid monkeys. The result is [[UselessUsefulSpell a spell that so rarely deals damage (that has no other effect)]] that most players will turn it off so the computer-controlled Arche doesn't end up wasting half her turns. There's only ONE case where the spell is useful, being in Gnome's Dungeon against the Clay Idol monsters, land-based creatures that take damage from only one attack in the game. Care to guess which one?
* In ''VideoGame/TalesOfVesperia'', Estelle can potentially give you an item called the "Mother's Memento." It theoretically grants you unlimited healing, as it is never consumed when used, except that the healing it grants per use is incredibly small, and given that any item use in the game comes with a cooldown, there are far more efficient ways to heal. Eventually, you have to fight [[spoiler:a brainwashed Estelle as]] a boss. Using the Mother's Memento during the battle grants [[spoiler:her a brief moment of self-awareness, lowering her defenses and earning]] you the Secret Mission for it, which you can't get in any other way.
* In ''VideoGame/DinkSmallwood: Mystery Island'', you learn a spell called Duck Magic through a subplot involving a human-to-duck transforming magic fountain. This spell does nothing at all except summon ducks. [[spoiler:The final boss is the only thing they work on, because it "forgot to put on feet armor".]]
* In ''VideoGame/MediEvil'', one of the earlier weapons you get is a wooden Club, which [[CardboardObstacle breaks boulders]]. The Club is unfortunately also the game's only [[BreakableWeapons breakable melee weapon]], is almost as weak as the Short Sword you start with, and the Warhammer can also break boulders while being stronger, with a longer range and an awesome GroundPound attack. However, the Club can also be used as a torch, and the GangplankGalleon level at the end of the game has cannons with fuses...
* The emerald swords of ''LandsOfLore'' cause little to zero damage to all enemies and seem to be of no use until you enter the White Tower, there they're pretty effective against the ghosts, who are impervious to normal weapons.
* In ''[[CasperTheFriendlyGhost Casper]]: A Haunting 3D Challenge'' you collect fool's gold coins throughout the game. Through most of the game they appear useless, until the final boss fight where you have to drop them around to distract Carrigan.
* ''VideoGame/KingdomOfLoathing'' has many combat items that are mostly useless (due to the existence of skills and/or other items that make far superior alternatives), until you reach the final quest. There are 24 different {{Puzzle Boss}}es (originally 6 before ascension was implemented, then 12 until the [=NS13=] expansion), of which the game will choose 6 randomly; each one can only be defeated using a specific combat item. There are many other items with similar unexpected usefulness, like the Antique Hand Mirror; using it normally just breaks it and gives you [[BadLuckCharm 7 turns of "bad luck"]] (which [[SubvertedTrope does nothing]]), but using it while fighting the absurdly powerful [[spoiler:[[TheWormThatWalks Guy Made Of Bees]]]] will kill him instantly. The Chaos Butterfly normally has minor, random effects, or gives a seemingly meaningless message. Yet, not only is the Butterfly one of the special deadly combat items mentioned above, but using it in any combat allows you to [[GuideDangIt complete a certain unrelated quest in half the usual amount of time, if you choose exactly the right multiple-choice options]].
* In ''VideoGame/{{Wizardry}} IV'', the most useless summoned monster in the game is also the only thing that can kill the final boss.
* ''VideoGame/ChampionsOfNorrath'' and its sequel have several spells that either only work on undead, or are much more effective on undead. For example, the dark elf shadowknight's Convert Undead is absolutely useless ''unless'' you're fighting a horde of undead. The high elf cleric has several HolyHandGrenade spells that are only useful against undead.
* There's a Disney game for the Sega Genesis called ''[[VideoGame/DisneysMagicalQuest The Great Circus Mystery]].'' In it you get several suits that allow Mickey and/or Minnie to solve puzzles, get items and open pathways. You know how you tend to forget about the first one or two weapons you get as the game progresses? Well, nothing will take down Level 5's boss except for the vacuum cleaner-suit from WAY back.
