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Death or Glory Attack

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Take an extra turn after this one. At the end of that turn, you lose the game.
Magic: The Gathering, "Final Fortune"

In video games, this is a high-risk/high-reward attack or strategy that, if it works, it hits for massive damage. But if it fails, you either are going to eat a painful Counter-Attack or will have crippled yourself in some other way. The penalty is much more significant than just wasting the move.

Can also apply to attacks with long wind-ups that open the player up to counters.

Can overlap with Desperation Attack, but these can be done at nearly any time. Can become a Game-Breaker if the success rate is too high, or Awesome, but Impractical if it's too low. Some kinds of Alpha Strike may also manifest as death-or-glory attacks. For an even more extreme version, see Suicide Attack. Compare Powerful, but Inaccurate, where an attack deals massive damage on a hit but has a high chance to miss entirely. Contrasts with Cast from Hit Points, where the attack drains health or life only if it is successful.

Strategy for Glass Cannons often centers around this kind of attack, since it allows them to prevent battles from being decided by attrition.

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Gaming Examples

    Board Games 
  • There's an infamous cheating move in Mahjong known as "tsubame gaeshi" in which the player exchanges their entire hand with the tiles in the wall in front of them. (Video demonstration by pro player Kojima Takeo here.) It's extremely obvious if anyone is even looking at your tiles while you do it, it's easy to just drop your entire hand everywhere, and generally there are about a bajillion ways it can fail and make it blatantly obvious that you were trying to cheat. But done right, you can give yourself basically any hand you want. This should go without saying, but Don't Try This at Home unless you want the crap beaten out of you by three extremely angry opponents.
    • Declaring an Open Riichi (declaring you need only one tile left to win, and then revealing your almost-winning hand while still waiting for said tile) in the Japanese ruleset. Most Mahjong parlours don't allow it, but for those who do, it's a two-han yaku (a multiplier for your score) that stacks with the contents of your hand, but also reveals what hand you're going for to all your opponents. An open riichi can basically only be won by self-draw, since anyone with a functioning pair of eyes can avoid dealing into it (unless they're also in riichi), and has the normal caveat that you can't replace any of the tiles in your hand and forcing you to discard all your draws that won't win you the hand.
  • In chess, there is what is called a speculative sacrifice — one player gives up a large amount of material (usually at least a bishop/knight, but sometimes a rook, queen, or even more) based on pure instinct — instead of calculating the final result (which in many cases would be impossible), the player hopes that factors like piece activity, weaknesses in their opponent's position, a strong attack, etc. will end up justifying the material lost. When it works a game is often hailed as a brilliancy, but if it fails, the player who offered the sacrifice is obviously at a huge disadvantage.
  • Use of the doubling cube can be this in Backgammon. Once use of the cube is accepted, the accepting player can use the cube over and over for potentially ludicrous multipliers (64x or more). More than enough to win the match in one game. The drawbacks are two-fold: A) If doubling is declined, it's considered conceding the game, ending it with current scoring (negating the attempt completely) B) The opponent is equally able to take advantage of the multipier, so using it when your position isn't rock solid can backfire massively.

    Card Games 
  • 22: Depending what you know about the other players’ hands, playing several high-value cards at once qualifies. If you play high enough to flush out the other players’ best cards, you can set yourself up for an easy win, but in doing so, you leave yourself vulnerable to everyone else’s high cards.
  • The Moon Shot (or Shooting The Moon) in Hearts: Winning all points (all hearts and the Queen of Spades) (in a game where the usual purpose is winning as few as possible, to keep your score low). Succeed, and every other player gains 26 points. Fail, and you will gain more points the closer you came to completing the Shot, up to a maximum of 25 if you just barely fail, and if someone figures out what is going on, they'll slip a heart into a trick that you can't win (or intentionally win a trick in which you played a heart), so it's safest when you take all tricks.
  • Most combo decks in Collectible Card Games (especially Magic: The Gathering) fall here: Just enough defenses to hold off the Zerg Rush and set up the combo. When it does go off, you win... unless your opponent has the right countermeasures for it...
    • The vast majority of combo decks follow the pattern of trying to "go off" and win in one decisive turn as soon as they collect all the pieces, which is exactly the right time to yank the carpet under their feet. This leads to waiting for the opponent to be unable to react, or preferring the lockdown style of combo in which you don't expose yourself and the opponent slowly gets hurt without being able to do anything dangerous.
    • Red and Black like to do this in Magic: The Gathering:
      • Red can load their deck with cheap creatures and damage spells and hope to win in the first 5 or so turns. If the game goes on for too long, they don't have any 'big' spells to compete with and will probably lose.
      • The ultimate manifestation of this for red might be Final Fortune, which allows the caster to take another turn after the current one, but at the end of that turn, they will automatically lose the game (so they have to win it before getting that far). Note that some variations of the card have the reminder text "You don't lose if you've already won", done to prevent the opponent from claiming victory even after they've lost because of Final Fortune's exact wording.
      • Black has lots of spells that cost life (or other non-easily-renewable resources) to play or use, but tend to be much better due to the extra cost. Too many of those spells, and you become just as likely to kill yourself as your opponent.
  • Netrunner has a good number of cards that do this sort of thing, but the most "traditional" is probably Lucidrine Booster Drug. It's a card that lets the Runner make a run with a significant amount of extra money, but after the run is over, they lose any of the bits that they didn't spend, and take unpreventable brain damage.
  • The Pokémon Trading Card Game:
    • Throughout Generation III, had the Pokémon-star mechanic, Pokémon whose name had a star after it. A common characteristic of these cards is one attack that normally does pitiful damage, but gains a massive jump in damage and/or secondary effects if the opponent is close to winning the game. Under the right conditions, this attack can cause a runaway comeback and win the game for you. Under all other conditions, this attack remains ineffective and you lose.
    • The Slowbro from Unbroken Bonds has the attack Three Strikes in which the player flips three coins, dealing 100 damage for each heads. If all three flips are tails, however, the player automatically loses the game.
  • Declaring "all-in" in poker is often this, depending on the situation. Most players have been in a situation where the difference between getting knocked out of the game or becoming the chip leader by a wide margin was decided by the fall of a single card, or the call-or-fold decision of a single opponent, after declaring all-in.
  • In Sentinels of the Multiverse, Setting Sun Ra has a majorly over-the-top power that damages all enemies, but it not only also damages him, it erodes his field and removes chunks of his deck from the game entirely as well. When he's incapacitated, he has abilities that destroy his card entirely in exchange for major board impact or enough damage to seriously threaten a weakened villain. Thematically, this represents Ra during his doomed assault on OblivAeon, which got him obliterated, but dealt the first damage anyone had managed to get through the big guy's shield.
  • Spades:
    • Bidding Nil requires a player to avoid taking any tricks. If successful, the partners gain a large sum of points (usually 100), but if the player bidding nil takes a single trick, their team loses that sum of points instead. Since games are usually played to 500 points, plus or minus 100 is a really big swing.
    • Additionally, there are Blinds, where you can bid a set amount without looking at your cards to gauge potential scoring. (Blind 7 and Blind Nil being the most common variants.) Crosses with Desperation Attack, since most rule sets only allow Blinds if you have a negative score and/or are down by at least 100 points. Pulling it off gives you double points (a Blind 7 gives you 140 points). Failing loses you double points. A Blind Nil (betting you win zero tricks) is +/-200 points, but is particularly hard to pull off, especially since there is one unbeatable card (Ace of Spades, Deuce of Spades or Big Joker, depending on what rules variant you're using) and its presence in your hand will instantly sink your attempt.
  • WWE Raw Deal's original version of the Undertaker has a card that lets you go through your deck and choose the perfect hand... and then removes the entire rest of your deck from the game. In a game where the primary win condition is running your opponent out of cards. Better hope that, whatever you're planning, you manage to pull it off.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, several strategies require you to commit all resources you have to eliminate your opponent in a single turn. If your opponent somehow survives the onslaught, or is able to counter it somehow, you are left defenseless against them.
    • In addition, several cards use this trope, putting you at a severe disadvantage if the move is countered. The card Relay Soul allows you to summon a monster from your hand, and while it is out on the field, you take no damage. However, the second it is no longer face-up, you immediately lose the duel.
    • Due to the mechanics of the game, any costs paid to activate a card are separate from the effect itself. This means that if the effect is negated, the cost still goes through. For instance, Pot of Desires requires you to banish ten cards from your Deck facedown and then lets you draw two cards; if it gets negated, you just blew through a third of your deck for nothing.
    • Power Bond is also used for this trope, along with Limiter Removal. Power Bond lets you fusion summon a Machine Fusion Monster and doubles its Attack points, at the cost of taking damage equal to the monster's original attack points at the turn's end. Limiter Removal also doubles the attack points of any Machine-Type monster the user has in play when the card resolves, but destroys the affected monsters at the turn's end. The most common monsters used with this pair of cards are Cyber End Dragon and Ultimate Ancient Gear Golem, which go up to 16,000 and 17,600 Attack Points respectively and inflict piercing battle damage.
    • A close cousin to this combo is the old Chimeratech OTK, which was based on using Chimeratech Overdragon, a card that gains 800 ATK for every card used in its summon and attack multiple times. When comboed with Overload Fusion, which can fuse monsters from the Graveyard, and the pre-nerf Future Fusion, which can send fusion materials to the Graveyard from the Deck, it wasn't uncommon to see players fusing every single Machine-type in their deck into a single big swing that could often hit 12000 ATK (and keep in mind, Chimeratech is a Limiter Removal target). However, the combo also banishes a massive amount of your cards, and Chimeratech has no protection on its own—if it gets destroyed, chances are that its user will be too badly depleted to make any kind of comeback.
    • Using the instant-win effect of Exodia is something a player has to commit to, as it eats four cards in your hand until the fifth is drawn, leaving you with little hand space for other strategies. To make matters worse, if you didn't come in with a backup strat to make up for losing any of the pieces from your hand, or you spent the entire game with three-four of the pieces in your hand only to check your deck after winning/losing to realize the last one is at the bottom of your deck and you didn't search it, you just lost your entire strategy, as all five pieces must be in your hand for this to work. Also can apply to more recent strategies of Exodia decks—most of them use strategies that, when taken to the extreme, pretty much let you draw your entire deck in one turn. Some of them use non-optional effects for a cycle of drawing cards, so if your opponent manages to intercept your combo and force you to discard an Exodia piece, you lose by deck drain.
