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"Greninja's sophisticated moves are extremely fun to use once you get used to how it controls!"

You have a character or faction in a game that occupies the top tier of competitive play. So why do they move slowly, use attacks that fail to impress, and have skills that look more appropriate for a Joke Character? Trying to get any decent use out of these characters is like trying to memorize the unabridged Encyclopedia Britannica.

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But! With enough practice and experience, it turns out they really are awesome as advertised; it's just that these characters have a high bar to entry, and their steep learning curve scares most players away from using them. Most commonly seen in fighting games, strategy games, and in general multiplayer.

These characters tend to avoid becoming the Tier-Induced Scrappy, due to an unspoken respect for the amount of effort it takes to play one of these characters well, though they can still earn this status if they are particularly frustrating to play against and/or boring to watch; turtlers, attrition fighters, and heavy zoners are the most likely to earn Scrappy status, as are touch-of-death rushdown characters who are known for extremely lengthy combos. Counter Attack-centric characters lend themselves easily to this definition because of the need to master the precise timing of their counters, as do Mighty Glaciers in games that favor the relentless pressure of Fragile Speedsters or Jacks-of-All-Stats.

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Super-Trope of The Law of Power Proportionate to Effort. Opposite of Skill Gate Characters, who are easy to learn but easily defeated by skilled opponents. Compare Magikarp Power, which is about the character gaining additional power rather than the player getting better at using them. Compare and contrast Lethal Joke Character, who requires a specific trick or exploit to be awesome, rather than requiring the player to master the character over time. Also compare and contrast Awesome, but Impractical, where Awesome may turn out to be a bit too Difficult. Compare with Game-Breaker, which some of the more potent examples can easily become. Can overlap with a Mechanically Unusual Class and/or Powerful, but Inaccurate, but is not required.


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Examples:

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    Action Game 
  • Pretty much anything in Bayonetta tends to have mechanics rivaling Fighting Games in complexity. That said, feats that're about as amazing as this are legitimately possible.
    • Specifically, there's the Moon of Mahaa Kalaa accessory. Simply put, it's the accessory that allows blocks and averting/countering attacks. The timing required is VERY precise and unforgiving but once you have it down, there is not an attack in the game that you can't send right back where it came from.
  • Devil May Cry:
    • In 3 and 4, you can play Dante with the Royal Guard style. To get the most out of this style, you need to time Dante's blocks and releases near-perfectly. If you take the time to master it, however, you can do a lot of damage. A real lot. Plus blocking everything your enemy/ies can throw at Dante and retaliating like the unstoppable badass Dante is meant to be looks really awesome.
    • 3 has two types of Lag Cancel for its big guns Spiral and Kalina Ann. The easier one is switch-cancelling, where you switch to Ebony&Ivory, fire them and switch back. Little finesse is needed and anyone can do it. The harder one is to use Royal Guard to cancel. If you slip up on the rhythm, the cancel will fail and the refire rate will be as slow as if you never tried. If you get the rhythm correct, though, you can fire faster than what switch-cancelling offers.
    • Nevan 3. Yes, it's slow, its moves need to be far more precise than any other in the game, it's the only melee weapon that mainly involves charging attacks, it kinda sucks against large enemies and its damage isn't all that great either. However, its range is by far the best in the game and its sickle attacks when using the Swordmaster attacks are obscenely powerful. Once you get skilled enough with Nevan, you can quickly switch between its crowd control attacks, leaving everyone immobilized, and its killer sickle attacks.
    • Another element that straddles the border between Difficult, but Awesome and Awesome, but Impractical is the top tier Rebellion Swordmaster skill "Dance Macabre". Yes, it looks extremely awesome when using it, but you need to be very aware of where every enemy is and when they're about to attack.
    • Dante in general in 4 compared to Nero. To get the most out of him, you have to learn to switch between all of his styles on the fly, utilize quite a few glitches and exploits, and learn to properly use his moves to chase the opponent. That said, if you can learn how to properly use him...
    • Nero himself has the EX-Act mechanic. Prior to purchasing the EX-Act, the only way to use Nero's revved up attacks are by charging the sword while standing still, which is drawn-out and doesn't allow you to use certain attacks revved (such as at the end of a four-hit string when you are only allotted three Exceed segments). Once purchased, you can then charge the sword every time it's swung to gain an Exceed segment if you have good timing and thus all of Nero's attacks can be revved up. Going even further is the MAX-Act, which has an extremely small timing window (about a frame) but pulling the trigger on that frame will grant you a maxed out Exceed meter, meaning you get three segments for one well-timed rev.
    • Jump Canceling is a trick/semi-legitimate exploitation of the "Enemy Step" function that negates any action performed prior to jumping off an enemy. What this means is if you jumped and slashed at an airborne enemy, jumping off them allows you to repeat the same slash again as if you had just taken to the air for the first time. This applies to anything so you can loop Aerial Rave slashes and Sky Stars indefinitely as long as your timing is good and you can keep an enemy alive to attack and jump off of.
  • God Eater:
    • God Eater 2 gives us the Last Revenger blood art. To wit, the Last Revenger blood art is a upper parrying counter only avaliable for the Buster Blade that ignores the target's armor and doubles the damage inflicted at the cost of a stricter frame block. Unlike other upper parrying blood arts, Last Revenger requires the user to actually take hits from Aragami, and all unsuccessful attempts always cause some HP loss. However, If you get the timing right, you can turn almost every type of attack (even ranged attacks!) into a counter that's very devastating for the target.
    • Just Guards have a very tight window, but get the timing right (which can be tough with anything that deploys slower than a buckler-class shield) and you negate any and all chip damage with the added benefit of negating the knockback you would get otherwise .
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • Kingdom Hearts I has an exploit in which you can trap That One Boss Ansem-possessed Riku in an infinite combo using the Counterattack ability. It takes very precise timing, but when done correctly, you can beat Riku without him ever using his Dark Aura Limit Break.
    • In Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, Aqua is this compared to Terra and especially Ventus. Her magic-based fighting style can be hard to get used to, especially for those who are used to Terra and Ventus (who are much more physical fighters), but she can be a devastating force in the right hands. There's a reason only she made the rank of Keyblade Master, after all.
  • Star Control II:
    • The Slylandro Probe's controls are very different from other ships' controls - it always moves at top speed at the direction it is facing (so turning it makes it automatically move that in direction, without the need to accelerate and ignoring any inertia) and the thruster key is used for reversing the ship's direction instead of acceleration. It is insanely difficult to control, but once mastered it becomes highly maneuverable and a very deadly ship.
    • The Druuge Mauler has no defensive mechanism, eats up a massive amount of energy with each shot, and has to kill off its own crew to replenish it at any reasonable rate. It also flies backwards whenever a shot is fired. This makes it very unappealing to novice players. An experienced player however will basically snipe at his opponent from across the map, causing massive damage with each hit. Experts like to fire a shot or two to build up some high speed, then cheerfully bombard their opponent with long-range potshots while coasting across the map so quickly that they're almost untouchable. Often, the Mauler's actual engine isn't used for propulsion at all, and the ship relies on the Recoil Boost from its gun to maneuver.
    • The Umgah Drone is moderately fast but is made of paper, practically a One-Hit-Point Wonder. Its weapon is also extremely short range. But get within that short range and it will kill just about anything in seconds. It does have a "dash" feature that makes it move extremely quickly for a second or two... but it only dashes backwards, compounding the difficulty of this ship.
    • The Pkunk Fury has very little health, must manually recharge its energy, and its only weapon is short-ranged and weak (but does fire in three directions). It is also fast. Really fast. Faster than any other ship in the game. And very maneuverable on top of that, meaning that a skilled Pkunk player can dodge just about anything. It also has a 50% chance of respawning at full health upon death, and this does not go down after it accumulates deaths. There's a reason seasoned players make sure to take at least one of these into the final battle: it can outrun the Final Boss's homing projectiles, making the battle a cakewalk.
  • Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow has the Succubus soul. It has a very specific range it works at; half a pixel off, and Soma will just swipe at empty air, and most likely get hit by whatever he was trying to grab. If you can get the range down, however, you have an extremely powerful attack that also heals Soma greatly.
    • There's also Yoko Belnades, available in Julius mode. She's a Squishy Wizard in a game mode where it's already very easy to die from taking hits, and in order to recharge her mana, she needs to get very close to the enemies to use her ridiculously short-ranged melee attack. Her spells themselves are very tricky to use properly, as well. Once mastered, however, Yoko can easily and quickly slaughter any enemy in the game with the correct spell, weave in and out of enemies' arms like a butterfly, earn melee kills before the enemies even know what hit them, and look incredibly stylish doing it.
  • The fun little Action-Shooter-Multiplayer-Game Soldat offers a wide variety of automatic and half automatic weapons to kill other players, like an AK-74, akimbo Desert Eagles and even a Minigun. But by far the most satisfying hits are with the primary weapon M79 and secondary weapon M72 LAW. Both guns are explosive, killing in 1 direct hit or 2 with splash damage, but take several seconds to reload and have an awkward firing angle. The M79 projectile is slow and risks killing yourself, especially when fired upwards, and the projectile's speed/angle varies based on the velocity of the player. In a game where players are in mid-air most of the time, the LAW can only be fired while crouched on the ground. However, when mastered, few can match the M79's trick shots and the LAW ricocheting its missile off multiple walls and hitting enemies off-screen. Furthermore, no other weapon lets you experience the delight of standing in the bloody rain of your evaporated foes.
  • Using the mouse for one-to-one sword movement in Hack-and-Slash Die By The Sword is favored by most players because the enhanced control is more fun, but it's also significantly harder to block and strike than the "arcade" controls where a single keyboard button corresponds to a complete attack.
  • Resident Evil 4:
    • One of the many unlockable Purposely Overpowered New Game+ weapons, the Infinite Rocket Launcher, is so clunky and slow to use (and dangerous to the user, especially in small rooms) that it's much, much less versatile compared to most of its fellow special weapons. Most of the other unlockables can carry you through most if not all of the game by themselves, while trying to get through the game with only an Infinite Rocket Launcher would ironically be harder than playing through with standard weapons. On the other hand, it could just be argued that the weapon is just a logical upgrade to the Too Awesome to Use standard rocket launchers, which are very rare and contain only one shot each, on top of eating a large portion of your inventory space. Said weapons were designed to be saved for bosses, so acquiring the infinite version can be seen as the devs saying "Congratulations, you can now fire as many rockets as you want!" For a weapon that was never designed to be an integral part of the gameplay, that's actually pretty awesome.
    • The PRL-42 has unlimited ammo capabilities and can either stun groups of enemies for long periods of time or just flat out kill any enemy in its path with a single charged blast, even wiping out a whole hoard in a single line. And most bosses are done in by one or two of the weaker stun charges. Unfortunately it takes a long time to charge even between disabling flash attacks and leaves the player vulnerable to attacks by nearby enemies. Getting hit will disrupt that long charge time and force you to start again. It can't be used against non-plagas enemies or objects like trucks, crows, locks or bear traps that require a projectile solution, and you're completely vulnerable from the rear because you can't charge it when making a quick turn. All of this however changed from the Wii version onward where it not only charges much faster, but also destroys everything in Leon's field of vision.
    • To a lesser extent, the Red9. Due to the comparatively small clip and long reload time, you really need a good positioning game and a good judgement of when and where it is good to reload for it to be as effective as its prime rival, the Blacktail. You'll also need good aim if you want to truly take advantage of that stock upgrade. However, once you get the hang of it, it's like having a mini-sniper rifle that pumps out powerful shots with deadly accuracy. Many experienced players swear to that.
  • Resident Evil 5 has the longbow. It has no crosshair, but once you've mastered it, you can instakill most enemies on Professional difficulty.
  • Mega Man:
    • The frequently-mocked Top Spin in Mega Man 3 is regarded by many players as a joke weapon. Most will try it out once or twice before dismissing it as useless. A player who knows how the Top Spin works (you have to be in midair to spin) and what enemies are vulnerable to it howevernote , can twirl and spin through good bits of the game, taking out most enemies in one hit.
    • Power Stone and Crystal Eye in Mega Man 5. Power Stone has a "unique" firing pattern, and Crystal Eye breaks into three balls that bounce off the walls. Most players never use these, as it is difficult to hit enemies with. However, if fired in the right places at the right time, they become devastating weapons that can be used to show off just how good you are.
    • Zero from Mega Man X4 onward. His attacks tend to do more damage, and instead of gaining weapons from fallen Mavericks he learns new techniques that can be used without switching to them and don't require ammo. However, almost all of this requires the player to get in close to attack, increasing their risk of getting hit, he doesn't get armor upgrades like X does, and it's become popular for certain power-ups involving Zero to boost his damage output at the cost of increased damage to himself.
      • Probably a gameplay oversight, but Zero has a particularly nasty technique that milks the non-Mercy Invincibility attacks for all of their worth. How? Well, his main combos are usually weak, fast-paced slashes that end on a high damage finisher. The weak slashes also seem to have high priority. So, if you start a repeated chain without doing any finishers and abusing the weak attacks, then you'll be killing off bosses smoothly. This sounds easy in theory, but it requires quite a lot of practice. It is also a staple in TAS runs.
  • The later Metal Slug games have Clark and his special move, the Super Argentine Backbreaker. It's a risky move, requiring you to get up close to foot soldiers and risk gunfire to the face in a game where one hit equals death. However, it has three very beneficial effects: It's a One-Hit Kill to soldiers, throwing an enemy with the Backbreaker has a base value of 1,000 points (and climbs up with successive throws), and most importantly for survival-based players, it grants a few seconds of invincibility. Used proficiently, the Backbreaker turns hordes of mooks into opportunities for much-needed invincibility and buttloads of points.
  • Sam in the Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance DLC Jetstream Sam plays completely differently to Raiden in the main game, with no infinite combo, less damaging standard attacks meaning he needs to rely on his Charged Attacks, focuses more on dodging than parrying, and doesn't have access to any of Raiden's Game Breaking upgrades. Master his combos however and whole rooms of enemies die in seconds while nothing they do can touch him.

    Adventure Game 
  • Hitting Dodongos with a bomb's smoke in The Legend OF Zelda is extremely difficult to pull off due to the monster's erratic directions. Normally, it takes two bombs to kill one via force feeding, but if you can time it where it walks into smoke left behind by a bomb's explosion, it'll be stunned can be killed instantly with a sword stab. Using this method will also guarantee that the Dodongo will drop bombs, effectively replenishing your supply.
  • Biggoron's Sword in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is more powerful and has a longer reach, but it has a few drawbacks, mostly due to the sheer weight of the thing. First, the time required to swing it is much longer, and the recovery time is a window that you can be hit in. Second, it slows you down to a crawl; all dodging moves are delayed. Third, you can't use your shield at the same time because it's a two-handed sword. You can use the sword itself to block some attacks, but not all. That having been said, it is the only sword that can harm an Armos Knight, and especially when combined with the Jump Attack (which doubles attack damage) it can make short work of any boss. Since you usually have to stun a boss before you can actually harm them, it makes sense to want to deal as much damage as possible before they recover, so proper usage of Biggoron's Sword spares you some repetition. It is also very effective when used against Dark Link as he can pull an unavoidable counterattack if you are using the Master Sword but not against the Biggoron's Sword.
  • Sid Meier's Pirates!: Players who favour mobility in a ship tend to find the Royal Sloop a solid choice, but a small cult of elite and possibly crazy players swear by the Pinnance-class ships, the War Canoe, the Pinnance and the Mail Runner. The Mail Runner is the largest and strongest of the three, with the most cargo capacity, crew capacity and cannons, but even then, it's still far less than just about any other ship. Not to mention that the Mail Runner is the second-rarest ship in the entire game, with many players never seeing one in an entire playthrough. However, the Runner can run rings around other, larger ships, and it is excellent at sailing into the wind.

    Beat 'Em Up  
  • God Hand has some of its apparently Awesome, but Impractical moves turn out to be this. For example, Yes Man Kablaam has an awful startup time, a period immediately after it connects where Gene smiles at an imaginary crowd and none-too-stellar damage, but if you know how to use it properly — on a dizzied target, preferably with no one around to interfere, then dodge-cancel the delay — it fills up the Tension Gauge much faster. Granny Smacker has similar drawbacks, but helps dizzy an enemy much faster than most other moves would.

    Driving Game 
  • Using manual transmission over automatic transmission in general. While automatic transmission frees you from having to shift gears by yourself and lets you fully focus on driving, in mastered hands manual transmission gives better control of acceleration and deceleration, as well as allows you to use engine braking (i.e. slowing your car by shifting the gear down instead of using the brake), which can be incredibly useful or even crucial on tight corners, especially when it comes to competitive gaming.
    • While manual transmission being difficult holds true in many racing games like Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune, automatic transmission players can and do play competitively against manual transmission players when mastered. While manual transmission players simply needs to shift down a gear and then steer regardless of how the power setting is done, automatic transmission players need to memorize precisely when and how to brake and steer simultaneously and these change significantly when power setting is changed, which means they need to stick to the same power setting for all races. However, once they have these mastered, they can take on any corners as good as manual transmission users (even in Hakone, but that takes more effort than the rest of the tracks combined). A couple examples of competitive AT play can be found here and here.
    • Rage Racer's higher-tier cars only have manual transmission as an option, and you'll need to master them to win in the advanced GP races.
  • Hydro Thunder Hurricane brings the Rad Hazard. The absolute best acceleration and air control in the game but also the absolute worst handling. Mastering the boat however has brought many players massive online success.
  • F-Zero:
    • The Jet Vermilion in Maximum Velocity. For being the coveted best car, it is incredibly awkward to use at first. But if you're insane enough to persist long enough to have gotten it (that is, without using the cheat code), you're probably disciplined enough to master using it.
    • In F-Zero X, Blood Falcon's machine has a horrible grip rating, but mastery of the physics system (such as grinding the wall for massive bursts of speed) makes his vehicle one of the best ones for setting world records. In fact, most of the machines with an E in Grip aren't nearly as bad as the parameters would imply, as they're able to exploit the same mechanics and access several shortcuts.
    • GX's revamped physics system allowed the player to snake. It's a very difficult technique to properly pull off (not to mention that your fingers will be extremely sore afterward), but mastering it turns the game into an utter cakewalk by propelling your vehicle at insane speeds without even having to sacrifice your energy meter for a boost. The technique (in modified form) would also find life in Mario Kart DS. However, whether or not such tactics qualify as cheating remains a source of heated contention. Word of God states that those techniques were deliberately implemented into the games, so make of that as you will.
  • Happy Wheels has the pogo stick guy. His controls are very hard to deal with, and getting him to go where you want him to is a bit of a chore sometimes. However, he is one of only two characters that can actually jump with no outside influence, and he is fairly durable while on the pogo stick.
  • Mario Kart:
    • Starting with DS, it is entirely possible to dodge a Spiny Shell with a well timed use of the speed boosting Mushroom. It is not only difficult to get the timing down, it is also very rare that you will get a mushroom while in 1st place. With enough practice, Spiny Shells will do nothing to you as you pull off a mushroom boost to avoid being hit. Nintendo made this tactic deliberate to award players who can time the dodge perfectly.
    • Taken to an extreme with the game's drift system: if you time it correctly you can dodge a spiny shell by using a drift boost. The catch is that you have to do this while the circuit is making a sharp turn, boost at the right time and immediately make a hop. If done correctly the spiny shell will miss you completely and possibly hit somebody too close to you.
  • Speed class characters in Crash Team Racing and its remake have a low turning stat that makes it difficult to stay on the track. When mastered however, they are some of the best characters in the game for most tracks. This in contrast to turning class characters, who are easy to pick up but generally the worst choices at high skill levels.
  • Roadkill's special in Twisted Metal 2 is a boomerang that does decent but unremarkable damage if it hits the enemy on the way out, but triple damage if it hits them on the return, which is much more difficult to pull off.
  • Drifting in simulation racing games like Forza Motorsport and Gran Turismo. The simulated physics in those games require that you must tune your car to the right settings in order to make your car perform like the machines from Initial D. Depending on the car, it can be a real pain to turn it into a real drifting machine, especially if the car is not designed for drifting. Not only that, but players also must have extensive knowledge and feel of the race courses before implementing drifting mechanics, which will require lots of Trial-and-Error Gameplay. The only exceptions where drifting is not required are high speed courses with little to no technicality and plain Jane oval courses as these render drifting useless thanks to their simplicity. Don't expect arcade mechanics that you were used to in other racing games save the day for you.
  • Richard Burns Rally and DiRT Rally, full stop. Even by hardcore racing sim standards, both are quite memetically unforgiving and punishing in their driving physics to the point that new players not experienced in performance driving will crash, repeatedly, until they master the skills required to push a WRC car to its limit in any road condition, all touched on in the Real Life section below, and for which RBR has a mandatory tutorial to teach several of those driving skills.
    • Note that said road conditions for rallying can and will include harsh weather like thick snow, forcing drivers to adapt accordingly from their usual driving habits or lose control and slide into a tree, a wall, or - worse - off a cliff! Good thing you never have to worry about dying in a horrible crash in either of them!
  • Jak X Combat Racing has the Havoc V12 car, which is quite hard to control and even slight contact with anything can send it crashing into wall. However, said car is one of two vehicles that have maximum both speed and acceleration, and the second car has way worse armoring. Mastering it will make most speed-based challenges much easier.
  • Daytona USA: the Javelin, an unlockable rocket car found in the Dreamcast version. It can hit an astonishing 450km/h. However, its low grip makes it almost impossible to control.