* ''Franchise/StarWars: VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublic'' series:
** For Light Side players, the Drain Health Force Power is near useless for the brunt of the first game, [[KarmaMeter handicapped as it is]], while the [[ThrowingYourSwordAlwaysWorks Throw Lightsaber]] power is just plain weak and leaves the user vulnerable briefly. [[spoiler:In the final boss fight against Darth Malak, however, they are the only way to make use of the comatose Jedis he has strewn around the room. While using these powers on one of them does kill them, Drain Health also completely replenishes the player's health, and both powers keep Malak from using them.]]
** [[VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublicIITheSithLords The sequel]] had Mira's unique power: while she was your active character, your party wouldn't trigger mines. Normally mines in the ''[=KotOR=]'' series are widely-spread and easy enough to simply walk around (or ''through'' -- they don't do very much damage). However, precisely one area in the game, not long after you recruit Mira in the first place, has ''dozens'' of mines in thick clusters, entirely unlike the usual arrangement. Later on, [[spoiler: on the way to Freedon Nadd's tomb]], there's another chokepoint with dozens of mines strewn through it, and setting any of them off will trigger the alarm system, making it harder to progress. Once again, Mira's unique skill lets waltz right over the mines and disarm the security system while in stealth mode with ease.
** The game also emphasized this with skills through the crafting mechanic. Usually you could rely on your party's skills, rather than your own -- and a few, like Awareness and Stealth, were not very useful to begin with. However, they were the basis of the crafting system, and most of the time you were forced to use your own skills when determining what upgrades you could make.
* Fina in ''VideoGame/SkiesOfArcadia'' has a special move called Lunar Glyph that does a little damage and has a chance of petrifying the enemy. As you'd expect, all the enemies worth petrifying are immune to it...except for ''one boss'' that it's almost 100% effective against.
* In theory, ArrowsOnFire are an advanced attack in ''VideoGame/{{Trine}}'', doing more damage in return for a bit of magical energy. In practice, normal arrows make up for quality with quantity. However, max-level fire arrows explode to damage nearby targets, allowing you to quickly take out the [[GoddamnBats bat swarms]] that are hard to hit with most other attacks.
* ''VideoGame/StarcraftII'''s campaign features one new unit in most missions, and typically the mission revolves around that new unit to a greater or lesser extent. This can make a number of these units Not Completely Useless, though which ones will depend on a given player's style. Battlecruisers, for instance, are generally held to be AwesomeButImpractical in terms of resources, but are essential to "Maw of the Void", the mission which unlocks them, since their health lets them weather the environmental effects better than other, more efficient units.
* The 'mutate' perk in the ''VideoGame/{{Fallout}}'' universe. You can re-pick your traits, how grand. Too bad you pick your traits yourself in the beginning of the game and there are few, if any, traits that it would be worth a perk switching to mid-game. Meanwhile, in ''VideoGame/{{Fallout Tactics|BrotherhoodOfSteel}}'', your team-mates have pre-picked traits, and getting [[GameBreaker Gifted]] ''is'' worth the perk slot.
* In ''VideoGame/GoldenSun'', StandardStatusEffects are generally useless, as it is more efficient to simply beat your foes' brains in. However, the BonusBoss Deadbeard is absolutely crippled by the Psynergy Seal status effect since his entire offensive lineup consists of Psynergy and his basic attack. Since the Djinn Luff can inflict Psynergy Seal with 100% accuracy, and can be spammed by your most agile party members at no cost, this becomes the best way to tear him apart. In its sequel ''Golden Sun: The Lost Age'', Luff and its equivalent Rime also do very well against the BonusBoss Sentinel, although he holds onto a solid elemental physical attack in addition to his basic attack.
* In ''VideoGame/GoldenSunDarkDawn'':
** StandardStatusEffects are quite handy against the BonusBoss Ancient Devil. Not directly, since like most bosses it's immune, but its [[ThatOneAttack major ability, Demon Sign]], lets it turn one of your allies against you at any given time, and ''they'' can be crippled with status effects, keeping them out of your way without KO-ing them and letting the Devil use Demon Sign on someone else.
** [[StopHelpingMe Insight Psynergy]] has a different effect if used on [[ThatOnePuzzle the infamous Capricorn puzzle]]. Instead of the usual useless "[[CaptainObvious this object can be affected with Move]]", it highlights a path for each statue that will solve the puzzle, which is pretty handy if a little FridgeLogic-inducing.
