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Com Mons

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You can only see the Goddamned Bats so many times.
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The Mon/card for beginners. Common, that is. In Video Games, they show up early in large quantities, but quickly grow useless - unless some Magikarp Power is applied. Then with time and care, you can make some pretty powerful fighters out of them. In trading cards, the cards that are only good for tinder.

Contrast Olympus Mons, which are very rare and very powerful.


Examples:

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    Eastern RPGS 
  • Pokémon:
    • Rattata, Pidgey and Spearow, as well as all the others based on them. (Yes, Hoothoot, Sentret, Poochyena, Taillow, Zigzagoon, Starly, Bidoof, Patrat, Purrloin, Lillipup, Pidove, Bunnelby, Fletchling, Pikipek, Yungoos, Skwovet and Rookidee, we mean you.) Also Zubat and Geodude, which can be caught early on in all generations (excluding Pokémon Black and White) and continue to show up in every single cave you enter throughout the game.
    • Tentacool and Goldeen run rampant in the water when you Surf around, but they have tough evolved forms to look forward to- if given the right moves.
    • Yungoos becomes this in Pokémon Sun and Moon during the daytime. Rattata appears at night in its place.
    • Pidgey will eventually evolve into a Pidgeot, i.e. the most mediocre bird Pokémon alive. Though it is a Memetic Badass thanks to Twitch Plays Pokémon. Pidgeot also gained a mega evolution in Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, gaining a substantial Sp. Atk boost along with the Ability No Guard to abuse STAB Hurricane and Heat Wave.
    • On the subject of Black and White, Roggenrola (and its evolution, Boldore) and Woobat are pretty much Unova's equivalent of Geodude (or Graveler in Boldore's case) and Zubat, respectively. Woobat is really not as common but the fact that its name rhymes with Zubat makes the counterpart status obvious.
    • Black and White have Audino. It fills the same slot as Chansey/Blissey did in previous generations, being a tank and healer with simply absurd defense - and it appears in rustling grass on almost every route. However, it has a limited number of offensive moves, its Attack and Sp. Attack are horrible, and it gives out a ton of EXP, making it very good for grinding.
    • Bibarel, the evolved form of Bidoof, is extremely versatile with its field moves. Smashing or pushing rocks, slicing trees, even surfing around and climbing up waterfalls. You can cover all your field needs with two of them plus a Staraptor, and all field (except one) moves have STAB on either Bibarel or Staraptor, making them decent hitters too.
    • Staraptor, the fully evolved Starly, is a Disc-One Nuke that just keeps nuking. It can learn two flying type field moves with STAB, a fighting type move that covers its feathered ass, and is generally very versatile.
    • Unlike all the Normal/Flying types that came before it, Fletchling evolves into the Fire/Flying type Talonflame, which learns powerful flying- and fire-type attacks in Brave Bird and Flare Blitz.
    • Rookidee is a pure-Flying type, unlike the rest of the early-game bird which were Normal/Flying. It eventually evolves into the Flying/Steel Corviknight, a Stone Wall with decent attack with a ton of useful resistances and only two weaknesses.
    • However, almost all of these Pokémon will stay as useful party members for a long time if you train them up. On the other hand, many Bug-types like Caterpie, Weedle, and their various Expies can also be caught very early on and evolve quickly (they reach their final evolution at level 10. Your starter generally won't get there until level 36). But they are just as quickly out-paced in terms of stat growth and movesets by other Pokémon, so many players will just pass them up entirely. However, they do have their benefits in Pokémon contests.
      • Except Weedle, anyway, whose final form Beedrill received a Mega Evolution in Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire which turns it into a Glass Cannon, emphasis on both the 'glass' and the 'cannon'.
    • And definitely Magikarp, at least until it evolves. And if you try to have a day care raise it, by level 43, it learns only two new moves (meaning Splash is still in the moveset)- Tackle and Flail- which pale in comparison to Gyarados's Waterfall or Giga Impact.
    • In Pokémon X and Y, the regional Dex is so frigging huge that there are almost no Pokémon that can truly be considered Com Mons (or too many of them). Bunnelby is the closest thing to this, but its line is only found on four routes out of twenty-two, all early in the game. Basically, if a single species appears in more than two locations, it's still relatively common.
    • Pokémon Sun and Moon continues the tradition with Yungoos and Pikipek. However Yungoos' evolution Gumshoos appears as a Totem Pokemon in Sun version and Toucannon, Pikipek's final form is a useful team member.
      • Their Dex entries hang a bit of a lampshade on the whole thing: in Alola, Rattata are legitimately considered an invasive species, and Yungoos was imported from another country to try to stop their spread. End result: Alolan Rattata are now nocturnal, and the islands have two bunches of Com Mons being a pain. This is a reference to actual Pacific fauna history: small Asian mongooses were introduced into Hawaii and Indonesia to get rid of rats in sugarcane plantations, but became an invasive species themselves.
  • Mocchi in Monster Rancher 2, however Monster Rancher is built on Magikarp Power, so it can become quite badass. The first few games would even hand you a couple monster types for free; you probably weren't getting the top rank with any of them, but they could be useful for cross-breeding.
    • In Monster Rancher 2 each monster has a card attached complete with a ranking from E to A. As you might have guessed, any monster ranked E qualifies for the trope.
    • Hares. At least in Evo. It seems like you get one every couple of disks or so. That doesn't mean they're any weaker than, say, a Phoenix however.
  • Romby and Ramby from Robopon. Even in high-level dungeons, you'll still find them. And because the game is Nintendo Hard, they'll still kick your ass.
  • Slimes in the Dragon Quest Monsters series. A basic slime will always follow you into every world or island you visit, no matter how tough the natives are. However, thanks to Hot Skitty-on-Wailord Action, you could use some REAL Magikarp Power.
    • Slimes do have a few things going for them — First, in every Dragon Quest Monsters game, you can breed a King slime using basic slimes and a lot of patience; King slimes tend to be pretty powerful (they are basically given skills similar to the main series' heroes — lightning, healing, revive, etc). Slimes themselves make good mates for other monsters — in the original two games, Slime + anything meant a special kind of Slime, like Wingslime, Rockslime, Drakslime, all of which tended to be somewhat useful. But the thing slimes really had going for them is that, if you leveled them up enough, they learn Mandante — Megamagic in the US version, a spell that uses up all your Mana at once to hit the enemy with a huge blast.
