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Cheese Strategy

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"They're using cheesy, underhanded tactics against us. Like logically extrapolating the possible consequences of the powers they have and then invoking those options, instead of just following the obvious intention and playing fair!"

In many video games, player skill is a requirement to improve or to advance. After all, in order to prove that you are prepared to face higher-level enemies or higher-skill levels, you have to prove you are capable of dealing effectively with enemies at the current level.

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These requirements will often be true tests of a player's skill or mettle, perhaps even more than the Final Boss itself. Be it a challenging boss fight, a notoriously difficult level, a sidequest involving sheer luck or a ludicrous degree of skill, there will occasionally be moments in the game where a player's patience is tested just as much as their ability.

Most of the time, there's an intended strategy, and no real other way to beat it. So all you can do is keep playing, keep trying, keep restarting, and getting better over time. Sometimes there are tactics that a player can exploit to make things easier for themselves, either intentionally-programmed or not. But at the end of the day, you can stand victorious and feel satisfied at having successfully defeated such a difficult test of skill.

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And then there's these strategies.

What separates a cheese strategy from other more accepted strategies can vary; often, they're considered "no-effort" or "low-skill" strategies by a large chunk of the fandom, be it in a single or multiplayer game. Sometimes, they're considered boring to play with or watch. Sometimes they egregiously break immersion with a story or character, lock out interesting game content, or make preferred or "canon" endings impossible. Using such a strategy will net you a large amount of hate from viewers, Scrubs and "Stop Having Fun" Guys alike, yet at the same time, these are the kinds of strategies that whoring players will devote their energy toward.

In order for something to qualify as a cheese strategy, however, it must fulfill a number of criteria.

  1. It must be considered the "wrong" way to play the game. In any gaming community, there is almost always a "right" way to play a given game. Cheese strategies will almost always run counter to that out of necessity, given it involves circumventing difficulty brought on by this "correct way". Whether that means that the strategy is too easy, makes the game dull to play and/or watch, or causes any other number of "unwanted" results is up to the game and community.
  2. It must succeed relatively often. Strategies wouldn't be quite so widespread if they didn't work. Cheese strategies do, and thus that makes it an attractive option for everyone to try and advance their in-game rank.
  3. Optionally, it may be reviled by a large section of the fanbase. In any game with Self Imposed Challenges or a Casual/Competitive Conflict, there will inevitably be a set of "acceptable" strategies or tactics, and this would not be one of them, leading to a lot of players with negative feelings about it. However, usually more in single-player games, cheese strategies may not only be accepted, but praised for how well they exploit game mechanics. Some cheese strategies may be seen as funny, interesting or even more immersive to the story/game world than the "real" solution. It very heavily depends on the game and the community.
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Obviously, bringing up such strategies can be a huge Berserk Button for some players, especially if counter-playing such a strategy isn't terribly easy to do or if it is seen as an invalid way to complete a challenge. Use such a strategy in a multi-player environment at your own risk.

The term "Cheese" as used for questionable gaming choices originates from the Street Fighter II fanbase.

May overlap with A.I. Breaker, Easy Level Trick (especially in single-player games), Dungeon Bypass in games centered around puzzle-solving and exploration, Tier-Induced Scrappy (particularly the first variety), or a Game-Breaker mechanic, where a character, object, strategy, etc., is so fundamentally broken that merely using them elicits anger.


Examples:

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    Tabletop Games 
  • In BattleTech, the use of massive numbers of small, fast units like the Savannah Master hovercraft (which weighs a mere five tons) is considered this. If the terrain favors them, they can zip around a force of fewer, heavier units and attack from all directions, or make 20 hex ramming attacks that will likely kill the Savannah Master but potentially cripple or destroy the leg of a mech, and if you've got 12 Savannah Masters vs 4 mechs, that's almost always a winning trade off.
  • Dungeons & Dragons: 3rd edition had "CoDzilla" (Cleric or Druid + Godzilla), in reference to the fact that those two classes had extremely powerful physical and magical abilities that allowed them to dominate the game.
  • Magic: The Gathering:
    • A mono-Red "burn" deck consisting largely of direct damage spells is often called a "cheese deck".
    • There is a mono-Blue equivalent containing mainly counterspells and bounce spells. Appropriately, it's called "Blue cheese".
  • Warhammer 40,000: The "Fish of Fury" exploit (which even Tau players didn't like) allowed Tau players to move their Devilfish hovertanks as mobile cover by hiding hard-hitting Fire Warriors behind the surprisingly hard-to-kill Devilfish to protect them from melee attacks.
    • 5th edition's Grey Knights were widely reviled for the immense Character Derailment they received in the fluff and for being utterly overpowered in the crunch (notably, one of their special weapons made the Tau unable to shoot them).
  • Pokémon: Base Set Mewtwo has a move that expends a Psychic Energy but prevents Mewtwo from any attacks. One viable deck consisted of 1 Mewtwo and everything else as Psychic Energy, the "Mewtwo Mulligan," ensuring that once Mewtwo shows up, it cannot be harmed as the opponent slowly runs out of cards to use unable to do anything about it. This resulted in two changes to the game to prevent this: The first is that if you start a game with no Pokémon, the opponent is no longer required to draw a card—this was the crux of the Mewtwo Mulligan deck to ensure the opponent had fewer remaining cards; and the second is that Base Set Mewtwo was eventually banned from official tournaments and no Pokémon card printed since has had an attack like it.

