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Game Breaker / Real-Time Strategy

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Game Breakers in real-time strategy games.

Games with their own pages:

  • In any game where building is based on adjacency to other structures rather than builders, there's the possibility of "base walking;" constructing a line of the lowest-cost structure that still has build adjacency towards somewhere you want to go. Whether this is simply another tactic or a game breaker depends on how into Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors the game itself is; if base defences hose ground units, it can be used to very rapidly gain control of map areas with static defences that have no real business being where they end up. Dune II was the ur-example, since even cheap-as-free concrete tiles had build adjacency.
    • This was even turned in a sort-of requirement in Command & Conquer: Red Alert, specifically in the last Soviet mission, because otherwise the enemy would send countless reinforcements by sea so unless they were blocked from accessing the beaches the player couldn't actually focus on the mission.
  • In Evil Genius, enemy agents won't show up in your island before you reach the first objective. Therefore, if you build enough lockers to hold 100 construction workers, get 100 of them, send them all overseas to steal money, and leave the game running for at least 2 hours, you'll end up with a strongroom holding at least... *Pinky raise* ...Three Million Dollars!
    • Plus Lord Kane's Smooth Operator ability will freeze any agent he targets with it until he gets into range to actually use the ability. Even your basic worker can knock out a Super Agent if Kane has a long way to run.
    • If you manage to build an Über-trap and put agents into it, you've got an instant and limitless cash cow, as the game awards monetary bonuses to trap combos. With several agents in the trap, you will never need to worry about funds again. Even more, there's a cap on the number of agents on the island, so if you have 50 agents on the island (on your trap) no more agents or super agents will come.
  • In the game Star Control 3, the race of Doogs starts out an enemy, but can be converted into friends early in the game. Their ships are maneuverable, relatively fast, have a short-range cannon which can auto-fire on nearby ships, AND can quickly regenerate damage. No other enemy ship in the game comes close to challenging a Doog ship, making basically every battle after you get a Doog ship a matter of selecting the Doog ship and blowing up the enemy ship.
  • Star Control II will try to keep you in Earth's solar system until you gather the Plot Coupons with hordes of tough Slylandro probes. Fortunately, there's a Spathi ship lying nearby that's just perfect for killing them and gathering resources by the thousand before the game story hardly begins.
    • That same Spathi ship walks all over the main antagonists (the Kohr-Ah) when you run across them. Probably lucky for the rest of the galaxy that the Spathi are cowards.
      • Makes you shudder at the possibility of the Black Spathi Squadron.
    • There is one ship that is banned from serious netplay, and that is the Thraddash Torch. While it does have a counter, it can destroy most of the ships in the game without much risk, due to the fact that it's a Fragile Speedster (in fact, the fastest ship in the game) and has the range to pick just about anything without giving the opportunity for return fire. It also makes the game incredibly tedious when someone does this, because said long-range weapon, while completely safe to use, does 1 damage and has a low rate of fire.
      • This ship is principally broken against the AI, which is often not smart enough to avoid running into its secondary weapon.
  • In Pikmin 2, you get purple Pikmin. They can kill around 90% of the enemies in a few throws, making most bosses ridiculously easy (in fact, this game's Prima guide just says to throw purple Pikmin on said bosses). Their weakness? They're slow. Yellow Pikmin in the first game may also count due to their ability to carry bomb rocks.
    • Not only that but the purple Pikmin can home in on enemies which means you don't have to be that accurate when throwing them which can work wonders on groups of enemies. Even if they don't land on an enemy or boss they can still stun them when they land on the ground. (Bosses require more pikmin for this to happen.) They can also instantly disable geysers when they land on them.
  • The first Battalion Wars has Anti-Air Vets, which for being multi-hit along with causing knockback to any land unit except the Battlestation causes high damage with each hit. Want to know how bad this gets? A lone one can solo the two Battlestations in the final mission. That isn't even anything close to within their job description and they manage it anyway, along with cutting down all of the infantry along the way including the Acid Gas Vets—in fact, Flame/Acid Gas Vets are supposed to do this job. Assault Vets in the first game, as well as Bazooka Vets in the sequel, can't even compare to this.
