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Boring, but Practical

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"Of all the weapons in the vast Soviet arsenal, nothing was more profitable than Avtomat Kalashnikova model of 1947. More commonly known as the AK-47, or Kalashnikov. It's the world's most popular assault rifle. A weapon all fighters love. An elegantly simple 9 pound amalgamation of forged steel and plywood. It doesn't break, jam, or overheat. It'll shoot whether it's covered in mud or filled with sand. It's so easy, even a child can use it; and they do. The Soviets put the gun on a coin. Mozambique put it on their flag. Since the end of the Cold War, the Kalashnikov has become the Russian people's greatest export. After that comes vodka, caviar and suicidal novelists. One thing's for sure, no one was lining up to buy their cars."

Everyone loves flashy magic, BFGs, and big, thundering tanks. However, the more interesting something is, the more likely it falls victim to the rule of Awesome, but Impractical: You can't use it often enough, it costs too much, or it just takes too much effort to get it. You could even have Cool, but Inefficient, where it just looks awesome, but that is about it.

Therefore, we have things that are much more "boring" and normal, but these things often contribute more to your success in the long term than the visually more impressive things. The Reliable Ones, if you will — and proof that Hollywood does not always hate boring.

General examples:

  • Defensive abilities, strategies, builds, classes, or playstyles have a habit of being this, especially in competitive games - and in real life. The most straightforward way to get ahead of someone is to take fewer losses than they do, or replace your losses faster. Preventing damage, producing resources and delivering them (economy and logistics), preventing the opponent from acting whenever possible, gaining intel, forcing confrontation on your own terms, and doing all of this as efficiently as possible, are all time-honored principles with a lot less flash and glamour than overwhelming offense, yet the better part of Boring But Practical applications in real or competitive environments rely on these and similar concepts.
  • Healers in MMORPGs are often this. Fiery doom or big swords are a lot cooler, but you try getting anywhere in a dungeon without a dedicated healer in your group. (However, a lot of video games try to circumvent this by giving healing spells effects just as spectacular as their offensive counterparts, such as big shining lights, summoning gods, killing zombies, or massive plant growth.)
    • ... and, working backwards through history, healers in almost any pencil-and-paper roleplaying game.
  • Same for medics in FPS games that have them. More importantly, ammo limitations, rate of fire restrictions, or other factors often make normal guns more useful than sniper rifles, power weapons, or the BFG.
  • Similarly, weapon loadouts that don't require much ammunition or allow you put a ton of ammunition on your vehicle in things like Humongous Mecha combat sims. The bigger guns tend to be unable to stock much ammo and take up more space, besides.
  • Normal attacks in RPGs. Special moves and magic are a lot more flashy and generally much more effective, but they are usually restricted by something or other (Mana, Limit Break, etc). And some spells might not even work when you really need them. Normal attacks usually cost nothing at all to use, and have no cooldown or speed penalty.
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  • Again in RPGs, buffing and debuffing abilities. "Why use these when you can attack right away," you ask? Raising your stats (particularly defense and evasion) and lowering the enemy's (particularly attack and accuracy) can make the difference between That One Attack hitting only half of your party for damage that can be healed back up promptly and that same attack causing a Total Party Kill.
  • In platformers, Goomba Stomp or basic moves, as opposed to the things you can do with powerups. Vital since the said powerups aren't always available, and if you lose yours mid-level, what then?
  • In strategy games (as in Real Life), the basic combat unit, typically some kind of infantry, is usually more efficient than the larger (and cooler looking) counterparts. Tournament players will often make heavy use of rather basic units in general. Any type of rush depends on this trope.
  • Again, in strategy games, Worker Units. These guys have little or no combat capability and present easy targets for your enemies, but without them, you have no economy, and without an economy, you have no army. Workers are also used as early-game scouts due to starting the game with several of them, and having a very low cost per unit.
    • The buildings they construct also qualify, as they simply sit in place and produce what you tell them to. Resource buildings especially so, as they often have a very basic design and no functionality whatsoever, but if you don't build a bunch of them, you can't have an army.
  • In Tower Defense Games, whatever the "basic" tower is may be this; they are cheap, dependable, and easy to fill the map with. But they are nowhere near as cool as many other towers in your arsenal.
  • In Card Games, simple and resource-cheap cards often reign supreme, with efficiency being more important than raw power.
    • And common-rarity cards also tend towards this. Rare cards typically have powerful and unique effects... but it'll be rare in and of itself for anyone to have more than one, making them useless if countered. Common cards may have simpler effects, but they're easy to get and can easily be used multiple times.
  • Many action and brawler games with unlockable movesets usually fall prey to this. Players are so accustomed to the initial attacks that most new moves are too foreign to properly use or experiment with.
    • This is often particularly true when button combos are required. By the time the new moveset is unlocked, the enemies are too powerful to take lightly by practicing your new attack on, and your own damage output is high enough that failing to activate your new ability will simply kill a mook outright with a mere jab.
    • The same is true for the Real Life martial arts. Complex and flashy moves look good, but they are often difficult to execute, require a lot of training, and, if failed, often leave you open for a counterattack. Many masters discourage their use even in tournaments, and in a common street brawl you can do very well with just a couple of boxing punches.
  • The Jack-of-All-Stats can often be this trope; they may lack the coolest, or strongest moves, but are fairly good at most attributes, and lack the glaring weaknesses of other character types.
  • Passive abilities in games with customization involved. The kind of ability that's always on, and carries you through trouble. Sure, that big hellfire that fills half the screen and uses a high amount of resources looks cool and you see big numbers on the screen, but the +5% fire damage passive ability combined with your usual fire attacks improves your damage much more over time as you use it.
  • Many strategy-level wargames come as a rude surprise to the naive, who just want to generate as many panzer divisions or equivalent as they possibly can in order to roll over things with the high-end glamorous Bling of War. The hard lesson to be learnt is that if you don't pay attention to the boring stuff — your supply and support network, the boring logistics that needs lots and lots of boring trucks — then you're doomed once the panzers start running out of fuel and ammo.
    • This is a lesson drummed into trainee army officers: "The teeth of an army are as nothing without its tail". It is a fact that every German panzer division in the Blitzkrieg required a logistics train whose less glamorous vehicles — many horse-drawn — would have stretched for a hundred miles behind the Panzers if placed nose-to-tail. It took several thousand lorries to keep the six hundred tanks of an armored division in the battle. Hitler's Ardennes offensive of 1944 failed because he was obsessed with using tanks to spearhead it — and paid scant heed to the logistics trains necessary to sustain them.
  • In competitive circles, the Metagame-defined optimal manner of play that may not be the most exciting way to play, especially since you're going to see that same strategy / character / build / whatever used over and over, but it's the one that achieves the best results in the extremely restrictive circumstances.
  • The Infinity -1 Sword that's a few notches down from the Infinity +1 Sword but often takes significantly less effort to get, especially if it's a weapon you earn as part of the plot rather than a long or difficult sidequest.

May border on Game-Breaker. Compare Simple, yet Awesome. Contrast Awesome, but Impractical; Cool, but Inefficient. If mass-produced, it's likely to become The Workhorse.

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Other Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • This is the mantra of the titular character in Goblin Slayer. If it isn't the practical, least-flashy decision, he's not interested.
    • Goblin Slayer's equipment looks pretty shabby and worn even compared to the gear of most rookies, but it gets the job done. Other silver-level adventurers look down on him partly because his equipment isn't as fancy as theirs. The thing is, it doesn't need to since he's only hunting goblins and it's also easily replaceable, though he prefers to get it repaired.
    • Goblin Slayer doesn't even clean his armor and weapons beyond wiping off any excess blood and viscera, since goblins have a very sharp sense of smell. They smell the clean metal of a weapon, they think warriors are coming; they smell blood and guts, they think business as usual. And that's where Goblin Slayer gets the jump on them.
    • An apprentice blacksmith asks his master why Goblin Slayer doesn't invest in enchanted weapons, and is told that magic weapons would be overkill against the typical horde, and that the magical aura and flashy aftereffects of most enchantments would just give Goblin Slayer away to the goblins and utterly undermine his stealth-focused extermination methods. Also, the Goblin Slayer uses average quality gear, to avoid the goblins getting their hands on good gear in the case he dies to them. No one enjoys facing little buggers wearing high-quality gear looted from their last victim.
    • In the Brand New Day Spin-Off, Goblin Slayer indirectly advises Rookie Warrior about using clubs as a replacement weapon, reasoning that clubs are easy to use and do not have the risk of chipping unlike swords. Rookie Warrior acknowledges when using a club in the sewers later that it's effective as a weapon, although not very flashy.
    • In one part of the story, goblins take over an old elven tree-fortress. Goblin Slayer just seals the entrance and sets the whole thing on fire. His business is killing goblins, not fighting them. Sure there might be captives inside, but he's not about to risk his life and the lives of his comrades (and not to mention waste time and resources) trying to save people who are probably already dead or, given all the things goblins do to their captives, wish they were.
  • Naruto:
    • Although Naruto makes extensive use of all two of his advanced jutsu, he's ended most of his fights in the entire series thus far by just punching the guy. In some cases, this was necessitated by him using up most of his chakra using his advanced jutsu.
    • There's also Shikamaru's shadow manipulation jutsu, which never changes its basic function throughout the series (ensnaring and controlling people with their shadows), yet Shikamaru uses it efficiently and in a variety of methods. Overall, he's definitely a boring fighter, but far more practical at getting the job done than many others.
      • Though for the first half of the series his technique is really more boring but useless. It requires him to be motionless to use. Shikamaru can only stretch it as as far as his shadow is long (meaning both that his technique is dependent on the environment and that it's easy for an enemy to see it coming). He's stuck making the same motions his enemy does even if he catches the enemy, and even if all that fall into place perfectly, the enemy could potentially just flat out be strong enough to over power it. He compares how useless his ability is with how it took him several episodes of constant planning and tactics to still fail with the technique, while Temari won with a single move.
    • This is also why Kakashi has been Over Shadowed By Awesome. His signature skill is an electricity fueled punch in a series with Reality Warping, unquenchable black flames and giant monsters almost literally made of pure energy. His approach to summoning is a perfect example. Most people summon massive creatures to fight for them, Kakashi summons hunting hounds, who are much more useful for a ninja in most situations.
    • Kunai are excessively boring, compared to the high powered pseudo-magic jutsus. Still, stabbing a guy is a great way to mess up his day.
    • Tsunade is incredibly dull compared to other S-rank ninja who almost all use immensely impressive ninjutsu to fight. Instead, she uses Super Strength and a Healing Factor which make her physically stronger than anyone else and capable of tanking nearly any attack respectively.
    • One of Kakashi's first lessons to his team involves focusing their chakra to their feet so they can climb up walls, with a more advanced version allowing them to stand on water. The real utility of this is how it improves one's chakra control, which is essential for making one's jutsus more effective and chakra-efficient.
  • Bleach
    • Ichigo, who in a world where shikais and bankais give elemental abilities to weapons, turn them into entirely different weapons, summon giant poison baby familiars, has a shikai that simply fires off sword beams of varying levels of power and a bankai that takes his already considerable physical strength and speed and amps them Up to Eleven.
    • Kenpachi Zaraki is a beast who relies on brute force but his ace in the hole is to hold his sword with two hands and swing normally.
    • Hanataro's zanpakuto is useless for fighting, but its ability to heal any wound it "slashes" makes it the perfect medical device. Course, this summarizes Hanataro's boring yet greatly underappreciated character; not a fighter in any form of the word, yet one of the best healers in the Gotei 13. For example, he was the one who brought Renji back to full form after the latter was beaten and nearly torn apart by Byakuya several times over.
      • Sure, Hanataro is an amazing healer, but he only did the patch up work after Byakuya ripped Renji in half. He outright says that some one else (his Captain, Retsu Unohana) did most of the work.
    • Gin Ichimaru's bankai is this. His sword at basic can hit you from a distance. His bankai upgrades this to roughly 13 km, and extend/ contract at near hypersonic speeds, making it essentially a handheld railgun/sniper rifle combo. Lastly, he later reveals that it has a cell-destroying poison that WILL dissolve on verbal command. To top it off, given his tendency to outright lie or omit details about his powers, then he can win virtually any battle easily by nicking you once.
    • Yamamoto's bankai, Zanka No Tachi. Far from the most visually impressive bankai in the series, but with destructive power far beyond what most are capable of, even with just its passive abilities.
    • For the characters of any race in general, their natural ability is this. Certainly, Shinigami and Quincy have various powerful spells at their disposal, but a number of them require incantations and/or preparation to cast at full power, which leaves such spells as Awesome, but Impractical if you aren't a master at using them. On the other hand, a person's natural ability (Zanpakuto or Schrift) is generally their first resort in battle, and the most effective one in an intense battle where the time to prepare spells doesn't exist.
  • In Delicious in Dungeon it's suggested that the main reason Team Touden succeeds where other parties fail is the simple fact that they eat well and get regular sleep, where said other adventurers survive off rations and delve 24/7.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • The Taiyouken/Solar Flare technique introduced in Dragon Ball. It's the most generally useful technique in the entire story because it doesn't rely on power levels. If the Z-Fighters were more pragmatic a whole lot of story arcs would be a whole lot shorter.
    • Word of God is that after Goku's battle against Beerus in Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods, he reached the conclusion that it is overall better to just train his base and Super Saiyan forms to become stronger instead of relying on transformations, since Super Saiyan 2 and 3 are little more than extensions to the normal Super Saiyan form that ultimately drain more energy in the long run. In Dragon Ball Super the transformations Goku uses regularly are his Super Saiyan form and his Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan form, which is just Super Saiyan merged with godly energy. He does use Super Saiyan 2 and even goes Super Saiyan 3 to showoff to Future Trunks, but Super Saiyan 2 is treated an in-between transformation that Goku uses when he wants to test opponents who surpass him as a regular Super Saiyan.
      • Even earlier, he became strong enough to go toe-on-toe with Cell in Dragon Ball Z not with bulked-up transformations like Ascended or Ultra Super Saiyan, but by mastering the basic form: ASSJ increases the power but at cost of consuming stamina and power much faster, and USSJ grants power even greater than Super Saiyan 2 but consumes stamina and power even faster and reduces speed too, while simply mastering the basic form reduces ki consumption (and thus power and stamina ones) to negligible levels, to the point one can keep it up in their sleep, and the greater ki availability gives enough power and speed increase to surpass ASSJ as a side effect. Also, it negates the usual wild emotions, allowing the fighter to think straight (with the inability of thinking straight as ASSJ being what led Vegeta to be defeated by Cell).
    • Anyone going against 17 or 18 needs to be massively stronger than them, or they'll find themselves falling at their favorite tactic: simply outlast the enemy thanks to the fact they never run out of energy. They like this tactic so much they use it even when they don't need it, as shown in the fight between Vegeta and 18 when the latter, in spite of being stronger enough to break his arm with a kick, simply let Vegeta tire himself out until he gave her an opening, at which point she kicked his left arm.
  • Most Holyland fights end after the second or third exchange and a character (Izawa) constantly reminds everyone else that basic movements are the best option; he claims that he doesn't do it because it looks cool, but because it's the safest way to go. Also, there's a fight that Yuu wins by using only left straights because his opponent was bigger, stronger and had longer reach than him, so using anything but a left straight would be too dangerous. A character even complains about this because he was expecting more from the fight.
  • Mazinger Z:
    • Mazinger's Photon Beams are one of the most boring weapons of the titular Humongous Mecha, lacking from the inherent visual awesomeness and raw power of the Rocket Punch, the Breast Fire or the Rust Hurricane. However it is Mazinger-Z's most used weapon in the series. Why? Because they are powerful enough to have the work done, cost-efficient and can be shot many times in quick sucession (Kouji can't use Mazinger's Finishing Moves recklessly because they overheat his robot and consume a lot of energy). Also, in the original manga Kouji dealt with the enemy by punching it and kicking it and using a weapon to finish it more often than not. Less spectacular? Certainly. Effective, regardles? Definitely.
    • In one episode Kouji could not use Mazinger-Z since the Pilder was destroyed. So he destroyed one of the Mechanical Monsters of Archduke Gorgon by planting landmines and luring it to step on them. Not so impressive like a giant robot, but effective.
  • In the same vein that the Mazinger Z example, the various vulcan cannons in the Gundam metaseries. They're too weak to completely defeat an enemy mobile suit, but their primary purpose is shooting down enemy aircraft and missiles, which conserves ammunition for stronger targets.
    • One rare case where the vulcans DO work is in After War Gundam X, where one of the Mecha of the Week is the very definition of Fragile Speedster, literally shedding everything except the parts that were absolutely necessary to operate in order to give it incredible running speed. Garrod couldn't hit it with his beam rifle, but his vulcans tore through it like paper.
    • Nine times out of ten, the Earth-based factions tend to run on this trope, keeping to one type of Mobile Suit and giving it different variants over the flashier suits that are spat out by those in space. Of note are the GMs of Mobile Suit Gundam and the GN-Xs of Mobile Suit Gundam 00. The GM is the original mass-produced version of the Gundam and variants of it exist all the way to at least the era of Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack. Even the Jegan, introduced in that movie, is derived from the GM. They have no transformation gimmicks or heavy weaponry or built for Newtypes; they're just normal Mobile Suits with standardized weaponry. The GN-X were essentially the Earth forces' means to catch up with Celestial Being's Gundams, even if their power source was an incomplete version of what the Gundams used. By the time of Gundam 00: A Wakening of the Trailblazer, they've gone up to a GN-X IV and most of those are just refurbished GN-X units that made it all the way to that state.
    • Gundam Build Fighters and Gundam Build Fighters Try go out of its way to avert this trope. As Meijin Kawaguchi III is fond of saying, "Gunpla is freedom!", meaning that you can do whatever you want with your model and trying to constrain your ideas within the boundaries of the original Gundam canon just limits your potential. So "straight builds" will just get wrecked by the girl who combined the Victory Gundam with one of the Impulse Gundam's weapon packs, the guy who gave the Strike Gundam an energy-absorbing shield and a Super Mode that lets it pull off a Megaton Punch Finishing Move, or the guy who turned the ZZ Gundam into an old-school Combining Super Robot with Rocket Punches, Eye Beams, and a BFS.
      • On the other side of the coin, sometimes straight-builds can still perform well, but this mainly because more mundane factors (like build quality, the operator's fighting skills, and good old-fashioned determination) help bridge the gap. Two prominent examples from Try include Simon Izuna and his Destiny Gundam and Lucas Nemesis' Crossbone Gundam Full Cloth, the latter of whom manages to go toe-to-toe with Wilfred Kijima, who's not only an incredibly talented fighter but has a highly customized Original Generation 00-style Gunpla.
  • In GaoGaiGar, since 3G is dedicated to protecting life and property as much as they can a lot of their gear is dedicated to doing just that, thought a lot of them are one-and-done for the fight. Thus, GaoGaiGar comes charging into battle fists and feet flying and keeping the flashier attacks like the Broken Magnum as an opening shot and the Hell and Heaven/Hammer Hell and Heaven as a final blow.
  • Soul Eater: Black Star and Mifune deciding to finish their final fight on even ground as swordsmen (just ordinary katana, or as close as Tsubaki could make herself) makes for one of the best and worst moments in the series.
  • The advice of Gavrill from Franken Fran for the school students is a combination of this, Brutal Honesty, and Family-Unfriendly Aesop.
    Gavrill: *to a gonky boy* You wanna be popular with the girls? Get plastic surgery and transfer to another school. Also, practice talking to people a lot. And if you need to, lie to women or buy them off with money.
  • Most of the main characters of the Lyrical Nanoha franchise use transforming weapons with built-in A.I. (of various levels of sophistication) called Intelligent Devices. However, most mages in the universe of the series instead use Storage Devices, which have no A.I. and are limited to only one active form and one inactive form, but apparently process magic faster.
    • Binding Spells are the Boring, but Practical spell of the entire series. Its function is only to restrict movement, which looks very underwhelming compared to some of the bigger spells shown in the series. It also comes up just about instantly, can be casted pre-emptively, and getting hit by one can spell doom since it opens up the victim to a bigger spell to hit them. In the series itself, variations of binding spells have been used throughout the series as way to secure criminals, or as a key spells in some of the fights in the series. It was the Signature Move of Chrono, which he used to handily defeat the much stronger Fate in a mock battle, and its frequently used by Nanoha to ensure that her big spells will hit, such as the Starlight Breaker, or to buy some time in combat.
  • In Saki, Miharu is implied to have an ability like this in the PSP game, enabling her to sense which of her tiles are dangerous to discard, which doesn't help her win hands but prevents her from playing into anyone else's. As such, she only loses 1,200 points in the sergeant round of the prefectural finals, less points than any of her other opponents, and enables her school to keep first place for the moment.
    • Nodoka lacks any special powers or awareness of other people's powers and therefore rarely gets substantial wins. She makes up for it by winning a lot of hands and not letting people get wins off her discards.
  • This trope is applied to jobs in Zatch Bell!. When a class of students is asked what kind of careers they want, most chose glamorous jobs like being an actor or an athlete, with Noguchi (who wants to be a salaryman) being mocked for a lack of imagination. Their teacher reminds them that for the glamorous careers, your time in the spotlight will eventually end and then you will have no job security. For people who want to raise a family, the stable, secure job of an office drone is a much better way to go, with benefits like a health plan and a pension making things easier for you in the long run.
  • The Kuromorimine Women's College Sensha-Do team in Girls und Panzer. Kuromorimine lacks both flashy tricks and individual genius tankers. However, while Germanic Efficiency, iron-clad discipline, excellent formation drill and a few unremarkable but well-performing late-gen AFVs may be boring to watch, they are murder on the field. That is, until they realise they have to start taking Oarai seriously, and pull out ALL the stops.
  • Zenji Marui in Shokugeki no Soma is, according to most of the characters, a boring chef. Most of the time he easily collapses under pressure, tires easily, and lacks the amount of stamina that other characters have. However, he makes up for this by simply studying a lot about cooking techniques and various dishes that would be long forgotten by the other characters. The fruits of his studying finally showed during the Autumn Election when he scored 88 points, surpassing even Mito Ikumi, an established strong contender for the Autumn Election. The victory was short lived however when Subaru Mimasaka surpassed him in the end.
    • Soma himself walked this path when battling Nene Kunokini. While Nene made beautiful hand-made noodles, Soma used a machine. While this earned him a lot of ridicule from the spectators, those involved in the match saw this for the very clever move it was. Soma could never make noodles of Nene's quality, and would more likely than not mess up making them by hand. However, by using the machine, he could very quickly make adequate noodles, and move on to the parts of the dish he could match Nene in.
  • Xellos' favorite attack pattern is launching a Flechette Storm using small black pins. Not very powerful, as Valgaav in Slayers TRY could tank it without much injury. The problems are, it's hideously quick, hard to avoid, and infinitely repeatable, resulting in Valgaav eventually succumbing to multiple application of this.
    Xellos: If you can't hit me with big attacks, there's no point in fighting. However... small attacks can hurt if they are repeated several times!
  • In Initial D, Takeshi Nakazato chooses to drive with a grip cornering style rather than the drifty style the series is known for, citing drifting as a showy, needless technique. Which it is in real life; when was the last time you saw a driver on the asphalt drift in a race of who's the fastest and actually get taken seriously? That said, this trope is subverted when he loses to Takumi, with Rule of Cool winning out over realism.
  • In One Piece:
    • Zoans are rather dull as far as Devil Fruits go, only allowing their wielder to transform between their natural form, an animal form, and a hybrid form. Meanwhile Logias turn anyone who eats them into an Elemental Embodiment and Paramecias grant a random superpower. However, Zoan transformations almost universally make a person stronger, faster, and tougher (not to mention possible other perks like better senses or flight) and don't require training to use properly. While they won't make the weak strong, they do make the strong stronger. Tellingly, the three strongest members of the CP9 were all Zoan users, with Lucci giving Luffy the hardest fight he'd ever had in that series.
    • Impel Down has 6 levels of torture with increasing brutality, ranging from a literal forest of blades, a hall of beasts, and a boiling cauldron of blood, to the final level reserved for criminals so strong that all the above levels failed to even make them notice, which is just locking them in normal cells and letting them die of boredom.