    Multiplayer Video Games 
  • Counter-Strike: Global Offensive:
    • The use of "Auto-snipers" and scoped automatic rifles will get a player called out in a competitive match. Oftentimes, the reasons for this being so are silly, such as the scoped rifles being "COD rifles", but auto-snipers (sniper rifles that can fire several shots in quick succession rather than needing a bolt pull after every shot) are seen as a no-skill weapon. However, to counter-balance this, they also have the highest price tag of any rifle in the game, outpricing the much more acceptable AWP by $5,000 to $4,750, only outpriced by the M-249 machine gun. Notably, the professional circuit does not use them almost at all, in favor of the AWP, preferring the one-hit kill potential to the idea of a semi-rapid-fire sniper.
    • Until it was patched around, the "Olof Boost" on Overpass was considered a cheese strategy. A CT player would boost on top of an ally to be able to peek over a high wall on the map, allowing them to see everything in the middle and snipe freely. Enemy players would be forced to go long ways to points, or else put themselves at risk of getting sniped from a position that was hard to fight back against, and this pretty much forced the entire Terrorist side to commit to one direction and easily be detected and played around. It should be noted that in the infamous series the name came fromnote , Fnatic (the team that won using the tactic) voluntarily forfeit after the tournament organizers called for a do-over.
  • The "Noob Combo" from Halo is a common tactic where a player uses the Plasma Pistol overcharge to immediately drop an enemy's shields then switches to a headshot weapon for a One-Hit Kill. While most games have included nerfs to make the combo less effective, its ease of use and lack of effective counterattack make it a reliable strategy across the series.
  • In Left 4 Dead, one of the best ways to survive a horde of Infected is to simply have the entire team huddle in a corner while spamming the shove key. With everyone on top of each other and shoving, it's virtually impossible for a Hunter or a Smoker to nab someone, as they're immediately shoved off by another teammate. Meanwhile, normal Infected are left stumbling into each other to be easily shot down, while the Boomer's main weapon (the Horde and the blinding effect of his bile) is rendered ineffective as a result of everyone being so close to each other. Nothing short of a Tank or the Survivors running of ammo will break this formation, making it incredibly unfun to play against in Versus. This is the reason why the sequel introduced Infected specifically designed to counter this strategy, namely the Spitter, who punishes players who sit in one place with ever-increasing amounts of damage, and the Charger, who can toss an entire team with one attack. A stamina gauge is also added to limit the number of times a Survivor can shove consecutively, further neutering this tactic.
  • Marvel vs. Capcom 3: In the Ultimate expansion, Morrigan became infamous for her Flight-cancel/Soul Fist/Astral Vision Bullet Hell combination strategy. Soul Fist is a projectile that Morrigan can fire in the air or on the ground, and the recovery can be canceled if Morrigan activates and deactivates flight immediately after firing one. On its own, this creates an annoying amount of projectile spam on the screen, but if she has her super move, Astral Vision, active, the problem becomes doubled because two Morrigans are doing the same thing. She can make things even more difficult on her opponent by having Doctor Doom as her assist partner, because he can fire missiles that fall from the sky, preventing the few characters that can fly away from the Soul Fists from doing so. This strategy is one of the major reasons that FGC Pro Chris G. became a villain during his dominant run in UMvC3. You can view it in action here (also, note the commentators' reactions to the tactic).
  • Overwatch:
    • The most prominent "Cheese Strategy" involves a player using the character Bastion — a robot that transforms into an extremely powerful (but immobile) turret that can dish out more damage-per-second than an entire team combined. The rest of the Bastion's team simply picks characters designed to protect, heal, resurrect or move the Bastion. It's considered the most annoying strategy to use in Overwatch, but it takes a surprising amount of team coordination and planning to pull it off. It rarely works well at a high level or when the enemy is expecting it, because if the Bastion dies once, then the element of surprise is gone and it will be difficult to set up the formation again.
    • A strategy considered "cheesy" for being easy, simple, and old is for one player to pick Pharah while the other picks Mercy. Known as "Pharmercy", this results in a fast, mobile airborne threat that can spam missiles at enemies from a safe distance in the air. Pharah's normal weakness (that she has no protection in the sky) is countered by having Mercy accompany her, as Mercy can heal her from most forms of damage while also boosting Pharah's damage, making it much easier to kill low-health targets.
    • Other "cheese" strats within Overwatch include the use of "Builder" characters like Symmetra and Torbjorn, who can leave turrets behind at locations they believe the enemy will attack from and make it difficult for said enemies to get close without taking automatic damage. The turrets do all of the work for the player, which can feel extremely cheap to an enemy.
  • Primal Rage is probably the first game to acknowledge the term, as spamming cheap moves leads to a "no cheese" sign, making the hit not count and breaking the combo.
  • There are several widely reviled cheese rushes in Starcraft II:
    • The most widely used cheese for the bulk of the game has been the Protoss Cannon Rush. Photon cannons are static defenses intended for base defense, but are relatively cheap and have very high HP and damage for their cost. Furthermore, the Protoss method of constructing buildings is to have a probe open a portal to teleport the whole building in from another world. While it takes time to warp in, the building needs no further help from the probe to do so, which allows even just one probe to rapidly plant down multiple buildings. Protoss (and Zerg) buildings also have the advantage over Terran that there is not an exposed worker constructing the building, and you can’t just stop construction by picking off the worker; unless you pull together enough units to out-DPS the growth of the building’s hit points, it will finish regardless of being attacked during construction. This even makes it viable to wall off using warping buildings! To execute a canon rush a Protoss will construct a forge as their first building while sending a probe to the other side of the map, which builds one or more pylons and then a bunch of cannons directly outside their opponent's base. The chance of success is improved if one builds the first ones just outside of the enemy’s vision and the enemy fails to scout it, or if you use obstacles such as cliff edges or mineral patches to wall off parts of your cannons or pylons and reduce the surface area that mêlée units can attack. Once a beachhead is established the Protoss will slowly creep forward building more cannons until the enemy is killed. A one-trick cheeser will gg if the opponent defends the canon rush, but a better player will see if the cannon rush isn’t going to win the game by itself and transition into a macro strategy while the enemy is contained and preoccupied, thus gaining a good chance of winning the match eventually. Pro player PartinG is notorious for cannon rushing even at the pro level.
    • A Protoss can build a proxy Nexus in or near an opponent's base, and either use battery overcharge to increase the rate that a shield battery will heal their attacking units (such as a Void Ray), or use the Recall ability to teleport a superior army right into the opponent's base.
    • In the Wings of Liberty days, many levels of play were dominated by the Protoss Void Ray Rush. A Void Ray is a mid-tier air unit that fires in a continuous beam, and in its initial incarnation this beam did more damage the longer it was maintained. The Void Ray Rush was a build designed to hurry out a Void Ray as fast as possible, with the expectation that if an opponent didn't specifically prepare for it, the Void Ray could first charge up to max damage by firing on a building, and then maintain that damage bonus when it switched fire to another unit, thus quickly killing any anti-air unit that could threaten it as soon as it was produced. The cheese was prevalent enough that Blizzard completely changed how Void Rays worked, turning Prismatic Alignment into a manually activated ability that does not increase damage in stages, but instead temporarily increases damage versus buildings and armored units at the cost of reduced move speed.
    • In Legacy of the Void it is still possible to Void Ray rush, but the method has changed: the cheese Protoss will produce out of proxy stargates, and build shield batteries on the low ground outside the opponent’s main base. The Void rays can keep up constant pressure by alternating between attacking while their shields are high, and falling back to recharge depleted shields at the shield batteries. The cliff, which normally serves to protect the defender's main base from attack by ground units, instead hobbles the defender by preventing their ground units from giving chase to the Void rays as they withdraw.
    • Proxy Tempest is another Protoss option, which involves proxying stargates near the opponent's base and rapidly building a Fleet Beacon to enable tempest production. The cheeser may begin with proxy Void Rays to initiate the pressure early, and quickly transition to building tempests. Tempests are slow-moving siege flyers that have relatively low DPS, but they have extremely long attack range. With the help of observers or oracles for vision, a sufficient number of tempests can abuse cliffs and shield batteries to bombard the enemy to death from a safe distance, picking off the defending units and destroying the buildings before they can get out enough anti-air fliers to counter. Upgrade them with Tectonic Destabilizers, and they do double the damage to structures, allowing them to melt through them at an alarming rate.
    • Worker rushes are their own category of all-in cheese. In the early game, when the combat units are few or zero in number, pulling workers off of mining to attack the enemy is a viable strategy.
      • Zerg Drone Rushes involve attacking the enemy base with all of one's Drones almost immediately, with the help of what's known as the Extractor Supply Exploit. Zerg buildings are constructed by having a Drone transform into the building, consuming the Drone in the process; the loss of drones in the building process is compensated for by the Zerg's ability to produce workers at a faster rate than the other races. However if you cancel the building before it finishes, you get back the drone and part of the resources you paid for it. By starting to build two Extractors, the cheapest buildings, and then beginning production on two more Drones before cancelling the Extractors, the Zerg goes past the normal Supply limit without needing to spawn an Overlord. This allows the Zerg to reach the opponent's base with as many or only slightly fewer workers compared to the opponent before the opponent has gotten any actual combat units, and the Zerg relies upon surprise and better micro to win the Worker vs. Worker fight. But regardless of who wins, the game is generally over in less than 5 minutes.
      • Another option is to rush the production of combat units, and then pull anywhere from several to all of the workers to reinforce the all-in attack. For example, a Zerg can start building their spawning pool at their starting worker count, spawn zerglings as soon as it finishes, and pull the drones to send together with the zerglings to the enemy base. It doesn’t hit as early as a pure worker rush, but the combination of combat units for DPS and workers as meat shields/cannon fodder has a surprisingly good chance of winning.
      • One technique for a pure worker rush is to invoke Actually Four Mooks by clicking all of the workers onto a single mineral patch or gas geyser, causing them to all converge inside one worker’s footprint and overlap together. This stack of workers will look and move as if it were just one worker, as long as you keep them all selected as you move-command them to the enemy base. Even if there’s a potential giveaway such as some out-of-sync animated movement of their body parts, the average opponent probably won’t pay enough attention to notice because they assume that it’s the obligatory single worker scout snooping around their base, which is not usually a big deal. Therefore, they won’t realize the danger until the moment when that one worker suddenly splits into twelve or more and starts attacking their mineral line. Probes are especially good for the stacking trick because they’re floating, limbless objects with no potential for out-of-sync animation, so that the only tells are the brightness of overlapping energy trails behind them, or the brighter glow of more than one of them carrying minerals.
    • The Zerg equivalent to a Protoss cannon rush is the Spine Crawler Rush. Spine crawlers are the anti-ground static defense buildings of the Zerg, but unlike bunkers or photon cannons they have the ability to uproot, walk, and root themselves again on any ground that has creep on it. A cheesy Zerg player can plant a proxy hatchery in the opponent's natural expansion area—or even sneak a drone to build it in a blind spot inside the opponent’s main—and when the creep starts to spread from the completed hatchery the cheese player will mutate drones into spine crawlers and start poking away at the enemy's units and buildings, uprooting and advancing forward as needed. Queens are also a necessary part of this cheese, as they can heal the spine crawlers and plant creep tumors to advance the creep forward. Hell, in Zerg versus Zerg you can even build crawlers on your opponent’s creep; it doesn’t discriminate!