      • Two slimes plus total + level (That's deliberate.) of 5 or more = King Slime. Damn, DQM took HSOWA to bizarre levels.
      • In Joker 2, this is actually lampshaded. Breeding 2 slimes of a certain level will result in a Stronger slime, while breeding together 2 stronger slimes of a certain level will result in a Strongest slime.
  • Wumps in dungeon-crawler Azure Dreams. In the Playstation version, they are called Pulunpas.
    • Trolls also count, appearing throughout the entire experience and being moderately tough enemies, either causing trouble on the first floor or attack with bows on higher floors.
  • In Mega Man Battle Network, the Mettaurs appear in every game, and in every single one they drop a Guard/Reflect chip. While they serve a purpose as an early defensive chip, they get obsoleted very quickly as the shockwave they release is too slow to deal consistent damage. Since Mettaurs appear nearly everywhere, you're bound to have an abundance of Guard chips. Lampshaded at least twice - in the second game, when in a foreign country, a kid asks you to get him a Guard * , because they're super rare there. However, all your spare chips have been stolen; if you don't have one in your folder, you can talk to a tourist from your country, who gives you 30 Guard * chips! If you talk to her again, she says: "No need to thank me, I still have over 1000 'Guard *' chips".
    • The sixth game breaks the trend as its version of the Reflect chip hits harder and triggers almost instantly, making it consistently practical and perfect for setting up a Counter Hit.
    • Battlechips obtained from Mystery Data in the early-game also fall squarely into this trope. The likes of PanelGrab, CrackOut and MiniBomb are quickly tossed aside once the player begins developing a good chip collection.
  • AkaSeka: Any Man of Tsukuyomi whose rarity is 2 stars or lower. They are offered as standard rewards after completing dungeons and pop up a lot during summoning, but many players discard them in favor of higher quality men with fancier skills and looks.
  • Disgaea provides Prinnies (dood!), which are significantly weaker than most other playable units. They do have their uses, though — they make excellent low-maintenance grenades in a pinch, rack up combos with their rapid-fire attacks, level up faster than most other units, and can transmigrate into any other unit type. Just don't expect them to outshine your actual heavy-hitter units.
    • Almost any lower tier of a character class could be considered this Trope, considering how cheap they are to create compared to the higher tiers and how much weaker they are, especially without any reincarnations.
  • Early in The World Ends with You, you're given an assortment of weak pins describing a wide swath of the game's gestures and damage types. If you try to sell one, you're told it's "more valuable than all the yen in the world". (The real reason, of course, is that having no pins makes it almost impossible to win battles to get more.)
  • Pixies in Shin Megami Tensei, particularly the MMO Imagine. You usually get them fairly early on, they're easy to negotiate with, and you'd never use one in a fight unless you want to die a horrible death. They are fairly useful in fusion though, as many powerful demons have a pixie somewhere in their ancestry. Nocturne is unique in the main series in that they give you a single pixie who, if you hold onto it until near the end of the game, will evolve into an Infinity Plus One... Pixie.
  • Onmyōji: Any shikigami whose rarity is R or N. Ns can only be summoned using low-quality talismans specifically meant for them, but Rs can be summoned by all types of talismans, so expect Rs to pop up very frequently, disappointing a lot of fans who pay real money to buy high-quality talismans. That said, many of the Rs become very popular due to their useful skills despite their low rarity.
  • Your starter demon in almost any Shin Megami Tensei, along with any easily-recruited rabble you come across in the first few levels, fall squarely into this trope once you access fusion and are encouraged to fuse them off. There are a few exceptions, though:
    • In some games, your demons can evolve if kept to a certain level. For instance, the Pixie that joins you in Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne can evolve into a High Pixie at level 10, and once that High Pixie is kept around long enough she can break out of her obsolescence and transform into Queen Mab. You'll also need that Pixie, or at least one of her evolutions or fusion results, to open a door in the Fifth Kalpa to receive a uber-Pixie.
    • The Pixie in Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey is one of the few early demons that knows fire and healing skills, while possessing no weaknesses. It's not unusual to keep this Pixie all through the first sector due to the abundance of fire-wielding enemies. (Past that, though, and you'll need to consider fusing her off.)
  • In Gotcha Force, the lowest-level basic types all behave like this - the Normal Ninja, the Revolver Gunman, the Battle Girl, the Wing Soldier, the Normal Tank, the Normal Knight, and the Normal Samurai will clog your collection before you know it.
  • Li'l Monster has numerous ones, available from the start. They're spawned from the "basic attack" gems, like Punch, Kick, Needle, Catcher, and Heal. They can be fought in lots of different ways, their attack is unremarkable, and you'll have a million of their gems in no time.
  • Applies to Final Fantasy Tactics, in the form of Invited enemies and soldiers. The only human enemies you can invite are ones with Squire as their base class (as opposed to certain characters having Holy Swordsman, etc). Likewise, unless you're lucky with random battles, the most common monster types are the least useful.
    • Although this is averted when you reach hell. All the characters you can invite are actually useful and have a decent amount of good skills. Of course, by that point in the game, who cares?
  • The Meow Wow, Hebby Repp, and Komory Bat Dream Eaters fill this role in Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, being very easy to create and showing up all over the first four worlds of the game. They're not too much weaker statistically then the tougher varieties of dream eater you can create, however, and their abilities can still prove useful in certain situations.
  • Most of the 1*, 2* and 3* mons in Summoners War: Sky Arena are food, meaning they're only worth using as power-up or evolution material (basically, feed em to other, more worthy mons). However, some 2* are actually viable all the way to the very late game, like Water Garuda, Wind Pixie, and Wind Warbear (the latter being so powerful it's nicknamed 'Ramagod').
  • The Mochi species monsters in Moco Moco Friends. There's three of them per element and just about every dungeon will have one or more of them roaming around.
  • In Yo Kai Watch, Cadin, Buhu, Dulluma, and Dimmy are very numerous in the first area Uptown Springdale.

