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Boring, but Practical
aka: Boring Yet Practical

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"It's not the most accurate weapon, nor the most elegant - but it simply doesn't have to be. It's good enough. It excels where fighters need it most. It's reliable: stoppages are rare, and any faults that do occur can probably be fixed with a hammer. It's simple to use: there's no need to pore over a manual. The AK is point and shoot. It's so simple a child could use it - and in some parts of the world, they often do."
Ahoy on the AK-47 assault rifle.

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. Often overlaps with Mundane Solution. As the list below shows, this trope doesn't require that a non-boring counterpart exists.

Things that will frequently fall into this trope:

  • Defensive abilities, strategies, builds, classes, or playstyles, 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. See Combat Pragmatist.
  • Weapon loadouts that don't require much ammunition or allow you to 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.
  • The Medic in co-operative games, whether that be Tabletop RPGs, MMORPGs or FPSes. Fiery doom, big swords, or raining bullets are a lot cooler but try getting anywhere without a dedicated healer in your group. (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).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • All the behind-the-scenes stuff in strategy games. You might be itching 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, but 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". 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. One quote from US General Omar Bradley sums up how critically important these mundane things are:
    Amateurs talk strategy, professionals talk logistics.
  • In strategy games, Worker Units and by extension the stuff they build. These guys have little or no combat capability, present easy targets for your enemies, and what they make usually just sit in place passively generating resources, 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 Jack of All Stats: they may lack the coolest, or strongest moves, but are fairly good at most attributes, and lack the glaring weaknesses of other character types.
  • The elementaries:
    • Basic attacks and moves. 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, requires a complex button combo or has long prep time, 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. This is Truth in Television: In 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.
    • 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?
    • Your most basic combat units, 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.
    • 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. 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.
  • 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.
  • In a Tabletop RPG, the characters placing themselves into positions that offer decent protection, slow the enemy down, or give another advantage, can be very useful. For instance, in a narrow corridor or tunnel, if it's found that enemies are coming, placing the designated Tank (Fighter or Paladin with heavy armor, or the beefy Barbarian, or someone with a high Armor Class and/or Hit Points, or a Summoned creature) between the party and the enemy can allow the squishier magic and ranged attackers to fight from a safe distance, while the tank soaks up the damage and dishes out their own. Likewise, knowing when to be a Substitute Tank is also a good idea if the enemy proves to be more numerous than expected and the Main Tank is in a world of hurt.
  • In Shoot-'Em-Ups, Smart Bombs, often advertised as a high-powered attack, are more useful in survival-based play (as opposed to score-based) for getting out of imminent danger, as bombs in shmups often block enemy bullets and/or provide temporary invincibility.

Fits into the Technician side of Technician Versus Performer, by nature. May border on Game-Breaker, or an outright High-Tier Scrappy as a result of the most optimal play being terribly uninteresting. Compare Simple, yet Awesome. Contrast Awesome, but Impractical; Cool, but Inefficient. If mass-produced, it's likely to become The Workhorse. Sometimes overlaps with Vanilla Unit.