    • The nydus rush, also for Zerg. The nydus network is a building which allows the Zerg to use giant nydus worms for underground rapid transit, and basically works like teleportation; you load your army into the nydus network, and you can choose any piece of ground you have vision of as the spot for a nydus worm to burst its head out of the ground, and open its mouth to vomit out the units inside. While the nydus can also be used in the mid or late game, particularly for hit-and-run attacks with Swarm Hosts, the cheese is done by going for an early lair and building the nydus network as soon as possible. Build lots of queens; supplement with zerglings, banelings, or roaches; load them all into the network; and use an overlord to scout a spot inside the opponent's main base, preferably a blind spot where they won't notice the worm starting to disturb the ground. The nydus worm bursts out of the ground inside the enemy base, letting out a cry that will alert the opponent if he didn't see it already, but if you played your cards right it will be too late. You unload the queens first because they can tank a fair amount of damage, they can attack both ground and air, and they can heal each other and the worm with transfuse so the enemy can't just snipe the worm before the whole Zerg army comes through. You protect the worm while your units finish coming out, and then you go to town on the enemy base and army. If you're feeling cheeky, send some drones through the nydus as well and start morphing them into spine crawlers on the creep generated by the worm. Use the queens to spawn creep tumors to start spreading the creep through the enemy base, so that the spine crawlers can work their way forward as in the regular spine crawler rush.
    • The Terrans have their own defensive structure cheese in II with the Planetary Fortress rush. While it lacks the relatively low cost of Spine Crawlers or Photon Cannons and can NOT Lift Off to move like the Command Center foundation structure, the Fortress is one of the toughest structures in the game. It has 1500 HP, as many base armor points as a Battlecruiser, and twin Ibex cannons that deal splash damage while also being Friendly Fireproof. Unlike with Zerg or Protoss buildings, the Fortress can be quickly repaired by SCVs and may produce even more SCVs for repair. Five SCVs may hide inside the fortress to prevent them from dying. It can be further improved with the Engineering Bay upgrades Neosteel Armor, which increases capacity from five to ten SCVs while adding two armor points; and Hi-Sec Auto tracking, which increases the range of its cannons from six to seven. The Fortress is typically built at a choke point to contain the opponent in their base, and may be reinforced with units like Siege Tanks.
    • In Legacy of the Void, a Terran can do a Battlecruiser rush by opening with a 1-1-1 build order and starting to build the Fusion Core a little after three minutes in, using a gas-saving unit composition for early-game defense and map control while banking up for BCs. If the Terran is paranoid about being scouted, they can proxy the Fusion Core. BCs are an extremely expensive 400 minerals and 300 gas, which is why you normally don’t expect to see them until the late game, but they have a ton of hit points and armor, a high DPS rapid-fire laser attack, the ability to fire while moving, the tactical jump ability to teleport anywhere on the map regardless of distance or vision, and the Yamato Cannon upgrade that gives them a powerful long-range special attack. They become even more survivable if accompanied by repair SCVs. Not even five minutes and thirty seconds into the game, the cheese Terran can tactical jump their first Battlecruiser right over an opponent's mineral line to massacre the workers. Actually, because a ghostly outline of the BC precedes the ship's actual exit from the jump, it can be better to jump to the nearest out-of-vision area behind the enemy mineral line so as to fly in with less warning. The BC user must micro carefully and know the right time to escape so they don’t lose this first BC to defending fire, but success means dealing a serious blow to the enemy economy and grabbing the initiative. Once one or two more BCs have been made, and the first one’s been fully repaired, the Terran can combine them with ground forces and move out quickly to potentially steamroll an opponent who is caught off guard. Even if the victim of the rush manages to roll with it and apply pressure to the Terran in return, the herd of BCs becomes a constant thorn in their side by flying in to raid bases or deny expansions, jumping away before any of them can be taken out, and returning each time fully repaired and in greater numbers. The BC rush is mainly an anti-Zerg cheese, since Zerg's only early game anti-air units are Queens and spore crawlers. It's less likely to work against Protoss because Stalkers can be an effective counter to the first BC jump.
    • Another rush that a Terran may peform is a Thor rush. Like with a Battlecruiser rush, the Terran will focus on gas-lean units in order to quickly build a Factory (placing it next to a tech lab addon), and an Armory in order to begin building a Thor ASAP. While that is going on, Marines are trained to accompany and tank damage for the Thor and a Starport is placed to build Medivacs for early drop harassment, healing the Marines, and carrying the Thor(s) to vantage points. Some SCVs are brought along for this rush to keep the Thor alive, and if executed well, then the opponent has to contend with a seemingly invulnerable Thor that can quickly burst down single targets with their heavy cannons. Additionally, the Thor comes with two anti-air payloads which can deal with any air units: One that deals bonus damage against light targets and causes splash damage, and another that's suitable for armored targets. Extraneous steps may be left out depending on how all-in the Thor rush is intended to be and the Thor(s) can be produced from a proxy Factory or two to further boost the surprise factor.
    • Wings of Liberty:
      • Most missions against Zerg become a cakewalk once the jetpack-equipped Reaper unit is unlocked, as they combine high speed, the ability to jump up and down ledges, high anti-Light damage (which includes most Zerg ground units) and devastating anti-building damage. Building up a large force of Reapers and a few medics becomes a near-unstoppable deathball that ravages infantry swarms and bases alike. It's helpless against air units, but with enough Reapers you can simply ignore this problem, especially if you get the Tech Reactor upgrade from the Protoss research tree that lets one barracks train two reapers at once.
      • At a certain level on the Zerg research tree you can choose the Hercules dropship, which compared to a medivac has far more HP, several times the capacity, and unloads troops faster. In many missions it allows you to simply fly through enemy anti-air defenses while ignoring their damage, and unload an army directly onto your objective.
      • A number of missions can be cheesed using the Orbital Strike upgrade from the highest level of the Protoss Research tree, which allows units built at your barracks to be deployed instantly in drop pods to any location on the map. In some cases you can totally bypass all A.I. defenses and win the mission in mere minutes by simply scanning for vision, and mass-dropping Marines or Reapers directly onto the target. One notable mission is "The Gates Of Hell", in which you're supposed to build up an army by rescuing groups of friendly units that are scattered across the map, and then use it to save the imperiled camp of General Warfield by killing the Nydus worms which keep spewing out Zerg attackers. The cheese method is to build some Academies and tactical nukes, drop Ghosts or Specters into Warfield's camp by Orbital Strike, and call down nukes on the Worms to clear the mission with minimal effort.
      • One of the easier ways to complete the final mission "All In" is to select Hive Mind Emulator from the Zerg Research menu in the Hyperion Lab, complete "Belly of the Beast" to select the air version "All In" and construct Hive Mind Emulators en mass. If done right, you'll be able to steal many of the Zerg fliers that approach your base and build up a death ball of fliers well beyond your supply limit and turn the tables against the Zerg force who are supposed to be fighting you at an advantage.
    • Heart of the Swarm: As the game gives you a choice for which mission to take next, by choosing a single path and quickly accessing Kerrigan's transformation power up and upgrades before returning to earlier missions, it is both possible and easy to use high level transformed Kerrigan to completely solo many earlier missions.
    • Legacy Of The Void: The Protoss campaign features Void Rays with the original un-nerfed prismatic alignment mechanic. If you can put together a critical mass and get them charged up, you can simply fly from one end of the map to the other while almost instantly vaporizing every enemy unit and building in your path.
  • Street Fighter:
    • The earlier installments featured "Hadoken spam", due to a lack of viable ways to deal with projectiles. Players could just pick their favorite Hadoken user and simply spam the attack, and their opponent would either die from chip damage or have to risk finding a way past the constant barrage.
    • This video and subsequent article throw a spotlight on old days of fighting games (Street Fighter II in particular) and how "cheap" throws used to be. In short, back in those days, throws were one-button close-range attacks that couldn't be blocked or broken in any way, and some characters could even use them repeatedly in loops. To make matters worse, since throws did not have a "whiff animation" back then, messing up the execution or timing for a throw usually meant that the attacker still got an attack of some kind or (with more advanced tech like "negative edging") simply did nothing. It's mentioned both in the video/article and their comment sections that there used to be a lot of House Rules regarding throws, such as the loser getting back their quarter if they were beaten this way, that were in place to prevent the all-too-common fistfights that would result from such annoying tactics.
    • A common strategy in Fighting Games is "chipping out" an opponent; that is, forcing an opponent to block a series of special abilities that cause "Chip Damage" and slowly whittle away their health until they die. This strategy is so derided that the Street Fighter Alpha series literally had a small "cheese" icon appear on the screen instead of the normal victory icon if a player won this way. In later games, the icon was simply replaced with a "C", which can either mean "Cheese" or "Cheap" depending on the game. Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and Street Fighter X Tekken both included ways to avoid taking any chip damage completely, while Street Fighter V, Tekken 7, and Soul Calibur VI all made it impossible to lose by chip damage (unless certain conditions are met by the enemy).
  • Street Fighter X Tekken has a faster timer than most fighting games, leading to a lot of rounds ending in a time out. As a result, some players will switch to playing all defense as soon as they get even a small lead, aiming to win by running out the clock.
  • Often referred to just as "cheese" in Super Mario Maker and its sequel, it references a design oversight that allows players to skip parts or the entirety of levels. This design oversight can be a wall being too low (thus allowing players to jump over it), the player being able to use their frames of Mercy Invincibility to skip obstacles, or the ability to bring an item or Power-Up into an area where it shouldn't be. ** Notably, cheese can also be done on the part of developers. Normally, both games require them to test and beat their own level in order for it to be played by others online, as a way of preventing the spread of deliberately unbeatable levels. Some developers, however, may bypass the whole process with either a "Dev star" — a hidden Invincibility Power-Up that lets them skip difficult sections — or a "Dev door" — a hidden door or pipe the developer can take to skip right to the end. This allows one to create a ridiculously hard level that is clearable in theory, but next to impossible for any but the best players in practice, and developers who do this are widely regarded as lazy for not bothering to check if their levels are genuinely beatable.
  • Super Smash Bros.:
    • Super Smash Bros. Melee
      • The Ice Climbers were, at one point, considered a Tier-Induced Scrappy of the worst variety, until the player Wobbles discovered the technique of Wobbling. By managing to de-sync Popo and Nana, he would grab an opponent and begin headbutting them. Normally, when Popo and Nana headbutt a grabbed opponent, they do so at the same time, with a window of time between hits for the opponent to react, so that there is still some room for them to escape the grab like with every other character. But because of the desync, Popo and Nana would instead stagger their hits instead of doing them at the same time, and the opponent would be stun-locked while the Ice Climbers could indefinitely build damage before throwing the opponent out with a guaranteed death. Following the discovery of the technique, Ice Climbers had a number of character-specific tournament rules put in place, legalizing the move but heavily regulating its use (such as a damage cap before an opponent must be KOed), and now they're a fairly regularly used character, but are routinely booed if a player starts using Wobbling with no other strategy.
      • Much like the Ice Climbers, Jigglypuff was once considered one of the worst characters in the game, until a player named HungryBox figured out that it was possible to play the small, fast and floaty puffball with extremely defensive hit-and-run tactics that slowly wore down an opponent until either the opponent grew frustrated or desperate and made a mistake that could lead to a K.O., or the clock ran out while Jigglypuff had a stock lead. Then Armada fought HungryBox's defensive strategy with an even more defensive game, essentially taking HungryBox's own strategy and turning it against him with a hard counter champion (Young Link), and dominating matches against HBox for several years. HBox was eventually forced to adopt a far more balanced approach to deal with Armada, and eventually rose to become the top Melee player in the world, dominating several tournaments. Unfortunately, his tactics became so reviled by the Smash community that debates have raged to ban Jigglypuff simply because its slow, campy style supposedly "doesn't belong in Melee." HBox has also become one of the most hated players in the Smash community, often receiving boos, verbal abuse and other harassment both online and at live events (including once getting a crab thrown at him after winning a tournament).
    • In the early days of Brawl play, before Project M began to make the rounds, Meta Knight was infamous for being nearly untouchable in the right hands. In particular, his down-B attack caused him to disappear from the map, reappear, and slash opponents while invincible. It became a common tactic to simply spam that attack, simply because you were literally untouchable so long as it was well-timed, which wasn't hard to figure out. This led to Meta Knight being banned entirely from competitive play until Project M rebalanced the character.