    Fighting Game 
  • BlazBlue:
    • Rachel, who unlike Jin is not a Tier-Induced Scrappy. This changed in Continuum Shift.
    • Hakumen became this in Continuum Shift, although he showed shades of it in Calamity Trigger. His sloth, difficulty in chaining his light attacks for proper hit confirms (they often need to be linked), lack of invincibility frames and need to burn super meter to use most of his moves serve to make him difficult to use; however, an expert will know how to use his BFS' reach to play keep-away while using his Counter Attacks to punish attempts at retaliation.
    • Iron Tager. A starting Tager is a slow piece of junk many rushdown-centric characters can take apart easily and his most powerful moves have Some Dexterity Required inputs. A master Tager player like Mike Z, on the other hand, turns him into a monster that few can dismiss out of hand by recognizing the openings in others' combos, bringing out his powerful grabs as necessary and making smart use of his magnetism.
    • To a lesser degree, Litchi. Combos that exercise crazy muscle memory are the main problem, with her movesets (with or without her staff) being easier to recognize, but can be hard to understand, nonetheless.
    • Carl Clover started out as a low-tier character due to his incredibly steep learning curve, poor mobility, lack of safe-range on his normals and low defense (both in HP and lack of a safe on-the-fly reversal). However, after players discovered that he had the game's only infinite combo, he was shown to be incredibly powerful in the hands of a skilled player. Not only that, as a Puppet Fighter, he has an unorthodox neutral game, making him a deadly space control character with the highest damage output in the game in the form of VERY long combos.
    • His father Relius Clover can be in the same league too, though with more bulkiness and more advantages (such as calling out his puppet whenever he wants to and dismissing it like so) and an alternate learning curve with different moves, but he's just as difficult to manage as his son as he too, since he also has his dependency on the said puppet and also has a lack of bulky poking range on his normal attacks. His combos may or may not go on as long as his son's due to him being more about resets and frame traps.
    • Hazama can be this too. He's VERY combo oriented, his basic attacks don't have much range to them, they don't have a lot of damage on their own, and since his dash is little more than a scoot forward his only gap closer is Ouroboros which the enemy can see coming quite often (he also lacks solid reversals). However, he has a lot of combo opportunity which hurts a lot for this one thing: For some reason characters downed by his attacks stay on the ground a bit longer, enabling him to just attack and bring the enemy airborne for another combo. Again. Plus, he also has a very powerful mix-up game that can net him said combo opportunities.
    • Arakune has little to no offensive pressure and not much in the defense department either. His air dashes are awkward and a fair amount of his moves are situational at best with one even having a random result each time you use it. However, he has a gauge that fills up when certain attacks involving his Drive connect that, when full, has his normal attacks summon bugs act as projectiles from out of nowhere per attack. Unfortunately, each bug has their own issues (the weaker two have little to no hitstun, the stronger two are slower) and require proper timing from the Arakune player to put the opponent in a combo. To make matters worse, the gauge empties gradually as you fight, lasting 14 seconds in Continuum Shift and decreases the gauge as you summon bugs while also emptying naturally in Chronophantasma. However, with enough skill, Arakune can decimate opponents in a single bar of curse, potentially dealing ten thousand damage (in a game where that's enough to KO a fair amount of the cast) in a single combo (it was quite absurd in the first game).
    • Central Fiction gives us Nine the Phantom. She walks painfully slow, has a teleport dash like Azrael's but much slower, uses the same dash for her midair dash, and shares Kokonoe and Carl's spot as the most frail character in the game in terms of HP. She also has no drive unlike the rest of the cast. What she does have however, is far-reaching powerful normals that store up to three stocks in any combination of ice, wind, and fire spells leading up to what her specialty actually is: mixing these normals to create and combo into a myriad of special attacks all at the press of a single button. She boasts the largest moveset in the game by far and can create up to 20 different attacks to control the battle in her favor. Poorly played, Nine is a joke, at best, and easily crushed by a large majority of the cast. Proper Nine players however memorize each and every one of these spell combinations and can make it close to, if not outright impossible to even advance upon her. This woman was one of the Six Heroes for a reason.
  • Guilty Gear:
    • Testament is a Gradual Grinder that will spend his time laying traps willy-nilly. Novices will place traps randomly then get overrun by fighters using rushdown tactics like Sol. Good Testament players will lay traps in strategic locations but are unable to really deal enough damage. Great Testament players know what to do when you're caught in a trap and also know when to pull out their surprise attacks and screen-filling blasts to catch you unaware and blast you into yet another trap while filling their supers again so they can blast you into another trap.
    • Johnny, Baiken, Axl, I-No, Dizzy and to a lesser extent Anji and Venom.
      • I-No, being one of the most execution-heavy characters of XX, deserves special mention. She has a very strange hovering dash that lifts her off of the ground, her normals can feel strange at first glance and are tricky to use, with her best special attack requiring a Super-like motion to pull off. This is coupled with the timings on her Force Roman Cancels, which are just above average in difficulty compared to the rest of the cast and are an absolute necessity to maximize her potential (in pressure and damage output). In the right hands, she is a force to be reckoned with, and her relentless pressure can decimate frightened opponents in the blink of an eye. Should we also mention that like some other characters in other fighting games, her dash allowed her a free overhead due to putting her into an airborne state for mix-ups? I-No's execution barrier is so far above the cast (with Zato-1/Eddie rivaling her in this regard) that one of her biggest improvements in Xrd was making the motions for said best special simpler, from half-circle backward-to-forward to a mere quarter-circle forward.
    • Bridget has long inputs and a requirement to plan ahead as to where your yo-yo and Roger are, but once mastered, any foe who's locked down can be at his mercy.
    • Zappa is probably the hardest character to use, as he has several different entire movesets that he can switch to at random. That said, he has one of the best forms of match control in the series involving pressure, frame traps, mix-ups and even some disjointed moves, as well even having one mode act like a Puppet Fighter.
    • Before Carl Clover, there was Zato-1/Eddie, one of the premiere Puppet Fighters in fighting games. Their combined relentless pressure, unblockable setups and devastating combo game came at the price of having a learning curve the same height as I-No's. Like Carl, players who want to use Zato need to be very good at Negative Edging (releasing a button to register an input) in order to even be able to do the simplest things with Tiny Eddie. Unlike Carl, if Tiny Eddie so much as takes a jab, his entire gauge is depleted and he is rendered out of commission for a good (roughly) ten seconds, robbing Zato of nearly half of his options. Nevertheless, the strengths to using Zato outweigh the weaknesses, and it shows in the character's tier placement throughout the years; if he is not sitting at the number one spot, he is sharing it with other characters (as is the case of Accent Core), and at worst, he is still very much a high tier threat.
    • Newcomers Bedman and Ramlethal Valentine from Xrd can be difficult at first.
      • Bedman has a lot of quirks going for him, being a Mighty Glacier and a Lightning Bruiser at the same time. His walking speed and stamina are some of the best in the game and he is the only character in the entire game, and even the entire series, to have an eight-way airdash. His Déja Vú system allows certain special attacks to be replicated after said special attacks have been used the first time, which creates a guessing game for the opponent, and can potentially make battles one-sided. Despite these strengths, starting and maintaining this pressure is somewhat tricky, since there will be a lot of things to keep track of. That said, a competent Bedman can go toe-to-toe with some of Xrd's high-tiers.
  • Persona 4: Arena:
    • Kanji is slow, has limited mobility and is one of the most poorly designed grapplers in recent memory. That being said, playing him patiently makes him completely and utterly unstoppable, as his entire game revolves around taking advantage of the opponent's mistakes. On top of that, as this dude demonstrates, he can hit confirm into his command grabs pretty easily with the right combos. Not to mention he, like many offensive fighting game characters, can get A LOT of damage rolling if he gets his opponent in the corner.
    • Aigis has lot of her moves are unusable unless she goes into Orgia Mode. The problems with using Orgia Mode? The mode has a time limit (that temporarily disables Orgia Mode if it runs out) and completely changes how Aigis moves; instead of normally walking and running, she uses her thrusters to boost herself. Attacking during an Orgia dash causes aerial attacks to occur instead of standing attacks that normally happen if a character is moving. Once you get past that hindrance, she's a powerful character who can deal tons of damage with very long strings of combos.
    • Naoto is a zoning/keep-away character in a combo-centric fighter. She doesn't have the best damage output, she doesn't have the most health, and she's generally considered lower on the tier lists. That said though, she has lots of options for zoning, keepaway, and combos all in the same character, she has a nice selection of traps she can use to pin down her opponent, she has a pair of supers that instantly kill the opponent no matter what their health is in the right situations. Though her zoning and close-combat go hand in hand for some strong balanced gameplans, either style isn't as strong and specialized as other characters, so she has to work well on both fields (and she can indeed). And, to top it all of, she can take advantage of SMP Loops to do EXTREMELY high damage combos that have low damage per hit but LAST A LONG TIME.
    • Shadow Labrys has some of the lowest health in the game and her gameplan is devastated without the use of her massive "Persona" Asterius. Asterius is also the most awkward Persona to use in the entire game, as it's constantly out and is not tied to Shadow Labrys herself when it attacks, being the only active puppet out there in a game full of passive Puppet Fighters (they appear briefly for only one type of action and then fade away until called out again). Once mastered, though, she is one of the resident gods of mix-ups, using staggered attacks from both Shadow Labrys herself and Asterius to keep the opponent blocking until she can find an opening in their defenses. She and Asterius can also set up situations where it's impossible to block the attack of one without getting hit by the other. She even has some massively damaging combos thanks to her powerful Awakening supers. The kicker? She is the only character in the game who can combo into her Instant Kill.
    • Elizabeth is an extreme case. She has the lowest health in the game, has few usable defensive options, and is rather slow to boot. She is also crippled without her Persona, Thanatos, and practically has to be in Awakening in order to be at her most powerful. That said, once mastered she is a force to be reckoned with, as she has a variety of deadly projectiles, command throws, status effects, a pair of instant death traps that she can force her opponent into, the ability to heal herself (a trait only two other characters have), and one of the most powerful non-instant death moves in the entire game.
  • Three of the top four characters in Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes count (Sentinel, Storm and Magneto). All 3 require intimate knowledge of glitches to get the most out of them.
    • Magneto wasn't even considered top-tier until people discovered that he had an infinite that he could combo into from multiple setups, provided the player had the dexterity to pull it off.
    • Sentinel is this, taken to a higher level. Every character has an infinite combo that's unique to Sentinel. However, it makes up for it by the sheer number of setups, glitches and options that can be used at high-level play provided one takes the time to master them all.
    • While not as strong as the top, the team of Strider Hiryu and Doctor Doom (also known as Clockw0rk, for Daniel Maniago, the player who developed the team). When played right, the team can pretty much keep their opponent from doing anything but blocking, all while taking chip damage the entire round.
  • Marvel vs. Capcom 3:
    • Doctor Doom has some of the best assists in the game, multiple beam specials for keepaway, and great combo and zoning options by canceling his foot dive into his air dash, but his limited maneuverability and relatively slow normal moves means that time needs to be spent learning all of his options to be effective.
    • As of Ultimate, Phoenix Wright joins Doom. Basically, he starts off in Investigation Mode as rather weak and with low mobility. When he gets three pieces of good evidence, he becomes a pretty okay zoner in Trial Mode. When he uses those pieces of evidence to get into Turnabout Mode, however, he takes about a million levels in badass, becoming more powerful, gaining an extremely powerful Kamehame Hadoken rendition of his signature finger point as a heavy attack, gains his Level 3 hyper (which is instant with limitless range), and potentially becomes one of the best characters in the game.
    • C.Viper, Strider Hiryu, Jill, Doctor Strange, and Rocket Raccoon all require a high level of execution to use effectively. They're also all high or mid tier at minimum.
    • Being such an oddball type of character, M.O.D.O.K. fits this trope to a tee. With a "pseudo" flight mode instead of a jump, normals that possess strange hitboxes, his unique "Intelligence" mechanic that enhances his projectile and barrier moves, there's a reason why he's rarely selected in the character select screen... besides other reasons.
    • Dante alone has about as many special moves as entire teams without him, and most of them deal fairly low damage or leave him vulnerable. But once a player learns how to combine them and use some of his unconventional tricks, he can break through almost any defense and string some of the longest and most spectacular combos in the entire game.
  • Super Smash Bros.:
    • 64:
      • Luigi is the earliest example of this in the franchise, having almost identical moves to Mario, that could do more damage and much more knockback (pulling off a Fire Jump Punch rewards you with the successful scream noise of the Home-Run Bat), but had smaller windows of effectiveness and left him prone for longer; if you didn't nail an opponent at exactly the right place and time, you might as well have put a big fat target on your back.
    • Melee:
      • The whole game is basically entirely this on a tournament level. Learning to move properly takes many hours, because the optimal means of movement involve large numbers of short hops (which have to be executed on command for quick aerial attacks, among other things) as well as, most of all, wavedashing, a technique wherein you jump into the air then immediately airdodge into the ground at an angle. Due to the fact that you can control the direction of your air dash, and because when you air dash into the ground it causes you to hit the ground and begin sliding with momentum, you can slide around the stage freely, making attacks as if you were standing still while moving at full run speed (and in many cases, faster than the character's actual run speed, which is particularly notable with Luigi and Mewtwo). The net result is that it takes hours to even learn how to move around and attack properly, and anyone who knows what they're doing can wipe the floor with you using techniques you cannot even use, and oftentimes moving around the stage more quickly than you can, to add insult to injury.
      • Fox and Falco from Melee are probably some of the best examples of this trope ever made. Just watch. Yes, at 0:47 they are doing their Down-Bs, jumping out of it, then Down-Bing again so quickly (and repeating) that the full reflector animation doesn't come out and you just see the flash when the hitbox first comes out.
      • Fox and Falco's main meat, however, is their powerful speedster abilities to leave the ground and land back down in one quick single jump, allowing for a ton of ground-to-air-to-ground combos. Fox's Up Smash and Up Aerial and Falco Forward Smash and Down Aerial are amongst their few yet very reliable kill tools. On the other hand, due to doing so many actions very quickly (but still being eclipsed by Captain Falcon in terms of running speed), you need quick fingers and we mean it. They also have very fast falling speeds and the lowest horizontal aerial movement on top of that; a blessing and a curse since they're also lightweights and it leaves them vulnerable to most horizontal K.O. moments and many effective combo setups.
      • The downside to this is that the hand speed and dexterity required for Fox and Falco (more the former) can cause injury if one goes too hard, or is sloppy. This in particular happened to competitive player Hax, one of the most technical Fox players in the world. His wrist was destroyed and he had to get surgery to have a bone removed so that he could play again.
      • The Ice Grabbers, with insane amounts of practice, can chaingrab virtually any character to death. You can count the number of people who can do it consistently in tournament on one hand.
      • Jigglypuff takes a lot of time to master, but if you do, you will become a force to be feared. Your opponents will not take you seriously, giving you an advantage. Many people will also be shocked to find that Jigglypuff is further up on the tier lists than fan favorite characters like Mario and Samus. Most of the time, this is mainly its lethal Rest attack being the icing on the cake; it's its dominating aerial game with high priority and combo-able aerial attacks that requires the execution to put into.
      • Yoshi in really everything he appears in. Controlling the Egg Throw's direction and speed is not easy, but if you can do it, it is dangerous. In certain situations, you can even keep a fairly skilled player from doing anything until you're ready to knock him off stage. Not to mention, a good number of his moves are decently strong, and he even can do a tricky double jump cancel as well.
      • Yoshi is the only character who can't jump out of his shield, which is extremely important in competitive play. This is particularly bad for Yoshi, since his remaining defensive options such as his grab and roll are easy to circumvent and punish. However, Yoshi has some ways around this which require incredible technique and/or timing. If Yoshi shields a hit on the first few frames before the egg shield forms, he will instead parry the hit, allowing him to act immediately, including jump. Then there's a technique where, with a precise motion, you can drop through a platform when you're shielding. While everyone can do this, it's way more important for Yoshi players to master this as again, he is limited when shielding otherwise. And then there's the armor he gets on his double jump. Use it well, and Yoshi can counter many attempts to attack him from the air. Use it poorly and Yoshi can be killed extremely early due to his lack of triple jump from an Up special. In short, a skilled Yoshi player is a nightmare to attempt to attack without being countered. But each counter takes insane timing and technique from the Yoshi player.
      • Marth requires precise positioning to perform sweespots with his sword, as it deals the most damage at the very tip. Learning his spacing and mastering this will make any Marth player a force to be reckoned with that can combo their opponents and rack up nice damage for days, as well as choosing whether to easily finish them off or not. That, and he has the longest grab range in the game (longer than Yoshi's tongue), a very solid counter that can discourage most forms of non-grab offense against him if used well, and a very cheap-but-laggy spike/meteor smash in his down aerial that's part of a very infamous combo off of his forward aerial, especially in Melee. However, he has some easily camped recovery options, so sometimes it can be easy to handle him when he's off the stage when he's not making use of his sword's tip.
    • Brawl:
      • Olimar. You need to manage your army of Pikmin to be effective, (it has a brick-wall learning curve) but all of his Pikmin-based attacks look exactly the same to your opponent, and they all have quite good range.
      • Ike has some of the strongest attacks in the game, along with an incredibly useful jab, but the vast majority of his moves are incredibly slow and laggy, even causing him to commit suicide over the edge of the stage due to how long it takes to recover from most of his aerial attacks. As a result, top Ike players are highly reliant on reads and spacing to land hits when his opponents are outside his jab range.
      • Zero Suit Samus, who has very effective tools in high-level play, including a versatile recovery, fast mobility, and possessing some of the strongest items in the game (her Power Suit Pieces, which spawn at the beginning of the match), allowing her to gain some quick damage. It is very hard to effectively master these skills, however, but they are invaluable to placing high at tournaments using her.
      • Sonic is fairly easy to pick up at a basic level, but suffers in competitive play from being so light and needing the enemy's percents to be fairly high for a KO. However, when a truly skilled Sonic player picks him up, he turns into a whirling buzz-saw of doom that is untouchable. He is hands down the fastest character in the game and he can literally change direction and be going full speed instantly, not to mention that careful use of his neutral b attack can allow him to stay in the air indefinitely, gluing him to the underside of stages or enabling him to chase down flying opponents. A good Sonic player capitalizes on this speed and maneuverability, strafing the opponents too quickly for them to react and taking advantage of his ability to shield or dodge at any point in his attacks to save themselves from an opponent that somehow manages to catch, corner or out-think them.
      • Solid Snake, who is by far the most unique and unusual member of the cast. On one hand, he packs some of the game's most powerful tilts and smashes (special mention goes to his Up Tilt) that have deceptively large hitboxes. He also boasts the biggest arsenal of projectiles, which gives him a camping game that is unparalleled. On the other hand, his aerial game is the absolute worst; his jump height is poor even with a double jump, his air attacks (though disjointed as his tilts) are mostly slow and/or leave him open when he lands, and his fast falling speed makes him both an easy prey for juggle-happy characters and a victim of gimping. Mastering Snake means making intelligent use of his projectiles to camp and turn the tide of the battle while at the same time preventing the opponent from taking advantage of his glaring weaknesses.
      • Pokémon Trainer is essentially three characters in one, all of whom have very different styles and approaches: Fragile Speedster Squirtle, Jack-of-All-Stats Ivysaur, and Mighty Glacier Charizard. Individually, each of them is a below-average combatant, hindered further by the stamina mechanic, which causes their attacks and movement to become sluggish until swapped out for another for long enough. Together, they are a force to be reckoned with, the Pokémon Trainer by far the most adaptable character in the game, switching up playstyles to counter the opponents no matter what they do. It says something to the Pokémon Trainer's absurd difficulty in usage in that there has only ever been one noteworthy tournament player who uses Pokémon Trainer, and this kid is the only Brawl character whose data is too scant to have any accurate tier placement. Even the hardcore players who made mods for Brawl, like Project M, split Squirtle, Ivysaur, and Charizard into separate characters.
    • Wii U/3DS:
      • As mentioned in the page quote, Greninja is this, with attacks revolving around Confusion Fu. Being a Glass Cannon, Greninja has to make sure not to get hit too hard.
      • Robin is a Mechanically Unusual Fighter, bringing with them the Fire Emblem series' Breakable Weapons. If used too much, their magic tomes and/or Levin Sword will temporarily break, leaving them without the special attacks the tomes use and replacing their powerful Levin Sword with a much weaker Bronze one. Keeping track of how much damage each item has taken in the chaotic action of Smash takes some getting used to, but learning it gives Robin plenty of options for any situation a battle might bring.
      • Shulk's moves themselves are bit more straightfoward, but mastery requires learning his Stance System (the Monado Arts), as without it, he's simply mediocre at everything. Activating one stance strengthens him in one attribute while making him weaker in others (though in some situations, the "weakness" can be used as an advantage), so learning when to switch and what situation is geared for what are his main difficulty curves (and then there comes the Monado Art Cancel for even more complex moments). However, it can be solid to just use him without any Arts at all, as Shulk does have decent strength in his range and power for most of his attacks as well as a few solid bread n' butter combos, but it's up to you whether you want an extra boost of power for a price or not.
      • The Villagers are unusual characters as many of their moves have odd ranges to them: For example, their forward smash is a projectile with almost no horizontal range, but it can hit opponents that are below a ledge. Their aerials do random amounts of damage, and their down special takes a large amount of time to set up. That being said, once that barrier has been jumped, the Villager's moves can be devastating provided that they actually connect.
      • And then there's the Wii Fit Trainers, fitness instructors who uses yoga poses as their method of attack. While considered to be low tier due to their awkward hitboxes and low reach in most of their attacks, especially with their smash attacks being very hard to land, Wii Fit Trainers are surprisingly competent in racking up damage if used right. A chargeable projectile (Sun Salutation) that deals a good amount of damage, another projectile (Header) that has a powerful spike effect if used correctly, a powerful Neutral Aerial that can be used to start combos and rack up damage quickly with little landing lag, and most of her standard and smash attacks having high knockback growth that will almost always KO the opponent if the player manages to land the attack. If that's not enough, Wii Fit Trainer can increase all of their moves' damage and knockback growth by 30% with Deep Breathing for a few seconds, increasing their KO potential even higher. With Deep Breathing in effect, their Up Smash is considered to be one of the strongest in the game, which is also very difficult to use.
  • Mortal Kombat:
    • Not only is the difficulty of using the sorcerer Shang Tsung dependent upon your knowledge of the entire character roster, but his actual gameplay, particularly in the 2011 reboot, focuses on pure zoning. Players have to be on-point with his up and ground skulls so that they can catch an opponent without leaving themselves vulnerable to a counterattack as well as come together seamlessly in his combos, which are harder than most of the cast's staple combos.
    • Kabal is a speed demon and comfortably sits on the S+ ranking on tier lists as its sole occupant. Though as dominant as he may be, he is one of the more challenging characters to use in the game because of his Nomad Dash Cancels (NDCs) and the harsh timings on his more devastating combos. Excellent Kabal players make use of his NDC both to condition the enemy into blocking and guessing his strings and as extensions to his combos, and balance between offense and zoning them out with Air Gas Blasts that fire instantaneously.
    • Shinnok in Mortal Kombat 4 has the ability to steal the movelist of every other character in the game, except Goro, who isn't playable to begin with. He is literally as good as every other playable character combined. The problem? First, you need to enter the command to actually take on another character's movelist. Then, you need to have that character's movelist memorized. And since there's no point to picking Shinnok if you're only copying one character (since then you may as well just pick that character), you'll need to memorize multiple movelists, making for a metric fuckton of memorization. On top of that, there is a time limit on how long Shinnok can copy another character; it is almost unheard of for one battle to be over within this time limit. While nothing is stopping Shinnok from copying the same character multiple times, the sudden timeout often translates to a broken combo since a character special failed to work by virtue of Shinnok not having the special at the moment. The short of it is that Shinnok is portrayed as the best fighter in the game, and he certainly is... provided you're one of the very, very few players with the patience to actually use him.
  • Soulcalibur:
    • Ivy's combos and abilities with her whip sword are incredibly difficult to learn, but once mastered provide players with incredible range and versatility. Oh, and don't expect all those hours you spend learning her moveset to mean anything by the next game, as her movesets are changed completely from game to game.
    • Voldo, with his bizarre stances that can leave an inexperienced player desperately trying to figure out how to actually fight from a prone position on the floor. Made even worse by the fact that Namco routinely changes his move set inputs, meaning that if you spent years learning how to play him in one game, that doesn't mean you can play him in all of them. Made especially egregious by the fact this input changing is pointless.
    • Setsuka is a character beginners shouldn't touch unless they are possessed in terms of execution. With the most amount of Just Frame moves, she is frustrating for newbies, but frustrating to fight against when used right.
    • Alpha Patroklos of V is on the same boat as Setsuka, as his gameplay also revolves around near-pixel perfect Just Frame inputs. A fully-mastered α-Pat is as powerful as a fully-mastered Setsuka. The similarities between both characters, from their style of play to their fighting discipline to even their stances, have led to the community giving him the affectionate nickname of Patsuka. It turns out that she actually trained him while Pat was younger and was something of a second mother to him, so go figure.
    • Mitsurugi is deceptively like this. While rather easy to pick up, a true master user of Mitsurugi can utilize his middle-of-the-road speed, power, and various stances to utterly eviscerate the competition.
    • Taki is generally considered to be the fastest character. If you've got quick enough reflexes, you can simply dominate by blocking anything and retaliating.
    • Xianghua is considered top-tier once she's fully mastered, which requires being able to consistently and reliably chain her moves, many of which require "slide command" inputsnote . Plus, she has a bevy of feints, counter stances, and evasive moves to memorize, if she's to be played effectively.
    • Sophitia is often used by the toughest players on Soulcalibur IV's online mode. Her attacks aren't very powerful on their own, but she can attack quickly and has good defense. Even for an experienced player, it can be quite a shock to find yourself losing to her.
    • Astaroth is in a similar boat to Ivy; at first blush, his attacks seem way too slow and clunky for Astaroth Newbies to compete with characters like Nightmare, who has a very easy to pick up aggro game that can hit nearly as hard. When one takes the time to optimize Astaroth's range and some of his more complicated throws and heavy attacks, however, he becomes an absolute horror to fight against and can cover a deceptively long distance to deliver a lot of hard-to-block pain.
    • V introduced Viola. Her moves do very little damage and her claw attacks have terrible range, but she can keep an opponent almost constantly off-balance with her crystal ball. Viola later is considered a little less difficult thanks to her damage being improved somewhat (although she's still a very technical character) and her companion Z.W.E.I. While considered absolute garbage on a number of competitive forums, Z.W.E.I can pull off some very impressively damaging combos if one has the patience to get very good with his E.I.N summon, which can eat the enemy lifebar or ring them out surprisingly fast. THEN comes her infamous grab loops.....
  • Tekken:
    • Lei Wulong's Five Stances means more moves than your average character to memorize, which require the intelligence of a supercomputer to learn. The key to using Lei is to understand how his moves transition back and forth into these stances and how interwoven these transitions are, and it doesn't help that his command list has not listed these transitions ever since his debut. As of Tag 2, he has a whopping total of nine stances, the most out of any cast member, and it also means his moveset is amongst one of the largest and most comprehensive.
    • Yoshimitsu is hard to master, but fun. Not only can you use your sword as a makeshift helicopter to fly behind your opponent and backstab him, he has the only health restoring move in the game.
    • The entire Mishima clan. Dark Resurrection was praised as being as close to a perfect game as possible, and the three Mishimas (Heihachi, Devil Jin, and Kazuya) very comfortably occupied the three top spots. However, because of the necessity of pulling off their signature move consistently to create "a wall of EWGF" while mixing it up with mid-range moves to prevent random ducking, as well as getting mid-range vs. low-range options out of their "wavedash" special movement, they were considered fairly balanced, even though an expert Heihachi would pretty much always win against anyone not named Devil Jin (this was true in that if the EWGF missed, a lot of recovery frames would kick in for a very easy punish). However, the Mishima clan have their own personal perks as well:
      • Kazuya is the "defensive" Mishima, demanding near-perfect block and whiff punishment and mastery of fundamentals in movement options from players. A lot of his moves aren't safe on block or whiff and have very unfriendly frame data, which means the best he can do is react accordingly to the opponent's attacks. Once he lands a hit, however, there are a ton of advantages he gets when he causes someone to flinch and many ways he can mix it up for extra damage in the hands of a skilled player who knows solid combo routes. He also has the best EWGF out of the Mishima's, as well as another (better) version of it that takes even more skill to use. Skilled Kazuya players can and will take their damage as far as possible when they land a hit on you from any mistake you make.
      • While Kazuya is geared towards reaction, Heihachi is geared more towards offense, possessing some of the best pressure, very safe pokes and awesome juggles with great damage and corner carry potential. Many, if not all, of those said safe moves hit mid (and some hit high), which leaves crouching against him out of the question. However, Heihachi has a massive weakness in having poor low attacks that are very easily punishable on block and whiff, so he doesn't have a way to force open a defense outside of frame traps and throws. He also is rather tall, making his EWGF the hardest to use on smaller characters during juggles.
      • Devil Jin is the Jack-of-All-Stats of the Mishima family, being geared more towards fifty-fifties than either his father or grandfather. His awkward crouch dash game also means that his EWGF is the least optimal of the three.
    • Jin Kazama himself was this in the fourth game. Due to storyline purposes (mostly dealing with betrayal by Heihachi), Jin's moveset was almost completely revamped, with few of his signature moves and bread-and-butter combos from his 3 debut (only two games beforehand) left intact. However, his new tools more than made up for this. If properly timed, his Laser Scraper combo could set up some nasty, nigh-inescapable traps for opponents to deal with. The fact that his recovery time was faster in most situations that most of the cast also helped to keep the pressure on. At high levels of Tournament Play, Jin was the sole occupant of the top tier, to the point that most matches were simply Jin vs. Jin.
      • He still retains shades of this in subsequent games, where he's more focused on his new fighting style with moves like the said Laser Cannon and Scraper removed completely. This leaves him to be the Jack-of-All-Stats-type character that was envisioned that has difficulty in having the same wavedash as the other Mishimas (which isn't as good however) with notably more difficulty in comboing and juggling someone to death as long as other characters (due to the knockback on his moves and having unsafe launchers), and it's also saying something in that he's one of the few who lack the standard 10-hit combo all other characters have), but he makes up for it with very powerful and harassing pokes for strong counter hits, well-rounded tools for respective evasion/crushing highs or lows, solid mix-up, and a very useful Stance System packed with the said mix-up and a very unique parry with limitless potential (this coming from the best non-Tekken 4 version via TTT2). However, despite his counter-intuitive nature, Jin got a buff in 7 in that his "Electric Wind Hook Fist" can now launch, giving him more offensive potential.
    • Also from the fourth game, we have the British boxer Steve Fox. He's a rushdown monster that's all about harassing the opponents with his plethora of frame-friendly moves and rarely letting them catch their breath. Expert Steve players understand his numerous stances, the attacks in each of these stances and the proper times to bob and weave to and from these stances to break opposing players' defenses. That said, Steve's major offensive presence comes at the price of having one of the worst punishment games among the entire cast—he has to resort to using less effective options to punish what would otherwise be launch punishable moves to other characters—and being reliant on counter hits to optimize his damage output. All things considered, Steve has consistently placed high in tier lists since his debut, until he was weakened considerably from Tag 2 onwards.
    • Ling Xiaoyu has semblances of complexity, with moves that leave her vulnerable if used incorrectly, several of which are from her Rain Dance (back towards) and Phoenix stances.
    • On the same boat as Xiao is Hwoarang. Mash-friendly, yes. But his core strengths lie in his surprisingly powerful kicks that need to be carefully planned out before being used, and need to be defended against if used properly. The major contributing factor to his steep learning curve however is his best and most difficult launcher to perform: the Just Frame Talon Sky Rocket.
    • Not fully whole, but Nina, King, and Armor King (but especially the latter two) have several chain-throws, where they would link from one throw to another until the finishing one, eating up a LOT of damages (King could even get into taking out HALF the life bar). Most of them require rather limited time frame to input button combinations which can include three buttons or four buttons combination and you need to memorize what combo follows to what throw. While not used a lot in tournament plays as such throws are easily guessed, it's really satisfying to pull those, even better if you could whiff your opponent into thinking you're doing something else (like, attacking mid or low) only for you to turn out going for the grapple.
    • Doctor Boskonovitch in Tekken 3 was more of a Lethal Joke Character. In that game, his moves rarely connect and he can't stand up, but master him and you'll find out your enemies will have a surprisingly hard time hitting you, while you wittle their health down. For his return in Tekken Tag Tournament 2, he's given a completely different moveset that makes him fit the trope straight. He's hard to master, but can be deadly.
    • Regardless of character, 10 hit combos. There's certainly Some Dexterity Required in pulling them off, and if you flub a single strike's input or timing, you're leaving yourself wide open, but when done right, it's a relentless beatdown that will suck away half the other guy's health if he doesn't manage to block.
  • Darkstalkers:
  • Virtua Fighter:
    • Akira's case is very strange, as the main protagonist normally is the one newbies pick up. His moveset was completely unlike any of the other characters, he required much more pinpoint timing and in the hands of a skilled operator he was an unbeatable wall of force. The Attract Mode for Virtua Fighter 2 showcased Akira pulling off a ridiculously difficult sequence of moves that would completely obliterate any opponent, 100-0%, without any hope of retaliation OR resorting to a ring-out. This was the single most devastating combo in the game, and they showed it move-for move in the Attract Mode. And yet you NEVER EVER EVER SAW ANYONE USING IT due wholly to the sheer difficulty and computer-like timing required to pull it off. Subsequent installments made Akira easier to play, but what mainly makes him so challenging to use is that he is likely the most un-button mashing friendly character in the series, and thus not suited for a beginner pick up and play type style. Most of his moves are linear, power attacks with one or two hits, unlike most of the other characters who have a variety of combo strings. The few multi-hit combos Akira does have require a higher level of execution to perform. Taking take full advantage of his devastating damage output requires timing, skill, and knowledge of how to link/buffer his moves together. As well, a lot of his game is centered around capitalizing on the opposite player's openings and mistakes.
      • Of special note is his signature attack, Teishitsu Dantai (or simply "The Knee"). To do this move, you have to press Kick+Guard, then release Guard within 1 frame (1/60th of a second) or you get a different move entirely (amusingly, as of 5 the regular K+G move is objectively better).
    • The series itself when compared to other fighting games. The complex gameplay mechanics and fast pace of the game make it QUITE hard to get into, and the incredible diversity in style amongst the characters pretty much obliges you to pick one and stick with him/her. It's nowhere near as newbie-friendly as other games in the genre to be sure. However, the series is widely hailed as possibly the most balanced fighting game in the genre, with each character being able to play competitively without crippling disadvantages against other characters, so it has remained a perennial favorite for online play.
  • The King of Fighters:
    • If you expect Kyo to play like a Shotoclone, you're in for a rude awakening. The only way you're gonna win with him is by mastering his "Aragami" (Wild Bite) and "Dokugami" (Poison Bite) chain combo sequences. Which means memorizing which moves combo into what other moves and in what order. Which also means performing half circular motions, into quarter circles, into reverse quarter circles, then applying the appropriate finisher to end the chain sequence. Or, he can end it it with one of his DM/HDMs instead, for added damage, pressure, rushdown and complexity. While he does have a usual anti-air type special and some other solid coverage moves, Kyo's more counter-intuitive compared to other starting characters.
    • Chizuru Kagura, May Lee and Geese Howard:
      • Chizuru has differing versions of her main attacks, which can serve very well for proper/improper reactions via sending out afterimages of herself (sadly, due to the nature of her moves she can easily have her copies get hit and take damage regardless).
      • May Lee, having a good amount of followup moves in her normal form, while also having another form called Hero Mode with different moves where she is unable to block.
      • Geese Howard even from the start of his home series was a well-rounded Mighty Glacier; he could zone with projectiles and also counter his opponents' attacks with throws, but he's a bit sluggish and is not as rushdown-heavy.
    • Angel, as her Unchain Circle moves are complex and confusing to both parties.
    • Charge characters such as Leona and Ash Crimson are difficult because of the fast-paced nature of the gameplay. And to top it off, like most characters and their more devastating combos, these two's require sheer dexterity and timing.
  • Street Fighter IV:
    • Gen, as well as in Street Fighter Alpha, has access to two different substandard fighting styles, but he can switch between them anytime he wants. Great Gen players are rare, but you'll notice how they basically fly around everywhere, crush your defense and pull insanely high damaging combos out of their ass whenever they want. Not to mention Gen has solid mix-ups from one of his other fighting styles, and his primary one gives him solid ground control and safe pokes into standard combos for days, now do the math and see what happens when Gen is able to freely switch back and forth between the said styles on whim in the middle of any combo....
    • Newcomer Crimson Viper has her entire gameplay revolve around relentless offense consisting of feints to keep the opponent on their toes and hard-hitting combos. The problem? She is an incredibly technical character, one of the hardest (if not THE hardest) in the game, with her feints being an absolute necessity and requiring adept hands to use, and her more advanced tricks (usually involving her super jump) requiring an even more adept pair of hands to pull off. A Viper player needs to have precision to keep the offense up without accidentally doing a move that would otherwise leave herself open or give the opponent a chance because once either of these happens, her poor defensive options and bad stamina will cost her the match.
    • Seth has the worst health and stun in the game, his defensive options while under pressure are limited to Shoryuken, and his large kit means that while players have tons of options, he also requires a ton of practice to know what moves are viable options at any given time. On the other hand, he has all the tools that he needs to control the pace of the match, his damage is absolutely horrific, and his pressure is absolutely nightmarish when he's on the offense. Poongko's 2-0 victory (4 rounds straight, ending in a Perfect) against Daigo's AE Yun during Evo 2011 showed just how ridiculous a good Seth could be, and while he has been nerfed in Ultra, he's still an unholy terror when played by someone who has taken the time to master him.
    • Ryu's Metsu Shoryuken does more damage than his Metsu Hadoken (and also looks way cooler), but there are much fewer opportunities to use it, it's harder to land, and misses are more easily punished. But if you know the hitbox size of the move, and you can read your opponent really well, you can pull off things like this.
  • Street Fighter III: Third Strike:
    • Q has slow, awkward attacks and is highly defensive thanks to the range of some of his pokes. Get his armor up and have a good handling on his moves and he becomes a force to be reckoned with.
    • III in general. Contrasting to every other came in the series, even the most basic tenets of this game take computer-esque precision and/or muscle memory to execute, and you're expected to be able to do so perfectly on command in every situation. Near every character requires heavy memorization of moves, and which ones chain into combos to be effective (again, especially in contrast to other games in the series), and the game is, in general, fairly difficult for a fighter, leading to the metagame and higher levels of play being frankly insane for the levels of skill they require. Cue fans of the games generally complaining that subsequent games in the genre are too easy in comparison.
    • Mastering the parrying mechanic makes a monumental difference. If you press forward instead of blocking just before an attack connects, you'll parry it and won't take any damage. It requires an understanding of animation frames, careful timing, and is the cornerstone of high-level play. If you're really good, you can No-Sell and counter almost any attack in the game. This is further complicated with red parrying, which involves blocking and then parrying subsequent parts of multi-hit attacks. Doing it means even tighter timing and suffering chip damage, but makes your opponent second-guess pretty much every tactic they can throw at you.
    • Hugo is your typical slow grappler that towers in his part of the stage. Now if you play fighters often you know that being big equals having more ass to be kicked into. Of his 3 supers, the two grabs are naturally the most damaging but quite hard to pull of... until you realize his Megaton Press is ridiculously easy to combo into with one of his other grabs. Using Gigas Breaker on the other hand requires quite some skill to pull of efficiently. Incorporating the parry system makes it EASIER while making it HARDER. But if you successfully pull it of, your enemy can kiss off his lifebar while you can gleefully call out EINS, ZWEI, DREI, ENDE!
    • Necro suffers from the same problems Dhalsim has: He has long reach but relatively low damage and he increases his vulnerability with his long limbs. But if you learn to use his cornering mindgames and his low damaging but really annoying combos you get disastrous results.
    • Remy is quite a defensive character with his only really damaging moves being backwards and downwards charging ones and everything else can be seen from a mile away. But with enough effort you can spam his up and down projectiles so fast Remy earns himself the nickname "The Machinegun."
    • If timed well, Oro's aerial juggling combos can completely shut down a match.
    • With good charge partitioning and buffering, Urien's tackles and Aegis Reflectors can completely overwhelm a cornered opponent.
    • Twelve's X.C.O.P.Y. Super Art demands that you have knowledge of the other characters' movesets, but given that you can still make use of their taunt-granted buffs while mimicked, he can become a force to be reckoned with. His air dashing, move canceling properties, and clever spacing can be lethal if your opponent is unaccustomed to fighting him.
    • Elena is typically overlooked due to her limited range, slow startup on some of her moves, seemingly low priority, and clunky hitbox. It's very difficult for her to get in safely, and even basic parrying can be tricky due to her shifting animation stance. But hiding underneath all of those flaws is easily one of the best offensive rushdown characters in the entire game. This is due to a healthy dose of Confusion Fu (she has some absurd mixups, and most opponents are unaccustomed to fighting her), and the fact that several of her attacks - both regular and EX - can be easily comboed into each other. If she connects with one of her aerial combos on an opponent and follows it up properly, she can rack up tons of damage and induce stun status in a matter of seconds. She also has an exceptional kara throw. Lastly, if her Brave Dance Super Art fully connects, it is slightly stronger than Chun-Li's SA2. Let that sink in.
  • Street Fighter II:
    • Dhalsim has always been a prominent example of this trope. In the SFII era, especially in Turbo, he is among some of the best characters in the game. His amazing reach can condition an opponent to play to his rhythm and punish attacks that most characters would otherwise be unable to. However, the things that make him one of the series' consistently challenging characters to use are his low health, lackluster mobility, bad damage output which is often times coupled with a low emphasis on combos in his gameplay, and the depth of his zoning game, which goes FAR past just using his normals and Yoga Fires. Overcoming these obstacles means that your opponent will hardly get a chance to even touch you while you whittle away at their health.
    • Zangief was like this back in the day. Doing a circular motion (or 360) on a d-pad or joystick was difficult in this era of games because the inputs were not as lenient. More often than not, players attempting to do a Spinning Piledriver or a Final Atomic Buster with Gief can't do it without making him jump at least once. This makes it difficult for him (and fellow grappler T. Hawk, for that matter) to land such moves, and sometimes unreliable. With patience and precision, one can turn these shortcomings into potential mindgames that can throw opponents off at the worst of times.
    • Guile is certainly this (if not a bit on the bland side of things). He only has two moves (Sonic Boom and Flash Kick), but in the hands of expert player, those two moves as well his normals makes him a potent force enough to be one of the top tiers of the game.
  • Roll Canceling in Capcom vs. SNK 2: Mark of the Millennium is definitely one of the hardest. Canceling moves within a few frames which gives you an invincibility buffer. Unfortunately most players will never do it, and only top level players will. Throw in things like Custom Combos and spacing and it becomes one of the most technical fighters ever.
  • Shikamaru in Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm. He's known to have counter-based moves compared to the rest of the cast.
  • Hyrule Warriors
    • Lana's Summoning Gate weapon does very little damage with its regular attack string, though it's enough to deplete Weak-Point Gauges, if the Stamina Fruit badges have been filled. Her beginning to summon a monster with her combo attacks leaves her open to enemies, although she's invulnerable to damage once the summon attack gets going properly. The key to using the Summoning Gate effectively involves keeping a distance from elite mooks and fast mobs, and using her Strong Attack to randomly summon a monster, which ends up with that monster's combo attack to end up being a stronger variant and easily capable of clearing keeps.
    • Agitha's normal attack string leaves her airborne for some time, and is very slow, making her somewhat clunky to control. And even her combo attacks have long wind-ups to actually cause damage, except for her C2 attack. However, her C2 is an exellent finisher, and her C1 attack is a suprisingly good mob-clearer. She is deadly in the hands of a competent Agitha-fighter, making levels that require to play as her seem much simpler.
    • Zant has a very erratic fighting style, making many players initially write him off as difficult to combo with. There's also the fact that he has the annoying gimmick in his Twili Magic bar that, if it gets filled all the way to red, means he will end up dizzy and temporarily wide open to attacks after using a combo attack. Learning to keep an eye on the meter and not letting one get overwhelmed by the number of enemies one has to defeat, Zant can dominate the battlefield with a little bit of timing.
  • Dissidia Final Fantasy:
    • Exdeath is absurdly slow, but lethal if you get his blocks down. Even the developers have admitted that he's practically indestructible if you're able to master his incredibly steep learning curve.
    • Jecht is the game's Bare-Fisted Monk. When most players start off with Jecht, they most likely don't know when or how to enter the well timed button presses. Once the player masters basic timing with Jecht, well... if a Bravery attack connects, consider enemy bravery busted (under normal circumstances anyway). What the game doesn't tell the player, is that Jecht's combos can also link into his HP attacks if certain combos are put in. Finally, his Jecht Block can serve as well as Exdeath's Omni Guard (so long as the attack in question doesn't hit directly above or below him, although he will stagger if he's hit with an HP attack). After he's properly mastered, the only problem a Jecht player tends to face is his absence of long range attacks.
    • Ultimecia, on the other hand, is the long-range specialist. She has many move that can be charged up to deal more damage, [[Mighty Glacier but don't come out quickly even if they aren't charged.]] Playing Ultimecia requires the player to properly gauge whether or not to charge her attacks in order to keep the opponent at bay.
    • New players can also find it difficult to play as Firion or Cecil's Dark Knight form as they are heavily ground based but combat will often gravitate towards the air. Cecil also requires mastering his two different forms which are only usable either in the air or on the ground and knowing when and how to switch.
    • Squall can be rather difficult to grasp early on because unlike most other characters, most of Squall's most damaging attacks are effectively at zero range. To put it into perspective, most characters have attacks that allow them to attack while moving. Squall stops immediately and his attack range is about 1 game meter in length. This makes him very frustrating because most beginning players do not know the importance of guarding yet. However, once they do, Squall becomes one of the most dangerous characters in the game. He can literally take a character at 9999 and drop them down to 0 with only a few combos, even faster if you invested in the brave draining skills. The other learning curve is that a lot of his HP attacks are hard to connect with, but once you are able to master their timing, you can essentially rip through your opponent's arsenal.
    • Kefka has very... odd spells that, with the exception of Havoc Wing, rarely strike directly. However, given time to level up his spellset, Kefka essentially becomes a combo god who can drain bravery just as fast as Squall can (and from a safe distance to boot!). In addition, the constant flow of his spells to Kefka Experts would easily qualify him for more of a "trap-style" player than The Emperor would.
    • Onion Knight starts with weak attacks that can be hard to connect with, though he later becomes a chaining machine. It gets to the point that the only time a skilled player will use Onion Knight's basic HP attacks is to destroy a weaksauce opponent: if you get hit with a bravery attack from Onion Knight at high levels, you're either in Break status, or taking an HP attack. Sometimes both.
    • Golbez is probably second to Jecht in terms of this trope. Golbez's Brave Attacks have really odd quirks, being two-part Full-Contact Magic attacks. Depending on whether or not his foe is hit by his hand or by his magical burst of energy, the second component of his assault will change. In order to get the hang of these mix-ups, a Golbez player needs to be able to properly gauge distance for each and every attack. In addition, he's able to chain most of these Braves together (or alternatively, chain them into his HP attacks), and when coupled with EX Cancel, he can keep these strings going for quite some time, giving Golbez a combo ability on par with that of Jecht and Zidane. In the proper hands, there will be very few safe havens when Golbez is on the warpath.
    • Most of Team Chaos actually functions like this, being unwieldy at first because of how different they are from the characters you start off with and then when you figure out how to set them up, they become deadly awesome. As mentioned, the notable steep learning curves are Exdeath, Jecht, The Emperor, Ultimecia, Kefka, and Golbez. Their bonus character, Judge Gabranth probably has it the worst, seeing as his entire playstyle relies heavily on reaching his Super Mode before his opponent can.
    • The prequel Duodecim brings us Laguna, and Laguna brings guns to the table. Lots and lots of guns. He has little in the way of close-range ability and thus has to be played strategically, much like The Emperor and Kefka. Compare this to Gilgamesh, who has the markings of a Lethal Joke Character due to the sheer unpredictability of his moveset and abilities.
  • Touhou fighting games:
    • Alice in Immaterial and Missing Power doesn't use ranged attacks the same way the others do; rather, she deploys her doll familiars out, where they'll attack the enemy after a short time. The stagger delay takes some getting used to, but skilled Alice players can use their dolls to trap the enemy in the corner, where they're at her mercy with her skills and spells. Scarlet Weather Rhapsody/Hisoutensoku changed things so that Alice now relies on traps and has weird ranges. She's very hard to use well, but capable of utterly destroying opponents if the player knows what they're doing.
    • Suwako in Hisoutensoku. Everything about her, most notably her movement (she hops around the stage like a frog and her "crouching" elevates her upward on a lily-pad instead). Many of her attacks can only be used at specific times, and require impeccable positioning and timing to pull off correctly. She's also the possessor of the most powerful combo in the game (which takes off half a life bar), and is only beaten in terms of damage by Utsuho.
    • Reimu is mostly a Skill Gate Character and a pretty good one in her own right. All of her bullet moves are easy to use, her skillcards are straightforward and her spellcards are rather powerful. However, her most powerful spellcard, Fantasy Heaven, is difficult to execute due to having to pull off some combos in order to use it. Not only do you have to be experienced with Reimu in order to use it properly, but you also need some knowledge about the game's hitboxes and block physics. If you do know how to hit the enemy without wasting 5 spellcard slots, then you (debatably) have a strong contender for THE most powerful attack in the series.
  • Killer Instinct:
    • Using Kan-Ra feels less like you're playing a fighting game and more like you're taking a test in how many things you can keep track of at once, and that's added onto his lackluster damage and godawful close-range options. Though once one manages to master all of his tricks, setups, and combos, he's undeniably effective, and can dish out surprisingly high damage while keeping his opponents in a range that he's comfortable with. It goes without saying that playing against a very good Kan-Ra can be a nightmare.
    • ARIA is essentially a 3-person tag-team all mashed into a single character with her drones, with a bunch of options to cover almost any possible situation. But the downside is that unlike all of the other characters who have one, large life bar, her health is divided up between her 3 drones, and if the health on one of the drones is completely depleted, she loses that drone for the rest of the match. Using ARIA effectively not only requires good use of the drones in tandem with each other, but also being able to use them to the best of their abilities to stay in a dominant position for the entire match, or else she runs the risk of effectively losing a third of her entire moveset, making it drastically harder to make a comeback against almost every other character in the cast.
    • Mira is an extreme Glass Cannon; most of her attacks and abilities require turning some of her health into "recoverable life", which doesn't count towards her health total, and has to be recovered using a zero-damage, highly-telegraphed command grab. Used poorly, she can easily drain her life extremely fast and quickly get KO'd. Used effectively, Mira has beastly damage potential without having to spend any shadow meter; with meter, she's candidate for the hardest-hitting character in the game. And this is on top of having a spammable airdash, projectiles that can track her opponent, and a teleport that makes her completely invincible that she can do whenever she wants; all of which require tapping into her health bar, meaning she has to use these tools sparingly and carefully.
    • Gargos in the 2013 reboot is huge, slow (though capable of flight), and has the first Instinct Mode in the series to have a drawback (he loses the ability to block and some air mobility in exchange for becoming Immune to Flinching and the ability to cancel out of his Instinct Mode to break combos, knock down opponents, etc.). He also has the ability to summon two minions that die in two/three hits but provide insane combo opening and breaker potential. Add in the ability to start combos from pretty much anywhere (which is easily breakable) and a unique command grab with four possible throws, and you have a character that's a nightmare to learn, but also has quite possibly THE most versatile movepool in the entire series.
    • General RAAM used to be this before nerfs knocked him down several pegs. He is as big as, and even slower than, Gargos. He also has a very limited movepool that's easy to Combo Break, requiring accurate Counter Breakers to keep his combos going in high-level play. However, several of his combo enders, as well as his Instinct Mode, inflicted heavy potential damage over time, meaning that a good RAAM was once able to land short combos that dealt 50% damage or more so long as he could keep the momentum going his way. Eventually, however, the damage over time effect was heavily adjusted after his release (dealing weak health damage instead of strong potential damage), making him even harder to use while reducing the payoff by substantial margins.
    • Eyedol in the 2013 game functions a lot like Street Fighter IV's Gen (detailed above) in that he has two entirely separate movesets. Unlike Gen, however, Eyedol has little control on WHICH moveset will be available at any given moment, as which form he starts in is completely random, and will occasionally swap movesets after preforming special attacks (the odds of which increase the longer he's gone without switching, and can only be manually increased by hitting himself). Keeping on top of both movesets, however, give Eyedol players access to some of the best rushdown and zoning options in the game.
  • Virtual-ON Oratorio Tangram:
    • The 10/80 Special does not have any thrust-vectoring dash (meaning it will only to one direction in a dash, unlike other VRs that can change direction mid-dash), has weak weapons easily deflectible by V-Armor, and cannot dash in the air. On the upside, it is quite fast, and able to slice between a Raiden's twin beam cannons with its special move.
    • The Bal (not that one). It has more moves than all the other VRs combined, and using Bal is an exercise of patience and skill. Master Bal, and it becomes More Dakka and Frickin' Laser Beams in one convenient package.
    • Ajim's Mine Orbs has more or less a random factor to it that can heal opponents, all of its weapons recharge slowly, and you have to level the weapons up to gain maximum effectiveness. It's armor is paper-thin (it is, in-universe, basically a stack of rogue pixels), and on your hands Ajim's energy leaks at a constant rate (meaning, your life decreases as the passage of time). But if you are disciplined with the weapons and is good at aiming, then Ajim hits unbelievably hard, is hardly affected by V-Armor, and is capable of finishing off any of the upper-tier VRs in no time at all.
  • Toribash uses a similar system to QWOP, and is as hard to use. But when you do master it, the results are awe-inspiring.
  • In Rumble Pack, using Binary style takes more skill than the other styles and revolves around using the "Radix" button to cancel any move. Mastering it allows massive combos and cinematic Overdrive attacks.
  • Parasoul from Skullgirls is considered by most of the competitive community to be a high-to-top tier fighter, with excellent space-control involving her many long-ranged attacks, damaging combos, and her excellent mix-up game. The problem? Her ground movement is awkward, she doesn't have any mobility options in the air (she's also the only character in the cast with this property), and she fights with charge attacks making patience a necessary requirement to unlock her potential.
  • Enrico Pucci in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle starts off slow and weak, but has the ability to upgrade his stand from Whitesnake to C-Moon, and eventually into the Purposely Overpowered Made In Heaven (and his stand evolutions are retained in-between rounds). However, this takes a really long time, and involves a lot of special tasks that leave him wide open to attack. Fortunately, his moveset is also full of attacks to knock his opponent down and away, or just keep them occupied while he performs the required tasks.
  • Character Customization such as the level of detail in the WWE Games can be this. 2K16 allows face photos to be imported and used, which have historically been difficult in other games. Here a 512 x 512 front on shot, head and shoulders, no hair over the face is a good benchmark. Then it's just a case of adjusting the markers and sliders to where you want. It will give you razor sharp, perfectly accurate and detailed head models to use.
  • ARMS:
    • Dragon type arms don't work quite the same way as all the others. Rather than extending fully, they move forward a short way before shooting an energy beam. At first, it's quite difficult to get used to, as the delay between initiating the attack and the beam actually firing can leave the player open and aiming the beam can be difficult. But if one gets used to it, it's one of the most effective long-range weapons in the game, and can reliably attack opponents from angles that no other weapons can manage.
    • Helix is a Mechanically Unusual Fighter who uses a form of stance system that differs from every other character, meaning he's incapable of performing certain movements that everyone else can use. His beginning sets of arms are also very unintuitive (one is a Dragon arm, the Blorb bounces, making it difficult to target aerial opponents, and the Guardian is first and foremost a defensive weapon with a very long delay that can accidentally end up blocking your own attacks if you don't know how to use it). However, he's also capable of performing actions that no other enemies can use, and the unusualness of his weapons make him very hard to counter once you can get over the initial difficulty of learning them in the first place.
    • Max Brass has a great set of abilities and useful starting ARMS, but unlike all other fighters, his punches have zero guidance behind them, meaning if curved the wrong way, your punch will miss the enemy by a mile. Using Max Brass effectively requires you to have complete control over where you're sending your punches so you don't constantly whiff, but having such control gives you a juggernaut with a Fire-Explosive combo of elements and the ability to laugh at weaker hits.
  • Dragon Ball Fighter Z:
    • Captain Ginyu can call on other members of the Ginyu force to attack. Thing is, all four are mapped to the same two inputs. What determines which member you get is a sequence - the inputs will give you Guldo, then Recoome, then Burter, then Jeice, then it will start from Guldo again. This means that you'll need to be aware of how to take advantage of all members of the Ginyu Force, which is a total of eight moves, of which only two are available at any given time. note  Ginyu has very little potential outside of what the Ginyu Force provides, so he's unplayable unless you have some idea of what they do.
    • This also applies to his Body Change super move, which is hard to connect with. However, if you hit your opponent, you take their character for yourself, while your opponent gets saddled with the worst character in the game: a Ginyu without the Ginyu Force nor Body Change. The second variation of Body Change has you hitting yourself before attempting the switch - making you lose health if you miss, and making the opponent lose health if you connect.
  • Under Night In-Birth: Vatista. Dear, dear Vatista. Vatista is considered by many in the FGC to be the single hardest character to play in any fighting game ever made. All of her moves are charge moves, and many have reverse inputs of the typical commands which makes combos very complex, especially as some of them involve chaining them into each other - in other words, you have to charge up two at the same time with very specific timing to pull it off, and you may even have to hold down a button while hitting other buttons to combo and charging other moves. Vatista has some of the longest and most damaging combos in the entire game and her long range makes it dangerous to approach her recklessly, and hence she is top tier in every incarnation, but she never receives complaints of Tier-Induced Scrappy because it is commonly accepted that it is not humanly possible for even a professional-level player to use her without them making a ton of mistakes in mechanical execution alone. It is also commonly accepted that it is not even possible to play Vatista with a standard console gamepad, necessitating splashing out on an arcade fight stick.