  • Common in Jojos Bizarre Adventure. Traditionally, the protagonist Stands will have comparatively basic abilities based on mundane physical combat and one or two gimmicks (turning into string, repairing objects, shooting projectiles), while the villain Stands tend to have far more gimmicky, flashy, or esoteric powers. Consequently, though the protagonist usually gets caught off-guard by the villain at first, the moment they've figured out the villain's gimmick, simple fisticuffs turn out to be plenty.
  • Legend of Galactic Heroes examples:
    • Those who are in charge of supplies and logistics don't have the most glamorous jobs, but is thanks to them space fleets are able to function properly during a campaign.
      • When the Alliance launches an invasion of the Empire, the Imperials don't stay and defend the potentially rebellious border worlds but retreat and take with them all useful resources in the border worlds and hit the Allied supply convoys. To support themselves, the Alliance troops are ordered to loot the already depleted border worlds, with the result that not only they are undersupplied when the Imperials finally launch their well-supplied counteroffensive (that includes even a state-of-the-art technology that the Alliance doesn't even imagine is possible), the border worlds are now fully on the Empire's side.
    • Vice-Admiral Edwin Fischer may not be a military genius, but he can coordinate fleet movements with almost surgical precision, and while it's not the flashiest job, he is considered invaluable by Yang Wenli.
  • Kirishima from My Hero Academia feels this way about his Quirk, which makes his body hard as a rock. It's useful both defensively and offensively, but it doesn't look as cool as, say, the guy who can throw around blasts of ice and fire. He's also initially quite annoyed by Tetsutetsu Tetsutetsu, whose power (turning his body to steel) is functionally the same as his but looks cooler.
    • Mashirao Ojiro has the quirk of... having a tail. However, it's a very strong, prehensile, and combined with martial arts training makes him a very versatile fighter. Furniture's a problem, though.
    • Minoru Mineta's quirk Pop Off allows him to pull sticky balls from his head. Not great offensively and in no way flashy, but absolutely invaluable for trapmaking.
    • Hanta Sero has tape dispensers in his elbows. Check the Duct Tape for Everything page to see how far it can get him.
    • Hitoshi Shinso. Even the professional heroes note that his Mind Control Quirk would be incredibly useful against criminals, but it's so low-key that during the Tournament Arc, nobody even noticed that he was using it until the very end of the second round (and even then, most of his victims couldn't tell what he did).
  • In the original Sailor Moon anime, Sailor Venus' Crescent Beam. It was simply a blast of energy fired from the finger that she stuck to up until season 4 while everyone else got bigger and flashier attacks... And still remained effective through the sheer mastery she had over it and the ability to just spam it (and when she does it, you run for the hills or drop to the ground).
  • Similarly to Sailor Venus, and one of the main reasons why the series is so popular with older fans, Pretty Cure will pummel the Monster of the Week with their fists, feet, their butts and others before using using their signature attacks to finish them off.
  • Yuri from Megalo Box is referred to as "Mr. Classic" for his extremely low-key, no-frills-attached boxing persona and technique, his Signature Move being a simple right hook. He's also the undefeated champion of the Megalobox rankings.

    Board Games 
  • The standard "Warrior" class in most tabletop RPGs such as Dungeons & Dragons is this: while its choice of attacks is limited in variety with the exception of applying certain modifiers to their regular attacks, their capability to equip strong weapons and armor and high Hit Points means they will be welcome in any party for their useful ability to tank and deal physical damage. They often balance out the fact they don't gain special powers or spells with the advantage of learning more Feats than other classes.
  • In Chess, most people will try to learn the flashy openings and glitzy combo attacks, but the tactics of piece exchange should come in second place to the logistic considerations of controlling board space. It sounds boring, but it pays to know when to crack open the defense of a turtling player or to suffocate an aggressive attacker with a locked pawn center.
    • Many famous players, such as Wilhelm Steinitz, Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian, Jose Raul Capablanca, and Vladimir Kramnik, had playing styles that could be described this way. They rarely played flashy combinations or won brilliancy prizes, but their mastery of solid positional play allowed them to consistently score great results, to the point of becoming World Champions.
    • Some openings for white like the London system or the similar Colle system have negative reputations as being "lazy" "boring" or "dull" openings. But they are easy to learn and offer white good, quick development, a solid pawn structure and decent defense, making them practical, particularly for less experienced players. "System" openings in general are seen by some players as boring and repetitive since the player usually performs the exact same moves in (mostly) the exact same order every single game with little to no variation no matter what moves their opponent makes, which can be seen as unimaginative and lazy.

  • In Go, there are dozens of standard sequences called joseki, i.e. "best move". Playing them out according to the standard may seem boring to a junior player, but the reason they became standard in the first place is that they provide both sides with usable structures and "fair share" of the area where it is played.
  • In Monopoly a fairly common tactic among experienced players is to buy up the (light) purple, orange, and red properties. While they are far less impressive than Park Place and Boardwalk, they are the most commonly landed on properties in the entire game.
  • In Risk, Australia is the continent of choice for many veterans for locking down early then slowly amassing the 2 reinforcements per round. It requires the player to play the waiting game while others battle it out but by the time the inevitable bloodbath for Asia is over, other players will be severely weakened... and vulnerable to the massive army about to backdoor it.
  • In Poker, sneaky check-raise traps, big risky bluffs, and hero-calling a suspected bluffer are all big fun moves... but the most reliable way to build your stack, especially against middling opposition, is to fold a lot, make small-to-medium-sized bets to take the blinds and antes when you're in position and no one else seems particularly interested in them, and save your big plays for when you've got a very strong hand.
  • In the Firefly boardgame, Legal missions tend to be this. They don't pay as well as the big bank heists and mine robberies, but they also don't risk the Misbehave deck, sparing you the risk of spending hundreds of dollars on bribes, getting an automatic fail (and, if a Niska job, the loss of a crewman) from a Warrant being issued, or getting your crew killed.
  • The XCOM Board Game has several Boring But Practical assets. How useful thy are depends on the invasion plan.
    • The Skyranger sees a lot of use in Infiltration and Domination. Enemies in Infiltration are extremely weak, but the Infiltration plans throws a lot of crises at you, which generally wrecks havoc with your logistics. Thus you have a lot of spare soldiers. Domination enemies are not quite as weak, but the main battle in Domination happens in the air. Removing crises with spare soldier thus gets very useful.
    • Technologies. Researching a technology requires you to roll 1, 2 or 3 successes. Some technologies allow to research technologies faster, and pulling them early lets you snowball.
      • 1 success technologies usually involve placing an undeployed unit on it to generate some benefits. These units aren't considered deployed and cost you nothing. One tech allows you to assign undeployed scientists to raft Interceptors for free. One allows you to use undployed Satellites for credits. For how cheap they are, they can turn a game around.
      • 2 successes technologies usually allow you to claim free successes or to save units that should be destroyed. The SHIV can by itself trivialize the FinalMission and many regular missions, and on any invasion plan that's light on UFOs, the technology that allows you to deal two damage to enemies by usig undeployed interceptors can make missions much lss dangerous.

    Comic Books 
  • Of the superhero world, the Flying Brick archetype, for simple reasons. They can get there fast, and they can hit hard, but unless they have an otherwise amazing gimmick, they won't be as popular as the Badass Normal or the guy with the Green Lantern Ring, but they're effective at what they do, and usually make great leaders.
    • The poster child of this in American comics would probably be Superman. Because he has many different abilities and tends to gain new ones when the plot demands it, it may be hard to make a real threat he can't handle. While it renders him somewhat boring to some, he's still one of the most effective heroes in his universe.
  • Cyclops of the X-Men is often made fun of for not having an interesting personality (Socially Inept and approaches everything from a soldier-like mentality), and his only power is that he can shoot beams from his eyes (and not heat beams but beams which are more like solid force. In other words, he shoots punches out of his eyes), which naturally doesn't rank him high on popularity charts. However, as his power comes from his eyes, it means that, no matter what, he will always hit his target if he can see them, and because of his personality, he's trained his body to be an expert martial artist (meaning that, without his powers, he's essentially Batman without a utility belt or any hangups about guns, which serves well when he's left without his powers), and he's one of the most talented field leaders and strategists in the Marvel Universe, making him perfect to lead any group of heroes when out in the field. He might not be enough to sell an ongoing comic strip without a great writer involved, but if you're about to face any villain, he's the guy you'd want on your team.
  • During the Marvel's Onslaught crossover, the villain spent a lot of resources to capture X-Man Nate Grey. As the villain is gloating, the hero calls him out for having such rubbish underlings. The villain acknowledges that everyone under him is either blindly obedient, on the run from everyone else, or a giant robot... but that his underlings succeeded in catching the hero, which was what he wanted all along.
  • Doc Samson of Incredible Hulk has noted that for a fraction of what General Ross and other have wasted trying to build robots/containment/powered armor to take down/control the Hulk, you could just get a satellite array going that would warn people in urban areas to evacuate when he starts getting too close. Naturally no one will consider this.
  • In one Batman story, Maxie Zeus hires construction workers to build a copy of Ancient Rome. When one of the workers suggests building traps for the lion pit or using a lion that turns into a velociraptor to make things more interesting, Zeus refuses because he doesn't want his Ancient Rome to have anything the original one didn't. The worker comments that just a normal pit with a lion isn't scary and Zeus reacts by throwing the worker at the pit and daring him not to feel scared once the lion arrives.
  • In the Darth Vader series, General Tagge embraces this trope like no one else. He makes it clear that he thinks the Death Star was a stupid idea from the very beginning and that they should have used those resources to simply build more Star Destroyers, insulting Tarkin in the process. When Vader replied that Tarkin was a man with vision, Tagge said that Tarkin was pretty much responsible for the Empire's biggest defeat so far.
    Tagge: My plans might not be as glamorous or grand as yours or the departed Tarkin's, but they work.
  • Disney Italy gave Donald Duck a Super Hero/Anti-Hero alter ego named Paperinik. What are his most iconic and useful gadgets? Spring-loaded punch, paralyzing beam, and spring-loaded boots.
    • In Paperinik New Adventures he has access to much more advanced technology than in the 'classic' stories, most iconic of all the Extransformer Shield, with multiple functions and weapons. What are the features he uses most often? Extensible punch of increased power, a better paralizing beam, and the shield, the most boring of all (with two being his old iconic weapons in an improved version), without even bothering with the flashier functions most of the time. Also, he's prone to whip out his old tricks, such as the Car-can (memory-erasing candy. Not as sophisticated as Everett Ducklair's amnesia beam, but just as effective), the rockets on his belt, and a small ball that produces a very bright flash such as the Tayoken of Dragon Ball's fame (and he dropped a demolition ball on the enemy while he was blinded).
    • Also from Paperinik New Adventures: the Evronians have a penchant for whipping out Super Soldiers with such features as beastly strength and claws, Psychic Powers that make you live your worst fears and turn them into a slave by eating them while having Super Strength and toughness, Shapeshifting, and more... But at the end of the day the standard warriors proved superiors to all but the Augmented Units, that are no more than standard warriors twice as large, with the others being no more than niche warriors.
      • Speaking of Evronians, we have Trauma. He's the one with the psychic powers and the strength, but the ability that allowed him to nearly defeat Paperinik was imitating a woman's voice: after being matched and even slowly losing a straight fight, he retreated and used his previously unknown ability to imitate voices to lay a trap and wreck the psychic-repellant helmet of Paperinik's Powered Armor, allowing him to finally use his psychic powers. Not that his goal was that: in another example of the trope, he was actually trying to kick Paperinik down a tall building to simply kill him, and only wrecked the helmet because Paperinik dodged at the last moment.
      • Then there's the precautions they take in case some of their super soldiers rebel: the beast warriors have a brainwashing chip secretly installed in their helmets, the Augmented Units have large numbers of guns trained at their back, the formidable underwater warriors can't breathe air, the cyborg with the firepower of a battalion has a remote-controlled off switch (and it's implied that when he mutinied his handlers simply activated it, considering how pissed he is when he mentions it), and so on.
  • In the Ultimate Spider-Man comic, this is the reason why the Clone Saga happens: sure, Spider-Man isn't as powerful or recognizable as Captain America and The Incredible Hulk, but considering every single attempt at replicating Cap has been an utter, epic, horrifying failure, the Ultimate Universe's version of the Hulk is an uncontrollable malevolently sentient weapon of mass destruction that is one of these aforementioned failures, and Spidey's powers are a pretty adaptable jack-of-all-trades package that soldiers and intelligence operatives can find useful in most scenarios they will encounter, then it's just better to go for that. Turns out that the man behind the cloning project is Otto Octavius and the reason he did it was just for the sake of screwing with Peter, but it's never said whether or not the actual pitch was just a bluff.
  • In Runaways, Klara's ability to control plants isn't terribly impressive when compared to Nico's magic, Molly's super-strength, or Karolina's light-based powers, but on the other hand, she's been using her powers since she was a child and thus knows how to use them, they don't have a blood or energy cost like Nico's magic or Molly's powers, and they deploy quickly.
  • Of The Fantastic Four, Sue Storm—aka Invisible Woman—has frequently been the target of this trope. Compared with the Thing's Super Strength and literal rocky exterior which grants him nigh-invulnerability, her husband Reed's Rubber Man abilities and Super Intelligence, and brother Johnny Storm/Human Torch's Playing with Fire powers and flight, her gifts of turning invisible and conjuring force fields seem rather lame. However, once writers figured out what to do with her powers (she was essentially just a Damsel in Distress for most early stories), they quickly became the most useful on the team, though they didn't get any flashier. Enemy giving you trouble? Either create a force field inside their body and expand it, or, was the case with She-Hulk, summon a field around their head, cutting off their air supply (even the biggest foes still need to breathe). Sue's creative use of her "boring" powers has made her not just the strongest member of the Four, but among Marvel heroes in general—she once single-handedly took on and defeated Thundra, the Absorbing Man, and the brainwashed Hulk and Thing—in that case, Sue's daughter Valeria was in danger—and to date, Sue is the only mortal, mutant or otherwise, who has ever outright killed a Celestial, the Physical Gods of the Marvel Universe. And she did it with her regular powers—her boring, practical, extremely lethal powers.
    • Her powers can't even be flashy because most of the time they're invisible, meaning you can't even see the forcefields massacring her foes. But that just means most enemies can't even see their quick and gory death coming. As for her Invisibility powers, while they don't get as much work as her force fields, can be just as powerful and just as boring. She once tricked Dr. Doom into smashing into a mountain by turning the whole thing invisible. Flashy? No. Awesome? Possibly. Effective? Yes.