    • Backs to the Wall is an all-or-nothing strategy to take out your opponent when you're at a serious disadvantage. You're dropped to 100 LP, but can summon as many Six Samurai monsters from your graveyard as possible. You either ruin your opponent and try to regain some LP to stay up and finish the battle, or your opponent casually kills you with Sparks during their next turn after shutting your final gambit down and defeating you anyways. You're left to consider if it was safer to wait for the next draw, or risk it all. This, of course, becomes less and less questionable the closer you get to 100 LP.
    • The fittingly-named Trap card Gamble can only be activated when your opponent has a lot of cards in their hand and you don't, at which it forces you to toss a coin. Call it right, and you draw until your hand has five cards, giving you a phenomenal amount of advantage. Call it wrong, and you skip your next turn, which will most likely mean losing the game altogether.
    • The Winged Dragon of Ra is a problem to use for this reason. Its default effect requires the player to drop their LP to 100 and give Ra the difference in ATK. This can give Ra an original ATK of 7900 or more (with LP increases), making Ra potentially the strongest monster summoned all game. However, as Ra almost completely lacks protection, if it can't take down the opponent in a single swing, it will most likely be destroyed and leave you with LP low enough that anything can take you down. Ra became far more usable after the release of several support cards, such as The Winged Dragon of Ra - Sphere Mode, which lets you sacrifice your opponent's monsters instead of your own to summon it and then lets you summon The Winged Dragon of Ra with 4000 attack points.
    • Last Turn was intended for this, but ended up being broken instead. It can only be activated when the user is at very low LP, at which all other cards barring a single one of the user's monsters are sent to the Graveyard, and then the opponent summons a single monster from their deck and attacks the user's monster with it, and then the game ends, with the winner being the player whose monster survived. As players discovered, it was pretty easy to set things up so that you could either block the opponent from summoning or pick a monster that couldn't be destroyed by battle, which handily removed the gamble aspect and turned it into an easy way to either get wins or force draws.
    • Super All In!, a support card for the Flower Cardian archetype, requires you to return a Cardian Synchro to your Extra Deck, then summons four Cardians from the Graveyard. After that, you draw a card, and if it's another Cardian, you get to Special Summon it. Due to the mechanics of Cardians, executing this successfully will likely result in at least two or three extra draws, along with the material to make their strongest monster, Flower Cardian Lightflare. However, if you don't draw another Cardian, then all your monsters are destroyed, and if any were destroyed by this effect, you lose half your LP—putting you wide open for your opponent to take out the other half. This can be mitigated through the use of Flower Cardian Lightshower, which blocks destruction, allowing it to keep your monsters safe if Super All In backfires, though this does require some setup.
    • Sonic Boom is meant to serve as this for the Mecha Phantom Beast archetype. If you use it, the targeted monster's ATK becomes double its original ATK, becomes immune to Spells and Traps, and can deal damage even if your opponent's monsters were in Defense Position. However, it also destroys all Machines you control (a Type the MPB archetype consists entirely of) and prevents all your other monsters from attacking, meaning you can't follow up if your attack doesn't beat your opponent. It also doesn't stop your opponent from using a monster effect like Battle Fader to end the Battle Phase.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Fairly common in BattleTech — especially the "Classic" era. Very few 'Mechs can fire all their weapons at once without raising their heat level to a point where the 'Mech is very likely to shut down. This is known as the Alpha Strike and taken at the right time, it can be the chance that wins the battle... or loses it.
    • The Death from Above maneuver is considered this. Jumping onto an enemy 'Mech to Goomba Stomp them can be devastating... if it succeeds. Chances are good that a successful DFA will heavily damage the target or destroy them outright courtesy of a smashed cockpit. Chances are also good that the 'Mech attempting the maneuver will fall and damage itself as well, leaving it at the mercy of gravity, the intended victim, and any of the intended victim's friends. What's more — and what can readily make this attack another example of Awesome, but Impractical — is that the 'Mech trying to perform it can't use its weapons that turn, but can be shot at just fine by any and all enemy units in range while it's still technically in mid-air and has no cover.
  • For Beyblade Metal Fury, the Final:Drive included with Cosmic Pegasus F:D has a tip which retracts as the Beyblade looses spin. Once it fully retracts, it becomes a wide rubber flat tip meant to give one last Desperation Attack before spinning out.
  • The priests of Kor, the god of war and slaughter in The Dark Eye, have the power to harness all the damage their first eight strikes would do and use it all on the final ninth strike. While they are doing this, they will start counting from one to nine, so any enemy familiar with this cult will know what's coming.
  • A large number of feats and combat styles in Dungeons & Dragons, at least in the third edition, are centered around lowering your stats for extra damage. The classic one would be Reckless Offensive, a feat that allows you to trade armor class for extra accuracy on your strikes — another one would be Robilar's Gambit, a feat that lets you counter-attack anyone who melee attacks you that round in return for a greatly reduced armor class. The most popular option, however, is Shocktrooper's Heedless Charge, which allows you to shift your power attack penalty to hit to your armor class, causing it to plummet to nothing. Another common one is Headlong Charge, which causes you to take an attack of opportunity when you attack as part of a charge.
    • The Bravura Warlord in fourth edition has a lot of moves like this, some of which also encourage your buddies to make reckless attacks as well.
    • The basic Charge counts, as well. You can move twice your speed and attack in the same turn (normally moving twice your speed costs you an action you'd use to attack with), but the movement must be in a straight line and you take a -2 penalty to your Armor Class until the start of your next turn. It'll quickly get you into melee range of the enemy, all right... but if the party isn't there to support you, that turn is likely your last.
    • In 5th Edition, Barbarians gain an ability called Reckless Attack at 2nd level that lets them choose each round to gain Advantage on all attacks they make for one round in exchange for giving all enemies who attack them Advantage as well. However, part of the disadvantage of this ability can be mitigated while using their Rage ability, which gives them resistance to physical damage (but using Reckless Attack while fighting one or more rogues is not a great idea).
  • Exalted: The peak of the Wood Dragon Terrestrial Martial Arts skill tree is a Charm that will kill anything that is alive, if it hits. The problem? If your attack failed to hit, at the end of the duration of this Charm, you die. This is not a setting where Death Is Cheap.
  • All-Out Attacks in GURPS are variously more accurate or more powerful than normal attacks but they leave you unable to defend yourself immediately afterward.
    • Acting as a Frontline General in Mass Combat. While the bonuses gained by leading from the front in an engagement are substancial... So are the risks involved.
  • Almost every advanced combat maneuver in the Old World of Darkness Storyteller System requires the user to forgo their defense, leaving them with only their armor. Of course, since one of these combat maneuvers allows you to punch one opponent four times in a single round, defending yourself might not be too much of an issue.
  • D&D 3.5's spiritual successor Pathfinder has a feat literally titled "Death or Glory." You make an attack with some serious bonuses to hit and damage against a large enemy creature. Better hope it kills them, though (or you have a good chunk of HP left), because the target gets a chance to immediately attack you with the same bonuses.
  • Sentinels of the Multiverse:
    • Several characters have ways to deal huge amounts of damage at the expense of their equipment. Omnitron-X and The Wraith, for instance, have one-shot cards that let them destroy all their equipment cards to do massive damage, leaving them extremely vulnerable and limited in their actions afterward. Haka has a card that lets him discard as many cards as he wants in one turn to boost his next attack — which can make for a hell of a punch, but could also leave him with nothing in his hand. Interestingly, he has another card that applies the same kind of boost to defense, and another that lets him heal one HP for every card he discards.
    • Ra's final variant, Ra: Setting Sun, takes this and runs with it, fitting as it depicts his final, suicidal attack on Obliv Aeon. His power, "Blaze of Glory," does 2 irreducible damage to every non-hero target, and to Ra himself, destroys one of his Ongoing cards and removes four of his cards from the game. His incapacitated powers are similarly themed — one lets another hero do a 10 irreducible HP attack, while another destroys every non-hero target at 4 HP or below; either one also removes Ra from the game entirely.
  • In a Star Fleet Battles ship-to-ship duel, firing an Alpha Strike in a "narrow salvo" (all weapons are resolved with one die roll, so either they all hit or they all miss) is likely to either cripple your enemy or leave you highly vulnerable until you can reload (if you survive that long). The tactic is less risky in fleet engagements where ships can cover for each other.
  • Trogdor has one in Trogdor!! The Board Game. Should Trogdor take damage when he has no health left, he goes into a frenzy known as "Trogdor's Fiery Rage". Trogdor gets five movement cards in a row, burninating down each tile he walks on, and everything and everyone on it (except the archers). While in his Fiery Rage, Trogdor can use wrap-around movement, which is normally used by everyone but Trogdor. If Trogdor fails to burn down every last tile, peasant, and thatch-roofed cottage in the countryside by the time his rage runs out, the game is lost.
    Strong Sad: Trogdor doesn't lose, he rage quits!
  • The Trope Namer is the Death or Glory move from Warhammer 40,000, a called maneuver in which a unit stands in the path of a charging enemy vehicle to squeeze a good shot off. Success means one-shotting a large enemy tank. Failure means you go squish.
    • This is referenced in Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts novel Necropolis, where the civilian militia resorted to sending men with demo charges to destroy the advancing Chaos tanks. When a Guardsman found out about this tactic, it resulted in the following conversation:
      Guardsman: How many tanks have you destroyed?
      Militia: Twenty-four, I think.
      Guardsman: How many men did you lose?
      Militia: (shrugs) Twenty-four, of course.
    • In 5th edition, the "Barrels of Monkeys" list involves you taking Inquisitor Coteaz and as many Jokaero as you can fit into a list (Coteaz's special ability removing the previous limits on how many you could take). This was a Lethal Joke Army due to the fact that if you managed to get first turn, it can completely obliterate your opponent's army in one turn due to Jokaero being armed with a slew of super-powerful weapons. If you didn't get the first turn or roll absolutely abysmally? you'll likely be wiped off the board on their first turn. Jokaero are about as durable as tissue paper and Coteaz isn't all that threatening by himself.