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  • Ah! My Goddess:
    • Half the reason Megumi and her 80cc Kawasaki KSR80 manage to defeat the Queen of the Ridge and her much more powerful Yamaha TDM850 twice and on a mountain road is that Megumi performs careful maintenance on her bike, while Queen does the bare minimum (at least until Megumi calls her out on it right after the poor maintenance almost gets Queen in a crash). The other half is that Megumi is a much better biker... But all the maintenance she gives her bike allows it to resist Megumi's aggressive style, while the poor maintenance of Queen's bike nearly got her killed when she skidded during a race and couldn't recover.
    • Later in the manga, Sora has to race Keiichi to be able to refuse becoming the president of the Motor Club. To make it fair (and for other reasons), Chihiro procures them identical and brand new minikarts and gives them a few days to familiarize with them... And Keiichi spends half that time breaking in the engine of his kart, thus during the race he can go much faster.
  • In Attack on Titan, each of the nine Titan Shifter forms has various special abilities, but the Cart Titan merely boasts immense endurance and utility, as well as Running on All Fours. Despite that, those abilities are rather useful in a supporting role, enabling the Cart Titan to save Zeke's life during the Return to Shiganshima arc. The Cart Titan can also be outfitted with machine guns or other artillery, making it even more dangerous.
  • Bleach:
    • Ichigo, who in a world where Shikais and Bankais give elemental abilities to weapons, turn them into entirely different weapons, or 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.
    • Most Captains utilize their Bankai to turn around a fight that's going against them. Kenpachi Zaraki? Holds his sword with both his hands and uses kendo, rather than swinging it around like a madman. He generally doesn't like to use it because it's so boring, but it takes him from 'terrifyingly powerful' to 'nigh-unstoppable'.
    • 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.
  • Buso Renkin: While other Alchemist Warrior's buso renkin manifest weapons with powers such as gravity control or invulnerability, Tokiko's Valkyrie Skirt just gives her a four of Spider Limbs ending in sharp blades that, while lacking any abilities beyond precise manipulation, can quickly and efficiently kill her opponents.
  • In Chainsaw Man, contracting with a devil can yield a portion of its power to you. Most devils provide all manner of strange superpowers, like telekinesis, summoning giant monsters, superhuman strength and speed, or assuming a highly dangerous weaponized form. However, it's noted that one of the most common contracts is making one with the Gun Devil, which allows the user to conjure ordinary firearms. This doesn't seem like a particularly big deal in a setting with superpowers, but given that the world of the series features heavy-duty gun control laws, this ends up being a very basic and cheap way to kill people, especially since most Gun Devil contractees are fighting devil hunters, who tend to have human-level durability.
  • In Charlotte, Nao Tomori's ability to make her invisible to one person is an awesome power that has a severe drawback. However, as disappointing as it is, it's also well-suited to Nao's particular goals. Nao's mission is to find other users of superpowers and convince them to stop abusing them lest they end up as lab rats, so she's usually only tracking one person at a time, meaning she can hide herself from that person as necessary. Nao later uses this power to follow Yuu around as he goes into a downward spiral after his sister's death, then reveal herself at the right moment.
  • 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 Taiyou-Ken/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 Dragon Team was 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 Blue 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 as 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 Super Saiyan Second or Third Grade, but by mastering the basic form: Second Grade increases the power but at cost of consuming stamina and power much faster, and Third Grade 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 Second Grade as a side effect. Also, it negates the usual wild emotions, allowing the fighter to think straight (with the inability of thinking straight as a Second Grade being what led Vegeta to be defeated by Cell).
    • Anyone going against No. 17 or No. 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 that they use it even when they don't need it, as shown in the fight between Vegeta and No. 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.
  • Fairy Tail: Larcade Dragneel, compared to the other Spriggan 12, possesses less flashy and destructive powers compared to his compatriots. And he doesn't openly display the sheer strength, speed, and destructive feats of his two peers August and Irene. But being a Man of Kryptonite who can overload anyone who's had sex is so effective that he can drop entire armies of wizards and even stronger people than himself like Irene. And if for some reason, his pleasure magic doesn't work, he can still drop you with his comparatively mundane sleep or hunger magic because even people who can resist his Orgasmatron powers will still feel the pangs of hunger or the need for sleep.
  • Fate/Zero: Waver successfully finds Caster's lair by collecting water samples around Fuyuki and testing them for magical residue. Rider approves, saying that sometimes the simplest approach is the most effective (he would know).
  • Final Fantasy: Unlimited: Makenshi only has a few summons compared to Kaze, but he only needs Mist for his magic, compared to Kaze’s varied Soil bullets. Unlike Kaze's more advanced and yet damaged Magun, Makenshi can activate his Maken at any time and use it as a normal weapon when not using summon magic.
  • Fly Me to the Moon:
    • Near the start of the manga, Tsukasa and Nasa get married. Not only do they opt for just dropping off the marriage registration form at the local ward office in lieu of an actual wedding, but Tsukasa convinces Nasa to buy a relatively cheap pair of rings for 32,000 yen (roughly $160 US for each ring) instead of more elaborate and expensive rings that would cost millions of yen.
    • Nasa uses his genius-level intelligence to put together a nutritionally sound menu for himself, which ends up amounting to hot pots full of nutritionally balanced ingredients. In response, his wife starts cooking for him, which results in Nasa putting on weight.
  • Zenji Marui in Food Wars! 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.
  • The advice of Gavrill from Franken Fran for the school students is a combination of this and Brutal Honesty
    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.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Roy Mustang is a Military Mage with the ability to manipulate fire and cause massive explosions. His first tactic when he faces the homunculus Lust is to shoot her in the face. Subverted in that it doesn't really work.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. Two of the best examples are Yuu's second fight with Osada and his spar with Yamazaki:
    • Osada is bigger, stronger, and has longer reach than Yuu... But is a full-contact Karateka whose style has relatively limited reach. Yuu's self-made style, however, is based on Boxing, thus his jab has a slightly greater reach, allowing him to get the upper hand by using nothing but jabs, as using anything else would be too dangerous. An onlooker even complains about this because he was expecting more from the fight.
      • Osada had previously been at the dishing end of this: when fellow Karateka Shougo won a spar by using street-fighting techniques Osada started imposing him rules that put the much shorter Shougo at a reach disadvantage.
    • Even after deciding to eliminate rules on account of Yuu having no experience in regulated Boxing, Yamazaki nearly wins because, as a Boxer, his training regime gave him far greater stamina than Yuu, nearly allowing him to simply outlast his non-formally trained opponent.
      • Yuu later falls afoul of this again during his first fight with Yoshito, a kickboxer, who is also more skilled as a boxer and a kicker-kicks being what barely allowed Yuu to beat Yamazaki. For the rematch Yuu had Yamazaki train him as a boxer, with the training including aerobic exercises that fixed that issue.
      • The finale of the manga has Yuu, who had survived many brutal street fights throughout the series, being nearly killed by a random desperate kid armed with a switchblade. Turns out even the best street-fighters can buy it to muggers if they have the advantage of surprise.
  • 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.
  • This is common in JoJo's 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.
    • Jotaro Kujo's Star Platinum stands out among the protagonist Stands, because it doesn't even have some of the gimmicks that subsequent protagonist Stands do until it gains the ability to stop time during the Final Battle with Dio, but is simply fast, strong, and precise. Jotaro uses those gifts to great effect, particularly analyzing Joseph's spirit photo of Dio and removing the flesh bud from Kakyoin and Polnareff's heads, showing the group where to find the Big Bad and gaining them two powerful allies.
    • Jean-Pierre Polnareff's Silver Chariot similarly stands out as probably one of the simplest Stands in the series, simply being a metal knight with a rapier. It doesn't have much in the way of "special powers" like even other simple protagonist Stands and its main benefits basically amount to just being fast and being able to travel a bit further away from its user than other melee range Stands. Even the unique abilities it does show amount to just enhancing its natural speed and using its speed to create afterimages. Despite this, he's the one who takes down some of the most dangerous enemies in Part 3, nearly kills Dio with one hit during the final fight by Dio's own admission, and is the only non-JoJo on the team who lives to see the end of the part.
    • In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders, Hol Horse has one the simplest Stands in the Emperor, even given that this Part tended towards this trope in terms of Stand abilities. The Emperor creates a gun. That's it. But it's a gun with infinite ammo and mentally guided bullets, allowing Hol Horse to pull off physically impossible shots, and Stand users are as squishy as any regular human.
    • In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind, the protagonists, who are escorting Trish to the boss of Passione, are given a key that will show them the way to a "vehicle" that will make things easier for them. They realize that the vehicle in question is a turtle, and the key activates the turtle's ability to create a Pocket Dimension where Trish and the others can hide. What makes the turtle this trope is its form; turtles are small and quiet, so it's easy to hide the turtle and the people inside it.
    • Also in Part 5, Guido Mista, one of the heroes, has a Stand called "Sex Pistols", which is not much different from Hol Horse's. He still is one of the most effective fighters in Bruno's gang and can defeat several enemies, including one that has to be hit twice in the exact same spot to take any damage.
  • Legend of the Galactic Heroes:
    • 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 under-supplied 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.
  • Little Witch Academia: The default wands used by Luna Nova are not as fancy looking or as powerful as something like the Shiny Rod and can only hold a limited charge, but their small size makes them very portable, they can be used by anybody and they're incredibly versatile, being able to do all kinds of magic as long as the user knows how to perform it. They can also be used to power up Magitek devices as Constanze demonstrates.
  • 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 it's frequently used by Nanoha to ensure that her big spells will hit, such as the Starlight Breaker, or to buy some time in combat.
  • 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 succession (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, regardless? 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.
    • In Mobile Suit Gundam SEED, Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny and its spinoffs, many standard hero-type Gundams tend to use the flight packs like the Aile Striker Pack and the Force Silhouette Pack. While they have other weapon packs, the flight packs allow them to get to where they're needed with the less amount of fuss and have no specialized equipment.
    • 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.
    • Similarly, Gunpla piloted in GBN, the video game world of Gundam Build Divers and Gundam Build Divers Re:RISE don't need to be heavily customized to be awesome. Case in point: in the original Build Divers, the number seven player of the game is Randy, who pilots the Mobile Armor Mobius ZERO, a Super Prototype in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED that is heavily outclassed early on. While Randy does lose on screen twice, the first time is because he's ambushed by a cheater and the second time is because Riku has to unleash the arsenal he's carrying to rescue Sarah and even then, it's by the skin of his teeth.
  • 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.
  • My Hero Academia:
    • Kirishima 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).
  • 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 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 overpower 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 against the same opponent with a single move.
    • This is also why Kakashi has been Overshadowed by Awesome. His signature skill is an electricity-fueled palm strike 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. They also serve as basic but accurate ranged weapons, both for direct attacks and other purposes.
    • 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.
    • Taijutsu in general. It's less showy or impressive than ninjutsu and genjutsu but when used effectively, it can be effective when one person runs out of chakra to perform the other two.
  • 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. Kaido, one of the Four Emperors and considered one of the strongest beings in the world, is also a Zoan type. And so is Luffy.
    • 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 (although Ace was sentenced to public execution and held in Level 6 until his sentence was to be carried out).
    • Nami's job as a navigator is mostly carried out off-screen, but it's exceptionally important to have a crewmember who can get the ship to its destination without getting lost. When Nami falls ill, Vivi justifies taking a detour to find a doctor for her by saying that while the situation in her home kingdom of Alabasta is precarious, finding a doctor for Nami will help the Straw Hats get there as fast as possible.
  • 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.
  • In Puella Magi Madoka Magica, magical girls tend to be stronger when they only have relatively weak powers, with Homura Akemi being the notable exception.
    • Mami Tomoe wished to survive, and as a result didn't get any special powers other than being stronger than average. She's a veteran and one of the most respected magical girls alive for this reason.
    • Kyouko Sakura, while not quite on Mami's level, is immensely strong, to the point of keeping an entire city free of witches on her lonesome. She has no powers, having lost them after her family died. She's just really good with a spear.
    • Sayaka Miki is one of the weaker magical girls around, but the trope still holds with her power; Rapid healing. Note that all magical girls can heal quicker and better than an average human, Sayaka simply takes that up to eleven. The first time she demonstrates this, she's hit with a strike that would kill a human and put a magical girl in the hospital for three months, and she immediately gets up again. In her fight with Elsa Maria, she is repeatedly stabbed, crushed, and thrown around like a ragdoll, and simply gets up again until the witch is dead.
  • In The Rising of the Shield Hero, main character Naofumi Iwatani, the eponymous Shield Hero, is derided by the other heroes because his weapon is a shield and the games they are accostumed to had terrible classes that used shields. However, as any MMORPG player could tell you, having a Tank that can keep the enemy's attention from the damage dealers is fundamental, and Naofumi proves it by becoming the most successful of the Heroes.
    • Also, due to Fantastic Racism and a False Rape Accusation, Naofumi doesn't have the same economic support the other Heroes get from the Crown, so he has to turn to alternative methods, such as potion making or magic item crafting. This not only provides him with money, it also boosts his reputation among the people he sells his stuff to and helps him play up to his role as support to his team.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • Slayers: 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!
  • 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.
  • ST☆R: Strike it Rich: Deconstructed. Nozomi’s fighting style is effective and allowed her to win her three underground matches. However, it is also boring to watch since her fights last over 40 minutes. As such, the crowd hates her, and she gets kicked out of the underground organization despite winning.
  • Super Cub:
    • Koguma, who recently bought a motorcycle, searches for a face shield to protect her face from the wind, but finds that face shields are expensive and full face helmets are even more so. She then gets a "Eureka!" Moment watching a man doing work on the school library with safety goggles and a face mask, and decides to buy a cheap pair of goggles to protect her face.
    • When Koguma and Reiko are faced with the potentially difficult and expensive task of winterizing their Cubs, Koguma goes with cheap handlebar covers, which prevent the breeze from blowing up their jacket sleeves. Reiko is initially turned off, but finds that they're a good choice in the end.
    • Slightly later on, as the temperatures continue to drop and the handlebar covers don't prove enough to fight the cold on their own, Koguma insists on taking a protective measure that Reiko is extremely reluctant to resort to. What is this measure? Quite simply, a windshield.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, aside from Daimon/Leichter, the Big Five -former directors of Kaiba Incorporated- clearly have only a beginner's understanding of Duel Monsters in the Virtual World arc. As a result, they use straightforward and simple strategies, but they're good enough to work even against a skilled duelist like Yugi. Oshita/Gansley uses self-replacing monsters with effects to limit the opponent's card advantage, Otaki/Crump uses a Water-themed beatdown deck, Ooka/Johnson uses a Fusion Monster Life Point recovery combo that lets him abuse his Deck Master ability, and Ota/Nezbitt uses a Machine-themed beatdown/burn deck focused on Machine King. In the dub, Nezbitt even comments on this due to repeatedly using his Robotic Knight's special ability to pile damage onto his opponents, "defending" his strategy by simply observing that there's no reason for him to change what works.
  • YuYu Hakusho: Compared to his own teammates like Bui and Karasu and even other major villains of the series who possess much more impressive looking energy attacks, Younger Toguro's ability is to simply increase his muscles, which sounds underwhelming by comparison; until it's shown it makes him so physically strong he can turn nearly any opponent to paste from a single punch without even half his full might. This is deliberate on his part: in their youth, he would lose to Genkai any time they sparred together because she could counter any strategy he came up with and had an answer for any technique he attempted. When he became a demon, he chose to make his fighting style based on sheer power so overwhelming that he could render any technique and strategy irrelevant. All so he could ensure he could kill her if they ever fought again.
  • 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.