    Single-player Video Games 
  • Advance Wars:
    • Mech Rushing is a simple yet diabolically effective strategy on a lot of maps. Even moreso when using Sami, who gains infantry attack bonuses and has a 1.5x property capture rate. As Mech Units are cheap enough to spam, can capture properties, cross terrain like rivers and mountains, and are effective at taking out most ground units save for the heavy hitters like the more powerful tank units, you can overwhelm enemy units and force your way onto their properties, costing them opportunities to repair, supply, and gain funds as you chip away at their health and get ever closer to their HQ. The only time it's not effective is on a map with few properties or when facing an opponent like Grit who can pick them off with increased indirect attacks or when facing Max and Jess who have boosted vehicle attack power.
    • Advance Wars: Black Hole Rising infamously has "Two Week Test", a mission where Colin must Hold the Line for 14 days against Lash and a vastly superior army under her command. However, as it's a deployment map where you start with no units, it's impossible for Lash to win by routing all your troops if you never build anything. Then, with no targets to slow her down, her faster-moving vehicles will press forward and clutter all over your properties, preventing her own troops from reaching your HQ and winning by capture. In other words, you win by doing absolutely nothing because the AI was never coded to anticipate such a stupid strategy as doing nothing to defend yourself.
  • Baldur's Gate has many:
    • Kiting, that is, fleeing from melee enemies while periodically slinging missiles to them. While it was very effective, it could hardly be considered cheese in the original game; but the Enhanced Edition uses an updated version of the sequel engine, where characters are faster and can easily dispose of many hard opponents through arrows.
    • You can divide groups of enemies by luring some of them in a room and closing the door. Sometimes, you can also exit a building, some of them will follow you, but being at a numerical disadvantage they will quickly lose.
    • Talk-attack. Some fights are triggered after a dialogue. However, if you are quick enough, you can order your character to go to talk to the NPC before he/she autotalks with you, that will enter in a state where he/she won't become hostile even if you attack them until you eventually talk to them (or enough time passes). This has been fixed in the Enhanced Edition and they will become hostile anyway; however, you might still cause them some damage before possible protection spells kick and this comes handy in many situations.
      • There are also some instances where a neutral character scripted to become hostile after the auto-dialogue is surrounded by mooks that are already hostile. You can make the fight easier by ordering to talk to that, thus you can kill the mooks before actually speaking.
  • Baldur's Gate II: human single class characters might dual class, meaning that they permanently stop progressing in their first class and temporarily lose all their abilities, until their second class reaches one level higher than the starting one. Deciding when to dual class is a strategic choice, as waiting too much time could mean that you would play most of the game without your former abilities just for being a bit more powerful in the very end. This limitation can be cheesed out by temporarily dismissing party members (to avoid splitting XP with them) and inscribing scrolls in the mage book (if the protagonist is not a mage, then one companion could be left in for the purpose). High level scrolls could earn tons of XP when scribed, thus players can avoid all the time needed to acquire levels in the new class right from the beginning. Since the amount of XP required to level up increases for every level, it's better to put 100.000 XP in a level 1 character to jump 7 or 8 levels in a row, rather than split them with 1-5 companions already at level 10 that probably won't even even get to 11. Enjoy your kensai/mage fully operational, right from chapter two...
    • Even more cheese after the Enhanced Edition introduced a mechanic that bridged the gap between the protagonist and newly recruited companions by giving them free XP if theirs were too low compared to your character. This way, you can cheese your protagonist level through scrolls (or by solo-farming respawning enemies in certain areas), easily reach levels that otherwise you would meet much later in the game, recruit anybody and see your party magically level up for free to keep pace with you.
    • Beholders are one of the most dangerous foes you can encounter, unless you go to Deidre (a merchant added by the collector's edition of BGII and later become permanent thanks to Throne of Bhaal and the Enhanced Edition) and buy the Shield of Balduran, that reflects their rays back. Then, you can solo their lairs without any effort.
    • Similarly, Kangaxx was considered the most difficult enemy in the game, until players learnt that Minsc's berserk is immune to his imprisonment spell. You can also pickpocket him to get two copies of its powerful item. Enjoy your easy loot and XP.
    • Why worrying about dragons, since they all start neutral, so you can fill the area with traps before starting the fight, to see them get tons of damage before their protection spells kick in?
    • After Throne of Bhaal introduced the Watcher's Keep, since it was reachable right from the Shadows of Amn part, players could avoid the challenge and simply use a thief to steal all the most powerful items in the first level of the keep to get equipment that was intended for the expansion (thus it's blatantly overpowered for the first chapters of So A) and that can be sold for tons of money.
  • The Battle Cats:
    • An enemy called Ms. Sign, which spawns infinitely on most stages before the Uncanny Legends, does nothing except attack for Scratch Damage at an extremely slow rate, while having lots of HP and knockbacks. As such, a common cheese strategy is to stall on stages where the boss comes out when the base is hit, and wait for Ms. Signs to come out and completely fill up the enemy's Arbitrary Headcount Limit. However, because it takes 900 seconds for Ms. Sign to spawn (and respawn) whenever she appears, cheesing most stages like this takes an obscenely long amount of time.
  • The Orphan of Kos from Bloodborne is considered one of the hardest bosses in the entire Soulsborne franchise, much less the game, yet there is a place in the arena where players can attack him from range and he will never become aggroed.
  • Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night has some savage bosses, but even ignoring the more Game Breakery moves that can be gained by grinding or cooking every meal there are some very cheesy strategies for a few of them:
    • All human opponents, including Zangetsu, Alfred, and the Doppleganger, are considerably vulnerable to poison. A very easy way to defeat them is to get a Stinger, a poisoning sword that is a regular drop from the Sidhe enemies, and use the occasional Hit And Run attack to keep them poisoned. Since most of them are fierce attackers and Alfred runs away like an asshole, you can focus entirely on dodging them while their health steadily drains, effectively neutering their difficulty.
    • The brutal Bonus Boss Master Carpenter can be rendered a complete non-threat by using Invert, standing above him, and swinging a Great Sword over and over again. He has no way to reach you up there and will just stand directly below you, helplessly hurling attacks, while you land hit after hit. Since he respawns, this is also a very cheesy Level Grinding tactic.
    • The other brutal Bonus Boss Kunekune can be lured into the next room which has crates. Since he slides on the ground, all you have to do is stand on the crate with your back to it, summon Silver Knight, and kick back and lol while Kunekune is helplessly drained of his health. Alternately, if you're willing to wait until the end-game, the Invert / Great Sword tactic works just as well on him as well.
  • Borderlands: Both Crawmerax from the first game, Borderlands 1 and Terramorphous from the second game, Borderlands 2, are brutal Bonus Bosses capable of one-shotting even a well-prepared team. But they both have a spot in their arenas where they cannot hit you with any of their attacks, while you can safely pump them full of lead.
  • Civilization is no stranger to these.
    • The general tactic of rushing the Great Library. The Great Library typically features a bonus of one free Technology for the civ that builds it, and choosing the right tech to take for free can launch a civ ahead of their opponents by as much as an entire era.
    • Civilization IV had an entire build centered around bum-rushing the technology "The Internet", which freely granted any technology already discovered by 2 civilizations if the player didn't already have it. By rushing it, this allows the player to focus on other methods of victory and let other civs discover technology for them.
    • Civilization V: The "Skill Dorado" strat, the derisively-named tactic of using Spain to get an x2 bonus when it comes to discovering World Wonders, spam building scouts, and sending them out to explore the world and try to find the El Dorado World Wonder before anyone else. Finding El Dorado gives the first player to find it 500 Gold, but with Spain, that makes it 1000, more than enough to buy every early-game building right off the bat and set yourself up for success, or to buy two Settlers and found a couple of cities nearby and begin expansion early. And that's without factoring in the bonuses they would get for finding other wonders along the way.
  • Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped:
    • There is a bug that can make the Tiny Tiger boss fight easy. When he sends out lions that charge at you in a linear line, Crash running to the top right corner will cause the lion to not contact Crash. This bug is still in the N-Sane Trilogy because performing this glitch causes the audience to throw cheese at you.
    • In Hog Ride, Road Crash, Orange Asphalt, and Area 51, you can utterly cheese the box gem and time trials by sitting on the start line for about a minute straight after the race begins and letting all of the hot rods get so far ahead of you that you'll never catch up to them before reaching the finish line. You don't need to actually come first to get either of these bonus spoils, and the time trial doesn't start at the green light but when you drive forward and touch the stopwatch. Without having to dodge the other racers, doing a crisp time trial or getting all of the boxes is trivially easy.
  • Cuphead: King Dice's battle. If you get all the way to the left or right of the screen before he brings his hand down to do his card attack, you can just stay behind his hand without fear of the cards hitting you.
  • In Dead Rising 2, normally the boss fight against Raymond Sullivan is very frustrating due to some very nasty tactics like brutal hand-to-hand combat, a HP to 1 attack, having a very small platform to stand on to fight him, and the ability to call in airstrikes if you're elsewhere. However, if you bring enough firepower and have decent timing, you can stand on the two crates and take potshots up at him. The zombies can't reach you, none of his attacks can touch you except for his gun, and since there's only one tiny place he can pop up to line up a shot, you'll be able to hit him long before he can fire on you — bring an LMG and you'll utterly school the guy without taking a single hit.
  • Devil May Cry:
    • A common tactic for DMC players is to replay the first few levels of the game over and over again and slowly Level Grind and farm Red Orbs until they can buy all of Dante's health and mana upgrades, and max out all of the weapons and abilities they've acquired up to that point, then repeat the process whenever new abilities, weapons or skills are unlocked. This is considered an acceptable, but boring way to play the game by even the developers, which is why it's available in each game.
    • In Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening, it's possible to defeat the game's second boss, Cerberus, by standing all the way to the left of the screen, hugged against the hitbox of the boss arena's wall. Most of his attacks can't hit Dante there, meaning all Dante has to do is spam attacks with his guns to slowly whittle the boss's health while dodging the few attacks that can reach him and punishing those with more damaging combos.
    • In Devil May Cry 4, the normally brutal Dante can be pretty effortlessly beaten if you climb atop the altar in the room. All he'll ever try and do is jump up there, and all you have to do to counter this is use Devil Bringer, which he can't dodge while jumping atop the altar, to grab him and hurl him back to the floor. Rinse, repeat, defeat.