    • However, let's not let either off the hook, partly because both, like the Anti-Air Vets, are infantry who can pull evasive maneuvers against enemy units, which isn't a bad thing considering the games generally center around infantry, but also because both get overboard with their power:
      • Assault Vets in the first game deal Heavy Tank armor piercing damage with each shot. Of course, this also means that a manually controlled Assault Vet can turn destroying heavy units (except the Battlestation, which is mercifully immune to the bullets) into a game of balance-the-meter to keep shooting rapidly without suffering the overheat. Something is wrong when a lone unit can kill the local Demonic Spiders effortlessly. And something like this that can happen sums it up:
        Xylvania infantry: * sits in position ready for enemy attack*
        ''(Two seconds later, the Xylvania infantry are all dead, with a lone Frontier Assault Vet standing in the middle of the dead bodies and the medpacks.)
        Frontier Vet: Never knew what hit 'em!
      • Bazooka Vets in the sequel have been toned up from the shoddy damage that a lone one deals to Light Tanks. However, problems arise because against infantry, they are Mighty Glaciers, with good potential for One Hit Kills. In addition, a lone manually controlled Bazooka Vet can solo an already nicely guarded Battlestation or 2 Battleships. A lone Mortar vet can solo a Battlestation more easily, but they just run into trouble with evasive infantry. The Lone Bazooka doesn't.
  • Star Trek: Armada 2
    • The Borg fusion cube, in which 8 regular cubes are merged into one giant cube which has an insane amount of firepower. It can pretty much wipe the map on its own. But that's not the best part! The Borg also have the tactical cube, which is basically a regular cube on steroids with armor plating and super-charged weapons, and 8 of those can be merged into the unholy Tactical Fusion Cube! If you build a Tactical Fusion Cube, you're pretty much guaranteed to win that scenario. And just to put icing on the cake, a FC/TFC is not especially expensive to build.
    • The Klingon Frigate, the Koloth Class, can qualify as well. Combine a couple with some Science Ships for the "Death Chant" buff and a fleet of heavy cruisers and watch your fleet tear through the enemy's fleet and base. It's not as durable as the Fusion Cubes but still delivers incredible mass destruction.
  • Empire at War introduced the Zann Consortium in an expansion pack. Nearly all of their basic units are far stronger than their Rebel or Imperial counterparts, and most of them can take on things they're supposed to be weak to after a single upgrade (even the base trooper). The Vengeance-class Frigate, Aggressor-class Destroyer, Canderous-class tank, Skipray Blastboat, and StarViper-class fighter are particularly overpowered and do an excellent job of covering each other's bases, making Consortium armies tricky to remove. In the Galactic Conquest mode, Consortium units all become available at Tech Level 2 while the other two factions have to build up to that level. Then there's a grab bag of other completely needless advantages, like cloaked infantry transports that can run infantry over despite being repulsorcraft, the Consortium's ground building being shielded unlike the other two factions, and Corruption abilities being utterly retarded and expensive to remove. Despite having no basis in canon, they somehow managed to conclude the story having built up a massive fleet, dominated a good portion of the galaxy, handed the Rebels and Imperials their asses, and even gotten their hands on an Eclipse-class Star Destroyer. Somehow.
    • It should also be noted that virtually every Consortium unit aside from basic infantry and the Vengeance frigate possessed shielding of some sort, which, by Star Wars canon is utterly ridiculous. And to make up for the lack of shielding (and make matters worse), Vengeance frigates packed mass driver weapons which pierced through the shields of capital starships and wrecked fighters and bombers that tried to get close. Vengeance frigates were capable of tearing through most starships like they were tissue paper. And this was their mid-tier ship. The nearest Imperial equivalent, for comparison, is the Acclamator, a ship that goes up in smoke if the enemy so much as breathes in its direction.
    • To win a game of Galactic Conquest, the Consortium only needs to fight using two standard units. In space, the Vengeance Frigate with the rapid-fire highly-damaging shield-ignoring mass drivers. They do have more weapons, but they mostly serve as other targets to pull attention away from the mass drivers and engines. On land, the Canderous Assault Tank is also packing mass drivers. It may be their only weapon, but they can't be disabled until the unit is destroyed. They still ignore shields, which makes them devastating against the handful of shielded vehicles and structures, and are themselves shielded. A single tank on its own would lose in a fight against an Imperial AT-AT, leaving the AT-AT crippled... but there are three tanks per unit, compared to the single AT-AT.
    • The idea for "balancing" was the Consortium was the comparatively high prices their units had, but the existence of the Palace at a planet vastly increased credit revenue far more efficiently than Imperial or Alliance mines and only took up one building slot per planet. It is flagrantly obvious that Petroglyph never bothered to balance this faction.