    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 Imagination-Based Superpower, but they're effective at what they do, and usually make great leaders.
  • Batman: In one 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.
  • X-Men: Cyclops 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). He's also one of the most tenured field strategists in the Marvel Universe, easily an equal to the likes of Captain America, Black Panther, Black Bolt, and Nick Fury, which makes him the perfect leader of 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.
  • Fantastic Four: Sue Storm — aka the 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, as 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. Any alternate universe where she's a villain invitably shows her as being an absolutely terrifying foe, and in one storyline where Doctor Doom did a Body Surf on each of the Fantastic Four in turn he said that Sue was easily the strongest of them.
  • The Incredible Hulk: Doc Samson 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 paralyzing 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 carries a simple ray gun (because sometimes he just needs to shoot some Evronian) and is 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 Solar Flare 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, Voluntary 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.
  • 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.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (IDW): Dr. Eggman constantly wastes his time with complex plans and elaborate over-the-top schemes to defeat Sonic, which always fail. Dr. Starline nearly kills Sonic on his first try using simple misdirection and a bomb, only failing thanks to Silver putting up a force field. Of course, this gets him manhandled by a furious Eggman, who states if he wanted to just kill Sonic, he'd carpet-bomb him from his ship and be done with it; he wants to actually defeat him and prove his superiority first.
  • 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.
  • Spider-Man: Out of all of Spider-Man's Rogues Gallery, Vermin is probably one of the least impressive villains on paper, having the mind and fighting skills of a brutish wild animal in a humanoid rat body with little more than peak human to low level superhuman strength. Moreover, he lacks the more impressive and destructive abilities of people like Electro, Sandman, Mr. Negative, or Molten Man. However, what he does have is an unseen psychic primal communication that not only can control rats but can bring out a dark reaction in baseline human characters like Spider-Man and Captain America that can completely throw them off and make them sloppy fighters, giving Vermin the chance he needs to really do some damage with just his basic animalistic fighting style. And over the years, it's because of this invisible but effective primal communication that Spider-Man has generally needed some kind of Heroic Second Wind against Vermin even though he should be able to easily defeat Vermin based on just stats alone.
  • Ultimate Spider-Man: This is the reason why the Clone Saga happens: sure, Spider-Man isn't as powerful or recognizable as Captain America and the 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.

    Comic Strips 
  • Doonesbury: during a session of Congress, Congresswoman Lacey Barnes points out to an Air Force General that for the cost of one of his proposed B-2 stealth bombers (untested and of unknown reliability), the military could buy 500 reliable and virtually undetectable cruise missiles:
    Lacey: General, tell me, if you were in charge of Soviet air defenses, which would you rather defend against?
    General: Um... how deep's my bunker?
    Lacey: You can dig as deep a hole as you'd like, General.

    Films — Animation 
  • Coco: The Rivera family's business of shoemaking. Miguel wishes Imelda had started a fun business, like making candy or fireworks. However, making shoes was a good idea, financially — shoes are something everyone needs, and they have to be replaced semi-frequently. And it paid off; the business is still up and running nearly a century later, and it's enough to support the entire family.
  • 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. But 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.
  • Little Witch Academia (2013): During the fight against the minotaur, in contrast to Diana's impressive Storm of Blades spell, which merely wounds it, Sucy simply whips out some poison and gives it to the minotaur, which causes it to melt to the ground and create a hole. It isn't as fancy or impressive as Diana's spell, but it was certainly simpler and far more effective.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 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, which is quickly detected by S.H.I.E.L.D., while Cap just breaks into the armory because he thought the computer was "going too slow".
  • Blade Runner 2049: In the final fight, Joe manages to defeat Luv, a fellow Replicant and an expert in Waif-Fu who has already given him one Curb-Stomp Battle, by simply exploiting the fact that they are in a sinking car, grabbing her by the throat and shoving her head underwater until she drowns.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • It also works on the side of the Mafia as well; they are naturally far from impressed to learn that their lawyers have been ripping them off, are sufficiently grateful to Mitch for bringing it to their attention to let him go, and have no reason to target him further because he's not exposing their illegal activitiesnote .
  • 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.
  • 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.
    Q [derisively] Now and then, a trigger needs to be pulled.
    Bond: Or not pulled. It's hard to know which in your pajamas.
  • 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.
  • Knives Out: Despite his eccentric behaviour and bizarre explanations of his train of thought, Benoit Blanc is actually considerably less flashy than most fictional detectives in his methods (similar to his obvious influence, Poirot). He doesn't have any CSI kits or super detective abilities, but instead does solid detective work, going over the scene of the crime and interrogating the witnesses, noting small but key details such as Harlan's blood on Marta's shoe. He predicts how events will unfold as the case proceeds, while avoiding assumptions where possible, then notes and investigates when events differ from his predictions. His ability to judge character is also a key skill in this investigation.
  • In The Last Samurai, the traditional weapons of the Samurai arsenal — bows and arrows, spears and swords, are derided as primitive and barbaric by the Japanese government and their western partners who are pushing for modernization. Katsumoto (a Samurai traditionalist and insurgent) and his followers make a point of demonstrating that these anachronisms are not quite out of the running just yet...
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • The famous gun vs sword fight in Raiders of the Lost Ark. A mook brandishes a scimitar in precise and skillful ways, but Indy just raises his gun and shoots him.
  • 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.