    First Person Shooter 
  • Alien vs. Predator:
    • All three factions had their own unique style of play, but the Marine mode was the most fun considering it basically turned the game into a Survival Horror First-Person Shooter.
    • The Aliens in the 2010 game. You will either rack up the kills against people who don't know how to play them properly, or be Persecuted ad nauseum by a player who has mastered the unique play style.
  • Battlefield 2142:
    • The Baur has high recoil, low magazine count, but dealt out high damage, and if you could pop off quick headshots, and stay out of most close quarters combat, you could drop enemies with ease.
    • To a lesser extent, the Scar-11, which was a watered down Baur (which makes sense, as the in-game description says that the Baur is a bulked-up edition of it.) It had higher recoil compared to the Krylov and the Voss, but dealt out more damage and performed better at range.
  • In BioShock 2, the Drill Specialist plasmid denies you use of any weapons except for the drill, but in return cuts the cost of using plasmids (the game's version of spells) in half. At that point in the game the player has access to plasmids that can turn security systems and other enemies to their side, and unleash streams of Fire, Ice, Lightning and Bees at a whim. While obviously requiring more thought than just filling everything with bullets (at least, until acquiring the "Summon Eleanor" plasmid), it is still entirely viable.
  • Borderlands 2:
    • Gaige and her Ordered Chaos skill tree. The tree is focused around the "Anarchy" skill, which raises her damage while lowering her accuracy both by 1.75% any time you gain a kill or empty your clip, but all stacks decay instantly when you die or reload prematurely. The higher you stack the Anarchy skill, the more damage you do and the more inaccurate you become. It can eventually get to a point where bullets will actively try and break the laws of physics to avoid hitting anyone. While there are certain guns and abilities that can mitigate this somewhat, good luck trying to hit anyone at a certain level of stacks but anyone that does get hit will feel it (as in, you can kill the final boss in less than a minute with the right guns). The stack limit is 150, meaning 262.5% stronger and inaccurate, but fully investing in her Preshrunk Cyberpunk skill increases the stack limit to 400, which buffs her damage/debuffs her accuracy by 700%.
    • Similarly, there is also Krieg and his Mania skill tree, which is focused on melee damage and Critical Status Buffs. Several of his skills in said tree are not only focused on being in low health but also offer some disadvantages, such as instantly reviving teammates while putting yourself in Fight for Your Life mode, or a massive buff to melee damage that gives you a chance to hit yourself with your own melee attack. The idea of the tree is that Krieg will do the most damage when he is at near-death.
    • Hyperion guns in general, due to their "reverse recoil" effect. The crosshair starts out with a massive spread, and if you aim down the sights, the gun sways all over the place; you have to shoot for them to stabilize and deliver their true (generally murderous) accuracy, and a good deal of it is lost when reloading. This forces the player to use a different strategy when employing them (like shooting wildly in the enemy's direction at first and only then start aiming for critical points, and starting with the closer foe in all circumstances), and there's no such thing as ammo saving with them. It's easier with shotguns, as the idle sway doesn't mean much and the starting shots don't make the shotgun jump around like a pistol or SMG would, and sniper rifles, which only need you to stay scoped for a bit to stabilize.
    • The Sloth sniper rifle you get from Mordecai if you give him the booze in "Rakkaholics Anonymous" has a high damage and accuracy but a terrible muzzle velocity. Unless you're Zer0 or Maya, both of whom have acceleration powers, most targets will move before the bullet arrives.
    • Zer0, just in general. He's a Glass Cannon with a lot of damage-enhancing skills and little that improves his health. He needs to be good at scoping in quickly and hitting a critical point, if specced as a sniper, or at landing melee attacks, if specced as a ninja - tasks that aren't helped by enemies with odd or hard to hit critboxes, such as Goliaths, or enemies who lack them entirely, such as Saturn. Sniper Zer0s also have the problem of the average sniper rifle's fairly low rate of fire. That said, Zer0's critical damage buffs add up fairly quickly (+125% before Ascension stacks are counted if you have the right purchases from the tree), and in the hands of someone who can reliably manage backstabs or critical shots (especially with a Jakobs sniper rifle), you can see some very large numbers appearing above people's heads indeed.
  • Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! has Claptrap's Fragmented Fragtrap skill tree. Unlike other skill sets, this particular tree requires enormous amounts of stack management, timing counts, and familiarity with a wide variety of weapons. As a Fragmented Fragtrap, the player is obligated to pick skills that force them to switch randomly between certain weapon proficiencies, sometimes at the most inopportune times. It is easily one of the most micromanagement-intensive skill trees in the game. However, rein it all in and master the finicky switching system, and you can deal hideous amounts of damage at terrifying speeds. A well-played Fragmented Fragtrap basically wheelies from opponent to opponent, hits them with enormous elemental damage en route, then slaps their face off with a melee attack that can deal upwards of 540% more damage (before any weapon or badass modifiers), before zipping off at an even greater speed while basking in the glow of instant health recovery for every such opponent he's slapped to death. If anyone dares shoot at him, he gains critical hit bonuses for the duration, then emits damaging novas every time his shield drops, raises, or if he's crippled. Finally, at the highest ranks, he takes substantially longer to die and inflicts all forms of elemental on nearby enemies simultaneously every time he activates a fresh subroutine. Similar to Krieg, Claptrap will probably spend most of his time either in his opponent's faces, mere inches from death, but so will everyone else, and Claptrap is much better with the game's Comeback Mechanic than they are.
  • Call of Duty
    • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2:
      • Riot Shield classes for multiplayer are generally easy to kill when you spot them. However, in the hands of a skilled player, they're nigh-unkillable without either a teammate helping you, or a high explosives class.
      • For most part, the Throwing Knife is incredibly hard to use, especially on the consoles. However, if you manage to get the hang of it, it is extremely rewarding to kill players with it at close to medium range before they can manage to hose you down with bullets.
      • People usually expected a Riot Shield to rush forward to bash, or to stay back and continue deflecting bullets. Few expect the Riot Shield/Throwing Knife pairing. You have no crosshairs while using the shield, making this a difficult build, but if you keep your cool and aim carefully, you can catch an enemy off guard with a sudden Throwing Knife. Many players come to a dead stop when they see a Riot Shield, trying to shoot the bits of you that aren't covered. Others back straight away, all the time firing wildly. The clearer heads pull back and ready an explosive. In all these situations, a sudden toss can end the encounter. If you miss the toss, you can still bash, or even maneuver over to the dropped knife and go for another attempt.
    • Call of Duty: Black Ops II:
      • The KSG shotgun in multiplayer is unusual, since it fires slugs (big bullets) instead of buckshot, making it an hybrid between a shotgun / sniper rifle. It has high damage up to mid-range (200-75), high range (making 1-shot-kills at longer distances than the Remington 870 MCS), high penetration (on par with assault rifles), high capacity (14 shells by default, second only to the M1216) and a 1.5 headshot multiplier (something that the rest of the shotguns lack), which makes the KSG specially deadly at longer ranges and shooting through cover (specially if the user is good with headshots). You pay all of this with a slow rate of fire (since it's a pump-action shotgun) and decreased hip-fire effectiveness, even with the increased hip-fire accuracy over it's peers (given it's not a buckshot weapon, it can miss if fired this way).
  • Jones from Clive Barker's Jericho is this. Of the entire playable cast, his ability to possess enemies is the hardest to use in a fight, since he's left vulnerable while using it, and aiming it correctly can be difficult at long distances. However, once he's possessed an enemy, he can cast a variation of Church's Blood Ward, which freezes enemies in place, and can do so using the enemies health. This makes fighting some of the tougher enemies, like Machinegunners less daunting.
  • The Wraith from Evolve is a Fragile Speedster/Glass Cannon who, although highly mobile and powerful, has poor health and armour even when fully evolved, and is a Close-Range Combatant to boot; all the other monsters have proper ranged abilities, but her only ones are Warp Blast, an explosive Deadly Lunge that puts her right in the face of the hunters, and Abduction, a hard-to-aim You Will Not Evade Me. Newbies fail to use her right and get shot to bits trying to kill the hunters or are constantly scared by the poor health into being on the defensive and fail to kill them all before the match ends. In good hands, she's a Slasher Movie villain; the hunters never see her unless it's a Decoy and/or part of the plan, while she outmaneuvers them, Abducts them away from the team and turns them one-by-one into confetti with Supernova.
  • Many of the so-called "special weapons" from Far Cry 3 count.
    • The flamethrower has a limited capacity tank, short range, and can end up doing more harm to the player if used carelessly. Video Game Flamethrowers Suck, right? Wrong. Using it in jungle and confined spaces is risky, but if you know what you're doing, it's one of the most deadly weapons available to you.
    • The recurve bow. It's silent, can use a variety of special arrows, kills most unarmoured humans and herbivores outright, and heavily damages armoured human enemies and carnivores. However, it has a limited ammunition capacity (unless you take the time to craft a nice big quiver) and slow rate of fire. The most niggling issue of all, however, is the fact that it, like the flamethrower, has a realistic firing arc, meaning hitting any human-sized target over 50 metres away is a challenge, even with the reflex scope attachment.
    • The flare gun. Harmless to enemies, it can only serve as a distraction, or to set the environment on fire, which means like the flamethrower it can backfire against you spectacularly if mishandled. However, the fire can be used to kill a number of enemies standing in foliage, and keep enemies away from you. It also can instantly ignite any vehicle in the game, turning it into a crippled time bomb.
    • Also in Far Cry 3, stealth. Due to the Artificial Brilliance of human enemies, taking out groups without being detected is tough, especially later in the game when dogs and heavies come into play. However, if you manage to clear out an outpost without being spotted, you net a pretty impressive EXP bonus.
  • The Boltshot in Halo 4. This Forerunner pistol has average accuracy, and poor enough damage that you're practically always better off with your primary weapon. However, it has a charge feature which lets it effectively be used as a pocket Short-Range Shotgun and one-shot kill enemies at close range, out-damaging almost every other weapon if you can get close enough in time and land the shot. The charge takes just under a second to build, and then can only be held for about another second before it fires automatically, so it requires precision timing as well as aiming; miss the first shot, and you'll be unlikely to get another as the weapon cools down and then charges again.
  • While most of of the weapons Killing Floor are rather straightforward in what they do and in their purpose, the M14 Enhanced Battle Rifle takes the cake for being a skill-gate weapon. As with all weapons under the Sharpshooter perk, it is most effective at its designated purpose, headshots, but in comparison to its alternatives the Lever-Action Rifle and the Crossbow, it deals less damage on headshots and does poor damage on body shots. Despite these two flaws, the M14 EBR packs an impressive magazine size of 20 with 7 spare magazines (whereas the LAR has 80 shots and reloads on a per bullet basis while the Crossbow only holds 36 bolts total), reloads the entire magazine, and has a semi-automatic rate of fire, which makes it ideal for making multiple headshots in a small time frame. In the higher difficulties, this makes the M14 EBR a solid choice in a Sharpshooter's arsenal as the Crossbow gets a damage nerf on certain targets, especially when considering the toughest non-boss creature in the game can go down with 10 well-placed headshots on the hardest difficulty with max (6) players. In the hands of a skilled Sharpshooter, they can take out a sizable chunk of the smaller enemies using only 1 to 2 headshots max and still have enough remaining bullets to deal with the bigger threats when necessary.
  • All of the combat in Mirror's Edge. Faith's combat maneuvers are mostly not spelled out and difficult to master. Once you get her in hand, however, she becomes a grand-master ninja practitioner of Waif-Fu, literally running circles around the enemy.
  • Nexuiz and its Spiritual Successor Xonotic:
    • Similar to the Shock Rifle example above, the Electro allows you to do a combo of both fire modes from the weapon, with almost the same mechanics. The only difference is that the alternate fire shoots a bouncing ball and several of them can be shot in order to create a minefield of sorts.
    • The 2.5.2 version of the Rocket Launcher in Nexuiz includes a laser to guide the rockets, which are now slow as hell. With a bit of practice, you can blow up your enemies with little to no damage to speak of.
  • Overwatch has a difficulty rating of 1 to 3 stars for each of the heroes. The 3-star heroes all qualify:
    • Ana is very mechanically-demanding and is the only healer who doesn't have consistent Healing Per Second because she needs to constantly shoot her ally (and land the shots) to heal them, and she is subject to down time via reloading because of this. One firing mode uses projectiles, which requires leading the target, and the other firing mode (which uses hitscans) gives the user tunnel vision and lessened movement. She is also the only healer with no regenerating shield or Healing Factor, meaning her Biotic Grenade is her only option of self-healing (which is often saved because of the high utility it has), and has no movement abilities, meaning bad positioning and dying are very punishing. Flankers are especially troublesome because of her lack of close-range firepower. However, Ana has the strongest healing in the game, at 99 average HPS, or an even higher 149 average HPS if the ally has the Biotic Grenade buff applied. She also has very high utility with her Biotic Grenadenote  and Sleep Dartnote . Topping it all off is her Nano boost, which makes a targeted ally go into Super Mode.
    • Genji is considered by the playerbase to be the hardest character to master, and for good reason. His shuriken do sub-par Damage Per Second when compared to other offensive heroes, and his abilities are a lot less straightforward than most heroes. Using Genji effectively requires good map knowledge, good ability knowledge and timing, good aiming, clever positioning, and good reflexes. His abilities, though, are a Flash Step which damages anyone it hits, an Attack Reflector, and advanced mobility in a Wall Crawl and a Double Jump. A good Genji is a Lightning Bruiser who'll use his superior mobility to flank the enemy from angles they won't expect, capable of slaughtering entire teams by himself while turning their own firepower against them, and then vanishing as quickly as he appeared.
    • Hanzo. While his younger brother is considered to be the most difficult character to master, Hanzo is considered to be the most difficult character to use effectively. First of all, he's a sniper, so that already sets the skill bar high. Second, he uses a bow and arrow instead of a sniper rifle, meaning arrows need to be drawn. Additionally, the player has to take into account draw time, travel time, and arrow arc when firing. His only real method of fighting at close range (aside from spamming low power arrows) is to aim a Scatter Arrow at the opponent's feet, meaning he needs to stay at range, and his Dragonstrike is a Painfully Slow Projectile. The awesome part? Hanzo doesn't need to reload, has Hitbox Dissonance is his arrows' favor, has Wall Climb to get into ideal positions, and his arrows leave no trail while making little noise, making him harder to spot. His Scatter Arrow allows him to kill or wound enemies behind cover, his Sonic Arrow can provide team-wide echolocation in a notable radius every 20 seconds, and Dragonstrike disorganizes the enemy team through either killing them or scaring them away. A good Hanzo can kill the entire enemy team with minimal assistance (case in point), but good Hanzo players are the hardest players to find.
    • Mei isn't as difficult as the other 3-star heroes, but she still qualifies. Her primary fire shoots a close-ranged beam which slowly freezes the enemy in 3 seconds of continuous fire, and her alternate fire shoots powerful icicles at a slow rate with a delay before actually firing it. Because of this, Mei faces difficulty in taking on more than one enemy. Her wall also requires precise aim, because 1 meter off can make the wall form in a less-than-ideal place, and a badly placed wall hinders her teammates. A good Mei can use the wall to isolate enemies and freeze them to death, while also knowing when to self heal and when to block off the enemy.
    • Sombra has the lowest DPS (though it's not to be ignored) of all the Offense characters, and her Hack ability has a lengthy 8 second cooldown. She cannot take a direct approach to a fight, as she risks getting spotted before reaching optimal range for her weapon. This is however balanced by Hack being an incredibly powerful shutdown tool, restricting the enemy team from using anything from medkits to even Ultimates, and Sombra has all the tools to be obnoxiously evasive, with her Translocator and Thermoptic Camo. A Sombra player that makes their Hacks count while staying alive can virtually control the fight.
    • Zarya is most effective when in the midst of her allies and when she's actively getting attacked with her shield up, unlike all other heroes, who strive to avoid being hit at all. She also has less health than the other tanks, at 400 HP with no armor. The player also needs good tracking to do damage effectively. Additionally, her basic attack is weak if it's not powered up. However, 200 of that HP is regenerating shields, and when using her correctly or in unconventional ways means that she can dominate the battlefield when used effectively, with a more area-of-effect focused power set than the other tanks. At 100 charge, her DPS reaches 190, the highest of all tanks, and higher than the DPS of most dedicated DPS characters. That's without a damage boost from Mercy or Ana.
    • Zenyatta's healing from his Harmony Orb is somewhat weak at 30 HPS, and keeping track of both of his Orbs can be difficult at times, especially in a firefight. He has no movement abilities and his Orbs of Destruction require leading the target, but he has enough firepower to shred most characters in seconds, his Discord Orbnote  is useful in any scenario, and Transcendence is extremely potent, healing nearby allies at a rate of 300 HPS, out-healing Pharah's Barrage most of the time. Oh, and he has no footstep noises, so he can be very sneaky.
    • Although they're rated 2 stars in terms of difficulty, McCree, Tracer, Widowmaker, and Moira qualify as well.
      • McCree is very reliant in the player's aim to perform well. His Combat Roll isn't very helpful, and is mostly just used for a fast reload, and his Flashbang can miss easily. However, a player who has mastered McCree is very deadly, and can keep two of the most annoying and dangerous characters, Genji and Tracer, at bay.
      • Tracer's very low HP and short range mean she has to take a lot of risks to do her job, and she can be two-shotted by many of the other playable characters. Her Blink is also tricky to master, especially if you plan to use it for dodging stuff. But if you get a handle on her, Tracer is easily the most maneuverable character in the game, hurts a lot, and can leave the enemy team tearing their hair out in frustration.
      • Widowmaker is arguably the hardest character to play. FPS snipers are already typically some of the most mechanically demanding characters to play, and she is no exception. What makes her stand out from other "snipers" such as Hanzo and Ana is that all of her team-wide value comes from sniping and one-shotting enemies, meaning all of her abilities serve as utility to complement the player's ability to land constant critical hits, including her ultimate, which won't help decide games in the same way other ultimates in the game will. This means if you don't have good aim or produce as much damage to consistently pick off squishy targets, you aren't taking advantage of her potential, ergo possibly wasting a good hero pick. That said, those who can master her are complete nightmares to face against, and she can shut down entire teams unharmed from a distance.
      • Moira is a tricky character to play effectively. As she's support, she's fairly squishy with 200 HP and no armor or shields. On top of that, when her healing ability is depleted it takes almost a full minute to completely replenish, which can hamstring her team. However, if the player deals damage with Moira's right hand, it both refills her biotic meter and heals her. This puts anyone who's going to try their hand at her in the unique position of needing to heal your team and also needing to dive into the fray and pick off the enemy team. She can also cast orbs of healing or damage that bounce around, which can make it embarrassingly easy for new players to send them flying off in the wrong direction. A bad Moira can't juggle these tasks/abilities, and winds up either trying to heal ineffectively because she can't keep a charge, or forgetting she's a support hero and getting killed every 30 seconds. However, a good Moira is able to balance her abilities and split her time between healing and fighting, which can lead to some seriously lethal gameplay, especially if her Fade ability is being used effectively.
  • Quake:
    • Quake II has the Railgun, which has the distinction of being to all intents and purposes a sniper rifle without a scope (or with a scope if the player makes two keybinds from the in-game console) while retaining the long reload times one would expect. This makes it quite difficult to use, but a player that takes the trouble to master it will cause opponents to groan in frustration as soon as the blue trails of the Railgun bullets start appearing. You see, Quake II came to life in that glorious era when weapon balance was something that happened to other people, and no gun reflects this better than the Railgun: as it does a full 100 damage hitscan across the map. Just spawned with full health? A Railgun slug will one-hit you. Grabbed some armor but came out of a firefight with reduced health? A Railgun slug will one-hit you. Spent the time to search for tons of health and armor powerups? A Railgun slug will instantly invalidate all your work, and hope the other player isn't determined enough to follow you for a second shot, because that will one-hit you. Railgun player grabbed a Quad Damage power-up? A slug will now one-hit you regardless of how much health and armor you have.
    • Quake III: Arena, predictably enough, nerfed the Railgun such that it now requires two shots to down a newly spawned player. But it gained a level of usefulness on maps with jump pads, as it is impossible to maneuver in the air and therefore the Railgun is the weapon of choice to hit jumping players during their predictable trajectories.
    • Computer bots are able to hit players in mid-jump with rockets. Indeed awesome, but almost impossible for human players.
  • Emperor Palpatine in Star Wars: Battlefront 2 is situational, somewhat tricky, and can't handle mobs of enemies well, but careful application of Force Choke by a skilled player allows him to win games by slaughtering the enemy a few at a time. Of course, there's a bug that allows you to use both Force Choke AND Force Lightning at the same time. It's also impossibly easy to perform once you know how. Count Dooku can also do the exact same thing, with slightly better overall skillsets.
  • Team Fortress 2:
    • The Scout. Normal Scouts are low-health cannon fodder, and easily dispatched by just about anything. Skilled Scouts are nightmarish, appearing from nowhere to kill any class (even the Heavy) in seconds and are as easy to hit as a raindrop. Any player's absolute worst nightmare is a competent Scout that knows how and when to dodge, flank, ambush, retreat, and pursue.
    • Unskilled Soldiers are Crutch Characters, great for beginners but never more than decent against better players. Good Soldiers use Rocket Jumping to turn the slow Soldier into a highly mobile force of Death from Above, juggle enemies (which requires they know how to blast enemies into the air and keep them there by predicting their landing spots, completely neutralizing unaware players), and use aerials to take target-leading to a whole new level to work beautifully in conjunction with the other two abilities.
    • Pyros have very average stats, don't have very many options against enemies past point blank range, and are mostly used to charge into battle flaming the entire time. Those who master the airblast, however, which repels enemy players and projectiles, are death-dealing monstrosities, the bane of Soldiers and Demomen everywhere, enabling such feats as Rocket Jumping using enemy projectiles, but it requires split-second timing and not a small amount of luck. Reflecting a Huntsman arrow in particular is considered a sort of rite of passage for airblast Pyros thanks to the unpleasantly narrow window of opportunity and the amount of damage you'll take if you fail.
      • The Degreaser + Flare Gun + Axtinguisher combo sacrifices some flamethrower damage and use of a shotgun with the ability to rapidly switch between weapons that give guaranteed criticals on burning players. It requires superb reflexes, juggling enemies, and leaves you vulnerable to enemy Pyros, but takes the Pyro's already superb ambush skills and results in a player that can kill several enemies in a single attack, and can take down other Pyros.
      • The Dragon's Fury added in the "Jungle Inferno" update trades the continuous DPS of the usual flamethrowers in favor of concentrated blasts that, like the Flare Gun, deal a Critical Hit on a burning target. The catch is, if the Dragon's Fury hits a target, its fire rate increases, to the point where if two consecutive shots hit even a Pyro, the second blast will crit. The blast's hitbox size was reduced in the Blue Moon update to prevent exploitations, so while it's still an awesome weapon, it takes at least decent aiming and maneuvering to use.
    • Any Demoman who doesn't just spam grenades everywhere needs to be damn good at predicting where your opponent is going to be in a second (grenade launcher), two seconds (airbursting stickybombs) or ten seconds (sticky traps), as well as able to instinctively compensate for both weapons' considerable projectile arcs. Even more so are Demomen who can master sticky jumping, a technique akin to the Rocket Jump except that it utilises Stickybombs as opposed to rockets. It is considerably more dangerous as it costs more HP than a Rocket Jump (unless you're using the Sticky Jumper), but thanks to the ability to airburst his stickies, the Demo can chain several jumps and become the most mobile class in the entire game, being able to outpace even the Scout. Combined with proper grenade aiming, the Demo becomes a terrifyingly mobile target able to dish out insane amounts of damage, especially against clusters of enemies. In competitive circles, the true skill of a Demoman is oft-measured in not only how much damage he can deal, but also how quickly he can navigate the map.
    • Surprisingly, the Heavy becomes this trope in higher levels of play. The Heavy is oft looked down-upon among veteran players as a Skill Gate Character, dangerous against those who don't know how or when to retreat, but little more than a temporary damage sponge against competent players. The Heavy's massive 300HP and extremely powerful-at-short-range Minigun can easily fool the unaware into thinking that the Heavy is Nigh Invulnerable and requires More Dakka from the other team to bring down. In actuality, a Scout can send the Heavy straight back to the respawn room in just three solid Scattergun shots, and that 200 ammo of his runs down very quickly. In addition, the Heavy's massive size and pitiful mobility means that any halfway decent Sniper or Spy can One-Hit Kill him if he's distracted or out in the open. In order to actually play the Heavy well, players must have extremely good situational awareness about the situation, his position and that of his teammates, and his health and ammo. Oftentimes the Heavy is referred to as a mobile Sentry Gun, and the positive and negative attributes are as applicable as the title: alone, stranded from teammates, and poorly positioned out in the open, the Heavy will go down extremely quickly, taking maybe one or two reckless players with him. When fully-buffed with teammates to clean up the damage being dealt and safe from backstabs/headshots/bombing Soldiers and Demos, the Heavy becomes a one-Russian death-dealing machine, even capable of ambushes if he's using the silent-deploy Tomislav.
      • Another factor to consider with the Heavy is how he uses his edible secondaries. An unskilled Heavy will stop out in the open to nom his food and can be easily killed while he's busy chewing, or toss it at a disguised Spy about to backstab him. A competent Hoovy knows exactly when to nope out and where to stop to recover health, tosses the banana and chocolate often at burning teammates, constantly heals his Medic, swaps out small health packs for the more powerful thrown Sandviches within the area his team's controlling, and is almost as good at keeping his team away from the spawn room as a good Medic or Engineer with good Dispenser placement skills.
    • The Engineer can build stuff, sure, but if you have no idea exactly where and when to build, your team will fail. But with well-placed Teleporters drastically improving team movements, a Dispenser to keep them supplied and a Sentry to provide fire support and area denial, a skilled Engie can and often does mean the difference between victory and defeat. Extremely skilled Engineers can bullet jump using their Sentry or use the Dispenser not only as a resupply station but also as a temporary obstacle in chokepoints and a stepping stone for him to reach higher places.
      • One of the most reliable and annoying styles of play in the game is the Combat Engineer, using the Gunslinger. The Teleporter and the Dispenser are incredibly vital to everything, Teleporters being the only thing able to keep continuous pressure on the enemy team in a timely manner and the Dispenser allowing people to stand in tactically sound positions which generally would suffer in terms of health and ammo supplies, but the addition of a fast-building Mini Sentry which falls into Boring, but Practical territory for substituing health, ammo and damage for a fire rate twice as fast and a build time four times as fast allows the often turtling Engineer to play a lot like a less mobile but toughernote  and more resourceful Scout by mixing the reliable shotgun-and-pistol combo with a second, quick-to-deploy firing position that will allow you to focus down most foes save for a Medic with a Vaccinator set to bullet resistance.
    • The Medic has a deceptively high skill ceiling, especially when going into higher levels of play.
      • The Medic's disadvantage in combat means that most of the time he will need to avoid taking damage as much as possible. High level medics know how to position themselves to avoid being flanked, juke opponents to allow their teammates a fraction of a second longer to kill a rushing enemy, and use enemy explosives to propel himself out of danger (known as "surfing"). In addition, a good medic needs to know how to wait until the optimal moment to pop his ubercharge that grants him and his heal target 8 seconds of invulnerability. This requires quick reflexes in order to block incoming burst damage before it kills the medic or his teammates. A medic that manages to stay alive constantly can help turn the tide at virtually any level of play.
      • The Combat Medic style of play. The Syringe Gun, even with its gravitated arc and limited range, has a higher DPS than the Sniper's SMG or the Scout's Pistol. A Medic who can alternate between fully healing allies and fighting alongside them can utterly terrorize the enemy team.
      • The Kritzkrieg is an alternate Medigun that grants 100% of critical hits for a few seconds. However, both the Medic and patient are not invulnerable while the charge is being used, and as such requires some timing cooperation to fully utilize the potential. When done correctly a big portion of the enemy team will be dead in seconds.
      • The same difficulty is also in the Crusader's Crossbow. It's much slower than the Syringe Gun, has to reload after a single shot, and can't really be used in a panic. Once you learn how to aim the weapon, you have one of the most useful Medic tools in the game. It does more damage with range, making it harder to aim, but if you have good aim and predictive abilities, you can not only down a sniper in one hit, but you can also heal an injured teammate half the map away because it heals when hitting allies. It might allow you to heal an otherwise dead Soldier or Heavy enough to let him get back to safety from a heavy battle, or get a kill-shot in on an enemy.
      • The Vaccinator's healing and overheal amounts are rather normal, and it builds uber rather fast, but it overheals very slowly, and it has the quirk that you can switch between types of damage to defend against, healing you for any of that kind of damage that hits your patient, and defending 10% against it. Where it's truly hard, however, is the uber itself. It charges fast, but the normally 10 second charge is split up in four 2.5 second mini-übers, and the actual charge provides 75% defense (the healing for matched damage still goes, mind you) and nullifies crits against that selected form of damage, but you cannot switch between them during the charge. A bad medic will basically be using a gimped stock medigun, but a skilled one can make both himself and his patient almost impossible to take down.
      • The last medigun, the Quick-Fix, cannot overheal as much as the others and has the "weakest" übercharge (3x healing for the Medic and his patient). However, it provides by far the fastest healing rate, it builds über faster, and it allows you to capture objectives unlike an übercharge with the stock , and a skilled medic will know how to share damage with his patient(s) to keep everyone healthy until the job is done. Since its release, two of its notable upsides (of being able to catch up with faster allies when healing them and being able to cap while ubercharged) have been relegated to other mediguns, and removed, respectively, but some still use it because of the faster heal rate both normally and with ubers, which is invaluable when the medic is focused less on ubercharges and more on keeping the entire team healthy.
      • No matter what kind of Medic you're playing, if you're good with the Ubersaw, you're significantly more of a threat. Adding a quarter of the übercharge meter per hit is nothing to scoff at even if you're using a medigun with quicker über build like the Ktitzkrieg or the Quick-Fix, and can keep aggressive pushes into enemy positions going for a lot longer than normal.
    • The Sniper requires excellent aim and good reflexes to hit something as small and erratically moving as an enemy's head, especially at close range, needs to know absolutely every flank route where his enemies could possibly surprise him from, and it's absolutely imperative that he checks those flank routes regularly lest he get a knife in the back or a cluster of stickybombs at his feet. However, a good Sniper can render a large section of the map completely uncrossable, pick off flimsier classes with 150 health or less in a split second, and open up weak spots in the enemy defenses for his teammates to exploit, as well as shredding the health of any enemy that dares to poke their head into his line of sight. There's a reason that most high-level players, especially Medics, avoid common sniper sightlines like the plague.
    • The Spy is an incredibly finicky class that requires at least a decent knowledge of a map's layout and enemy movements to play even half-way competently, along with knowing when, where and how to use his Invisibility Cloak, disguise kit, and Back Stab. Unskilled players are easy prey that spend more time dead than alive by attempting to be fancy with Ambassador headshots or trickstabs, decent ones can be a frustrating annoyance, but a good Spy knows how to use ambient noise to mask his cloaking, prioritizes key enemies like pocketed Medics and bothersome Engineer nests, uses his ability to see enemies' health to either go for a Back Stab on overhealed players or pick off injured ones with the Revolvers from a safe distance without straying far from his original path, and will terrorize any team and cripple all offense/defense maneuvers they attempt. There's a reason a good chunk of the Meta Game revolves around finding and killing enemy Spies before they can wreak havoc, and good Spies exploit their Paranoia Fuel nature to distract the enemy into ignoring their teammates by being such an unkillable nuisance that the enemy focuses all attention on them. Updates made spies somewhat easier to play somewhat decently, but playing a really good spy is still all about mind games. You might not even know you're playing against a top-level Spy until it's too late, since Spy is all about the quick and quiet assassination of key enemy targets.
  • Unreal:
    • The (ASMD) Shock Rifle. Primary fire is Hitscan with pinpoint accuracy and a lot of knockback, meaning that if anyone is trying to snipe you, it only requires a good eye to hit that person silhouetted against the sky and not only take a third of their life and throw out their aim, but possibly send them plummeting to their doom. The secondary can be spammed while running backwards to make a corridor of death to pursuers, and the Shock Combo is a wide area death sentence (especially in the original Unreal Tournament, where it has the biggest splash damage and is almost certainly a One-Hit Kill).
    • The GES Bio-Rifle shoots balls of volatile Tarydium sludge that arc to the floor. Almost useless in a gun duel, and fully charging it creates a splash of acid that will probably just kill the shooter if they don't know how to use it. In the right hands, a devastating rear-guard and ambush/assassination weapon, dealing 255 damage on a full charge in a game where default health is 100, plus careful aiming gives you a very powerful splash attack that can decimate entire teams (if the fully-charged shot hits the enemy, there won't be a splash, so the trick is to aim right next the opponent without actually hitting them). Lastly, its spammable primary fire is fast and has surprisingly good knockback, making it a very useful tool to keep your opponent away. One great advantage it has in the single player mode of the first game is that the Skaarj mooks won't dive roll to the sides to avoid the sludge globs like they do with the more predictable straight-flying projectiles, as arcing projectiles are an A.I. Breaker for them.
    • The Impact Hammer/Chainsaw/Shield Gun. To get an idea, set up a bot to favour the hammer and make it insanely aggressive. Suddenly it goes from 'idiot bot' to 'crazed lunatic who kills you on contact' and it becomes a #1 priority to kill it.