    Fan Works 
  • Xander brings a tool belt on a mission to a hell dimension in Stand Ins and Stunt Doubles. Why? Because he can use his tools to make weapons but the reverse is much trickier. Also, several tools (such as a short handled sledgehammer) make decent weapons themselves.
  • In The Stalking Zuko Series for a Continuity Nod and Call-Back Zuko's firebending lessons to Aang. Aang finds Zuko's lesson extremely boring and all Zuko teaches is how to block and breathing exercises but Zuko points out how dangerous fire is so it's more important to know how to block before learning how to attack and the breathing exercises would be good for his control.
  • Saruman of Many Devices- this is Central's approach to introducing new weapons summarized — it's better to have a good weapon for all of your troops than an awesome one for a few of them.
  • In one story of the Facing the Future Series, Desiree is given noise-cancelling headphones to prevent her from hearing wishes that could be used against her.
  • Attacking a major installation in Star Trek usually requires a huge fleet and lots of Beam Spam and/or technobabble. In Red Fire, Red Planet, Norigom eschews all of that in favor of dropping a ten ton block of uranium out of the bottom of a Bird-of-Prey moving at 25,000 kilometers per second. (For reference, that's on the order of 750 megatons of kinetic energy.)
  • In the Medaka Box fanfic World As Myth, Kumagawa's Minus, Book Maker, is a giant screw. That can subdue even War God Mode Medaka.
  • In Faith No More, the best weapons for fighting vampires (even for normal humans) are simple spears and bows. As Faith demonstrated, a stake allows your enemy within arms reach (and biting reach) before you can kill them, a spear doesn't.
  • Naruto's method for solving Suna's food supply problems (and becoming filthy rich) in The Art of the Deal doesn't involve complex seals or jutsu for preserving and transporting food. Instead, he introduces them to the humble potato and tofu, delicious and nutritious foods that can be stored for months without perishing.
  • In Wizard Runemaster, Harry Potter has two instances in Naxxramas where easy low level spells are just as, if not more, effective as complicated battle oriented spells. First, using a spell for banishing spiders to turn the entirety of the Arachnid Quarter into a Zero-Effort Boss. Second, while fighting the Four Horsemen, Harry stops Mograine from using the Ashbringer by hitting him with a disarming spell then using a sticking spell to glue the sword to the floor.
    • Later he demonstrates how a silencing spell renders magic users helpless, easily taking out a large group of mages with an area silencing spells.
    • Right from the start, one of Harry's most used spells is the translation spell which allows anyone under its effect to hear every language as their native language for twelve hours and any word they hear in another language, they'll be able to speak afterwards. An example given by a Tauren was that if she was hit by the spell then spent a day in Stormwind, she'd likely be completely fluent in Common by the time it wore off.
    • Harry earns a lot of goodwill with both the Night Elves and the Horde leadership by introducing them to communication mirrors. Previously, communication between cities or outposts took weeks and changed hands so many times that the contents were frequently white-washed if not outright falsified. By giving Tyrande a hundred such mirrors, she and all her major outposts can communicate instantly with each other. While the Horde isn't initially given as many (due to Harry having no interaction with them yet), they still get a few dozen that allows all their leaders to contact each other at once. Furthermore, said mirrors have a conference call function so for example, all the Horde leaders can meet with each other without spending months preparing.
  • In Hard Being Pure, during Rust's fight with Snatch, the latter complains that lasers are cheap and boring. Rust agrees, and summarily uses his lasers to rip through Snatch's robots one by one.
  • Hinata becomes clan head in Accounting no Jutsu because she shows that she can manage the clan's money far better than anyone else. As one clan elder puts it, "Not like clan heads fight much anyway. Better a head that's good with money."
  • Similarly in Uchibi Sasuke, Orochimaru decides to go after Naruto instead of Sasuke when he finds out that Naruto is a skilled accountant. Sure, having the the Sharingan would be nice and all, but Orochimaru's experience with running a village has showed him that he needs someone who can expertly handle money, paperwork, etc.
  • After being turned into Gargoyles in Stone in Love, Giles initially wants everyone to follow tradition when it comes to their stone sleep: assuming a threatening stance to scare off enemies. He changes his mind when he realizes Xander's method (curling up in a ball and covering himself with his wings) would leave them indistinguishable from large rocks, and thus is far better suited to the large forest they're in than a group of statues.
  • In Dark Arts and Crafts one of the first spells Xander casts on himself is a curse to prevent himself from feeling any pleasure from a designated action, casting spells in this case, thus preventing himself from ever getting addicted to magic. The fact said curse stores the pleasure that would be felt as a secondary energy source is also a useful bonus.
  • In Sounds Fishy to Me or Blackened White Fish Xander teaches Pyro a basic candle lighting spell. For most people, it's near useless offensively as the flame is roughly equivalent to a lit match. For Pyro however, it means he no longer needs a flame source to use his powers.
  • In the MLP:FIM fanfic A Minor Variation, Rarity's teleporting apples can be used by anypony with a functional mouth, provide their own magical power, and can bypass most conventional wards.
  • Fragmentation has Executive Outcomes becoming very popular by selling Zerg Rush quantities of simple tanks such as the Pike at dirt-cheap prices that, Pound for C-Bill, provide enough firepower to overwhelm pirate 'Mech units, making EO welcomed to planets that can't afford or are incapable of training 'Mechwarriors, but can recruit and train tank crews by the dozens.
  • Giovanni is quite pleased with Team Rocket in Pokémon Reset Bloodlines for capturing a flock of Spearow and Fearow. While they're not rare or valuable, they do make useful pokemon for his grunts to use.
  • The M2A2 "Ma Deuce" .50 BMG Machine Gun gets described with this exact term on Regular Dinosaur Park during a weapons demonstration to some corporate big-wigs. When said "corporation" happens to be Jurassic freaking Park and the objective of said weapons is to mow down rampaging dinosaurs (or people barging into the park to commit crimes, most probably violently) before they can hurt any guests, you don't want awesome, you want it to work. The whole gamut of "awesome" (including Simple, yet Awesome) is covered by all the other guns on display, any case.
  • Whenever he masters a skill in The Lemon Games, Naruto gets the choice of two perks, almost always one Awesome, but Impractical and one Boring, but Practical. For example, archery allows him either the "Like the Wind" or "Like the Lightning" perk. The former decreases his range by a third but allows him perfect accuracy even while running at top speed; whereas the latter increases his range by a third but forces him to stand perfectly still while shooting. More often than not, Naruto takes the Boring, but Practical route.
  • Julio in Star Wars Episode I: The Familiar of Zero (a Jedi in this story) massively improves the standard of living in Romalia by introducing them to the concept of indoor plumbing, eliminating the need to simply throw body waste into the streets.
  • In Hunter, while Xander becomes magically empowered to be functionally a male Slayer and Willow takes lessons in magic, Oz simply becomes a member of the clergy. While it has no direct combat applications, he can now bless objects, giving the Scoobies a functionally infinite supply of holy water. He also blesses the water tank for the school's fire suppression system so the sprinklers spray out holy water, making the school unassailable to vampires.
  • To gather the large amounts of various poisons he needs for his experiments in Blood and Venom, Naruto places a standing bounty on them. While it's not very much, it's enough for any shinobi who comes across some to grab it for a minor bonus, thus giving Naruto access to a much larger variety of venoms, toxins, and poisons than he otherwise would have.
  • Early in Naruto and the Overpowered Academy Three, it's made clear that the three academy jutsu aren't flashy but can easily save your life, even if you're a Jounin. Naruto manages to remove the "boring" part because of how ridiculously he overpowers them, such as turning the henge into Voluntary Shapeshifting and transforming into a cross between a hydra and a tentacle monster.
  • Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality:
    • Quirrell asks the class how to defeat a troll. They come up with a number of complex scenarios to get around its Healing Factor, most of them involving acid. Quirrell tells them that the correct answer is "hit it with the Killing Curse." That is always the correct answer.
      Quirrell: The Killing Curse is unblockable, unstoppable, and works every single time on anything with a brain. If, as an adult wizard, you find yourself incapable of using the Killing Curse, then you can simply Apparate away!
    • Bear in mind that even if it's a very practical offensive spell, the Killing Curse is an "Unforgivable" (that is, "instant ticket to Azkaban for life, even if you're a minor and you were defending yourself") Curse, so the fact he's teaching kids to make this their "hammer" provides quite a hefty amount of Foreshadowing about him. Furthermore, canonically, both the Killing Curse and Apparation are actually fairly difficult for even adult wizards, so they're not necessarily practical to begin with. They also don't help if you're in a situation where you can't kill your opponent (such as when you need to capture them alive) or can't escape (such as when you need to protect a location).
    • Lucius Malfoy's lesson to his son Draco regarding plan-making is pretty much this: any plan that needs more than two steps to succeed is automatically hoping to get lucky on the Last Plan Standing Gambit Pileup Roulette, so it's best to make them very simple (to put in context: this lecture he gave as a "Take That!" response to an In-Universe version of Death Note and Draco's apparent decision to take inspiration from it for his rivalry with Harry). Quirrell eventually also provides a similar speech when he says that plans that are absolutely essential for the planner to succeed should not depend on anything that runs on chance (those that don't can be done as fancy as the planner wants, maybe even allowing them to fail for the sake of Obfuscating Stupidity).
  • When OL of With This Ring first comes to this universe, he doesn't try some complex scheme to power up- he simply goes to the original Earth Green Lantern's house, knowing that he's retired from costumed heroics, and offers to buy his lantern.
  • Xander in Xendra makes a point while patrolling to wear durable clothes he can afford to lose, including either cheap tennis shoes or work boots. Contrast Buffy who wears designer clothes and shoes and has a manicure while on patrol then complains when they get damaged or stained.
    • Xander's carpentry skills frequently help out the Scoobies, and later Angel's group, by enabling him to cheaply and efficiently repair any damage incurred against their homes. While he lacks Buffy's and Faith's fighting ability or Willow's magic and brains, Xander makes sure they don't go bankrupt repairing the Hyperion after the battle against Skip trashes the place.
  • Harry and his girls learn to defend against the Killing Curse in For Love of Magic by conjuring a swarm of butterflies in front of them. While the curse can't be magically blocked, it can only kill a single target, regardless of said target's size.
  • In Transcendence, Zangetsu is seen as this at a glance in-universe since the blade is remarkably plain looking by Azeroth standards.
  • Worldfall has a few examples:
    • What are the improvements of the M1A5 over the existing variants of the Abrams? A new 140mm gun, thicker armor, and an autoloader to fire faster. Race tank crews find the latter the most devastating.
    • The post-Footfall Race offensive suffers three massive defeats, but if the Americans, the Mexicans and the Canadians used massive amounts of air bombardment (even using every single strategic bomber in tactical roles) and artillery at Route 55 and the French wiped out the Race offensive on Lyon with nerve gas, the Italians decimated the invasion of Sicily by simply taking advantage of the hill/mountain terrain mix their army is uniquely adapted to. No immense firepower, no nerve gas, simply their usual weapons on their chosen terrain.
  • In Equestria Divided House Earthborn fights mostly using a combination of medieval weaponry and clockpunk war machines and does a pretty good job at it.
  • During the first chunin exam arc of the fic Sugar Plums, there is a chapter devoted to showing some of the genin's fighting styles. When it get's to Ume, she notes the opponent she's fighting doesn't seem to have any clear signs of being from a powerful konoha clan. So instead of doing anything flashy, she closes the distance then one by one breaks the genin's wrists before yelling to the exam proctor to call it since her opponent could no longer throw weapons, punches or use hand signs. This style of very nonflashy but efficient ways of standard combat is something that becomes a hallmark of Ume's overall fighting style which focuses mostly on very fast movements and standard ninja tools rather than large scale or complicated jutsu.
  • Sirius Black in the snippet Magical Contracts completely changes the Shinobi world via the titular items. While not remotely flashy, the idea of contracts that are impossible to break (at least not without dire consequences) reshape the world as not only are agreements between two parties actually ironclad, but no one is willing to make an agreement without a magical contract.
  • This is practically Harry, Ron, and Hermione's motto in Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum. Any plan that gets them out of a situation alive and well is always the go-to plan. For example, when scouting the Chamber of Secrets to see if there's another Basilisk, Luna asks if they're going to fight it if there is one. The trio reply that if there is indeed a second Basilisk, then they're going to flee and report the Basilisk to Dumbledore note .
    "I thought we were hunting the basilisk." Luna commented.
    "No, we're investigating," Harry managed through his constricted throat. "If we actually think there's a giant murder snake here, we are all going to move quickly back to the hole and get out."
    "That's no fun."
    "Nope," Ron agreed. "It's nice and boring."
    "And safe." Harry added.
  • While hailed for his power as the titular dragon in Dragon Knight, the biggest reason Xander's army was so successful was due to him teaching them basic tactics like shield walls and rotating out men on the front line between charges. Such tactics allow his men to rather easily defeat a force five times their size due to the latter's lack of discipline. He also teaches what he knows of sanitation and modern medicine (such as digging latrines downhill from the camp to cut down on sickness).
  • In Harry Potter and the Lack of Lamb Sauce, Ron Weasley competes in a magical cooking competition and due to a poor showing in the previous challenge, has to make a breakfast dish with only two ingredients, one of which has to be eggs. In the end, he makes three different variations of bacon and eggs with the only criticism he receives being that his dish was rather bland because he wasn't allowed to use anything else.
  • Jaune in The ProfessionARC makes a point of color coding his elixirs by their strength as well as putting them in differently shaped containers. As a result, he can always tell what an elixir is with a glance or a feel if he can't look at it. Jaune also admits that the ones that see the most use aren't ones that enhance his senses or combat ability but ones that speed up his healing.
  • When being offered weapons during Child of the Storm, Carol, who doesn't have much combat experience at this point, rejects something like a sword or an axe (which she doesn't know how to use) in favour of a simple, kite-shaped shield. It's not as deadly as, say, Uhtred's axe, but it does come in very useful during the ensuing fight.
    • Natasha, Steve's, and Clint's abilities as spotters and The Strategist are well-harnessed by the Avengers. While Thor and Loki are Physical Gods with Combo Platter Powers, Tony has his armors, and the Hulk has the raw physical power to crush almost any other opponent, Steve's abilities as The Strategist are used to figure out where and how to best utilize them, while one or both of Clint and Natasha will go high and keep an eye on the battlefield to direct their allies.
    • The Winter Soldier's lethal nature and rep for taking down high-level targets is shown to be heavily related to this - not his Super Soldier abilities, not his metal arm, nor close up assaults. This is not to say that he isn't good at all of these; in fact, he's downright deadly, capable of matching Wolverine a.k.a. The Best There Is At What He Does, in a knife fight, while carrying broken ribs. However, he's realistic about his limits and most of the time, he will simply either set up a bomb, or use his abilities as a sniper in conjunction with the best ammunition he can get hold of. By doing so, he has so far managed to kill a previous Captain Britain, almost Thor, and severely piss off Dracula - the latter a Physical God level being in his own right.
    • While comparing wandless and wanded magic, Harry Dresden states that the latter falls into this trope. While wandless magic has all kinds of great perks, like greater longevity and magical senses, and is incredibly flexible (every practicioner has their own strengths and can do all kinds of things with their area of expertise), it also takes longer to learn, partially because that same flexibility also makes it harder to standardize. Meanwhile, a wanded mage can become incredibly proficient in just a decade or two of study, and its standardization means that a wizard doesn't have to make things up, say, in the middle of a fight.
  • Cinder Fall in In the Kingdom's Service compliments John White's (Jaune Arc's cover identity) preference for simply knives over fancier mecha shift weaponry, citing that they're concealable and basic enough that they're both easy to replace and hard to trace back to him. Likewise both she and Roman would rather take on someone intelligent but with subpar power over someone strong but stupid as not only are the latter more liable to screw up a job, but it's easier to make someone stronger than to make them smarter.
  • In Enough Rope, Tony Stark tells Rhodes to guess which act of his saved the most lives. While Rhodes guesses it was sending the nuke bound for New York through the Chitauri portal, Tony corrects him that it was inventing mosquito repelling fabric. Because of the clothes, screens, and nets made from that fabric (the last of which Tony donates in mass to charities), mosquito born diseases have almost been eradicated.
  • In We're Taking Over, Nick Fury sent a second flash drive to Tony Stark. While Steve and Natasha come up with a risky plan to use their flash drive without being caught by HYDRA, Tony just disables the wifi in a room and uses a computer that's physically disconnected from any networks. The program can't send out an alert if there's no network to send it through.
  • Harry Potter in A Discordant Note teaches his children how to fight with staves initially because doing so will prepare them for using almost any weapon to some extent. He also defeats the first attempted siege on his tower not with magic but by forcing the attacking hordes to charge up a narrow icy slope into a choke point staffed by men with spears.
  • The moment Todoroki's battle trial starts in Beast Mode, he freezes the entire building, which traps his opponents in ice without fighting them. While described In-Universe as lame and anticlimactic, it did win his team the match.
  • In My Huntsman Academia, Mei notes that weapons designed and built in Mountain Glenn, are "designed more for efficiency rather than any spark or showmanship." Case in point, Izuku's Emerald Gust is a set of armored gloves and boots that protect his hands and feet while bolstering his attacks with shotgun blasts. However, they don't have the bells and whistles and multiple transformations of weapons like Ruby's Crescent Rose and Weiss' Myrtenaster.
  • Kirishima's Hardening Quirk in Vigilante Boss and Failed Retirement Plan simply grants him Super Toughness and even the boy himself remarks that it's not very flashy. But it nets him the top score in the entrance exam due to using his Quirk to shield other examees, often from debris from Bakugou's explosions.
  • Fallout: Equestria:
    • Unlike most unicorns, Littlepip does not have a unique spell related to her Cutie Mark. All she has is the same basic telekinesis spell that every unicorn has. But in a world where no one has hands, basic telekinesis is pretty useful. She starts with the ability to use it to hold lockpicks, quickly learns how to fire guns with it, and even trains it to be strong enough to lift extremely heavy objects such as train cars.
    • Littlepip's cutie mark is a PipBuck, omnipresent in the Stable. She got a job as a PipBuck repair pony. She's rather embarrassed that her special talent is nothing but doing minor repair work. However, she eventually realizes her talent is something else altogether. Her cutie mark doesn't represent that she's good with PipBucks (though she is), but that she's good at the thing PipBucks were originally designed for: Finding people. Spike spent two hundred years searching for six people who could bear the Elements of Harmony, with no luck. Littlepip found four of them in two months, and the rest in under a year.
  • In Fox Rain Vorpika (Lila's superhero alter ego) prefers this approach:
    • In combat, she uses an illusion to make herself invisible or otherwise hide her approach and then hits the supervillain as hard as she can with whatever she finds, or just kicks and punches (her costume even has MMA gloves-like padding over the hands). And when she feels she owes a favor to Ladybug and Chat Noir she pays them back by teaching them the basic one-two of boxing.
    • How does she improves her skills? Practice: upon receiving the Fox Miraculous she spends a whole night casting illusions (it helps her favorite snack is what Trixx uses to fuel his powers and that she already knows how to play the dizi), and later starts taking MMA classes, something that has the added benefit of helping her with her anger management issues by allowing her to vent on something.

    Films — Animation 
  • In The LEGO Movie, Emmett turns out to be this trope. The Master Builders look down on him because he's just an average and mundane construction worker, and seemingly not as creative as they are. Thing is, however, Emmett can follow instructions; while the other Master Builders squabble and try to force their own dominant styles onto a project, resulting in a chaotic mess that quickly falls apart, Emmett's comparatively more boring constructions hold together because he knows where the pieces ought to go to prevent them from collapsing. Such as his double-decker couch, which everyone sneers at... but which turns out to be the only thing that survives the collapse of the submarine the others had previously tried to build.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Mystery Men:
    • Early on, some of the heroes try to infiltrate a mansion with an array of gimmicky but mostly useless powers. When they come across a group of disco-themed villains guarding the mansion, they ridicule them for bringing pistols, junction pipes, switchblades, etc to the fight which have nothing to do with disco. A No-Holds-Barred Beatdown ensues.
      Blue Raja: (incredulous) There's no theme at all here!
    • The Blue Raja is a superhero who uses forks as throwing projectiles, but his overly showy method of throwing them makes them completely ineffectual. During the team's Training Montage with the Sphinx, he teaches him a more proper, less theatrical method of throwing, and he suddenly becomes a lot more accurate and his forks actually stick to things.
  • The Hunger Games has both the trainers and Haymitch stress that smart tributes learn wilderness survival and forgo getting glamorous weapons at the start before bolting for high ground and water to give themselves a good chance of survival.
  • Used repeatedly, mostly by Nick Fury, in The Avengers.
    • The S.H.I.E.L.D. agents all use conventional firearms. Even the RPG that Nick Fury uses at one point qualifies, since he used it for its intended purpose of destroying vehicles (disabling an F-35, in this case).
    • At one point Tony Stark wonders aloud how Fury can see the monitors on his left, since he's missing his left eye. He's told that Fury just turns his head.
      Tony: Must be exhausting.
    • During the fight aboard the Helicarrier, Fury orders the helmsman to move the ship south. The helmsman tells him the nav systems are offline.
      Fury: Is the sun coming up?
      Helmsman: Yes?
      Fury: Then put it on the left!
    • The Avengers want to find out what S.H.I.E.L.D. is using the Tesseract for. Tony tries to hack into the Helicarrier's computer system, but Cap just breaks into the armory.
  • The famous gun vs sword fight in Raiders of the Lost Ark.
  • James Bond's gear in Skyfall: a small radio and a biometric pistol that only responds to his particular "grip." Both of these save his life. Most of the movie's "old vs. new" theme qualifies, too—the old-school DB-5 vs. company cars with tracking mechanisms; the 00 Agents vs. computer-based espionage; old-fashioned booby traps vs. more complex arrangements. One of the Arc Words in Skyfall is "old dog, new tricks."
    • Likewise in Spectre: one of the ethical dilemmas posed here is whether the Attack Drones and Sinister Surveillance advocated by C/Max Denbigh can do the job of field agents like 007. M holds up the importance of spies because they're capable of autonomous decisions, especially ethical ones on the spot, going so far to ask C if he ever held a gun. Spectre later does prove that even in a digitized era, old-fashioned spies like 007 are still necessary to prevent critical errors.
  • Captain America: The First Avenger: Howard Stark showcases a number of shields featuring a variety of gadgets and nifty features, but Steve settles on a simple round shield that's made from vibranium, a rare alloy which is stronger than steel and a third of the weight. This later proves to be a good choice, as it's the only thing that can withstand Hydra's disintegration weapons; had he been seduced by the gimmicks of the other shields, Cap would have been killed horribly in his first battle with Hydra mooks and we would've had a very short film.
  • Kingsman: The Secret Service:
    • Along with all their cool spy gadgets, the Kingsmen keep a supply of off-the-shelf smartphones and tablets, which are undeniably useful for communication, photography, etc. (in the film, they explain that civilian technology had caught up to the spy game when it came to phones).
    • Valentine keeps a list of his personnel on paper instead of a hackable computer system.
  • In The Bourne Identity, Bourne and Marie need to get information on Michael Kane, one of Bourne's cover identities, from a hotel. Bourne forms an incredibly complex and precise plan that isn't even fully explained. In the middle of executing it, Marie decides to walk up to the desk clerk and ask for the papers they need. It works.
    Bourne: You just asked for it?
    Marie: I said I was Mr. Kane's personal assistant.
    Bourne: Oh. Okay. Good thinking.
  • Rudy: When former steelworker turned Notre Dame student Rudy is getting bummed about not getting to play during a football game, his janitor pal points out that he's been getting an education at a prestigious university that will certainly play a large role in improving his life. It might not be as glamorous as football, but it will save him from returning to the steel mill that he fled from.
  • The Firm: The conflict of the movie is newcomer lawyer Mitch Mc Deere being in the middle of a conundrum: he can either rat on the criminal activities of the Amoral Attorney firm he works for and every client that it is associated with (which includes The Mafia) and get disbarred and most probably have to go into Witness Protection and/or get killed or do nothing and risk having outlived his usefulness to the firm eventually or be tossed in jail as an accomplice. The option the FBI wants him to take is the full disclosure of the case files, and spends a good part of the film trying to strong-arm him into it. Mitch successfully manages to Take a Third Option and ensnares the firm by proving that every legal partner was guilty of overbilling every single one of their clients (a federal offense that will send everybody who did it straight to jail without the standard circus), thus allowing him to keep his status as a lawyer.
    Mitch: It's not sexy, but it's got teeth! Ten thousand dollars and five years in prison. That's ten and five for each act. Have you really looked at that? You've got every partner in the firm on overbilling. There's two hundred-fifty acts of documented mail fraud there. That's racketeering! That's minimum: 1250 years in prison and half a million dollars in fines. That's more than you had on Capone.
  • The Quick and the Dead: When he's forced to become part of the town's quick-draw Duel to the Death contest, Cort has no money and no gun, so Herod (in a Faux Affably Evil Bait the Dog moment) asks The Kid to sell Cort a gun. The Kid displays several fancy top of the line models, and Cort, despite having retired from gunfighting and attempting to atone for his past misdeeds, can't help but look interested at the various guns. Herod then demands that the Kid sell Cort the cheapest gun in the whole shop. The gun is an SAA that looks so rusty that it appears to be falling apart and costs only $5, but The Kid assures Cort that "it shoots straight. I wouldn't give it to you if it didn't." Cort then goes on to become a finalist of the contest with it, (although in one round he was helped along by the Lady's plan, as she lost on purpose and faked her death) while numerous contestants with much fancier guns drop like flies in the early rounds of the contest.
  • Moneyball: Billy Beane's strategy for the Oakland A's (who just don't have the money to compete with other teams) is to simply stop caring about which players are better-looking/cooler/have better chances of doing home runs/gifted/have more teams looking to hire them and just start checking up their statistical averages, then hiring the ones that these averages determine would help gain a better defense (if necessary, just hiring them and then training them to do their work). This works for Oakland quite well, even getting them a 20-game streak that was unprecedented in the team's history... until it didn't, because the other teams, the ones who have all of the money? They still have all of the money and they are now using "moneyball" too.