    Game Shows 

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Animal Control: After Patel tries to duel with a knife-wielding crab and gets stabbed in the leg for his troubles, Victoria successfully captures it with a cutting board and a bucket.
    Victoria: See how I did that and still preserve my dignity?
  • Arrow: In season four, when Team Arrow realizes that a mayoral debate is about to be attacked, Oliver asks Felicity to hack into the building's security to force an evacuation. As Felicity struggles to do that, Thea cuts the knot and just pulls the fire alarm.
  • Auction Kings has speed rugs. Sell as many rugs as fast as you can! Takes Jon all episode to prepare for it, though.
  • Babylon 5 has Earthforce's boxy warships: they are ugly and primitive-looking but are effective and quick enough to produce 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, on 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 aircraft 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).
  • 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.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: As the group figures out how they can damage Glory, they eventually pull out all of their strongest weapons and tactics - they distract her with the Buffybot, Willow frees the minds of her slaves with magic and drains her strength, and they use the Dagon Sphere to mystically lower her strength. After that, what finally gets Buffy in a position to defeat her is Xander just whacking her with a nearby wrecking ball, allowing her to beat Glory with Olaf's hammer.
  • In Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, most of the witches use flashy, glamorous powers to create all manner of twisted, evil spells. And then there's Hilda. Meek and unassuming, and the frequent target of her sister Zelda's abuse — which is sometimes lethal, although since Zelda can raise her from the dead easily, it's hardly a problem for her — Hilda is generally viewed in the witch community as something of a dowdy matron who isn't special. She's especially looked down upon because witches in general are highly focused on black magic, while she's a White Mage who focuses the majority of her time on basic healing spells and salves. But don't let any of her focus on simple, practical magic fool you into thinking Hilda is in any way, shape, or form weak:
    • Her broad knowledge of restorative herbs and root magic has been instrumental in keeping the whole coven healthy and active.
    • Her skill as a Supreme Chef is helpful in maintaining the Masquerade — she has a recipe for delicious shortbread cookies that provide a dose of quick, hyper-focused amnesia to anyone who has one, and they're so tasty that no one can resist them.
    • When the enchantress Circe puts Hilda through Body Horror by transforming her into a half-human/half-spider hybrid, she gets her revenge through the power of knitting — that is, a cloth voodoo doll. Which she promptly brings to Circe and twists in half. To say it was a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown is an understatement.
    • In one episode, Hilda stops some Jerk Jock bullies using a simple mind-reading spell (that doesn't even require an incantation) to review their entire lives and deliver a ruthless speech that leaves them terrified (one has a Dark and Troubled Past and one is an Armored Closet Gay in love with the other). She doesn't even raise her voice as she kicks them out of her shop, and they go without another word.
    • In one particularly triumphant example, Zelda's rival Shirley Jackson sets up all manner of evil spells against her out of envy. After easily dismissing the magics which Shirley conjured, Hilda decides to solve the problem in the form of...a perfectly boring chat over tea and cookies. Cookies that she laced with cyanide. Shirley wove all manner of protection charms against any hexes that the Spellman sisters might have made but failed to consider that all of the magic in the world doesn't work against highly lethal poison. She promptly drops dead right at the table, leaving Hilda casually sipping tea without a care in the world.
  • Doctor Who:
    • in Jack Harkness' first appearance, he and the Doctor 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. They 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.
    • In "The Sontaran Stratagem," a mysterious company attracts the attention of both UNIT and the Doctor, who try all manner of subterfuge and broad investigation to figure out what's going on — without success. Then Donna strolls into the Personnel office and immediately exposes the fact that the employees aren't human. How? She simply looks through the paperwork and notices that the file that lists sick time is completely empty. The UNIT soldiers are stunned by the boring but effective tactic, which Donna chalks up her to own experience as a perpetual office worker: "Super temp!"
    • In a meta-sense, the decision to make the Doctor's TARDIS a Bigger on the Inside police telephone box was partly this for the production team. Sure, it's maybe not the flashiest or most visually exciting spaceship design in science fiction — but it's also essentially a large wooden box, which means it's cheap and easy to make (whether life-sized, in scale model form, or digitally), which is not nothing if you're a cash-strapped TV producer trying to make a science fiction show. It can be quickly and easily transported to and put up / down in a wide range of sets and locations, meaning you can set the story basically anywhere and don't need to worry about how to get the characters from the ship to where all the interesting stuff is happening — who needs teleporters or landing craft when the main characters can literally just walk out the door to get to where the story is? And, ironically in part due to being based on an easily-identifiable part of British 20th-century society, it's immediately distinctive because it's both familiar to the audience (or at least was when the show first aired, and even subsequent generations can quickly get the idea without need for lengthy explanation) and yet always stands out in the weird locations that the Doctor ends up in, meaning that it quickly became an Iconic Item.
  • 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.
  • The Flash (2014):
    • Throughout the third season 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.
  • 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. (Of course the way it is carried out is quite laughably ridiculous, considering that 20 men are apparently able to destroy all the siege weapons and kill vast numbers of horses without even being seen, making the episode very hard to take seriously. In the books, the reason that Roose couldn't just wait in Winterfell is that the forces he has in with him hate each other and are on the verge of attacking each other by the time he sends them out.)
  • 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).
  • Rikki from H₂O: Just Add Water gained the ability to increase the temperature of water, which later grew into fire and lightning powers, when she became a mermaid. What does she use it for the most? Quickly evaporating any water touching her or her fellow mermaids to undo their mermaid transformations.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • On one episode of Leverage, Nate teaches Hardison 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. Hardison'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 Nate applied his own plan to simply rob them blind).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 doling 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.
  • 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. Wily 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.
  • Star Trek:
    • 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.
    • The Miranda-class is also this compared to those two classes. Despite the blight on its record with the Reliant's hijacking, the Miranda-class has remained in service since at least the 2260s, lasting into at least the 2380s (canonically, it was last seen escorting Voyager back to Earth in 2378) and was the inspiration of numerous variations such as the Soyuz and the Centaur.
    • 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.
    • Star Trek: Picard:
      • In "Absolute Candor", Raffi describes Vashti's planetary defense system as primitive, but effective.
      • In "Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1", La Sirena is totally without power, so without Sickbay's fancy Holographic Terminal, Jurati is unable to scan an unconscious Picard until she finds an old-school medical tricorder.
  • Supernatural: Sam and Dean have access to books of arcane lore, tablets of spells created for angels and demons, weapons touched by the Hand of God, the list goes on. But for the vast majority of the monsters they take down, they use their guns, knives, rock salt, and gasoline.
  • 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.
    • In another episode, the contestants are tasked with scoring a goal from the furthest distance. Almost everyone elects to try and score from distances that would be difficult for professional soccer players to get into the goal, but Sian Gibson — who freely admits she's terrible at sport — just moves the ball a few metres back, reasoning that she'd be better off at least getting a point rather than trying to show off. She ends up winning the task, because everyone else gets overconfident and misses the goal entirely.
    • This is a recurring theme throughout the series. It's become common for contestants to try and seek out clever little Loophole Abuses and play on Exact Words when trying to complete the tasks in an attempt to complete the task in the coolest and flashiest way possible. Thing is, while this is impressive when it works, it's often a humiliating disaster when it doesn't, and the latter is far more likely to occur than the former. Meanwhile, the people who just plug away at the task and try to complete it in a straightforward fashion might not always come up with the most exciting solution, but they can usually guarantee themselves a pretty solid score, which all adds up as the series goes on. Looking at the list of series champions, it's common that they're usually participants who knuckled down and got on with things.
    • Speaking of Loophole Abuse, even the Establishing Series Moment use of that trope actually falls under this trope as well. In Series 2, one task requires the contestants to place three yoga balls on an exercise mat on top of a steep hill. After four attempts involving various chaotic and clever attempts at getting three massive balls up a steep hill, Richard Osman realises it'd be a lot simpler and quicker to just bring the exercise mat down from the hill.
  • On Warehouse 13, the titular warehouse is an Artifact Collection Agency that gathers Famously Mundane, Fictionally Magical items from across history. The Artifacts are extremely powerful and dangerous, but the governing body of the Warehouse, the Regents, are deliberately selected from among hard-working but plain citizens, each with a decidedly non-superhuman talent: the recording secretary is a diner waitress who's really good at taking notes in shorthand, and other members include a former schoolteacher who's a Friend to All Children, a grocery store manager with a Master's degree in American history that gives him broad knowledge of potential targets, and a pharmaceutical company researcher who has a knack for investigating suspicious things. It's lampshaded when a Warehouse employee remarks that he was expecting something flashier, and a Regent points out that kings and generals would be too corrupt to be trusted with such power—everyday people are far Closer to Earth and thus a better choice for guardians.
  • 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.