    Video Games 
  • Many Shoot Em Ups have player ships which shoot a Spread Shot that fans out as they travel. As a result, the closer you are to an enemy, the more of your shots connect. The logical extreme is known as "shotgunning" or "point blanking", where you fly up extremely close to an enemy to shoot it point blank for maximum damage. The obvious downside is that you'll have no time to react, in a genre where you're usually a One-Hit-Point Wonder, so even the slightest mistake while shotgunning usually means instant death. Some games also provide additional rewards for it:
    • In Touhou Shinreibyou ~ Ten Desires, bosses drop blue and gray spirit items as they take damage, and the closer you get, the more spirit items they drop.
    • In DoDonPachi Daifukkatsu, shotgunning enemies and bosses with your laser deals additional damage and also charges up your Hyper Counter gauge extremely quickly.
    • In Mushihime Sama Futari Black Label, shotgunning enemies makes them drop amber gems, which are crucial to increasing your score.
  • In most American football video games, calling an all-out blitz can result in nailing the opponent for a big loss. A successful blitz can swing a game's momentum in your favor. If you can't reach the ball carrier, it can swing the other way, as it leaves large gaps in the defense and plenty of uncovered players to act as blockers.
    • Madden 21 gives Kansas City QB Patrick Mahomes the "Bazooka" special ability, which allows him to throw nearly the length of the football field. However, the player has to buy time for his receivers to run by scrambling around in the backfield, meaning it will either be a huge bomb for a touchdown or a massive sack.
  • In many Match Three RPG games (examples include Empire & Puzzles and Stranger Things: Puzzle Tales), the combat mechanics allow for stacking heroes/units of a single mana/color type to increase attack power. A favorable board will allow the player to sweep through opponents with little issue. The issue becomes if the RNG starts filling the board with colors other than the one you're using. At best, you're wasting turn after turn, doing only chip damage. In most such games, the opposing team's mana/special gauge gets the same amount of mana in response to attack, no matter how much damage you do. So the enemy can pound away with their special attacks (and timed normal attacks) while you flail around hoping for lucky tile drop.
  • In battle royale games, there's going for the stashes of high-end loot near the start of the game. You will likely wind up much better armed than most of the competition and well-prepared for the battle to come... as will everybody else who had the same idea as you. The high-level drops are inevitably the scenes of some of the fiercest fighting in a battle royale game, and you will either emerge from them armed to the teeth, or wind up dead in the first few minutes.
  • In Among Us, there are ways for an Impostor to get multiple kills on the Crewmates or kill a Crewmate and frame others. However, if botched, they can lead to very undesirable results for the Impostor:
    • Double kills require having two Impostors near exactly two Crewmates, and simultaneously killing both before either Crewmate can report the other's dead body, quickly and effectively cutting through the Impostors' kill requirement and possibly even securing a victory. However, this requires a lot of trust in the other Impostor(s) — If one Impostor is too slow or is on kill cooldown, the surviving Crewmate can report the other's dead body as a witness, which can quickly become two witnesses if the other Impostor doesn't want to risk blowing their cover.
    • Stack Kills involve an Impostor killing one member of a stacked group of Crewmates doing a common task or sabotage fix. If nobody witnesses it, Imposters can get away with one kill with potential suspects for everyone. The downside is that it can easily out-rule everyone who wasn't in the room, and everyone is a suspect, including the killer themselves. Finally, experienced crewmates can pretend to do something while being on watch, and especially watchful Crewmates can see the movement when the Impostor makes a kill.
    • The Shapeshifter is capable of shapeshifting into the form of other Crewmates. One risky-but-highly-rewarding tactic with them is shapeshifting, then killing in front of other Crewmates to frame the Crewmate you took the form of. Pulled off well, it can allow the Impostors to kill a crewmate, and frame another into getting voted off. However, if the shapeshifter is witnessed by the real Crewmate they're disguised as, this often proves the Crewmate's innocence and alerts the Crewmates to a Shapeshifter's presence as Shapeshifters are capable of turning into other imposters, but rarely do so and have no reason to unless they are trying to make the crewmates believe their teammate is a crewmate.
  • The "Kenway Broadside" in Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag. Basically, you bait them into ramming you, then instead of trying to escape open up with all guns as quickly as you can. It's an absolutely devastating strategy against military brigs... but you have to let them ram you first.
  • In Batman: Arkham Knight, the enemies have one in the form of a charging attack, which has a massive wind-up time but is uncounterable and knocks Batman over, and since it's usually started from a distance it can be easy to miss if you're more concerned with the mob of enemies directly in front of you. However, if Batman hits the charging enemy with a batarang, it's an instant KO.
  • Battlefield 2's sniper kit could get into some interesting showdowns with jeeps. Any time a jeep driver sees infantry out in the open, there's a decent chance he'll try to run them over. If the sniper is feeling bold, he can stop, take aim, and kill the driver with a single flawlessly aimed headshot, bringing the jeep to a stop. If he misses, it is incredibly unlikely he'll have time to get clear before being run down, much less take another shot.
    • Sometimes if the sniper kills the driver too close to himself, the jeep does not have enough time to come to a full stop and it smashes into the sniper anyways. Due to a somewhat buggy kill scoring system, the driver may or may not get credit for the kill.
    • Similarly: The C4 packs. If you manage to stick a few of them to a vehicle and detonate, you have a guaranteed kill. Of course, this requires you to be in close range of a tank (which will kill you pretty much as soon as one of the occupants notices you) or a jeep (where either machine gunners or getting run over will kill you). Against infantry, they are also like mines or grenades you can control, but holding the detonator leaves you completely defenseless if they see you. Not to mention the high chance of getting caught in the explosion yourself.
    • Battlefield 3 adds "Jihad Jeeping" to the above mix; shove some C4 on your Humvee/UAZ, drive headlong at an enemy armoured vehicle and hope you can time your dive from the moving 4x4 so that it still has enough forward momentum to hit the target without you getting caught in the explosion... unless you don't mind having to respawn, in which case it's a Suicide Attack.
  • Battle for Wesnoth has the Dwarvish Ulfserker/Berserker line, which instead of stopping after an exchange of the standard number of strikes like other units will simply keep fighting right until either it or its opponent is dead. (Thankfully this applies in melee only as the unit has no ability to strike or retaliate at range.) A lesser but still valid example are units with the Charge ability (double damage on the attack in exchange for doubled damage taken in return as well), especially the basic Horseman and its Lancer upgrade which only have a charge attack.
  • One advanced technique in Battle Garegga is to suicide your last life, using the shrapnel or one of Gain's or Bornham's Smart Bombs deployed immediately beforehand to damage or kill enemies and push yourself past the point threshold for the next extra life before the "Continue" prompt shows up (or Game Over, if continues are turned off). If you succeed — and that's a big "if" — you'll get a full bomb pickup that's intended to be used as a continue incentive, but without having to continue.
  • In the "Superweapon" mode of the iPhone version of Battleship. you have the Torpedo weapon. It fills an entire column with shots, stopping when it hits an enemy ship. But... If there is no enemy ship in that column, the corresponding column of shots is shifted to your board and any of your ships on that column will take hits.
  • The literal Glass Cannon item in The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth. It fires a massive tear on use, but it also sets the player character's health to just half a heart each time it's fired.
    • This was changed in Repentance so that it causes two full hearts of damage if character is damaged instead, as well as breaking the cannon and requiring a few room charges to fix it. It still retains some part of this trope however, as carrying this item still requires the player to be careful or their hearts will be drained quickly.
  • In BlazBlue, Hakumen has a quite small window for setting off his Counter Attacks. If you're trying to stop a Distortion Drive or Astral Heat, failure will hurt a lot. It does not help that some Distortion Drives and Astral Heats have unusual timing so you cannot just blindly use the super flash buffer technique.
  • Bloodborne: The combat system is designed around the below Dark Souls games, but distinctly puts far less emphasis on defense, giving you only one (extremely worthless) shield. As such, the entire game incentivizes players to throw themselves into combat and deal large damage in strings of combos while mixing dodges and attacks together, or outright eat a flurry of blows or huge crushing hits when you fail to read your target properly.
    • A major part of the game, Riposte attacks and the Rallying system are all about this. Instead of backstabbing like in Dark Souls, you have to shoot the enemy at just the right moment to get an opening for a powerful Visceral Attack. It ends with either the enemy or you dead.
    • The Rallying system takes it a step further by allowing you to regain back health by immediately closing in and hitting enemies with wild abandon before the recoverable health becomes a lasting injury, at the risk of getting counter-attacked during the combo and losing even more health.
  • In Caller's Bane, the card Necrogeddon. It's a literal death and/or glory attack, destroying all of your (presumably) good creatures in exchange for fairly average zombies that are immediately ready for attack.
  • Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia has two different ways of doing this that aren't even attacks in and of themselves. One is an accessory known as the Death Ring, which significantly increases one's stats while making it so that one hit from an enemy will kill you outright. The other is a buff glyph known as Dominus Agony, with an even bigger boost and a cost of 66 HP per second. Either one — or even both if you're especially daring — is most useful in boss fights, where one of you is going to die in a scant few seconds (or in the case of the former, if you're going for the No-Damage Run anyway).
  • Code Vein: "Final Journey" is a Gift that can only be used with the Queenslayer Blood Code, your original Blood Code, and unlike most Gifts can't be used without its original Code. It instantly restores you to full health, massively buffs your speed and damage, but will kill you in exactly one minute (certain buffs can extend this to ninety seconds).
  • Command & Conquer: Generals: On occasion, and when pressed by selective destruction of its buildings, the AI will empty all its Garrisonable Structures and sell its depowered defenses (in the US' case, it gets them 3 Rangers per buildings) and send all its remaining troops at you at once... so it's a shame infantry is so very easy to dispose of.
  • In Darkest Dungeon the Jester and Hellion both have high-damage attacks that come with a substantial self-debuff afterwards.
    • The Jester's "Finale" is very much meant to be used to finish a battle (in fact it can only be used once per battle) and also unlike the Hellion's attacks automatically moves him to the very back of the hero team formation. This is useful as if you had to use it to finish a tough enemy before killing the rest of his group this places the Jester right where he needs to be to use his various team buffing powers, making him still somewhat useful afterwards.
  • Parrying with your shield in Dark Souls is more of a movement than an attack, but nevertheless applies. If you parry correctly, you knock your enemy's weapon aside and open them up to a massively powerful counter-attack. If you don't parry correctly, you've just given up your ability to dodge or block the attack, and you're about to be pounded into the ground.
  • Dark Souls III: The Old Demon King can attempt one when at low health. He creates an enormous fiery explosion that can easily destroy even a very tough and well-armored player if they're caught in it. However, this attack drains all of the fire out of him, leaving him helpless afterward. Survive the explosion, and the Old Demon King is more or less guaranteed to die.
    • The Giant Enemy Crabs sometimes rear up to slam their entire body down. This creates a small window where you can trigger a Bloodborne-style Visceral Attack on them (read: Attack Its Weak Point for massive damage). However, if you miss the window, then you get a big ol' crab slamming down right on your head and crushing you.
  • In Defiance, a high-ranked monster called a Hellbug Monarch exposes its vulnerable underbelly when rearing up to attack. Instead of dodging out of the way, one can unload everything into it in hopes of stunning/killing it.
  • The Royal Release from Devil May Cry 3, 4, and 5. It can deal awesome, awesome damage to even Dante Must Die bosses. However, you must first build up a meter, preferably by blocking enemies' attacks at the exact moment when they would connect, and then unleash it also when an enemy's attack would connect. Fail to meet the timing and not only is the damage reduced significantly, but Dante also loses the invulnerability frames a successful Royal Release would have. Massive hurt on Dante tends to ensue.
  • In Divekick: The "YOLO" gem will will give you a 30% speed boost on your Dive, your Kick and the Super Meter (Your other three available booster gems give a 10% boost for each). But once you equip it, if you lose a round, you lose the whole match.
  • In Dokapon Kingdom and Dokapon Journey, every character you control or fight has a move called "Strike", which usually does enough damage to bring down a full-health enemy of the same level as the person using it. However, should the character on the receiving end counter it (using a move of the same name), the attacker gets the damage instead. It doesn't necessarily kill, but characters can kill enemies of much higher level than themselves by getting a lucky counter on the defense and then finishing off the opponent with their attack.
  • Dragon Age: Inquisition: The Reaver specialization for Warriors lives for this trope. Reavers have little to no defensive buffs, but their DPS increases the lower their health. In fact, Reavers are most deadly when they have very few hit points left. Granted they can survive the enemy’s attack.
  • Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3 gives Majin Vegeta one of these for his ultimate attack. If Vegeta wins the mini-game, he survives with one hit point, while his opponent loses all their life instantly. If his opponent wins, Vegeta goes down, but his opponent survives.
  • Dragon Quest has the recurring Magic Burst spell, which hits all enemies for extraordinary damage at the cost of all of the caster's MP. Used right, it can end battles in a flash or deal massive damage to bosses, but it leaves the user helpless against whatever survives until their MP is replenished.
  • In Dungeon Fighter Online, the Asura class sports Ground Shaker and Agni Pentacle. Both can potentially end any duel should they hit, but if the Asura wiffs, they are left completely immobile and defenseless for a good 3-5 seconds in which time they likely will be killed.
  • Dyztopia: Post-Human RPG: In his first form, Zazz can use Doomsday on the party to knock them down to critical health, but this also makes him vulnerable to all elements afterwards.
  • In the Gundam video game, Encounters in Space, several mobile suits have an extra special attack, only usable when they fill three bars of the special meter (normal special moves use one bar). After using these abilities, the mobile suit's special meter will "break" and no longer charge for the rest for the fight. The GP02A Gundam "Physalis" fires off its nuclear bazooka, while the two Blue Destiny units activate their EXAM systems.
  • Fate/unlimited codes has "Holy Grail Burst Super Attacks" for each character, which can only be activated when the character enters Burst Mode while 1) their Mana Meter is full, 2) the Holy Grail is full and 3) the player was the one who landed the hit that fills the gauge. If a character successfully connects with one of these, it can cause devastating damage to the opponent. This can be ruined by not activating the skill before the mana meter runs out (in which case you'll have to charge it up again by fighting), or activating the skill and missing (causing the Holy Grail to disappear for the rest of the round).
  • Dissidia Final Fantasy has several of these. There are moves to immobilize opponents, instantly cause Break status on them, summon a giant meteor to fall on them, etc. Of course they all require you to charge up for several seconds with no defense for counter-attack. These moves are actually effective against the AI because they're liable to just stand and watch you charge up your kill move, or can be "tricked" in various ways into being unable to do anything about it, usually by exploiting the stage — human opponents know better, of course, so don't expect to see any of these moves go off in a PvP match.