  • Ciaphas Cain is given multiple opportunities throughout his series to upgrade from his fairly dinky laspistol to the much heftier, menacing, and powerful bolt pistol (or Hellpistol on one occasion). He opts for the laspistol every time, reasoning that he's become so used to the weapon, learning the intricacies of such a different one might throw him off at a critical moment.
    • "Used to it" is a bit of an understatement, even for Cain. As Amberley herself has witnessed and commented on, Cain is capable of performing headshots with that laspistol at ranges well outside what should otherwise be the weapon's optimal performance level. And much more, he's used it to make One Shot Kills on virtually every race within the Warhammer verse, from Orks (up to and including a friggin' Warboss) and Tyranids to Chaos cultists, Dark Eldar and Daemons. Basically, Cain has (arguably) killed more with that "dinky" laspistol than most Space Marines have with bolters and plasma pistols.
  • In World War Z, once the nations of the world decide to go on the offensive after the Zombie Apocalypse, they get rid of their flashy tanks, jet fighters, machine guns, and indeed most modern tactics. Instead, the average infantryman carries a highly-accurate, semi-automatic rifle that is designed for pulling off headshots quickly and consistently, they form up in lines and open fire. These old-school tactics kill zombies better than anything. Do Not ask how realistic this is.
    • Equally important at this point is having dedicated supply runners whose sole purpose is to provide the soldiers with ammo and snacks, as any zombie engaged can potentially call a nigh-limitless horde to their location, turning a skirmish into a days-long siege.
    • Additionally, the melee weapon of choice in later chapters is the Lobotomizer, "Lobo" for short. It's described in-book as a cross between a shovel and a medieval battle axe. Dig a trench, bury a fallen comrade, decapitate a zombie.
    • One of the interviewed heroes is a member of the ISS crew who were stranded when the Zombie Apocalypse broke out. They spent their prolonged stay keeping the satellite communications network operating so the rest of humanity could coordinate the eventual counterattack.
    • In general the entire counterattack in America relied on this, retooling the entire economy for pure efficiency. For instance, the main point of those rifles was that they were incredibly cheap to make in massive numbers, and so was their ammunition.
    • One of their best tactics for clearing multilevel buildings was to just stand on a neighboring roof and make a lot of noise so the zombies will walk off the roof trying to get to you; about as boring as it gets, but effective (incidentally, the technique was invented by a dog).
  • The Zombie Survival Guide (which is occasionally referenced in World War Z In-Universe) offers a few recommendations for equipment and tactics based on this golden principle.
    • The best long-arm to use for zombie hunting is a typical bolt-action rifle (preferably one that has a bayonet on it for CQC). The reason being that any store that sells hunting weapons will probably have at least one available (or you could purchase one with ease), ammunition is plenty, and More Dakka is useless against zombies if the only way to kill them is Removing the Head or Destroying the Brain (simply said, accuracy is a must), plus the action is much more reliable in long-term use than a full-auto or semi-auto gun. Coming a close second due to less accessibility is a semi-automatic rifle fitted with a suppressor.
    • As far as melee weapons are concerned, the book highly recommends survivors pass up exotic blades in favour of the humble crowbar, for its reach, balance and utility: can you pry open a door or tear down a barricade with that fancy katana?
    • Heavy cruiser/touring motorcycles may not be the coolest option depending on your view, but their advantages over cars are considerable: they're far easier to repair, much more manoeuvrable, can carry a few hundred pounds of supplies (plus more if you have a sidecar), and have reasonable performance on dirt roads or damaged urban roads. Plus they can be easily pushed somewhere safe to be repaired, while cars leave you out in the open. Bicycles are also an excellent choice, being even easier to keep working as well as quiet and versatile.
    • Armour Is Useless, being either too cumbersome to wear for more than a few hours or something that will seal in your sweat. The book recommends you settle for tight (but comfortable) clothing with a few pockets, running shoes, and short length hair. This won't tire you out and still prevent zombies from grabbing you easily as there's nothing to really grip.
    • In the book, one attack at a dockyard was foiled by the crane operators using the cargo containers as barricades and simply dropping them on the zombies to crush them.
  • The French novel Malevil features the eponymous castle. Built by the invading English during The Hundred Years War it was built solely for function and has little aesthetic value unlike its opposing neighbor, the French castle Les Rouzies.
  • Discworld:
    • Guards! Guards! uses this trope to lampshade the trope where MacGuffins which are swords are most often shiny and cool looking (as described: shiny that lights up with a ting!) At the end of the book in which Carrot joins the Watch, Fred Colon thinks that perhaps the sword of the last king of Ankh-Morpork isn't shiny and lights up with a "ting!" Perhaps the sword of the king is a boring old sword that was simply very, very, very sharp. Carrot has such a sword.
    • In the same vein, Cohen and the Silver Horde (a group of octogenarian barbarian heroes) carry notably notched and beat-up swords that are STILL sharp enough to cut a die in half in mid-air.
      • At one point, Cohen internally reflects that a simple, plain non-magical sword in the hands of a truly brave man will cut through a magical sword like suet. He's reflecting on this fact while looking at Carrot's sword, which has been previously described as one of the most non-magical objects on the Disc.
    • Discworld's elves (or rather, the elves that are kept away from Discworld) suffer pain and anguish from iron. They're repelled by smithies and armories.
    • When the Lancre Witches face off against Lady Felmet, Granny tries to defeat her by reaching into her mind and breaking down the mental barriers that keep her from seeing her true self, revealing to her what a sadistic monster she is. When this doesn't work, Nanny Ogg just hits her on the head with a cauldron.
      • The witches in general tend to be this, especially compared to wizards. Witchcraft is more about psychology and common sense than magic.
    • Though wizards can be practical when the need arises. As Mustrum Ridcully has pointed out, if the magic stored in it doesn't work, "a good poke in any available soft bits" with a wizard's staff can still be a very effective deterrent.
    • Although Moist von Lipwig is a theatrical conman with a flair for the dramatic, when he's put in charge of revitalizing Ankh-Morpork's decrepit postal system, his main selling point amounts to this. The post may not be as modern, flashy, and fast as the recently invented "Clacks" semaphore system, but it's also more reliable, less expensive, and sending a whole book isn't much harder than sending a letter.
  • In The Dresden Files the "Eebs" work like this. When trying to kill an extremely powerful wizard they shoot at him with a silenced pistol from inside a car. When it fails they just drive away. They hire a local killer to attack him. They chuck a firebomb into his building while he sleeps. All things that don't take a scrap of supernatural power to achieve. They are also the Red Court's two most successful assassins. The reasons being that while these individual attempts don't have a particularly high success rate, they also expose them to barely any risk and take little effort, and sooner or later they get lucky.
    • Grevane makes zombies. Not a particularly spectacular power, compared to insanely powerful and insanely versatile sorcerer Cowl or body-surfer Corpsetaker, but it is hard to argue with a man who can raise and control undead in high three-digit numbers. It helps that Dresdenverse zombies are more like meaty T-800s than the usual shamblers.
    • Similar to Grevane is Binder. Binder is a one-trick pony, and his trick is creating servitors known as the Grey Men. Again, compared to Harry's fireballs, it's less than impressive, but the Grey Men are fast, strong, intelligent enough to use simple machines (like guns) and, unlike Grevane's zombies, can operate semi-independently.
    • Harry's .44 Magnum revolver. It's not as sophisticated as the FN P-90 that Murphy favors during combat, nor it has any badass enchantments like the swords of the Knights Of The Cross (or Harry's other magical apparel), but what it is is a highly reliable Hand Cannon that has saved Harry often both because of its stopping power and because it is highly intimidating. For that matter, when an enemy does get to close range, Harry's been known to just bonk them over the head with his staff (which, after all, is a six-foot-long length of solid oak) or punch them in the face.
  • Star Wars Expanded Universe and Legends:
    • "Slugthrower" weaponry — these are firearms, guns that fire bullets. This is a 'verse where blasters are fairly easy to come by. But Luke Skywalker trained with slugthrowers as a kid on Tatooine, and a character in Shatterpoint has this to say about them.
      Tenk: Slugthrowers. I hate 'em. But they're easy to maintain. Day or two in the jungle and your blaster'll never fire again. A good slug rifle, keep 'em wiped and oiled, they last forever. The guerrillas have pretty good luck with them, even though they take a lot of practice — slugs are ballistic, y'know? You have to plot the trajectory in your head.
    • That and they're the perfect Jedi-killing weapon: a blaster bolt can be easily deflected back with a lightsaber, but if a Jedi intercepts a slugthrower round it will only melt it without deflecting or slowing it, resulting in the defending Jedi getting hit with a less lethal but much more painful slug. And making him defenseless due the pain, if the bullet didn't kill him outright. Even if the lightsaber does deflect the slug, the Jedi can't reflect it back at an opponent the way they could a blaster bolt. The Force is effective against them, but it takes a skilled Jedi to catch a bullet with it.
      • There is one noted weakness: Stormtrooper armor actually works against them. Which is why most guerrillas that use them against Stormtroopers have to do stuff like filling the rounds with explosives. Even then, it's also mentioned that one advantage slugthrowers have over blasters is that you can silence slugthrowers.
    • The YT-1300 Corellian Light Freighter when compared to an X-Wing or Star Destroyer is one of the most boring ships in the universe. It is, however, one of the most popular. Reliable, durable, easy to modify and repair in an emergency; the YT-1300 is a favorite of smugglers throughout the galaxy. The most famous example, of course, is the Millennium Falcon as it is the best example of what a resourceful spacer can do with the design.
    • The X-Wing also falls into this in the Expanded Universe, where, before the production of the XJ and StealthX series, it was outmatched entirely by next generation fighters like its distant cousin the E-Wing and the Empire's pure hotrod of a starship, the TIE Defender. Yet even all the way to the Yuuzhan Vong War, the X-Wing remained perhaps the most effective fighter in the Rebel Alliance/New Republic/Galactic Alliance's arsenal, thanks to its near perfectly balanced performance and capabilities, as well as the ease at which pilots (namely Rogue Squadron) can use them. Sure, a few good pilots in TIE Defenders are a considerable threat, but an X-Wing with Luke Skywalker, Wedge Antilles, Tycho Celchu or Corran Horn at the controls is guaranteed to be the superior force (no pun intended). Part of that for the X-wing is that the cockpit and controls are intentionally designed to resemble those of cheap, popular civilian aircraft. This makes them seem mundane ("boring") but also makes it much easier and faster for civilian pilots to transition to X-wings ("practical").
    • The lightsaber style Soresu. It's the most widespread and defensive form of Jedi combat, and it's nowhere near as flashy as other styles like Ataru or Vaapad. It's also why Obi-Wan Kenobi was able to beat General Grievous, despite the latter wielding four lightsabers, as it made for an impregnable defense. He managed to defeat Darth Vader and in Star Wars Rebels Darth Maul, by using this very style.
    • Darth Bane notes in his part of Book of the Sith that this style and Form V (Shien/Djem So, the attacking style), are the best useful fighting styles for the Sith.
    • Regarding the otherwise Awesome, but Impractical Death Star — in the Novelization of Rogue One, Governor Tarkin sends Director Krennic a message warning him not to get so carried away with making the Death Star a technological marvel that he loses sight of its true purpose as a weapon to silence dissent against The Empire. In short, a "crude but functional" Death Star is acceptable. Krennic, however, begs to differ. We all know how that turns out.
  • There's a short story by Arthur C. Clarke called Superiority about a space empire that keeps inventing one incredible super weapon after another, with the most cutting edge science. They end up getting overrun by their enemies who directed their resources towards making huge numbers of basic ships with 'generic' weapons while the other side was busy updating their ships, and by exploiting the flaws and weaknesses of waves of new technology being field-tested for the first time.
  • A similar short story by Isaac Asimov, "The Machine That Won The War", showcases the "garbage in, garbage out" problem by mentioning that every single person in the chain of providing tactical information to the titular supercomputer, from the front-line generals down to the keyboard operator, all embellished the information for the sake of looking good or because the other information looked too good. So the person who took a look at the predictions of the super-computer and made the plans for the military used the actual titular machine to assist him... he flipped a coin.
  • Robert Sheckley's book "The Status Civilization" has the main character running an antidote shop on a lawless planet. He is amazed at how, despite all the scientific advancement, most poisoners prefer the plain old arsenic and strychnine. The main problem in his job, in fact, turned out to be convincing his clients that their wives would use something so primitive.
  • In the Belisarius Series, both the Romans and the Malwa have advisers from the future, but while the Malwa adviser Link tends to think in terms of flashy, futuristic weaponry, the Roman adviser Aide tends towards this trope. While Aide does help the Romans make gunpowder weapons, he also gives them boring but practical advances with things like stirrups: easy to make, simple to use, and instantly makes your cavalry far more effective.
  • The Known Space series has the ships produced by the Puppetteers: 4 models (3 available to civilians) which are customizable only in the paint job you want on them, but account for 95% of starship sales in Known Space because they are completely indestructible and impervious to radiation and weaponry. But not antimatter or tides, as several characters learn the hard way.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Expelliarmus, the Disarming Charm. Simple, plain, does no damage. Easy to cast. But since most wizards are useless in combat without their wands, very useful. (And there's the added bonus that an expelliarmus-ed wand will sometimes change allegiance to the wizard responsible.) It knocks whatever someone's holding out of their grip, too, not just wands. In Deathly Hallows, Lupin warns Harry not to make it his signature move, despite how useful it is. In practice, it turns out to be incredibly useful: Draco effectively defeats Dumbledore with it, and Harry uses it twice to counter Voldemort's Avada Kedavra, killing Voldemort for good.
    • While we're at it, Stupefy. It is a spell that knocks someone out. That is all. But unless you want a person dead (and there are plenty of situations where you wouldn't, even if you have no qualms about killing, and even if your goal was to kill you could use Stupefy and deliver the killing blow muggle style, while the Killing Curse is one of the most difficult spells to cast), it's just as effective at putting an opponent out of a fight (It also helps that using Stupefy won't earn its user a life sentence in Azkaban, like the Killing Curse will). There's also the simple fact that Stupefy is both simpler and faster to say — you could have it cast by the time your opponent is halfway through Avada Kedavra. Assuming of course you can't use silent casting, something that works for Stupefy and not for the Killing Curse (unless the wizard is very, very powerful). Of course, if Stupefy is overpowered or multiple wizards cast it at one person, you risk harming or killing your target (Mcgonnagle was hospitalized after being struck by four simultaneous Stunners in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, as an example of the latter.)
    • Furthermore, the Confundus Charm, as used by Snape in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, amongst others. It's not as powerful of a mind-control spell as the Imperius Curse, but a clever user can still cause havoc by giving the Confunded person the right instructions, with the added bonus that it's not illegal like the Imperius or Killing Curses. (Un)fortunately, however, most wizards operate on very little logic, something that is lampshaded by Hermione.
    • Of the three Deathly Hallows, Harry's Invisibility Cloak is one of these. Turning yourself invisibile is not as impressive as having the most powerful wand in the world or a stone that could summon the dead (and quite possibly command an army of Inferi), but simply hiding from your enemies and walking past them does so many wonders for Harry and his friends.
    • This trope is a big reason the Killing Curse is so reviled in-story. Lots of spells will kill the target, or even a lot of people at once, often in very flashy ways. The Killing Curse kills one person, very deliberately, with no ceremony, fancy effects, or hope of recovery. It's murder, pure and simple.
  • This is basically the Forsaken Mesaana's whole shtick in The Wheel of Time. She may not be as smart as Ishamael, as powerful as Lanfear, as great a warrior as Demandred, or as feared as Semirhage, but she's a solidly intelligent, methodical planner who is driven primarily by a pathological need to prove her own competence. She also lacks many of the extreme mental issues that her comrades exhibit, and is neither a Dirty Coward nor Hot-Blooded enough to throw herself into fights willy-nilly. Her careful, goal-oriented approach lets her through careful action paralyze the most powerful institution on the planet for most of the series, and she manages to survive all the way to the penultimate book. She is, however, fully aware that she falls under the boring side of things and has a chip on her shoulder about it (again, her Freudian Excuse is basically feeling that no one ever recognized or appreciated her true talents) so Egwene is able to exploit it to draw her into a direct confrontation and destroy her mind in a battle of wills.
  • In The Magicians magicians and gods have access to an immense range of weird abilities. The most powerful beings however, have a tendency to just physically attack with Super Strength and shrug off any complicated magic thrown at them.
  • This comes up with several characters in the Honor Harrington series, like Admiral Khumalo and to a lesser extent Admiral Caparelli. While they lack the sheer genius of many other characters in the series, they make up for it by being hard-working, determined and good at delegation and are in fact acknowledged to be better at their assigned tasks (commanding officer of the Talbott Sector and senior uniformed officer of the entire Royal Manticoran Navy, respectively) than their more inspired and "flashy" colleagues would have been.
  • On The Day of the Jackal, the tactics used by Lebel and the French police to find the titular master assassin are pretty much brute-force and absurd thoroughness (Lebel's bugging of all the phones of the French government high-ups in his search of The Mole, the obtaining of all the guest records of all the hotels in France and looking through all of the birth and death certificates for The Jackal's aliases). In an era where all the records were paper and had to be looked through by hand, these searches were very slow-yet nevertheless the police is able to find proof of the Jackal's activities and forces him to keep moving and changing identities. The way with which he finds the Jackal's sniping spot at the end is also very much this: instead of a complicated criminal profiling mind-game, he just asks every guard on the perimeter of the event if they saw someone that looked like the Jackal, until he finds one that did.
  • The Gamebook Duel of the Masters both you and the book's Big Bad are monks skilled in the martial arts. In at least one ending you realize he's used to fighting less skilled opponents and using flashy, impressive moves to cement his reputation as someone not to be messed with. Once you realize this you quickly start fighting back with moves that don't look cool, but, well, you win.
  • We Are Legion (We Are Bob):
    • Traditional wisdom was to clone a replicant from an unimaginative mind, so that it wouldn't go insane from isolation and repetitive tasks. Bob is a new idea, an engineer and a programmer who is able to automate most tasks for maximum efficiency.
    • Space stations are initially dismissed when trying to find a way to save the survivors on Earth, but Homer eventually realizes that space farms are much more practical, due to a wider margin of error and fewer needs. They fill a few with kudzu and extend the life of the planet by decades.
    • Major Ernesto Medeiros, the Brazilian probe, is not an engineer or a programmer, but he is an excellent tactician and a ruthless soldier. He is able to set several ambushes for Bobs using unexpected tactics, including secret Brazilian projects he was keeping in reserve.
  • In the 1632 series, the uptimers spend over a year and a huge amount of resources building ironclad naval vessels, with propulsion, armor and weaponry far in advance of anything in existence at the time. When they launch an attack on Copenhagen, the Danes simply Zerg Rush the ships with a fleet of longboats armed with spar torpedoes. The casualty rate among the Danes is appalling, but their boats and bombs are easy and cheap to produce in large numbers. They don't win the battle, but they manage to mission kill one ironclad, and pose a genuine threat to the rest.
  • Worm may be superhero fiction but still has a healthy respect for ordinary weapons like guns or knives, and indeed a number of major characters lacking Super Toughness get seriously wounded or even killed by them.
    • Not to mention all the superpowers themselves that qualify as this. Special mention goes to Fletchette whose power essentially boils down to this setting's version of a magic missile: a relatively weak attack that can harm almost anything and is nearly impossible to reliably defend against. Coupled with her secondary power of enhanced understanding of angles trajectory and sense of timing and she becomes a nightmare. Little wonder how she manages to kill Gray Boy.
  • The Four Horsemen Universe: Mark 8 CASPers are the current state of the art, but Mark 7s are still in common use and are perfectly serviceable for mercenary companies that can't afford Mark 8s (as is the case for the protagonist companies in the first two books). They're also less cramped inside than the Mark 8, though this means they're bigger on the outside.
  • Ignition! An Informal History of Liquid Rocket Propellants by John D Clark. The chapter "What Ivan Was Doing" ends with this observation:
    In short, the Russians tend to be squares in their choices of propellants. […] When he wants more thrust, Ivan doesn't look for a fancy propellant with a higher specific impulse. He just builds himself a bigger rocket. Maybe he's got something there.
  • Renegades: the hero Insomnia has only one power, and that's being The Sleepless. Nowhere near as flashy as Elemental Powers, Super Strength or any other highly effective abilities of her teammates, but invaluable when conducting detective work such as trailing or stakeouts.
  • In The Three-Body Problem's second sequel, Death's End, we are introduced to the photoid: the simplest way to kill a solar system. It takes a lot of energy, but other than that, it's very straightforward: it's just a large projectile converted into a relativistic kill vehicle and shot at really high speed into a star. It's basically a bullet that can destroy a sun.
  • In Game of Thrones, Bronn is forced to fight Vardis Egen, the champion of House Arryn, in a trial by combat. Vardis wears customized armor and an elaborate sword. Bronn wears just his own armor and uses his own sword. While Vardis' gear looks cool, it soon becomes clear that he hasn't had a lot of experience wearing it and he's way too cautious about wielding his sword because it's on loan from House Arryn. Bronn easily kills him.
    • The opposite happens when Ser Barristan Selmy goes to imprison Hizdahr zo Loraq and has to fight his body guard, Khrazz. Selmy lets Khrazz attack him knowing every strike will just harmlessly bounce of his armor. He only bothers to protect his head and easily dispatches a legendary pit fighter.
  • In The Salamanders adventurers (called climbers) actually wear practical armor and learn to use different kinds of weapons for different situations.
  • Fred, The Vampire Accountant: Fred is considered immensely valuable in the supernatural community. Not because vampires are powerful (though they are) or because he has a legion of powerful friends (though he does), but because he's an accountant. Due to The Masquerade laws, supernaturals aren't allowed to talk about supernatural affairs with normals—including accountants. Meaning that if they have a magical business, or even a normal business that occasionally makes use of magical assistance, they have to do all the paperwork themselves. Fred, as someone in on The Masquerade who is both willing and able to do accounting, quickly finds his business booming.
  • In Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, the first of the titular magicians is sent to the Duke of Wellington so as apply his magical abilities in service of the war against Napoleon. His initial, flashy efforts, however, are usually dismissed as worse than useless, leading to a lot of skepticism and tension. It's only when he starts getting to know the common soldiers and finding out what they really want that he begins to fit in, as is reflected by his magic getting a lot less flashy but a lot more useful. Tellingly, the first spell that convinces Wellington that this guy might actually be useful is when he conjures up magical roads for the armies to march on.
  • In The Witcher, Signs pale in comparison to the power of real magics cast by mages and sorceresses, but they are practical little magical effects that can be cast quickly and more importantly, with one hand. This makes them a handy tool for Witchers in the middle of combat. Of these Signs, perhaps the most useful is Axii - a simple charm spell that can calm down people or animals and manipulate their minds, not just useful in fights but for avoiding them entirely.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Auction Kings has speed rugs. Sell as many rugs as fast as you can! Takes Jon all episode to prepare for it, though.
  • The CBS logo, introduced in 1951, was based on the designs seen on barn walls. It was a simple round shape with an eye-like depiction in the center. When William Golden began work on another logo about a year later, his boss Frank Stanton worked like crazy to have the logo plastered on anything and everything he could think of. Stanton's reasoning? "Just when you're beginning to be bored by what you've done is when it's beginning to be noticed by your audience." note  More than six decades later, it remains one of the media world's most recognizable symbols.
  • The core of the (American) ABC network logo has remained practically unchanged for five decades. Like the CBS eye, it is a highly recognized corporate symbol.
  • On the subject of TV idents/logos, when The BBC decided to spend something like a million pounds developing a new set of idents for BBC One, a reader wrote into a certain publication wondering why they didn't simply go back to a simple spinning globe, variations of which concept had served the channel from The '60s to well into The '90s.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Armour whenever Armor Is Useless is averted or deconstructed.
    • The utilitarian armour of the Starks and their bannermen and soldiers.
    • The Lannisters and Tyrells don't have dragons like the Targaryens, the power of a god like Stannis, or even pet direwolves like the Stark children, but they do have gold and arable land respectively, which they parley into tremendous military and political clout.
    • The typical armored hack-and-slash fighting style of Westerosi knights like Jorah Mormont can be described this way in comparison to some of the more elegant fighting styles from Essos. It may not be as energetic as the Dothraki, as precise as the Unsullied, or as graceful as the Braavosi Water Dance, but it is just as effective. It shows in Jorah's fight with Qotho, and is best seen when Jorah, Grey Worm, and Daario fight off Yunkish guards in "The Rains of Castamere". Daario and Grey Worm are far more graceful in their movements, but Jorah is just as effective.
    • Roose's strategy to remain behind Winterfell's high walls and let Stannis' forces waste away from cold and deprivation. To inject some action into the narrative, Ramsay prefers to take the fight to Stannis with twenty picked men, though this itself is a very good example of the trope — only twenty men were risked, and Stannis' already in-trouble army was even more severely crippled, losing most of their horses and food, making the eventual battle even easier than it was before.
  • Whenever Mulder or Scully used their guns in The X-Files, it was a very, very toned down affair that would usually take down the Monster of the Week in about a tenth of a second.
  • Stargate-verse: In the words of Teal'c, "Tau'ri firearms are primitive, but effective." And as Jack puts it: "[Goa'uld energy weapons] are designed to terrify your opponent; [human firearms] are designed to *kill* your opponent." The Stargate franchise also has a Running Gag where one character explains how they have to do something long and complicated to solve a problem, but another character pulls out a gun and shoots the problem.
    • The most iconic version of this is with grenades rather than guns. Wiley old Bra'tac describes the long, difficult, dangerous journey they must make to get from where they are in the Mothership to reach the shield generators at the bottom of the shaft they are at so they can disable them, allowing the ship to be destroyed. Jack O'Neill pulls out two grenades, pulls the pins, and casually drops them down the shaft so they can blow up the generators. "Primitive explosive devices" are quite effective, if you know how to use them.
  • In Doctor Who, the Doctor and Jack Harkness have a bit of a conflict around their respective tools — Jack has the very flashy sonic blaster, which can cut holes into walls and do all sorts of cool things, against which the Doctor's sonic screwdriver, which Jack derides as able to "put up some shelves", looks a lot less impressive. Except that Jack's flashy sonic blaster has a very quickly drained battery which, since the factory that produced both blaster and batteries has now been blown up (and replaced with a banana grove), renders it a flashy paperweight when the battery runs out, while the sonic screwdriver is frequently shown to be useful and reliable.
    • Subverted with Jack's vortex manipulator, which is the size of a wristwatch and can be used for time travel, sometimes to places where even the Doctor's TARDIS can't go. It also doubles as a teleporter, a chemical scanner, a remote control (that can hack most electronic objects), a hologram projector, a lifesign detector, and a communications transceiver. While an incredibly useful gadget in its own right, it still suffers in comparison to the TARDIS, which is far larger but unimaginably more powerful and capable in all respects (plus TARDIS travel is usually more pleasant).
    • In the 1972 story "Frontier in Space," Jo is able to defeat the Master's hypnotism, having previously fallen victim to it. No, the Doctor hasn't helped her establish a Psychic Block Defense; she just recites children's nursery rhymes as a kind of Psychic Static. The Master is reluctantly impressed.
    • This is the Doctor's general shtick. (S)he may or may not have much in the way of superpowers, and their only weapons, most of the time, are a rackety old time machine and a sonic multitool, but their Super Intelligence, ability to use an enemy's weapons against them, and mastery of Obfuscating Stupidity has allowed the Doctor to defeat armies and topple empires.
    • The Doctor's greatest tactic? Run. Sure, fighting back would be flashy, but fighting only covers one instance. Half an episode is spent running, but by the end of that time, the Doctor's had enough time to think and come up with some plan to not just defeat the enemy of the week, but very often pull off a Curb-Stomp Battle with them.
  • Firefly had this in the form of the eponymous space-vehicle. When a group of starship thieves looks toward Serenity as their next catch, one younger thief remarks that the ship has no flash and is made of very mundane parts. An older thief retorts that the ship is not very flashy, fast, or armed, but if you have a half-decent mechanic on board, it will operate perfectly until the heat-death of the universe, and that is far more than enough for plenty of spacers.
  • Retro Game Master: Clearing levels in Dig Dug II by exploding each enemy instead of sinking them all spectacularly. Arino gets very annoyed at having to do it to save time.
  • Babylon 5 has Earthforce's boxy warships: they are ugly and primitive-looking, but are effective and quick to produce enough that in the Earth-Minbari War the ridiculously more advanced Minbari took two years to reach Earth.
    • Two weapons examples: Earth nukes and Narn energy mines. The first are just plain nuclear weapons, the latter use a matter-antimatter warhead barely held together by a primitive reaction and that blows up as soon as the reactor fails, and is rather prone to misfire. Nukes were the one thing that gave the Minbari pause during the Earth-Minbari War, in one occasion taking down their flagship. Energy mines made Shadow warships cry in pain (the Shadows promptly wiped out the Narn warships that had hurt them, but it's still better than what most Younger Races can do to the Shadows).
    • The Expanded Universe has the Attarn, whose ships are equipped with Bil-Pro weapons... That is, advanced chemically-propelled firearms. Attarn ships are also known for their exaggerated firepower, and defeated two similar-sized empires with energy weapons before first meeting the galactic community.
      • The Attarn aren't the only ones to use good old chemically-propelled firearms, as both Earth Alliance and the Centauri Republic (the most advanced of the Younger Races bar the Minbari, and they aren't too far behind them either) have found some use for them: the Centauri use them as tank guns, long range artillery and support weapons not too different from our own GAU-8 Avenger (and have in fact a meaner version of the Warthog in their ground aicraft inventory), and Earth's ground forces have them for the same uses and infantry small arms (that are a lot more powerful than the energy small arms made by anyone but the Centauri, Narn and Minbari. In fact, the only reason shipboard and space station forces don't carry them too is that the bullets are too powerful and could damage a delicate system—or punch through the hull. That and the ricochet).
  • In Jekyll they eventually realize that Hyde has an "Instant Death" Radius and get Hyde into a long empty hallway, then riddle him with machine gun fire until he falls over. He still gets a lot closer to them than they're comfortable with, and by the time he falls there's only one guy who hasn't fled.
  • This becomes an important point on Halt and Catch Fire when Joe realizes that their new computer has some great features but ultimately the buyers at COMDEX are looking for a "station wagon" so he presents the computer as a reliable work computer. To this end he agrees to remove the fancy operating system Cameron designed for it since while it makes the computer "sexier" it makes it slower and more expensive.
    • This comes back to bite him in the ass at the beginning of season 2; once Apple enters the computer business, the Cardiff Giant has nothing special to make it stand out in the increasingly competitive market, and the owners of Cardiff Electric choose to shut down their computer division rather than sink any more money into it.
  • Many of the more successful robots in Robot Wars:
    • Chaos 2 just looked like a black box, yet it was a full-on Lightning Bruiser that achieved a maximum speed of 20mph and flipped robots with sufficient force to knock them clean out of the arena. Seasons 3 and 4 were defined by Chaos 2 dolling out Curb Stomp Battles to other robots (its battle against Trident lasted 10 seconds), and it ranked very highly in all series afterwards.
    • Panic Attack was basically a small yellow box with ineffective lifting forks. In Season 2, through pushing power and Kim Davies' driving skill, it beat all the other competitors and won the championship.
    • Tornado followed similar principles: it was a Jack-of-All-Stats with interchangeable weapons, although most of the time it won by pushing over robots into arena hazards. It was Season 6 champion and did very well in practically every other tournament it entered, but among fans it has a somewhat negative reputation for being uninteresting to watch. Hey, you gotta be a showman as well as a winner.
  • Weaponless robots have slowly become the dominant type in other robot combat events too, such as BattleBots, ComBots, and Steel Conflict due to their versatility and durability: Because there are weight caps, weaponless robots can allocate all of their weight to pushing power whereas other bots need to set some aside for weapons, which gives them the advantage for when their opponents' weapons invariably break down. This allocation also tends to give weaponless robots the edge in speed and maneuverability, rendering many weapons useless against them as they can drive circles around their competitors. For instance, by ComBots V's semifinals, Last Rites was the only remaining robot that had a weapon, and even then, its operator also registered The Great Pumpkin, a weaponless robot, into the competition, which did almost as well.
  • Star Trek: provides the Excelsior-class starship. First introduced in Kirk's era, eighty years later they still serve as the backbone of Starfleet. They might not be as flashy as the later Defiants or Akiras, but a refitted Excelsior can hold its own against them. It's even lampshaded in episode of TNG that, while the Enterprise might get the more glamorous deep space assignments, the Excelsiors remain the vital workhorses of the fleet.
    • Before the Excelsior-class (specifically back when the Excelsior herself was the new kid on the block), we have the Constitution-class starship as Starfleet's original workhorse (similar to the modern day Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, the Federation had these things by the dozen). This is best exemplified by the original Enterprise: unlike her immediate predecessor, her numerous descendants or her alternate incarnation (all of which were among the most advanced ships of Starfleet), the first Enterprise was more or less a standard ship of the fleet, yet, through a combination of her capabilities and her crew's skill and perseverance, became one of the most celebrated and legendary starships within the Federation.
    • Case in point with Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. By this point the Enterprise is decades old, barely functioning from her prior battle against Khan and slated for retirement, whereas the paint was still drying on the Excelsior. Cue the Enterprise hijacking, in which, despite all of the damage she retained, the Big E remained perfectly functional (enough to get Kirk and the rest back to Genesis even), whereas the Excelsior was easily disabled by pulling out a few circuits from her computer system.
      Scotty: The more they overthink the plumbing, the easier it is to stuff up the drain.
    • According to Major Kira, the Cardassian Rifle. It only has "stun" and "kill" settings instead of the dozens of degrees Federation rifles have, it doesn't have anywhere near the variety of bells and whistles, but you can drag it through the mud and use it for weeks without maintenance and it still works perfectly.
    • Foreign language studies might sound boring and ridiculous in an era filled with everyone carrying a Universal Translator, but when it breaks down, it's helpful. Just ask Saru, who learned 94 languages and was able to aid the crew of the Discovery when a virus screwed around with the Translator.
  • One of the tasks in Taskmaster saw the contestants having to get an egg as high as possible in 20 minutes. They were aided with a table, some pens, and a big stack of paper. Romesh's attempt saw him just stack the egg on top of the pens, and the pens on top of the paper. Greg was in disbelief that that was all Romesh could come up with in 20 minutes, and he was certain Romesh would come last ... until it transpired that Roisin, Tim, and Frank all had to be disqualified because they broke their eggs, meaning that Josh came in first place, and Romesh in second.
  • Good Eats; Alton pushes simple "multitasker" tools that can serve multiple cooking or preparation tasks instead of overly complicated (not to mention expensive) "unitasker" devices that do one thing. The only exception he makes is for safety tools such as fire extinguishers (and even then he found a use for a CO2 one besides putting out fires).
  • iCarly: Carly and the team seek to gain the ear of a well-renowned web enthusiast, who turns out to be a very sleazy, spoiled kid. When he writes a deliberately negative review after Carly spurns his advances, the team simply call his mom, who orders him to recant his negative review.
  • On one episode of Leverage, Ford teaches Harrison that this is the backbone of every con he schemes: he takes time to make a very "ugly" plan that is straightforward and will work no matter what happens, and he then starts working on the cons that involve bells and whistles and massive amounts of misinformation and stealing weird things like elections and churches. Harrison's big mistake during the episode (in which he was allowed to create the scheme of the week all by himself) was to go for a fancy con without thinking of adding any "safety nets", and nearly got in trouble when the people he was conning simply got fed up and tried to walk away (which is when Ford applied his own plan to simply rob them blind).
  • Throught the third season of The Flash (2014), Savitar generally fights by simply rushing his opponents with his incredibly potent Super Speed. He tends to forgo the more advanced techniques available to speedsters, like phasing or lightning-throwing, and usually doesn't even use his own unique Blade Below the Shoulder except for surprise attacks or executing a downed enemy.
    • In the fourth season, Killer Frost has a Good Costume Switch, changing from her dark blue dress and boots to a simple light blue jacket that she wears over whatever Caitlin happened to be wearing at the time. This is useful because Caitlin can easily change into it when she turns into Killer Frost, instead of wasting time changing her entire outfit.
  • The titular Cool Starship of The Orville is a mid-level explorer, nowhere near as large or powerful (or glamorous, as several characters muse) as a heavy cruiser. With her crew, however, she's capable of taking down a much larger Krill destroyer.
  • In Reno 911!, when it came time to hire a new officer for the Reno Sheriff's Department, most of the attention was focused on Reese, who is a war hero, or Jackson, who is a badass. Meanwhile, Kimball, who seems to have no personality at all, manages to rack up a record number of arrests and ends up getting the job.
  • In Home Improvement this is Al's main schtick. While Tim comes up with wild and flashy projects that are just as spectacular when they fail as when they work, Al uses straightforward handyman techniques and good general craftsmanship that work every time.
  • Altered Carbon: Quellcrist Falconer says that the thing that allowed the Roman Empire to conquer the known world was their roads. Therefore, she blames cortical stacks for allowing the creation of a star-spanning fascist state. The technology was originally intended to allow humans to transfer their minds across worlds in moments (with immortality through resleeving as a happy side effect), but it resulted in the conquest of the known universe. The military could needle-cast to backup bodies on any world in moments, allowing them to defeat uprisings far more cheaply than before.

