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"A flashy feature that has limited usability for victory."

  • Riff uses one of these in this Sluggy Freelance strip. At first a gatling gun that fires 100 stakes per second sounds like a great anti-vampire weapon. But when you realize that it can only hold one hundred stakes at a time and takes two days to load ... well, you can stake one vampire really, really good. The other dozen or so will tear you to pieces.
    • He eventually makes it better by adding a beltloader, similar to a mini-gun.
    • Most of Riff's inventions (at least in the earlier days of the strip) seem to fall into this problem. Look at some of the later (and alternate universe), stuff, however...
  • 8-Bit Theater: "Sword-Chucks, yo!"
    • Sword-Chucks were only recognized as unusable by every idiot in the cast. White Mage pointed out they could be useful with a longer chain.
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    • Staff-Chucks: Like sword-chucks, except that they shoot magic in every direction. Black Mage loved them, since destroying everything in sight is his favorite thing to do.
    • Black Mage's Hadoken could count since, while it's incredibly powerful, he can only use it once a day. The Blackjack Hadoken makes this go even further.
  • Vaarsuvius of The Order of the Stick has chosen to specialise in evocation magic at the expense of conjuration and necromancy. In layman's terms, this means s/he has access to a lot of flashy destruction spells at the expense of losing access to many 'utility-effect' spells (teleport, summoning minions, level drain, etc). Many experienced D&D players are of the opinion that damage-dealing evocations are one of the least optimal ways of utilising a wizard's power. The method Vaarsuvius eventually found to counteract this temporarily - the Soul Splice - wasn't much better, seeing as it involved renting Vaarsuvius' soul (trust me, It Makes Sense in Context) and only lasted so long, as well as making him/her feel sufficiently omnipotent to take on Xykon and the rest of Team Evil... single-handedly. In short, once is enough.
  • The Adventures of Dr. McNinja has Chainsaw Nunchucks. Badass, but no human being could possibly wield them. That's why they have the Uberninja though.
    • Also Frans Rayner's laser eye. Highly destructive...but burns calories to fire, tiring the user out in one shot.
  • Girl Genius: Invariably, most Sparks use this as their modus operandi in Girl Genius, with many being disposed of by their own faulty/crazy creations.
    • Genetically engineering a super intelligent cat so that he can persuade other cats to act as spies, messengers, saboteurs, etc. Unfortunately cats have an attention span that measures in microseconds they’ll do what you want until they fall asleep or see something move.
    • Later averted, because some animals actually do listen...
  • Nedroid: Reginald has two of the world's deadliest weapons: invisible swords.
  • Irregular Webcomic! has a laser-nunchaku and the quadruple, quintuple, and septuple laser swords.
  • Deconstructed in this Subnormality strip
  • Taken to hilarious extremes in Oglaf with the enormous weapon the dwarves make in "The Obituator".
    • If you don't want to look for the comic the blade, according to the dwarves: is the size of a plow,note  has three blades (one of which flies off and slices their enemies faces off and the other has belts to strap a live viper note , and a large penis that comes alive at night to have sex with your wife. It has to be said that the dwarves are fukken stupid...
      • In fact, everything the dwarves build are, by and large, useless or at least impractical. The Oglaf wiki has a list of dwarven inventions.
      • Almost everything. They get it just right in 'The Lonely Mountain'...
  • When Jade enters the medium in Homestuck, Bec prototypes her kernelsprite with himself. The upside? Jade's Sprite is a Nigh-Invulnerable Reality Warper! The downside? So are all the mooks...
    • The upside is that after the White Queen's plan succeeds and PM puts on her ring, Jack Noir is effectively neutralized since he is no longer a hundred times more powerful than everyone else. Jade also gets First Guardian powers by merging with Jadesprite while ascending to god tier.
      • Except it goes right back to being a problem when Jade is mind-controlled by the Condescencion upon entering the Alpha session, allowing her to take control of Jane through the tiaratop and zapping Dirk, the person most likely to beat her, to outside the universe.
    • The Unreal Air gives you unlimited vertical flight. Stable, blandly slow, unsteerable flight. Dave finds a good enough use for it to ascend to his Gates, but it has no other practical use.