    • It does bear mentioning that none of these type of attack are usable by any of Cosmos' warriors; The Emperor has Starfall, Golbez has Black Fang in his EX Mode which instantly destroys the player's Brave, Exdeath gets access to Maelstrom in the prequel, Sephiroth uses his Black Materia to summon a meteor and Heartless Angel which is similar to Black Fang (in that, rather than outright breaking the opponent, their BRV is merely reduced to 1), and Ultimecia can use Time Crush in her EX Mode. All of these characters are villains.
      • The Emperor's Starfall attack became more usable in the sequel, due to gaining a property that stops ranged Bravery attacks, forcing the enemy to close in on him, which may play into his hand. Meanwhile, Exdeath's Maelstrom is almost never intended as an actual attack, rather as bait to make the enemy try an attack, which Exdeath can counter.
  • Overdrives in Final Fantasy X have a very long recovery time, especially for Aeons. Made even worse against the Superbosses: if your Aeon doesn't kill it off, your Aeon is dead.
  • In several Fire Emblem games, there are Devil weapons. They are extremely powerful weapons that look like handy and valuable weapons at first... until you realize that they will occasionally deal the damage that would have been dealt to the enemy to the user themself! If the Critical Hit animation plays before the attack hits, pray that the enemy will receive the buttload of damage, otherwise the knockback will off its user.
  • Several troops in Gems of War have this characteristic: In particular, The Dullahan. Its special ability will instantly kill the first troop on the enemy sidenote ... Or the first on its side, even if it's The Dullahan itself.
  • This is the nature of pretty much all Black Blood Arts in God Eater 2. Special mention goes to the Boost Hammer Black Blood Arts: Tornado Carnage is by far the most powerful Blood Art for Boost Hammers, but instantly kills the user if it misses, and Deicide is slightly weaker but consumes all of the user's stamina on use (meaning you're left vulnerable while you catch your breath afterwards).
  • Instant Kill Moves in the Guilty Gear series. Connect? It's an instant KO. Miss? Your Tension Gauge is gone for the rest of the round.
    • In the first game, when the opportunity to input the IK arises, the opponent can race to input a "counter" command or even the same IK motion, possibly eliminating the instigator instead. In the same game, IKs win the whole match instead of just one round.
  • Gundam Extreme Vs.: The Susanoo has a seppuku move much like Yoshimitsu (mentioned above) where it spins around and stabs both its katanas through its "gut", dealing incredible damage to any enemy in the way but inflicting a fair chunk on itself in addition to crumple-stun.
  • GunZ: The Duel has d-style, a fighting style based primarily in countering k-style moves. Most d-style moves require exceptionally good timing, the opponent to be in a specific position or animation, or just dumb luck. It is extremely effective when done right, but most players quit long before they are good enough to do it right.
  • Halo:
    • Going for a Mongoose Mowdown often results in this. Likewise, this includes any sort of attempted splatter that involves holding the Idiot Ball.
    • Halo: Reach has the "If They Came To Hear Me Beg" achievement. To get it, you must assassinate something while falling from a height that would have killed you. If you succeed, you get the achievement and survive (the assassination breaks your fall). If you fail, your target gets to see your body slam into the ground next to them.
  • Certain cards in Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft qualify:
    • Deathwing is a monstrous 12/12 that destroys every other minion on board and discards your entire hand when played. If the opponent is caught unprepared, Deathwing can easily end the game by himself with his raw power, but if the opponent is prepared with, say, a removal spell... he's still ended the game by himself, because with no hand and no other minions, you're not going to have a plan B.
    • Yogg-Saron, Hope's End casts a random spell on a random target — including himself — for each spell you previously played during the game. This means he can do basically anything from outright killing your opponent, to nuking their board, to filling your board and drawing a bunch of cards, to killing you, to any outcome in between. This results in a card that can win you the game, screw you over completely, or do absolutely nothing (the latter becoming much more likely after Yogg was nerfed to stop casting spells if he kills himself).
  • The Hitman franchise is the EMBODIMENT of this trope. Simply taking your weapon out in public is a virtual death sentence, as you are likely to be slaughtered, and even attempting to make your way to your target on higher difficulties will either go perfectly well or leave you failing critically.
  • In J-Stars Victory VS, Ichigonote 's Super Mode, Final Getsuga Tenshou, allows him to use Mugetsu. Regardless of whether the attack succeeds or fails, he gets K.O.'d.
  • Ralf Jones of The King of Fighters (originally Ikari Warriors) has the Galactica Phantom, a super move that can be interrupted with a low attack (it makes him invulnerable to high attacks) and a very long start-up time. If the opponent gets close enough to sweep you, you're in trouble. But... it has a far longer range than it looks, and deals ridiculous damage. Either you're leaving yourself wide open or you're winning the round.
  • Kirby and the Forgotten Land: In the Colosseum, Meta Knight has a move where he charges up, then does a quick dash at Kirby. If this connects, Meta Knight will proceed to combo Kirby with Upper Calibur for a massive amount of damage. If Kirby has the Sword ability (or its upgraded variants), he can instead press A to enter a Blade Lock with Meta Knight where the player needs to mash buttons to win the struggle. Fail, and Kirby eats the aforementioned Upper Calibur. Succeed, and Meta Knight will be disarmed and stunned for a few seconds, allowing Kirby to put the hurt on him or even better, grab the dropped sword to get the very powerful Meta Knight Sword ability (and forcing Meta to replace his sword with one from an earlier game). Phantom Meta Knight has a similar move, except it can try to juke Kirby by circling him before the actual dash.
  • Limit breaks in The Last Remnant can be devastatingly powerful, but requires staying in close combat with the enemy. The union will also avoid almost every attack, until the limit break is used. So using these attacks instead of healing while on low health will guarantee a huge amount of damage to your enemy, and then leave you completely open to counterattack.
  • Last Scenario has the Brutal Attack spellcard, which deals massive amounts of damage, but also damages the user. It's entirely possible for the user to KO themselves if they don't have enough HP to survive it. It's also possible for the user to miss with either the attack or the damage dealt to themselves, which can lead to either the character hurting themselves for nothing, or dealing big damage with no consequences.
  • Left 4 Dead:
    • Attempting to kill the Witch with a headshot (also known as Cr0wning due to the achievement you earn for pulling this off). Normally, the Witch turns the game in a Stealth-Based Mission: she sits there, crying, until someone upsets her by getting too close or shooting her, at which point she pins down the player who set her off and attacks them (a One-Hit Kill on expert difficulty). If you land a headshot, she dies instantly, but if you don't hit her dead-on...
    • The Tank has the ability to hurl large chunks of concrete at the survivors, which allows him to attack at range for good damage and chance to hit. The animation however takes a whole 3 seconds for lifting and throwing the rock, leaving him wide open for survivor gunfire.
    • Likewise the Tank's Boulder can be shot out of the air, but it takes a few shots to do so, and unless it's coming directly at you, it's probably better to just run. If it connects, however, it will stun you long enough so that the tank can get to you, so it's sometimes worth taking that shot if you have no other options (or if the tank's a really good shot).
  • Rean's Spirit Unification in The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II and III allows Rean to unleash his ogre form that gives him permanent status buffs in strength, speed, and defense, immunity from status debuffs and effects, and upgrades his S-Craft ratings so it deals more damage and in Cold Steel IV, he does have the highest S-Craft damage in the game in his ogre form at 5S. The only one who ties with him is Estelle but hers only targets one enemy. Unfortunately it costs 100 CP to transform Rean into his ogre form and it only lasts for three turns before he reverts back to his main self, which is why the form is only good for unleashing a 200 CP S-Craft. In Cold Steel IV after the three turns are up, he's uncontrollable and will only attack enemies without the player's input. He does have a permanent strength buff in this state but cannot do any link attacks whatsoever, leaving players with only three controllable characters. Fortunately, this status effect can be easily healed with items, arts, or waiting from the Random Number God to be kind to players to release him from this state.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess:
      • The sword tech "Mortal Draw" works like this. To use it, you must walk up to an enemy with your sword sheathed, and then press A when prompted during a small window. If it hits, you kill almost any enemy in one strike. If you mistime it, then the enemy gets a free strike at you.
      • Facing a certain charge attack from the Final Boss will prompt you with "chance" and to press A, which enters you into a (completely optional) button-mashing Blade Lock event with him. If you miss the "chance" window and fail to get out of the way, then you get hit with the brunt of the attack. If you fail the Blade Lock, he'll take away a chunk of your health. But if you succeed both of those, you're well on your way to killing him.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild: In the "Battle of the Champions" DLC, you are given the "One-Hit Obliterator", a four-pronged, one-handed trident-style weapon that can one-shot up to two opponents while the weapon is charged. But it charges itself by draining your health down to one-quarter of one heart. Using that weapon means one of you is going down in one hit.
    • Hyrule Warriors has the aptly-named Glass Cannon fairy magic. Activating it drastically increases the warrior's damage output (x8), but practically removes their defense, and a single tick of damage will leave the warrior with one-fourth of a heart left.
  • In Luck be a Landlord, the Midas Bomb symbol destroys all adjacent symbols, but multiplies the value of the destroyed symbols by 7x. Against the landlord boss fight, this can either outright win the game, or permanently screw you over into a death spiral loss.
  • LunarLux: Overphase quadruples Nickle the Murk Slayer's damage, but drains his HP by 50% each turn. Failure to win within that duration will result in him being either dead or wounded depending on whether or not he received any healing between those turns.
  • In the 3DS remake of Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, the fight with Ludwig in the final dungeon is massively revamped to center around one of these. The boss starts the fight by unleashing a massive, yet sluggish attack; while it makes its way to Mario and Luigi, he'll start shooting lesser attacks to distract them. Eventually, the first attack will approach one of the brothers, and Ludwig will keep firing until it's two seconds away from impact. If nothing is done, the attack will deal 999 damage to both characters regardless of stats or equipment, instantly killing them. If the attack is countered, Ludwig will instead get hit with 999 damage and die instantly.
  • The "Leap of Faith" shortcut on Mario Kart 64's Rainbow Road: Driving off the left side of the track just after the start at the right speed and angle will allow you to land on a lower tier and bypass 2/3rds of the track. Pulling this off will give you a near-insurmountable lead vs. AI racers. Miss the jump and you might as well restart.
  • Counter Hypers in Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 have pretty much unbeatable priority and do great damage, but have to be timed perfectly (excruciatingly difficult in Online Mode) and if you fail, you lose precious Hyper meter.
    • Phoenix Wright is a Death or Glory character. His entire playstyle hinges on you being able to hold the enemy off until he can gather the Evidence necessary to enter Turnabout Mode, but this is so difficult very few players can pull it off with anything even approaching regularity. If you manage to pull it off, however, Wright becomes an absolute beast who can spam powerful projectiles, juggle you with his powered-up heavy attacks and gives you access to one of the hardest-hitting Level 3 specials in the entire game.
  • With the appropriate weapons mods and ammunition, sniper rifles in Mass Effect can deal absurd amounts of damage — if you don't mind them overheating after one shot. You're not truly helpless, but you won't be shooting again for a second or two while your unfortunate victim's allies exact revenge. That said, sniper classes do have access to Immunity, which buffs their armor, allowing them to tank more damage.
    • The Vanguard class in Mass Effect is described as being this, a "high risk, high reward" class that rushes the front lines. In Mass Effect 2, the Vanguard's class ability is Charge, which biotically propels the player from anywhere (with a clear line of sight) to the enemy, ramming into them with incredible force. This can take them out, put a shot-gun wielding player in close- or it could lead to the player getting completely swarmed. It tends to go one way or the other, but this trope really shows when the player intentionally charges one enemy in the middle of an entire group. At higher levels, Charge also adds extra shield protection once it lands; since the shotguns have a tighter spread than in most games, a Vanguard with bad aim will be mowed down quickly. A Vanguard with good aim will splat entire enemy squads after they come out of Charge before their extra barriers fail.
    • Mass Effect 3: Vanguards keep the "charge" ability from Mass Effect 2, and gain the 'nova' ability, that uses up their remaining shields to deliver a Shockwave Stomp, making this trope into the Vanguard's specialty. With the right upgrades the Vanguard's charge cooldown is under 3 seconds, allowing them to repeatedly charge/nova enemies to death while remaining nigh-invulnerable to anything short of massed enemy fire or a one hit kill ability from an enemy. Vanguards don't even need to carry a gun by that point.
  • In Megadimension Neptunia VII, all of the four CPUs get a Next Tier Power-Up called the "Next Form" and with it, they have access to the most powerful attacks of the game. However, once used, it will bring back the CPUs to their base human form. It's not as bad for the other three as their most powerful attack does a lot of multiple hits but Next Purple's attack only does one hit for massive damage. So if that misses, not only have the players wasted an EXE gauge, she's brought back down to Neptune and now must build up the EXE gauge twice and waste two turns for Neptune to get back to Next Purple.
  • Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes has Fiona's Spider Cloak accessory. It boosts the power of her individual units by 100%, allowing her to take on opponents of much higher levels. The drawback is that it knocks her lifepoints down to 10% of her max, so one solid hit will kill her. Note that in earlier versions of the game, Fiona could refill her life points to full, with the Vampire elite units and a bit of luck. The Steam version closed that loophole by hard capping her HP at 10% of maximum.
  • The Sniper Minirobot from Mini Robot Wars. It shoots an extremely fast and damaging bullet at any enemy machine that enters its attack range. The catch is that said attack has a chance of missing completely, and the shot interval time is quite long. If he fails to hit the stronger enemies such as Mega Smashers, you can kiss your defenses goodbye if you don't have a ready bomb on hand.
    • Thankfully, this gets averted once he gets the Eagle Eye upgrade, which makes all his shots hit no matter what.
  • The Void Walker demon in Nexus Clash has Precision of the Assassin, an Armor-Piercing Attack that ignores the enemy's armor at the price of dragging the Void Walker's own Damage Reduction armor into negative numbers. If the Glass Cannon Void Walker fails to kill their target quickly, they quickly find themselves fighting as a Cotton Candy Cannon.
  • Quite a few Pokémon moves come to mind:
    • The best examples are Fissure, Guillotine, Sheer Cold and Horn Drill. They only have a 30% chance to hit, but if they do, your opponent is one-shotted. Guillotine and Horn Drill don't work on Ghost types unless you use some form of workaround strategy. Sheer Cold is Ice-type and the most dangerous of them all because only other Ice-type Pokemon are immune. Fissure, being a ground type move, suffers from Flying types and Levitate and Air Balloon users being immune. But otherwise, landing one of these WILL knock out an opponent's Pokémon. If you miss (70% chance), you just gave your opponent a free turn, which can prove devastating. These four moves are banned from competitive play because of how cheap the victories can be with them in use. There are moves such as Protect or Detect that block the attack, the withstanding move Endure that spares 1 HP, the item Focus Sash which does the same, and the effects of the ability Sturdy, which makes it impossible for 1-hit KO.