  • Some Pinball games can invoke this if there's a shot that is not too difficult to repeat and yields a substantial number of points — the player can (try to) spam the shot and build up their score. This trope tends to come up most often in competitions where maximizing your score on each table is the main purpose, but doesn't happen as often in solo or friendly play due to its boring nature, where as long as you made the replay, you can just try again for free next game if you don't get your high score. Well designed tournament pinball machines will reward riskier and more difficult strategies with more points, allowing someone going for Awesome, but Impractical to get ahead with enough skill, which is always entertaining.
  • The center ramp in Police Force can be lit for Unlimited Millions, which gives a million points for each shot. Since the ramp is easily accessible in the middle of the playfield from either flipper, it's prone to this trope. You light unlimited millions by shooting the ramp repeatedly. Any shot not a ramp risks a drain even if you hit it, and this one provides a consistent feed to let you repeat it from the right flipper. This makes it practical, and nearly always the shot you want to shoot. Very boring, but it's the fastest and safest way to get points on the table.
  • On Terminator 2: Judgment Day, the Chase Loop (the upper-right counterclockwise lane) can be built up so it rewards 5 million points per shot after just five times. Completing the orbit returns the ball to the left flipper for another shot, and doing so fast enough also rewards a Combo bonus that increases by 1 million points for every successful loop. Unsurprisingly, competitive players will frequently try to spam this for hundreds of millions of points in a few minutes.
  • In general, trapping a ball on a raised flipper. Nothing is moving—which, while the least interesting thing to look at if you're spectating, slows the pace of the game down to a manageable level, gives the player time to plan out his or her next moves, and, because the ball will always roll down in the same way once the flipper lowers, improves aim.
  • Ramps in general are this. They will nearly always feed the ball to a flipper safely at a slow speed when you hit them, keeping the ball under control so you can shoot another shot afterwards without needing to nudge, possibly another ramp, or even the same ramp (like in Police Force). Not all ramps are like this, but the vast majority of them are.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Whenever a wrestler uses a basic move (like a suplex or a body slam) as a finisher, it's this. The best examples through history are Hulk Hogan and The Ultimate Warrior, who used a leg drop and a body splash respectively.
    • Sting's Scorpion Death Drop is a great example. The move is just an Inverted DDT, which doesn't stand out in a world full of Attitude Adjustments and 450 Splashes. But if someone were to legitimately do that to an opponent on something harder than a wrestling mat, chances are they're not getting up from it.
  • Exiting the cage in a steel cage match via the door. You COULD go over the top of the cage to leave but the official standing near the door is compelled to open it when a competitor tells him to. This is usually a good way to get heel heat since it's taking the "easy way" out. However, it's very often subverted because, despite the practicality and effectiveness of leaving via the cage door, no one ever seems to get to it in time before the opponent is back on their feet and dragging them away from it. When cage matches end by escape, it's almost always via going over the top.
  • Tripping your opponent via Drop Toehold, Dropkick to the knee, etc. Not as impressive as a Clothesline, Spear, etc.; nor as flashy as a Hurricanrana, Missile Dropkick, etc.; but much harder, if not impossible, to avoid. This especially comes in handy against The Giant-types.
  • Strike finishers. The WWE began handing them out like candy in the mid-to-late 2010s and while they're often quite simple and not very flashy (especially if one is into more grapple-based finishers), they make a loud enough noise that fans can react to it, requires a fairly simple bump to be taken by the performers (sometimes just doing a simple prat fall), and can be pulled from out of nowhere for shock value. As an added bonus, it reduces the amount of stress either performer takes, which is important in the Fed due to its exhausting touring and TV schedule.

    Reality Television 
  • Survivor has a strategy known as "Pagonging" (named after the Pagong tribe, who fell victim to it all the way back in the first season). Initially, the survivors are split into two teams of equal number. Partway through the game, after several survivors have been eliminated, the two teams merge and it becomes every man for himself — but the players hold on to the "us vs. them" mentality of the previous teams, and if all goes well, the larger team will stay together and eliminate the smaller team one by one, only turning on each other when they've run out of targets or the last member of that other tribe has won immunity. It's very efficient for those members of the larger team, but predictable and not nearly as fun for the home audience to watch as a chaotic Gambit Pileup.
    • Then there's the strategy of being The Quiet One or Obfuscating Stupidity. Unless pretending to be stupid involves doing something that's funny, you won't get much screentime by staying out of harm's way. That being said, if you can convince the players in control that you're not a threat at all (e.g. Natalie White, who played this to perfection), they'll take you to the end under the assumption that you're no trouble to beat.
  • In Hell's Kitchen season 3, one of the top performers was Julia, a Waffle House line cook from Atlanta, Georgia. The professionally-trained chefs (especially those on her own team) tended to treat her like crap and denigrate her skillsnote , but it turned out she had precisely the skill set Gordon Ramsay was looking for — good teamwork, promptness with her cooking, and staying cool under pressure. So much so that when she was eliminated near the end, Gordon praised her potential and dedication, and then paid for her to go to culinary school.
  • One episode of Food Network's Celebrity Chef Cook-Off had as its Elimination Challenge... grilled cheese. Cheech Marin and Lou Diamond Philips made fancy sandwiches with unusual breads and extra bits thrown in, while Joey Fatone made a basic grilled cheese sandwich decorated only with a smiley face made of sliced tomatoes and a pickle. However, Cheech's sandwich was greasy and LDP didn't melt the cheese, while Joey (who said he makes grilled cheese all the time for his kids) ended up winning immunity because his no-frills sandwich was perfectly made.
  • Similarly, in US Season 4 of MasterChef, one episode's Mystery Box challenge gave the contestants a bunch of unlabled foreign ingredients. Some chefs panicked, some chefs experimented, but Eddie won the challenge by just grilling the meat, mashing the yam, and sauteeing the greens. The judges unanimously agreed that it was a very plain dish, but prepared perfectly.
  • Plenty of episodes in both the U.K and U.S versions of Kitchen Nightmares had chefs making extremely flashy food that was especially difficult or time consuming to cook, or had managers decorate their restaurants with flashy but gaudy styles and using tacky gimmicks to draw in customers. Gordon has them change to fit this trope. Some of the best examples of the former and the later respectively are Rococo's and The Curry Lounge.
  • Go onto almost any message board for America's Next Top Model. You'll probably find no shortage of support for Nigel Barker or Jay Manuel (Mister Jay) while It's All About Me Tyra hardly gets any. Part of that came from their dry delivery, which is almost always in plain simple English rather than the Tyraspeak she is ever so fond of. Hell, even with his silly accent imitations, the flamboyant J. Alexander (Miss Jay, also a fan favorite) can get his point across with next to no mumbo-jumbo. There is a reason many fans did not like the news that they all left (though Miss Jay did return).
    • Love him or hate him, Rob Evans was an excellent example of this trope. He might not have had the giant personality that fans of Miss Jay love, but as a working model, he knew how the game worked and made no attempt to lie about it to anyone.
  • In the American Big Brother, there's similar strategies to Survivor. However in this game, it's free-for-all from the very start — so as a result, you want to make yourself appear to be not so much of a threat that people will target you. You want them directing their sights at someone else, not you. Thus, a fair amount of Obfuscating Stupidity is involved in making yourself appear much less of a threat than you actually are. Naturally this leads to a lot of sitting around and letting someone else strategize, so that they make themselves appear to be the threat, not you. Maggie Ausburn won her season for this reason.
  • On RuPaul's Drag Race, Bianca Del Rio's looks were always fabulous, but were always in the same simple silhouette. As her competitor BenDeLaCreme put it, Bianca had "50 of the same dress in different fabrics". However, Bianca's no-nonsense attitude and skills in acting and comedy outweighed her relatively tame runway looks, and she went on to win her season as well as become one of the show's most popular winners.
  • On MTV's first ever Wanna Be A VJ? competition in 1998, the winner was Jesse Camp, who won the viewer votes with his energetic personality and punk rock aesthetic. However, MTV also hired the second-place winner, the more conventional and laid back Dave Holmes. Holmes may have seemed boring compared to Camp, but the executives saw him as more professional, plus he was knowledgeable about a wide range of music whereas Camp only really lit up when talking about punk or heavy metal. As a result, Holmes stayed with MTV for 4 years and continues to work as a media personality, whereas Camp was only kept on for the one year contractually promised to him and faded to obscurity afterwards.