  • Double Dragon: In the first Double Dragon on NES, there was an infamous glitch on the second level that allowed a player to give a section of the background a hitbox as if an enemy were standing there. The player can then beat on that one section of the stage infinitely until they maxed out all of their character's abilities, thus making the rest of the game much easier than it was intended to be.
  • Invoked in Eryi's Action against Croco. After landing two hits on him, Croco will jump to the right of the screen and throw a barrage of spike balls so big that it is near impossible to survive. The player has to go all the way to the right of the screen where the end up behind Croco making it where his barrage of spike balls won't hit them. Beating Croco without doing this and dodging the barrage instead awards an achievement.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • The Phantom Train in Final Fantasy VI can be defeated instantly by using a Phoenix Down on it, an item that revives dead party members.
    • Similarly, Gi Nattak in Final Fantasy VII can be instantly defeated by using an X-Potion (heals max HP), an Elixir (heals max HP & MP), or a Megalixir (heals max HP & MP for the entire party) on it. Phoenix Downs and Life spells work too, but their success rate on doing him in is only 25%.
    • Taharka in Final Fantasy IX is vulnerable to Heat, which KOs the target if they do anything.
    • Final Fantasy X: The Post-Final Boss Yu Yevon is something of an Almighty Idiot who doesn't use particularly powerful attacks or defenses (other than one flunky healing him for 9999 damage, but the party can easily outdo that kind of damage). One particularly well-known strategy involves exploiting his lack of Contractual Boss Immunity by inflicting the Zombie status on him, causing his own ally to damage him for quite a bit of damage. This is more or less the point, coming after very difficult battles: Yu Yevon was the driving entity behind Sin's constant regeneration and destructive impulses, but over millennia became entirely helpless without an Aeon to possess and turn into Sin anew. Regardless of whether you do the above or fight him normally, the battle is a Foregone Conclusion either way: your party has a permanent Auto-Revive status for the entire duration of the fight, along with the fights leading up to it, as Braska's Final Aeon is the actual final boss of the game.
    • In Final Fantasy XII, a strategy for some bosses is to stay out of reach of their melee attacks so they're limited to (normally less dangerous) ranged attacks, often by exploiting the terrain. A particularly cheesy example of this is with Fafnir, whose only ranged attacks are spells that can be reflected. Position your party behind the big rock, equip them with Ruby Rings and/or Mirror Mails for permanent Reflect status, and Fafnir won't be able to harm them at all.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • The game has its fair share of bosses that require some strategic thought, but in a case of Gameplay and Story Integration, in Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, Emperor Rudolf will not attack Alm, even if he is attacked first because Alm is his son. Given Rudolf is considered That One Boss, a common strategy is to simply keep everyone out of the line of fire and have only Alm attack him.
    • In the third stage of Radiant Dawn's endgame, none of the enemies, including the boss, Dragon King Dheginsea, will ever attack Kurthnaga or Ena, barring the boss using his area of effect attack when another applicable target is in range and they get hit by the crossfire because Kurth is one of Dheginsea's sons and Ena is the fiance of his other, deceased son. The boss in question is absolutely a That One Boss candidate, and while Kurth in particular starts that chapter weak, a common cheese strategy is to let him solo the entire stage for massive experience at minimal risk.
    • If you don't care about your time ranking and there's no reason to explore the map (i.e. for items or units that have to be picked up right away), the safest strategy is simply to huddle your army in a box in the corner of the map, and wait for the enemy to come to you. If done properly, the defenders on the edges facing the enemy will only be exposed to one enemy at a time (two for the poor sap on the corner), while your ranged units can stay 1 tile away from the action (meaning they can only be attacked at a range they can fight back from) and your healers can stay even deeper where they usually can't be attacked at all. Reinforcements also can't spawn on a tile that your units already occupy, preventing sneak attacks. This isn't always possible or practical depending on the map, but when it works, it works well.
    • In the spin-off game Fire Emblem Warriors, Minerva and Camilla have a dash that puts them out of attack range for anyone but archers, and a dash attack that has a massive area of effect and trivializes Kill Count objectives, so a common strategy is to simply spam that attack on crowds of enemies or enemy generals. The technique is sometimes referred to as "Slamspam" because it involves Minerva's and Camilla's (massive) dragons body-slamming the ground, hitting everything around them.
    • Whenever an immobile boss carries a melee weapon and a bow, attacking from whichever range they cannot counter and then moving/rescuing out of range is a viable tactic. This is practically mandatory when fighting Gomez in Fire Emblem: Thracia 776 due to him having endgame-level stats and sitting on a throne that gives 10 defense in Chapter 8X. Given that it's practically impossible to survive a single round of combat against him, the best and likely only route is to hit him with one of Asvel's spells from the range he cannot counterattack from (initially 2, since Gomez has an ax and a bow, and starts with the ax equipped), rescuing out to prevent Gomez from equipping his bow and repeating. Good luck, because obtaining Asvel in the first place is a major Guide Dang It!
  • In every installment of Football Manager, there's always one tactic with which you can simply throw even mediocre players into and suddenly become world-beaters. It usually changes from game to game as things get patched and the AI's logic is reworked, but this usually results in another one taking its place. In recent years, it's been the "Gegenpress" tactic, which is modeled after the usual MO of Jurgen Klopp's Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool sides and features intense pressing to win the ball back and a lightning-fast attack meant to score ASAP. It's not uncommon to see players take lowest-tier sides and rise up to the top flight and Champions League based on that tactic alone, with minimal personnel change.
  • In GoldenEye, it's a well-known fact that when Xenia runs across the bridge in the level "Jungle", her AI is unable to recognize that the bridge rails only reach her waist, but despite this, her AI treats it as it if were a full wall cover. As a result, she will not shoot you as she runs across it, but Bond can shoot her. Players often do.
  • Hollow Knight: The so-called "minion build", combining all the charms that send out minions to deal damage (Grimmchild, Weaversong and Glowing Womb) and then staying out of the way of the boss until it goes down, provides a slow but safe victory against some of the game's toughest foes, most notably Failed Champion. This is also true of some other bosses, and isn't the only cheese strategy in the game.
    • Nosk can be defeated pretty easily by just hiding directly near the edges of the little raised platform it runs across and either spamming spells, using the Minion Build, or just whacking it with your Nail enough times. Its projectile attack can't hit you, and its charge attack can only hit you when it's coming back (unless you kneel down or are using Shape of Unn to make your hitbox smaller, in which case it generally can't hit you even then). Most of the time its ceiling attack projectiles also won't hit you if you do this.
    • Crystal Guardian can be defeated without ever once hitting it with the nail, due to an oversight where the only thing that wakes it up is hitting it with the nail; hitting it with anything else will make it take damage but not wake up. This can be done with spells or the Minion Build mentioned above.
    • Probably intentional, but during the fight with the dream warrior Xero, his fight is on a raised platform that allows you to hide underneath it and heal.
    • During Elder Hu's fight, there's one corner close to the entrance to the area where you can hide and heal without taking any damage, even from the screen-spanning attack. If you stay here and use the Minion Build or other long-range builds, you effectively can deal with the boss without taking any damage.
    • During Marmu's fight, if you hide in a corner (generally the left one), Marmu will be unable to hit you 9/10 times because of the way she bounces around and will completely miss corners.
  • The Kingdom Hearts series, being an action-RPG, has no shortage of bosses that can be defeated with cheese.
    • In Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories' remake, certain sleights make fights unloseable, though it's counterbalanced by usually requiring time and effort spent building a deck needed to exploit these sleights.
      • Building a Zantetsuken deck allows a Sora player to permanently break every single card in an opponent's deck, meaning opponents can only reload or move around as an action.
      • Building a Lethal Frame deck trivializes boss fights, as Lethal Frame freezes an opponent in place to prevent them from attacking, before dealing fixed damage in several bursts, regardless of what cards are used as the attack card. It is not unheard of for Sora players to put together Lethal Frame decks specifically for boss fights, and a separate normal deck for general exploration.
    • In Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix+, the way a boss' "Revenge Value" works can be exploited to make boss fights a breeze. Normally, bosses in Kingdom Hearts typically have a damage threshold after which the boss will make itself invulnerable and counterattack to break out of a stunlock, which has been referred to as a Revenge Value (among other things, as it's an unofficial term). However, the playerbase has found ways around this.
      • The Roxas boss fight can be rendered effectively unloseable because of how the brief time in which Sora wields three keyblades modifies his arsenal. Typically, Growth abilities (gained from leveling up Drive forms) do not add any Revenge Value, as they normally do not deal any damage (they are High Jump, Quick Run, Glide, Aerial Dodge, and Dodge Roll). However, in the battle against Roxas, Sora can temporarily steal Roxas' keyblades, and while wielding three blades, Sora's Quick Run now deals damage because Roxas' keyblades do some damage in front of him. By using only Quick Run attacks against Roxas, Sora can indefinitely hit him without incrementing Roxas' Revenge Value (crossing Roxas' Revenge Value threshold has Roxas take his keyblades back), which allows Sora to combo until Roxas' health is depleted and then finish Roxas off with a combo finisher. This works for both his initial encounter as well as his Data boss fight.
      • Almost every single late-game boss can have their difficulty reduced to nearly zero (including Lingering Will) by utilizing a Jump, Combo Finisher routine, where Sora will jump (without High Jump), land ONLY an aerial combo finisher, and then repeat that over and over. While Sora lands, the boss will typically land and recover, but it's just enough time for Sora to jump and land another hit before the boss attacks. As well, by allowing the boss to land and recover, it resets any Revenge Value in the background, meaning this can be done indefinitely.
  • Both Kirby: Triple Deluxe and Kirby: Planet Robobot have copy abilities that make Kirby invincible. They are useable in the arenas, which make them far easier then they would be otherwise.
    • The developers caught on to this, however, in Planet Robobot. The final boss of the True Arena has an attack that it uses AFTER IT DIES that goes through most forms of invincibility. Said attack also deals 90% of Kirby's max health, sending anyone over reliant on invincibility abilities all the way back to the start of the mode. Did we mention that it's also a Marathon Level?
  • Knights of the Old Republic's many melee boss fights can usually be easily beaten by kiting them with a ranged character, though if they are Jedi characters, it doesn't work nearly as well due to the high chance of deflected blaster bolts.
  • The Legend of Zelda is no stranger to cheese.