    Western RPGS 
  • If you're playing Geneforge as a Shaper, the cute little lizards known as Fyoras will be your first Monster Allies, and will almost inevitably be replaced with Drakons or the like by game's end. This is averted if you're a more physical class, though—either you'll do a Solo-Character Run, or you'll get a Fyora and level it until it can nibble a Drakon to death.
  • In World of Warcraft the battle pet system allows players to capture wild critters as additional pets. Many such critters can appear in multiple zones around the world or appear as a different sub-species, which is often functionally identical. Roaches for example appear in nearly every demon-, undead-, or bug-infested region; while rabbits appear in any pleasant zone, with arctic versions for snowy areas.
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    Collectible Card Games 
  • Played straight in the Final Fantasy VIII card game, where you start with a crappy collection of cards and then have to play other people and sift through their hoard of bad cards to get one of the few worth having. That said, the cards can also be refined into items, so every card has at least some sort of use.
    • This is brought back in Final Fantasy XIV, where players begin with a one-star and two-star set of cards, and have to build their way up from there. This usually involves acquiring a host of 3* or higher cards, from NPCs who are all too happy to simply drop 1* and 2* variants... and a player cannot put more than one 3* or higher card into a deck before they have enough total cards. This is now a Downplayed Trope, however, as acquisition of most of those cards has been made much easier than it used to be. On the other and gripping hands, the number of players with a Cloud Strife or Lightning card is pretty low, and unlike in FFVIII, players can't lose cards, so Com Mons are frequently accumulated and immediately sold for dosh.
  • About a third of the iconically bad cards in Magic: The Gathering are common. Almost all of them are creatures that would have been fair at half their mana cost.
    • In Time Spiral's bonus Timeshifted set, the old Squire card, legendary common of badness, was treated by players as a curse at worst, a booby prize at best.
    • The designers of Magic are rather diligent at making sure rarity doesn't equal usefulness, for several reasons. To put in perspective, when players complained about the quirky rare Steamflogger Boss being total junk, demanding it should have been downgraded to uncommon, one response from Wizards was "you hate this card so much, you want more of them to show up in your packs?"
    • Also, many tournaments are booster drafts, where much of your deck is going to be commons anyway. If the majority were useless, those would be some damned unfun tournaments.
    • Casual players often forget/don't realize that much of a set is designed to have fair and fun "limited" tournaments (the varieties of play in which you open new packs and build decks out of those cards only). Tournament players, in turn, often forget that much of a set is designed for casual play. Thus, a lot of cards get accused of being "useless" that really aren't, they're just for a different audience. Of course, there is still the occasional complete trash - but usually it's no more than 1 or 2 cards in a 200-card set, and like good and evil, good cards cannot exist without bad cards to compare them against. Of course, I speak of MODERN Magic. Go back to the mid-90's and there's all kinds of terrible Com Mons, such as the aforementioned Squire.
    • Magic R&D has admitted that they printed deliberately terrible cards up through 2006's Dissension set in order to create more tension in drafts (artificially shrinking the already tight card pools). This was thought to increase the skill emphasis in drafting (a process of repeatedly selecting one card from a pack and then passing it to create a Limited deck) a deck as much as playing one. For the next set, they tried not printing anything patently useless—as players had been calling for for years—and found that casual players liked it and Limited players didn't notice. While the occasional stinker still seeps through, deliberately awful cards have by and large stopped being produced.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! provides reams of monsters which even type specialists won't go near. One wonders why they bother wasting the paper. In particular, Normal Monsters are generally ignored unless they have notable stats (which keep creeping upward), and tribute monsters usually require some kind of great effect to be worth it.
    • While it was always like this from the start (licensed merchandising trumping game balance, one assumes), it got especially bad once the US game caught up with the Japanese. Suddenly in each seventy-odd card set, only a half-dozen were remotely more useful than what was already available, and most of those were terribly unbalanced ultra rares that were guaranteed to be banned within the year.
    • In all fairness, though, recent sets have been somewhat dutiful to making these kinds of cards at least somewhat useful; for instance, there are plenty of support for Normal Monsters to make a viable and powerful deck out of them, whether it be a sheer beatdown or weenie rush. That's not to say that they don't still give out crap, on occasion.