  • 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.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Whenever a wrestler uses a basic move (like a suplex or a body slam) as a finisher, it's this. Mainly because the move itself is something that, if legitimately done with intent to harm rather than pulled for appearances the way it is in pro wrestling, chances are the victim (and perhaps even the perpetrator) wouldn't soon get back up. The legends of the '80s and early '90s excelled at making such moves look like the former while actually being the latter, to the point where even in the 21st century where wrestlers are employing much flashier versions of said moves as routine mid-match transitional spots, the back-to-basics versions performed by the legends are instantly recognized as match-enders or KO spots.
    • The best examples through history are Hulk Hogan and The Ultimate Warrior, who used a leg drop and a body splash respectively. Their muscular frames and ability to convincingly project an aura of superhuman adrenaline meant that if you were flat on your back and Hogan dropped his right leg on your neck or Warrior's chest crashed down into yours, you weren't getting up. Matt Jackson or Jeff Hardy dropping the same leg, even while flipping forward 270 degrees, doesn't quite have the same sense of gravity to it.
    • 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. And when Sting holds you in place for it, he builds the anticipation for the move while making it look like he's setting himself up to drop you as hard as he can, before falling backwards and dragging you down in cascading fashion. This is how he was able to consistently use it as a believable finisher even in TNA when in the same company AJ Styles was doing it with the added momentum of a springboard somersault and would rarely if ever get a three-count off it.
    • Speaking of a DDT, the original by Jake Roberts is another perfect example. Anyone getting intentionally dropped, dragged, or thrown headfirst into a hard surface floor is probably coming away with a concussion AT BEST. Jake pulls off the move with a psychological authority that projects a realistic intent to incapacitate and makes it look, in the moment, like a pure knockout drop, in a way that The Rock spinning around an opponent or wrenching their arm and kicking them in the gut to set them up, or Mick Foley or Dustin Rhodes catching an opponent while running off the ropes, or Rey Mysterio Jr. holding an opponent while swinging off the second rope, simply can't.
    • Chris Jericho isn't a wrestler who's generally known for having "boring" moves but his post-WWE finishing move, The Judas Effect, is... a spinning back elbow. While a lot of fans have criticised it as a dull, implausible finisher (especially as many wrestlers use the move just as a transitional move), a well-aimed back elbow is in fact one of the more genuinely legit MMA moves used in wrestling despite its lack of flashiness, capable of genuinely knocking an opponent out like they were hit by a pointy bone sledgehammer.
  • 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. In fact, the few times someone does win by escaping through the door, it's almost always beating an opponent who attempted to escape 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.
  • The first, most useful, and most ubiquitous move that is trained into new wrestling prospects isn't a punch or a kick, but the flat back bump. It is the safest way to take a move since you distribute the impact over your entire back while tucking your head in to protect your skull and neck, and it's used everywhere. What's an RKO? A flat back bump. Taking a Rock Bottom or Chokeslam? Jump up, flat back bump. Taking a clothesline or superkick? Run into your opponent's limb and flat back bump. Receiving a suplex? Do a beel (or biel) bump, jump into a front flip, and do a flat back bump while your opponent holds you. Sunset flips, senton bombs, DDTs, dropkicks, powerslams, suplexes, powerbombs, all involve variations of the flat back bump or beel bump, and once you know what to look for, you'll see them all over the place.
  • At Extreme Rules 2010, John Cena used a roll of duct tape to beat Batista in a Last Man Standing match for the WWE Championship. No, that is not a joke. Cena really used duct tape to bind Batista to a ringpost.

    Reality Television 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In Hell's Kitchen Season 3, one of the top performers was Julia, a Waffle House line cook from Atlanta. 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.
    • In particular, one episode had a breakfast challenge; instead of asking the woman who does this every day of her life for help, the other women told her "go peel potatoes". When Gordon noticed, he ordered the women to let Julia cook; she quickly turned the sinking ship into an overwhelming victory. Julia did so well that, after assuring the women that they'd won the challenge, Ramsay had her help the other team because they were doing so badly.
    • In another episode where the teams design their own menus, the women shoot down Julia’s suggestion of a New York strip steak as being “a cop out.” When Gordon orders them to add it to their menu, it becomes the most requested entree of the night—and better yet, not one is sent back, which leads them to another victory.
  • Plenty of episodes in both the UK and US 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 latter respectively are Rococo's and The Curry Lounge.
  • Similarly, in US Season 4 of MasterChef, one episode's Mystery Box challenge gave the contestants a bunch of unlabeled 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.
  • 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 most popular season winners in the entire series.
  • 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.
  • 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 on camera, 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 one contractually-obligated year and faded to obscurity after his album flopped.

  • 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 have 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 response to criticisms of this strategy during its heyday in the late 90s and early 00s, the NHL made several rule changes to open up the game — it made obstruction penalties a point of emphasis for officials, introduced a restricted area behind the goal where goaltenders cannot play the puck, and changed the "offside pass" or "two-line pass" rule so that the center line is no longer relevant in the rule's enforcement. While the trap still exists in today's NHL, it's been greatly modified to reflect these changes.
  • 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.
    • In terms of offensive positions, offensive linemen embody this trope. Their role is almost exclusively to get in the way of opposing players, and barring a few trick plays, they never touch the ball or score a touchdown unless something goes very wrong. They don't generate individual statistics that fill up the box score, their names aren't usually called unless they make a mistake, and fans rarely get excited about their team acquiring them in free agency or the draft. But having a good offensive line can elevate otherwise mediocre skill players to greatness by giving quarterbacks more time to scan the field and throw the ball unmolested by the defense, receivers more time to get open, and running backs more room to run with the ball, and having a bad offensive line can ruin the performance of an otherwise loaded offense. In many cases, games in which a team with a cast of unheralded skill players “upsets” a rival with much bigger stars at the glamor positions are decided because the winning team has a much better offensive line.
    • 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.
    • Defense itself. Legendary coach Bear Bryant once said "Offense sells tickets, but defense wins championships." Doesn't matter how fast a running back can run or the accuracy of the quarterback's throws if the opposing line prevents the play from even getting off. This is most apparant in the result of Superbowl 48. The Denver Broncos had set the NFL record for points scored in a season with one of the most explosive offenses in the history of the league leading to the top offense in the league. They went up against the Seattle Seahawks, who were the first team in almost 30 years to lead in fewest yards allowed, fewest points allowed, and most takeaways. The Seahawks crushed the Broncos 43-8.
    • 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. Mid-range jump shotsnote  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 corners 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 2000s.
    • 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 opposing team by preventing it from scoring in any way possible. This goads the opponents into attacking your goal more desperately, 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 unbeatable 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), ChievoVerona in its first few seasons in Serie A, 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 Formula One, the concept of "race management" is this. You can't just go as fast as possible for the entire race - you need to preserve your tyres to avoid them degrading too much and/or having to pit too much, you need to conserve fuel to avoid running out, and (while it's not so important these days) you need to treat the car itself gently to reduce the risk of it breaking down. While many fans (and many drivers, for that matter) hate the sight of cars coasting around at several seconds a lap slower than what they're capable of, it is by far the most efficient strategy, and many of the sport's most successful drivers have been the ones who could manage the car most efficiently. Alain Prost was arguably the king of this, winning four world titles by extracting just enough performance out of the car to get the results he needed, and nothing more.
  • 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.