    • Caliborn enters Sburb by himself, rather than with his sister Calliope as originally intended; since it is intrinsically a multi-player game, the game is forced to adapt by generating an almost unique variant: a dead session. This session has much higher stakes, depending on whether you are a passive or aggressive player. For an aggressive player, you get the chance to gain completely unconditional immortality, transcending the typical limited immortality of God Tiers; however, not only are the rules of the game completely different in a dead session, but the game becomes nearly unwinnable. First, the game doesn't naturally generate a planet for you, so you're forced to transport your own entire planet with you into the game first. Then, you can't even unlock your quest until you've already done a bunch of messing around on your newly altered homeworld. Then, Skaia produces fifteen planets (resembling billiard balls) before collapsing into a black hole, which you have to shoot all the planets into in the correct order (saving the eighth planet for last) before each one is destroyed by a bomb at its core; if at any point you're too slow, you lose. Forever. And even if you manage all that, you're still up against a boss fight with Yaldabaoth, the single most powerful Denizen in all of Paradox Space. It's heavily implied that Caliborn was only able to beat his session on account of being so damn stubborn.
  • A Loonatic's Tale: Lynch Cruor fights using a Punjab lasso; in layman's terms, a weaponized hangman's noose. Unfortunately, he's a vampire who's just shy of 1000 years old, so he's had plenty of time to practice.
  • Yehuda Moon & the Kickstand Cyclery has Arboritum, an extremely light alloy that would be excellent for bikes if it wasn't also extremely fragile, ensuring the rider serious injury from frame cracking.
  • In this SMBC, the wife creates a super powerful exoskeleton, capable of, among other things, lifting two thousand kilograms. She built it for the purpose of having sex.
    • "It sounds like you just selected easily measured metrics, and increased them, rather than trying to actually make the sex better." "That's called progress John."
  • Schlock Mercenary:
    • The flying uniforms are useful for transport and getting into good positions, but the Toughs still do a lot of foot-slogging because being in the air makes you fairly obvious, and being obvious on the battlefield makes you a target.
      Legs: Do you know what we call flying soldiers on the battlefield?
      Tino: Air support?
      Legs: Skeet.
    • Dragon-class cruisers like the Kitesfear (the first ship Tagon owned) were originally designed to have a main gun, but budget cuts scrapped it. When Tagon gets a new custom Dragon-class cruiser, the company pays extra to add back the main gun. Tagon speaks with the shipwright, and is told that it's a short-range but powerful weapon. Tagon is not impressed.
      Tagon: So... it's a gun you bring to a knife fight.
      Shipwright: You sound just like the bean counters who killed the project.
  • In a similar vein, Second Empire Dalek instructors in Second Empire make sure to drill into the green soldiers that the flight mechanism is really useful, but situational at best in battle and conditional on possessing absolute air superiority. Pturdd, a particularly idiotic General Failure, activates the feature to escape an explosion. It works, and he even has time to scream vengeance for the damage to his casing's paint job... for all of five seconds before every enemy Special Weapons Dalek locks on his position and blows his sorry carcass to kingdom come.
  • xkcd has several in his "What If" column. To name just one: You really can build a jet pack from machine guns firing downward. The physics work out. (It's still not in wide use.)
  • Emel's 3D-printed gun in Broken Telephone. It's made entirely out of plastic, so it can be smuggled through airport security, but it can only be fired once.
  • 1/0: Mock's horizonite(TM) claws.
  • Dragon Ball Multiverse: While Super Saiyan 3 suffered this in the original, Multiverse takes this aspect of it Up to Eleven by having it drain the user's ki and stamina faster the stronger they are. Meaning that someone like Vegito can't even use the form for a minute before he reverts back into his base form. The failure to take this drawback into account is what leads to U13 Vegeta's death against Raichi
  • Terror Island: The Green Grocer's spaceship, which only goes to the Moon. Not to the Moon and back, just to the Moon.
  • In El Goonish Shive, Pandora notes, that due to Muggles Do It Better being in full effect in modern times, "exotic and scary" magic is no match for a muggle with a gun.
  • City of Blank: One of the top Blank Hunters wields a combination axe/flamethrower/club. Fully developed blanks are just normal people, but a select few hybrids can change their shapes to make their limbs act as weapons, and the only thing developing Blanks have that make them out of the ordinary are dark patches of skin that don't get injured or experience pain if you stab them. A net would probably be more effective for subduing developing Blanks, albeit there wouldn't be as much of an intimidation factor.


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