    • In Zelda II: The Adventure of Link on the NES, Dark Link can be cheesed by crouching in the bottom-left corner and spamming the sword button. Dark Link is a notoriously difficult boss who seems able to react faster than humanly possible, and given the game's already-high difficulty, many opt to simply use this method to bring him down instead.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, several bosses can be defeated pretty easily once you get the Magic Cape or Cane of Byrna, both of which make you immune to everything but bottomless pits.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Morpha can be defeated without taking any damage simply by standing in any of the room's corners, where his tentacles cannot reach you. Link can also hookshot Morpha's core into a corner to prevent Morpha from being able to return to the water, ending the fight quickly with minimal damage.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask it's possible to defeat Goht by simply standing in the alcove at the entrance to the Boss Room where none of his attacks can hit you and shooting him with Fire Arrows every time he runs by, or even regular arrows when he stops to shoot electricity at you.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess: The final boss fight can be easily won just by pulling out the Fishing Rod and casting the line. Said boss will stare at it, allowing you to get free shots in. Notably, this was intentionally programmed in, as part of Nintendo's continuing reference to defeating bosses with unintended objects dating back to A Link to the Past and the butterfly net vs. Agahnim.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild often presents the player with obstacles that can be overcome in a variety of ways. While many players address them in the way suggested by the game, and some go by Self Imposed Challenges, often a very basic tool will allow one to bypass many difficulties, usually at the cost of time. For instance, Link's climbing ability makes it possible to simply go around many enemies, and he can produce unlimited bombs that can be spammed to eventually kill almost anything. Alternatively, simply blowing enemies into water with the Deku Leaf or blasting opponents from great heights with bombs and/or Stasis are popular ways of dealing with No-Gear Level Eventide Island. If skips or cheese to get past the intended puzzle solution are used inside of Shrines, the game can tell, and the Shrine Monk will often praise you for your resourcefulness.
  • In LISA: The Painful RPG, the combination of Birdie Hall and Terry Hintz has been shown to easily trivialize even the toughest boss fights. Birdie's Gasoline Spit attack inflicts a status that makes the enemy weak to Fire attacks, while Terry's The Hottest Dance is the most powerful Fire Attack in the game. Paired together, the two can easily kill everything from Joy Mutants to the brutal Bonus Boss in a couple of hits. Fly Minetti is often combined with the two to ensure that the frail Terry doesn't get hit by stun-locking enemies with his Puke skills. As a result, many fans will look down on those who use such a party.
  • Metroid Fusion:
    • In the room where Serris is fought, there is a spot underwater closest to the door you entered in. Crouch there, and Serris will never be able to hit you while you can blast away at him.
    • Similarly, for the second B.O.X. fight, if Samus hangs from the ladder above the raised underwater section, she cannot be hit by the security robot's jumping, and the missiles it fires are easy to take out with her plasma beam, and she is able to hit the robot's vulnerable section with a diagonal downward aim, making the boss trivially easy.
  • MLB: The Show:
    • Bunting has proven to be extremely difficult for the developers to balance; in each game, it is either far too strong or far too weak. This is largely because while the baseball's movement is based on the game's physics engine, the players' movements are all scripted. If the ball goes somewhere that the players can't cover or move to quickly, then the bunt is impossible to field. This led to online matches where players would simply bunt over and over and over again rather than actually trying to swing the bat.
    • Baserunning is extremely clunky; because player actions are scripted, it's hard to react to pick-off attempts or real time plays on the field. For this reason, players have developed a number of cheese strategies using glitches and AI manipulation to make running almost guaranteed against the CPU. There are also other strategies designed to work against online players as well.
  • Monster Girl Quest! Paradox RPG:
    • Draining MP to 0 makes quite a few bosses easier than they should be. This is because enemies at 0 MP still attempt to use skills that require MP, only to fail. Thus, a boss at 0 MP effectively skips many of their turns, and won't be able to use what are often their more dangerous skills. Angel bosses are especially affected, since most of their skills require MP.
    • Bosses in this game generally don't have as much Contractual Boss Immunity as bosses in typical games. This is taken to the point of some bosses being vulnerable to status ailments that stop them from acting, like Sleep. True, they tend to still have resistance to these ailments, but if you have reliable ways of inflicting them (the "X Success Up" line of abilities help) then you can keep these bosses in a helpless state.
  • Mortal Kombat II:
    • Shao Kahn, being a massively unfair SNK Boss, has a number of cheese strats dedicated to defeating him. Of note, spamming fast or low projectiles from Liu Kang and Reptile can allow either of those characters to simply wear Shao Kahn down in a battle of attrition rather than outplay him.
    • A lesser-known cheese strategy is the Raiden Teleport > Roundhouse Kick loop. After being knocked down once, Raiden can Teleport behind a CPU enemy and then deliver a Roundhouse Kick that knocks them down again, then loop the strategy ad infinitum. The computer A.I. has a hard time countering the strategy as the teleport usually forces it to stay in one spot until the animation finishes, and there only a few select options (besides blocking) that can stop Raiden from knocking it down with another Roundhouse Kick and repeating the process.
    • Mortal Kombat Trilogy's Noob Saibot has a very easy combo to pull off that consists of his teleport slam (down, up), running in, hitting them with two standing high-punches, and repeating. There is nothing the opponent, human or AI, can do to counter it and they'll be Stun Locked until all their health is gone. Even the official strategy guide by Gamefan Books refered to this as "Noob's 100% Cheese Combo."
  • New Super Mario Bros.: Utilizing a Mega Mushroom against bosses will one-shot them without Mario or Luigi taking any damage in the process.
  • NHL Hockey: The one-timer. Good god, the one-timer. In NHL '94, due to the way the goalie was coded, as well as defensive players, the most famous and effective tactic in the game was to swoop down the wing, head behind the goal, pass it back up to the slot where one of your players was waiting, and immediately fire the puck at the net. The tactic was infamously powerful and hard to patch for the developers; even over twenty-five years later, AI teams still struggle to handle one-timers.
  • In Octopath Traveler, there is a strategy allowing players to take out one of the game's Bonus Boss enemies at a low level. Dreisang the Archmage attacks almost entirely through elemental attacks, so a typical strategy to defeat him at a low level is to cast the dancer's Divine skill Sealticge's Seduction on a cleric, who will then cast a max-boosted Reflect Veil. Reflect Veil typically only reflects one elemental attack and is applied to only one party member, but Sealticge's Seduction allows it to apply to the entire party, and boosting it allows extra attacks to be blocked. Thus, Dreisang's attacks will constantly be reflected back on himself, allowing the party to simply focus on keeping the Reflect Veil up, and the boss will slowly kill itself. This will unlock the Sorcerer Advanced class, which can break the game wide-open even more from that point on.
  • Pokémon:
    • The Generation I games have "Wrap-spam". In later generations, Wrap would deal damage per turn while allowing both the player and opponent to continue acting, but in Generation I, Wrap would hit 2-5 times for little damage, but lock the enemy Pokémon from attacking, so it became a common tactic to stun-lock the opponent, especially if the opposing Mon was afflicted with paralysis to prevent it from ever attacking first.
    • Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon has Ultra Necrozma as its Climax Boss, and it's remarkably difficult to fight fairly against. While there are means to fight against it without resorting to cheesing (most of them boil down to the fact its moveset is completely resisted by Steel-type Pokémon), most players instead resort to things like exploiting Artificial Stupidity (by sending a Zoroark disguised as a Pokémon that is weak to Psychic-type attacks, making Ultra Necrozma use Photon Geyser, which Zoroark is immune to), or by using an Inkay or Malamar and use Topsy-Turvy to make Ultra Necrozma's massive +2 boost to all its stats turn into a -2 drop.
  • In Pump It Up, hold steps do not have any sort of actual timing mechanic; as long as you are holding down on the correct panel when the note passes through the judgment area, even if you've been pressing down on the panel since before the note, you will get all Perfects for the note. The song "Pumptris Quattro" has a Single 17 chart that has only hold notes, meaning that you can just sit with your hands, feet, and rear on all five panels for the entire song for the easiest all-Perfect run ever. This was patched out in Pump It Up XX, where you now have to actually time the initial hit of the note or else you will get a Miss on it.
  • In Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, earning the points in The Mercenaries to earn the goodies like a gatling gun or the coveted Infinite Bullets can be tricky and requires time, patience, and skill. Or you could just climb up on the crates in the alley with the zombie dogs, hold forward, and tap aim: the dogs can't touch you but you're still close enough to trigger the "dodge" move, dodging rewards you with more time and points, and you can earn enough points to buy everything in a single playthrough with little problem. Happy zombie murdering!
  • Super Mario Maker and its sequel are built around players creating levels that either challenge other players, or entertain them with interesting ideas and gimmicks. After the massive success of levels such as "Pit of Panga: P-Break" and "1-1 but with a twist", players everywhere began trying to create equally creative and challenging levels to share with the community, with the aim of attracting streamers by using low clear rates to promise challenging levels. However, common designs the playerbase considers to be cheap ways of engineering difficulty are numerous cases of Fake Difficulty, including blind jumps, invisible enemies, Checkpoint Starvation on Marathon Levels, and so on. But none of these compare to the ire that will be drawn if a player includes a "Dev Star" note  or a "Dev Exit" note  in the level. These allow players to design levels that are clearable in theory, but that they didn't actually clear themselves before posting to the public.
  • Terraria:
    • Most bosses can be made incredibly easy by combining as much defense and health regen effects as you can acquire. This will allow you to easily shrug off most hits, and in some cases can allow you to outright tank anything they can throw at you. This strategy becomes much less effective in Expert and Master mode however, due to the greatly increased damage of enemy attacks.
    • The majority of enemies in invasion events can be easily defeated by simply building a lava moat. They're stupid enough to jump right in and die, leaving their drops easy to collect for the player in a tunnel underneath the moat. Event bosses and some enemies can simply bypass the lava, but fighting them is a lot easier without all of the other enemies constantly wearing you down.
    • The Moon Lord and the Martian Saucer both have extremely high damage laser attacks. However, since they always fire this from above the player, it could be easily blocked by any roof, even a one block deep dirt barrier. This negated much of their difficulty. In the case of the UFO, you could even build a roof and walls in such a way that you were completely safe from all its attacks, allowing you to attack it with piercing weapons or a yo-yo and defeat it easily even with weak equipment. This strategy was made ineffective when the 1.4 update made these laser attacks pierce blocks between it and the player. The UFO's other attacks can still be blocked, but you'll no longer be totally out of harm's way.
    • A number of exploits have existed through the game's history that render the player Nigh-Invulnerable, usually taking advantage of Mercy Invincibility and/or taking constant damage from a weak enemy so that stronger enemies can't get any hits in.
    • With the proper setup, fireworks can kill almost anything in the game in seconds, even the Moon Lord. It's expensive and takes a lot of time to set up, but if you want a zero difficulty boss battle (or a boss kill Speedrun) it's an excellent option.
    • Exclusive to Master Mode, the Flying Dutchman mount in 1.4 made most bosses after the Pirate Invasion a joke, as you could simply outrun their attacks with its high max move speed. It would later be Nerfed, preventing this stratgy.