* The Collision Magnet command in ''VideoGame/KingdomHearts3D''. It's extremely slow, does mediocre damage, and can be easily interrupted if there's more then one enemy around, unlike most commands with a long start-up. However, in an aversion of ContractualBossImmunity, the [[GetBackHereBoss Spellican]] is susceptible to it and it knocks it down, giving you plenty of free time to beat on it before it runs away. You can also hit it with the move again before it gets up to keep it on the ground and even grab it out of its otherwise unstoppable teleport. This is especially useful in the rematch, where it loses its vulnerability to Zero Gravity.
** In ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsCoded'', High Ethers are normally a waste of limited space, because all they do is increase your clock gauge by two units. However, when going for the Fatal Flawless trophy, you have to make yourself into a OneHitPointWonder, and while the enemy mooks also have their HP set to 1, bosses still have their full HP. This is where the High Ethers come in: using one while you wield the Oathkeeper keyblade with activate Auto-Life, letting you survive one hit, and you can recast it as long as you have High Ethers.
* In ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOcarinaOfTime'':
** The Ice Arrows are surprisingly useful against Bongo Bongo. Their freezing effect can be used to distract the hands, letting you get a shot at the eye. They are also useful in a particular room in the Spirit Temple, where the player has to trick an Armos Knight into landing on a switch at the end of its rampage. An Ice Arrow can force it to stop on that switch at any time during its attack period. Lastly, there is a programming quirk where any enemy that can be frozen is damaged twice when shot with an Ice Arrow, which makes them a one-hit-kill on the infamous Like-Likes.
** The Deku Nuts as well: They're probably forgotten about by the time you beat the Deku Tree, but they make Jabu Jabu's belly a cakewalk. They'll instantly kill ''every bubble enemy in the room'', stun those annoying jellyfish (Which you can't otherwise harm until you find the boomerang), and will force the jet-ray creatures out of the ground so you can get the drop on them. They're also handy as an adult when fighting Blue Bubbles.
** The broken Giant's Knife is ''intentionally'' meant to be useless, but it tears [[ThatOneBoss Dark Link]] to shreds since he is programmed to block against it as if it were still the full blade.
* The Scrolls of Icarian Flight from ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIIMorrowind'' are really only useful for making a few quick trips across the game map. (They allow the player to jump incredible distances, but you'll die on impact unless you land in deep water, use a 2nd scroll, or cast a slowfall/levitation spell.) However, there are a few instances in the game where they can help the player avoid spending a lot of time and effort if used wisely.
** In one particularly tall Daedric ruin, using one can allow the player to leap all the way up to the highest level in a single bound to acquire some valuable loot, skipping over all of the enemy mooks in the ruin.
** Another useful spot is avoiding a certain deathtrap in [[spoiler: Sotha Sil's clockwork city.]] Using one will allow the player to jump past the tricky trip to the exit right away.
** They can also be useful during the few instances where fast travel is unavailable to the player, such as a Tribunal Temple quest where the player is forced to take an oath of silence while traveling to a shrine on the complete opposite side of the island.
** Solstheim is another place where fast travel doesn't exist, so the scrolls allow the player to more quickly traverse the island. In particular, they can help with one East Empire Company quest that has a strict time limit. The person you need to find will be in one of three random places, so placing a Mark spell ahead of time won't work. Using the scrolls to jump there can get you there much faster than running, and will allows you to pass over any enemies along the way who would otherwise slow you down.
* In ''ResidentEvil2'', many of the weapons that suck for killing zombies are extremely effective against other specific creatures instead. Leon's flamethrower and Claire's flame rounds are excellent against Ivy monsters, the [=MAC 11=] is great for taking out Lickers and keeping them from counterattacking, and Claire's Spark Shot does nearly as much damage to the boss enemies as Leon's Upgraded Magnum.
* In ''ResidentEvil4'', the knife is generally not used in boss fights due to its low damage. Cut to the fight against Krauser where the knife gets a massive damage boost and just a few slashes can end the fight in seconds.