      • It was even worse at launch, when the only space unit the Consortium needed was their fighters. Due to an oversight, the StarVipers were so OP that they could take out any other unit in swarms, which it was totally possible to have since they were cheap. Petroglyph knew about the tactic, but still took months to patch it.
    • And let's talk about the Corruption mechanic. For a low, low price, it lets you create a web of corrupted planets throughout enemy territory. You can move your own troops with impunity, hamstring your enemy's resource production, steal enemy units and make them for yourself because you aren't overpowered enough already... And removing Corruption can only be done by certain units, and it costs a lot more money for your opponent to remove it than for you to set it up. By far the most infuriating one, though, is that you can cause a revolt on a planet. What's it do? Well, when your opponent tries to remove Corruption, they instantly lose control of the planet. Doesn't matter if they had an entire fully-upgraded base complete with orbital space station and thousands of troops on the surface, one revolt and all their work is for nothing.
    • The Rebels have certain units (and certain unit combinations) that can be overpowered:
      • In space, the Rebels have Y-Wings, which can disable Imperial ships and space stations with only a few shots from their ion cannon special ability (even Star Destroyers) leaving them to be destroyed at leisure. While the disabling effect is temporary, a little time is all that is needed to destroy a crippled ship, or at least damage it to the point where it can't contribute to the battle anymore. Theoretically speaking, Imperial capital ships can spawn TIE fighter squadrons to protect themselves from Y-wings, but only 2 squadrons of fighters can spawn from a Star Destroyer at any given time (only 1 for other ships) and these are easily dealt with by the far-superior X-wing squadrons and anti-fighter/bomber corvettes. Cheap, low-tech, and contributing little to the unit capacity limit, Y-wings and X-wings can swarm in battle and they can be built almost anywhere. On paper, Tartan Patrol Cruisers cut through them easily, but with half as many cannons as the Rebel corvette (4 instead of 8) having them divert power to weapons is almost a necessity, though this means less power to their shields which in turn means they can be quickly destroyed more quickly. All Rebel frigates and capital ships also have the ability to divert power to shields, which means that a Rebel frigate can require the combined firepower of the Imperial fleet to be destroyed, and Rebel capital ships with this ability activated might as well be temporarily invincible. The Imperial counter to this ability is TIE bombers whose torpedoes can go past shields, but only a handful are deployed at a time (1 squadron per imperial frigate or capital ship, for a maximum of 6 squadrons since a maximum of 6 3-point frigates can be deployed at the 20-point cap) which can be easily destroyed by X-wings and corvettes. And this is even before the Ion Cannon comes into play: a ground-based structure that means the Imperials will have at least 1 of their ships (always their most powerful one) disabled for the entire battle; the Ion Cannon effect is temporary, but the recharge rate is faster than the duration meaning either multiple ships will be disabled at any given time (if the Rebel changes targets between shots) or that a single ship will be stun-locked for the entire battle if they focus on only one ship.
      • On the ground, the Rebels have Plex Soldiers, T4-B tanks, Airspeeders, and artillery spotters. Airspeeders are fast and as one of the only 3 flying units in the entire game (besides bombers on bombing runs are called and Boba Fett when using a special ability) can attack all Imperial ground units with impunity besides AT-AA walkers, which are overspecialized (useless against almost anything else besides Airpseeders) and tend to take considerable damage even while fighting the one unit they were made to counter. In addition, the ability to deploy tow cables to tie up and trip AT-ATs means that the single most powerful Imperial ground unit can be take out in seconds by a single Airspeeder. While mid-late tech, even a single squadron (3 Airspeeders) can wreck havoc, and the Rebels on higher difficulties tend to swarm them in land battles. The Rebel Plex Soldiers are also a major pain for any Imperial player. Cheap, equipped with powerful rockets, and available at the lowest tech-level, Plex Soldiers are a solid and reliable counter for every Imperial ground vehicle up to and including AT-ATs, remaining a crucial unit from the very start to the very end of the game to which the Imperials have no easy equivalent or counter. Imperial infantry theoretically take care of them, but T2-B light tanks (another cheap low-tech unit) with regenerating shields in turn take care of Imperial infantry (it takes around 2 full companies of infantry firing constantly to gradually wear down the shields of a single T2-B tank, whereas a single company of these tanks has 5 of them), and this is before late-game vehicles and tech literally roll over Imperial infantry, which brings us to T4-B heavy tanks. They can switch between lasers that melt AT-ATs and shield-penetrating missiles. They have absolutely no viable Zann Consortium counter except Rancors and hero units (Zann infantry are supposed to be able to take them, especially since they can't be run over, but the missiles do too much damage for the infantry to be cost-effective). T4-Bs can take out turrets and even shielded structures from outside turret range. The result of this and the above Zann balancing issues is that the Empire gets positively destroyed by the Consortium and to a lesser extent the Rebels, the Rebels can only stop the Consortium later on, and the Consortium ends up powerless if they don't stop the Rebels in time. And finally, Rebel artillery spotters have the innocuous ability to do a "sensor ping", revealing a small area of the map. This seems minor, but you can do this regardless of how far away the spotter unit is away from where you click, so you can essentially keep your units in a strong defensive position, do sensor pings all over the map until you find enemy units or bases and then call in infinitely-reusable bombing runs until they're all dust. Although, considering you will only have bombing runs when assaulting a planet, this is really just overpowered on offense.
    • Let's not forget the Imperials: General Veers' AT-AT is this in the early game of Galactic Conquest. It's "Maximum Firepower" can one-shot pretty much any enemy in the game, has improved armor compared to a normal AT-AT, and even a snowspeeder's cable can't take it out. And he's free. At Tech Level 2, when most other factions have medium armor. The only mercy that the enemies of the Empire get is that there's only one of him.
  • Tzar: Burden of the Crown had a faction where you could spend money to create "relics" that could increase your units stats. Game broken when you could play with unlimited resources and have units carrying relics that increased stats by 10 times.
  • Supreme Commander has always had some, erm, issues with game balance.
    • The release version included balance issues that had been identified in the beta but not actually addressed, including the Cybran Mantis being ludicrously overpowered in the early game and the UEF Broadsword gunship likewise in the late game; both were nerfed repeatedly.
    • Even with the units above, the entire Aeon faction were completely overpowered at release, typically having the best or at worst the second best of every unit type. Aeon were all but impossible to beat on water maps, trading the useless deck gun of other faction subs for a second torpedo attack and having a basic T1 tank that was amphibious; they also had a missile defence which couldn't be overwhelmed at all, a T3 artillery which was pinpoint accurate and fired twice, and the Harbinger, a Siegebot which had the best cost versus damage of any unit in the entire game. The Aeon superiority on maps with water was at one point so severe that all water maps were removed from competitive play.
    • The ACU destruct nuke used to be a completely normal nuke; it was nerfed because every game was ending in draw-by-combombing.
    • AA weapons used to have no priority system of any kind, leading to a common tactic of building a gigantic number of cheap-as-free Air Scouts to support a Strategic Bomber attack; this effectively made air defence a waste of time.
    • An attempt to make the UEF T3 mobile sonar into something actually useful accidentally turned it into a ridiculously overpowered motor torpedo boat, requiring another patch to stop the ridiculous sight of flotillas of things which were technically buildings chasing battleships around.
    • The Seraphim of the Forged Alliance expansion are far stronger than the other factions, combining the strengths of both the Aeon and UEF with none of the weaknesses. Every single one of their experimentals are potential game-ending units (including a nuke launcher that can build nukes in seconds and an extremely tough strat bomber that can destroy entire bases in one strike), destroyers that can submerge underwater, powerful and fast T2 and T3 land units, and their T3 Yathsou - a submarine that happens to be the most powerful naval unit in the entire game by a huge margin. Their only weakness? Their units cost more resources to field, which rapidly becomes a non-issue on most maps as the game progresses.
      • Play Seraphim. Get the rapid restoration upgrade on your ACU. Then march it directly into the enemy base. Only experimentals can stop a RRF'd ACU, and the Seraphim can get RRF by the beginning of T2.
    • The Total Veterancy mod adds an RPG element to the game, but it stands out as it gives infinite levels to everything. These infinite levels apply to both combat units and production structures, the latter capable of gaining experience through merely existing. Expect your commander and builder units to be overpowered twenty minutes into the game and strategic missiles being spammed at a regular basis, though.
  • Many people consider the King Tiger in Company of Heroes to be this. It's a one time use unit that drains 2000 manpower over the next few minutes after being fielded. It's also slow. However, it has tons of health, is heavily armored, can be called in at a moments notice, does not require you to 'pay' to field it, and damage done to it can be repaired. It is essentially a supertank that you can call in for 'free' (you don't need to save up for it) and can be added to your existing army to give you a massive edge over the other player. The other player will need to field lots of AT Weapons to take it down, but these are costly and take time to make, and on top of that, he still has to deal with your existing army while trying to set up and defend these AT Weapons.
    • The Western Allied counter to that would be the American Pershing, which is close but not quite up to the King Tiger's power. But unlike the once-per-game-if-you-loose-it-you're-screwed KT, you can literally SPAM these things at the Germans from here to doomsday as long as you have the funds avalible. And suddenly it's the GERMANS who are having their tanks chewed up and spit out like paper. ALL OVER THE MAP. And as long as you keep some engineers nearby to do the obligatory repairs, these things gain experience easily, which makes them only more dangerous. Suffice it to say by the end, the German elite armor will struggle to scratch these things.
    • While the King Tiger can be a tough nut to crack, it by no means "breaks" the game. It's rather slow, and a single sticky bomb essentially makes it immobile, or at least slow enough to be taken out by pretty much anything with good armor penetration and/or long range. The turret is very slow, so the KT can be kited by anything that hasn't got its engine blown or tracks damaged. KT is excellent at soaking damage, so the American or British players shouldn't focus on it unless it's alone, but doesn't exactly destroy everything in sight within seconds. Considering the things that have been in the game (and have been removed or tweaked since then), KT seems like pretty much any "ultimate" power of any company\doctrine of any faction, and is by no means unstoppable.
    • If anything, the Commonwealth's artillery is a game-breaker. Once the Artillery doctrine abilities are acquired, every British artillery piece on the map can shell the enemy's main base simultaneously, reducing all that work to rubble, and forcing the enemy to slowly rebuild his entire production capacity. Setting up three or four 25-pounder artillery pieces takes a bit of resources, but then again the British have amazingly powerful defensive emplacements to boot, and can just sit back and gather resources for a while. Even a King Tiger can't stand up to a couple of British AT emplacements - they're some of the most powerful AT weapons in the whole game.
    • Originally, the Tiger Ace in Company of Heroes 2 didn't have an upfront cost, but completely stopped all income gained for the rest of the game. It turned out this still didn't counteract the power of having a Tiger with double health and damage, causing many specifics of the unit to be changed - most notably, it instead penalized manpower and fuel income while active and became a Tiger with full normal veterancy benefits off the bat as well as some bonus sight range.
    • Soviet Scout Sniper squads used to be able to garrison into M3A1 Scout Cars. With a bit of micromanagement this would allow the Snipers to work their magic against infantry while keeping far away from any potential Wehrmacht attackers for a while since the vehicles needed to catch the Scout Car would take a fair bit more time to get and just about anything on foot would have no chance of catching it, it was basically free map-control and enemy losses for sufficiently skilled players
    • Obersoldaten used to come with their LMG34 for free, and in general their combat effectiveness was once at a state commonly derogatorily likened by players to that of action heroes or Terminators.
      • Volksgrenadiers' veterancy bonuses used to include a lot of received accuracy reductions. With their Panzerschreck upgrade that used upon vehicles let them gain veterancy much faster, it was a frequent complaint Volksgrenadiers with Panzerschrecks could quickly become only slightly less than bulletproof as they ran past Allied infantry to shoot their Panzerschrecks at Allied tanks. Said Obersoldaten had no trouble taking care of those Allied infantry anyway.
    • B4 artillery pieces used to get a damage bonus from veterancy, and an ability (For Mother Russia) with the commander that can build them could be used which would also increase their damage. Their Direct Fire ability, used to shoot at vehicles, could literally One-Hit Kill numerous late-game tanks if it hit in combination with the aforementioned damage bonuses.
    • 2's infantry gameplay's speed was dramatically changed on March 25th, 2014. Unfortunately, in that same update, the G43 upgrade ended up just more or less being a completely broken upgrade with no obvious weaknesses and made Grenadiers upgraded with them largely unmatched by any other infantry...and could be combined with an LMG42 with sufficient munitions to completely crush Soviet infantry's hopes and dreams. The G43s' long-range effectiveness was reduced and the G43 and LMG42 upgrades became mutually exclusive.
    • The Soviet Industry commander on release reduced the time it took for tier buildings to be made and increased fuel gained at the cost of manpower immediately. While the drawback made losses punishing for its players, the bonuses could allow them to buy tanks long before Wehrmacht opponents could expect to get sufficient AT tools and snowball the game from there - the reduced tier building time was removed, and the bonus fuel at the cost of manpower had a heightened command point requirement to fix the problem.
  • While not breaking StarCraft's famously balanced multiplayer, Protoss Carriers with an Arbiter in tow are overpowered in single player scenarios against Zerg. The Arbiter generates an invisibility field, and while being visible itself the computer doesn't bother to go after it if it's stays in the background. As soon as you can build this air fleet, you'll be able to kill AI Zerg with impunity.
    • And in Starcraft II, anti-Zerg missions are easy with a large amount of Reapers, who are cheap, attack and move very fast, and do stupid-huge damage to buildings. They can also jump cliffs, meaning they can strike pretty much anywhere, anytime they feel like it.
    • While were on the subject of Starcraft II, might as well mention a few of the mercenary groups you can hire. The Siege Breakers, the elite version of the Siege Tanks, are just...not fair to the enemy. Have all the upgrades possible and these beasts can dish out 150+ damage on single-targets (in addition to having an extremely powerful splash-damage).
      • The triple Viking mercenaries aren't too shabby either. They are, hands down, the best anti-air units in the game, and the price to buy this group in-game is an absolute steal for what they can accomplish.
    • In Starcraft II, Protoss players in 1v1 Bronze league are notorious for using "Cannon Rushes", building pylons and Photon Cannons close the enemy's mineral line as soon as possible. What makes this a gamebreaker is that your oppponent will not have anything other than workers to stop the cannon if the rush is fast enough, and the cannon will kill a worker in 2 shots, while the opponent is probably throwing down 1-2 more cannons. The Cannon Rush isn't such a big deal at higher levels of play due to everyone being aware of it and its considerable shortcomings (if the cannon rush fails you have no tech, military or economy to speak of; meanwhile, the cannon itself can be overwhelmed with early t1 units or surrounded by workers if it isn't built fast enough, especially if the opponent is scouting his base perimeter and watching for "cheese" tactics), but newcomers will be overwhelmed and maybe even turned off by this seemingly unstoppable tactic.
  • Warcraft
    • Bloodlust in War Craft II is a spell which triples damage and is cast by the Orcs' primary attacking unit which is already somewhat of a Lightning Bruiser. The Humans' equivalent get extremely inefficient healing and a spell that only affects two, rarely-used, undead units (Death Knights and their Skeleton minions). Needless to say, Orcs have a huge advantage on land maps.
    • The "Mage-Bomb" tactic is one strategy that can be game-breaking in the single-player campaign; If you're human, it involves making a Mage invisible and then sending that invisible Mage who can cast Blizzard into the enemy's gold supply lines, raining a deadly ice storm upon the line of workers harvesting gold. It is devastating, if not decisive against the enemy's army production. Playing as Orc, the same strategy is done with Death Knights, and an Invulnerability & Haste spell cast upon the caster.

      Mage-Bombs were fearsome in multi-player matches too. If the enemy was a Human player, the only way to ensure defense against this tactic was to use your own army to wall off your base. One false move, and a mage would be inside of your base and your workers would be dead in seconds. If your goldmine was within 12 spaces of a Mage, then the Mage/Death Knight does not even have to enter your base.
    • In War Craft III, the Orc Blademaster hero. He's among the fastest heroes, also among the toughest with his high armor score and agility, and with Critical Strike acting over his item-boosted melee damage, is easily the highest direct damage dealer hero. But the real kicker is his Wind Walk - a spell that not only allows him to move even faster and, at higher levels, stay invisible most of the time, but allows him to make rapid escapes whenever threatened by letting him move through other units and hence escape traps. Needless to say, he's one of the best hero rushers, excellent at hero killing, very hard to kill himself if properly used and generally a pain in the neck for any opponent, with no clear weaknesses.
      • Always having an item on-hand like the Gem of Trueseeing to be able to see the Blademaster when he windwalks and to reveal the fake clone images helps immensely.
      • There's also the Human Archmage to consider, having a level 6 ultimate that allows the Archmage to mass-teleport himself and a group of your units to the location of a unit you own. Kinda like the mage example mentioned above for War Craft II. A clever Human player can sneak a unit (especially with the Sorceress' invisibility spell) into the back of an enemy base and use the Arch Mage's mass-teleport to instantly get his army to where the workers are at and wreak havoc.
      • In the bonus orc campaign of Frozen Throne the tomes of Intelligence, Agility, and Strength that you can buy from certain vendor stores are this. If one is patient enough to grind gold to buy the tomes to continuously buff up the heroes they control (These being Rexxar and Rokhan, and later adding Chen and Cairne to the group), you'd end up with a group of overpowered heroes that would absolutely annihilate anything in their path.
      • And even that is nothing compared to the loot you get. An item that increases everyone's movement and attack speed? Sure, sure, but why not give it the ability to summon high-damage ranged units as well. Fountains of Health are nice (they passively regenerate 2% health per second) but let's make one portable, and have it restore 200 health to a unit on use as well. Need to give your healer a damaging spell? Here, have a gem that lets him cast Chain Lightning. For no mana. And while we're at it, we'll throw in this nifty shield that sets enemies on fire while boosting your stats, that goes quite well with this spiffy hat that fries individual enemies. None of these are available in normal multiplayer for very good reason.
      • Frozen Throne also gives the player the ability to use a pseudo-5th-race at certain points in the campaign; the Naga. Because this race is only used in the campaign, Blizzard chose not to bother attempting to balance its units in comparison to the four main races. This is extremely apparent with the Naga's flyer unit, the Coautl. The Couatl are almost an exact carbon-copy of an Orc Wyvern, but Wyverns take four food to build while the Naga's Couatl only takes TWO. The 5th Blood Elf mission when you can just mass about 50 of these beasts to steamroll the Fel Orc bases is just...not fair.
    • Against the AI, the Necromancer/Meat Wagon/Obsidian Statue combo is nearly unstoppable. Necromancers to swarm the enemy with multiple skeletons, meat wagons to create corpses when the enemy isn't dying fast enough (and shoot the enemy from out of tower range), and obsidian statues to refill life and/or mana to multiple units at the same time. Air units will put a significant crimp, but the AI never builds more than two or three at a time, and would you look at those Crypt Fiends just waiting to web something up.
    • The Dark Ranger has hilariously overpowered abilities: the ability to drain large amounts of life very fast from an enemy, prevent multiple units from casting spells, creating tough melee units whenever an enemy dies, and a short-cooldown, low-mana, nearly-unblockable, permanent, Charm Person. The only ability that comes close to Charm is the Alchemist's Transmute, which instakills an enemy and gives you gold for it.
    • In a rare example of the game (and the Strategy Guide) recommending a Game-Breaker, Reign of Chaos had the Goblin Zeppelin / Sapper combo. Load the autocasting Ao E explosion sappers eight at a time in the zeppelins, and watch them destroy a base with the enemy able to do very little about it. This was made impossible in the expansion, and carried over to the original if installed (yet the prompt to load them up still appears).
  • Star Wars: Rebellion is full of these. The first is the Alliance Escort Carrier. Seems unassuming, until you realize X-wings are arguably the best starfighter in the game, until the TIE Defender comes along. You can easily take down a Star Destroyer. The second is the Death Star, but only as a defense platform. Put one around Coruscant with plenty of starfighter protection and a shield, with plenty of troops to protect the shield, and hilarity ensues.
  • Lashes in Dwarf Fortress have an incredibly small contact area, travel very very fast, and do blunt damage. This leads to people's brains being knocked out of their skulls - it's easily possible to one-shot a dragon doing this.
    • Maxed out strength and Throwing Skill results in decapitating Bronze Colossi... with empty saddlebags.
  • In the first two installments of the Warlords Battlecry series, a character who was created for the campaign mode could not take part in skirmishes (and receive experience for it) until they finished said mode and exported their user data. In the third installment, these two modes were integrated (meaning skirmish matches could be played independently using the same campaign hero), letting a savvy player set up matches against ridiculously-hard AI opponents who had little to no resources, then reap hundreds of XP points in a short time. By combining this with a few upgrade points pumped into the Knight Lord skill for the Knight class, a player could conceivably start a campaign mode tens of levels higher than the initial difficulty, and (by spending all starting XP on Knights) have a posse of bodyguards who will ravage anything and everything in their way. Beating the campaign then becomes trivial; it's possible to use a Knight Hero with a handful of Knights to clear out an entire map using this method (even on hard difficulties).
  • In early versions of Brütal Legend, an Ironheade player who spammed fire barons was virtually unbeatable. Fire baron spamming was so overpowered that it nearly killed the game's online multiplayer community. Eventually Double Fine released a patch that gave fire barons a much-needed Nerf.
  • In Outpost 2, Eden's Thor's Hammer has the longest range, deals the most non-explosive (i.e., Starflares and Supernovas) damage, and ignores line of sight requirements. Due to the AI's lack of finding alternate routes, a couple of these set along the path the AI will take with some obstacles in the way to slow them down (or better yet, on a cliff) will render your base immune to direct attack.
  • The Noble Werewolf from the final Majesty 2 expansion is easily the most powerful hero ever seen in a Majesty game. Nobody else even comes close. By the time an average hero would get around 1k HP the Werewolf has 4-5 times as much, making them extremely difficult to kill. They also get ridiculous health regeneration and a large array of conjuration skills and powerful melee attacks that allow them to simply wade into a crowd of enemies and wreck total havoc. What really makes them devastating, though, is how easy they are to create compared to other top tier units- you only need a level 2 palace and a decent amount of gold to start recruiting them. The standard Human faction really has nothing that can compare.
    • This is somewhat balanced out by the fact that the Monster faction which the Noble Werewolf is a part of has no basic healing units, which cripples them compared to Human armies early on.
  • Achron has a major problem with air units in general. Air units are supposed to be balanced by their high cost and frailty. However, when massed, air is much more powerful than ground units can possibly be, because air units can stack up in the sky, creating a rolling wall of death that will focus tons of damage on anything in its way. By contrast, ground units are limited by the amount of space on the ground, so you can't have many focus on one point. Also, air units are several times as fast as ground units and don't have to worry about terrain obstacles, so a single death ball can threaten the entire map and fly circles around their supposed counters. If they are outmatched, they can quickly retreat to heal or attack somewhere else.
  • In the single-player campaign of Sacrifice Sirocco the Dragon can be obtained at James' 2nd level. She is the Hero Unit of the dragon, Persephone's ultimate creature, and will one-shot wizards, buildings, creatures, and practically everything for the next 6-7 levels. She also flies and, to add insult to injury, can resurrect your other creatures. On the flip side, she will abandon you if you don't play for James, Stratos or Persephone. And, if you play for Stratos, once he backstabs Persephone.
  • Hood the Rabbit in the flash game Paladog. By virtue of being an archer, Hood is capable of hitting enemies before they even come into range, which is an enormous advantage as this means they can completely avoid getting hit. It's intended to be balanced out by a slow rate of attack, so that the enemies that survive a hit can get in range and take out Hood, who stat-wise is a Glass Cannon...but then you realize that Hood is very cheap to summon (as in, second cheapest unit in the game) and that you can just summon nothing but Hood the Rabbit. A slow rate of attack means nothing when the enemy is facing an enormous Zerg Rush wall of these attacks.
  • Total Annihilation: Kingdoms has the entire Zhon race as a gamebreaker, as they can create units anywhere without the need for buildings. The ability to conjure up an army at a moment's notice in almost any point of the map, not to mention that of relocating a base simply by walking most of it away, makes the Zhon much more versatile and efficient than the other races. As for specific units, the Zhon lightning tower is cheap, quick to build, powerful and long-range, making it ideal for both defending and attacking by fortification-walk.
  • Impossible Creatures
    • Lobsters are surprisingly useful. They've got nearly unrivaled armor, the ability to swim, regeneration, and exceptionally powerful claws. Mixing a lobster with a large creature (hopefully with a powerful head-based attack like a crocodile) leads to a creature that is not only physically very powerful, but also just happens to have an array of surprisingly useful special abilities.
    • The archerfish has a range attack that does a lot of splash damage. Just combine something big with one and watch them destroy herds of creatures. The attack also can be upgraded to do piercing damage, which makes it even more of a Game-Breaker. The only downside is it's one of the few attacks in the game that can damage ally units.
  • Two wonders in Rise of Nations:
    • The Terra Cotta Army, one of the earlier wonders, produces a free infantry unit every 30 seconds, with an additional half-second added for each unit produced. Given how long games can last, this will translate into a very large army.
    • In late game, the Statue of Liberty. It makes all your land and air unit upgrades free, AND reduces attrition.
    • The Space Program (removes fog of war) and B2 Bomber (absurdly fast and powerful, capable of wiping out cities in short order) is about as deadly as combos get. If you've got both, the game's pretty much over.
  • The King Tiger tank from Empires: Dawn of the Modern World . Extremely overpowered and for some bizarre reason, the fastest tank in the game.
  • Constructor
    • Mr Fixit's plumbing sabotage. It can level an entire block, takes three repairmen to counter, and the AI doesn't know how to deal with it.
    • Killing off the enemies repairmen. The enemy will have no defense against it and this works for any tile but the one where the enemy's homebase is on (all of the repairmen will go back there). Just attack them with your gangsters once you have the mafia (gangsters will get new weapons very fast). All of the enemies buildings will explode one by one, so this otherwise very hard game will be a piece of cake even on hard mode with two enemies (however the game will be an Early Game Hell until you have access to the mob)

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