    • "(High) Jump Kick" hurts the user by one-half of the damage it would have inflicted if they miss. In an early Battle CD from Gale of Darkness, you actually have to use this to your advantage - the opponent is ridiculously powerful and can knock you out in one hit, but the fixed pattern of attacks - it uses three elemental punches, then High Jump kick, and you have a Blissey (who has a silly amount of HP) with a move that blocks any attack, but loses its chances of success with repeated use - means a single blocked attack is all it takes to finish the foe.
      • In Generation V, the damage from missing is changed from one-half the damage it would have done to one-half of the user's maximum HP. Probably because of the above scenario, and a boost in its base firepower (to 130, after already being boosted from 85 to 100 in Generation IV).
    • Ghosts can use Curse to inflict an incurable status which can eat through the foe's HP frighteningly quickly. The downside is that the user takes a nail to the eye for 50% of its health bar, making it rather easy for the enemy to finish the job (but making it harder to catch wild Ghost Pokes that use it, since they tend to pass out).
    • Several attacks require two turns to execute. Sadly, they're rarely powerful enough to make up for wasting the first turn (Razor Wind, Skull Bash). Then there's Solar Beam, which doesn't need a turn to charge if the weather is sunny, though causing sunny weather takes up a turn itself and if your opponent is faster and changes the weather, you're boned. Then there's moves where you're semi-invulnerable the first turn (Dig, Fly, Dive), though there are always a few moves that can still damage you (as well as a few that will cause extra damage (Earthquake against Dig, Twister or Hurricane against Fly, Surf against Dive)). None of those two-turn moves are very popular in competitive play, simply because the opponent will be able to switch to a Pokémon that resists or is outright immune to the attack, and has a good chance of being highly capable of mopping the floor with the two-turn-move-user (the exception being Gyarados's Bounce and Origin Forme Giratina's Shadow Force, since both Pokémon are powerful enough to justify the use of such moves). However, there is an item called a Power Herb that skips the charge up and allows to attack without it, but A) These aren't available until post-game, and B) It disappears after use.
      • Hyper Beam (and its many variants, like Rock Wrecker, Roar of Time, and Giga Impact) are inversions of the usual two-turn attacks: They strike first and require a recharge turn later. They inflict massive damage, but the extra turn required to recover it can prove fatal in fierce competitive settings. (On the other hand, the extra turn is a moot point if you're about to get KO'ed anyway...) Also, anything with at least 75 Base Power (which is rather mediocre) does at least as much damage over two turns, landing these attacks firmly in the Cool, but Inefficient category. They're only useful if you desperately need an OHKO.
    • And there are moves which sharply reduce the user's stats after use, which can make your Pokémon practically useless afterwards (e.g. Draco Meteor and Overheat sharply reduce attack power after use) or vulnerable to enemy attacks (Close Combat, which reduces defense). Unless, of course, the user has the ability Contrary, in which case an already strong move will become significantly stronger with each use. It can also be mitigated by switching out the user after each use.
    • Then there's Bide. For two turns, your Pokémon doesn't do a thing. On the third turn, they'll attack, doing exactly twice as much damage to the opponent as the opponent did to your Pokémon during those two turns. Unless your Pokémon hasn't taken any damage because your opponent was too busy buffing their own stats in order to be more able to crush you (and human players, naturally, will be almost guaranteed to primarily use status moves against Bide users). Or it did crush you before you could strike back. Or your Pokémon is suffering from confusion or paralysis or something similar and quite simply fails to use the move.
    • There's also the recoil damage attacks (Jump Kick and High Jump Kick not included, since they do a different kind of recoil damage), which do damage to the user whenever it hits. And they all do pretty good damage; none of them naturally have a power lower than 80, 5 of them have a power of 120, and one has a power of 150. But the damage they do to the user is pretty hefty; all but one of them does 1/3 of the damage its user dealt, and the other one, Head Smash (the most powerful one), deals half the damage the opponent took. Imagine how much Rampardos (who has the third highest base Attack in the game, beat only by Attack Forme Deoxys and Black Kyurem; oh, and he also gets a 50% damage increase since Head Smash is a Rock attack and Rampardos is a Rock Pokémon) is hurting after using it. The one thing that can negate this damage is the ability Rock Head, which prevents recoil damage.
      • And then there's Normal-type Struggle, which is used by Pokémon who've run out of PP for all their moves. On the plus side, it ignores the opponent's type, so you can still use it on Pokemon that resist or are immune to Normal attacks. Unfortunately, the recoil damage is pretty hefty: as of Generation IV, the user takes damage equal to 1/4 of their max HP every time it hits, regardless of how much damage it dealt.
    • Shadow End from Pokémon XD. It's powerful (120 power Shadow move, doubled to 240 against regular Pokémon), but the user's current HP is cut in half whenever it hits. That, and a base accuracy of 60% make it less reliable than Thunder or Blizzard.
    • Zap Cannon. 100 power (120 in Generation V), instant paralysis, but only 50% accuracy. Dynamic Punch is the same, only it's Fighting-type and confuses. Pokémon Black and White also gives us the move Inferno, which is Fire-type and causes a burn. Focus Punch is a 150 power fighting move, but goes second and fails if the user is hit.
      • When used on its own, Focus Punch is practically useless outside of very specific circumstances. As of Gen V, we have the move After You... Granted, this only makes the move a lot more reliable in double and triple battles.
      • Focus Punch becomes very useful if you make it so the opponent can't attack you directly — so put the enemy to sleep or use Substitute, or threaten it into switching out, and...
    • There's also Outrage and variations thereof, which inflict massive damage for 2-3 turns, but after that the user becomes confused.
    • Belly Drum is a 'Death or Glory Buff'. In order to use it, you must sacrifice half your total HP, if you can't then the move fails. If it succeeds however, you get maximized physical attack power, with which you can deal 4x regular damage with any physical move... Assuming you live long enough to attack. Move first and you need to hope your opponent cannot hit you for the rest of your HP, move second and you run the risk of either not being able to use the move at all, or not being able to respond due to the speed difference.
      • Similarly, the Pokémon Veluza may be packing the move Fillet Away, which gives up half their current HP like Belly Drum, but confers the positive buffs of Shell Smash (i.e., boosting Attack, Special Attack, and Speed by two stages). While the power boost conferred doesn't quite reach the heights of Belly Drum, Veluza's base Attack stat is already quite respectable even before being doubled, and the Speed increase can help to ensure that it can gets its attacks in more reliably.
    • The aptly named Final Gambit attack falls under this: This move will knock out the Pokémon that uses it but is a Fixed Damage Attack — that fixed damage being the amount of HP the Pokémon had when it used Final Gambit. It can knock out an opposing Pokémon who might have previously been at a disadvantage... or it might not and you'd have lost one of your own Pokémon for nothing.
    • Endeavor is the opposite of Final Gambit: It, too, is a fixed damage attack. The fixed damage is the opponent's HP minus the user's HP, meaning that after using it, both the user and its target will have the same amount of HP. Of course, this means that the opponent will be next to attack, so you'd better have something ready for that.
  • Primal Carnage: The Novaraptor's roar gives it the "Frenzy" power-up, which greatly increases its attack speed and strength for several seconds, but instantly drains its stamina bar, turning the raptor into an extreme Glass Cannon. The a frenzied Novaraptor becomes a whirlwind of teeth and claws capable of decimating an entire group of humans in seconds, but the fact it can no longer run or jump means it's much harder to run away if the attack fails.
  • Prismata has several units that deal massive damage but also hurt their owner in some way. If you don't get something out of their attack, they'll hurt your more than your opponent.
  • The brainbuster in Pro Wrestling on NES is quite easily capable of putting the hurt on the other opponent, but they have to already been in a weakened state for it to work. If you try and use it too early, it's automatically countered on you.
  • Punch-Out!!:
    • Bald Bull's Bull Charge will end with a knockdown for one of you. You can try to dodge the attack, but Bald Bull will just reset and keep trying to charge at you until you try to counter him with a punch to the gut. Succeed, and he goes down. Fail, and you go down. While seemingly averted in the Wii version of the game, where he'll avoid an instant knock-out from it in his Title Defense mode rematch, he'll still leave himself wide open for the star punch you earn from countering it, which if timed properly, will either knock him down for the ten count, or end the match right then and there if it's a three-star punch.
    • While not quite an attack, in two-player mode you can become Giga Mac. You have much more power, but your punches do take longer, you can't dodge anything, and standing still for too long gives your opponent a chance to get star punches. A good opponent can actually knock you out even when you're in Giga Mac mode. The two taunts, that replace dodging, could also count — Manage to get the taunt done, and you get a star punch and more time as Giga Mac respectively; three star punches as Giga Mac give you a OHKO move, and you could theoretically carry on as Giga Mac for the entire match with the "Juice" taunt. However, If your opponent manages to punch you, you lose all your stars, and they either get a star or knock half your time away. Getting hit with a star punch while taunting has an even worse effect, resulting either in a instant KO or an instant win for your opponent for a normal star punch and three-star punch respectively.
    • In the Wii game, after you knock Title Defense Mr. Sandman down twice, he goes into his Berserker Rage. This is a series of fourteen uppercuts, none of which can be countered and the last of which is a One-Hit Kill. But if you dodge all fourteen, Mr. Sandman is exhausted, unable to throw a single punch (or even block) and vulnerable to a beatdown (a Star Punch will instantly KO him in this state).
    • Also in the Wii game, Von Kaiser gets a one-hit knockdown attack which he uses every time he gets back up from being knocked down. Should you dodge it, he leaves himself wide open for retaliation.
  • In Puzzle Quest: Galactrix, the Bola Mine attack can one-shot lesser opponents and severely damage more powerful ones. But since the placement of mines is random, it can also do minimal damage AND leave your opponent with a board full of mines to hit you with. (Especially if your opponent also has Bola Mine.) The Deathbringer spell in Challenge of the Warlords works the same way.
  • Richman Fight's Nuclear Missile card is a very powerful attack that can deal massive damage in one hit. However, on top of costing a hefty 200 chips to use, it severely decreases the user's attack and defense power, so it's best to make sure that you kill the opponent with it.
  • In the Programming Game RoboWar, the "killshot" was a major part of strategy, and was made possible in part by the ability of robots to expend in one turn up to 200 more points of energy on anything than they actually had. By putting enough energy into bullets or missiles, they could at least theoretically be strong enough to kill any opponent, but having negative energy made a robot a comatose sitting duck until it recovered.
  • In Romance of the Three Kingdoms II, Han Xuan is a ruler with terrible, terrible stats (21/34/12, all three on a scale from 10 to 100), meaning that he's dumb as a brick, useless in battle, and horrible at raising an officer's loyalty. One way of dealing with that ("The ultimate gamble") is to invade a neighbor and immediately retreat to an empty province, leaving the much better Huang Zhong (66/96/83) as his home province's governor. What's the catch? Huang Zhong starts with only 78 loyalty, and will be in charge for one turn before you can fix that. During that month there's the risk of someone else recruiting him (and therefore the province) — which would mean losing your non-joke province, all officers except Han Xuan, all your soldiers, and virtually all your gold and food.
  • Rune Factory 3: Drinking a Formulade restores 75% of your RP and gives a massive 12-hour boost to your strength, vitality and inteligencenote . It also knocks your HP down to 10% of your max, for the duration. Combine with a dual blade (hits twice and grants a boost in attack speed, but at the cost of using your shield), you're the game's ultimate Glass Cannon.
  • S4 League's melee weapons are pretty well made of this trope. The storm bat, plasma sword, and counter sword are all extremely powerful and stylish ways to put an end to your enemy — but after completing a combo, they leave the wielder horribly exposed for about two seconds, an eternity in a fast-paced game. If you miss or if your target has backup, you probably will not survive.
  • Scarface: The World Is Yours: Depositing ill-gotten money in the bank to be laundered requires a 'negotiation' meter. Fail and you lose half your cash in fees. Not that much of a problem when you're chucking in two grand. Later in the game, you're dealing with millions of dollars. It's just safer, in many cases, to hold onto the cash, risk losing it in death and spend what you can on the 'Exotics' menu (which provides other benefits). Drug deals use the same mechanic — if you fail, you spend the same amount of money but get only half the yeyo. If you critically fail, negotiations break down and the dealer's gang attacks you. You also don't get the drugs if you kill him.
  • In Serious Sam, the most ammo-efficient way of killing a Kleer is to shoot it with the double-barrelled shotgun while it's mid-pounce. If you mistime, though, it will hurt.
  • In Shadowrun Returns, melee attacks can be powerful if properly geared and statted out for them, and Dragonfall Director's Cut makes them even more so because the target counts as flanked and won't benefit from Cover. However, if you don't manage to kill the target, or leave enough AP to retreat to a safe spot, the attacker will be in prime position to suffer major retaliation.
  • Shin Megami Tensei IV has a set of physical attacks with a high critical rate but low accuracy. Normally, this wouldn't be enough to qualify for this trope, but in this game landing a critical hit earns you an extra turn icon, while missing an attack makes you lose an additional turn icon and has a chance to inflict a powerful buff on the enemy. Given that the game also has Rocket-Tag Gameplay where even normal enemies from several dungeons ago can be a threat, one missed attack can hurt your party a lot. For extra fun, use skills like Critical Wave, which hit the entire enemy team but have a chance to miss for each enemy. Remember that missing even a single hit costs you turn icons, no matter how many critical hits you got from the rest of the attack.
  • The Watcher in Slay the Spire has the Blasphemy card, which allows her to gain extra energy and do triple damage, but kills her next turn, assuming there is a next turn. note 
  • Yoshimitsu of the Soulcalibur series (the predecessor of the Tekken character mentioned above) has an attack where he stabs himself through with his own sword — akin to ritualistic disembowelment — losing the round, if he kills himself. If it kills an enemy conveniently standing behind him during the stab, however, the round win goes to Yoshimitsu, even if he dies from his own move.
    • There are also attacks denoted by an exclamation mark on the character's move list. Said attacks are massively telegraphed (with the screen dimming and the character's weapon being covered in flames and Sucking-In Lines) and take a while to execute, but deal massive damage and smash right through guards.
  • In South Park: The Stick of Truth, Princess Kenny's special attacks involving summoning creatures require you to hit the QTEs properly. If you flub up, not only do you do less damage but Kenny will also die, taking him out of the battle for two turns.
  • The "Wall of Death" strategy in Space Invaders involves letting the aliens reach the very last row on the board, where their shots cannot hit the player and the player can rapidly score multiple kills. However, if the player fails to kill even a single alien before they land, the result is an immediate game over.
  • In Spelunky, killing shopkeeper with a teleporter is like this. If you're lucky, you may kill shopkeeper without alarming other shopkeepers and steal his goods with impunity. If you're unlucky, you may end up in a wall or teleport out of the shop and anger the shopkeeper.