    • Also, as mentioned above, Power Creep hasn't exactly helped. These days you have Lvl 4's that are more powerful than the old Level 5's and now certain Lvl 3's (Tune Warrior, X-Saber Airbellum) are stronger than some of the old Level 4's. And let's not forget poor Red-Eyes, who's a Level 7 Normal Monster and there are Level 6 Monsters that have the exact same stats for one Tribute less (like Amphibian Beast).
      • Chainsaw Insect is even worse, a level 4 with 2400 attack, 0 defense, even Muka Muka which is a low level (and actually is pretty old) that could get that strong by its effect wasn't always and how often are you going to use Chainsaw Insect in defense? Poor, poor Red-Eyes.
      • Not to mention that they remade a couple old notable cards by giving them adjectives to their names to make them have any sort of purpose in the modern game. The Obnoxious Celtic Guard is a remake of a pathetic card with only 1400 attack points and gives it resistance to being destroyed by strong cards. Swift Gaia the Fierce Knight takes a monster which is disappointing for requiring two tributes and gives it the ability to sometimes be summoned WITHOUT a tribute.
      • On the subject of new Gaia's, there's this and this. Both are much stronger than the original.
    • This goes back to the very first set, since the only cards then were Normal monsters. Hitotsu-Me Giant, Silver Fang, and Mammoth Graveyard were the most powerful low-level cards by far, with 1200 ATK, and everything else had 800 at most. The only reason to ever use the 800s was that Trap Hole could kill monsters with more than 1000 ATK, and the only reason to ever use anything weaker than them was... well, nonexistent.
  • The tantou and wakizashi class characters of Touken Ranbu. They are very easy to find in the first maps of the game but have low HP and limited damage so they are not very useful in higher-level maps. Until the staffs make a map specifically meant for them.

    Real Life 
  • For some paleontologists, some types of fossils become this; one example is the Gobi Desert, which is rich with dinosaur bones but fossil enthusiasts who expect to find rare dinosaurs will be disappointed by the ubiquitous amount of Protoceratops bones that litter the area.
  • City-dwelling birds such as pigeons, gulls, and crows are treated as this by birdwatchers both because of how ubiquitous they are and because they have duller appearances and less pleasant cries than the more popular and sought after birds.
  • Early on, the Fox Broadcasting Company was frequently forced onto these types of TV stations— second-rate independent stations that often had hilariously high channel numbers in the UHF band, making reception difficult (hence the "Fox network viewing positions" joke in Married... with Children); often times, they'd had to go with the stations they had because longer-established, better known stations had turned Fox's affiliation offers down (since at the time Fox was tiny and was largely seen as going down the drain like the numerous other attempts at a fourth television network; in some cases, the stations they went after first were regional superstations and having network programming might've meant cable systems would drop them from their lineups). When Fox nabbed the rights to the NFL from CBS they knew football fans wouldn't be pleased with this situation, and thus they struck a deal with New World Communications for their stations (which were mostly CBS affils in NFC markets) to switch to Fox, which in turn spawned a massive Disaster Dominoes situation across the entire industry (see that page for more).
    • In turn, The WB and UPN would also be forced onto these types of stations, and in the WB's case, via cable-exclusive stations (an approach also taken by The CW, though they've largely moved from cable to OTA subchannels). Ion Television still has this problem, as the majority of its' stations were mostly home shopping and infomercials before Ion's predecessor Pax TV began in 1998.


Alternative Title(s): Com Mon

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