    Four X 
  • Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri's Morganites have a natural +1 to Economy, giving them +1 energy production per base for free. While that's certainly nice to have (energy giving you money and research), it's pretty underwhelming compared to other factions. Add on a painful limitation on population limits (their bases can only reach size 4 without a pop-limit boosting facility, compared to 7 for the other factions; leaving you with slower creation of new facilities and units), and you have a faction that's profoundly weak in the early game on paper. Until you realize that their +1 Economy lets them prioritise Wealth as a societal value (as opposed to knowledge or power) to get them up to +2, which increases their energy bonus to +1 per square (translates to +21 per base), sending your research and income through the roof. Most factions have to run Free Market economics to get that, which comes with prohibitive Police and Planet penalties - industry crushing rioting and violent backlash from planet wildlife. Add in the fact that the pop-limit boosting facility is learned from the same tech as Wealth, and you get a faction that revels in Magikarp Power, and uses their hordes of cash to mind-control your units out from under you and sabotage your hard-built bases.
  • Sword of the Stars:
    • The Morrigi have below-average population growth, terraforming ability and industrial capacity. Their ships are fast tactically but sluggish strategically, fragile, prohibitively expensive and barely above those of the Liir in turret placement. Their tech-tree, while one of the most inclusive in the game, favours 'trickery' tech like cloaking, shielding, mines, drones, AI, and short-ranged beam weapons, and they have one of the poorest natural research rates in the game. However, they have a 50% bonus income from trading compared to all other species; moreso when conducting foreign trade, and their fleets get faster the bigger they are. Mastering the Morrigi requires hefty use of trade, diplomacy and planning on a strategic level, and dedicated large-sized fleets using alternate ship sections instead of all-purpose battlefleets. A player who masters these aspects will turn the Morrigi into an economic powerhouse that can out-buy, out-tech and outwit most opponents by the end of the Fusion era.
    • The Zuul appear to be a Crutch Character at first glance; see that page for a rundown of their apparent advantages. However, they are closer to this, if taking a different approach to Morrigi Magikarp Power. Zuul players must subscribe to the blitzkrieg way of war, always on the Attack! Attack! Attack!, keeping enemies on the defensive and pushing ever forward. Being unable to avoid overharvesting means their planets "burn out" comparatively fast, and taking slaves is something of a compensation for not being able to use trade or having civilians to bolster their income. Their strategic speed comes at the cost of having a limited number of connections to each system. Their research speed is also the worst. All this forces the Zuul player to aim for quick victory, for he who loses momentum and lets the enemies build up to antimatter and/or dreadnoughts is Doing It Wrong and defeat will come soon. However, if you know how to carry out this aggressive playstyle, you can win games comparatively quickly.
    • The Loa, introduced in the sequel's End of Flesh expansion, use drastically different strategic mechanics from the other races released before them. Their spacecraft are formed from "cubes" rather than manually built at colonies. Their population growth is affected by solar activity and the remaining biosphere, which the other races need not worry about, and is inversely proportional to tax rate (so more money gain equals less population growth). They cannot build police cutters to defend their trading freighters, making them highly vulnerable to pirates. Going into debt freezes their production, research and population growth. They do not gain access to the cybernetics and psionics trees and very little biological tree access. However, if you can wrap your head around them, you get a very powerful faction: They have the most 100% chances for techs, get the research-boosting Artificial Intelligence tech for free, all their command sections count as AI Command sections with the firepower and agility that implies, the cube system gives them unsurpassed flexibility of fleet composition and their spacecraft are Lightning Bruisers with the durability of Hivers, the guns of Zuul and acceleration and speed no organic faction can match.