  • StarCraft has the Nuke. Assuming you can get the Ghost into enemy territory undetected, and he can survive the ten-second call to target the Nuke, and you can afford the time and resources to build the Nuke itself, the Nuclear Strike is guaranteed to kill all units and severely damage all buildings within a considerable radius.
    • Certain early-game rushes also qualify as this. A player may opt to build a fast unit-producing building (that may be near the enemy base, in the case of Terran/Protoss) and forgo peon production for an extremely early attack. If they're successful, they'll either outright win the game, or at least severely cripple the opponent's economy. If they don't do enough damage or get scouted early, their own economy will likely be in such poor shape from not building workers that they will be way behind on the tech tree, if the opponent doesn't come after them with a fast counterattack to flatten them right away.
    • For a specific example in competitive StarCraft, master player Boxer's famous "SCV Rush" was one of these. Boxer sent literally every unit he had, including the Worker Units, at his opponent's base and managed a win, since his opponent was spending all his resources on early expansions. If he had been mistaken in his timing, or if his opponent had had more defenses than he expected, that move would likely have cost him the game, since he essentially sacrificed his entire economy for an early strike.
  • Parries and Just Defense, respectively from Street Fighter III and Garou: Mark of the Wolves, require precise timing but allow you to counter almost instantly, gain meter and receive no Scratch Damage. The latter also offers a health bonus. Successfully Just Defending a Desperation Attack gives you a whole lot more health.
  • Street Fighter X Tekken had "Pandora Mode" Activating the mode gave you 15% more power to your attacks (not counting Gem boosts) and infinite EX Moves and Special Arts. The catches were that you couldn't invoke the mode until you were at 25% or below, you needed to sacrifice your current character, shifting the boost to your reserve character and the mode only lasted seven seconds. And if you didn't KO your opponent before Pandora Mode ended, your character dropped instead. In practice, this turned out to be more "Death" than "Glory", as seven seconds was nowhere near enough time to take down an opponent who wasn't already significantly damaged (making it almost useless for the comeback mechanic it was meant to be) and even if you were in the middle of a round-finishing Super Art, if the mode ended before the combo did, you still lost. A major game update made the mode last longer, but the other drawbacks remained.
  • Desperate Attack in Duel fights in Suikoden; it does a lot of damage, but if your opponent chose Guard in the rock-paper-scissors, you're going to eat a counter. (Defeating Teo with Pahn in the first game, a seemingly Hopeless Boss Fight that must be won to get 100% Completion, is best done by choosing only Guard — Teo eventually flips out and starts using Desperate Attack exclusively.)
  • Strikers 1999 has the Technical Bonus, obtained by approaching a boss's core in the brief period of time that it's exposed to turn the core from blue to red, then firing at the core to instantly kill it. This, however, puts the player at a high risk of being killed by enemy fire.
  • Super Smash Bros.:
    • Jigglypuff's Rest attack and Luigi's Super Jump Punch can both easily inflict a One-Hit Kill, but only if they are used at absolutely point-blank range. Otherwise, they inflict Scratch Damage at best. Jigglypuff's Rest also puts it to sleep for about two full seconds (whether it connects or not), and Luigi's Jump Punch is also his mid-air recovery move, which makes it risky to use anywhere that isn't above solid stage ground.
    • Captain Falcon's Falcon Punch has a long windup period (almost one full second) before it strikes, making it easy for a player to avoid or interrupt it. But if it hits...
    • Ganondorf's Warlock Punch is stronger than Falcon's Punch, but requires even more time to execute before it hits. However, a sucessful strike will hurt; a lot. The same happens with his Volcano Kick. Again, it does a lot of damage and can K.O. very early; however, it has the longest charge of any one attack though, and Ganondorf's completely immobile during it.
    • Roy in Melee has his version of Shield Breaker (Explosion), which is a charged sword strike. While Marth's version of the attack is quicker and can KO an opponent at decent damage, Roy's takes a ridiculously long time to power up and takes 10% after using it. However, when used at full power, can instantly K.O. pretty well anybody, provided he's not interrupted that is.
    • Brawl adds Ike, who combines Marth and Roy's charging attacks with slow, Ganondorf-style attacks. His entire game is about timing and distancing, and if he gets them right, the battle can be quite short.
    • Toon Link's downthrust aerial attack sends him plummeting straight down, sword first. The attack is a very powerful spike, but like Luigi's Super Jump Punch, if he doesn't have solid ground to land on, it's a one-way ticket off the stage.
    • 3DS/Wii U adds Shulk, who via Stance System can turn himself into quite the Glass Cannon. Activating Monado Smash makes it so his attacks get very increased knockback, which is a godsend in a game where launching people off the screen is the name of the game. However, this stance makes it easy for opponents to send him flying away, which means that if Shulk is also highly damaged, Monado Smash can easily backfire.
    • Any character with a Counter-Attack means they have in their arsenal a way to painfully punish any incoming attack. However, activating these attacks turns the fighter into a sitting duck for a good while if they are not attacked in the usually strict window of time the counter is effective, and they are ineffective against any kind of grab.
    • Hammers became this after the original. Melee started the tradition with the normal hammer losing its head sometimes, becoming a useless piece of wood. By the time you're done flailing a stick around and don't know how to stop, someone else will have already picked up the head and thrown it at you or someone else, or just taunted you for ten seconds at making a fool out of yourself. Brawl made it even worse; if someone picks up the shiny new Golden Hammer, run. One hit, or two at best, and you will be eliminated before you can say squeak... assuming the hammer doesn't beat you to it. The cute sound of a squeaky hammer won't be so cute after an opponent sends you off the screen.
    • 4 adds "Extreme Judge", a variation of Mr. Game & Watch's Judge attack that makes it either hit extremely hard or not at all.
  • Sword of Paladin: The duel against Zechs adds a new option to the duel system, where Nade can use a special attack. The success rate of this attack is inversely proportional to the length of the duel, and if it fails, the enemy gets to use their own special attack.
  • In the Sword of the Samurai Kenjutsu minigame, there's a "power attack" that causes two hits instead of one (opponents can only take 4 hits in total before succumbing). Unfortunately, it was extremely hard to perform with the lackluster controls, and the A.I. was adept at blocking them even when performed very quickly.
  • Sword of the Stars has AI techs. Researching them gives you massive bonuses. However, every turn spent on research gives a chance that you have a devastating AI Rebellion.
  • Tales of Symphonia: Activating Presea's Limit Burst requires her to be at less than 25% health and the rest of the party to be dead, and for her to be in overlimit. While it does a ridiculous amount of damage, getting it to trigger at all is so dangerous that most players will never bother trying.
  • In Team Fortress 2, each class has a "taunt" attack that is an instant kill if it actually connects. However, it requires them to stand in one place for several seconds completely defenseless.
    • Of course, if you can time it just right, you can kill someone coming through a doorway with one of these taunts by standing out of their sight behind a wall. A guaranteed Oh, Crap! moment if there ever was one.
    • The Pyro's taunt also has a distinctive charge-up sound and animation. The Spy is similar, although he says a generic line instead of shouting. The charge-ups for the other taunts are silent and usually less noticeable.
    • Don't confuse these attacks with the Spy's instant-kill backstab or the Sniper's ability to one-shot enemies.
    • The Sniper's ability to one-shot enemies can be used for a Death or Glory Attack, if you're a good enough shot to stand your ground and blow the enemy Heavy's head off at point blank range instead of running away.
    • The Sniper's Taunt can actually be useful since it's actually two successive attacks in a row. The first one does miniscule damage, but paralyzes the target for the second half and has priority over every other attack. This is extremely useful if a Demoman is charging your way, as you will literally stop him in his tracks (he can only slightly nudge his direction, but otherwise cannot change his path) and get off an insta-kill if no one else is around.
    • The Soldier has a weapon (the Equalizer) which does more damage the less health he has. Either you'll kill that Heavy in a single massive hit or you'll die because you're running around below 25HP. Also, taunting with this weapon causes the Soldier to become an Action Bomb, blowing himself up with an otherwise-unusable grenade and taking any enemies nearby with him.
    • The Scout's taunt kill is perhaps the most rewarding of them all. It takes about 5 seconds to use, the longest taunt kill in the game. He calls a (baseball) shot, Babe Ruth-style, then swings his bat. Hitting someone with this taunt kill in an open area can launch their corpse well over 100 feet, and is hilarious when it happens due to its rarity, and the fact that seeing some guy's body fly clean across dustbowl is hilarious.
      • In January 2011, an update gave the Scout a new melee weapon to use: the Boston Basher. Hit an enemy with it, and he gets hit hard with an additional bleed effect. Swing it at thin air, and you hit yourself for half as much direct damage and an equal amount of bleeding that can equal nearly half your health.
    • A Pyro attempting to airblast a projectile at point blank is very difficult—and with a bad connection literally impossible—but if successful will take off a very large piece of his target's health (a Sniper using the Huntsman can even be one-hit KO'd this way). If not successful the Pyro just lost at least half of his health and may not even be able to attack again before he's finished off.
  • Several characters in Tekken have these. Most are telegraphed attacks with ridiculously long windups:
    • Possibly the most interesting is Yoshimitsu's reverse hara-kiri: He takes a step forward, turns to face the opposite direction, and stabs himself in the stomach. It deals massive damage to him and, if it connects, even more to his opponent.
    • The Devil/Angel beam. It will erase half your opponent's lifebar, but has such a long wind-up that most human players and higher-level CPU players can position themselves for a severe counterattack.
    • Paul's straight punch comes to mind. Amusingly though, the slight lean backwards as he winds up made it possible to use this as a dodge/counter against someone who was trying to land a ridiculously powerful attack on you, which generally resulted in a confused and/or enraged opponent pausing for a half-second before being blasted across the screen.
    • Miguel has a hugely telegraphed move where he casually walks up to his opponent and laughs before winding up a punch and laying them out in a single hit.
    • Every character in Tekken 7 can use a "Rage Art", which is contingent on being nearly defeated (which triggers Rage Mode). Once in Rage Mode, you have one chance to use your Rage Art (or Rage Drive, which typically deals less damage on its own but is more combo-oriented). Regardless if it connects, is blocked, or whiffs, that's the only chance you get to use it for the rest of the round.
  • In the two Touhou fighting games (Hisoutensoku and Scarlet Weather Rhapsody), there are many attacks that fit under this trope. The most notable being Reimu Hakurei's "Fantasy Heaven" Spell Card. When activated, seven orbs surround Reimu and with each successful melee attack, one orb lights up. When all orbs lights up... holy crap, you are already dead. In SWR, this move cannot be fully grazed and will do massive damage, and in Hisoutensoku, there is nearly no chance of surviving the move once it's activated, even with a full health bar (the move can potentially do 18000 damage, your maximum health is 10000). Sounds good huh? Problem is, the spell costs all your current spell cards, the time is limited, and if your enemy is smart enough to know what you are doing and run away from you during this time, it is simply impossible to activate the move.
  • Uplink has hacking a bank. Succeed, you can earn huge amount of money. Fail to cover your tracks, and your account is suspended, in gameplay terms you get game over. Can be turned to Disc-One Nuke is player knows wealthy account and how to pull this off early in game.
    • The "glory" part comes from the second half of the bank hack, if you do it early in the game. The first half, transferring the money to your account, is relatively easy. The glory comes when you use your ill-gotten gains to purchase the programs you need to hastily cover your tracks, along with re-hacking the bank and so on. As it can take literally a few minutes for banks to back-trace your net-link passively, you have to work very fast, and it's awesome when you pull it off. If you don't...
  • Wing Commander Prophecy has your ship, the TCS Midway, get a Mid-Season Upgrade in the form of an Alien ship-killer gun that your people salvage from the wreckage of an enemy ship and attach to your carrier. The weapon is used once (in a cutscene) to destroy an alien Dreadnought. Due to the crapshoot-quality of all ship-killer Wave Motion Guns in the Wing Commander universe (or at least, the ones the humans try to use), they don't want to try it again unless Plan A (a full-out, desperate assault led by the player) fails. If they are forced to use the gun a second time, you get a cutscene of the Midway blowing itself apart.
  • A big part of Witch Hunt. You play as a monster slayer in haunted colonial America, fighting undead and mutant beasties. Your primary weapons are a flintlock musket and a pistol that fire silver bullets; while most normal enemies die with a single headshot, both guns only hold one shot and take several horrible seconds to reload once you fire them. Problem is, most normal enemies move quite spritely for walking undead and will quickly rip through your life if you let them get within reach. Basically, try not to miss.
  • Wizard101:
    • A mild example with the storm spell Wildbolt. It has slightly less than a 25% base chance (up to a 33% with boost) of causing 1000 base damage, enough damage to kill any non-enemy until about the middle of the second to last world, to a single target for a fairly small cost. However, if it fails it only does a very small amount of damage and uses any boost cast.
    • The addition of Insane Bolt. Like Wildbolt, it has a chance to do 1000 moon damage, which means most defences are useless against it. The catch is that it also has a rather likely chance of backfiring, causing 10000 damage to the user.
  • World of Warcraft has a villainous example. Icehowl, a gigantic yeti fought in the Trial of the Crusader raid, has an attack where he scatters and stuns the raid against the walls, then targets a person and charges him/her. If the target (or anyone else) is hit by the charge, Icehowl goes into a rage and gains a massive damage and speed buff. If he misses, Icehowl crashes into the wall and is stunned himself for several seconds, and he takes double damage from all attacks. Considering his massive amount of health, you want him to always miss if you want to beat the enrage timer.
    • In World of Warcraft the priest spell Shadow Word: Death deals damage to an opponent, but if it fails to kill them hurts the priest as well.
  • In XCOM: Enemy Unknown, this is pretty much what happens whenever you have a soldier move to flank an enemy from less-than-ideal cover. If his shot connects, he'll likely kill the enemy. If his shot fails, then he's exposed himself, and possibly drawn the attention of many more hostiles. The Assault class actually specializes in these tactics, particularly when armed with a shotgun and using the Run And Gun skill (which allows for two movement actions and a shooting action), allowing them to run up to the enemy, vault over their cover, and blast them at point-blank range. Taken up a notch by the Assault's XCOM 2 counterpart, the Ranger. Melee attacks put them right in the face of the enemy, meaning that a failed attack will be even more severely punished than before, but if a Ranger successfully gets a kill and has the Implacable skill, he gets another move to find better cover, while the Untouchable skill will let him No-Sell the first attempt to counter. Both these skills require a kill. So Rangers are even further up shit creek if they screw up, but benefit even more from a success.
  • Chain attacks in the Xenoblade Chronicles series. Done right, they do a massive amount of damage. Done wrong, all they've done is drain your party gauge, which is required to revive teammates. If you go down shortly after a chain attack, you're staying down. This doesn't apply so much in Xenoblade Chronicles 3, however, as reviving party members no longer takes from the party gauge (the ability instead being restricted to those assigned to a Healer class).
  • Storm's "Hailstorm" super from X-Men: Children of the Atom works much the same way as the Devil/Angel Beam.