    Theme Parks 

    Visual Novels 
  • In the Ace Attorney series, in the middle of all the extremely complicated murder schemes, there's also a few that are completely simple and run on a complete lack of evidence to be nigh-unsolvable.
    • The DL-6 case in the backstory, when fully explained, goes something like this: Murderer happens on an opportunity (victim unconscious in an elevator, with a bailiff's gun on the ground nearby), shoots victim, leaves area. The case goes cold for 15 years and if the murderer hadn't succumbed to Complexity Addiction and tried to frame Miles Edgeworth for the crime, it'd have remained unsolved forever.
    • The murder of the third case of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney boils down to accidentally kill victim in self-defense, move the body so it looks like you couldn't have possibly been at the crime scene, tell a potential witness to not reveal you were present on site, and do nothing else, especially not volunteering as a witness. Most of the complications come from the victim's attempted Frame-Up on Phoenix's client, which worked quite well except for the bit where he failed at killing his target.
    • The murder of the first case of Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney boils down to 'sneak up on victim, smack him in the head, remove evidence, leave'. The only reason that particular case gets solved is because Phoenix forges a copy of said removed evidence.
    • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice:
      • In the first half of the final chapter, Apollo has to fight Phoenix himself in a civil case. Unlike most courtroom opponents, Phoenix won't insult you, physically attack you, or air guitar. Instead, he'll just press hard on any openings in Apollo's arguments or screwups the player makes; give Phoenix an inch and he'll probably take the entire case. Apollo is able to win because Phoenix only took the case after his client took Maya hostage and held her safety as a bargaining chip; once Apollo can prove that Maya is safe, Phoenix happily concedes.
      • In the DLC case, the true culprit, upon realizing that Phoenix suspects him, doesn't respond with elaborate lies, evidence tampering, or scapegoating someone else — he invokes his right to remain silent and just shuts up, depriving you of the chance to catch him in a lie.
  • The Danganronpa series typically runs on insanely complex murders, but some of them are fairly straightforward (mostly in the first game), and the ones that are tend to also be the ones where the culprits almost get away with it because of a lack of clues that the complex murders leave.
    • In Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc:
      • The first murder boils down to "break into victim's hiding place, stab victim, dispose of evidence", with the culprit being caught because they weren't thorough enough (in part because the killer wasn't planning to kill anyone, at least before going back to break through the door to the bathroom). Most of the complications of the case come from figuring out the victim's complicated scheme to lure the killer into a trap, kill them, and pin it all on the Player Character.
      • The second murder (technically a manslaughter, but Monokuma doesn't care) boils down to "smack victim over head with blunt object, dispose of evidence, run away" (the culprit also moves the crime scene, but this wasn't done to get away with the crime; the killer was attempting to fulfill a promise to the victim to keep his true gender a secret, which necessitated moving the corpse from the boys' locker room to the girls'), and is only solved because the killer said something they should not have known. Most of the complications of the case come when an unrelated third party discovers the crime scene early and tampers with it for their own amusement.
      • The fourth murder boils down to "lock self in room to eliminate everyone else as suspects, drink poison", and most of the complications of the case come when Monokuma tampers with the victim's suicide note and a distraught Aoi tries to get everyone killed, including herself, because of it. It also didn't help that two of the last people to see the victim alive were convinced that they might have killed the victim.
    • In Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony:
      • Chapter 2's killer simply knocks the victim unconscious while their back was turned and drowns them in a nearby sink, leaving no evidence as to who did it. The culprit only gets caught because they succumbed to Complexity Addiction while trying to dispose of the body and frame a third party.
      • One of Chapter 3's murders involves the use of a complicated deathtrap, and the other one boils down to 'bonk victim on head to knock them out, move victim elsewhere, stab victim'. It's the deathtrap murder that ends up leaving the most evidence pointing to the culprit, while the other murder would've been unsolvable if the killer hadn't used it.
      • The murder solved in Chapter 6 boils down to 'get drop on victim, clobber victim over the head, escape', and it completely worked. Kaede's deathtrap missed, but its mere existence framed her as the first Blackened so well that even she thought she did it. Everyone would have died right then and there had the culprit not been the Mastermind intending to kickstart the game.
  • 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 in front 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 does it compare to There Is 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.
  • Exploited in Super Danganronpa Another 2 by the killer of Chapter 5: unlike Junko (who used a pre-killed corpse and presented it as recently deceased), Nagito (who engineered their own elaborate suicide culminating with one of the others unknowingly poisoning them) and Kaito (who crushed the victim into unrecognizability and then pretended to be them), Mikado simply poisons Teruya's food. And what happens? He successfully manages to Frame-Up Iroha, subjecting everyone else to a mass execution.

    Web Animation 
  • 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.
    • This is also how Hayate wins against Tifa in the end. Rather than facing her one-on-one or in a two-on-one with Hitomi, Hayate opts instead to send an entire clan of ninjas after her. Even with Conservation of Ninjutsu in full effect, Tifa is easily overwhelmed by the sheer amount of them and as the fight drags on they're able to tag hits on her repeatedly until she's adequately burned out for Hayate to deliver a finishing blow.
  • Whenever Kitten, Captain-General of Adeptus Custodes, plays a game in If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device, he wins against powerful, scheming opponents by sticking to boring tactics.
    • When playing Yu-Gi-Oh against the Emperor, the Emperor used a bunch of banned, overpowered cards to create the ultimate monster that couldn't be destroyed with trap or spell cards. Kitten used a spell card to send the monster back to the Emperor's hand, and then hitting him with a weak monster, winning the game.
    • Kitten's Stellaris strategy is to focus on infrastructure, keeping his empire happy and prosperous while staying out of the galaxy-wide wars and backstabbings. By the end of the game, his empire is the only one that hasn't suffered from the Triple Crisis, because it's rich enough to fend off any threats almost immediately.
  • JoCat mocks the commonly-used Human Fighter character in his Crap Guide to D&D series. The example character he uses to demonstrate is even named "John Fighter-Man". However, he does this all while pointing out how infuriatingly good the character archetype is, in terms of combat and in terms of being newbie-friendly.
  • Red vs. Blue: Project Freelancer was a programme that trained only the best of the best. Agent Washington was surrounded by Freelancers 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 refuses to use an AI after a tragic incident with the Epsilon AI, but his name was always in the top ten of the leaderboard; once he became the sixth best agent in the project, he never dropped lower, simply thanks to him being stable and reliable. 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.
  • 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. Later on in the Atlas arc, it gets another upgrade, able to use Dust to punt targets backwards or create a hard-light barrier that lets it function as a larger shield, hang-glider, or parachute. Still not particularly flashy, but it remains versatile and practical.
    • 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.
    • Maria tells Ruby that she calls her Semblance 'Preflexes'; it's a form of precognition that manifests as her being able to use reflexes just before something happens, rather than relying solely on reflexes in response to something happening. The elite Huntsmen and students have exceptional reflexes anyway; while Preflexes doesn't sound like it offers much extra, Maria cites it as one of the reasons she became a legendary fighter. She states that her Semblance and training were more important than the much cooler power of her silver eyes and advises Ruby to develop the same mentality about her own abilities. In Volume 8, she has to fight Dark Action Girl Neopolitan who has curbstomped nearly every opponent she’s fought, and Maria’s plain blocks and strikes cut right through Neo’s flashy Dance Battler techniques.
    • Semblances are single, unique superpowers every Huntsman has the potential to unlock. Examples include Ruby's Super-Speed, Glynda's Telekinesis, Pyrrha's Polarity. Semblances are often cool, flashy abilities, but some people have abilities that don't seem as visible or interesting on the surface.
      • Ren's Semblance is called Tranquility: he can dampen the negative emotions of himself and others. Not only does this allow anyone affected by his Semblance to act calmly even in stressful situations, but it renders him or others invisible to the Creatures of Grimm, which hunt humans 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. It enables him to directly inject Dust into his body in quantities that are normally too large to handle because his Semblance makes it possible. This allows him to hulk out and supplement his punches with elemental effects such as lightning or fire.
      • Jaune's Semblance is Aura Amplification. He first uses it by accident when Cardin tries to punch him; it heals Jaune's injuries and leaves Cardin with a sore fist. He later learns he can pour his Aura into other people. Not only can this restore their Aura reserves, it amplifies an Aura's natural Healing Factor and can bring a person back from the brink of death. It also massively boosts a person's Semblance, which is the manifestation of their Aura. Ren can normally only mask the emotions of a handful of people from the Creatures of Grimm but Jaune boosts him so much he can mask an entire train full of people from the Grimm.