* ''[[VideoGame/FireEmblemTellius Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn]]'' makes a big deal about Micaiah's Sacrifice ability, which allows her to heal others without a staff, but in battle the ability is mostly worthless since it [[CastFromHitPoints drains Micaiah's own HP when she uses it]], and Micaiah is a SquishyWizard who's death results in a [[WeCannotGoOnWithoutYou game over]]. Since traditional healing items and staves are not hard to come by, you're usually better off using them. However the ability does have some niche use on a few select maps, since it removes all status ailments on the affected target, basically making it a free Recover staff. It also lets her get 10 exp every turn, provided that she has a wounded ally nearby and 2 or more HP. Considering Micaiah is one of the units that changes class at plot points and [[CantDropTheHero is required]] for the final chapters, you pretty much need a way to level her up to 20 while keeping her away from the fray.
* The various [[JokeItem Joke Weapons]] in ''{{VideoGame/Fire Emblem Awakening}}'' can be used where [[GoneHorriblyRight killing enemies too quickly can be hazardous]]. For example, if one of your units is hiding behind a bottleneck, enemies will usually body-block each other while trying to attack the unit, allowing you to pick them off one by one and heal the unit after each round. This doesn't work if your unit is strong enough to kill each enemy in one round, and will probably get them killed by ZergRush. Give them a crappy weapon, however, and the bottleneck strategy works again. The joke healing staff (the Kneader) also is handy for certain builds that rely on being at low-but-not-minimum HP (e.g. those using Vantage, Vengeance, and/or Miracle).
* In ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTwilightPrincess'', the final boss can be distracted by the Fishing Rod, leaving him vulnerable to attacks. Of course, the Fishing Rod is only needed for two small plot hurdles, so many players would have likely forgotten about it by the time they reached the final boss, and since it has no offensive capabilities whatsoever, the few who did remember wouldn't normally think to equip it for the fight.
* In ''VideoGame/PaperMarioTheThousandYearDoor,'' the fifth boss, Cortez, summons a ''gigantic'' horde of flying swords to attack the player when he's in his third form. The swords do massive damage each turn, and are considered both aerial enemies and spiked enemies--meaning that only very certain special moves hold any chance of damaging them and thus removing them from the fight. ...Unless, of course, you use Flurrie's Gale Force move, which instantly blows any aerial enemies away from the battle. Normally it's useless because it causes said blown away enemies to not give Star Points, but as these are minions summoned by a boss, that isn't relevant and instead becomes a powerful way to weaken him.
* ''DragonQuestIX'': The Have A Ball and Thunder Thrust skills allow you to fire eight weak attacks at random / have a 50/50 chance of scoring a critical or missing outright. Neither are exactly reliable in regular battles, until you realize it can do 1-8 damage to a MetalSlime (Metal Slash, the move that is designed to reliably do damage to metal monsters, does 1-2 per turn) or kill one outright (''if'' it hits).
** When you first get them, the various Fource moves don't really help much, as there is precious little information on who's weak to what short of GuideDangIt (unless you let AI characters learn them, since they 'know' what to use). However, since it increases damage proportionally, you can find yourself dealing bonus damage in the hundreds to grotto bosses (especially once you have the item that lets you apply the buff to all characters in a single turn).
* In ''VideoGame/CityOfHeroes'' the first power in most Blaster secondaries was a single target ranged immobilize/attack power. Devices was unusual in that Web Grenade didn't deal any damage which was generally viewed as a weakness of the set since it meant that Devices Blasters had lower damage early game. However unlike most blaster immobilizes Web Grenade also had strong debuffs to jump and fly which meant that at end game it could be used to pin most archvillans to the ground while the players hovered above them safe from melee attack.
* The Yugioh card [[http://yugioh.wikia.com/wiki/Heavy_Slump Heavy Slump]] seems completely useless, since its effect requires your opponent to have 8 cards in their hand, which is extraordinarily rare - in fact, one of the basic rules of the game is that players cannot have more than 6 cards in their hand when they end their turn, and it's quite rare for this rule to come into play in the first place. Then you play the video game ''Over the Nexus'', and ThatOneBoss decides to be a [[TheComputerIsACheatingBastard cheating bastard]] and start the duel with 10 cards. Opening with this card turns a nightmare into a cakewalk.