    MMORPGs 
  • World of Warcraft:
    • During the Burning Crusade expansion, Affliction Warlocks were generally seen like this in PvE. On top of the normal Shadow Bolt spam, you also had to keep up five different dots, most of which had different lengths and cast times and generally required at least a dot timer for maximum efficiency. Many Warlocks complained it was too complicated and went for the easier and almost as effective (until late BT where Destro just outscaled Affliction and was completely overpowered) Destruction tree. If you could play it right, topping damage was incredibly simple even in mediocre gear. In Wrath of the Lich King, they were simplified by merging two of these and making another one more powerful but exclusive with a 4th one, effectively cutting the spec down to three over time spells, one of which is refreshed by other spells. They are still one of the more demanding specs in that regard (on par with Shadow Priests and Subtlety Rogues), but most specs are now fairly difficult to play at their maximum potential. The main difference is that these examples have a terrible output if played wrongly. By contrast, Beast Mastery Hunters deal most of their damage automatically and many of their management inputs have fairly little impact on it (apart from keeping their pet alive).
      • Warlocks in general have been this trope throughout the history of the game. They're typically much more complex and harder to play well than the other classes (although this has been reduced recently), but put them in the hands of good players and they can do incredible things in both PVP and PVE. For quite a long time, Warlocks were statistically the least-played class in the game for this very reason.
    • Subtlety Rogues, although their basic combat style is rather simple, they have a lot of cooldowns and other factors to manage. One of their most defining traits is the ability to generate combo points based on critical strikes performed by other group members, which is every bit as random as it sounds. And even under best circumstances, they don't deal a lot of damage themselves but increase the damage other melee combatants deal. In general, they are still considered to be weaker than their easier alternatives.
    • Feral (cat) Druids: while people who haven't mastered it do mediocre damage compared to other characters or builds, in the hands of a master they theoretically have the highest damage potential, to the point where the developers have come right out and said that Feral is the one class they are afraid to make any real changes to. Any nerfs to their ability would make anyone who hasn't mastered the class useless in terms of performance, while any buffs for the lower skilled people (to make the class less difficult) would turn those who have already mastered it into potential Game Breakers.
    • Death Knight DPS'ers had some of the hardest spell/ability rotations in the game, so much so that Blizzard had to change how the class's resource mechanics work in Cataclysm just to make them easier and require less precision button mashing. DKs have to manage 6 runes (3 kinds, 2 of each) that regenerate every 10 seconds, their Runic Power meter that increases when you use abilities and needs to be emptied or you will be losing DPS, and 2 damage over time effects that need to be refreshed because they increase the damage of your strikes. In addition, their attacks have a global cooldown that prevents them from using any attack for a second and a half giving you a small (less than a second) window to use what ever attack is in your incredibly complex rotation or you will lose DPS and get messed up. The new method meanwhile relies heavily on Runic Empowerment, which gives a 45% chance for some of your Runic Power abilities to activate a depleted rune at random. Which means that you unexpectedly gain the ability to use one of your resources, which depending on what runes you have active already might be combined with another rune to cast a different spell, or might not, and just makes their rotation even more chaotic. Most of this was simplified even more in Warlords of Draenor and Legion - now, there is only one type of rune rather than three different ones.
    • Enhancement Shaman have a rather interesting dilemma when compared to other classes. They are a class with low defense, aggro dropping and status-impairment breaking effects that do most of their damage with a combination of melee and spells. In other words they are a Glass Cannon that can beat out most non-tanks in terms of the aggro they get. While they do have sub-par DPS even in the hands of an expert player, they are one of the greatest support classes there is. Given how many cooldowns the average Enhancement shaman has to take care of, it's damn near literally impossible to play the class effectively without some mod to keep track of all them. And THAT is on top of how many raw button presses the class has to do because you'll be hitting a button every 1.5 seconds no matter what is on or off cooldown. If you like getting carpal tunnel, Enhancement Shaman is the class for you!
    • Brewmaster Monks are generally considered to be the most difficult tanks to play, and it's not hard to see why. They wear the second-squishiest armor in the game (and unlike Guardian Druids, don't have Voluntary Shapeshifting to raise their armor value to the level of plate wearers), they can't use shields, and they have tend to have fairly little Parry and Dodge, so they don't have much access to the passive avoidance and mitigation that conventional tanks like Warriors and Paladins rely on. However, Brewmasters that properly understand, track, and use the defensive mechanics that they do have are tough to put down, and can use moves like Avert Harm and Zen Meditation to protect their party from damage that most other tanks can't.
    • Protection Paladins are often held as the hardest tanks, thanks to their lack of powerful defenses. However, played properly, the Paladins are the only tank that can take nearly as many hits from supposed "instant kill" mechanics as they do, with up to 5 full returns from near death if timed properly, juggling these with timing your defense's cooldown, which has the lowest uptime, being the slowest to build up and shortest in duration to the boss's autoattacks. Prot is very unforgiving, but extremely powerful.
    • In Player Versus Player, Retribution Paladins are the absolute hardest class to play, having a comparably small set of abilities, being the only melee class with no way to close the gap other than just running at their target, and they have to keep an eye on both their allies and their enemy's health bars. However, a Ret Pally is the absolute crux on which a 3-dps or 2-dps team in Arenas is based on, other groups being jokes at best, Ret Paladin and two other dps with burst? Quite capable of fighting evenly with groups that have healers if the Ret can keep juggling all the roles he has.
    • Vengeance Demon Hunters in Legion take this Up to Eleven. Since they rely more on passive stats and self-healing than other tanks, they are very vulnerable to heavy hits and damage spikes. However, with a skilled player and the proper use of Spikes, they can basically keep themselves alive forever.
  • Ace Online:
    • Three of four classes seem attractive from the get-go. The B-Gear is a bomber; using the right type of advanced weapon, it can blow most opponents apart in one shot. The A-Gear is the literal tank; it uses its unrollable cannons to do massive DPS. The I-Gear is the fighter; aim, fire, do acrobats and survive. The M-Gear, however, is... a healer. Unlike the rest of the class, the M-Gear has the innate disability of having a low stat growth for attack which makes leveling it very difficult. However, with the right skills (M-Gear is the most micromanagement intensive class in the game), stats and equipments, the M-Gear can wreak absolute havoc by the virtue of its naturally high defense that can hold its own against literally an entire nation, sapping them of firepower trying to kill a virtually unkillable character while others move in for the kill. Of course, there are less strenuous ways to play the M-Gear such as being a buffslave or healbot, but it's the players who can master its intricacies who gain a lot of respect.
    • Unlike the others, the I-Gear has no flashy gimmicks and while it does make it easy to get used to, it gets harder and harder to keep up at higher levels, much less master it. The choice is either make it an offensive class and risk dying lots due to its low defense (innate) and low evasion (due to build), or make it survival evasion build by trading its ability to kill, which are neither cost-effective nor foolproof. However episode 3-2 update gives a major boon to I-Gears which somewhat alleviates this problem.
  • Guild Wars:
    • Mesmers, particularly in PvP. Few of their skills deal direct damage to enemies; instead they punish the enemy for using their own skills, and thus require the mesmer to predict enemy behaviour and have godly timing. Completely useless in the hands of an unskilled player, but utterly devastating in the hands of a skilled one, mesmers take kill priority over even the healers — because they can and will shut down your own healers without even hurting them, forcing them to watch helplessly as their team gets ripped to shreds by the mesmer's allies.
    • Many builds exist where a player can make their character nigh-immortal with a mixture of specialized abilities. These include monks with half the health of starting characters, assassins who can act as a tank, and elementalists who use their enemy's attacks to heal themselves and damage their attackers. Even a slight slip-up in timing with the skills can be fatal.
    • The sequel gives us the Elementalist. While they're generally serviceable, they truly shine with the effective use of a dagger/dagger build. With precision timing, and if you can figure out skill chains with the class’s attunement feature (which involves juggling four sets of weapon skills), a D/D Elementalist is destruction incarnate, slaughtering foes in frontline combat with efficiency that would put a seasoned Warrior to shame. Have we mentioned this is a class that uses light armour and isn't usually suited for melee?
  • The Lord of the Rings Online:
    • Wardens wearing medium armour, using complicated long combined skill lists, are extremely capable tanks in the hands of the right player.
    • As of the Rohan expansion, Mounted Combat. Your warhorse steers like a boat. The first few times you try it, it's pretty much guaranteed you're going to wind up with aggro from the half-dozen or so closest mobs to your intended target, because you keep wandering into their detection radius inadvertently. However, it's not uncommon for a character that normally hits for a thousand or so damage to be hitting for 4000 when mounted, so once you're competent it's extremely useful. (It helps that you can get control upgrades from leveling your mount so that it's less "sailboat" and more "motorboat".)
    • Lore-Masters. They start off squishy, use only light armour, take many hours of practice to become competent at solo combat, but a genuinely skilled LM can stand toe-to-toe with even the most expert of Wardens with a robe and a stick.
  • World of Tanks: Light tanks in general tend to be this, owing to their low hp and armor, but special mention has to go to the ELC AMX. Its very fast, has an extremely low profile that makes it difficult hit, and has a cannon that wouldn't be out of place on a tank 2 tiers higher. Too bad that it has no turret, its HP pool is so low that it often gets killed in 2-3 hits, the view and radio ranges are terrible, and the gun is very slow firing and aiming, so sniping is out of the question unless you KNOW you're concealed. Adding to its Fragile Speedster status is that it can hurt itself going over bumps most tanks wouldn't even notice are there. However, if you can mitigate all these, then you have a tank that's capable of speeding around the map, punching very large holes in the side of tanks, and being so low to the ground that they can't aim far enough down to hit you. Much trolling and sheer random things have been done with these little beasts, enough to be considered a Lethal Joke Character... assuming a newbie isn't behind the wheel and just drives straight for the enemy base.
    • Some of the higher-tiered Medium Tanks and Tank Destroyers have little to no armor in a game as much about taking hits as about shooting. The most difficult of those are high-tier French Mediums and the German line of "Waffentragers" TDs, which don't even have much speed/maneuverability to avoid harm. Those classes also happen to come equipped with some of the best guns and can decide outcome of a battle... provided their pilot can reliably find positions to both effectively fire from and not die promptly to return fire. Made all the more challenging by the fact that extreme examples of this trope, like WT E100 or Bat.-Chat., are known to pretty much all players as source of both big harm AND "easy damage" (e.g. zero armor whatsoever) and are therefore routinely focus-fired upon at any opportunity.
  • Jedi Shadow or Sith Assassin tanks from Star Wars: The Old Republic. Jedi Consulars, in-lore, are Glass Cannons relying heavily on diplomacy to keep them out of fights and Force-based attacks if diplomacy fails. Sith Assassins rely on stealth, hitting the target hard, and running away before they're caught. A Shadow or Assassin tank works against all this. They are the "squishiest" of the tank classes, relying heavily on their shields to mitigate damage, or stealth and speed to extract them if they bite off more than they can chew. However, they can hold aggro on multiple opponents easier than Vanguard Troopers / Powertech Bounty Hunters or Juggernauts / Jedi Guardians, and do almost as much damage as a designated DPS.
  • Monks are this for DPS classes in Final Fantasy XIV. Due to their stance system they're maintaining 3 combo chains at once, are the most position-reliant class in the game, and have the disadvantage of being melee, but are also the only melee dps class that runs the risk of pulling aggro off of a tank. Scholars are seen as this compared to White Mages, generally being expected to alternate between dps-ing and healing and being more about mitigation and preparing for damage rather than the huge burst heals White Mage has to offer, plus the nonsense of controlling a pet.
    • While Monks lose none of these characteristics in the Heavensward expansion, several classes become this trope. Dragoons and Black Mages both acquire a cooldown ability that greatly increases damage output, with attacks that both increase and reduce the duration of the effect. Highly skilled players will see their DPS go through the roof; the rest will quickly fall behind. Astrologians are likewise seen as the most skill-heavy healer, and the new Deliverance stance for Warriors means the most effective players consistently tank while dealing as much (or more) damage than dedicated DPS classes.
  • Advocates in Nexus Clash are rarely played for several good reasons: they have no direct combat bonuses, are equaled or surpassed by the Conduit as faction-support crafters and enchanters, and their supposed primary skill tree (Blessings) is a bottomless pit that can easily eat all of your Character Points and still need more. However, Advocates have a combo of skills that, done right, lets them soak up damage in combat better than even dedicated tank classes, and actually completing the Blessing skill tree lets the Advocate turn all of their allies into Super Soldiers with the click of a button.
  • Phantasy Star Online 2:
    • Counterattacks inherently involve a mechanic known as "Just Guard", which grants invincibility frames upon using a guard action to stop an attack at the right time. Just Guarding itself allows a skilled to player to remain an unstoppable badass on its own, but adding counterattacks improves this by increasing or maintaining DPS of a character. The most triumphant example in-game are Katana Bravers, whose built-in counter mechanic is central to their success. They're one of only two classes with a skill that directly buffs the power of their own counter, by a whopping 700%, as well as increasing range, PP recovery and activating Katana Gear Release. Katana Bravers who do not Counter consistently have significantly lower performance than Bravers who do, meaning that high-level Katana Braver play involves solid spatial awareness at all times as well as good reflexes and timing in order to react to, block and counter anything heading their way. Played this way Katana Bravers can even utilize their Counters as burst damage if they counter successive attacks; after all, the power of the Counter is independent of what they're countering. Even incoming Scratch Damage can prompt a retaliation strong enough to kill the offender hundreds of times over.
    • The Hero Class offers a simpler counter function: Hero Counter, which instead of blocking and returning a hit, involves Hero completely dodging the hit and returning it tenfold with a particularly powerful dash attack. Although less flashy than the Braver Counter, and unlike Braver the Hero takes full damage instead of reduced damage if they mess up and act early, it's not limited to frontal guards like Braver, and can be performed more consecutively. Hero Counters make up the bulk of Hero's defensive game, and like Bravers significantly increase their performance; you can tell a run-of-the-mill Hero from an savvy one based on how often they Hero Counter as well as how aggressively they seek out opportunities for Counters.
    • High-risk high-reward builds tend to be this, most notably the Fighter and Gunner classes which are built around the idea of taking as little or no damage as possible to reap maximum benefits.
    • To maximize any main Fighter build you need to use a skill called "Limit Break" which drops your maximum health to a sliver, but also simultaneously activates at least half of the power-up skills in the Fighter tree at once, resulting in a period of outrageously high damage output while also being 1 or 2 hits away from death. An effective Fighter needs to understand very well their entire kit to know what actions are safe to perform at which times to avoid simply making themselves easier to kill in order to truly become the death machines Fighters are famous for being at high-level play.
    • On the other hand, the Gunner does not need to put itself in mortal status to achieve its damage potential, and can even be fairly sturdy if it runs the Hunter class as subclass. The problem comes in a considerable amount of its power coming from three different skills that in summary rely on Gunner not taking hits or staying above certain HP thresholds. Since Gunner is actually a close-combat class, it's damage output will severely lower if it tries to fight at range like it's counterpart class Ranger, so Gunners must put themselves in harms way and dodge everything in order to stay at max power. Their Weapon of Choice Twin Machineguns gives them access to a very useful ability known as Stylish Roll, which lets them spend a fair amount of time safe, but a single mistake can make a Gunner into The Load until they power up again.
    • This leads to an extremely powerful but also extremely fragile combo known as Gunner-Fighter, or "GuFi" for short. Although it cannot make use of Limit Break due to skill restrictionsnote , all that matters is that Fighter allows Gunner access to its Stances, which boast the highest damage multipliers in the game. Combined with Gunner's own power-boosting skills, GuFi, especially if the Gunner is at level 85 and learned the special skill "Another S-Roll Mode", is capable of dishing out very high damage, very quickly, over a very wide area, at virtually no cost, while having an on-command invincibility move it can spam to spend most of its attack time invincible. Of course, the caveat is that GuFi is made of wet tissue paper and will lose a lot of power if it takes even one good hit, if not die outright, so it also makes it even more vital for the player to dodge everything coming their way.

    Platform Game 
  • Zero from Mega Man X is a famous example. From X4 onwards, Zero was balanced around fighting with the Z-Saber, making him a Glass Cannon with high mobility and a very damaging melee attack, but also with weaker defense and very few ranged attacks. He's a lot harder to use effectively than X since you have to get close to enemies to attack, his special attacks require specific button inputs instead of just selecting them, and he just plain dies faster than X, but with fast enough reflexes and finger speed you can rip through enemies and bosses extremely quickly and stylishly.
  • Zero Expy Ace from 20XX is built entirely around a small selection of melee weapons, depending entirely on powers for any combat further than the tip of a spear. This leaves him very weak in the early game, particularly in the platforming levels - while his X-inspired teammate Nina can eliminate enemies at a safe distance, Zero has to hope he can kill the enemy before he gets knocked off something, and if the first level boss is a very mobile target like Death Lotus or the Astral Twins, he can expect a fairly grim experience, but with enough damage boosts and the right weapon, he can shred bosses in under thirty seconds without needing to do anything other than run up close and engage the blender. This is particularly true for his Axe weapon, which gives a substantial damage boost, but has a weird attack pattern: it can't charge normally, but if you attack in midair, it'll deliver a charged attack at the expense of all your horizontal momentum, causing you to drop like a very deadly rock. You will lose a lot of HP to bottomless pits and stage hazards, but you will hit like a tank pushed off a roof when you do line it up properly.
    • DLC character Hawk is a power-focused character...who starts out with a crappy gun power, a main weapon that's a short-ranged whip, no other main weapon options, and a penalty to power damage. Get the hang of her, get some power damage upgrades, and pick up a couple of powers from either weapon crates or bosses, however, and she's a different story: a virtually endless supply of energy and a selection of destructive moves to spend it for.
    • Most of the Prototype pickups give you substantial boons at the cost of debilitating drawbacks: the Contractor Beta gives a stat boost but drops your damage spectacularly when your HP goes down, Uncharging Force boosts raw attack damage at the expense of being unable to charge your attacks, Enlightenment wipes out the vast majority of a level's augments but hits you with a Contractor Omega every level, Kingseeker takes out nearly all HP restoration in a level but gives a full refill when you kill the boss, and so on. Adjusting your playstyle to deal with the new drawback can be difficult, but if you do figure it out, you now have a substantial buff: a full health refresh at the end of the level, massively improved stats, and so on. note 
  • The Jet, Ninja, and Suplex abilities in Kirby Super Star. Jet's abilities revolve around an awkward charge up time, Suplex requires you to grab an enemy first, and Ninja has a bunch of close range attacks. However, all three have throwing moves. Due to the mechanics of a Kirby game, a boss might take several dozen hits from a normal ability, but only need a couple from the stock inhale-spit out combo that you default to without an ability. Throws use this damage formula while being massively easier to hit with, and in the cast of these three abilities, each one can hit multiple times in one move. Jet, especially, where its fully charged throw will cover the entire screen, is capable of one and two hit killing most things in the game. Suplex and Ninja aren't far behind. But damn the deaths you will take from screwing up the motions for the moves before you master it.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Luigi is this when he is the Lightning Bruiser to Mario's Jack-of-All-Stats. He has the same strength, the same power-ups, but runs faster and jumps higher. However, his traction is lacking so stopping him is a bit like stopping on ice.
    • Luigi is this in Super Mario Bros. 2, this time strictly for his jumps. They're difficult to control but if you can master it you can get more air than even Princess Peach and her floating and skip entire portions of levels.
      • Toad, even moreso. He may have the worst jump in a platform game, but he also has the best ground speed and pulling abilities, making him the king of the Speed Run.
    • In Super Mario 3D World, Toad has a low jump and falls quickly. Pretty big liabilities for a platform game, but he's the fastest runner, allowing him to blur past stages like no one else (and also partially compensates for his jump, length-wise). Not only needful for time trials, his snappy physics make him funner to play as... if you're comfortable with his short jump.
    • In Super Mario World, parachute-gliding with the cape (i.e., when Mario stops flying and holds the cape so it expands). With the right timing, it's possible to fly forever, Mario is practically invincible (most hits revert Mario to the "not parachute-gliding" state, you can immediately glide normally), and strangely enough, may kill things that are impervious (such as those really Big Boos in the Ghost Houses).
    • In Super Mario Odyssey, with clever use of Cappy and Mario's jump mechanics, it's possible to obtain practically all of the power moons in the game without ever having to capture enemies for their abilities. Actually doing so requires quite a bit of practice.
  • Cherry Broling in Broforce. When she was originally introduced, she was considered to be a lower-tier character with little utility value besides jumping and firing downward. However, in the hands of a skilled player, she is one of the (if not the) fastest characters in the game, especially in in open areas. By consistently jumping and shooting, a skilled player can move incredibly fast through levels and avoid the majority of enemy fire, which is only programmed to fire left and right. Likewise, she makes certain sections of the final Hell stage (such as the Outrun the Fireball section just before the final boss) trivially easy if a player knows what they're doing.
  • The Wall Jump in the Metroid games. Unlike most games that have Wall Jumps, where you're just required to press the jump button when the character is touching a wall, Samus's Wall Jump requires you to press the button when her feet are against the wall - and she somersaults when she jumps. Performing Samus's Wall Jump requires insanely good timing and reflexes, but is required to get most of the upgrades in the games, so mastering it will give you an easier time overall.
    • Shinesparking is also very tricky to reliably pull off consistently, but mastery of it can enable some pretty cool Sequence Breaking.
  • Some weapons from Ratchet & Clank series can be like this. The Meteor Gun from second installment is widely hated for being radically different from Lava Gun, its unupgraded version, due to being hard to aim and having inconsistent range. However, with Lock-On mod it becomes insanely powerful and precise, so if you're using Lock-On mod a lot and you are good at strafing it becomes much better than Heavy Lancer. Another example would be Hoverbomb gun, which has Depth Deception problems and is slow, but if you're good at estimating the enemy position, you can blow them up before they notice you due to weapon's power (close to the resident Infinity +1 Sword) and unlimited range.

    Puzzle Game 
  • Classic Rule in Tetris: The Grand Master 3. Its "firm drop"note  has a bit of a learning curve, and you can't climb over pieces like in World Rule, but once mastered it's actually less annoying to use than World Rule due to its far simpler piece kicksnote , and the firm drop lets you take care of overhangs at low gravity with trivial effort.
  • Hypertapping in the 1989 NES version of Tetris (the version used for the Classic Tetris World Championship), where you mash a directional button extremely quickly to move a block left or right, is extremely risky compared to the conventional delayed auto-shift (DAS) where you simply hold down the button to move the block, as you need to tap more than 10 times a second to make it worth your while. But if you can master it, you can make it past levels 29 and beyond, which would normally be considered kill screens with conventional DAS due to the sheer speed the game starts going from that point. In fact, it was through this method that 16 year old Joseph Saelee, who had only one year of experience playing Tetris, beat longstanding 37 year old world champion Jonas Neubauer 3-0 in the 2018 CTWC final.
  • Meteos:
    • Meteo itself, in each game it's been in, has the maximum number of different Meteo types (colors) possible. In the original DS game, the colors were random. In Meteos Wars, they are the 7 rarest colors in the game. This, combined with Meteo having the widest playfield in the game, demands total focus on the player to even survive. What makes Meteo potent is that garbage blocks sent to opponents will eventually be restored—in the colors of the planet they came from. Since opponents have to deal with Meteo's colors on top of their own planets' colors, Meteo is very capable of winning by overwhelming anyone else (and often force them into Unwinnable situations, as they could have up to all 12 Meteo types scattered about).
    • As long as a column has at least one burnt Meteos block and is in midair, does not count towards Annihilation (a loss by letting the blocks reach the top). Brabbit, due to its slow, floaty physics, is the one planet most capable of doing this simultaneously for all of its columns, rendering it invulnerable until the player runs out of matches or makes a mistake. However, the same floaty nature makes it unwieldy for anyone not used to it, since if you don't play carefully, you may accidentally fill up some columns while waiting for the other ones. Meteos Wars cuts Brabbit down to size with its new Planet Impacts mechanic, all of which kill Brabbit's momentum and tempo in one way or another.
    • The reverse happened to Hevendor: It was perfectly usable in the original game but becomes this in Meteos Wars. Hevendor is the single lowest-scoring planet in the game. Meteos Wars added a timer that counts down from 3 minutes, and if no planet is Annihilated within that time, the game determines a winner by score. Hevendor is not going to win any matches in this way (unless there is a massive skill gap or the opponent is very unlucky) and must resort to Annihilation, which is itself pretty unlikely unless the Hevendor player can match blocks quickly enough to build up the garbage block meter to flood the opponent with. If a Hevendor player is anywhere short of blazing fast, the opponent will just get a trickle of easily-countered small batches of garbage blocks and easily survive the 3 minutes.
    • Wuud has problems clearing Meteos blocks, let alone clearing the screen, but it has the only truly infinite combo in the game. To win by score in Meteos Wars as Wuud, one must play flawlessly the entire 3 minutes with one long combo that lasts that long.
    • Planets introduced in later games tend to have an oddly high learning curve as well but are absolutely fierce in capable hands. Two of particular note are Gelyer and Hanihula: Gelyer has intense gravity, meaning any ignitions created through matching blocks are weak and fall back down quickly. However, every third ignition in a combo will clear any associated blocks. This requires precision planning if one wants to clear the whole screen, which nets a fat point bonus (crucial if you want to win by score). In addition, Gelyer's Planet Impact meter builds the fastest of any planet with the "Armageddon" Planet Impact. Skillful use of Gelyer will result in frequent and repeated Armageddon attacks which will eventually crowd out the opponent's screen and hinder them greatly. Hanihula, on the other hand, has normal gravity but extremely weak ignitions. An inexperienced player would have problems getting Hanihula to do, well, anything. A great Hanihula player, by contrast, will use said weak ignitions to create huge score multipliers (as they increase each time the same cluster ignites). Hanihula is the single highest-scoring planet in the series, at least within the three-minute time frame of Meteos Wars, where it debuted.note 
  • Puzzle & Dragons:
    • Certain creatures have extremely powerful Leader-skills that are reliant on the player's skill at the core match-3 gameplay. While other leaders might provide a flat multiplier to particular elements or types of monsters, these will instead grant you multipliers based on the size of your combo, or the number of different elements used in one combo, or even the use of specific elements. The Egyptian Gods and the Chinese Celestials are primarily known for this, with the toughest commonly-used 'high-skill' leader being Sakuya the Kirin, whose 'Dance of the Four Origins' provides a hefty 5X attack-multiplier if you can match 4 specific elements in a single combo. Since multipliers of the same kind stack geometrically, that means that using two Sakuyas as leaders will provide a monumental 25X attack.
    • Anubis' Roar of the Hell-Jackal skill grants a 10X multiplier (which, of course, can be turned into a sickening 100X multiplier if you're using two of him) - but only if you manage to get a 10-hit combo, which is basically impossible to do on purpose, and extremely rare to see just by luck unless you're in one of the 'special' dungeons where a smaller number of colors makes matches easier. Hence, seriously using him requires both extreme skill and quite a bit of luck... but if you DO manage it, you can utterly annihilate anything the game throws at you.
  • Arceus in Pokémon Shuffle. While its raw power exceeds that of any other Pokémon, it's unable to deal super-effective damage to anything due to its Normal typing. Even its ability, which more than doubles all damage dealt by Normal-types in the combo in which it's activated, is far from the best option in turn-based stages. In timed stages, however, a sufficiently skilled player can start one combo at the start of the level and make it last the length of the stage, so a team of Normal-types led by Arceus can outdo most super-effective teams against anything that doesn't resist Normal-types. As such, Arceus teams dominate the leaderboards for most competitive events.