  • In Panopticon Quest, Jamelia considers this the ultimate form of magic to carry out and pushes the rest of the Construct to do it this way. So far, there has been magic pep-talks, magic disruptive phone calls, and magic use of a flare to blind vampires.
  • The main character of Polyhistor Academy, Mikelle's most used abilities are... Invisibility and Memory Enhancement, two of his most basic abilities.

  • The sport of Billiards was killed by its professionals getting too good at it in a very boring way. This is English Billiards, a game involving three balls with points scored by potting, or having the cue ball going in-off, or hitting both other balls with the cue ball for a "cannon". It was a significant professional sport in the 1800s and early 1900s. But then the best professionals got so good that they could play basically forever in a very boring way. The culmination was a break of 499,135 points which took five weeks to make, but consisted of the same shot being made hundreds of thousands of times, to perfection. While attempts were made to save the game with rule changes, it was supplanted as a professional sport in the UK and some other countries by Snooker. To see how exciting outstanding billiards is, here is a video of an excellent player making a series of "nursery cannons". Of course English Billiards can be exciting: this was the game played in Billiards rooms in a thousand murder mysteries and in Clue/Cluedo.
  • The simplest version of Carom Billiards in the USA was played professionally for only 6 years before the players killed it by being too good at being boring.
  • Hand-to-hand fighting.
    • Certainly martial arts styles like Tae Kwon Do and Capoeira seem very visually appealing, with all the fancy flips, cartwheels and jump kicks, but even these flashier ones usually cut the crap in serious situations.
    • In most competitive martial arts sparring, 95% of the points are scored with the most basic moves.
    • In Mixed Martial Arts, basics have dominated, and coaches will often chastise their fighter if they try to go crazy. Exotic submissions and acrobatic striking moves rarely work, though some fighters have developed reputations for the efficacy of their flashier moves.
    • Arguably the two most effective martial arts are traditional western styles that the average person probably doesn't even associate with the term "martial arts."
      • Wrestling. It's not for nothing that the vast majority of UFC heavyweight champions have had wrestling as their main martial art. Grappling arts overall are often regarded as this trope in MMA fights. Fighters often manage to simply control their opponents for the duration of the fight en route to a safe decision victory or put them in a submission rather than take a chance with more exciting offensive moves for a stoppage.
      • Boxing. It only uses the closed fist to attack, and with only four basic attacks (jab, cross, hook, uppercut). Using only the hands to attack allows boxers to support the fists with the entire body, making them more powerful, and also to use the legs to move better and avoid taking damage by simply dodging. Martial artists from other styles, and even entire martial arts, have included boxing-style punches and derivative footwork precisely because they're just that effective.
  • The neutral zone trap in hockey. Essentially, it's a very heavy defensive strategy that prevents the attacking team from getting close to the net by pinning them in the neutral zone with no way to get around the defense. Critics complain it is extremely boring to watch (neither team really gets a lot of scoring chances as a result), but if done effectively it is very difficult to beat.
  • In Roller Derby, the four-wall and passive offense. It can be excruciatingly boring to watch a jammer grind fruitlessly away at four blockers in a flat or braced wall formation, but it's also the most effective defense in the game.
  • Baseball
    • The majority of runs are scored as a result of "boring" things like walks and singles. Home runs are great when they happen, but even the most prolific home run hitters can hit a home run only about once every thirteen plate appearances on average.
    • Walking in itself could be considered this. For most of baseball's history, no one paid much attention to the ability to draw walks, and batting average, which did not take walks into account, was by far the most widely-used statistic to measure offensive output. With the rise of sabermetrics, or objective statistical analysis, in the 21st century, the value of the base on balls has since come to be recognized, to the point where it's no longer an undervalued skill.
    • A pitcher that rings up a lot of strikeouts is great to watch, but since strikeouts take at least three pitches, many hard-throwing strikeout artists tend to be less physically durable over the course of a season than a pitcher who's better at getting batters to hit groundouts and popouts (of course, the best pitchers tend to be strikeout artists who are also good at inducing weak contact).
  • American Football: Big passes and fancy trick plays are crowd-pleasers. But teams can often get even more mileage out of quick passes to the center of the field. It's not difficult to get 5 or 6 yards minimum per pass this way, and if you have a good tight end or receiving tailback, or a wideout that runs a lot of short patterns to the middle, they can rack up yardage while the big-play players are given more coverage. A team who can get consistent gains on boring runs up the middle will quickly wear out the opposing defense, which will leave their opponent helpless to stop either their running or their passing attacks in the late stages of the game. This is why there were so many Super Bowl routs from the mid-'80s to '90s: the AFC teams, with their flashy passing attacks led by quarterbacks from the 1983 draft class and their light 3-4 defenses, were physically dominated by the power running games and smash-mouth defenses of NFC teams of the time.
    • Vince Lombardi built most of his career on a single play- the Power Sweep. While not the only play in his book of course, it was the most practiced, and John Madden once related a story where, visiting a seminar by Lombardi, the coach spent the entire 8 hour seminar talking about that one play.
    • On defense, the concept of the two-deep zone. While it does have some drawbacks, such as being vulnerable to the run, it is very effective at preventing long passing plays by an offense. It also has the advantage of being simpler to execute than other styles of defense.
    • Special teams, the occasional big return and frequent game-winning field goals aside, are pretty boring to watch. They’re also incredibly important, as good special teams make life much easier for both the offense and defense by reducing the distance to travel and increasing the space to work with, respectively. It also helps that special-teamers are really cheap compared to the rest of an NFL team, in both cap space and draft capital.
      • Know also that because of their longevity (kickers rarely take hits and therefore dominate the oldest players lists), placekickers are 49 of the top 50 scorers in NFL history. A good kicker can last decades. To put it another way, the average NFL career is 3.5 years. Of current NFL starting kickers (as of November 2018), their average career is just shy of 8 years.
  • Basketball:
    • Two of the most reliable sources of points are layups and free throws.
    • In recent years, as the NBA has gotten into the same "moneyball" trends as the MLB, this has been turned around on its head. Middle-court jump shots are being deemphasized in favor of close-in-play (higher scoring percentage and a high likelihood of being fouled) and three-pointers (the probability of an offensive rebound is better, and the chance of the extra point is statistically enough to make it worthwhile rather than pushing inside the line).
    • The shot clock was introduced largely to eliminate the viability of boring "four corner offense," which consisted mostly of passing the ball around without even trying to get a shot for as much as five minutes at a time.
  • Association Football:
    • The sport suffered from an overdose of Boring but Practical heavy defensive tactics during the early 2000's.
    • The catenaccio or counter-attacking family of tactics falls under a similar category. The aim is for the team to defend with as many as 10 men, whilst only one or two players remain in attacking positions, hoping to get to a loose ball and create an opportunity from it. Due to the difficulty of attacking a team that is defending with many players (especially when done well, like Inter in the 50s/60s) added to the lack of attacks created by a team using this technique, many pundits now call this "anti-football". It is however extremely effective in levelling chances between teams of different level, so most teams that expect to lose a game will play in this fashion.
    • In football, heavy defense tactics (known by fans as "Parking the (team) bus") are meant to frustrate the opponent team by preventing it from scoring in any way possible. This goads the opponents into attacking your goal more desparately, while you wait for a "lucky break" for a surprise attack on their weakened defenses. At this point, the heavy-defenders then usually go into an even heavier defensive to protect this advantage in score, making it even less likely to see more goals later in the game. The result, for everyone but the diehard fans of the defensive team, is that the majority of the game is itself extremely frustrating and usually promises a very small final score (1-0 and such). The period culminated in the 2002 World Cup, where the German team made extremely effective use of this technique for the majority of the tournament, winning the first three elimination rounds at exactly 1-0 each. However, this was subverted when they lost the final to the Brazilians, against whom defensive tactics don't usually work.
    • Boring but Practical came back with Greece's performance two years later, at the UEFA Euro 2004, winning the whole tournament in the process.
    • Also, Chelsea beat the flashy and seemingly undefeatable Barcelona in the 2012 Uefa Champions League with this extreme defense (at times, 9 or 10 players would be next to the goal...).
    • Italian football is mainly based on this. The above-mentioned catenaccio? An Italian tactic (whose name is the Italian word for "security bolt"). Inter, that in the 50s and 60s was mostly known for pulling the catenaccio well? One of the big four of Italian football. The reason for the success of Juventus (the dominant team since the late 90s), Chievo Verona in his first few seasons in the first division, and the Italian national team? Excellent teamwork. In fact, the Italian national team is often hated by international fans for being boring, but is one of the best teams in history, and has won the world cup four times.
  • In Handball the penalty for "passive play" (i.e. not developing enough of a drive towards the goal) was introduced to kill the incredibly boring but incredibly promising strategy of sitting on the ball and just throwing it around for as long as possible. Unlike similar rules in American sports, it's not based on any measurable thing but instead the referee just lifts their hand as a warning and a couple of seconds later (unless an attempt to score a goal is made) issues the penalty, which always includes the forfeiture of ball possession. Given that the definitions involved are rather subjective, the referee's decisions can be controversial.
  • In tennis, a strong serve is this. Serving balls so fast that points end almost immediately without your opponent even being able to get their racquet on the ball makes for more boring viewing than flashy trick shots or long rallies, but it works.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • Magic Missile is one of the most basic arcane spells, as well as one of the most practical. Although the damage is deals is sub-par, it always hits. It ignores both damage and elemental resistances, ignores incorporeality and does not allow a saving throw to reduce or negate its effect. The only things that can stop Magic Missile are spell resistance/immunity (not common at low-mid levels), a specific spell (Shield) or a specific consumable item (Brooch of Shielding). And as a 1st level spell, you'll always have plenty of spell slots available for it, and later it becomes prime material for metamagic feats. In 4th edition, Magic Missile is one of the few wizard powers that count as a ranged basic attack, meaning it gets bonuses from a lot of equipment and can be used for extra attacks granted by certain leader classes.
    • In 4th Edition, all classes have "at-will" powers (magic missile being one), which are all examples of this trope — they can be used as many times as desired, where the flashier, more powerful abilities can only be used occasionally. As such, boosting the power of these abilities is a boring but practical way to make your character stronger.
    • For a 3rd Edition wizard, many of the most powerful spells are not flashy direct-damage spells like fireball or lightning bolt, but spells that weaken the enemy, like ray of enfeeblement or web, which can turn a potentially deadly fight into a cakewalk.
    • The 3rd Edition cleric lacks the finesse of the rogue, the combat prowess of the fighter, and the impressive offensive magic light show of the wizard. Furthermore, it is expected to fill the thankless, inglorious task of healing and supporting the party. Most of his glory is vicarious, by allowing his party members to survive and do better at their respective jobs, but a party without a cleric is virtually hamstrung.
    • "Utility spells" such as Water Breathing, Rope Trick, and Stone to Mud aren't much use in combat, but they can save the party's life in a pinch and provide other extremely useful benefits outside of combat. Basic spells such as Light and Detect Magic are vital even at the highest levels.
    • The most important magic items in 3.5 are the ones that increases your stats. They take precedence over anything else that uses the same slot. Also, items that does cool or unusual things are often priced too high to be useful by the time you can get them.
    • In 3.X edition, playing as an ordinary human rather than an exotic fantasy race might sound boring, but it provides the best all-around game benefits: a bonus feat (giving you a jump-start on later, powerful feats), an extra skill point each level (which has more of an effect on skills than a one-time stat bonus) and allows more freedom from penalties while multiclassing (freeing up the player to create a more impressive character build).
    • Also in 3.X, the Improved Initiative feat is valuable to almost every Character Class for the simple reason that it boosts your chances of acting before your enemy in combat. The Alert feat in 5th edition performs the same function, with the added bonus that you cannot be surprised either.
    • While they rarely are "boring", the bard is actually one of the most practical characters in the game. They may not be able to fight as well as the fighter or do damage like the barbarian, but they are up there near the top. They may not have the ultra-powerful or flashy spells of the wizard, sorcerer, or druid, but their spells are a much wider variety. They can cast both offensively and defensively and they can heal as well. They have the second-most skill knowledge behind the rogue and their high Charisma score means the Game-Breaker skills of Bluff, Intimidate, and Diplomacy are going to have excellent bonuses.
    • In D&D 5th edition, at level 2, the rogue gets access to a class feature called Cunning Action, allowing them to use a bonus action to Dash, Disengage or Hide. Sounds lame, until you realize it lets you outrun many enemies, move to tactically advantageous positions (like, say, flanking) much more easily, as well as enabling Hit-and-Run Tactics against a group of enemy (standard action, shoot a bow. Move action, break line of sight. Bonus action, find a new sniping spot or hide to gain advantage for sneak attack next turn).
    • Also from 5E, the Champion Fighter subclass, which is a throwback to the "classic" Fighters of past editions. No magic, no fiddly skills, just a big block of stats with a ton of passive bonuses to make for a deadly combatant and exceptional physical skills. Champions can get an expanded critical hit range, an additional fighting style and some really impressive damage output when you combine with their extra attacks and their Action Surge ability. And they get Regenerating Health when below half their maximum HP too.
    • There are a few Feats in 5E that definitely qualify. Alert gives a big boost to your Initiative and so you always have a good chance to go first when combat starts (and it helps protect you from sneak attacks). Observant gives you a big boost to passive Perception and Investigation, so you'll hardly ever miss any loot, traps, hidden enemies or important clues. Tough gives you +2 HP with every level up. None of them do anything really flashy, but they definitely will save your bacon when it matters, especially early on when player characters are quite easily killed, especially the Squishy Wizard. Which brings us to...
    • The Human race. "Why play a human in a fantasy game?" is a question you will hear a lot, but depending on what version you play, you can get a +1 to every core stat (standard human) or a +1 to any two core stats, a free skill proficiency and a free feat (variant human). Variant human is considered a top tier race pick for any class.
    • From 3.X, the Feat Power Attack. Take a -X Attack penalty, to get +X Damage bonus to melee attacks. However, with two-handed weapons, the damage bonus is doubled. This stacks on top of the x1.5 Strength bonus damage already given for wielding a non-light weapon with two hands. Practically, the most important feat any serious two-handed melee weapon user can pick up, as that damage quickly adds up, regardless if you're a very basic, core standard Fighter, or a Tome of Battle Warblade. It's also a gateway feat to a number of other important and useful combat feats, and a number of Prestige Classes. And it is almost always one of the very first feats anyone picks up on any melee specialist classes.
    • Speaking of Tome of Battle, the Warblade's exclusive Martial Discipline, Iron Heart. There is nothing extremely flashy about it, just simply normal basics of sword fighting and will-power trained Up to Eleven until it hits Badass Normal levels. Why worry about what a foe may or may not be immune to, when you can just simply hit'em really hard with one attack, or wipe out a horde of enemies with maneuvers that are flat out better than a similar Feat which requires other feats to even use. Or even just simply parry the enemy's attack.
    • The "Horizon Tripper" build - Barbarian/Fighter/Ranger/Horizon Walker. As "optimized" builds go, it's not much more than a well-traveled guy with a pole weapon and a short-ranged teleport, and its craziest maneuver is simply tripping someone. But it's effective at basically all levels, has a decent amount of skill points to make it useful out of combat, and is unusually mobile for a combat character. And being made exclusively from core material and fairly basic in its lore, there's very few Dungeon Masters who wouldn't allow it.
  • Rolemaster has the spell Shockbolt. It's not a very powerful attack spell, as attack spells go, but it has a few advantages over some others. Because it's a low level spell, it doesn't take much magic to use. It's available to two of the three groups of magic types on base spell lists, and to some others on special spell lists, so most spellcasters can cast it. The actual attack is a sort of electrically charged light, so it works better against a target with metal armor. In this system, you're as likely to kill something with a critical hit as by sheer damage, and shockbolt does criticals against metal-armored targets rather better than against targets protected with leather or cloth armor. The effect is so pronounced that metal armor is generally not much valued because this single spell makes metal armor a liability.
  • The armies of Warhammer 40,000 offer loads of appealing units to select, be they super soldiers encased in powered armor that can punch holes in tanks and survive being stepped on by mecha, battlesuits unleashing volleys of plasma fire while darting in and out of cover, tanks the size of bunkers that can annihilate entire squads in a single shot, genetically-engineered warbeasts that spit fire and toss around enemy armor like toys, speed-crazed alien brutes on crude motorcycles loaded with guns, teleporting shock troops firing monofilament threads, and so forth. But at the end of the battle none of these units will matter unless you have some humble Troops choices, the rank-and-file of your army, to hold mission objectives.
    • However, the above-mentioned speed-crazed alien brutes can take motorcycles as troops choices simply by taking a cheap special character.
    • For that matter, the average Guardsman's lasrifle. Compared to everyone else's standard firearm, it's so weak that they're commonly nicknamed "flashlights". Compared to everyone else's standard firearm, it's also the most practical gun humanity has ever invented. Extremely low maintenance and can be recharged anywhere, and is completely idiot-proof so as not to confuse conscripts from some of the less advanced Imperium worlds. And while weak comparatively it still kills humans and 'nids just fine, not to mention cheap enough to be shipped out by the hundred thousand.
    • The bog-standard model of the Leman Russ Main Battle Tank, both in-'verse and on the tabletop. It lacks the flash of the more specialized models of the same chassis, and the sheer power of super-heavies like the Baneblade, but they're cheap, plentiful and can perform well (if not excel) in almost any role.
    • Missile launchers and autocannons are by far the most versatile Heavy Weapon available to human armies — hardly flashy, like Plasma Cannons or Lascannons, but they have good anti-infantry capability (frag missiles for the ML and a high fire-rate for the AC) and can kill anything up to Armor: 13.
    • A meta-example is the heavy stubber, which is the M2 heavy machine gun in all but name. When a weapon that uses gunpowder to throw solid projectiles doesn't need updating for forty thousand years, you know it's practical.
      • In the same vein, the Earthshaker cannon is nothing but a simple gun-howitzer using bagged charges, an invention that predates the M2 by almost twenty years. It's one of the Imperial Guard's most formidable weapons.
    • Indeed, for most armies in any of the Games Workshop big games (Warhammer, Warhammer 40,000, and Lord of the Rings), it's generally a good idea to cross off the most expensive units in their force from attempts to build serious armies. The reason is fairly simple; any extremely powerful unit is going to take up a lot of the points an army gets, leaving the rest of the army weaker. It'll get blasted by canonballs, a hero killer, or tanks because it is such a big investment on your part, leaving your force crippled. Even if your opponent doesn't have a powerful answer to kill that behemoth, he maybe can tie it up so it doesn't damage anything important while the rest his army crushes your force. For example, one solution to facing a dragon in LotR is to feed it a mook every turn; sure, the mook is doomed, but the dragon is likely impotent to do anything else and cost so many points the rest of your army can sweep the enemy with little trouble. Likewise, if a new player insists on a huge squad of assault terminators you can't kill, skating around them will mean that incredibly expensive unit does too little damage to justify its massive cost. Boring but practical wins cutthroat games.
    • By far the most efficient way for Imperial Guard players to defeat monstrous creatures, especially Tyranids, is to ring them with conscripts, shoot the rest of the army around them, then, once everything is well under control, maybe charge them with a command squad and try to get a force weapon and a couple of powerfists in contact with them.
    • Another Imperial Guard example: the army's Elite choices (as in, Ratling snipers, Ogyrns, Stormtroopers, Psykers and Sly Marbo) are generally considered to be too ineffectual for their points costs. Hence, most Guard players who aren't playing for fun prefer leaving them behind in favour of simply bringing more Guardsmen.
    • The theoretical concept of "Mathhammer" is built on this, usually comparing several types of units within a certain points limit in the scenarios they were built for and seeing which one is more cost efficient. This usually means that most players would build their army not with the best units in the codex, but with the cheapest ones that can pack some sort of heavy firepower (such as the Meltavets, who dies faster than any other anti-tank squad, but can kill way more in the small time frame that they're alive, at least statistically).
    • Again from the Imperial Guard: the Chimera troop transport. It's just a vehicle with thin armour, some medium weapons more suited for anti-infantry job, and the ability to carry ten Guardsmen. It's also very cheap and even more reliable and easy to repair, and its chassis is versatile enough to be adapted as a number of vehicles ranging from a humble tractor/supply truck to a mobile ICBM launcher.
    • Arkhan Land has discovered three vehicle designs which are currently in use by the Imperium. Two of them are the Land Raider and the Land Speeder, a tank and a recon unit, respectively. However, there is a third vehicle, one not as common in the tabletop, yet often considered much more important for the Imperium... the Land Crawler, a cheap utility vehicle used as a transport, a tractor, a vehicle to clear the field... and, if needed, you can use it tow artillery, or replace the engine and slap on a few stubbers to make an excellent recon vehicle.
    • The ubiquitous Rhino chassis is this both in and out of universe. Its simple form makes it highly adaptable, with almost every space marine ground tank (besides the famous Land Raider) being based around its chassis. This simplicity also allows it to be mass produced on the cheap and allows even the modest crew to make battlefield repairs (something no other tank in the game is capable of). In terms of practicality, it can transport 10 superhuman soldiers clad in power armor with no difficulty AND can run off any type of fuel from exotic promethium to wood. All of this translates into the game as a generic transport, with a decent (and, due to a rule wording, indestructible) gun and transport capacity for a very low point cost (35, compared to an individual Space Marine at 14 points apiece). Its size and bulk also makes it good for impromptu cover, as most commanders will rush the Rhino up, turn it sideways, and have the troops disembark on the other side, effectively shielding them for a turn from enemy gunfire. Its derivative tanks are also very practical, being able to bring twice the amount of ordinance to bear for half the cost of other equivalent tanks.note  Their only real downside is that even the most heavily armored Rhino Tank would be considered, at best, a "medium" tank, and the majority of them can be taken down with relatively few shots from anti-tank weapons, especially when flanked. However, their cheap cost means you can simply spam them to make up for this.
    • In the same vein as the Rhino, the Predator MTB (which is based off of the rhino chassis) is overshadowed by the insane durability of the Land Raider, the demolisher cannon of the Vindicator, the anti-air array of the Hunter and Stalkers, and the sheer dakka of the Thunderfire Cannon. However, if you need a job done, no other tank in the space marine arsenal can do it better or cheaper. Armed with either 3 sets of Lascannons, an autocannon and 2 heavy bolters, or a combination thereof, the Predator can bring a lot of firepower for a pittance of a cost, and with the 7th Edition Marine Codex allowing for vehicle squadrons you can bring up to nine Predators to a battle.
    • Every Space Marine Chapter has its own specialization. The Space Wolves are tough melee fighters, the Raven Guard are masters of guerilla warfare and rapid assault, the Salamanders love flamethrowers, and the Ultramarines... have a thing for logistics. Guess which one is the one with the 500-world empire?
    • Captain Lysander of the Imperial Fists. A pretty good close combat character, but that's not why you take him. Instead, you take him for his ability of "Bolter Drill", which allows his fellow Space marines re-roll missed Bolter shots. This applies to ANY bolter type weapon, including the Heavy Bolter, and Bolt Pistol. Boring as hell, but damn effective at wiping a field of enemy infantry quickly when you suddenly have a lot more chances to wound the enemy.
    • The Tau, one of the most technologically advanced races of the game, tend to focus their battle strategy around Battlesuits. Their Shas'O Commanders are often given the most advanced Battlesuit tech the Tau Empire has to offer. And yet, two of of the best HQ choices are the extremely cheap points cost wise Ethereal, and Cadre Fireblade. The Etheral has little combat ability, and while they can fight in Close Combat, you really don't want to have them anywhere near it. The Fireblade wears the same Combat armor as the regular Fire Warriors, and carries a Pulse rifle, and both may have two drones with them (Likely shield drones for extra survivability). Both have buffs that are given, to units they are near to, or with. Namely, the Ethereal's Storm of Fire buff, and the Fireblade's Volley Fire. When their per-requisite conditions are met grant an additional shot to Pulse Rifles, and Pulse Carbines, to any unit they are close to, or joined respectively. For way less points than every other unit option available for the Tau, these two HQ choices suddenly turn your Firewarriors and Pathfinders and into terrors of the battlefield, shredding apart infantry with massed amounts of fire from their basic weapons.
      • Taken to the extreme with the special character Aun'Va. He's gone from the worst Special character in the entire game from his previous incarnation, to almost a "Must-Have" unit in any non-Farsight Enclave rules using Tau army. He can invoke an additional power, which means you can leave Storm of Fire always active, and then one of the three other Elemental Invocations make surrounding infantry units tougher, less likely to run, or more aggressively mobile. And thanks to his Paradox of Duality, he put's the normal strategy of using High Strength, Armor Piercing weapons on its head, making it likely to fail when fired at him. Combined with clever use of cover, this will frustrate enemies trying to eliminate this huge morale booster to the Tau. Not bad for a choice, where it's very likely that when used correctly, will never earn a kill on its own.
    • The Adeptus Mechanicus Skitarii soldiers, best described as the Imperial Guard crossed with the Borg have a fairly diverse army list, with spider-tanks, chicken-walkers jousting with taser-lances, spindly mech-assassins with brain-destroying weaponry and gargantuan combat robots, but the undisputed best unit in the army is the Skitarii Vanguard. A basic trooper in a red robe and sealed armour, they're churned out and discarded in the tens of thousands, and yet are considered some of the best infantry in the game thanks to cheap cost, ease of use, surprisingly powerful basic guns and access to good anti-tank weaponry and accuracy buffs. Armed with a couple of Arc Rifles per squad, there's almost nothing in the game they can't hurt, and you need do nothing more than point them at the nearest enemy and forget about them. Unless limited by army slots, it's a rare Skitarii player that doesn't field at least three squads of these guys.
  • In Warhammer the Dark Elf army has two major close combat core choices: Warriors which are just basic soldiers with spears and shields, or Corsairs which are kickass Dark Elf Pirates with two swords (or a sword and a crossbow pistol), wearing cloaks made of dragon skin. Unfortunately, Warriors are much cheaper and roughly equally effective, meaning that there's no logical reason to take Corsairs over them. It doesn't hurt that Dark Elf Warriors are among the most effective for their points basic infantry in the game.
    • This is less true under the 8th edition Army Book, with Corsairs getting more durable and basic Warriors (sorry, Dreadspears) getting more expensive. But it's still...mostly true.
    • The tiny little cantrip "Unbind Monster" in Storm of Magic can sledgehammer your enemy by turning all their bound monsters into corpses, idiots, and/or rampaging, uncontrolled killing machines that attack the nearest target. Back this up with the equally minor "Wizard's Duel", to push enemy casters off their fulcrums, and victory is in your grasp.
    • While there are a lot of fancy arcane items (both "generic" and army specific) for your wizards to pick through, none is more useful than the humble dispel scroll, which automatically dispels one spell per game.
  • In Magic: The Gathering, some of the best cards in the game have completely generic effects, but for cheap.
    • Sadly, the cards linked above are also banned from most tournament formats, possibly for exactly that same reason.
      • What do you think is the rarest, most expensive, and widely accepted as best card in the game? Some stompy behemoth that ends the game in one turn? Some spell that gives you an instantaneous win? Nope: It's a card that gives you three free mana. Once. That's about it. Many new players have likely traded it away back in the day for some giant creature that later became obsolete, without ever realizing just how much of an advantage Black Lotus can give early game. Zvi Mowshowitz, a tournament player, designer for Wizards of the Coast, and eventual Magic Hall of Famer, once said there was not a deck that could be built that could not be improved by adding a Black Lotus to it.
    • In the beginning, Magic tournaments were often dominated by big, flashy spells, things like dragons, angels, and demons. Then one player got the idea of using small, crappy creatures that most players ignored for a fast beatdown, with the idea being that a big, flashy spell is no good if the other guy is too dead to cast it. A few nearly one-sided tournaments later, the "weenie" archetype that we (Magic players) all know and love was born.
    • Blue Deck Eaters, especially those with lots of counterspells. No, you don't hit enemies with massive monsters or blast him with uber-powerful spells. All you basically say is "No, you don't cast that" when you counter his spells, and "No, you can't have those" when you force him to discard. It's not flashy, but once it starts working, it will defeat most any deck out there, except those specifically made to counter that mechanism.
    • Blue-White control decks takes this trope to its most literal meaning. With a slew of cheap blue counterspells and white removal, you effectively render your opponent impotent throughout the entire match while either digging up your own combo or pinging him with consistent yet hard to remove damage. As expected, when your opponent has to face the likes of Render Silent and Silence every single turn, it gets hilariously annoying and boring for them, especially if you just wiped the field (so they don't have any existing stuff to use either).
    • Token strategies center around this. "Dies to removal" is a common complaint about creatures, and token creatures are no exception. However, unlike regular creatures, tokens are, more often than not, designed to just keep coming. And coming. And coming. They seldom have any abilties, and seldom more anything more complex than flying, but when you have an army well into the triple digits, the fact that it's a bunch of 1/1 saprolings is hardly relevant. And we didn't even mention empowering this horde...
    • This even applies to basic lands. Lands give you the mana to cast other spells, and are the most reliable way to get mana. Each basic land gives you one mana of its color and can be used as soon as it's played. There are many varieties of lands that give you life, damage your opponent, or give you a choice of different mana types. They almost always have some disadvantage, however, like costing life to play, only giving colorless mana, or not being usable on the turn they enter the field.
    • One of the best legendaries in the game appeared in Champions of Kamigawa set. A vanilla 2/2 creature normally wouldn't be all that impressive — except this one only costs one white mana to play.
    • There are exactly three cards banned in every single format they're available in, even in formats where the Power Nine are allowed to be played. What kind of horrific, unspeakable powers do these cards have? Chaos Orb and Falling Star simply destroy creatures, while Shahrazad makes everyone play a subgame of Magic note . However, all three cards were so horrible to play against that they're one of the few cards that don't involve ante or have the "Conspiracy" card type and yet are banned in all formats.
    • Unsummon and similar cards removes a creature from the game for only. one mana, but your opponent can still use that card later. If you use it on a creature with high mana cost, your opponent will have to spend all that mana again, and if you use it on a creature with loads of counters, you've reset them to their base power and toughness.
  • The Witcher: Game of Imagination based entire combat mechanics on this trope, bordering on extreme Combat Pragmatism when it comes to dirty tricks that can used against enemies. Also:
    • Shields are one of the most overlooked gear in the game, since they don't look impressive at all. Yet they prove absurdly powerful and useful bonuses to defense and can be used for attacks too, dealing damage on par with regular weapons.
    • Cavalry? Charging mob? Some giant monster? Just take a steady grab of few pikes or other polearms.
    • Plate armour. Unlike other tabletop RPGs, The Witcher doesn't add any arbitrary drawbacksnote  other than the price itself, which isn't that high anyway. If it is combined with a shield, you are untouchable by anything short of dragons and high-end spells.
    • Applying good ol' Groin Attack can completely take male enemies off-guard. If they fail a check against it, they lose their turn. And said check can be pretty hard to pass.
  • While the Lord of the Rings TCG usually averted this, with most cards being a part of a complicated Awesome, but Impractical combo, the Goblin Runner card is the epitome of this trope. A simple Strength 5 (barely stronger than a Hobbit) Goblin with no special abilities...but he costs 1 from Shadow Pool to play and you can add 2 to the Shadow Pool when you play him. This means you can build up your Shadow Pool when you play them, and as such many early decks, especially Moria decks, built their strategy around them.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!'s metagame is faced with a similar situation. Finally summoned your almighty Dragon Master Knight? Or maybe Elemental Hero Divine Neos? Too bad, they're just as vulnerable to traps like Mirror Force as Kuriboh is. Unless you're summoning something that is immune or can shut down traps, it's usually much better to go with something simple, like Cyber Dragon, whose effect is simply: "Summon for free if you don't have any monsters out and your opponent does".
    • For example, the most effective tactics at one point of the game are to manage your card advantage, and abuse advantageous monsters like the Disc Commander, Monarch and LADD. A very boring yet highly effective strategy.
      • A simple example of this is Lightning Vortex versus Smashing Ground. Smashing Ground destroys the highest-DEF monster on your opponent's field, while Lightning Vortex destroys all face-up monsters on your opponent's field but requires you to discard a card. Smashing Ground is a +0, since you used one card (Smashing Ground) to take out one card (the opponent's monster), while Lightning Vortex varies from a -1 to a +3, since you used two cards (Lightning Vortex and the discarded card) to take out one to five cards (the opponent's monsters). Smashing Ground is considered a better card than Lightning Vortex, because it's much more likely for your opponent to have one or two monsters than four or five, so Lightning Vortex will usually just break even.
    • This has changed to a degree since the introduction of Synchro Monsters. Shooting Star Dragon for instance, is possible but difficult to summon, but amazing when you do. Same goes for Red Nova Dragon. Also, Synchros have higher ATK than the stars of previous metas, so managing to summon that Dragon Master Knight might actually do you a tiny scrap of good.
    • Nowadays, there's a notable amount of decks where the strategy revolves around summoning a big flashy monster every single turn effectively.
    • Mystical Space Typhoon has one of the simplest effects in the game. It was released 10 years ago, and still sees plenty of use to this day.
    • Pot of Greed is either banned or restricted in multiple YGO formats. It's a card that draws two cards. ** The Rank 4 Toolbox strategy qualifies. Fill you deck with only level 4 monsters, that can summon themselves or each other, and fill your Extra Deck with only Rank 4 Xyz monsters, with a variety of effects. Any two of you monsters can summon any one of your Xyz monsters, and you can pick whichever one best suits the situation.
  • In Exalted 2e, the most cost effective charms are the excellencies — they either add dice, add successes or allow you to re-roll. No flashy attack flurries, no golden beams of magic light.
    • Oh, it gets even better. Whereas the first few excellencies cost motes (Mana) on a per-use basis, several Exalt types have an excellency which allows them to commit motes and then use the earlier excellencies at reduced cost (or no cost at all) for the rest of the scene. End result? Basic multi-action attack flurries boosted by free excellencies are one of the most efficient means of dealing damage in the game.
      • And then even better: Solars have a Charm which allows Excellencies to not count as Charms. Considering you can only use one Charm per turn without a combo, this allows you to augment your defenses no matter what (even if it cannot be used alongside the cost-reducing Charm above).
    • Perfect Defenses. They're cheap, only serve to negate one attack, but they're needed to survive attacks being enhanced by other Boring, but Practical charms.
  • BattleTech has two examples that stand out.
    • First, there's the medium laser — modest range and damage, but lightweight, compact, heat-efficient and can fire all day long without running out of ammo, which makes it a great weapon for light 'Mechs that can't carry much in the way of weapons tonnage anyway and a great backup weapon for the big guns on heavier designs. It's just perhaps the most ubiquitous 'Mech weapon out there, period.
    • And second, one of the most basic items of the 'modern' era: the double heat sink. It's perfectly boring — all it does is funnel heat (one of the main limiting factors on how many weapons you can safely use in one turn) out of your 'Mech or other eligible unit at twice the rate of the plain old single heat sink for the same one-ton weight. However, because using DHSs on a design also doubles the base heat dissipation capacity it gets for free with its fusion engine before explicitly installing extra sinks and because the game was not originally balanced with this in mind, this item arguably ends up edging right into Game-Breaker territory; single heat sinks certainly have generally fallen out of favor as a consequence except on units that explicitly cannot use doubles, or for background flavor reasons.
      • In theory, what's supposed to keep double heat sinks in check is their increased bulk (two or three times the internal space of singles depending on model). What this means in practice is that at the absolute worst they take up a grand 50% more room for the same heat capacity — and further quirks of the construction rules actually leave them frequently the more compact solution after all. (This also applies only to 'Mechs; other units that can use double heat sinks just don't assign space to heat sinks in construction at all and so completely ignore this supposed drawback anyway.)
  • The dodge technique in Psionics: The Next Stage in Human Evolution. It isn't as flashy as a lot of the other techniques, but it automatically succeeds against attempted TK Grabs and is useful against more mundane attacks as well.
  • A lot of the stuff in Traveller is like this. Three thousand years in the future and they are still fighting with rifles. Most commerce is carried, not on Cool Starships, but on great big hulking Megacorporate abominations that fly unadventurously on scheduled routes. The Imperium is ruled, not by a mysterious Ancient Conspiracy, but by a caste of the decendants of successful industrialists and soldiers. And so on.
  • In Trinity, Clairvoyants ('Clears') don't get to throw bolts of lightning, conjure fire with their minds or teleport an enemy into a dozen different directions at once. Their 'flashier' abilities (like precognition) are depressingly unreliable. They have one major edge, though: They can easily find out where exactly somebody or something is. Combine that with, for example, some knowledge of ballistics and a mortar and you have a very, very frightening combo.
  • In Mage: The Ascension, the core rulebook highlights how every single tradition has developed a simple "heal my injuries" technique. Some magi blast foes with arcane bolts, some call forth ancient spirits, some invent sapient computers, but everybody finds some way to close their wounds quickly.
  • In Rocket Age traditional fire arms are still the norm since most people can't afford or acquire advanced RAY weapons.
  • Legacy in Sentinels of the Multiverse. He rarely attacks and has a very straightforward deck. He's considered one of the best heroes because what his very straightforward deck does is tank damage and heal and buff allies to considerable degrees. Tempest's base power (which deals one point of projectile damage to all opponents) becomes terrifying when he's getting +2 to it from Legacy's ongoing effects and power use, enabling him to sweep, for example, several of Grand Warlord Voss' Gene-Bound troops off the board in one hail of death.
  • Iron Kingdoms: Major Haley has the Telekinesis ability which enables her to... move an enemy figure two inches and turn it. It sounds like a letdown, compared to the flashy attacks other warcasters get. However, use it on one of the enemy's elite melee infantry and suddenly that unit cannot use combined melee attacks, cannot charge you, is open to be charged from the rear by your melee troops and the enemy's front line suddenly has a huge gaping hole in it, which you, with a bit of luck, can shoot at the enemy's support units through.
  • An in-universe example are the Crab Clan from Legend of the Five Rings. The Crab don't have the elegance and duelling skill of the Crane, the cunning of the Scorpion or the magical skill of the Phoenix. What they do have is a keen understanding of siege warfare, a healthy dose of blunt pragmatism and a lot of very muscular men with big hammers and axes. On the rare occasions that they're able to dedicate their full resources to fighting other Clans instead of the Shadowlands they tend to win handily.