Examples of references to cheese strategies in mediums other than gaming include:

    Anime and Manga 
  • In Another World with My Smartphone: Protagonist Touya Mochizuki can use any form of magic he has seen or heard about secondhand. This includes "Null Magic", which is supposed to be innate to a person and thus unlearnable to others. Through this, he learns spells that other people could never use in as many situations as he does such as using "Slip" to cause enemies to repeatedly fall over and thus be unable to fight (which the King of Mismede immediately bans after losing their first duel in a matter of seconds), or destroying a Nigh-Invulnerable monster by riding on his flying base directly above it and later using a teleport spell that can only take him places he's already been to drop the monster thousands of feet and destroying it easily.
  • Overlord (2012): The Baharut Empire has an arena that hosts battles between strong challengers. Magic was outlawed in fights ever since one team simply cast Fly on themselves, rendering the mundanely-armed opposing team utterly helpless to do anything but surrender. On hearing the story, Ainz agrees not to use magic when he participates, and seeing him solo a ginormous troll without the use of his magic causes the Emperor to fully submit to Ainz and become his vassal.

    Live-Action Television 
  • BattleBots: In the 2020 competition, Jake Ewert knew his robot, Hydra, would stand no chance against Jonathan Schultz's robot, HUGE. Hydra is a "flipper" robot, meaning it chucks its opponents up in the air. Problem is that HUGE has bouncy but sturdy wheels ensuring it won't take any damage in that way while HUGE can whack Hydra with its spinning metal bar. To that end, Jake installed a wall of steel pipes on Hydra's front in a shape specifically designed to No-Sell HUGE. However, Jake also had to remove Hydra's flipping mechanism to have that wall and meet the weight maximum set by the rules, so the Hydra vs. HUGE match consisted mainly of Hydra trapping HUGE in a corner and just sitting there while HUGE was unable to move, then letting time run out. Jake's strategy proved to be so uninteresting and so against the spirit of BattleBots that, while Jake allowed anyone to use that wall if they ever fought HUGE, all of the other teams refused out of principle.