    Real Time Strategy 
  • Dawn of War:
    • Much like its source material, the Eldar and Dark Eldar require micro management and specific match ups, and while the Imperial Guard can easily crush all enemies with a properly built army, you can't just build a crap tonne of regular troops and steam roll the map like the Space Marines and Necrons.
    • Cyrus in Dawn of War II is a very micro intensive character, but with proper tactics, wargear and skill allocation can make most boss fights (even the Avatar) a joke, and can clear entire maps single-handedly (albeit obviously requiring a lot of time).
    • The Tyranids in II, despite being a Zerg Rush faction in the lore and tabletop. Their ranged weapons work very differently to those of other factions, and the various synapse mechanics are either devastating or useless depending on how its used.
  • Many of the micromanagement-requiring units in Starcraft series (especially spellcasters) fall for this category.
    • The Terran Ghost can truly (but rarely) stand out with this trope, if one has the luxury of being able to research Lockdown (mechanical unit stun) for them. To clarify, the Ghost is a very tiny, hard to select unit on the game screen and if multiple ghosts are selected the game engine does not make it possible to normally cast only one Lockdown at a time (wasting mana on one target), but with a technique where one has good distance from the enemy and tells the Ghosts to cast lockdown on one Mechanical unit then deselects one of the ghosts, and then casts Lockdown on another unit, repeating this DESELECT-CAST, a group expensive units such as Battlecruisers or Carriers can be rendered helpless to the Terran's main army without a proper counter to that army. Then there's the possibility to drop a Nuclear Missile on the group of units.

      A just as impressive and difficult use of the Terran Ghost: You can prevent a Protoss player from teleporting a significant portion of their army into your relatively undefended base by paying close attention and hitting the teleporting Arbiter unit with a Lockdown before the teleport can be cast.
    • For newbies, the Protoss (heavy units that mostly don't need much looking after, and devastating area of effect spells) and Zerg (swarms of light units that don't particularly need to survive, and - playing at low levels - no spell-casters to look after unless you're showing off) are much easier than the Terrans with their Fragile Speedster characteristic and intensive control requirements. But for mid-level play and up, it turned out that Terran, played by players with the skill to master the race, were very nearly dominant for the majority of Brood War's lifespan as a major professional game. note 

      Playing Protoss at full strength is still Difficult, but Awesome, due to a comprehensive array of supporting spell casters & artillery. Against a seasoned Zerg player (a challenging match up for many Protoss players), it is common to support a Protoss army with Reaver Artillery, and High Templar spell-casting support to deal a heavy blow to the Zergs' overwhelming numbers, and leave their Ultralisks in a world of hurt. How the match plays out depends strongly on the current Metagame, and can get sophisticated, using supporting spell casters like Dark Archons note  & Arbiters note  to further lock down portions of the Zerg army temporarily, or perform advanced maneuvers. The Corsair Light-Air fighter even has its own spell, Disruption Web, note  inconveniently located in the costly "Fleet Beacon" structure. The viability of actually using the specialist units all simultaneously is debatable because of their significant Vespene gas costs, but they can be a key equalizer against Zerg players.
  • Defense of the Ancients: All-Stars and Dota 2:
    • Storm Spirit can be one of the strongest ambush characters in the game, with impressive damage, some of the best mobility in the game and a way to dodge most spells; used improperly however his low health pool ad short range combine with low base damage to make him unimpressive food for almost any other hero. Storm spirits ultimate, ball lightning, uses a percentage of his total mana per distance traveled, but allows him to move in a straight line, at a significantly higher speed than the games max movespeed, while making him invulnerable and dealing damage at the destination based on distance traveled. Played well, Storm Spirit can be an incredibly effective ganker, and take control of a game with early kills, played anything less, he quickly runs out of mana to fuel his ult, and ends up mostly waiting to die.
    • The Invoker, the hero with the most spells by far, is also the one who has to memorize some combos to "invoke" the spell he needs. To top it off, his skills don't even look particularly impressive written down, but in the hands of an expert, an Invoker can completely turn the tides of a battle.
    • While Visage is fairly intuitive as long as you're aware of your mana pool, his ultimate defines both him and his difficulty. The familiars he summons are flying and fairly fast, in addition to attacking very hard and very quickly. The catch is that they're very fragile, give a huge 100 gold if killed and their attack damage fades with every attack down to a pathetic 10 a hit. The best way to reset their damage and heal them is Stone Form, which makes them invulnerable, immobile and stuns around their landing area, but has a delay before the invulnerability, and another before the stun. Managing both Visage's low cooldowns, need to be in the thick of battle and the familiars at the same time is fairly daunting. He also has enormous damage potential, a very strong early game and huge amounts of damage block for the first few attacks he takes.
    • Templar Assassin deals immense amounts of damage while her magic shield protects her from incoming damage, has an attack that deals even more damage which also goes through armor (literally), she can also hit several targets with a single attack and everything is done with the "basic" attack, which means she laughs in the face of magic immunity. Not only that, "warding" is an important part of the game, specially for heroes with roles similar to her, but she has her own build-in ward that gives her vision of important spots on the map (One of the most important ones, Roshan's pit, can't be spied on with the regular wards, making her superior in this specific scenario), good luck playing the hero efficiently.
    • Meepo has horrible stats and a bad attack animation, at first he seems like a Joke Character. But his ultimate creates multiple permanent clones of him that are for the most part identical, and if one clone dies, they all die (including the original). But all the clones can gain exp on their own, meaning a well-micro'd Meepo can gain experience much faster than anyone else, assuming the Meepo player can control up to 6 different heroes at once.
    • Meepo above is the biggest example, but any micromanagement-based hero is difficult to play well. Heroes like Chen, Enchantress, Broodmother, or Enigma can overwhelm the enemy or rapidly destroy their towers with their Zerg Rush tactics. But if played poorly, their summoned units become a source of free gold for the enemy team.
    • Many of the heroes considered 'pubstompers' or restricted to 'early game' can still be devastating in the late game and at higher skill levels provided the team coordinates enough to buff them up until they are far ahead or the player has a flawless command of their abilities. Good examples are Riki who is supposedly negated by basic warding and the Spirit Breaker who is shut down by decent team coordination but have been used in a commanding manner by pros in tournaments.
    • One of the hardest gankers in the game is Pudge, who relies on Cast From Hitpoints damage, lategame based heavily on success as an ganker to become the most durable hero in the game, his ganking is centered around what might be the sole most difficult skillshot Meat Hook, which can snag not only on enemies, but also on allies. He then has to rot and dismember them, dealing massive spikes of damage that can kill an enemy outright, but burns his health and gives his location away while he's going at it. It's telling that the Signature Hero of Na'vi's Dendi, widely considered to be the best player period is Pudge.
    • Mirana is a Glass Cannon that requires an absurd amount of farm to become even a reasonably effective right-click carry and relies almost entirely on items for durability, but if you can get the hang of Sacred Arrow (a skillshot that increases in damage and stun duration depending on how far away the target is from the cast point out to a ridiculously long five-second stun) and coordinate follow-up with your team effectively she will win fights for you.
    • Initiators in general tend to be highly difficult, not because of complex mechanics but because of the sheer scale of what they have to do. Each Team's initiator is the one starting teamfights, and a bad initiation can easily backfire and lead to dead allies, but doing so properly can net nearly 1000 gold for everyone in the team in a few seconds, take as much from the enemy, and leave them open for a quick push. Being too cautious however isn't a good choice when you're the team's point man and usually calls when fights start, letting the enemy get too much farm and push down towers is just as bad.
    • Oracle, one of the last heroes to be ported to DOTA 2 from the Warcraft III mod, is mostly balanced around his ability to screw over team-mates and help enemies if used improperly. He is categorized as a support but his only healing move deals magic damage to whoever he casts it on before healing over time. In terms of helping allies in combat, he must cast on them a spell which provides magic damage immunity (but also renders them unable to attack), then use his nuke/healing spell, and finally purge the disarm off them with his ultimate ability (which delays all damage and healing to the affected unit, then doubles the healing and applies it all at the end - while also continuously purging negative effects for its duration). However, he is also an effective damage-dealer, if he combos properly: casting his low-cooldown damaging/healing ability on an enemy, then stopping the healing effect by purging it, then repeating can allow him to deal as much damage at level 10 as some heroes get at level 16.
    • Earth Spirit has a relatively bizarre skillset that allows him to move stone statues, or "remnants", around the battlefield at great speed, damaging and negatively affecting those hit by them. He has a limited amount of remnants (which are restored slowly over time), but the impact he can have on a fight is astounding; the hero was added to the game in November of 2013, and is only allowed in professional matches at December 2015. Two years later after his initial release.
    • Io the Wisp is considered to be one of the hardest heroes to play well. Its signature ability is Tether, which allows Io to link itself to another allied hero. While linked, the target gains 1.5 times Io's HP and mana regen added to their own, and shares the effect of its Overcharge spell when it's activated. However, the link breaks if the target moves too far away from Io, so communication is required to ensure both Io and its ally are heading in the same direction. This alone would not be enough to make Io one of the hardest heroes to play: the "nail in the coffin" for most low-level players is Io's ultimate ability, Relocate, which teleports Io and its tethered ally to any point in the map, then brings them back to where they were after a few seconds. If your tethered partner is not expecting to be suddenly teleported deep inside enemy territory, they won't be able to react in time and will probably die before they figure out what's going on. But if both parties agree on where to go, you can kill anyone, anywhere, with nearly no warning. Io is difficult not because of micromanagement or skillshot-based abilities, but because of the high degree of communication and trust required between Io and its teammates.
  • Heroes of Newerth:
    • Silhouette has fantastic mobility and damage, being both a great Fragile Speedster and Glass Cannon at the same time! The catch? She dies to a misplaced sneeze, and excluding her E ability which passively buffs her regular attacks, every single ability is VERY reliant on positioning and requires her to be in the thick of battle, somewhere where a glass cannon does NOT want to be. Combined with her subpar attack range after her remake, if you don't kill the enemy before they recover from stuns and get caught in a bad position, prepare to die after eating one nuke to the face.
    • Devourer is normally a tank who would normally have an extremely difficult time actually getting into a battle. How does he solve this problem? Guttling Hook. It pulls the enemy to Devourer, dealing MASSIVE damage if it hits and having MASSIVE range on top of it. But this skill is VERY hard to land, even if you're a professional. And if you miss, you're basically a useless pile of flesh until the skill comes off cooldown again.
    • Ophelia is by far the most unpopular hero in the public community, simply because she requires you to micro multiple units at once, a skill that takes a great amount of time to truly master, and is otherwise absent in the genre. But once you do, Ophelia becomes a high-tier at worst, god-tier at best hero. Since most neutral creeps that she uses for her army have some sort of special ability, Ophelia is by far the most versatile hero in the game. On top of that, her creeps enable her to push towers extremely well, gank her sidelane endangering her own fragile self or her farm, stack MORE neutral camps to farm, and solo Kongor extremely early. Oh, and did we mention her ultimate is a global heal, which alone would probably make her a mid-tier hero?
    • An equally unpopular pub hero as Ophelia is Tremble. His main catch is being able to spawn Terror Mounds around the map, which can be used to teleport between each mound, so if he's allowed to roam the map, he can place mounds in vital locations, making his a potential threat anywhere in the map. His passive gives him a massive slow, making running away from him incredibly hard, and he's got his trusty companion Boris, who's like a mini-Tremble but with a skill that roots a single target. While all this makes him a potent ganker and pusher, he requires proper micro with Boris to set up mounds or use him to farm other areas and he needs to win his lane in order to steamroll through mid-game.
    • Tempest and his DotA equivalent Enigma have their ultimates Elemental Void/Black Hole respectively, spells with an UNGODLY long cooldown and high manacost to go along with it. This spell is a channeled AoE disable that also pulls the enemy team in. A good Tempest can and will catch an entire enemy team in it, practially winning the teamfight all by himself. But you HAVE to catch the entire enemy team in it, or any heroes that weren't caught will likely stun you, interrupting the ability. (something at least 90% of the roster is capable of doing). And if the enemy breaks out of your ultimate, at best you've lost the teamfight, at worst the entire game! Like Devourer, your success or failure with these heroes relies almost exclusively on your ability to land this skill well.
    • Monkey King used to be a popular pubstomper, but after being nerfed he's far less omnipresent than he used to be. But it's not that he's been reduced to a bad, underpowered hero, it's just that it's no longer as easy to burst down a hero as he did before. Despite a significant mana cost increase and burst damage decrease, with the right player who can properly combo his skills and position themselves right, he can just as easily destroy a hero while being very hard to pin down.
  • League of Legends:
    • Most obviously a burst caster, Anivia suffered in comparison to other burst mages. Due to her comboriffic nature and her reliance on aiming and timing she was very unpopular due to her difficulty, when for a fraction of the effort required you could easily achieve the same damage on, say, Annie. Then recently she was picked in the finals of a high-profile game tournament, by one of the best players in the game. Wreckage ensued.
    • Not only do you have to control Orianna herself, but her magnetic ball as well, which gets flung all around the battlefield by her abilities. If you can learn to position not only yourself, but your ball, know when to hit enemies with what abilities, when to autoattack to use her passive, and how to build her, then you can master one of the most useful and versatile casters out there.
    • Most champions have one or two projectile abilities that require target prediction and leading, if at all. Ezreal has three, and his remaining ability is easily his weakest. Gets even more difficult if building Ability Power and thereby much more reliant on his skillshot abilities. Bad players will find themselves rarely hitting and becoming a wasted slot in their team, at best. Good ones can punish single targets with an unbelievable amount of damage in a short period of time and become absolute terrors. Think you're safe on the other side of map? WRONG. His ultimate can and will hit you from afar and go through multiple targets to do so. Some of the most impressive plays come from Ezrael blasting someone from an improbable distance and/or getting multiple kills due to the projectile's piercing nature. "It's all skill!" indeed...
    • Draven, whose boastful, showy personality belies his potential. For a carry, he has relatively low base attack stats. His steroid ability increases his movement and attack speed, but has a horribly low duration and long cooldown; his Spinning Axe ability makes his next attack much stronger, but has a decent cooldown and doesn't reset his attack animation like most. However, when a Spinning Axe lands, it ricochets into the air back towards Draven, giving the player about a second to react to it and move to catch it, which can be next to impossible during teamfights where proper positioning is vital. If they succeed, his next attack automatically becomes another high-damage Spinning Axe, free of cost, and the cooldown of his steroid ability is set to zero. Oh, and you can activate Spinning Axe a second time to have two going at once. A skilled player can constantly catch their axes, letting them spam their attack speed steroid over and over, throwing nothing but double damage attacks and tearing everything to shreds.
    • One of Yasuo's skills quickly starts recharging almost every second, and every third cast is significantly different, AND it can be combined with another skill for another different effect. This "another skill" is also nothing simple, being fixed distance unit-targeted dash, which can be used on different targets in rapid succession. His other two skills require split-second reaction, either blocking enemy projectiles or reacting on windows of opportunity as fast as 0.1 seconds. Difference between bad and good Yasuo players is astonishing.
    • Some champions have a mechanic that demands that the player get as close as possible to death to exploit most of their prowess: Tryndamere and Olaf. These two are extremely deadly the lower their HP is, with Olaf gaining more attack speed and life steal with each lost HP, and Tryndamere gaining attack damage and critical hit chances with each lost HP. When their ultimate activates, they became even more dangerous: Tryndamere outright becomes unable to die for a few seconds, letting him take advantage of his 'low HP advantage' traits the most, while Olaf becomes outright impossible to be stunned, slowed, or impeded and gains a lot of attack damage at cost of his previous defense and resistance bonuses. Their catch is the very fact that they're most useful when near dead was that by the hands of an unskilled player, they tend to either unleash those ultimates too early to make use of the advantages of the near-death situation, or they die first before they take advantage of that. Thus, they have a very high chance to turn these champions into food for enemy champions rather than feeding on enemy champions like breakfast.
    • Gnar is mostly a cute, fragile, range-based yordle which transforms into a giant, bulky, melee-based beast for a few seconds whenever he deals or gets damaged (until he fills his Rage bar). The difficult part is managing his Rage resource and knowing how and when to use both forms (Mini Gnar and Mega Gnar), given that you barely get some control on his transformation.
    • For gameplay roles, jungling (killing neutral creeps instead of laning) can be this. Overall one of the most demanding tasks since it requires both a good knowledge of both team's jungles and constant awareness of the entire map, especially if there's a risk of getting counter-jungled. Successfully ambushing is also a tough task and good teams will be extra wary the moment they see an enemy champion with Smite in the loading screen. It DOES allow for minion experience to be spread out better among the remaining four champions, particularly the one that gets a lane to him/herself, and gets the jungler ridiculously fed when done correctly. It's not for nothing that competitive teams invariably field one.
  • Company of Heroes:
    • The British are very slow to get going, with very expensive starting units which move extremely slowly outside their own territory. They also have a bizarre tech-tree that is unlike that of any other faction (not to mention their veterancy system). However, once a player learns to fight their urge to expand rapidly and instead build a solid defensive line quickly, the British can become nigh-invincible - vulnerable only to heavy artillery.
    • The Panzer Elite have a wide variety of light, fast vehicles which will not survive long in any fight. Many are completely unarmed! Even experienced players can end up producing and losing a lot of vehicles by the time they get a grip on the situation. On the other hand, expert Panzer Elite players can win the game extremely early on with rapid and relentless assaults all over the battlefield.
  • Age of Empires II has the Goths, who have crappy cavalry, almost non-existent defenses, and very limited healing/conversion abilities. They also have one of the strongest economies in the game, and some of the strongest infantry, meaning that they can easily take out an enemy before said enemy is even able to defend themselves, while end-game advantages give the Goths a higher population limit than anyone else and the ability to produce infantry (including special infantry) at a ridiculously fast pace. Then factor in infantry bonuses against buildings and you have a quickly reforming swarm of locusts that can strip any town to the bone in minutes.
  • Viron assault pods from Ground Control 2. You think dropping five basic soldiers to any place on the map is useful? Wrong! In the campaign, you will use it only at recommended missions and generally as a suicide attack to destroy a single important structure. Then you get to skirmish. Because of the layout of maps, AI players especially like to move their forces into the centre of the map and contest Victory Locations. This means you can drop pods on their unguarded Landing Zones and then finish the game by tearing them apart from both sides.
  • Victoria: An Empire Under the Sun, even when playing as Prussia, the historical forming state of Germany, doing so is not easy. But a true power-hungry leader strives to form Greater Germany, which is Historical Imperial Germany + Austria (or Austro-Hungary, depending on circumstances), which is no small picnic either, and arguably even more difficult, given that both Austria and Prussia start the game as Great Powers, thus one of both must be reduced to Secondary Powers in order to gain rights to their lands. So why bother? Because Germany, and Greater Germany even more so, is a Manpower and Industrial beast, capable of fielding larger armies and producing more materials (thus generating monstrous wealth) than a Westernized China, Japan, and even Great Britain. (One can also try their hand at this with one of the German One Province Minors, but there's no bonuses, just bragging rights.)
  • In Pikmin, C Stick Throwing. In the Gamecube version of the game by rotating the C-Stick so the Pikmin all bunch around Olimar and rapidly mashing A, you can throw Pikmin a lot faster than normal. It is very difficult to learn to the point of being able to use it effectively. But when you do you can collect the ship parts much faster and defeat even the toughest enemies really quickly.
  • Total War:
    • Rome: Total War:
      • Playing as Parthia. Sure, they have huge tract of land, but most of it is simply miles upon miles of empty wilderness with cities few and far between. This means that corruption is very high and troop waypointing is tedious. They are also one of the most financially impoverished factions at the start of the game. Their forte are horse archers, which require practice to use effectively, are awful at capturing cities, and count as very weak in auto-battle. Their infantry is pitifully weak, among the weakest in the game in fact, in a game where infantry makes up the backbone of any serious army. As if that's not enough, they start out next to the unstoppable force that is Egypt. However, get to high-tier horse units, and Parthia will become the Timurids of 3rd century BCE.
      • Playing as the Greek Cities. Your starting territories are spread out and you'll almost instantly be attacked on all sides. (The Brutii Romans in western Greece, the Scipii Romans and Carthaginians in Sicily, the Macedonians in northern Greece, and possibly the Pontic and/or Seleucid factions in Asia Minor.) If you can survive however, you'll have access to some of the most awesome infantry in the game (particularly the Spartan hoplites,) and some of the most profitable territories as well.
      • The Seleucids have powerful units but start out in a very tough position. They are surrounded by enemies on all sides, most of which are entirely capable of reducing their slow phalanx units to Swiss cheese with horse archers or something similar. However, if they make it to the late game, they get perfect copies of the mighty Roman Legionnaires added to their roster.
    • In Total War: Shogun 2, you have the Otomo. Being Christians, everyone in Japan hates their guts, and will try to murder you from the get-go. However, they start with access to matchlock infantry, which are a little finickity at times but are capable of countering any unit type and mow down units at a rate that archers couldn't even dream of. Provided you can hold out long enough, you also get easy access to Nanban trade ships, which pack plenty of cannon and can take on anything short of the Black Ship (which is a bigger Nanban trade ship). As if this wasn't enough, their matchlock ashigaru and samurai are much more skilled than those of the other factions, meaning you can essentially ditch bows entirely (save for one or two units to shoot over walls) once you have matchlock ashigaru.
    • Total War: Attila: The Western Roman Empire is the single hardest playthrough ever in a Total War game, with a rating of Legendary. The Huns, the Germanic tribes and all manner of other barbarians are at the gates. The mighty legions are a distant memory, your armies are spread incredibly thin and usually a town under siege can expect no help. You'll be facing all kinds of internal revolts and economic issues. You do however have an alliance with the Eastern Roman Empire and your armies still enjoy good morale and discipline. If you can Hold the Line and iron out the rot afflicting Rome then you can possibly reforge the Roman Empire and change the course of history. How's that for awesome?
  • Grey Goo (2015): Both the Humans and the titular Goo factions have elements of this, due to varying wildly from the more conventional (but still competitive) Beta:
    • Humans can only ever have one base, and while they have unrivaled options when it comes to fortifying that one base, it comes at the cost of having long, delicate supply lines threading across the entire map. Players who can't figure out how to defend said lines while still having enough spare units to mount an offense will hit a brick wall when their base's resource nodes run dry.
    • The Goo are exactly the opposite, having no fixed buildings whatsoever and creating units from "protean" blobs made by diving health from the resource-adsorbing Mother Swarms. While this gives them incredible flexibility and the ability to react to any enemy configuration, it requires a lot of micromanagement and situational awareness.
  • Stellaris:
    • Playing as a Pacifist empire can be tricky, especially in the mid-game when unclaimed territory runs out and taking territory through war is really the only quick and reliable way to expand.... which you can't do because Pacifists can't use Cede wargoals. However, if you play your cards right you'll be trusted and liked by everyone. You can uplift primitive species and pre-spaceflight empires and welcome them into your galactic community. You can offer weaker nations vassalage and then gradually assimilate them into yours. Your rivals can be brought about with diplomacy, or offered Associate status. Half the galaxy will call you an ally, and even Awakened Precursors will think twice about starting that fight. Hell, they might even be convinced to join your federation. And if one of the end-game Crisises comes knocking, you can punch out Cthulhu with the Power of Friendship. Who says nice guys finish last?
    • The Biological Ascension Path in Utopia is all about genetically modifying your species to make it more powerful. You get five additional Trait points and the ability to freely add or remove pre-existing traits to refund them into even more points. Now, Synths in the Cyborg Ascension Path do get a 20% bonus to everything except food production, but gene modded Pops can potentially be even more powerful than them. For instance, you can stack the Industrious and Very Strong traits on a subspecies to give them a 40% bonus to Mineral production, plus another 40% bonus to the damage inflicted by an army composed of this subspecies (note: Synths don't get any bonus). It requires a bit more micromanagement and forward planning than cybernetics or psionics, but you'll be hard to beat.
    • There are two basic ways to play Stellaris: expanding and conquering as you do normally in these sort of games is nicknamed a "wide" play-style, however its entirely possible to do the exact opposite. Instead of grabbing a huge amount of territory and planets you concentrate on a few key ones and focus on your scientific research. This is known as a "tall" play-style as you are focusing on out-researching everyone else and gaining a massive amount of unity to unlock perks. Its risky as due to your smaller production base at the start of the game if you lose ships its going to take you a hell of a lot longer to replace them, and you wont have as much fleet capacity to defend what territory you do have making you very vulnerable to rush tactics. However in the mid-late game you will have weapons and ships that are orders of magnitude better then everyone else as well as an economy boosted by said research and perks to the point where you are close on unstoppable.