Other Examples

    Anime and Manga 
  • Ayakashi Triangle: Sosuke's Engulfing Shadow is a spectral mouth that can incapacitate even the strongest beings with one bite, but it's an almost-literal glass jaw that transfers any damage taken to his actual body. Thus, Sosuke prefers to use its ability to appear anywhere in his sight to launch surprise attacks from his enemies' blind spots.
  • In Bleach, Ichigo's weapon has a last resort feature called "Mugetsu". Zangetsu usually works by firing Ichigo's inner energy in the form of a Sword Beam called Getsugatensho. He eventually discovers that by fusing with his weapon, he can essentially "become Getsuga", turning into a walking embodiment of every drop of strength he has and, whenever he feels like ending things, finishing his fight with one final mountain-sized strike. The obvious drawback is that when he's done using it, he'll completely burn himself out to the point where even Zangetsu itself doesn't think he'll ever get his powers back, so he better hope his opponent is actually beaten or he's in trouble. He did later recover, but it took more than a year, a possessed badge, and seriously deadly rehab to do it.
  • In Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, The ultimate variation of Zenitsu's Thunderclap and Flash technique, God Speed, is so powerful and ridiculously fast that Zenitsu claims using it more than twice in a day will render his legs completely useless from the strain on his body. Even using it twice a day is dangerous, as Zenitsu felt like his legs were broken after the fight. The only thing Zenitsu could do to improve the usage of God Speed was exercise his body to make it strong enough to endure the drawback.
  • Dragon Ball's Tienshinhan has the Kikohou/Tri-Beam attack, one of the most high-level ki attacks in the series, capable of putting the hurt on even the most powerful of foes. (It's also apparently nigh-undodgeable.) Problem is that the attack is fueled by Tien's own life force, so every shot weakens him. Any foe strong enough to tank the first shot can and will power through the rest and Tien will eventually either be too weak to fight back or drop all on his own.
  • In the final match of Girls und Panzer, Anglerfish Team has managed to isolate Kuromorimine's flag tank for a one-on-one duel. However, all of Oorai's other tanks were taken out in the process of making it possible and Erika is about to force her way into the duel. With neither side having landed a decisive blow, Anglerfish Team decides to try to drift behind the flag tank to deliver a point blank shot from behind, knowing that the maneuver will snap their track and leave them a sitting duck if they fail.
    Mako: The track'll snap.
    Miho: It's fine. We're ending this here.
  • In Heavy Object Simple Is Best specializes in closing with its enemy at high speed and delivering a single point-blank attack that can one-shot Objects. If the enemy manages to dodge, Simple can be destroyed by an attack on it's less-armored rear.
  • In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders, Polnareff's Stand, Silver Chariot, can launch the tip of its rapier as a projectile. It's a powerful attack that helps compensate for Silver Chariot's short range, but if it misses, Polnareff is left defenseless.
  • The titular MS of Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ has a High Mega Cannon installed in its head, capable of wiping out multiple targets in one shot — but will also exhaust the ZZ for some time.
  • My Hero Academia: Kaminari going over his voltage limit. The technique is incredibly powerful and able to take out most enemies, but it's a Stupidity-Inducing Attack as he shorts out his brain in the process, leaving him as a moron for about an hour. In this state, he is unable to fight back against opponents, so anyone who can dodge, endure, or nullify the attack is free to do whatever they want to him.
    • Pro Hero Fat Gum can convert all the kinetic energy he's absorbed through his Kevlard into a single high-powered attack capable of shattering psychic barriers and smashing his opponents through concrete walls. Since it depletes the fat reserves he relies on to use his Quirk (a fuel source Momo's Quirk shares), he's essentially powerless once the attack is made. Luckily for him, his attack manages to break through Tengai's barrier and disables Rappa's arms, prompting Rappa to conclude that the match is a "draw" and allow Fat Gum to seek medical attention for himself and Kirishima, knocking out Tengai when he objects.
  • The Eight Gates technique from Naruto. Opening them gives the user an insane powerboost, but with each subsequent gate openned the more damage the body takes from being overstrained by it. Opening all eight will kill the user, in exchange for a short time of power matching even the Kages. When Lee opened five of them during his match with Gaara, his body took so much damage, that it almost crippled him for life. Guy's final Eighth Gate move, Night Guy, is the logical extreme of this, as his body turns into glowing ash due to all the chakra discharge, which would (normally) leave him Deader than Dead.note 
  • One Piece:
    • Luffy's Third Gear allows him to vastly increase the size and strength of his limbs for a brief time. However, when the technique ends his body shrinks to a chibi form which cannot stretch or fight for about the same length of time as he use the technique.If an enemy can survive his attacks, Luffy can only try to hide for them until he reverts to normal. During the timeskip he was able to eliminate this drawback.
    • King Elizabello's King Punch technique is this: It takes one hour to charge, but when he lands one, it is one of the most destructive techniques seen in the whole series — an undercharged King Punch was shown to vaporize a city block, and a fully-charged King Punch can disintegrate fortresses the size of mountains. However, it's risky on two fronts: The first is that the king requires aides in combat to defend him, as the charge time is so long and he's helpless when charging; and the second is that he is completely out of power after a King Punch, meaning anyone who manages to stand up to or evade the King Punch can then defeat him with ease.
    • Chopper's Monster Point technique is also one of these. This transformation gives him monstrous strength, but causes him to lose control over his mind, drains his life force at an extremely rapid rate, and renders him immobile after the transformation wears off. Post time-skip, he manages to overcome the "losing control over his mind" part, and the "drains his life force" part to a great extent, but the "immobility" part still remains.
    • Gecko Moria's "Shadow's Asgard" also qualifies. With this technique, Moria absorbs every single shadow he has stolen via the power of his devil fruit, but in doing so, he also kills off every single zombie on the Thriller Bark. He turns into a hulking brute that rivals the giant zombie Oars in size, but this strength comes at the expense of speed — Moria is practically unable to hit Luffy in Gear Second. In addition, whenever he's hit hard enough, Moria regurgitates some shadows, lowering his strength as the shadows return to their owners.
    • During the fight with Kaido, an injured and exhausted Zoro puts every ounce of Haki he has left into a single Nine Sword Style attack and manages to wound Kaido. He passes out shortly afterwards, upset that he couldn't even knock him out. He's then saved in the nick of time from being killed by Kaido when Law protects him and Luffy rejoins the fight.
  • In Rurouni Kenshin, the titular character specializes in the use of Hiten Mitsurugi Style battojutsu, which has the user move at "godspeed" to finish the fight in a single hit. But if this attack is blocked, the user is vulnerable to a Counter-Attack. However, Kenshin subverts this - his regular Battojutsu utilizes the sheath to deliver a second blow, and the Amakakeru Ryu no Hirameki creates a vortex that draws an opponent into a second blow using centrifugal force. It's still played straight in that Kenshin lacks the strong physique required by the Hiten Mitsurugi style of swordsmanship—meaning that every special technique he uses over-exerts his body, to the point where Megumi declared at the end of the series that Kenshin would never be able to use Hiten Mitsurugi-ryu anymore in a few years.
  • Hiei of YuYu Hakusho has an hellfire version of this, the Ensatsu Kokuryuha (Dragon of the Darkness Flame). The basic version is near-guaranteed to incinerate the enemy (as happened to the first target, a powerful FIRE USER) but will cripple the user's arm; the upgraded version is even more powerful and won't harm the user, but if the enemy somehow sends it back to him, it will devour the one who summoned it. Hiei manages to fully master the technique by consuming the dragon from the inside, but is so tired afterward that he falls asleep in a couple minutes, albeit after finishing the fight.

    Comic Books 
  • The Marvel Universe has the Ultimate Nullifier — a device that can Ret-Gone its target from the universe itself. The catch is that the target has to be visualized perfectly within the user's mind. If the user botches it, he is the one who gets erased.
  • In the post-Flashpoint universe, Superman gained a new ability, dubbed the "super-flare": He could release all his stored energy in one massive Sphere of Destruction. A devestating maneuver, but it rendered Supes Brought Down to Normal for days afterward. So he tended to only use it in emergencies or in situations where he needed to take down multiple strong opponents at once. The ability seemed to disappear, post-DC Rebirth.

    Fan Works 
  • Khaos Omega implements this with the Perfection Genesis Busters, mainly used by Anise. Between the sheer power (Anise has to pump all but one point of her Power Suit's energy - she has dozens of energy tanks with ten million points of energy per tank - and every one of her missiles - seven hundred-plus across multiple separate types - into the attack) and her particularly strong immortality it's always the 'glory' she gets. Her "Diva of Tallon" op even gives her a reserve tank specifically programmed to only activate after firing one of these. The specifically-programmed reserve tank came after she prioritized a massive multiverse-restoring Rejuvenator immediately after she fired her first of the attack type (dubbed "Omega Nova") instead of using Metroid Angel to replenish her energy.
  • In Marionettes Trixie ultimately performs one of these. She's facing Masquerade, who's currently wearing a suit of Powered Armor called the Puppeteer. While Trixie is able to hold her own and do her share of damage to it (particularly after being upgraded into an 'mecha Alicorn'), the Puppeteer is built to survive combat with Celestia and Masquerade only needs one good hit to finish her off. Her solution? Use an elaborate plan to lure her into a position where she can't dodge with a illusion concealed puppet while making the magic symbols for the strongest attack from the style of eastern unicorn magic she picked up she knows and planting a timed explosive symbol on her back on the off chance Masquerade decides to override the Puppeteer's safety protocols to use its Wave-Motion Gun. Not only does Trixie outright admit that if she got the timing just a little off she'd be finished, the Roar of the Four Beasts drains her mana engine so severely that she can barely move afterward. Thankfully, she succeeds and destroys the Puppeteer, leaving Masquerade in no better shape than herself in the process.
  • In Home Is Where Your Curse Is, these types of techniques are the antagonist Swan Song's specialty. She ultimately uses one to try to kill both Ranma and her former boss when things go south for her, leaving her final fate in question.

  • This trope is used almost by name in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, where, upon realizing that the sun is rising, Aragorn convinces Théoden, the king of Rohan, having endured a grueling night-long siege, to lead a single final sortie. At this point, the Hornburg's defenses are exhausted, and they were vastly outnumbered to begin with, but Théoden's personal guard and the Three Hunters are still spry enough to fight and have fresh horses—combined with the psychological impact of the Horn of Helm Hammerhand and the enemy army being dazzled by the oncoming sunrise, the shock of a ferocious cavalry charge so late in the battle might force the enemy to break, or at least hold them off long enough to let the civilians escape. If the sortie doesn't work, though, it will mean the end of Rohan's king and the few remaining combat-capable people in the fortress. The characters are very much aware that it's more likely to be a Suicide Attack, and Théoden swears to it "for death and glory." Indeed, the sortie manages to take out a large number of Uruk-Hai despite the massive numerical disadvantage—but it's only the arrival of Gandalf and Éomer that actually turns the tide.

  • In Mercedes Lackey's The Black Gryphon, a pair of generals in Urtho's army are reknowned for these sort of maneuvers. Every time they come up in conversation, someone mentions their latest battle with the enemy, always bringing up the fact that the plan would have been a spectacular victory, except that the enemy general wasn't dropped on his head as a child, so it was fatally suicidal instead. Later it turns out that they're actually The Mole, so they have in fact been doing this on purpose.
  • Chrysalis (RinoZ): Anthony isn't especially patient, and there are multiple competing priorities for the Colony, so when it looks like the termite war is going to drag out, he decides to cut it short — by taking a small squad of elite monsters deep into termite territory, knowing that the termites will come after them in hopes of eliminating the Colony's best fighters. Anthony is counting on his troops' ability to hold out until the Colony can take advantage of the termites being out of position, to capture immense swathes of territory and break the encirclement from the outside. Either he pretty much wins the war single-handedly, or he dies and the Colony loses a lot of firepower.
  • King Gorice XII, Sorcerous Overlord and Big Bad of E. R. Eddison's The Worm Ouroboros, uses extremely powerful magic early in the book, but refrains from repeating the spell (even though it would make things a lot easer for him), as the performance is highly dangerous to himself.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The starship Excalibur from Crusade had a superweapon that could one-shot nearly any ship in the known universe. The downside was that it drained the ship entirely of power and left it a sitting duck until it could recharge. Not a good thing if the shot misses or if the target has backup.
  • Jeopardy!: Wagering a "true" Daily Double (all the player's winnings up to that point), can be this. If you answer correctly, you'll either take the lead or narrow the gap between yourself and the leading player(s). If you answer incorrectly, you'll lose everything, and if it's done during Double Jeopardy, you might not have sufficient time to recover any winnings for Final Jeopardy.
  • Episode 48 of Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger — At the end of his final battle with personal enemy Basco, Captain Marv stomps on his foot, then skewers both their feet with Basco's own sword. Basco has a minute to comment on his sheer determination before they both fire point-blank finishing moves.

  • Gillion Tidestrider from Just Roll With It Show has one, called Prophetic Screwup. He can either deal massive damage with an attack, or fail horribly.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Aerial attacks in general are booked this way. If the wrestler takes too long setting them up, the opponent can recover enough to either counter or simply dodge. Even if they're quick, one misstep can cause them to crash and burn, as many Botchamania videos show.