    Theme Parks 

    Visual Novels 
  • Fate/stay night, where generally massively destructive attacks rule supreme, and where the main heroine has a Sword Beam that can wipe out a city you have fake Assassin and (to a lesser degree) Lancer. Both their Noble Phantasms (read weapons and special attacks) do one thing: attack one, and only one person infront of them. Nothing else, not even environmental damage. Not very much compared to Saber's speed-of-light Wave Motion Sword, Archer's Field of Blades, Rider's 430kmph Pegasus, Caster's over-the-top Beam Spam, Berserker's stockpile of 12 lives, and immunity to all attacks below building-buster levels and Gilgamesh's Reality ripping, world-destroying sword or his rain of legendary weaponry. HOWEVER, Lancer's Noble Phantasm uses so little mana that he can fire it off 7 times in quick succession without draining himself completely, as opposed to most of the other attacks mentioned above. And though his attack isn't flashy or earth shattering, it will probably kill you in one shot. And Assassin's attack doesn't even use mana at all. It's just a very good sword technique that's undodgeable and instakill if he manages to set it up. It's not flashy, nor is it No Kill Like Overkill, and it's not even really magical, but it damn well works.
  • In Shinrai: Broken Beyond Despair, what strategy does a ten-year-old Raiko use to save Kamen from being falsely accused of shoplifting? She asks the store owner to review the security camera footage, thereby showing that the accused had been tricked into smuggling the merchandise through the shoplifting detectors as a guinea pig for the real culprits, who'd been planning a theft of their own.

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY:
    • Most characters have Impossibly Cool Weapons such as a scythe combined with a sniper rifle, a katana with a Variable-Length Chain and a gun, and shotgun gauntlets. Jaune Arc's weapon, Crocea Mors, is just a normal sword and shield. But still, they're very durable and dependable, even if they aren't as flashy as the other character's weapons. In Volume 4, he gives Crocea Mors an upgrade that lets him combine the sword and shield into a greatsword, symbolizing his Taking A Level In Badass.
    • While Pyrrha's Miló is a javelin/short sword/hunting rifle, her shield Akoúo̱ is nothing but a small bronze shield. It doesn't even transform into a sheath like Jaune's.
    • Ironwood's weapon of choice is a simple revolver called Due Process. Yep. Only in the deranged world of RWBY would a Hand Cannon be relatively mundane, but then Ironwood doesn't need a melee weapon anyway, as the entire right side of his body is cybernetic and he can casually throw a Beowolf Alpha around like a ragdoll.
    • And then, there's the ultimate Boring, But Practical — Good Old Fisticuffs. Lose your weapon? Deck your opponent in the schnozz. Ruby takes a very long time to learn this because she's so enamored by Crescent Rose that if she loses it, she freezes up. By the end of Volume 5, when Mercury takes Crescent Rose during their fight, she responds by headbutting him, then taking it back.
    • Semblances are single, unique superpowers every Huntsman has the potential to unlock. Examples include Ruby's Super Speed, Glynda's Telekinesis, Pyrrha's Polarity—all awesome, near Game-Breaker abilities; Pyrrha's in particular makes her basically invincible in duels. But not every Semblance is flashy.
      • Ren's Semblance is called Tranquility: He can dampen the negative emotions of himself and others. Not only does this allow him to act calmly even in stressful situations, but it renders him invisible to the Creatures of Grimm, who hunt by sensing negative emotions.
      • Hazel's Semblance is called Numbing Agent, and it allows him to ignore pain. That's it. It doesn't give him any actual resistance to damage, but it makes him very hard to take down in a fight. Even more so with his habit of directly injecting himself with Dust; that tactic is normally extremely rare because the pain is intolerable, but Hazel can simply ignore it.
      • Jaune's Semblance turns out to be Aura Amplification. He can pour his Aura into someone else. Not only can this restore their Aura reserves and allow Aura's natural Healing Factor to work, but it boosts their Semblance greatly. Ren can normally only affect himself and one other person with Tranquility, but with Jaune's help he can cover a whole train.
  • Red vs. Blue has Agent Washington when compared to his fellow Freelancers. He's surrounded by folks with awesome armor enhancements (super speed, active camo, time distortion, and more) and AI to help run them to their fullest. What does Wash have? An assault rifle and a bio-scanner. He'd never even used an AI (the Epsilon incident saw to that). But his name has always been in the top ten of the leaderboard and only ever moved once (a slot upward, by the way), thanks to him being one of the most stable and reliable of the bunch. Who needs epic gadgets when you can have a guy who won't screw over the mission out of carelessness or pride? It's even reflected by his icon on the leaderboard. Wash is represented not by a unique skill such as sniping (Wyoming) or brute strength (Maine) but by a battle rifle. Any Halo fan will recognize the implication: the battle rifle is efficient, reliable, and effective. Wash might not have the flamboyance of his peers, but he also doesn't suffer from their tactical flaws either.
  • In Dead Fantasy, all the Final Fantasy girls use magic and fantastic powers while the Dead or Alive girls use ninjitsu arts and other powers they don't have in their home series. Hitomi demonstrates no powers at all beyond Super Strength, but she knows two fighting styles: Karate and Wing Chun. In Part 3, she turns Tifa into a human gumball machine despite being magically blinded. One of the most skilled and impressive fighters in the series.

    Web Comics 
  • Saitama in One-Punch Man. He's a superhero with the flash and style of a roll of toilet paper, and he doesn't know martial arts. But he's so overwhelmingly strong that he has destroyed every single opponent he has ever faced with (you guessed it) one punch. What's worse is he agrees he's boring: he was an ordinary Japanese salaryman who wanted to be the greatest superhero in the world out of a hidden Blood Knight spark, trained until he became just that, and then realised how boring and depressing it all was because every fight was over in a minute.
  • Parodied in this xkcd strip, when MacGyver uses a gun.
  • In Sequential Art when the cast tried a tabletop wargame, Scarlet could do only The Loonie part, so Kat called her "sisters" to play with Mad Scientist Hive Mind. Two strips later it occured to Pip that Think Tank accumulates mana, so he attacked before they can cast uber-spell wiping out his whole army. In the next strip, he lost. They simply disabled his leader, for just long enough to let their allies win the war.
    • The main reason this tactic worked was because Pip dedicated his entire attack force to stop the sister's plan, believing that whatever they had planned would be more dangerous than what the other two players were doing.
  • Clan of the Cats: Just how dangerous can a portal sorcerer be? The correct answer: Very.
    • As the sorcerer himself puts it, "You can add volcanoes to the list of things that can kill vampires."
  • In Misfile, Vashiel is an angel of punishment, so he gets a Big Fucking Sword that flames and can smite evildoers in a second. His brother, Rumisiel, is a filer, so he gets a multi-filing tool, with a recorder, web access, and other things like that. Guess which one comes in handy?
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • As in the Dungeons & Dragons entry above, the Magic Missile spell. Redcloak convinces Xykon to use it against the ghost of Soon Kim, because even though it's a mere 1st-level spell, it does Force damage which ignores the incorporeality of ghosts.
    • Xykon's spellcasting style is all about practicality over flash, at least when he's serious. Up against a wizard with dozens of different types of magic? Why engage in a drawn-out battle of spell and counter-spell when you can just spam Energy Drain until he has no power left, and finish him at your leisure? He may enjoy being stylish and looking cool, but Xykon understands that that has to take a backseat to practicality when the chips are down.
      Xykon: All you need is power, in as great a concentration as you can muster, and style. And in a pinch, style can slide.
    • Xykon ironically finds himself on the other side of this trope when Vaarsuvius attacks him, having soul-bonded himself with three powerful evil sorcerers, only for Xykon to end up wiping the floor with him. Xykon delivers a very cutting "The Reason You Suck" Speech on the importance of this very trope. But in his eagerness to teach Vaarsuvius a lesson, he forgets his own moral and begins to start getting a bit extravagant with the torture, enabling Vaarsuvius (who was paying attention) to not only escape but inflict a serious setback on Xykonnote  in the process with nothing more than a second-level invisibility spell.
  • MS Paint Masterpieces:
    Electric Man: Yeah, turned out I couldn't use the Thunder Beam to escape, so I just punched the glass.
  • In Bugged Run, Chrys and her Butterfree beat Brock in their rematch by stacking defense bonuses from Harden while fighting Geodude until Butterfree can survive Onyx's Rock Tomb.
  • Girl Genius: Moloch is easily one of the most rational people in the strip, being an Only Sane Man of course, and a bit of The Engineer. His ideas are typically very un-flashy, but they get the job done. Much to the ire of the sparks and mad scientists that surround him. Amusingly enough, while everyone in-universe finds him boring, the fact that he seems to sane and different from half the cast makes him anything but boring to the readers, if only for the reactions he gathers from the Sparks:
    Moloch: Why don't we just move this winch? There should be enough cable. And it looks strong enough that we could lower everybody on a platform.
    (group death glare)
    Moloch: ...and then, at the bottom, it could unfold into a... a giant caterpillar or... something...
    Mittelmind: No, no. You've already taken all the joy out of it.
  • Unsounded: Duane's combat spellcasting gets mocked for being textbook-perfect core technique, often as basic as borrowing Solidity or Contours from nearby objects for striking or slashing attacks. Not only is this just as lethal as flashier attacks and with less chance of Magic Misfire, but he's phenomenal spellwright who can both break out the big guns if needed and use those basic spells very, very effectively.
  • Yokoka's Quest: In a setting where people throw fireballs, conjure lightning, place curses, and perform other impressive magic feats, the only spell that Yokoka has learned is one that lets her see in the dark.

    Web Original 
  • Democracy mode in Twitch Plays Pokémon. Whereas Anarchy mode processes every command (causing the character to behave... erratically to say the least), Democracy filters the commands inputted every few seconds and chooses the most popular one, this usually results in something like a regular game of Pokémon, only ten times slower. The majority of Twitch players loathe Democracy, but sometimes it's crucial for progress during puzzle sections where a single wrong movement can send the character right back to the start.
  • Maddox, the author of The Best Page in the Universe, uses this as his rationale behind using a simple design consisting of a black background with white or light grey text in a large and basic font.
  • Pretty much half the party's accomplishments in Critical Role rely on the Rule of Cool, but the other half come down to good old efficient stabbing. Vax, Vex and Grog have done the majority of the damage as of Episode 56, and they mostly rely on straightforward attacks with daggers, bows, and two-handed weapons respectively (Vex has a little bit of magic, but it's nowhere near as flashy as Keyleth or Scanlan's). Even Percy — the runner-up damage dealer to those three — prefers to use his handgun rather than his flashier gadgets, because it can fire more shots before reloading and has a much lower chance of breaking or exploding. Of course, these tactics are only boring on paper: Matt's narration makes even simple stabbing seem insanely cool.
  • This video on teleportation details why using your powers to fight crime is far less useful than less interesting uses. If you can teleport into space, you can make the cost of putting satellites etc.note  in space to be nothing more than your time. If you create portals, you can just put something "large, heavy, and magnetic" between two portals to create an infinite loop. Coil some wire around said loop and you've generated infinite free electricity. Far less "awesome" than fighting crime (or causing it) but it'd save millions of lives and likely make you the richest person in the world.
  • $1 pledges on Patreon. While they're obviously not as "wow!" as pledges in the double digits let alone triple, they're a lot more stable than bigger pledges. A big fan could be donating $50 a month, but if they have unexpected life developments that force them to scale back their pledges, the creators they're supporting may find themselves having to readjust for the abrupt drop in income. $1 pledges are less likely to be canceled for the same reason; fifty $1 pledges are a more reliable source of income than a single $50 pledge.
  • Mahu: In "Second Chance" the humble corvette of the Galactic Commonwealth is considered to be this. Most captains of these ships are junior officers wishing to later command far larger and flashier ships of the line. However, the corvettes also happen to be the fastest and most agile ships in the fleet, able to work in well-organized squadrons to surround and destroy far larger and more expensive enemy ships.

    Western Animation 
  • Hank Hill from King of the Hill embodies this trope. One specific moment is in the episode "Naked Ambition," when his friends end up in an asylum after a series of misunderstandings. Dale's attempt to get Boomhauer out by swapping clothes with a patient gets him mistaken for one instead, and Boomhauer's later escape plan fails because Bill ratted it out. They rely on Hank, who simply talks to the staff and sorts things out.
  • Darkwing Duck: Darkwarrior Duck, rather than use a flashy or dramatic way to defeat Megavolt and Quackerjack, just beats them with... a garden hose. No overkill missile launchers, no gas guns (he doesn't even use them anymore), just a garden hose. (Especially effective against Megavolt; for the Liquidator, however, it would have been fuel.)
  • The Venture Bros.: Brock Sampson and his knife. It's all the weapon he needs.
    • In a fairly memorable sequence, Red Death talks about the virtues of leaving someone Chained to a Railway. It may be a Dead Horse Trope, but as deathtraps go, it's "simple, inexpensive, personal and deadly." On top of that, it also induces quite a bit of horror in the victim, since it leaves just enough wiggle room for them to maybe escape, and allows them to hear the train coming.
  • Justice League. How Green Lantern John Stewart tends to use his powers in earlier episodes (somewhat justified by the fact that he's a military man). Katma Tui calls him out on it in Season 2, and from then on he gets somewhat more creative with his constructs.
    • Ironically when John was turned into an 8 year old, he has too much of an overactive imagination that he has difficulty coming up with anything.
  • In Gargoyles, Xanatos's personal assistant/secretary Owen Bennett became so impressed with his boss's genius and wealth that he revealed his true identity as Puck, one of the Children of Oberon with amazing Reality Warper powers. Puck offered Xanatos a choice: he would either grant Xanatos one magical wish, or provide dedicated, loyal, hyper-competent service as Owen for as long as the billionaire lived. After considering his options, Xanatos opted for the latter, reasoning that no amount of magic could possibly make up for an extremely skilled employee who could never quit, didn't need a salary, and followed his orders with utmost care. Being Xanatos, he also likely realized that Puck, as the trickster of Euro-American mythology, would have likely had some fun with whatever he wished for. In a bit of Sweet and Sour Grapes, it's also heavily implied that Xanatos's intelligent decision only further endeared Puck to him and made him stick with the deal in the first place.
  • When Gwen is asked how she will use the $100,000 cash prize of Total Drama's first season, she says she will use it to go traveling and then to a university to study art history. Chris is unimpressed, and pronounces her plan "really sweet. Boring, but sweet."
  • Near the beginning of Avatar: The Last Airbender Zuko rages at Iroh over the latter's training focusing on basic firebending. Later, we see that Zuko's mastery of the most basic part of firebending, control of one's breathing, gives him a resilience to cold that other firebenders can't match, to the point that he is able to resist the effects of a specially designed anti-firebending prison cell and even survive swimming through ice channels at the North Pole.
    • This is shown spectacularly in the last Agni Kai of the series. Azula comes out of the gate using all her fancy firebending, using flips, spin kicks, propelling herself around like a miniature rocket. Zuko... Stands still, controls his breathing, and uses the same moves he used against Commander Zhao in the third episode complemented by the defensive techniques of the Dragon Dance. By the end, Azula is completely out of breath, while Zuko is still fresh.
  • In The Legend of Korra, Eska and Desna's waterbending comes off as this. Whereas their relatives tend to use fancy techniques like water sprouts, ice drills, huge waves and ice sculptures, those two stick to water streams and 'small' ice bolts to attack, and water-skating for high-speed movement.
  • In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic we have Twilight Sparkle and Rarity with their flashy unicorn magic, Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash with the ability to fly, and Pinkie Pie with her Cartoon Physics and borderline Reality Warping. Then we have Applejack who just has her lasso, raw physical power and a Nice Hat, and gets the job done all the same and is every bit as badass as the others. (Also see the Food and Drink folder in the Real Life section; she gets a lot of mileage out of her signature fruit, too.)
    • Earth ponies as a whole embody this. Their innate magic is a simple connection with nature and (alleged) higher physical strength and stamina. Not flashy like a unicorn's magic or a pegasus' flight, but the series has made it very clear that said connection with nature is the most important trait in a world where the frost is painted on the windows: Life without a unicorn's magic would be a bit more inconvenient, life without a pegasus' ability to control weather would be difficult but possible, while life without the ability to effectively produce food wouldn't exactly last too long...
    • Evil-wise, there's King Sombra. The "Boring" part? He's a Flat Character in a Rogues Gallery filled with Evil Is Hammy-types. The "Practical" part? With no known motive/personality sans being an Evil Overlord - he's instead defined by his actions/effects, coming across as a rare No-Nonsense Nemesis who averts the Villain Ball.
    • The villains' side also has Starlight Glimmer, at least in her first appearance. The only spell she had aside from basic unicorn magic was one that robs a pony of their cutie mark. Not as flashy as shapeshifting, reality warping, or the flashy Dragon Ball Z battle Tirek gave us, but it has the nasty effect of power nullifying. In a world where everything is routed in magic this renders the entire Mane Six entirely helpless, and combined with Glimmer's mind games and brainwashing (the mundane non-magic kind) it got her closer to complete and utter victory than any other villain has gotten. Subverted in her second appearance where she was given a savage power boost, able to use spells above the alicorn Twilight's power level and able to fight her to a complete draw, and ultimately ends in a Heel–Face Turn.
    • ...and taking the crown from Starlight Glimmer is the Season 8 villain Cozy Glow. She has no magic powers whatsoever: she's just a mundane ol' intelligent manipulator who knows how to use tools provided to her. In a world full of trusting, forgiving characters who tend to not think things through, this takes boring but practical to a new extreme: by twisting what she learned at the School of Friendship, taking advantage of other character's faults and lapses in judgment, and knowing exactly how these characters were going to behave, she came so close to a decisive victory that it took a Deus ex Machina to stop her in the end.
  • In the Xiaolin Showdown episode "Like A Rock!," Master Fong sets up a circular obstacle course for the monks, tasking them to retrieve a stuffed dog at the end. Omi (and, by implication, Raimundo and Kimiko) goes through the paces of the test, dodging and weaving through all of the traps. When it's Clay's turn, though, he walks to the starting line, takes a deep breath...and promptly turns around, walks to the back of the course (it's a circle, so the finish line is just behind the start) and picks up the toy. As he points out, Master Fong specifically told them to "get the dog"—he didn't say "do the course." This was the point of the whole course, and Master Fong praises Clay for solving it. The whole opening thus sets up the Aesop for the rest of the episode—staying calm, assessing a situation, and using strategy is better for solving problems than flashy tricks or panicking.
    • In the same episode, the other monks learn that lesson when rivals Jack Spicer and Wuya recruit "Le Mime," an evil mime with the power to create invisible constructs out of whatever he pretends exists. Le Mime traps Raimundo, Kimiko, and Omi in one of his invisible boxes, and all of their brute force and strenght can't set them free...until they realize that since the clown's power relies on their imagining what he's mimed, picturing the box as having an openable door immediately lets them out.
      • And in a third demonstration, the Xiaolin Showdown in "Like A Rock" occurs between Jack and Clay. Jack sets the challenge—the first of the two to catch a robin will win. While the teen inventor tries to snag it with both his jet-pack and Third Arm Sash (which functions like a third arm for the wearer), Clay calmly walks over to a field of flowers and starts plucking seeds and puts them into his hat. Jack ends up failing miserably—there's no way a human can outfly a bird—while Clay wins by holding out the hat and letting the bird land on it to eat. It's not particularly fancy, but it works.
  • In Home: Adventures with Tip & Oh, Tip and Oh play a virtual reality video game and Oh is given the shape-shifter class, but he has such a poor imagination, he only shape shifts into the most straight forward and practical thing to resolve the task at hand; Tip suggests Oh shape shifts into a giant dinosaur with a tractor for a face to dig a hole, Oh transforms into a shovel. Tip suggests Oh become a shooting star to illuminate a dark hall, Oh becomes a flashlight.
  • In The Batman, how does DAVE find out Batman's secret identity? By going through public records to find a male within Batman's probable age range with the wealth to fund his exploits and the motive to fight crime.
  • In Rick and Morty, Rick's plan to toppling the galactic federation is rather mundane yet effective. Does he set their nukes to target each other? Does he reprogram their portals to disintegrate their space fleets? Nope. He simply reduces the value of their currency to zero.
    • Discussed in 'Pickle Rick', when Rick finally winds up at the therapist's office and she plainly tells him that the key to actual self-improvement and fixing his issues is, quite plainly, work — work that he'd find too tedious and boring to actually commit to, but would honestly be the best way forward. She ends her session by remarking that Rick is simply someone who'd rather get himself killed than be bored.
  • Samurai Jack: Despite his vast empire and armies of robots and bounty hunters, Aku has no issue with these kind of tactics.
    • While Aku does possess actual skill in his powers and shapeshifting, averting the Unskilled, but Strong trope, Aku generally just breezes by any direct confrontation without putting any real effort into things. Since he's almost impossible to actually hurt, there's no reason for him to do more than the bare minimum in combat unless he's fighting Jack.
    • The beetle drones that Aku uses to subjugate the populace are helpless against stronger resistances to his reign, like Jack or the Scotsman, but given they can handle the majority of the world's populace with ease, there's really no reason to stop using them.
    • Between seasons 4 and 5, Aku decided to stop trying to kill Jack directly and let time take care of his rival by just waiting for him to die of old age. This would have gotten rid of Jack with no effort for Aku, and only failed because of something neither party could foresee.
    • In XCVI he assumes the form of a giant black ball, easily the most mundane of all the forms he has assumed throughout the series. However, when using it against the army attacking his tower, it also turns out to be viciously effective, with him literally steamrolling hundreds, if not thousands, of soldiers in a matter of seconds.
    • In the final episode "CI", after getting beaten up by the Robo-Samurai, Aku hits his breaking point and transforms into a giant dark cloud and begins raining down spikes on all of Jack's allies during their rescue attempt. It's one of the most mundane and simplest forms he's used, but it's deadly effective as he kills nearly everyone save for the 300 warriors (who blocked with their shields) and the Scotsman's daughters, who are protected by the Scotsman's bagpipes.
    • Also in Episode CI, Aku can't decide which elaborately formed blade he wants to use to publicly execute Jack and asks Ashi to do it for him, and ends up lampshading this trope when she forms a simple lance.
    Aku: "The simplest solution is the usually best one."
  • In Star vs. the Forces of Evil, Ludo's only magical attack after obtaining his wand is a powerful green blast. It doesn't do anything magical, but remains destructive and dangerous. Later, he learns a proper magic spell, but only the one — and it's Levitato, an extremely basic spell that lifts things off the ground. In contrast with Star's huge and flashy spells, however, Ludo gets very creative and skilled with that one spell, allowing him to become a much bigger threat with that alone.
  • In the episode of Doug that involved a kite-flying contest, Doug's father presents to him the Funnie V... which looks like an ordinary kite, while all the other father-son pairs have cool, flashy kites. Towards the end of the episode, Doug finds out that the Funnie V's simplistic design allows it to perform stunts and all the other kites ended up having flaws that crippled them (such as being too heavy or its dark colors making it hard to find after it crashed).
  • Star Wars Rebels: Much of the plot of the series is about Lothal, Ezra's homeworld, being used as a base for production of a new Imperial weapon. It's heavily implied to be the Death Star (or at least part of it), and the heroes skirt the edges of that project several times. But in the end, it's Grand Admiral Thrawn's new TIE Defender—a faster, tougher version of the same basic TIE fighter that the Empire already produces by the millions (it's approximately as superior to Rebel ships as they are to the existing TIE fighters). Furthermore, because Thrawn invests in things like proper production lines and division of labor, when the heroes destroy the Super Prototype he loses nothing and can just move forward exactly as planned. In fact, the fighters are so effective compared to cost in the new canon that, combined with the influx of defectors as a result of the Death Star, had the TIE Defender project been funded over the Death Star, the Rebellion likely would have lost.
  • Scrooge McDuck embodies this trope in the rebooted DuckTales. In the pilot he plots a course with a submarine that will avoid any threats even if it's not the most direct route, and deduces a way to deal with Atlantean deathtraps that is simple and safe, as opposed to the reckless Dewey who changes the route of the sub to a quick but dangerous one, and blunders through the traps.
    • Scrooge is this in his business dealings as well; work hard, be smart, stay honest. He rejects Glomgold's elaborate schemes against Mark Beaks because even though they both can't stand him, Scrooge would rather simply ignore him and concentrate on his own success than focus on destroying a rival.
    • In "Scrooge McDuck the Outlaw!", when an adventure results in a western town experiencing a gold rush, Scrooge decides to stop focusing on getting the gold himself, and instead sets up a business supplying the other prospectors with equipment, thus securing a tidy profit.
  • In the Phineas and Ferb episode "Norm Unleashed", Doofenshmirtz is called in for jury duty and leaves his robot Norm in charge of plotting that day's evil scheme to take over the Tri-State Area. Rather than build some over elaborate and easily defeated -Inator like his boss, Norm upgrades himself with a variety of guns, rockets, and other forms of weaponry to take the Tri-State Area by force (and would have succeeded had not Doof mistook his efforts for goofing off, distracting Norm long enough for Perry to get in close and shut him down).

Alternative Title(s): Boring Yet Practical


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