    Rhythm Game 
  • Guitar Hero and Rock Band:
    • "Tapping" requires you to take your right hand off the strum bar and bring it up to the fret buttons, hitting the buttons with your strumming hand. It seems like a stupid move, since if you miss, it breaks your combo and you have to strum to get it going again (except in certain sections in some Guitar Hero games), but it is one of the most important skills for a top player to learn. Why? Adding in another hand allows for much faster fretting and makes complicated sections easier to hit. It's probably also the hardest skill in the game to master, due to the low margin of error between hitting a section and almost failing out of it.
    • To "squeeze" means to deploy Star Power/Overdrive right at the edge of a note's viable hit box and then hitting the note, allowing you to sneak an extra note in under your score-doubling power. This is challenging because if you're too slow with the subsequent hit, you flubbed your full combo but if you activate too soon, then the tail end of your score double-up will be lost, nullifying the effect of the squeeze. It must be perfect, but doing so will net you the necessary points to climb to the tippy-top of the scoreboards.
  • Dance Dance Revolution in the higher difficulty levels requires pattern recognition for two deceptively easy moves: the crossover and spinning. A crossover is a pattern of left, up/down, right, up/down, left (or vice versa). A spin is a clockwise/counter-clockwise pattern of the arrows. Crossovers are easy to pull off, since you can always face the screen. Spinning however, unless you know the note setup, will require you to do a full 360, and is the harder of the two to do. These are very easy to do in a slow, easy to medium level song, but pick up the pace and it gets very hard. For example, Candy requires knowing when to spin. Candy's difficulty ramps up a notch unless you can spin, and trying to do them without spinning is awkward to the note setup. Under the Sky will deplete the life bar of any player who isn't even familiar with the crossover move. It's rated at 6 feet, which most intermediate players should pass, but the last third of the song is a barrage of crossover steps (it does do Foreshadowing in the middle).
  • If one wants to remotely clear higher-level charts in beatmania, manipulation of the turntable without using an entire hand is needed. Normally two methods are employed: using the pinky or the wrist. A specific example is what's known as 1048-style positioning, named after 1048, a prominent IIDX player: For those playing on the player 1 side, place your left hand's thumb on key 1, middle finger on key 2, and index finger on key 3, and have your wrist hit scratches. If on player 2 side, substitute left hand with right and keys 1, 2, and 3 with keys 7, 6, and 5, respectively. The positioning is a bit awkward at first as this puts your scratching hand at an odd angle, but it does put you in an advantageous position on patterns involving scratches and keys close to the turntable.
  • On a similar note, using individual fingers to hit Popn Music's large, colorful buttons. Not the most comfortable thing in the world, but you can hit more buttons this way.
  • Frequency and Amplitude both provide two alternate control sets, one using L1-R1-R2, and the other using Square-Triangle-Circle. Most players pick one or the other (or a hybrid of the two, such as L1-R1-Circle). At higher levels, however, it becomes useful and eventually necessary to start using both sets at once.
  • Playing Aikatsu! Photo on Stage!! with six fingers is quite awkward at first, especially when playing using middle fingers as the primary fingers, but in higher difficulties the flexibility of finger movements will make clearing live stages easier.
  • In Chunithm, realizing that the sensors are actually not that sophisticated is the key to playing at higher levels. The note charts make it seem like you need to do specific things like crossing your arms when two blue hold-note streams cross or lifting up both hands for a split air note. In reality, as long as the sensor is activated in the appropriate spot, the note is considered hit. So for the blue hold-note crossing, you don't have to cross your arms. Likewise for split air-notes, you only need to lift one hand up. And even for single air-notes, it doesn't even have to be from the hand that is hitting the air note. Once you get over that hump, you can start coming up with moves that still satisfy hitting the note without doing what the note chart wants you to do.

    Roguelike 
  • Dwarf Fortress is practically built out of this trope. The entire game has a steep learning curve, but oh the things you can pull off when you get the hang of it...
  • Mindcrafters in ADOM are very difficult to keep alive, as all but two of their offensive Psychic Powers don't work on undead or golems. However, since this is a Roguelike game that rewards lateral thinking in battles, you can, with caution and a bit of luck, take on just about anything else with their Confusion Blast and Mind Blast. Said attacks do not miss and ignore armor. Reaching lvl. 15 grants Telekinetic Blast, which works on everything.
  • NetHack:
    • The Tourist is a challenge due to the fact they start only skilled with darts that do low damage, have weak starting stats and are overcharged at all shops to contrast with their copious starting money. Once they finish their quest they get an item that can recharge any chargeable item in the game, including instant-death wands, as many times as the wand can take it. They also can become skilled with any weapon available and their alignment of Neutral means they have the best choice of powerful artifacts to wish for.
    • The Indiana Jones style Archaeologist, possibly the most difficult class to play in the game, is the only class that can achieve master-level skill with a sword that does double damage to everything it hits. It takes practice to get yourself capable enough to get to the point where you can wield it.
    • The Slash'EM Extended variant has the Ghast race. Mastering their different way of getting nutrition may be hard, but they make up for it with their broad set of starting resistances and a paralyzing melee attack that easily makes them one of the best races for a melee fighting class.
  • Tales of Maj'Eyal has several classes, notably the Rogue and its variants, the Shadowblade and Marauder. They suffer early from stealth which is basically worthless but through smart use of positioning and traps they can deal ridiculous damage. The Solipsist class is difficult because it's so very different due to its Solopsism talent, which is inherent to the class and cannot be unlearned. It results in Psi energy being used as a secondary source of hit points, but can leave an hasty player without enough energy to use his abilities, as well as a crippling slow effect. Used correctly, though, Solopsists can deal good damage, with tremendous control options with their sleep powers, as well as excellent durability.
  • Mom's Knife in The Binding of Isaac. Incredible attack damage that can pierce through most armor, but it's relatively short-ranged, and there's no way of gauging how much you've charged it and how far it will go. Also Brimstone, a blast of demonic energy that ignores any terrain and can hit multiple times in a single shot but must be charged for a couple seconds before firing.

    Role Playing Game 
  • Fog/Max in Tales of Eternia is broken in the hands of a good player with the Canceler equipped. The Canceler is an item that allows Max to swap out a spell with a short casting time for a spell with a long one, but it requires precise timing to work effectively. Once you figure out the timing, it's incredibly easy to spam his Mystic Arte, Elemental Mastery, which is already absurdly powerful, over and over again for little to no cast time. Did we mention his Mystic Arte is a barrage of elemental lasers covering the whole screen while he laughs like a maniac?
  • Tales of Symphonia:
    • Colette is considered very powerful, but unless you know how to use her (Basic attack only with a neutral control stick and only 2 attacks at a time, spam Paraball) she is awkward to control and slow to attack. She also gets two extremely powerful attacks to chain off of it - Triple Ray Satellite and Hammer Rain, and one less powerful, but more practical - Whirlwind Rush. Triple Ray Satellite requires a wide target, while Hammer Rain just needs a huge target to get their hits in (however, they're the strongest non-Hi Ougi attacks in the game). Whirlwind Rush is much less damaging (it's weaker than Paraball), but very consistent, working on just about anything.
    • Regal's unique play style can be very hard to learn, but his damage output if you can fully master his fighting game style mechanics is awesome, not to mention really stylish. Not as powerful as Collete though.
  • Tales of Vesperia's Judith is another example. Her aerial combos are quite difficult to figure out without using guides, and demand more dexterity than Tales games tend to require, but make her one of the greatest melee threats in the game. And by far the most stylish. She's Vesperia's Regal.
    • Patty comes close to this as well because of her stance system and the party member whose utmost use relies on her luck stat. If the game isn't kind to you, she will fail you repeatedly.
  • Cheria Barnes of Tales of Graces. Her Physical Attack, Cryas (Magic) Attack and Physical Defense stats are low, and she's quite awkward to use for beginners unused to the battle system. However, after you practice with her she becomes a beast. She is the only character able to sidestep immediately after attacking, giving her an unrivalled level of evasion and mobility. She is the most versatile character, being able to attack in melee and from range, and has an assortment of healing, support and attack magic that can be instantly cast when placed at the end of a combo. Finally, she has a high crit rate (allowing for faster CC growth) and the highest Cryas Defense stat of the party. There is a very good reason why she is high-tier for Solo Character Runs.
    • Also in Graces, there's Pascal. Being the last character you have access to, she'll seem quite a bit different from other characters that came before her; her primary attacks are ranged, but need set-up because the first attack is a physical blow, and her spells are built for melee. It can take a little time to learn how to effectively use her, but once the player figures out the combo system, she becomes an absolute beast. For starters, her stats are the overall best in the game (Best Cryas Attack, best physical defense, very respectable attack, etc.) that allow her to tank blows, meaning she can easily lure foes in close to get hit by her melee spells without fear of dying. But the true beauty of Pascal is found in dodging to build up your combo. Technically, dodging in whatever direction the player chooses counts as part of a combo. This has many possible benefits that Pascal is built to reap; it allows her to skip her first physical attack and go straight to shooting, and due to how combos work if she dodges a lot her casting times quickly become nill. With this in mind, Pascal can zoom about the battlefield (aided by an actual attack that lets her do just that) spamming incredibly damaging spells like Cyandine, ripping the foe apart, or stay back and spam her Shotstaff attacks. Even better, she has a self-buffing art that raises her attack stat to the highest in the game AND gives her first attack range, allowing her multiple methods of circumventing her first clunky attack in a combo. A poor Pascal player will get nothing out of her but a Stone Wall in a series not built for tanking. A good Pascal player who understands the game mechanics will rip foes apart. Pair her up with Cheria and watch everything die.
  • Dark Souls has the Red Tearstone Ring, which increases all damage ratings of your weapons (including sorcery catalysts, pyromancy flames, and talismans) by 50% while you're below 20% max health.note  It's incredibly useful against most bosses due to the sheer amount of damage you'll be doing. The only problem is that, if you get hit once when you're at that low health, you're pretty much dead. If you get really good at calling and dodging their attacks, though, it absolutely tears through them.
    • The most powerful weapon attacks and spells in those games tend to be very slow to use (such as the "Firestorm" spells and the "Great" weapons that have knockdown moves)), meaning you need to master the timing to use them well. When you do, your player character can devastate enemies.
    • Dark Souls II 's DLC introduces Flynn's Ring, which increases your attack power the lower your weight ratio is. To maximize its potential, you'll be running around with no armor whatsoever and only carrying a single weapon (preferably a rapier, for maximum Flynning)... but your damage with that weapon will be through the roof. Hope you're good at dodging...
  • Peco of Breath of Fire III as a Magikarp Power based example.
  • Whips in Secret of Mana. Hard to use right, but when mastered they become your most effective way to fight bosses when your MP runs out.
  • Final Fantasy VI:
    • Gau's Rage is hard to use properly, especially considering that he is uncontrollable once he uses a Rage, and Gau cannot equip weapons, but in the hands of a smart player Gau becomes one of the most useful characters. During the first half of the game he has access to tier 2 spells (via Rage) before most characters can use magic at all, and the Stray Cat Rage allows him to use Cat Scratch, which does quadruple the damage of a normal attack. Later on, there are many, many ways to turn him into a Game-Breaker — for example, he is the only character who can inflict a special confusion-like special effect that works on everything, including the Final Boss. And that's not even going into Wind God Gau, who was specifically removed in later versions of the game. However, to use Gau properly, you need to understand the game mechanics very well and be willing to endure lots of grinding.
    • Mog joins the party with no spells or any of his dances. His dances make him uncontrollable and often fail if it is of the incorrect terrain, wasting a turn. However, Mog gets the best armor in the game, easily maxing out his defense and taking little damage from even bosses. If given Dragoon equipment, he can multi-Jump and break the damage limit long before you get the game's ultimate weapons.
    • Relm has the bugged, and more often than not useless, Sketch ability, but has the highest Magic Attack in the game, surpassing both Terra and Celes. Thus, Relm easily hits the damage cap with Ultima.
    • Gogo has less choices of equipment than other characters, and mediocre stats for every category. His strength lies in that he can repeat the last action without using any resources, and can pull off otherwise impossible combinations of skill sets: you can have someone with Blitz (one of the strongest movesets) and Mighty Guard (a Lore that happens to be one of the best party buffs) in one character while making room for other abilities.
  • Final Fantasy VIII has an in-universe example in the Gunblade, a sword with a firearm built into the hilt. Pulling the trigger on the gun sends a shockwave through the blade, dealing extra damage. However, like a real gun, the shot produces recoil, making it hard to get used to. As a result, only three people are known to use it; Laguna Loire (only awkwardly as a normal sword), Seifer Almasy (due to his dream as a sorceress' knight), and Squall Leonheart (speculated in-universe to use it because of its difficulty).
  • Final Fantasy IX has Quina, who many people ignored due to him looking and acting pretty silly through the whole game, coupled with the relative difficulty of getting new magic spells for him. However, when used properly he's one of the best characters in the game, with the super buff spell Mighty Guard as well as a spell that is guaranteed to hit the damage cap every single timenote  with a bit of work on one of the mini-games.
  • Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII:
    • Perfect Guards. If you can put your shield up right as the enemy's attack lands, you take a lot less damage, and will automatically stagger some enemies. Your window of opportunity is one-sixth of a second.
    • Perfect Hits are even tricker, as different attacks have different timing for getting Perfect Hits. The Martial Monk garb's Whirlwind Kick has an obscene Perfect Hit multiplier, making it a devastating Game-Breaker if you can master the timing.
  • Knights of the Old Republic: Mission Vao is the squishiest member of your party. However, her feats and skill points can be optimized in an utterly terrifying way. If there's an area with computers (like an enemy base), equip her with a stealth belt, load her up with spikes, have her sneak to the closet terminal, disabling and re-setting mines along the way. From there, have her wreak merry havoc by destroying or confusing any droids, setting up any remaining enemies to run into the re-laid mines, and most of your enemies will be wiped out without any further fuss. Either that, or have your Jedi party members spam stuns while she doles out sneak attacks with insane damage bonuses.
  • The Vanguard class in Mass Effect 2. For the most part, every other class can be played as a very cautious class, staying in cover and picking off enemies from long range. It's a slow way to play, but it's possible. Vanguards, however, can't do this if you're going to play at all like the class is meant to be played. Their regular class skills give them very few ranged powers, and their primary weapon is a short-range shotgun with a small clip and a long reload time. Unlike all the other classes, a Vanguard's primary ability, Charge, puts them directly into the thick of combat, and is a death sentence if used wrong. But if a vanguard player can manage to master the art of charging... well, that's when you get stuff like this.
  • Mass Effect 3:
    • The Drell Vanguard are the most physically fragile race, offering incredible mobility and speed in exchange for very low barriers. A well-played drell vanguard zips around the map too fast for anything to get a bead on; an inexperienced one needs to be revived frequently.
    • While Drell Vanguards are difficult they pretty much lack the awesome nowadays and are widely regarded as the worst class in the game, as they don't have the power to compensate for their squishiness. Drell Adepts though still play this trope straight as a well played one won't even have to worry about their low health thanks to a variety of ways to both set up and detonate biotic explosions as well as surprisingly being able to hold its own against some enemies like the Atlas and Geth Prime thanks to Cluster Grenade.
    • The N7 Fury lacks the very useful Stasis ability of the asari adepts, but if used properly they can create rapid chains of biotic combo explosions using the risky Annihilation Field and the target-hopping Dark Channel to prime explosions.
    • The N7 Shadow requires a very different playstyle to make the most of its teleporting Back Stab Shadow Strike, but if you choose your targets and avoid exposing yourself you can deal massive damage and neutralise Demonic Spiders like Phantoms before they become a threat. While the cloak and wall-piercing AoE shockwave are easy to use, there are various tricks and combos you can use to cancel cooldowns, deal extra damage and spend more time invisible using the cloak.
    • The Javelin sniper rifle weighs about as much as carrying a teammate piggyback would, especially with the High Velocity Barrel mod, has an ammo count in at most the low double digits, and has a short but noticeable charge-up before each shot. On the other hand, since it has intrinsic 1m cover penetration and an inbuilt thermal scope, with Garrus's AP ammo as a bonus power, the High Velocity Barrel from the Citadel DLC, and the standard piercer mod, you can kill virtually any target even through walls. With Tactical Cloak up, you can one-shot Brutes. As long as you can correct for the charge time and don't mind the lack of ammo, it can kill virtually anything.
    • The volus characters, especially if you want to be an effective Combat Medic. A combination of low shield power, absolutely pathetic health (more like armour, given their ammonia-breather status) and offensive powers that are generally lackluster/have forbiddingly long recharge times would make them seem underwhelming - and they stand on an item crate when you pick them - but the key is to play them as a Magic Knight, with moderate-weight weapons, using Shield Boost as a survivability tool, rather than just focusing on your teammates, along with their unique Beehive Barrier, and combining that with More Dakka and well-timed uses of non-Shield Boost powers. Add a high-power Cyclonic Modulator to get more Hit Points to take advantage of their potentially absurd defence.
  • Pokémon:
    • Slaking is this in PvE. It has an extremely high Attack stat in addition to very high HP, decent Defense, and high Speed, and is capable of OHKOing all but the sturdiest Mons in the game, but only moves every other turn. However, if your prediction of your opponents moves and timing of when you switch in and out is good, it can end up taking out half the opponent's team.
    • The No Guard ability ensures that attacks launched by either combatant always hit. This can result in absolute havoc as you decimate enemies with the otherwise Powerful, but Inaccurate moves such as Dynamic Punch or it can result in your Pokemon getting one-shotted by your opponent's own insanely powerful attack.
    • Belly Drum is a move that maximizes the Pokemon's attack at the cost of half its full HP. The tricky part comes with the timing, Belly Drum will fail if the Pokemon's HP is less than 50%, and it's not going to survive most attacks with 50% or less HP unless they happen to be Mighty Glacier themselves. But once the Pokemon pull a Belly Drum successfully, it can wreck anything that stands in its way with physical moves unless the opponent is immune to that attack.
    • In competitive play during Gen VI, some Mega Evolutions such as Sharpedo and Beedrill were tricky to use due to relatively low speed and pathetic defenses. With the right set up, they could destroy enemy teams. Played carelessly, they'd be taken out in a single attack without accomplishing anything. This is less so in later generations where Mega Evolution mechanics change allowed the speed changes to be applied immediately.
  • The Monster Hunter franchise could be said to be this in itself, being focused entirely around fighting giant monster many times stronger than the player could ever become. That said there are several weapon classes that stand out by themselves:
    • The Hunting Horn has slow and unorthodox swing animations, and forces the player to constantly keep their self-improvement buff active to be effective, but a good Hunting Horn player is a Lightning Bruiser with all the strengths of a Hammer user in addition to having a large amount of buffs, heals and other beneficial effects at their disposal. In a party, being skilled with the Hunting Horn will earn you many thanks from your teammates as they whack the monster with all the buffs you've provided for them.
    • The Greatsword (which is a popular weapon with new players, despite being this trope) has some of the highest damage potential in the game, but is incredibly sluggish in both attack speed and movement. A bad Greatsword hunter won't accomplice much, a good one can crush some of the strongest monsters in the game without much difficulty.
    • The Charge Blade technique known as Guard Points involves abusing the fact that the Charge Blade automatically blocks during certain attack animations, and if the shield if charged, unleashes explosions upon successfully guarding. It's a very risky technique, ad mistiming the animation means you're leaving yourself wide open, but a player with good timing and reflexes can force the monsters to KO or even kill themselves on the Guard Point.
    • Gunner weapons (Bows and Bowguns) also count. In addition to requiring a lot more micromanagement than Blademasters (thanks to multiple ammunition types you have to juggle), Gunners need to be aware of their surroundings a lot more due to Gunner weapons only working best at a specific distances and Gunner armor offering only half as much protection compared to Blademasters. That being said, Bows and Bowguns are incredibly flexible weapons suited for almost every situation as long as you know to exploit monster's weaknesses correctly.
    • Adept style in Monster Hunter Generations focuses on dodging or blocking attacks at the last possible moment. This is inherently risky and demands a good read of a monster's possible attacks, but a successful Adept Guard or Adept Evade completely nullifies the attack and opens up special Counter Attack options.
    • Generations Ultimate doubles down with the Valor style. The mechanics are a nightmare to get your head around, a new attack button is added to the already-demanding controls (and it still pulls double duty with sheathing your weapon, which leads to all sorts of other issues), and it adds a level of resource management on top of whatever else your weapon uses. When properly understood and mastered, however, it has more attack options than any other style, and several defensive moves no other has, more than making up for the investment.
  • Trials of Mana's suicide teams. These are teams where not a single party member has any access to healing abilities (such as an all-Dark party of Duran, Kevin and Hawkeye), which means that one mistake can wipe the party. These parties also tend to have a ridiculous amount of firepower and are quite fun to play if you know how to handle them.
  • In Super Mario RPG, Geno is not exactly a weak character, but his most powerful move, Geno Whirl, is incredibly hard to pull off. You have to time the button sequence just right to do it correctly. If you do get the sequence correctly, the attack deals a whopping 9999 points of damage, which will One-Hit Kill anything that isn't immune to it (for reference, the strongest enemy in the game only has about 8000 HP). The downside to this is, almost every boss is immune to it except for Exor.
  • Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door has the Superguard. The Superguard is an upgraded version of the regular Guard, and requires pressing B on being hit instead of A. It's extremely difficult to time it exactly right, with a timeframe of 1/20th of a second. However, if you do, not only do you take no damage, but on a move with physical contact, the enemy takes one point of damage! This works for every attack in the game, except for Bonetail's biting attack, and an explosion from a Bob-Ulk or Bulky Bob-Omb, and enemies take damage regardless of defense making it immensely effective against Clefts and Bristles.
  • In both of the first two Paper Mario games, there's the "Danger Mario" build. Level up Mario's BP to max, FP as far as you can, and use Chet Rippo's stat-reassignment service to drop Mario's max HP to 5, putting him in constant "Danger" status. Then pile on as many badges as you can that take advantage of Danger status, like Close Call (which gives you a 50% chance to avoid attacks completely). Mario gets huge boosts to attack, defense, and evasion, but if any attack manages to overcome all his defenses at once, he's a goner (better stock up on Life Shrooms just in case). This is even easier to pull off in The Thousand Year Door if you're good at the above-mentioned Superguard, since it means you can rely on your own reflexes to avoid an attack instead of praying that the Random Number God is on your side.
  • Path of Exile has what are considered "build-defining" items; unique items whose abilities are so oddball or whose Necessary Drawback is so great that you have to plan your character build around them in order to use them effectively. For example, Trypanon has the property "All Attacks with this Weapon are Critical Strikes", but a horribly slow attack speed and mediocre base damage. By itself Trypanon is pathetic, but with a build focusing on critical strike multiplier and supplemental damage from auras and other items, it can clear the screen in one blow.
    • Necromancer summoner builds in general are usually considered this. They're very difficult to gear properly due to the game's spell mechanics, they're expensive, and the gameplay is rather boring to many players, but the advantages are utterly enormous - they are basically immune to map mods (included the dreaded Reflect), have amazing clear speeds thanks to Flesh Offering, can tank even the strongest hits with Bone Offering/+ block gear, and can easily deal with map bosses thanks to having minions do all their damage for them automatically while the player dodges attacks. It's not hard to slaughter even the strongest bosses like the Shaper or Red-tier Elder in crappy gear if you know what you're doing.
  • Throughout The Elder Scrolls series, playing with the "Atronach" birthsign (or activating the Atronach "Standing Stone" in Skyrim). The Atronach removes (or severely reduces) your ability to regenerate Magicka naturally, which includes sleeping. In return, it grants the largest boost to your maximum Magicka of any birthsign and gives you a 50% chance to absorb any magic spell cast at you. By devising a way to cover the other 50% (via additional absorption, reflection, or resistance), you can effectively become immune to magical attacks. Conjuration neatly sidesteps the inability to regenerate magicka, too: summon a creature that only attacks magically, attack it to turn it hostile, and then bask in its ineffective attacks while your magicka recharges. This goes Up to Eleven if you play as an Altmer (High Elf), who have a natural weakness to magical attacks but have the highest natural starting pool of Magicka of any race.
  • Fallout4 has the Big Boy, similar to the Experimental MIRV from the previous game but far more effective, as it doesn't drain your ammo faster than a regular Fat Man while it carpet-bombs the area with twelve nuclear explosions. Very little in the game has any chance of surviving that, but the difficult part is in its very short range together with the Recursive Ammo mechanics. In other words, failure to properly plan a Big Boy shot is likely to end with the shooter just as dead as the targets.
  • Kingdom Come: Deliverance has archery. Arrows are very dangerous for targets not wearing good armor and even then, the well-protected can still go down when faced with a good war bow. The unarmored don't even have a prayer. But between the lack of crosshairs, the sway and the stamina drain, mastering archery is perhaps one of the most difficult tasks any player will face.

    Shoot Em Up 
  • The Touhou games have several:
    • Youmu in general:
      • In Imperishable Night she's normally part of the Ghost Team, which has the highest overall power in exchange for having the spread shot focused and the concentrated shot unfocused, the reverse of usual, and she herself has part of her shot in an option that swings around as she moves. Or she can go solo, which removes the spread option (and her own ability to center her option by briefly focusing) but lets her lock her option by focusing, allowing her to cover any two areas with equally-powerful bullets, and gives her a shortened phantom gauge that improves her scoring abilities, to the point where Solo Youmu is considered one of the best characters for scoring.
      • In Phantasmagoria of Flower View she has all-around terrible statistics (slow charge speeds and move speeds that're the opposite of optimal) but the unique ability to cancel bullets without spending meter. In practice she's bottom-tier since the ability is underwhelming and and her attacks suck, but this is probably what ZUN was going for.
      • In Ten Desires has access to the strongest spread and concentrated attacks... but she's a reverse shot-type, meaning that unless you're very good you won't be able to make full use of her strong unfocused shots. And the charged nature of her focused shots can be a problem if you don't get it's rhythm down, while the unfocused shots have trailing options that punish you for moving wildly.
    • Mountain of Faith brings us MarisaC, who attacks using four "frostthrowers" that are locked in place when Marisa focuses. While this requires a player to time when to focus, unfocus, and pulse between the two, as well as manipulating boss movements, strategic placement of the frostthrowers is the reason why MarisaC is consistently the highest-scoring character, and it helps that she's effectively the strongest character in the game. Behind only ReimuC at pointblank and MarisaB's "MarisaBroken" form.
    • SanaeA in the fangame Marine Benefit also qualifies for this, as her unfocused shot by itself is fairly weak and her bomb only clears the area to her sides; however, she has Kanako's virtue spheres hovering around her and spinning around the field, killing most non-boss enemies they touch almost instantly (and doing good damage to bosses). While it takes a lot of getting used to aiming the virtues, knowing when to unfocus to activate them, and learning to see through them so they don't distract you from the bullets, using them wisely helps tremendously in killing off enemies in places other shot types would almost require a bomb to kill, and thus reducing a lot of the difficulty of some sections. And it helps that SanaeA's focused shot, while it lacks the virtues, has plenty of forward power for boss killing.
  • Mushihime Sama Futari versions 1.01 and 1.5 have Reco-Abnormal, who at first seems like a horribly counter-intuitive character; she inverts the trend that focused shot = slower speed, and her focused shot at first feels pathetically weak. However, proper utilization of her focus shot's lock-on option ability allows her to rapidly decimate bosses and midbosses.
  • In diep.io:
    • The Destroyer Branch. These tanks have incredibly slow firing speeds and their bullets are very slow, but they have massive bullets that do devastating damage, usually enough to One-Hit Kill any tank that isn't a boss or a rammer.
    • The Overseer, and it's main upgrade, the Overlord. They utilize controllable Drones instead of standard bullets that can deal enough damage to shred even armored targets quickly and block enemy fire, but because you have no other defense apart from a small group of relatively slow drones, they have to always be in the right place at the right time.
    • Then we have the Necromancer. Another upgrade from the Overseer, this tank cannot produce its own drones, instead having to infect squares by touching them or using existing drones to touch them. Because of this, extremely careful management of your drones is necessary, because unlike Overseer, you can't get them back reliably. However, you have an extremely high drone count, giving you immense firepower, and can Zerg Rush most enemies to death easily, however experienced players can make use of it's repel function to surround and confuse enemies.
  • DoDonPachi:
    • DoDonPachi DaiOuJou has Exy, who is the most difficult character to survive with due to having only 1 initial bomb and 2 max bombs (vs. Leinyan's 2 initial and 4 max, and Shotia's 3 initial and 6 max). However, a skilled player can make Exy into an ass kicker: she has Shotia's powerful shot and Leinyan's piercing laser, and her lower bomb capacity means she gets the max bomb bonus sooner. Moreover, unlike Shotia, who loses all of her laser power on dying, and Leinyan, who loses all of her shot power, Exy only loses one level of each upon death.
    • DoDonPachi DaiFukkatsu has Power Style. You can't bomb (except you do get one auto-bomb upon picking up a bomb item) and the shot is still slightly weaker than Strong Style even in Boost Mode, but Power Style also builds up Hypers the fastest and any bullets cancelled by your Hyper while in Boost Mode also charge up your next Hyper. Play your cards right and you can have a Hyper ready basically anytime you want.
    • DoDonPachi Saidaioujou has the swimsuit for whichever Element Doll you pick. It's analogous to Exy in DaiOuJou while the combat uniform is analogous to Shotia and the casual dress is analogous to Leinyan. However, unlike DaiOuJou, you don't lose any shot or laser power upon dying, while the swimsuit has the additional drawback of making enemy attacks significantly fiercer.
  • Guns of Icarus: The cannon (and the super cannon) take some practice to aim correctly because of their slow-moving shots, but if you can master Leading The Target, they deal twice as much damage as the standard gatling, and they have massive range.
  • R-Type: Novice players mostly use the Force Pod as a front shield. Experts know how to use front, back and especially detached mode to their full advantage, the latter of which can be difficult to learn. In detached mode you have to control two units at once and the shield is moved to an arbitrary position, leaving you open to attacks. But you do get to cover a greater shooting range.
  • Dariusburst Another Chronicle has its version Burst Counter, a variation of the Alpha Beam counterattack from G-Darius, except instead of relying on the player Button Mashing to overcome a Beam-O-War, instead a Burst Counter requires timing deploying the Burst weapon right as the enemy fires theirs. Fail to time it properly and you'll eat laser, losing valuable shield points at best and an entire life at worst. Time it right, however, and your laser increases in power and duration, allowing you to tear down the enemy that tried to fry you. Alternatively, you can perform a Side Counter, in which you fire your Burst right as you cross the enemy's beam—again, screwing up will damage your shield or kill you, but proper timing will grant you a powerful counterattack.
  • Hellsinker has two: Fossil Maiden and Kagura-Xanthez. At least one of their attacks are melee-oriented. While Fossil Maiden can easily clear out bullets in front of her with her double-tap attack, Kagura-Xanthez doesn't have any options to clear out bullets as a part of her arsenal (if you don't count her bomb). But once you know how to use them properly, they have the most damage potential in the game.
  • There are various examples for the Len'en Project;
    • Earthen Miraculous Sword has Kuroji, whose shot is either firing randomly in all directions when unfocused, or firing straight forward when focused. While their shot may seem rather strange, and their damage output is initially only marginally powerful, having the shot at maximum power makes the shot the most consistently-damaging of the four shottypes. This is also helped by their flasbomb, which, instead of clearing bullets from the screen, flips their trajectories; this effectively means you can clear a wall of bullets with ease, especially due to how large the area of range is for the flashbomb.
    • Reactivate Majestical Imperial has the Kuroji/Saragimaru team. While Kuroji is still the same as they were in EMS, it is Saragimaru who has the most potential of the two, and possibly most other shottypes; Saragimaru has one of the more unorthodox shottypes in the game, which wildly varies based on unfocsing/focusing and even power levels, but still allows them to cover a very wide area of the screen. Their shot, at 2.00 power, and then 4.00 onwards, gives them forward-firing familiars that actually do more damage than their other curving shots, which results in dealing fine damage to any target aimed at.
      • Kuroji and Saragimaru also are given two of the best flashbombs in the game in tandem; Kuroji's still flips bullet trajectories (which, for RMI's bullet patterns, is a godsend), and Saragimaru has the only flashbomb of the seven shottypesnote  that actually deals damage. These two flashbombs also carry the blessings of Kuroji and Saragimaru's hidden passive attributes; Kuroji allows Saragimaru to fill the flasbomb gauge (which is done by grazing) faster, and Saragimaru slowly fills up Kuroji's flahbomb gauge on its own. Their Jar Zenith mode also is of immense use, as it begins to rapidly fill up the flashbomb gauge; used correctly, and you can spam two or even three of Saragimaru's flashbombs for massive damage, as well as clear your path of bullets!
    • Brilliant Pagoda or Haze Castle has the New Emperor Team, consisting of Fumikado, Iyozane, and Tsugumi. Given how their shots, bombs, flashbombs, and skill trees are of varying degrees of usefulness, it would be hard to figure out any strong impact a combination of their playstyles would make within the Trinity Systemnote ; enter Fumikado's flashbomb, better known as Armor Mode. Barring Suzumi's, Fumikado's flashbomb is the only one that actually does not require the entirety of it's gauge to be filled to activate it. Activating their flashbomb renders you completely invulnerable for a period of time, at the cost of forcing your character to stop shooting; this can be rectified with one of Fumikado's skills, which reflects back bullets shot by enemies and damage them in turn. Tsugumi and, preferably, Iyozane players will be able to get a lot of mileage with Fumikado's upgraded flashbomb, allowing them to Hold the Line for as long as they need.
    • As of the most recent updates, Suzumi was Promoted to Playable in all four games. Suzumi has one of the most intricate of all shottypes in the series, due to effectively being a charge shot that can burst out for massive damage, but can be hampered due to Suzumi's absurdly mammoth speed; this can be worked around with their flashbomb, which, like Fumikado's, does not need the flashbomb gauge to be fully filled and also makes you completely invincible for a period of time. What Fumikado lacks, however, is Suzumi's scarily accurate homing shot, which begins to increase their damage output by obscene levels per each power level.