    Webcomics 
  • The Order of the Stick: A half-ogre with a spiked chain presents a considerable challenge thanks to its unique tactic (consisting of attacking and retreating, using the chain to attack any melee fighters charging it, and retreating again). This fails in the end because the ogre hadn't noticed the cliff behind it. The combo happens to rely on a misunderstanding of the Attack of Opportunity rules, and he only gets away with it because his opponent doesn't understand them very well either.
  • Rare Candy Treatment has a battle between Blue and Red where Blue protests that Red is switching out Pokemon on seeing a new Pokemon brought out to get a type advantage (which the AI never does), and again on finding out that Red uses Revives (the AI only rarely uses healing items, but not Revives).
  • Referenced In-Universe in Turn Signals on a Land Raider, where a Necron Monolith takes a hit that removes some of its armor, revealing it to be... made of cheese.

    Web Media 
  • Extra Credits calls these "First-Order Optimal" (or Foo) strategies in their "Balancing for Skill" video, with E. Honda's Hundred-Hand Slap as the main example. An experienced player can defeat them (which is the difference between this trope and an outright Game-Breaker), but they're good enough to get you past most A.I. and unskilled human players.
  • This pops up in the Game Grumps: sometimes, twice actually in Super Mario Maker 2:
    • During "Companion Spring 3D", Ross eventually tells Arin the only way he was able to beat the lava elevator segment: purposely let the part of the floor one block from the right wall fall away, and then stand on that one final block left against the wall: the gap will stop the trampoline enemies from getting to Mario and the dragon can't touch him in the corner, so he can just stand there and casually ride the elevator to the top without anything ever threatening him.
    • Arin pulls one off playing through Ross's level "You Are A Monster?" The final boss stage is designed to last until a shell breaks through all the bricks and hits a switch, which allows Mario to pass through to the ending. However, Arin discovers that by wall-jumping before he passes through the one-way wall, and continuing to wall-jump until the shell hits the switch, he can stay in the passageway without having to fight the boss at all. Arin is thrilled, Danny remarks, "Delicious cheese!" and Ross gets so furious that he blows out his microphone.
    • For a non-Mario Maker example, when playing Kung Fu they discover they can defeat Mr. X by crouching and kicking as fast as they can tap the button, which results in the opponent pretty much doing nothing other than stumbling forward and trying to get into range but getting hit by a crouch-kick first.
      Arin: Crouch-kick! Crouch-kick! Crouch-kick! Look at that! What a piece of shit!
      Danny: Yeeeeaaaaahhh!!! Suck it forever!
      Arin: Mr. X doesn't know a goddamn about fighting!
      Danny: Mr. X you douchebag!
      Arin: Ahhh ha ha ha!
      Danny: Hell yeah!
  • The Two Best Friends Play Zaibatsu lampshade their own lack of skill and reliance on cheese strategies with the Catchphrase, "Lame it out! Lame it out like it's X Tekken!" A notable example of "laming it out" is the "Mortal Kombat: The Final Challenge" video, where Woolie beats the 300th floor of the Mortal Kombat 9 Challenge Tower by playing as Kung Lao and abusing his ability to teleport. Afterwards, someone on Twitter claimed Woolie's victory didn't count because he didn't "do combo" [sic], and that became a Best Friends meme as well.

 
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Tiny Tiger Lion Dodge Trick

In the fight with Tiny Tiger, after hitting him, he will jump up to safety and send a mass of lions after Crash. Getting hit by one will result in Crash getting eaten, so he has to weave in and out of them as they come...
...ordinarily. If Crash runs continuously into the top left-hand corner, the lions will phase straight through him, providing an easier way of avoiding them.
This glitch was part of the original version of Crash 3, but Vicarious Visions not only left it untouched for the N Sane Trilogy, but added to it by including a Visual Pun where the audience throws cheese at Crash for his... well, cheesing.

How well does it match the trope?

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