* The Eden colony from ''[[{{VideoGame/Outpost2}} Outpost 2]]'' can develop a system for shooting down incoming meteors using high energy particle beams combined with an observatory, which is pretty cool, except [[CoolButInefficient the energy and staff requirements to maintain it are surprisingly high]]. Meteors don't do much damage to begin with, so it's easier and cheaper to simply repair any buildings that happen to be hit. This changes in the final mission of Eden's campaign, where Plymouth improvises a devastating EMP missile using their space launchers, and Eden's meteor defense system can be similarly repurposed to destroy them.

[[folder: Non-Video Games]]
* "Magic Bullet" cards are fairly common in {{Collectible Card Game}}s. In response to cards and game mechanics that could potentially unbalance the game, designers often include cards [[ObviousRulePatch specifically to counter these effects]]. If done poorly, such cards are useless ''except'' if your opponent employs the tactic it's meant to counter; in this case it rarely works, because it generally just isn't worth putting a card in your deck that is only useful in one specific circumstance.
** The ''TabletopGame/YuGiOh'' card game had a few blatant examples of this, such as Gryphon Wing, White Hole, and Anti-Raigeki, whose ''only uses'' were to negate specific overpowered cards. Then they discovered banning, and these counter cards quickly became dead weight. A less blatant example is Kuriboh, a mostly-underpowered card that for a while was the only effective way of stopping several one-turn-KO combos.
** The card game ''TabletopGame/{{Doomtown}}'' was especially bad at this. In one of the later expansions, the cards in question really ''were'' Magic Bullets--"Bullet" type cards were designed to insta-kill various character types.
** The [[TabletopGame/{{Pokemon}} Pokémon Trading Card Game]] uses "Magic Bullet" cards in place of banning. One recent example is Machamp, who could [[OneHitKill instantly KO]] any non-evolved Pokémon at a time when non-evolved Pokémon was the norm in tournament play. Most cases are subtler than this, however.
* ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering''
** The card One With Nothing, whose entire effect was "discard your hand." It was completely useless until a competitive deck came out that relied on giving the opponent a stream of cards and using spells that dealt damage based on the number of cards in an opponent's hand compared to yours. Lions Eye Diamond was similar, with the bonus that you got 3 mana from using it.
** Lifegain cards are almost completely useless, unless you have a card like [[GameBreaker Yawgmoth's Bargain]], which lets you turn life into cards (though [[DealWithTheDevil you can't draw cards the normal once-per-turn way]]). Lifegain also became nasty when they began adding specific cards that let you win the game if your life passed a certain extent. [[http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=185743 Felidar Sovereign]] springs to mind.\\
Additionally, due to lifegain's perceived weakness, you can gain ''tons'' of it for very cheap with a number of black, green, or especially white cards. Then you have certain creatures like Serra Ascendant and Divinity of Pride, which both become ENORMOUSLY overpowered for their costs if you have 25-30 life on hand, and both have the powerful lifelink ability to convert any damage they do into more life. Combine that with an artifact recently spoiled from Innistrad that can tap every turn for 5 damage if you managed to get to 30 or more life and the aforementioned Sovereign...
** Pick any card that's the centerpiece of a combo deck. Chances are the card is broken in half in the context of that deck, but completely useless anywhere else. Some of the best combo decks take two otherwise useless cards (say, Donate and Illusions of Grandeur) and turn them into a solid win condition.
** [[http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?name=Dralnu,%20Lich%20Lord Dralnu, Lich Lord]] is a classic example. It was largely dismissed as junk when Time Spiral was released and WOTC even featured it as part of a "reject rare" creative deckbuilding article where they essentially gave WordOfGod that Dralnu was [[AwesomeButImpractical mechanically interesting, but nowhere near competitive]]. Then the French pro Guillaume Wafo-Tapa used Dralnu in a highly successful blue/black control deck dubbed "Dralnu Du Louvre" that became a fixture of Time Spiral-era Standard. Later versions of DDL actually ended up cutting the deck's namesake card due to its riskiness, but Dralnu still picked up some serious respect for briefly seeing top-level play.