    Simulators 
  • In Politics And War, Aircraft. They're expensive, and they use significant amounts of gas and ammo for each attack. But successful air to ground attack result in the "air control" buff, which results in enemy tanks' stats being reduced by 50%. They also cut through ships like a hot knife through butter, and they're very efficient at destroying infrastructure. The only thing that can stop aircraft is other aircraft.
  • War Thunder features tracerless ammo belts as an option for plane loadouts. They are usually avoided by most players, because they offer absolutely no visual cues as to where your bullets are heading and make it much harder to Lead the Target, doubly so if you're playing a difficulty mode without the leading assistance. However, a player that masters their use will have two significant advantages: first, the bullets themselves do more damage because they don't have to waste mass on tracer compound, and second, they won't tip off an enemy plane that they're being attacked until it's too late, making it significantly easier to pull off ambushes or abort a botched attack without the target going after you in revenge or going evasive and making a second attack much more difficult.
  • In MechWarrior Living Legends, the Shiva heavy Space Plane carries bar none the single most powerful loadouts in the game making it capable of taking out even the most heavily armored assault-class Humongous Mecha in a one or two passes. It also handles like a warehouse, the engines can be shot out in seconds from most angles, it is extraordinary expensive, and Some Dexterity Required is needed to use its massive array of weapons. A newbie in one is a free kill, while a veteran in one - like the brutal "Agent Orange" loadout with 60 cluster bombs, 80 dumbfire salvo missiles, and twin Gatling Good cannons - can lay waste to entire lances of ground pounders with carefully lined up strafing runs and precise maneuvering to shield the engines.
    • The flamethrower-rigged Harasser hovercraft is unarmored, its controls are janky, and its weapons are short-ranged and low damage. An unskilled pilot is better off using spitballs and harsh language. A skilled pilot, on the other hand, will use the Harasser's insane speed over any terrain to move faster than most mechs and tanks can track it and run circles around the opposition, and use the flamethrowers to incapacite opposing mechs by pushing their heat gauges over redline, allowing the rest of the team to finish them off at leisure.
  • The wingman control system in FreeSpace. It's almost RTS-like in its complexity, it pretty much requires you to actually plan your mission beforehand and really listen to the pre-mission briefing to memorize the order of battle of your team, and Some Dexterity Is Required to juggle the on-screen messages and keyboard shortcuts — while there's a bandit on your tail. But it is absolutely essential to bring order to the later missions, where there are literally dozens of Space Fighters on you side only. Without fully mastering it, any fight quickly devolves into an unmanageable furball, which usually results into a failed mission, because the AI wingmen in this series tended to wander aimlessly without precise micromanagement. And there are a lot of them.

    Stealth Based Game 
  • Assassin's Creed:
    • The Hidden Blade Counter Attacks are very difficult to pull off consistently, but once mastered even Brutes (though not Papal Guards or Janissaries) will be One Hit Killed by them, although in Brotherhood the returning protagonist's experience is reflected in the form of a more generous window of opportunity. This is doubly true in the first game, where the Hidden Blade didn't even block, meaning you had to get it right or take damage — however, get it right and even the final boss can be OHK'd.
    • Stealth, even when it isn't a mandatory part of your current mission. You can reach a point where the only enemies that will ever attack you are the ones actually scripted to do so, which is a very small subset of the guards. You one hit kill virtually every unaware enemy, even the rare ones that might be able to avoid being counter killed.
    • To a lesser extent, chain kills can be this. Once you get two to three kills in a row, you can simply point in the direction of the next enemy and hit attack to immediately kill them. The problem? You have no invincibility frames, and can be knocked out of your lengthy kill animations at any time. Start your chain kill at the wrong time, and you'll almost immediately be knocked out of it and left defenseless; start it at the right time and prioritize your targets, and you'll be unstoppable.
  • Getting the Silent Assassin rating on any of the Hitman games is quite difficult, requiring a mix of proper timing, planning and Save Scumming. But pulling it off will net you bonus weapons, cash and in general make you feel like a badass, especially if you can pull off an accident kill.

    Survival Horror 
  • The Nurse in Dead by Daylight has a short-range teleportation ability that lets her bypass entire buildings and obstacles to get the drop on any survivor who thinks they're safe. But using it properly requires skill: her vision is heavily warped during the blink making it hard to judge distances correctly, and upon landing she'll stumble and be briefly stunned unless she can chain additional blinks or land a hit on her enemies; but she can also teleport past her target due to the impressive range of the blink. It's generally agreed that she's a top tier killer but Nurse players rarely get accusations of Tier-Induced Scrappy because it's also generally accepted that even an expert Nurse will make some mistakes during the play.
  • In Dead Rising, the regular chainsaw is like this, especially in Infinity Mode before you get the Small Chainsaw. The standard swing is awkward as hell and leaves you vulnerable to attack after each swing, and you drop the weapon if you take a single hit from anything (forcing you to pick it up and rev it up again). However, the running attack absolutely scythes through zombies and bosses as long as you make absolutely sure never to stop moving.
  • Freddy Fazbear's Pizzeria Simulator: On the difficult side, the Sponsorships make the Survival Horror segments harder (since their noise attracts the animatronics to your location). On the awesome side, they give you a crapton of cash to use towards better attractions, or towards paying for lawsuits.
  • The Great Knife in Silent Hill 2. Because of its size, James moves slowly with it and it takes time for him to swing it. This leaves him open to getting hit. However, if you're very good at timing your attacks, basically any enemy will fall before they can deal much damage, and boss fights where melee is an option are over much faster than usual. It also possesses a hidden ability: turn off your flashlight in a darkened area as you drag it about, and almost all the enemies will think you're Pyramid Head and flee in terror.

    Third Person Shooter 
  • Transformers: War for Cybertron:
    • The Soldier is fairly easy to get a handle on, as it's your standard shooter archetype and quite tough. However, skilled selection of special abilities and perks allows them to become devastating, particularly in close combat, and their heavy weapons can shred almost anyone in a matter of seconds.
    • The Leader is very Soldier-like, with the added bonus of having an ability that not only gives you bonus armor and damage but all allies within a radius. Skill and timing in the use of this ability can make any Leader into a monster.
    • The Scout is the first class where you really need to work to be dangerous, though—it has little enough health that a single shot from a Soldier's tank mode can kill. On the other hand, with the proper use of abilities, weapons, timing, and even the angle of attack, a Scout can often one-shot a Soldier when they're at normal maximum health.
    • The true demons, though, are Scientists. Incredibly fragile, they are also the most mobile class, and their default weapon selection allows for both sniping and brutal close-combat damage. A Scientist player who masters the hit and run or snipe and run aspect of the class will demolish all comers—and this is to say nothing of if they deciding to perform their standard function of The Medic to heal up other characters on top of it.
  • Global Agenda has the Recon class, which functions like this to at least some degree: there's a glut of players who have absolutely no business taking on the stealth-based mantle, but those who have practiced to a reasonable point are absolute nightmares to deal with. Certain varieties of Medic are similar, if less pronounced.
  • Oni has the Backbreaker, a move with positioning requirements bound to a key combination that is hard to pull off reliably unless you're a veteran player, especially since the mooks can and will try to face you when you get behind them. It can also one-shot most enemies, making every successful use rewarding. Newbies may pull it off a few times per mission if lucky, experienced veterans tend to kill most enemies with it. Even more pronounced in the Anniversary Edition mod, where enemies have larger health pools but Backbreaker has increased damage. Despite retaining its deadly efficiency in an environment where every other ability is weaker, it is even harder to pull off due to enemies being far faster and thus better at protecting their backs than normal.
  • Warframe:
    • The Lex pistol doesn't look like much on first use. Tiny magazine, high recoil, low rate of fire, long reload time. So why is it widely advocated? With the right mods, it's really powerful and has great accuracy even at great distance. The key is to treat it like a Poor Man's Substitute sniper and pick your shots slowly and methodically, not a pray-and-spray close-quarters automatic.
    • The sliding melee can be difficult to land consistently, but it deals damage more efficiently than hacking randomly.
    • Charged attacks can be easily disrupted, so landing them consistently needs you to learn timing and footwork. However, the greatly boosted damage, partly due to ignoring armour, means you can kill enemies with just a few charged attacks rather than many standard strikes.
    • Learning to use a bow requires learning to charge the shot rather than try to lay out shots as fast as possible, as well as taking into account the ballistic arc and flight time, but the damage from a fully-charged headshot can be very impressive.
    • Limbo's powers can completely disable enemy forces (unless a Nullifier gets involved), but his learning curve is so steep it's practically vertical. Unfortunately, an unskilled Limbo is a hindrance to the team rather than helpful. And since even a skilled Limbo basically requires the entire team to change their tactics to match his playstyle, he's been a massive Base-Breaking Character since day one. Players have been known to abort a mission if they find themselves on a squad with a Limbo.
    • The Simulor and Synoid Simulor are weird little weapons: rather than firing bullets, arrows, or rockets, they launch magnetic 'singularities' a short distance. Not only will these attacks bounce off walls but also enemies, they can't even do damage directly should you manage to park one on an opponent. You have to get an enemy nearby and manually detonate weapon for a smaller amount of damage, or drop up to four more 'singularities' into the first. However, if you manage to do so, it'll pulse out serious area damage on every strike, and on the fifth strike slurp every surrounding non-living thing into the center, combined with a reasonable crit and status chance. All done with rifle ammunition — one of the two explosive primaries to use it and not the less-common sniper ammo.
    • Nova's 2nd ability "Antimatter Drop" is a slow moving projectile that is guided by the player's aim and explodes when it touches a solid surface, but it does little damage by default. It has to be charged by taking damage, either from enemies shooting at it or the player them-self pumping bullets into it before it lands. However when charged this way it can kill every enemy in the room upon detonation.
  • The Torque Bow in Gears of War is difficult to charge in cover, it is difficult to aim, and it sometimes has scarce ammunition, but it can deliver one-hit kills, and it's one of the recommended weapons on the final boss.
  • It's actually possible in Star Wars Battlefront (2015) to bring down an AT-AT walker in Walker Assault when it's vulnerable using the Snowspeeder by tying its legs with the cable. Though it involves avoiding the AT-AT's fire, its legs, and enemy fighter support, it can bring it down in one go.
  • Splatoon and Splatoon 2:
    • Chargers, in general, fall under this category. They are the game's counterpart to sniper rifles and are generally used by standing in a high, difficult-to-access location and shooting at opponents who get within range.note  A skilled Charger user can easily lead the team in splats (kills) as they pick off opponents while standing somewhere the opponents can't reach. The problems lie in the fact that Inklings, the player characters, are pretty small, and that all Chargers have a laser that opponents can see, so the only way to splat someone with a Charger is by catching them off guard or be so good as to predict where they'll be.
      • Of these, even more difficult are the E-liter and Goo Tuber subclasses. E-liters have the longest range of any weapon in the game, meaning they can defeat opponents from a further distance than anyone else, but they exchange that for the longest charge time and the highest ink consumption of any weapon (three shots before it empties out and requires the user to refill), making an E-liter user a sitting duck if an opponent closes the distance. The Goo Tuber has a similarly long charging time but has a much shorter range—but it excels at ambushing opponents from hiding, requiring its user be accurate enough to hit small targets from a distance AND quick enough to hit them before they can react and counter.
    • The Nozzlenoses are a group of Shooters (automatics) that, instead of firing rapidly when the trigger button is held down, will make three shots, then the user has to recover for a short period before they can shoot again. Nozzlenoses become demanding, though in different ways: The H-3 Nozzlenose can splat someone if these three shots hit someone, but because of the longer recovery time, the user must aim perfectly on the first try, or else they'll be standing there helplessly as the opponent returns fire. The L-3 Nozzlenose has a shorter recovery time, allowing near-continuous shooting, but it takes 4 hits to splat an opponent, meaning there's more room for error but you need two accurate presses of the trigger button to splat someone.

    Turn Based Strategy 
  • Several weapons in Worms, but perhaps the poster child for this is the Super Sheep. The Bazooka deserves special mention, a high damage explosive starting weapon with a ludicrously long ballistic trajectory. Newbies may have a hard time hitting anything not on the same screen but Scorched Earth veterans can knock an enemy worm into the water from across the map in turn 1.
  • Usalia in Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance requires constant attention to your party's formation and a good understanding of team building since you have to build around her for maximum effect. When you can do these things, she earns her reputation as a high grade Game-Breaker. A top damage dealer with absurdly high damage mitigation that spreads to allies in the chapter of the franchise where defense is useful who happens to get one of the best Overload Skills in the game.
  • Several factions in Lords of Magic are a challenging initial play. Air's low armor means that their units fall apart in a straight slugging match (you know you're in trouble when your best meatshield is the equivalent to other faiths' light cavalry) but they're extremely fast and have very powerful magic, plus most of their units can fly. Fire has weak armor and lacks Air's mobility, but make up for it with powerful magic that only gets nastier as the game progresses once you figure out how to use it to effect. Order looks solid on paper, but their starting position is close to two very hostile neighbors and their territory is riddled with marauders, and there's a high chance that at least one of the starting, low-level hamlets you try to clear out will spawn with a pegasus inside. But if you manage to survive slugging it out with such powerful enemies and constant raids, your army will be the most experienced and toughest force on Urak short of Balkoth himself, and will bring death and destruction on the heads of anyone who challenges you.
  • Advance Wars:
    • Sami is often seen as a waste, as her only ability is to have stronger infantry (the weakest units in the game) at the cost of weaker vehicles (The most used and useful units). However, by simply spamming mech units in deployment maps, you will overwhelm your opponent and literally be unstoppable. In the second game, winning as Sami basically translates to "Get an infantry to the enemy's HQ with a fully charged super co power". You'll capture their HQ instantly, even if the infantry has low HP, guaranteeing an instant win.
    • VS Mode Sturm in the first game is too, believe it or not. He's considered USELESS, as his units have 20% lower attack in exchange for 30% stronger defense. However, if you use his weaker units as meat shields to pick at your enemy's HP (Which weakens their attack and drains their ammo) while you build up a strong offense and attack in one assault, well, the results are devastating.
    • Colin has 10% weaker units in exchange for 20% cheaper units. There is a Campaign mission where you only have to survive for 14 days as Colin which seems to hammer home the fact that he sucks, and his wimpy theme music doesn't help. However, give him a try on deployment maps with Aerial and Naval units. Suddenly Bombers and Battleships which are absurdly powerful are costing about 6000 bucks less to deploy, and their absurd attack strength means that a slight loss in power means absolutely nil. His CO powers really hammer this home: Gold Rush is tied for the fastest charging CO power in the game, and increases his current available cash by 50% when activated. Power of Money, his super CO power, takes a fair bit longer to charge, but gives a damage boost to all of his units for the turn scaling off of how much money he has at the time. If Colin is ever given a chance to stockpile even a little spare money, the situation can quickly snowball out of control, as Gold Rush eventually generates more money than it costs to recharge it, leading to Colin having potentially hundreds of thousands in cash on hand as he fires off Gold Rush turn after turn after turn, leading to the eventual conclusion as his army of discount units tears through everything in its path during Power of Money, sporting attack power potentially dozens of times normal if he's been allowed to stockpile enough cash. There's a reason the kid's considered broken on many tiers lists.
  • XCOM: Enemy Unknown:
    • Multiple high-tier MEC Troopers are incredibly powerful Lightning Bruisers, but they're incredibly expensive to field. 10 Meld to allow a trooper to use MECs, 40 to produce the basic tier-1 suit, 60 to upgrade it to the tier-2 suit, and 100 Meld to upgrade it to the tier-3. All in all, it costs 210 Meld to fully upgrade a single MEC Trooper, when most missions net you 20 at most.
    • Fully gene-modding a soldier is also this for the same reasons. Depending on what you pick, you may have to pay up to 200 Credits and 150 Meld to fully kit out a soldier with gene mods. It also takes twenty days to complete the procedure. However, you're left with a super-powered badass who can take out several aliens by him/herself, and forms a deadly duo with MECs and psionic troopers.
    • Shotguns for the Assault class. While the Assault Rifle is a completely superior choice on lower difficulties, the Shotgun is a must on Impossible. Using a Shotgun trooper effectively requires excellent knowledge and use of cover and concealment, but killing an alien with a critical hit is vital if you want to succeed.
    • The Sniper's In The Zone ability can be this. Killing a target that has been flanked or is out of cover does not cost the Sniper an action, meaning that one Sniper can take down many aliens in a single turn. However, taking full advantage of this requires a lot of setup and luck.
  • Civilization:
    • Aiming for the Domination or Conquest victory fits into this bill in many of the games. Invading other people's cities and annexing them (or Rape, Pillage, and Burn or, in V, making puppet states out of them) fits the bill. It's fun to conquer every single city, but it requires a lot of micromanagement and strategy with your units. You're also going to have to deal with a lot of unhappiness due to overpopulation, angry citizens from occupied cities and city-states, and having diplomatic relations completely cut off and every civilization declare war on you for your war-mongering attitude. This is why "military based civilizations" (i.e. Mongols, Aztecs, Huns, and the Japanese) are considered to be high-risk/high-reward type of civilization.
    • The entire point of Wonders is they are expensive to produce, other people may beat you to building one (meaning you wasted all your effort) and time spent building one could have been better spent making lots of conventional forces. But if you finish it, you get something pretty awesome that changes how you play the game.
    • In V, Venice has a unique playstyle where they cannot build any other cities and is very reliant on their capital city. Do bad and Venice can easily get conquered as early as Ancient Era. Do good however and you will get massive amounts of gold, food population, and units that can easily defend Venice while going for a cultural victory.
    • Getting a Cultural Victory via Tourism in Brave New World requires a lot of planning, both to get the right Great Works at the right time and getting the aforementioned Wonders, but do it right and you can get the rest of the world to concede the superiority of your culture without firing a shot.
  • In Final Fantasy Tactics is the Calculator. It is the slowest unit in the game by far. Using various math calculations, it can hit multiple units anywhere on the map, with nearly any magic spell, used instantly and without consuming any MP. The height of the tile a unit is standing on, their Experience Points, their Level and how charged their turn timer is can be selected, with variables of 3, 4, 5 and Prime Number. Careful use of these can wipe out an entire field of enemies, give giant boosts to your entire team at once, and even bring an entire team back to life with full health in an instant. By giving these skills to the Ninja class (the fastest in the game) it becomes so powerful that it was banned in PVP matches completely.
  • In Heroes of Might and Magic III, the Fortress faction requires a bit of finesse to use properly. However, nearly all of their units have a special ability which can be put to good use if you know what you're doing. The Dragonfly is a flying debuff + dispel (goodbye Prayer, Magic Mirror, etc.). The Basilisks have a chance of petrifying enemies taking them out of the fight for a while (save those pesky Dragons for later). Wyverns can poison enemies softening them up for the kill (all those hitpoints seventh level units boast don't mean much when you lose half of them each turn for three turns). Hydras can potentially deal a ridiculous amount of damage since they attack everything around them with no retaliation (combine with Haste and Teleport for best effect — nothing like having rampaging Hydras on speed appear right in the middle of the enemy formation or behind their castle walls). The cream of the crop are the Mighty Gorgons (upgraded 5th level unit) which has a Death Stare that can instantly kill a number of the units in a stack they attack (say goodbye to your precious Archangels). The reason the Fortress is still challenging to use despite these abilities is because the units' actual stats are rather lackluster. Most of them are pretty slow (the Hydra is the slowest seventh level unit in the game), the two fliers with decent speed are fragile and weak for their tier, and the army overall tends to favor Defense. The Fortress having a grand total of one ranged unit — a lackluster one that has nothing going for it except decent defense and hitpoints — also doesn't help matters.
  • In Mordheim: City of the Damned, the Cult of the Possessed have a horrible early game due to their Glass Cannon tendencies and random mutations, but if they manage to survive it in decent condition, they have the potential to become pretty powerful. A full-tank Darksoul can keep multiple enemy warriors occupied for round after rounde, since Darksouls never take All Alone tests and can become pretty sturdy, while a Magister who advanced Chaos Chains can make enemy Heroes nearly powerless and a Possessed or Spawn with the right mutations can destroy them like there's no tomorrow.

    Wide-Open Sandbox 
  • In Minecraft, learning how to work with redstone can be a challenging feat, requiring an intimate understanding of the game's block physics and a good understanding of boolean algebra. Once you get to grips with redstone, you can produce some outstanding projects, such as mob grinders, home security systems, and Turing machines.
  • Terraria:
    • In General:
      • Expert Mode, of course. All the enemies are insanely buffed (not to mention can steal your money) and the bosses are much harder to kill, but in exchange some of your equipment becomes more effective, everything drops more loot, and you can get expert-exclusive items from the bosses.
      • Crimson Worlds. While the Crimson's enemies are often considered harder than the Corruption's, and the boss is much more confusing and deadly, the weapons you can get from it are generally much more effective (read: Crimson Armor and Golden Shower).
    • For Weapons:
      • Flails can be incredibly fiddly to use and awkward to aim, but once you master them, especially the Dao of Pow, you can become almost unstoppable. They pierce foes, rebound, and deal lingering damage around the ball head, making them incredibly deadly against larger and/or segmented foes. The second-best damaging flail, the Dao of Pow, also has a chance of confusing enemies. The Flower Pow does slightly more damage and its flower (which is the spiked ball) shoots petals at nearby mobs as long as it is out.
      • The Star Cannon in Easymode. It deals absolutely ridiculous damage and pierces, but requires Fallen Stars as ammo, which are incredibly hard to get a large supply of. If you farm enough though, you will be able to easily demolish even the Wall of Flesh, and it can even be used effectively on Hardmode bosses.
      • The Coin Gun is normally an Awesome, but Impractical money waster. However, if you only shoot Silver Coins, it can become a completely self-sufficient weapon, easily making back the money it shoots. Shooting Silver Coins, however, is trickier than it sounds, and requires constant attention to your coin count.
      • Yoyo-class weapons introduced in 1.3 have some major drawbacks: limited spin time Explanation , lack of auto-swing to re-release them when they wind back, and relatively small hitboxes. This is balanced out by the fact that they deal continuous contact damage like flails but with much greater control, they follow your mouse cursor so you can easily track enemies until the yo-yo retracts, and their small hitbox combined with mouse control allows you to guide them around corners and even through 1-block wide holes, allowing you to attack from behind cover. They also have a number of accesories that improve their usability Explanation , and all of them can be combined together into the Yoyo Bag to save equipment slots. Once you're kitted out and fully-familiarized with Yoyos, they can easily rival or even surpass Flails under certain conditions.
      • Pre-hardmode, grenades can deal out insane damage against enemies, but will only trigger if they make contact. It's easy to accidentally miss a lot (or even worse, blow yourself up), but if you have good aim, they can rack up damage against enemies and bosses at a very quick rate.
  • Designing and successfully flying a single-stage-to-orbit spaceplane is the way to invoke this trope in Kerbal Space Program. Anything an SSTO is capable of doing, a plain old rocket can do it much more simply - and in most cases, more efficiently. They can be a real pain to get working properly and are by no means the easiest or fastest way to orbit. Pulling one off, however, is seen as a rite-of-passage amongst KSP players, and it results in a rather useful do-everything reusable utility craft.
  • TerraTech:
    • Aeroplanes have to be lightweight and balanced to fly properly, but a well-made plane can bombard land-bound techs with missiles and bombs without taking a single hit. Drones and helicopters are just as awesome, but twice as difficult.
    • Melee weapons deal heavy damage and penetrate through shields, but using them requires you to get close to an enemy tech while enduring all its guns.
    • Full Venture builds. Venture blocks are lightweight and have very little health and their wheels are the fastest in the game, allowing for fast, weak techs. A few good shots from a Megaton cannon are usually enough to finish a Venture tech, but a skilled player can use it to run rings around slow enemies.


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