  • 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.
  • Clan of the Cats: Just how dangerous can a portal sorcerer be? The correct answer: Very.
    Sorceror: You can add volcanoes to the list of things that can kill vampires.
  • El Goonish Shive: Out of all the aberrations who try to kill Raven at the mall, the one that comes closest doesn't make use of an impressive monstrous form or magical attacks. He just uses a completely mundane handgun and some preternatural accuracy. The other aberrations seem to know it too, since when pressed none of the crew of sociopathic monsters are actually willing to start a fight with him.
  • 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 be 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.
  • Homestuck: Characters store items in "fetch modi", things based off of video game inventories which are treated as both abstract concepts and physical objects. There are numerous kinds of fetch modus, each of which imposes specific limitations on how and when objects can be placed into and retrieved from them; for instance, the "stack" modus only allows the user to retrieve the item on its topmost card, and "buries" other objects further down the more things are put into it while violently ejecting whatever's at its bottom when it runs out of room. They can also be mixed and matched to produce very complicated and abstruse systems. The array modus is by far the most convenient, allowing the user to store and retrieve items with no catches... and this is exactly why John refuses to use it since he thinks it's boring.
    "The ARRAY MODUS allows you to store and retrieve any item from any card at any time. It seems exceptionally serviceable, albeit difficult to weaponize. BOOOOOOOORING."
  • Kill Six Billion Demons: The Master Swordsman Meti eventually realized that Charles Atlas Superpowers and flash were redundant, and that the essence of any fight comes down to Cutting Down Your Opponent. She then made this the centre of her entire style, training in nothing but Cutting things. As it turns out, in a universe running on Enlightenment Superpowers, coming to understand the essence of Cutting made Meti tremendously powerful. According to the author, she'd be able to school any member of the cast if she hadn't been long dead, and her apprentice Maya at one point Cuts a building in half (and the borders of the comic itself) using nothing but a sword hilt.
  • Misfile: Vashiel is an angel of punishment, so he gets a BFS 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?
  • No Need for Bushido: By the end of the comic, Ricardo the Portuguese merchant failed in his plan to sell guns to Japanese warlords. So he comes up with a much safer plan: while he's in Japan, buy lots of cheap goods. Then when he returns to Portugal, he can sell the rare and exotic items at a huge markup.
  • One-Punch Man: Saitama is a superhero with the flash and style of a roll of toilet paper, and he doesn't know martial arts. However, 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.
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • 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 and his raven familiar.
    • Recurring enemy Thog is noted for this, and is the only traditionally 'optimized' character. His race (half-orc), class (Barbarian with a dip into Fighter for the bonus feat), and ability distribution (dump intelligence and maximize strength) are all dedicated to making him very good at "hit things until they die".
      Thog: thog think thog smarter than talk-man, anyway.
      Roy: Are you serious??
      Thog: sure. thog already knows how to use best ability score in fight.
      [Thog hands a heavy attack on Roy, knocking him to the ground]
      Thog: thog elegant in thog's simplicity.
  • 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 occurred 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 that 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.
  • Sleepless Domain: The magical girl Heartful Punch's special powers include sensing monsters and enhanced blows, with some largely-cosmetic Heart Beat-Down flavor. Sure, her abilities might not be as flashy or complex as some of the other magical girls' tricks, but they make her very effective in hunting down monsters. There's a reason she's become one of the City's top magical girls as a solo when teams of 2-5 girls are the norm.
  • 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 a phenomenal spellwright who can both break out the big guns if needed and use those basic spells very, very effectively.
  • Weak Hero: It's noted that Jake's fighting style isn't particularly interesting or unorthodox (unlike the protagonist, a vaunted Combat Pragmatist, or the other antagonists, who are noted for their cunning, bloodthirstiness, or accuracy). However, he's so talented at what he does that he still manages to become the second-greatest fighter in the series, beating out only by the Invincible Villain Donald.
  • xkcd: Parodied in this strip, when MacGyver uses a gun.
  • 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 
  • Adventures in Jedi School: Apparently, after the original Star War, everyone got over their Fantastic Racism of droids and went back to using them to pilot fighter-ships. The big climactic battle against the bad guys happens entirely in the background.
  • Archive of Our Own is about as bog standard simple as content creation websites come and its userbase love it for this. To make an account, a person needs two things: a working email address and a name. That’s it. Any other window dressing like icons and profiles are purely optional. The site is easy to navigate with everything a person needs plainly linked on the main page. There’s no algorithm deciding what content users should see, and instead stories are presented in chronological order. An omnipresent include/exclude tag list means a reader can find the type of story they want without searching through multiple pages of the more popular pieces of media. Even the way the site looks — black easily readable font on white background — is this.
  • 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.
  • Codex Inversus: The maritime culture of the Devils of Minauros is built off harvesting the seas for its riches. Many enterprising Devils gravitate towards whaling, which provides lucrative spoils but whose hunts can often end in nothing and whose profitability depends on the whims of the market, or seek glory in extremely dangerous and expensive sea monster hunts. Most fisherfolk, however, prefer to stick to what is consistently the safest and most efficient and reliable catch — cod.
  • Critical Role: Pretty much half the party's accomplishments 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.
  • Hamster's Paradise: The badgebears are an unspecialized group of carnohams that resemble badgers, as the name suggest, which doesn't make them stand out when compared to some of the other, more unusual fauna of the Temperocene but this flexibility combined with their omnivorous diet has allowed them to become one of the more successful animals on, the western hemisphere of the era, with the more carnivorous members of this genus becoming the top predators of the continent of Gestaltia.
  • Nameberry's new layout. While it was received poorly by its users for lacking the colors of the original layout, the old layout wasn’t working well at all from site management and SEO perspective. Page speed was extremely slow and there were lots of different applications servicing different parts of the site, which meant lots of updating and cross-checking.
  • Tom Scott's 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.
  • Serina: While some of the creatures of the titular terraformed moon have developed bizarre bodies and behaviors many of the more abundant species have stuck to more basic lifestyles:
    • By the time of the Ultimocene egg-eating molodontsnote  have severely diminished ground-dwelling bird species. Some get around them by more exotic methods of reproduction like laying fish-like eggs in the water or developing variations of live birth, the sparrowgulls and tentacle birds both simply carry their eggs to a safer location. This has allowed them both to become the most successful birds of this time period with the tentacle birds in particular managing to be the only remaining ground bird megafauna that lay hard-shelled eggs.
    • Small perching birds that are similar to the original founding canaries manage to persist all throughout the moon's history while many more impressive species die out due to the high versatility and low biological cost such a body type allows. It's compared to modern lizards resembling early reptiles and modern rodents and opossums being similar to primitive mammals as those largely unremarkable builds are also highly adaptable and have managed to persist ever since they first appeared.
  • Springhole: When talking about gadgets and weapons, Syera emphasizes that simple designs without frivolous decorations or extra settings tend to work better than their fancier counterparts.
  • 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.

    Western Animation 
  • 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.
    • Iroh, the short pudgy elderly jolly uncle who pushed Zuko to focus on basic firebending and breath control, is one of the most powerful firebenders on the planet. So much so that it's outright stated he is the only one, next to the Avatar himself, who could (probably, in his own words) defeat Fire Lord Ozai. He teaches the boring stuff because it is practical.
    • Toph Beifong, the world's self-proclaimed greatest Earthbender (not without merit). Due to being blind, she constantly has to sense the earth around her to navigate. Sounds boring, right? Despite earthbenders (including her) being capable for far more flashier bending feats, Toph can use seismic sensing in order to foil sneak attacks, detect lies (provided her opponent isn't a sociopath), as well as it being the foundation for metal-bending, a skill thought impossible for millennia. In fact, in the Grand Finale, Aang foils Ozai's last-ditch attemptt to kill him only via seismic sense.
    • Sokka, the resident Team Normal. Despite all his teammates being master benders, when Sokka temporarily leaves the group to train swordsmanship, they learn that Sokka is an expert in reading maps, and without him, they can't go anywhere. Once Sokka masters his sword to an acceptable level, the Gaang is overjoyed to see him again.
  • 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.
  • Batman Beyond: In the episode "Shriek," Powers turns down Walter Shreeve's sonic weapon for this reason, despite being impressed that it can destroy entire buildings. As he points out, for regular tasks like demolition, conventional tools like dynamite are just as effective and cheaper, and the Awesome, but Impractical nature of the device itself means mass-producing it will be too expensive.
  • 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.)
  • 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).
  • Scrooge McDuck embodies this trope in DuckTales (2017). 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 the third episode Scrooge is seen to do this in a psychological manner. When his Board wants to cut spending and suggests firing some of his employees, Scrooge goes on long impassioned speeches to defend them. This does next to nothing to sway their minds and when one of Gyro's inventions crashes through the wall Scrooge decides to skip the theatrics and essentially scare the Board into dropping the matter by confirming that the ones they want to fire are completely crazy and almost certain to come after them for revenge. That single declaration gets them to quickly decide it's in their best interest to keep Scrooge's workers hired and as far away from them as possible.
    • 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. Which is Truth in Television for the real Gold Rush.
  • Most of the 31st-century tech in Futurama tends toward Cool, but Inefficient, but the episode "2D Blacktop" has Leela replacing the dangerous Planet Express ship with a safer and more practical model that's treated as the futuristic equivalent of a soccer mom's minivan. It has some nice tech inside (such as a solidifying foamlike spray that can be used to incapacitate anyone who's irritating the driver), but it's essentially a flying gray cube with sliding doors and no windows, making deliveries a lot less exciting.
    Leela: Good news, everyone! Our safe new ship has arrived, and it's gonna knock your socks on, where they belong! Ta-da! (Unveils ship.)
    Bender: ...Is it inside that box?
    Leela: No! That's the ship! The boxy shape keeps it from going too fast.
  • 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.
  • Glitch Techs: Bergy focuses more on dealing with low-level glitches than boss level glitches like Mitch does. It’s not as exciting as fighting bosses but it is a lot safer and with how many low-level glitches are ignored by other Glitch Techs, Bergy is able to grind just as much XP as anyone else at the store.
  • 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 shapeshifts into the most straightforward and practical thing to resolve the task at hand; Tip suggests Oh shapeshifts 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.
  • 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.
  • King of the Hill:
    • Hank 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 by hiding in the laundry fails because Bill ratted it out. They rely on Hank, who simply talks to the staff and sorts things out. Not as flashy as a movie-like escape scene, but it got the job done.
    • In "Phish And Wildlife," Hank and Bobby's camping trip is being ruined by an army of hippies who keep taking their equipment. When Hank tells the park ranger he knows how to get rid of them, the ranger wants to start a fight with a fire hose and riot gear. Hank sensibly tells him to turn off the park services (running water and restrooms) instead, forcing the hippies out when they refuse to learn to survive on their own.
  • 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, these two stick to water streams and 'small' ice bolts to attack, and water-skating for high-speed movement.
  • In Miraculous Ladybug, Akumatized villains can have all sorts of crazy powers, like time manipulation, power of the storm, People Puppets, and mass brainwashing. But a lot of the ones who come closest to winning are those with pretty straightforward powers, like Vanisher (invisibility), Chameleon (takes the form and abilities of someone else), Troublemaker (intangibility), and Silencer (steals voices — more problematic than it sounds, given that the heroes' powers are voice-activated), who were just really good at using them.
  • 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 Toon 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 connection with nature, along with higher physical strength and stamina than the other two races. 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 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 last long.
    • Evil-wise, there's King Sombra. He's a Flat Character in a Rogues Gallery filled with Evil Is Hammy-types. The "Practical" part is that he's No-Nonsense Nemesis who averts the Villain Ball by setting multiple traps and failsafes. It's not flashy or hammy, but it incapacitated the one person who managed to get through them all.
    • Starlight Glimmer, before her Heel–Face Turn. 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 with Lord Tirek. But it has the nasty effect of power nullifying. In a world where everything is routed in magic, this renders anyone hit with that spell entirely helpless. 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.
    • Cozy Glow has no magic powers whatsoever: she's just an intelligent manipulator who knows how to use tools provided to her. Cozy Glow twists what she learned at the School of Friendship, taking advantage of other characters' faults and lapses in judgment, and knowing exactly how these characters were going to behave to execute her plans. She came close to a decisive victory, all while utilizing The Power of Friendship against the heroes. She even points out the effectiveness of this mentality to Princess Celestia and Princess Luna, pointing out that the reason they've gotten their butts handed to them by a weaker Monster of the Week many times throughout the show is that they take their immense power for granted and end up being Awesome, but Impractical.
  • 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).
  • In the The Powerpuff Girls (1998) episode, "Three Girls and a Monster", Blossom and Buttercup spend the episode arguing over which works better, Blossom's formulated attack plan or Buttercup's direct attacks. But neither work against a monster with Nigh-Invulnerability, and continue arguing over it, until Bubbles, fed up with her sisters arguing, does her own way: by flying up to the monster politely asking him to stop destroying Townsville and just leave. The monster actually agrees and returns to the ocean, where it belongs.
  • Rick and Morty:
    • Rick Sanchez's plan to topple 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.
      • Played in 'The Acid Trap', which has Rick creating the titular trap as a gag to fake his death in case of enemies coming after him. When Morty calls it as stupid and uninteresting (by Rick Sanchez standards, at least), Rick manipulates things so Morty will be forced to use the acid trap to avoid getting killed by a very huge bunch of angry people and worship it (kisses and all) before climbing on.
  • In Rocket Power there's an episode with a sand castle contest. While the 2nd and 3rd place winners made very elaborate and fancy creations, the winner was a little girl who made a castle out of an upside-down bucket outline. While not as flashy as the Rockets' creation, the judges point out that she was the only one who made an actual CASTLE in a sand castle contest, while the others were more concerned with just having something elaborate.
  • 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 another 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.
  • South Park: Given what a notoriously manipulative sociopath Eric Cartman is, most people don't realize that the best way to handle Cartman is simply to ignore him. Given that Cartman is a massive Attention Whore, he can't stand the fact people can ignore him, especially since he can't manipulate them into doing what he wants yet is unable to do anything about it. Case in point, when all of the boys decide to ignore Cartman, which drives Cartman insane to the point where he thinks he's a ghost, and Heidi deciding to ignore Cartman's threats of committing suicide when she breaks up with him for the final time and Cartman is unable to actually kill himself. In Streaming Wars, even his mother decides to ignore Cartman's attempts to manipulate her into getting breast implants, where Cartman ends up getting them instead. At the end of the "Post-Covid" duology, during the new future, everyone decides to ignore Cartman after cutting ties with him where Cartman would wind up becoming a friendless, homeless, and miserable alcoholic who has done nothing but scream insults at people just to get even the slightest bit of attention, and when Stan and Kyle express sympathy at his situation, Butters has to convince them to continue ignoring him, only bothering to cuss back at him before leaving him to rot in his miserable existence.
  • In Star Trek: Lower Decks, the USS Cerritos specializes in what's called "Second Contact." It's not as glamorous as First Contact, but it's where the important bureaucratic work gets done. In addition, Cerritos and her fellow California-class ships aren't very flashy, but they can easily be customized for a variety of missions.
  • 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.
  • 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) — that proves to be the biggest problem. 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.
    • This also extends to Thrawn's tactics, shunning the overly-elaborate glory-seeking tactics of other Imperials, in favor of things like proper formations and maneuvers. He is so effective at implementing these that were it not for his superiors' obsession with sadistic fear tactics, his subordinates irritation with the basics or sheer stupidity, or outside forces he had no ability to anticipate, he would have smothered the Rebellion in its crib.
  • Star Wars: The Bad Batch: Compared to the rest of the Bad Batch, Tech's Super-Intelligence is the least flashy of them all and his combat capabilities don't stand out much from other highly-skilled clones. However, his large deposit of technology and knowledge, even the most mundane bits, can be incredibly useful in the right situations, whether it be decrypting, hacking, making measurements on the fly for the other Batchers, translating alien languages, or recording animal cries.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003):
    • In the series' pilot, the Turtles get separated from Splinter due to a cave-in in the sewers. Leonardo starts asking if there's any way they can quickly move the rocks...only to see Donnie calling Splinter's cell phone. When he picks up, they know he's fine.
    • Discussed: In the beginning of "City At War Part 1", Leo and Raphael are doing some roof-jumping when Leo decides to go at a bulls-eye on a billboard. He does some impressive leaps and flips, stabs his sword forward...and misses the mark by several feet. Raph, on the other hand, just throws his sai and hits the center easily.
    Raph: Leo, I don't know about all them fancy moves. (Bulls-eye!) I prefer just getting the job done.
    Leo: Master Splinter says grace and form should flow together in beauty, creating true power.
    Raph: Whoa, that's a little too intense, bro. You gotta relax a little.
  • Total Drama'
    • When Gwen is asked how she will use the $100,000 cash prize of the shows 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."
    • Rather than any fancy strategy of manipulating others or going under the radar (Because she's completely incapable of doing either effectively), Julia does the competition the old-fashioned way of giving it her all during challenges. While punishingly brutal given the show, it works like a charm since Julia often wins immunity this way and made it to the final four as a result.
  • 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.
  • Xiaolin Showdown:
    • The episode "Like a Rock!" uses this trope as its Aesop: when faced with a difficult problem, it's best to remain calm and find a simple, practical solution rather than try anything flashy. It shows up many times throughout:
      • The episode begins with Master Fong setting 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 steps to the start, takes a deep breath...and promptly turns around, walks to the finish line (it's a circle, so the line is just behind the beginning) 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 exercise, and Master Fong praises Clay for solving it.
      • Later, 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 strength 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.
      • In a third demonstration, the Xiaolin Showdown of the episode 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.
      • Fourth but by no means least is when Clay is confronted by Le Mime, and sees that the mime is mimicking every move he makes, blocking the way forward. Clay's response? Tricking Le Mime into punching himself in the face... by punching himself in the face. Clay, being tougher, is still standing. The smaller, weaker, less durable mime? Flat on his back, out cold.
    • The show features countless Shen Gong Wu, each of which grants its user a different amazing abilities. While there are certain Shen Gong Wu that reach near Story-Breaker Power levels, one of the most commonly used is the Fist of Tebigong, which is pretty much limited to allowing the wielder to unleash a Megaton Punch. It pales in comparison to other Wu, but nearly everyone is vulnerable to being punched hard in the face. The Fist is also useful because of its commonness: since nearly every episode features a Xiaolin Showdown in which Shen Gong Wu are wagered, the various Wu that are Too Awesome to Use can't be gambled for fear of losing them, so having something to bet that's useful but doesn't risk the world being destroyed if it falls into the wrong hands is an invaluable asset for the good guys.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Boring Yet Practical


Layover in Chicago

Crow draws up a workable itinerary for a walking tour of the city's main attractions, he goes on for so long it led to Gypsy falling asleep for a couple of seconds before Joel nudges her awake.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (12 votes)

Example of:

Main / NapInducingSpeak

Media sources: