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Awesome But Impractical / TierZoo

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TierZoo frequently points out that certain animals may have cool-sounding abilities, but some of them are much less useful than they sound — if they're not actively harmful to the player.

  • Poison dart frogs, and lethally poisonous animals in general. An extremely deadly toxin that can kill practically any predator... but it only functions as a Counter-Attack, and given a frog's low defensive stats this means that the most likely scenario is Taking You with Me. It's also stated that higher levels in the Poison skill tree have diminishing returns; even just making a predator sick is enough to discourage most attacks, so a poison capable of killing a predator is generally a waste of Evolution Points, and a poison capable of killing virtually any target 10 times over is an enormous waste. Averted by venomous animals, however, since unlike poisonous animals they don't need to take damage for their abilities to become useful, although again over-investing can be a waste.
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  • The tardigrade build has resistance to just about everything... except for physical damage. Virtually all predators, including those that prey on the tardigrade, use physical damage, leaving it able to resist incredible theoretical dangers, but highly vulnerable to by far the most common threat it will face.
  • The bark spider is capable of spinning massive webs that span across entire rivers. This is a very impressive feat that can catch a ton of prey, including the usually evasive dragonfly, without putting the spider in danger. However, it requires a massive time and resource commitment to set up, and if the spider is ever caught in the middle of crafting the web by a predator or even another bark spider, the whole thing can be undone in an instant.
  • A common issue for lizards (barring some like monitor lizards, komodo dragons and iguanas). They tend to be relatively weak stat wise, and attempt to make up for it with unusual special abilities.
    • The horned lizard can squirt blood from its eyes to demoralize an attacker, which sounds cool, but requires giving up some of your own blood in order to use it, making it not an optimal strategy.
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    • Basilisk lizards can walk on water, but this ability is only useful if you stay near the water, and being on the surface of the water means exposing yourself to attacks from all directions by both aerial and aquatic predators.
    • Chameleons have the ability to change colour, which is theoretically one of the best abilities in the game, but it's determined by their emotional state rather than being a deliberate stealth strategy, making it pretty useless if not situational.
    • Tail Autotomy among lizards. While this is an effective Combo Breaker and Escape Battle Technique, it's also an ability that generally tends to only work once unless a new tail can be grown. It also comes at the price of a Maximum HP Reduction. Furthermore, many lizards rely on their Tail Slap attack, and this move obviously becomes unusable after Autotomy has been used. There are even predators who are smart enough to get around or ignore the detached tail. The two strongest lizards, the monitor and the Komodo totally ignore the ability.
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  • Snakes also tend to fall under this, as the benefits of any abilities they have are usually mitigated by the disadvantages of not having legs. Only constrictors, pit vipers, and cobras have good enough abilities to qualify as viable builds in spite of this limitation.
  • In his April Fools Cryptid tier list, he notes how, if the Loch Ness Monster were a plesiosaur living in such a small environment, it would inevitably eat itself to starvation.
  • Polar bears, at least relative to other, smaller bear species. Like all bears, they have very high base stats that make them near-unparalleled in combat, and polar bears have the highest base stat amongst them all. However, compared to other bears, they have low versatility due to not being omnivorous, and they don't hibernate, which means they're stuck hunting during the polar night, one of the most difficult challenges in the game. They also have no special abilities, low stealth in an area where cover is hard to find, meaning they largely have to rely on traps or picking high-risk fights.
  • Tyrannosaurus rex, in a hypothetical scenario where it was unbanned and brought back into the current-day meta. Its high attack was important against the high-HP dinosaurs that it specialized in killing back then, but this would massive overkill against nearly everything in the modern day and thus overspecialized. Furthermore, their large size came with a lack of speed and especially maneuverability compared to most modern-day animals that would outrun it. As such, it would only be considered a C-rank animal at best in the current meta, while smaller tyrannosaurs like Albertasaurus/Daspletosaurus would be more viable thanks to having better mobility and less reliance on their overwhelming damage.
  • Parrots were considered one of the worst support classes for humans mainly because of the amount of cost needed for their upkeep. While being able to provide a huge morale boost if trained well, they require enormous amounts of support and attention from their owners thanks to having an extremely high intelligence stat (around that of a young child) while being extremely social.
  • The Megaloceros was considered an F-tier Ice Age animal because its enormous antlers were downright impractical. They were only good for mating display… and nothing else, while having several downsides such as being a huge weight on the head, severely limiting their speed and mobility through forests, plus the danger of losing one antler and totally destroying their balance
  • Rhinos, as briefly noted in the Ice Age tier list, boast formidable offense and defense as well as deceptive speed, but are restricted to D-tier by their low intelligence and poor vision, which makes it hard to distinguish friend from foe. Combine this with a Hair-Trigger Temper, and you get a highly unstable offensive tank that can easily incite friendly fire or even charge uselessly at terrain obstacles they mistake for threats. The woolly rhinoceros got around these limitations by exploiting Bigger Is Better in both general size and its impressive horn, earning them a spot in B-tier.
  • Crocodiles with long legs for a terrestrial build seem impressive on paper: imagine the enormous bite power of a crocodile, combined with the speed of a horse to allow them to chase down prey rather than having to rely on camping. In practice, they fall flat due to the build being developed during a point where the meta had been hit by a recent mass extinction (Before the Triassic, and after the Cretaceous). During those periods, the previous top-tier predator build had been banned, allowing long-legged terrestrial crocodilians to dominate — but once the Dinosaurs (for the Triassic) and Mammals (in the Paleogene) started establishing their dominance, they easily outcompeted the terrestrial crocodilians for food.
  • Flying Fish and Salmon. Being able to jump out of the water and glide or jump up waterfalls sounds like cool abilities, but this also makes them easy targets for predators above the water such as birds and bears in addition to having the usual water-borne predators. As such, both are only D-tier.
  • The Vampire Bat's hematophagy sounds like a cool and creepy method to get sustenance from the blood of other animals... but this requires a high Stealth stat to avoid being detected by a conscious victim, which Vampire Bats lack. It was theorized that this was more useful during the Ice Age when there were more megafauna that would be less likely to notice a vampire bat attack.
  • The main take on Cheetahs in "The Problem with Cheetahs" is this. They are such extreme Fragile Speedsters that while they hold the record for top speed on land, they are so frail that they can barely defend themselves at all, whether it be against prey standing their ground, a competing predator trying to Kill Steal, or worst of all, someone trying to kill their young.
  • The Tiger Keelback is one of the very few snakes that is both venomous and poisonous, giving it toxin as both attack and defense. However, this is still less than optimal because neither the venom nor the poison are that potent, and TierZoo remarks that focusing on one would have been a much better strategy.
  • In "Top 5 worst animal designs", TierZoo discusses 5 common pitfalls that can be seen in the metagame that make an animal far less efficient that they would have been without them, despite said animals otherwise having awesome abilities at first glance.
    • Having fast but unsustainable mobility is a bane since the stamina drain will mean that the animal requires huge amounts of food while also generating loads of body heat. Hummingbirds, shrews and cheetahs suffer from this.
    • While intelligence is the One Stat to Rule Them All, this is undermined if the intelligent animal has low dexterity since they will be unable to effectively maneuver items and craft tools. Dogs, Pigs and Dolphins all suffer from this.
    • Likewise, having high intelligence and a low lifespan is a waste as it means that it's difficult to gain the experience and wisdom required to perfect high-intelligence techniques before the animal dies of old age. Octopi and Crows suffer from this. In the same vein, having low intelligence but long lifespan is also a waste of potential.
    • Nocturnal Builds. While this seems like an easy mode, day lasts longer than night on most servers meaning that daytime players can get more experience, and a nocturnal build requires several evolution points being wasted on night-based abilities. He later amended the first part of this statement in the comment section, realizing that day length is dependent on the season, and is only longer than the night during the summer.
    • Tooth Regeneration for non-DPS builds. For builds that use teeth in combat, tooth regeneration is essential as their teeth will often be damaged or lost. For non-DPS builds, this is a bane as their teeth can overgrow and cause self-damage if not worn down fast enough. Rodents, Lagomorphs and Babirusa suffer from this.