In general, any strategy that focuses on offense over defense falls under this, especially in team sports. Specific examples include:
  • The blitz in gridiron football, which is when one or more extra defenders are sent after the quarterback in order to force a sack or worse. Done badly, it leaves receivers wide open for big offensive plays. Two particularly high-risk variations:
    • Corner Blitz: Sending a cornerback in after the quarterback, usually done to the QB's blind side. It's a very unexpected move because the cornerback is usually the single best player on the defense to cover the wide receiver to keep him from getting open, and in this play he's not being used in his normal use. If it isn't caught fast enough the offense has little to no way to stop the sack because the corner has outflanked the entire offensive line. If spotted, at best (for the defense) the receiver is going to have a mismatch downfield (covered by a linebacker or safety not fast enough to keep him from getting the ball with room to spare); at worst he's completely uncovered with room to run.
    • The All-Out or "Jailbreak" Blitz: The Zerg Rush of football. Basically sending every defender after the QB. Rarely seen in modern football above the high school level because of the insane risk (basically you nail the QB for a huge loss or they score an easy touchdown).
  • Replacing the goaltender with a regular player, generally referred to as "Pulling the Goalie" in ice hockey gives the team an advantage in attacking the other team's goal while leaving their net wide open. On a delayed penalty there's little risk because play is dead as soon as the defending team touches the puck (though scoring an Own Goal through sloppy passing has happened before), but when it's done with the team down by one or two near the end of the game it's a Desperation Attack because in most cases a loss is a loss regardless of the margin of victory. Another strategy, which is somewhat common on the powerplay, has one or both defensemen replaced with forwards so they can use the position on the ice for clear shots from the point, the downside being that they're less competent on defense which increases the risk of a shorthanded opportunity for the other team.
  • Made harder in association football due to the off-side rule being based on where the team's defensive players are, however, like ice hockey, bringing the goalkeeper forward gives the team a numerical advantage in attacking while leaving the net open.
  • A riposte (or kaeshi if you must) can be like this. It's really cool if you pull it off, but if you mess up prepare to look stupid.
  • A Fleche in French fencing is like this. The attacker runs at his opponent, leaps and attacks, then runs past as he lands. If executed properly, it's almost impossible to parry. If done improperly, the attacker is wide open for a counterattack. If done really badly, one or both of you will end up in a heap on the floor...
  • A squeeze play in baseball is when the batter attempts to bunt while a runner at third base takes off for home plate. If the batter bunts the ball correctly, the fielders will all be out of place and be unable to scoop the bunted ball up and send it home before the runner from third scores; if the batter doesn't (either by bunting right to a fielder or being unable to bunt the ball at all), the runner is almost certainly going to be tagged out at home. This is especially so if it's a "suicide squeeze" play (the runner takes off for home as soon as the pitcher starts his delivery) rather than a "safety squeeze" (the runner waits to see if the ball is bunted well before taking off for home).
  • The pinch hitter in Cricket is a batsman who specializes in aggressive stroke play that seeks to hit as many boundaries and sixes as possible. But, such strokes do leave them vulnerable to getting bowled out, or of getting caught out from mistimed strokes. Pinch hitters are particularly dangerous during the first fifteen overs when field placement restrictions are in place, limiting the allowed number of fielders in the outer field to just two. But the first fifteen overs are also when the cricket ball has the maximum amount of smoothness to it, allowing bowlers to extract the maximum amount of bounce and swing, making it difficult to hit the balls bowled.
  • The aptly-named 'Suicide Leap' in Extreme Dodgeball is part this and part Loophole Abuse. The attacking player leaps over the centre line to close the distance between them and their opponent to point blank range. On the one hand, they are out as soon as they land for crossing the centre line, but while they are in the air they are still live. On the other, should they somehow miss or the ball is caught, their team loses a player, and possibly gives the opponents another player. For this reason it was used to end a round by eliminating the final player on the opponents' team.
  • Judo has a whole branch of techniques called "sacrifice techniques" or 'sutemi-waza' which requires you to fall on the ground with your opponent. When they are performed in the right way, they are terribly effective (and look quite cool), but if done incirrectly they might result in your opponent landing on top of you or even make you fall oj the ground and leave the opponent standing.

    Visual Novels 
  • Valeria Trifa's creation figment, "Vanaheim — Goldene Schwan Lohengrin", from Dies Irae generally falls into this as in order to use it he has to lower his otherwise near impenetrable defenses down to those of a normal humans, turning him from a Stone Wall to a Glass Cannon. Sure, the payoff can be worth the risk given that it results in him firing a projectile that is always faster than the opponent, will be impossible to escape and will always score a killing blow, but it can just as easily end in the opponent landing an easy kill on him.

  • In The Melvin Chronicles (a Spin-Off of I Dream of a Jeanie Bottle), we see the main cast in a Magic: The Gathering-type tournament. Melvin chooses to use a spell card that lets all of his units attack as one, giving him One-Hit Kill power. The downside to this maneuver was that it meant his units also counted as a single target for attack and damage purposes. And his opponent had a spell card that One-Hit a single melee attacker. Cue instant loss.

    Web Original 
  • At the end of Dream's "3 Hunters Grand Finale" video, Dream has outsmarted the hunters despite them performing at their very best. Their trap has been foiled by Dream's use of TNT, and Bad and George have pretty much given up. Sapnap, however, takes a bed, goes back to the End, and uses it in an effort to blow up Dream and himself before Dream can kill the Ender Dragon. He only kills himself with it and Dream wins, but he got damn close to killing Dream with that, something Dream praises in the bonus video. This was very commonly copied by hunters in other players' Manhunts and eventually led to some players' formats banning bed bombs entirely.
  • In streamer Atrioc's "The Original Atrioc Gambit" video, Atrioc recalls a story from when he was in college. He had been part of a laptop marketing game in his class where the final grade was based on how well you performed in relation to the other groups in the game. His group had been performing in the top spot by the sixth quarter and had they continued doing as they did they would have received an 'A' for their efforts. However, Atrioc decided to make a strange business decision: he was going to gamble their 8 million dollars earned from the previous five quarters to buy better R&D and better store locations than their competitors. It paid off. By the end, his group had achieved a cumulative score of 291.980, whilst their competition had a combined total of only 99.14 earning a castle in the alps the developer of the marketing game had implemented that the instructor of the course had never even seen before. This meant that no only did this one gambit pay off, it had caused their group to surpass any group that preceded them. Keep in mind that had this gambit failed, they would have dropped from an 'A' to a failing grade. Atrioc regards this as his finest moment of his college days.
  • Fire Emblem on Forums: The signature skills of the Bandit class line; Reckless Strike reduces the Bandit's defensive stats to increase their damage, while Berserker Barrage allows them to increase their critical hit rate at, again, the cost of reducing their defensive stats. The class has reasonably low defensive stats, but very high HP counts to survive the ensuing counterattacks.
  • When the Game Grumps are playing Monopoly on Nintendo Switch, this becomes Dan's strategy: mortgaging all his properties in order to have one monopoly of properties with hotels. His goal boils down to basically hoping he stays afloat long enough for Arin to land on one of these properties and go bankrupt in basically one shot, which amazingly worked. Arin likened it to Dan "fighting his constant needling with a nuclear bomb."

    Real Life 
  • World War II had the Japanese do this repeatedly due to their overinflated sense of honor. They also serve as an object lesson for its overuse, as the Japanese military's prodigality with trained veterans ended up tanking their war effort.
  • Another WWII example, and a particularly extreme one, is the atomic bomb itself. Before the test detonations, the people who built it hypothesized that it might blow up a lot of bad guys and win the war... or it might ignite the atmosphere and wipe out all life on planet Earth. They did evaluate the likeliness of the scenario before going for it.
  • A third WWII example was the final battle of HMS Glowworm, which ended up in a fight against the German cruiser Admiral Hipper. After sustaining heavy damage, the HMS Glowworm rammed the Admiral Hipper as a last-ditch attack. While Admiral Hipper was damaged, HMS Glowworm sank as a result of the collision.
  • A non-military example: very large trades on the Chicago commodities exchanges are known as "O'Hare trades" (after the airport). Essentially you sign the deal, then immediately head for the airport, if the deal works in your favor, you turn the plane around and collect your money; if the deal goes against you, you are already halfway to a non-extradition country. To elaborate, commodities futures are highly leveraged — a small down payment for a contract to buy or sell a large amount of the underlying commodity (wheat, corn, whatever) on the expiration date; you are essentially betting big that the price of the commodity is going to rise or fall. If it goes in your favor, you can sell your contract (or the underlying) for a substantial profit. However, if it goes against you, you are stuck putting up cash you may not actually have in order to cover your losses.
  • There are many examples in MMA and fighting in general. For example, a haymaker thrown with all your might will most likely knock your opponent out if it lands, but your movements will tell your opponent what you're about to do, and you leave yourself open to a number of counters. Likewise, a flying submission can end a fight quickly, unexpectedly, and stylishly, but if it fails, you'll find yourself on your back with your opponent on top of you, likely raining down punches.
  • High kicks. Easily punished, but with the power of the kick and hitting the head it's not pretty for the guy it connects against. This extends to aerial attacks such as jump kicks, but especially drop kicks. When they work, you have directed most if not all of your body weight to a single point on an opponent's upper body at some rather unpleasant velocity. Fail, and you will very likely land in an awkward position and/or hurt yourself, leaving you at the mercy of your opponent.
  • The "Superman Punch" involves bringing the rear leg forward to feint a kick, then snapping that leg backward while throwing a cross in order to make the punch more powerful. Connect, and it looks like this. Miss, and it looks like this.
  • The German Kaiserschlacht offensive on the Western Front in 1918. The Russian Revolution closed down the Eastern Front, and the Germans concentrated the last of their elite troops for one more shot at beating the British and French before the US Army entered the fray. The British knew what was coming, and had it lampshaded even before it happened: "If Germany attacks and fails, she will be ruined." Germany attacked, failed, and was ruined.
    • They and their Austro-Hungarian allies also did the same a bit earlier on the Italian Front. Knowing that Italy's commander-in-chief Cadorna was a crappy battlefield commander, they launched a mad assault to try cutting through the demoralized and mismanaged Italian military and seize Venice (main naval base) and the area around Brescia (location of most of Italy's weapon factories). The resulting Battle of Caporetto did plow through a sizable part of the Italian military, but it discredited Cadorna and resulted in him being replaced with the more competent Armando Diaz and a slew of reforms and aid from the other Western Allies. Between this and Cadorna having heavily fortified the only way to Brescia, the offensive was stopped the well north of either targets and left the now broken and stretched out force to be wittled out for a year before Italy attacked back.
      • They tried it again in the Second Battle of the Piave River (the first being the one that stopped the Austro-Hungarian offensive after Caporetto), in which they tried to break through the Italian lines during the Kaiserschlacht (that had caused the redeployment of the French and British troops) to try and knock Italy out of the war, knowing that they were using their last reserves and they wouldn't be able to recover anymore. As the Italians knew it was coming (to the point they started shelling the Austro-Hungarians about half an hour before they were scheduled to start their own shelling), the offensive was brutally stopped, enough that the Austro-Hungarians was morally crushed.
    • Italy's own Death or Glory Attack came at Vittorio Veneto. Succeed, and Austria-Hungary would be out of the war and open to passage to attack Germany from south. Fail, and the Italian army would be ruined, giving the Central Powers a last chance to reverse the course of the war. The attack succeeded to the point the Austro-Hungarian Empire could barely surrender unconditionally before collapsing and breaking up.
  • Predators who practice Cursorial Hunting, including even humans. Chasing prey into rough terrain or over too long a distance will result in prey too weak to fight or escape (if it doesn't simply drop of exhaustion) or a hunter too weak to find alternate prey if it escapes. No wonder why we humans eventually invented weapons that allow us to kill our prey from safer distance.
  • A "Mic Drop" during a rap battle. Finishing your verse, then holding out the microphone and dropping it, as if to say "I just rocked so hard there's no way you can match me."note  It's a total badass move when timed correctly, but if your opponent picks the mic up and counters, not only does he look like the badass for meeting the challenge, you look like a showboating chump. Picking up the mic has its own perils: Try and keep going and come up short, you look doubly weak for not knowing when to quit.
  • While not initially planned quite as such, the Battle of Stalingrad rapidly became this for Nazi Germany. The city was named for Josef Stalin, as he had defended the city during the Russian Civil War, and was an important transport hub for supplies from America and Britain coming in through Persia. Taking the city would not only cut off the Soviet Union's vital Lend-Lease supply line, but allow Germany to reap the oil-rich Caucasus. As the fighting dragged on in the city, Hitler began to up the propaganda by saying that the city would be the site from where Germany sealed her final victory. Then, winter came, and the Sixth Army slowly starved, froze, and ran out of ammunition before they were forced to surrender. From there, the front lines steadily advanced towards the West, towards Berlin.
  • Ramming. Pick any fighting vehicle, it applies to all of them. On the one hand, you might have no other options left, and ramming can be a One-Hit Kill. On the other hand, you have to cross through point blank range of the enemy's guns, and even if you do manage a successful ram, there is a very real chance they will explode and take you with them.
  • The original Alpha Strike as done by an aircraft carrier. The target is going to be pasted, but should an enemy come across the now-defenseless carrier, it's in deep trouble.
  • The D-Day landings in Normandy. While war had already shifted against Germany, landing Western Allied troops in France was a carefully calculated move to help accelerate the collapse of the Wehrmacht and end the war in Europe. It was extremely risky, as the Allies were literally committing all the troops they had into the invasion. General Eisenhower even had a speech prepared in which he assumed full responsibility in case the invasion failed. Needless to say, the landing was a success and eleven months later, Germany surrendered. Several German commanders — both at the time and later — actually said the war could have been ended much faster than that, had the Allies pressed across the Rhine with the same speed and single punch as they did towards Paris.
  • During the penultimate race of the 2022 NASCAR playoffs, driver Ross Chastain was fighting to qualify for the final race. Going into the last lap, he was sitting in fifth place in the championship (the top four qualify), so he decided to make a gamble: Instead of slowing down for the last corner, he kept going at full speed and rode along the outside wall - a move that easily could have caused him to lose control of the car. However, it worked: Chastain overtook five cars in a single corner and successfully qualified for the finale.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Awesome But Risky


Ludiwg Superstar Saga

Ludwig unleashes an ultra-powerful attack... that can be sent back at him.

How well does it match the trope?

4.94 (16 votes)

Example of:

Main / DeathOrGloryAttack

Media sources: