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Heart Is an Awesome Power

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"Command the creatures of the deep" doesn't sound so stupid now, huh? note 

Largo: Dude, I'm battlin' zombies and all I got is luv pow3r from a n3wb magical grrl. Help me out here.
Rent-a-Zilla Salesman: All ya got? That's enough, mate.

The character decided to play the Superpower Lottery and ended up at the bottom of the superpower scale. In the world full of Reality Warpers and Elemental Powers, they won a heart. Lame, right?

Hey, Heart is an awesome power! Somehow they manage to Curb Stomp Nigh Invulnerable foes. Why?

Usually, a type of skill reapplication: the power has utilities which no one but the Weak, but Skilled hero recognizes. Occasionally the main power isn't the awesome part, it's the Required Secondary Powers needed to have it work in a remotely logical way.note  Sometimes justified with the powers only becoming effective over time, or that they are only effective under certain conditions — however then they pay off handsomely.

Sometimes the character does not realize the usefulness of the skill until later, in which case it is a Chekhov's Skill. Might involve a Chekhov's Classroom on the lines of: "Sure, my only power is to control X... but you forget that Y is X too."

Might be An Aesop to make the most of what you have. Especially ironic if another character had, or could have had the same ability before, but decided that it was useless.

The video game version is usually a Lethal Joke Character, and sometimes Difficult, but Awesome. Sister Trope to Lethal Harmless Powers, where normally useful but inoffensive powers turn out to be able to really hurt others. See also the Inverse Law of Complexity to Power, which can be why these powers become useful. Semantic Superpowers often seem like this initially, before the implications of just how broadly they can be applied become clear.

A Sub-Trope of Improvisational Ingenuity.

Compare Magikarp Power, which truly is useless at first, but eventually ascends to extreme power through hard work and/or patience. Contrast Weaksauce Weakness and Logical Weakness, in which otherwise strong powers contain vulnerabilities that make their wielders not as effective as they might seem. Do not confuse this with Flight, Strength, Heart, where the character has a relatively useless power, and also an awesome power. If the power is truly useless outside the highly restrictive conditions of an Eigen Plot contrived to make it useful, then This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman. Gross-out powers can involve both this trope and Revolting Rescue.

Despite the name, this trope is not explicitly about The Heart or The Power of Love but that can happen.

Works with their own pages:


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    Asian Animation 
  • In Happy Heroes, Sweet S. has the ability to produce bubbles. Normally this would probably be a ridiculous superpower, but Sweet S.'s bubbles make for very effective shields and a good form of flying, among other things.

    Comic Books 
The DCU:
  • Aquaman is absolutely not as weak as Memetic Mutation would have one believe. A combination of Required Secondary Powers (he can swim like a fish and punch people while under 500+ atmospheres of pressure, which is Superman-level asskickery) and Fridge Horror (he commands everything that lives in the ocean; guess where Godzilla, Cthulhu, and the Leviathan live?) have had many writers portray him as horrifically powerful and outright feared by heroes and villains alike, and for very good reasons.
    "He could control every creature that lives in the sea. But I don't think either of you know what that really means. Do you know, do you understand, do you have any idea how much life there is in just one single square mile of sea? I don't think you do... and if you multiply that by lots of miles in every direction... I'd never seen anything like it in my whole life... and God as my witness, I hope to never see it again."
    The Brave and the Bold, Vol 3, #32
    • Perhaps the most awesome (and funny) example is Aquaman's friendship with sea life used to defeat Namor in Marvel Versus DC. Poor Namor never knew what hit him when he had an orca dropped on him.
    • A few writers give him the ability to command not only sea life but also any animal with any connection to the sea, even vestigial or ancestral. Considering life originated in the ocean and every animal has an aquatic common ancestor, that means he can control every animal that has ever existed, including humans. It even included Martians kind of impersonating humans (or possibly just humanoid aliens), most likely indicating that the author had forgotten about his own reveal.
    • Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox has the Justice League disarm Thawne/Zoom's 25th-century explosives he plants on the Rogues to destroy Central City. How does Aquaman do it? He travels to a nearby lake and tosses him in. When the Rogue, the Top, asks Aquaman if he's gonna do something, Aquaman calmly responds that he is... he is commanding a million aquatic microbes to eat the bomb's wiring. Once done, he grabs and crushes it. Simple and effective, being one of the few to stop the bombs before detonating.
  • Batman:
    • Among the massive roster of Batman's lesser-known enemies, there's the Carpenter, originally part of Mad Hatter's crew, who is a carpenter. Sounds pretty lame, but who do you think built all those evil lairs and giant traps the big-time villains love to use? Given the bill she presented Selina in Gotham City Sirens, she makes a good living off her work. There was even one instance where she saved Batman from a stage covered with booby traps she had made for the Director, then took out the Director with one of the traps he had commissioned her to build.
    • Another of Batman's C-list foes is a guy called Signalman, who commits crimes and uses gadgetry based on signs, signals, and symbols. He's pretty firmly a joke, but every so often a writer will demonstrate that it's a very dangerous motif to operate off of when handled correctly, and Signalman has performed acts like hijacking Gotham's air traffic control system or using glow spots to disrupt the human nervous system.
  • How many comic book-loving tropers don't think much of Justice League of America member Vibe because of his vibrational powers and Ethnic Scrappy tendencies? Check out this example of sheer power. And how about this sequence in which he stabilizes time eras during Crisis on Infinite Earths? The New 52 reboot of Vibe drops the Captain Ethnic elements and makes him a more fully realized character. His abilities allow him to sense breaches from other dimensions, making him the Justice League's guardian of The Multiverse.
  • This is a grand tradition for the Legion of Super-Heroes, or, more often, The Legion of Substitute Heroes. Most characters have only one power, and it's not always something very impressive.... at first.
    • One of their first recruits was Triplicate Girl, with the ability to transform from one ordinary teenage girl... to three ordinary teenage girls. Useful for doing chores, but not much good in combat. At least, not until she became a master of Tri-Jitsu, a martial art based around the fact that you have six arms, six legs, and three potential points of attack to coordinate from. She is also an expert infiltrator. Go somewhere and be seen to walk back out... after leaving two of your selves hidden somewhere, have them gather information, and then reunite to share and correlate. To top it off, splitting in two or three is a pretty handy way to dodge attacks.
    • Bouncing Boy can turn into a giant bouncy ball. It sure seems least until a 200-pound near-invulnerable sphere ricochets off a wall and slams into you at about 80 miles an hour.
    • Matter-Eater Lad can... eat anything. Hardly a power to write home about. However, seeing as Tenzil Kem's personal definition of "stuff" includes laser beams and doomsday computers, you might want to keep him around in case you need to get rid of something. In one story he ate a supposedly indestructible wish-granting device and so saved The Legion from the invincible monster it had created after everyone else failed. It drove him mad, but hey, he saved the universe! In at least one version, being able to bite through and chew up anything meant the Required Secondary Power of acidic saliva, providing a potentially nasty ranged attack.
    • Chemical Kid can alter chemical reactions. In the New 52, he is terrified and asks why everyone is counting on him to subdue a rampaging Daxamite (Daxamites have all the same powers as Kryptonians). Element Lad talks him through slowing down the chemical reactions in the Daxamite's brain, causing him to pass out, then reversing the chemical reactions in his skin that let him absorb and process sunlight, taking away his powers. This means Chemical Kid can defeat Superman if he wanted to. "Altering chemical reactions" has every potential to be lethal if it can affect living organisms, which kind of depend on carefully balanced and regulated chemical processes to keep working. (Note, though, that things like transmuting elements or causing/affecting nuclear reactions don't technically fall under "chemistry".)
    • Almost all of the Substitute Heroes qualify in one form or another. To wit:
      • Color Kid is perhaps the best example of the trope. He can make things change color. Doesn't sound like much, but during his tenure, he turns green kryptonite into (harmless to Superman) blue kryptonite, switches the color of the sky and the ground (confusing fighter pilots), create clouds of "black" to blind opponents (and power up his teammate Night Girl, who loses her powers in daylight), change someone's entire body to match a wall to provide camouflage, and fire day-glo beams that blind and confuse opponents. Turning yellow sunlight into red might instantly de-power any Daxamite or Kryptonian opponent as well, depending on the writer's interpretation of how quickly that weakness kicks in.
      • Chlorophyll Kid can accelerate plant growth, but he couldn't control any other aspect of them. But over time, he learned to control the direction and (to an extent) shape of plants he's speeding the growth of, making him much more useful in a fight and depending on just where a plant starts growing from, like say on or in an opponent, it was useful even before he started working on it.
      • Infectious Lass spontaneously generates infectious diseases that she herself is immune to. Turns out being able to bring people to their knees with nothing more than a sudden stomach bug is pretty damn handy.
      • Stone Boy can turn himself into an immobile stone statue. It's got a surprising amount of utility; his teammates can use him as a weapon by throwing him at or dropping him on enemies (or he can do the job himself with a Legion flight ring), and his stone form is nigh-indestructible, granting him some serious defense. Preboot Stone Boy even learned how to turn select parts of his body into stone and move when fully transformed.
  • On a similar note to Spider-Ham below, in The Multiversity, Captain Carrot comes from an Alternate Tooniverse where everything runs on Toon Physics, which he brings along when he visits the other worlds of the multiverse, allowing him to survive things that would kill anyone else, like taking a hit from a Hulk-analogue or getting decapitated.
  • New Gods has Glorious Godfrey. His power is to be extremely handsome and charismatic, and was basically an afterthought of Apokalips for decades — until Darkseid used his power as a WMD in Legends, having him become a television pundit named G. Gordon Godfrey and use his persuasive powers to convince everyone on Earth that superheroes were a problem.
  • Plastic Man. Hoo boy, Plastic Man. Many villains underestimate Plas for his goofy demeanor and the stigma that stretching powers are useless. Well, Plas doesn't have stretching powers, he's a shapeshifter, and possibly the greatest in The DCU at that. He can change his size, shape, and density, enabling him to shrug off damage that could kill many members of the Justice League outright and raise the density of his fist to be able to explode your head with one blow (but he's too nice for that). His shapeshifting is so radical that he can pretty much hide in plain sight any time he wants by changing shape into everyday things, too, so you won't see him coming. He doesn't age, and he's effectively immortal — at one point, he was frozen, shattered into thousands of pieces, and scattered across the ocean floor. Once someone reassembled the pieces a few millennia later, he was just fine. Oh, and as a side effect to his shapeshifting powers, his brain changes shape so drastically and constantly that he's effectively immune to psychic powers. Let's not even get into Orifice Invasion. Pissing off Plastic Man is a terrible idea.
    Batman: He could kill us all. For him, it would be easy.
    • When Martian Manhunter was taken over by a Superpowered Evil Side that lacked the standard Martian weakness to fire (rendering him a shapeshifting telepath with Superman-caliber Flying Brick powers and no weaknesses), Batman had a very simple contingency plan for such a scenario: send Plastic Man to fight him alone. In a similar vein, the literal contingency plan for Plastic Man going rogue is simply "Really hope it doesn't happen".
  • Secret Six:
    • Ragdoll underwent a surgical process that made him "triple-jointed", essentially making him the world's best contortionist. This allows him to (among other things) wrap around someone like a snake and crush them, fit inside spaces no actual human should be able to, and dodge attacks like nobody's business. Beware the Silly Ones indeed.
    • The New 52 run introduces Porcelain, who has the ability to make things brittle like glass or even outright shatter. This makes for an exceptionally useful skill for breaking in and out of places, and even better at hand-to-hand combat (since you know, breaking bones). At one point, Porcelain was within an inch of killing frikkin' SUPERMAN.
  • Superman: Super Vacuum Breath — essentially using Super-Breath to inhale air instead of expelling it out — sounded so silly that even pre-Crisis Superman and Supergirl (who thought nothing of their super-ventriloquism ability) considered it a ridiculous power. Still, it saves Superboy's life in How Luthor Met Superboy when Lex Luthor exposes him to Kryptonite, and while Clark is lying in agony, waves a flask of K-antidote over his face. Quickly, Superboy breathes in air, wrenching the flask from Luthor's hands and sucking in the antidote.
  • Swamp Thing: Alan Moore thought about what a character with complete empathy with/control over plants could do and he reworked the character. The fast grow method leads to a striking Body Horror demise for one of Swampy's foes after he eats a burger containing tomato slices, lettuce, pickles, onions...
  • Dove of the Teen Titans is a low-level Flying Brick, who also has the power of "perfect peace". In the Blackest Night crossover, this not only allowed the previous Dove to not come back as a zombie but also allowed the current Dove to destroy hordes of the otherwise-unstoppable emotion-powered zombies at once.
Marvel Universe:
  • Captain America: Some of the Falcon's powers include talking to birds and seeing what they see. It doesn't sound too promising until you realize that these birds can aid him in battle and act as his spies from everywhere. It's been implied that between Nick Fury and all of the resources of S.H.I.E.L.D., and Falcon with all of the pigeons in New York, Falcon has the better intelligence network. His powers also affect other creatures that have some sort of avian ancestry. An issue of The Avengers has him rescuing the team from a group of raptor-like aliens by using his abilities to force the creatures to flee. People also forget that his wings are pretty powerful melee weapons. This is lampshaded in Ultimate Nightmare when Black Widow jokingly says that Falcon wouldn't impress Unicorn by flapping his wings, only to retract her statement when he uses them to eviscerate the villain.
  • Dazzler, Marvel's very own Fad Super, has the ability to absorb sound and convert it into light. This may not sound like much at first glance, but she can do things like blinding people with bright flashes (duh), creating a strobe effect that upsets equilibrium, creating holograms, and even Frickin' Laser Beams. She's also immune to sound-based attacks because they just make her stronger. Her ability is shown to be obscenely powerful, as Galactus once recruited her to retrieve one of his Heralds and exposed her to unimaginable sounds, including the explosion of an entire galaxy,note  to boost her to sufficient levels. In fact, Black Bolt of The Inhumans, who's considered one of the top-tier powerhouses of the Marvel Universe, can have his voice absorbed by her but not his full-on "Quasi-Sonic scream" because it's not an actual sound attack but rather him manipulating electrons to create the attack. It's also suggested that one day, she could expand this property to cover other fundamental forms of energy. Ever set off a nuclear explosion with a boombox?
    • Notably, Dazzler's solo series involved her teaming up with Black Bolt in a battle with the Absorbing Man, a guy who gives Thor fits on a regular basis. Black Bolt supercharged Dazzler with so much raw sound that she was able to completely overload the Absorbing Man's powers and knock him out. Keep in mind that the Absorbing Man is a guy who's tanked cosmic energy blasts and cyclones from Odin, Thor's father and a Physical God.
  • Seiji from the Muties miniseries has the ability to telekinetically animate his toys. It's mostly just good for making playtime more entertaining, right up until Seiji reaches his limit with his abusive step-dad and commands every toy he has to Zerg Rush him. And Seiji's got a whole army of toys.
  • New Warriors:
    • Deborah "Debrii" Fields has low-range telekinesis. She can levitate herself off the ground to allow for flight, and she can telekinetically move small objects within her immediate vicinity. Sounds rather weak, but she makes up for it by controlling every single small object near her with such precision that it's scary. Fighting in a junkyard, she effectively created a tornado of junk to batter her opponent and even formed a "mech suit" of junk around her body. Fighting her on a beach would mean her opponent would be up against a vicious sandstorm. And that's not even getting into the fact that even the human body has small parts, such as certain bones, muscles, and even eyeballs.
    • Night Thrasher, the founder of the New Warriors, has no powers. He eventually evolves into a Gadgeteer Genius, but he's best known as the hero who rode into battle on a skateboard in the '90s. Though he drops it in later versions, his return in Contest of Champions (2015) has him reclaim his old board and use only it to take down an alternate universe telepathic Madame Hydra and a more ruthless alternate version of Elektra. He neutralizes both of them with only his skateboard, noting how it's a transport, a weapon, and a shield. He doesn't care how silly it sounds in concept — it's still really effective. Lampshaded by The Punisher, of all people:
      Frank Castle: I called it stupid? It serves as a weapon and a shield at the same time. Maybe I should get one.
  • In Secret Avengers, the Scientist Supreme informs D-list supervillain Mentallo that his limited psionic abilities are quite laughable, but could be invaluable if utilized correctly. Cut to the next issue, where Mentallo throws the U.S. government into a state of emergency after mentally hijacking their entire fleet of Iron Patriot drones.
  • Spider-Man:
    • Peter once ripped part of Norman Osborn's face off when he stuck to it with his stickum' powers during American Son. Not how Stan Lee imagined it being used, but awesome regardless.
    • On a similar note, Spider-Man's clone Kaine once used his sticking powers to tear off a piece of wall and beat the Rhino over the head with it. He would also use his sticking powers routinely to leave the "Mark of Kaine" on his victims, in the same manner that Spidey would later use them in the above-mentioned American Son example.
    • Garrison Klum/Mr. Brownstone from Spider-Man/Black Cat: The Evil That Men Do can teleport matter... a few grams at a time. He uses those powers to become a drug dealer catering to wealthy clients wishing to indulge in heroin without any nasty needle marks. Naturally, he can also teleport drugs to people's systems against their will...
    • Mysterio often catches flack for his goofy appearance, his over-the-top persona and his villain abilities coming from special effects wizardry rather than any physical attributes. Yet his use of said special effects is consistently dangerous, with him being able to make working robots, create realistic illusions and even nearly drove Spider-Man (and later, Daredevil) insane through his machinations.
    • Spider-Ham is a cartoon pig with spider-powers (or more correctly, a cartoon spider bitten by a radioactive pig). This means that, as a cartoon character, he has the same properties as them. Bringing them to the more grittier and rougher worlds, such as Earth-616, this turns him into a Made of Iron hero. A good example is during Secret Wars (2015)'s version of Spider-Verse, when he coerces a Thor to punch him. He takes it, gets knocked through many walls, comes to a stop at a break room, and casually gets up and walks off, taking Electro's sandwich while he was at it. This also allows him to eat pork without it being considered cannibalism.
    • Supporting character Razorback has the mutant ability to instinctively operate any vehicle — including alien Humongous Mecha that didn't exactly come with instructions.
  • Ultimate Marvel:
  • The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl has the power to control squirrels, and has become a Running Gag and Marvel's Lethal Joke Character by defeating the most powerful supervillains in existence... off-panel. The off-panel thing is becoming mostly subverted, as she easily defeats Wolverine in a sparring match, shown mostly in silhouette but still visible, and she was also shown ripping killer Nazi mechas to shreds, chewing through steel doors, and burrowing through multiple layers of sewer. In her case, this is crossed with Flight, Strength, Heart, as she actually has a pretty useful (if not overly impressive) set of abilities due to her squirrel nature — superhuman strength and agility, superhuman senses, the ability to leap huge distances, and nasty claws. Yet, she manages to draw mileage even out of her actual "Heart" power — the ability to talk to squirrels — since apparently, being swarmed by dozens, if not hundreds of tiny clawing and biting critters can be surprisingly effective. Then came "Squirrel Girl Beats Up the Marvel Universe", in which her evil...ish clone Alleene outlined and executed a terrifyingly simple plan to cripple all humanity with her squirrels.
  • X-Men:
    • Jubilee's original power set makes her a frequent source of ridicule since on the surface her fireworks seem incredibly useless. But then you remember that she's manipulating plasma. Emma Frost once stated that had Jubilee exercised her powers to their full potential, she was capable of detonating matter at the sub-atomic level, making her a walking fusion bomb. And the only limitation on where she manifests her fireworks seems to be range. You know what happens when a firework goes off inside your skull? Luckily, nobody except one Omega Sentinel has ever had to find out.
    • Doug "Cypher" Ramsey of the junior team New Mutants originally had the power of comprehending languages, and that was it. Then he died and came back, with his powers expanding to all forms of "language". This includes computer language (making him a master hacker and programmer; he once managed to disable an entire Sentinel facility just by communicating with Master Mold in this way), arcane languages (letting him cast spells), body language (giving him the ability to fight all the New Mutants at the same time and win), and even the structure of buildings, allowing him to pinpoint their weak spots instantly. Took a Level in Badass, indeed. Many fanfic writers anticipated the potential broader interpretation/application of his powers even before his demise. Canon finally caught up with them.
    • E-list member Fabio Medina has the ability to generate golden balls of organic matter. He can shoot them pretty fast and hard, but it's hardly anything special, so he mostly stuck around in the background with the Atrocious Alias Goldballs... until people started looking into his powers a little more deeply, and discovered that his actual power was to generate what were essentially giant inert eggs. With a little tinkering and help from others, these eggs could then hatch, and be infused with the DNA and minds of others. He ended up on a team including characters like Elixir, Hope Summers, and Proteus because all of them working together could bring the dead back to life.
  • One of the Captain Planet comic books actually has Ma-Ti lamenting over how lame "Heart" is as a power after Wheeler makes fun of him for it. Later in the issue, Ma-Ti uses his ring to reach and understand the hearts of all the creatures in the forest to help the other planeteers, including bears.
  • Amelia Mintz from Chew can write or talk about food so vividly that it can cause people to actually taste it. While it definitely makes her a good restaurant critic, it doesn't look very useful in other situations... until she sends several armed terrorists to the hospital by loudly reciting an unabridged review of a particularly bad restaurant. And then she was revealed to be able to induce fatal food poisoning.
  • Empowered: Emp's suit gives her a long list of powers, most of which (besides the obviously awesome ones like Nigh-Invulnerability or Super-Strength) are rather random. Top of the list is probably her invisibility, which sounds great, but it actually only makes the suit itself invisible. And even that's unreliable, as when she tries to make her mask invisible she makes everything but her mask invisible. But since everyone knows that Emp loses all her powers when her suit is torn, she is able to trick a villain by letting him think her suit is completely gone, only to reveal that it's merely invisible. Cue No-Holds-Barred Beatdown.
  • Lanfeust:
    • Cixi's powe is to change water's state between liquid, solid, and gas. Said like this, it doesn't seem that powerful, but it becomes horribly creepy when you realize humans are mostly made of water. At one point, Big Bad Thanos has her causing a man's blood to boil until he is literally burnt from the inside.
    • Heck, the comic is filled with examples of the trope. For example, after Thanos manages to take over Troy's capital, a man whose power is reading the future in animal entrails (e.g. a haruspex) uses said power (shown earlier to be somewhat useful but nothing special by the setting's standards) to run a very efficient underground insurgency, and one of his best elements is a big, middle-aged woman with the power induce horrible, crippling indigestion in people just by looking at them (something she does to mooks with great relish).
  • Mega Man (Archie Comics):
    • The Robot Masters built by Dr. Light in the classic Mega Man series are always initially used for some sort of industrial applications, before being repurposed by the Big Bad for combat. Most of these uses are either obvious or well explained in the games' backstories, with one glaring exception: Time Man, who was designed for time travel experiments, but who can only slow time down. This is justified in that he's a prototype from before the perfection of time travel theory, but it still leaves him without an obvious Mundane Utility. The comic, however, reveals one use that would be invaluable to anyone involved: surgery.
    • We see Bright Man prior to the plot of Mega Man 4, where his only power (made to explore dark places) is being able to generate light on the level of a decently powered lamp. Wily, though, quickly realizes that a bit of rerouting turns him into a walking flash grenade.
  • In PS238, the titular Superhero School has the Rainmaker Program, to help students find uses for powers not suited to combat. Uther can make anything edible? He can be the world's greatest chef! A little girl who's the human incarnation of Hestia, the Greek goddess of family? She could be a marriage counselor, a family therapist, etc.
  • Rising Stars has Laurel Darkhaven, who can telekinetically manipulate very, very small objects. Such as your carotid artery. She becomes a government assassin. She later uses the ability to control "very small things" to telekinetically sift every inch of arable soil under the entire Middle East in order to make the entire region fertile again. The results can be seen from orbit! Turns out many powers are like this because of implications or aspects directly hidden. Poet's powers are supposed to be just minor energy abilities, but they're actually control over the Power itself...
  • Secret Weapons focuses on rejects from the Harbringer super-empowering project, whose powers were dismissed by the founder as useless. However, over the course of the series, they discover greater use for them:
    • Nikki can talk to birds, which allows her to spy across the whole of Oklahoma City and track enemies. Combined with her acrobatic skills she's the most capable member of the Willows rejects.
    • Avi can only turn into an immobile marble statue, but that still allows him to become bulletproof mid-fight. By jumping above enemies and then turning to stone he can also easily snap limbs.
    • Owen unpredictably creates random objects out of thin air. But he is slowly figuring out how to control his power, allowing him to block projectiles with suits of armour and conjuring a grand piano above an enemy.
  • Stormwatch: Team Achilles has a character whose superpower is to make plants grow really fast... and he works as an assassin. The thing is, most people at any given time have seeds in their digestive tract from the vegetation they've eaten, and growing those up to full plants in a few seconds leads to a nasty death from internal injuries and/or choking.
  • The Transformers: More than Meets the Eye:
    • During the Shadowplay arc, we are introduced to Glitch, an Outlier with the powerful ability to... short out machinery, and just temporarily so most of the time. An ability that he has trouble controlling and actually hurts him nearly every time he tries to use it purposely. It proves useful sometimes, like when he deactivated the security mechanisms of a building he and his team were doing a heist in, but more often than not it's a nuisance, as Glitch can accidentally damage important equipment just by touching it. Cut to some years later, and as Tarn, he has full control of his powers, to the point that he has not only learned how to weaponize it to lethal levels, but also he's now able to kill fellow Cybertronians with just the sound of his voice, quite literally talking them to death. Turns out that when your entire species is mechanical in nature, being a Walking Techbane is actually pretty damn scary.
    • Minimus Ambus is a particular variety of Point One Percenter called a Loadbearer, a Cybertronian whose body can withstand dozens of augmentations without collapsing under the strain. What good is this? Plenty. Not only does it let him operate as the legendary Ultra Magnus by way of Powered Armor, but he survives getting his head crushed by constructing a larger version of his own body and hiding inside that. Then, he takes it one step further by going full-on Humongous Mecha courtesy of the Maximus Ambus armor, armed with enough firepower to put any tank to shame.

    Fan Works 
  • The Arithmancer:
    • Harry is not very impressed by the spells Hermione invents for him before the Second Task — until she makes him try them out. He quickly discovers that her strobing green laser is very jarring if it gets you in the eye, and when cursed to speak in iambic pentameter, he can't successfully cast a wide variety of spells, including those that might lift the curse. Cedric is later saved by learning to cast the green laser, because it travels at light-speed and throws off Barty Crouch Jr's aim at the last moment.
      Hermione: I think I'll leave [the iambic pentameter curse] on and see how long it takes for people to notice.
      Harry: Hermio-n-n-NEE!
      Hermione: That's what you get for criticising my spells, Harry.
    • All her life, Hermione has had to deal with people asking, "What is maths good for?" The answer is that it lets her plumb previously unknown depths of magic, from molecular rearrangement that works like permanent Transfiguration without the usual five exceptions, to the invention of a plethora of new hexes and curses with remarkable effects like bypassing shields, to successfully using Ravenclaw's Diadem.
  • As Dreams Are Made On: The protagonist, a fictionalized version of the author who's found herself in Bella Swan's body, doesn't have Bella's shield power, and Edward Cullen is wholly capable of reading her thoughts. The power she does end up discovering, in fact, doesn't benefit her personally at all: she has the ability to enhance, remove, or otherwise alter the supernatural abilities of vampires. It is, unfortunately, Power at a Price, as her human body can't handle it and she risks nerve damage, brain damage, and even death every time she uses it, but that's only an issue as long as she's human. Later developments in the main story and side stories expand her powers significantly, and it becomes clear that the Volturi, at least, would be very interested if they ever became aware of her existence.
  • Atonement: As the bearer of the "True Healer" shard, Madison/Tether can shut down the Conflict Ball all parahumans possess. While this may not sound like much, this power has let her redeem numerous major villains, and indirectly defeated or disarmed several of the setting's biggest threats.
  • The Bridge: Rarity manages to figure out a way to use her talent for fashion to exorcise Enjin from Sunset by combining it with Luna's dark magic banishment spell she'd taught her and Nightmare's power upon realizing Enjin couldn't manifest around Sunset without still remaining attached to her somehow and 'cutting the threads'' holding him to her.
  • Cardcaptor Rad: The protagonist Rad doesn't think any of the cards are useless, just not suitable for certain situations, and comes up with creative ways to deal with some of the rampant cards, such as using The Sweet to help him deal with The Sword and The Watery, and The Glow to help him against The Shadow.
  • Child of the Storm has a notable example in normally C-List X-Man Sean Cassidy a.k.a. Banshee, whose power is normally limited to screaming and somehow flying off that. Here, about forty years of practice mean that he's explored the full possibilities of his powers, including Super Hearing sufficient to create a sonar that Daredevil would envy, being able to extend a field of absolute silence around himself, allowing him to move in absolute silence, shoot completely silently and even nullify the sound of an exploding claymore mine, and being able to hit the resonant frequency of just about anything. This means that he can destroy almost anything. Such as wands. Or bone. Or, apparently, granite, which he once liquefied. And then there's his Compelling Voice, with which he has apparently done things which give Nick Fury nightmares. Add to this the experience of having served as an Intelligence Officer in Vietnam, then as a detective for Interpol, and you get a very scary individual.
  • Consequence of Misunderstandings: Jinx shows just how deadly "bad luck" is. If used on an object, it generally breaks. If used on a person, it causes anything from a sprained ankle or broken bone to a heart attack or brain aneurysm.
  • In The Cutie Mark Crusaders Use Their Brainsssss, Scootaloo has the talent of... turning things orange. Well, "gamboge," technically. This seems completely useless and has the added insult of her cutie mark being the exact same color as her coat, and thus effectively invisible. It becomes critical to saving Equestria from, yes, a Zombie Apocalypse.
  • In The Dark Side of the Mirror Verse, this seems to be Mirror Starlight's mentality with Cutie Marks (in contrast to her prime self's Knight Templar level hatred of Cutie Marks). When a pony accuses another of having a 'loser' Cutie Mark, she takes it rather personally, and takes time to instruct another that viewing his cooking Cutie Mark as unmanly is stupid and it's perfectly possible to be both. Given she's stated to be a teacher and a tutor, this makes sense.
  • Death of the Red Mask, a live-action adaptation of the Animal Man story, changes the titular supervillain's lifelong desire to fly to being able to breathe underwater indefinitely.
  • Dekiru: The Fusion Hero!:
    • Izuku had a major complex about the usefulness of his Fusion Quirk as a hero thanks to the bullying he received during childhood. It quickly becomes obvious that only he and idiots think the Quirk isn't suited for hero work, as everyone else can see that it's possibly the most broken Quirk in existence. While the Material Fusion aspect of the Quirk is a decent ability on its own, what makes it so broken is the Human Fusion aspect, where Izuku merges with another person to create an entirely new person who is both more durable than both of them and is super-empowered with a stronger variation of their Quirk (called a "Quirk Mutation"). This only became worse when Izuku inherited One for All from All Might because his fusions can use it much better than he can thanks to their increased durability and muscle mass. With that kind of technique in his arsenal, it's only a question of when, not if, Izuku becomes the strongest hero alive.
    • Human Fusion can also exploit this for other Quirks as well. Take the Minoru Mineta example from under My Hero Academia above; while Minoru's Quirk is already useful enough on its own, with Human Fusion its sticking properties are vastly empowered and diversified to the point that it allows his fusion (or rather fusions) to trap several villains during the USJ incident, up to and including Kurogiri, Shigaraki, and Nomu. Ironically, Minoru initially didn't want to fuse with Izuku because he believed that his Quirk was so useless that not even Human Fusion could do anything to improve it.
  • DNMC: Unlike its canon counterpart, Semblances described or portrayed so far seem to amount to "one very specific thing only you can do," like making rock pillars until they reach a certain size or shooting seawater in a single direction. Naturally, it comes down to how they're used that determines a Huntsman's strength.
  • A Dream of Dawn: Fluttershy's status as a Friend to All Living Things extends to the monsters of the Everfree Forest — which lets her command an army of timber wolves, manticores, and hydra.
  • In Equestria: Across the Multiverse:
    • Fluttershy's Element of Kindness and Friend to All Living Things ability allows her to, when combined, break the holds of evil entities on the souls of others.
    • In the Bright Future world, Button Mash and his father 8-Bit have become the Alicorns of Video Games and Table Top Games respectively. They're both capable of summoning entire armies of minions from said games to the point it only took them, Sweetie Belle, and Button's mother (the Goddess of Motherhood) to easily thwart an alien invasion all on their own.
    • Filthy Rich in the Bright Future universe became Alicorn of Economics. He managed to solve the world's poverty problem with help from Diamond.
  • Heroes for Earth: In this Captain Planet fanfic Heroes for Earth, Ma-Ti's power of Heart gets it again. Besides the canon examples, his power acts as a universal translator, the only thing that lets the Planeteers understand each other since there isn't any language that they all share.
  • Hope for the Heartless: In this The Black Cauldron fanfic, the main heroine Avalina becomes the Horned King's Morality Pet. She's not a fighter or a magician, but her extraordinarily strong aura of Life and great compassion even for the likes of the Horned King allow her to accomplish some things many people wouldn't even dream of. They include befriending the lich in question and causing his heart to reawaken after centuries of being dormant, riding a gwythaint and causing an entire healthy forest to grow in a lifeless area.
  • I Thee Wed: Jaune's Semblance creates five wedding rings which brainwash any woman who puts one on into believing they're happily married. Useful for naughty things or romance but not great for combat. However, he later learns that he and his wives share a combined aura and that he can tap into their Semblances if he can get into the right mindset.
  • Somewhere in The Infinite Loops is Ranma's first X-Men loop, in which he gained the mutant power to change the temperature of water. As in, raise it from 1° Celsius to 99° Celsius, never being able to freeze or boil it. Professor Xavier is solemn when explaining this to him, expecting him to be as disappointed as the other mutants who got unimpressive powers, but Ranma is overjoyed now that he doesn't need a kettle or a thermos to control his Jusenkyo curse. He then goes on to defeat Magneto by raising his body temperature and making him pass out from hyperthermia.
  • Infinity Train: Seeker of Crocus: Tres (a passenger who is a licenced therapist) arrives at a very dangerous moment in the Palimpsest Car as Augustine is close to suicide and Chloe is reeling through her mistakes, but he does something that everything the Train (made to help people with their problems) couldn't do — he used the power of therapy along with some empathy towards their struggles to help them start to come to terms with their mistakes and start moving forward.
  • I Was Never A Scarecrow: Gilderoy Lockhart becomes an incredibly dangerous opponent due to his mastery of glamour and memory spells. As Harry puts it, "You can't trust your senses or even your memories. How do you fight someone that makes you forget you're even in a fight?"
  • Izuku's Catsuki: Izuku's quirk is the ability to turn people into ordinary house cats, which many people, including All Might himself (though that was just the result of him being stressed and tired), didn't see as particularly useful for hero work. Sure, Izuku's quirk isn't as flashy or as physically powerful as Bakugo's Explosion or Todoroki's Half-Cold Half-Hot, but it turns out that being able to disable a person and nullify their quirk for weeks with just a touch is pretty much a Story-Breaker Power.
  • Juxtapose: As a theme, this applies to Izuku and his friends, as well as several other characters in the story.
    • Izuku's Quirk Minor Banishment is the core of the fic's premise. At first, with its ability to only banish up to ten grams of matter from things Izuku touches seems useless, but then Izuku realizes that he could use it to even banish people's internal organs. Later on, he learns that he can extend its range by using a staff and can even delete the air in front of him in order to accelerate at high speeds at the cost of damage to his own body.
      • Ironically, despite most of Izuku's peers in primary school thinking otherwise, someone who doesn't agree is Katsuki — he could see how strong Izuku's Quirk really is and singles him out as his Rival. Apparently, Katsuki had come into a realization of Minor Banishment's true power when he saw Izuku banish Toshinori's blood from his clothes. After all, if Izuku could banish organic matter from outside a person's body, there was nothing stopping him from doing the same thing with their internal organs.
    • Megumi's Touch Telepathy also applies.
  • Kaleidoscope (MHA): Inko Midoriya's quirk is described as "Attraction of small objects", something that doesn't sound very impressive on paper. Here, she shows how creative application makes all the difference. Not only does she pair it well with her skill in hand-to-hand combat by using surrounding debris as a distraction then getting hits in, but the definition of "small objects" itself is rather ambiguous. Case in point, she erases her husband from existence by pulling apart his atoms when he tried to murder Izuku for being quirkless, and at one point demonstrates how most internal organs can be considered small, incapacitating her opponents by pulling on their bones and causing them excruciating pain. She was quite a successful Underground Pro Hero before deciding to retire.
  • Kwami Magi Homura Magica has several Miraculouses that normally come off as lesser in the show be particularly effective in the context of Puella Magi Madoka Magica.
    • The Pig Miraculous, whose power involves showing the target their greatest desire with the power of Jubilation, not only is noted by Homura as a very potent one hit K.O if it does hit, but the power being based on sheer happiness is a natural counter to despair. As such, its one of the known Miraculouses than can purify Soul Gems (along with the Ladybug and Woodpecker Miraculouses). The sheer power of joy also makes it powerful against Witches and can vaporize their familiars on contact, even one as powerful as Walpurgisnacht.
    • The Eagle Miraculous is able to remove the limits of the targets hit. This has mostly been seen in the form of a villain removing the moral limits that keep superheroes from misusing their powers. However because 'Madoka' is a verse where the cast tend to all be members of the Dysfunction Junction, hitting them with it removes the things that hold them back. As demonstrating in several of the past timeloops, hitting Kyoko with the power reverses her trauma-induced power loss, hitting Homura with it opens her back up to others and makes her a lot more open to others (and this last for multiple timeline resets), and hitting Mami with it makes her strong enough to kill Walpurgisnacht by removing her self doubts. The power could even prevented the entire story from happening if Homura hadn't seen the Lucky Charm telling her to go back and had seen Mami kill Walpurgisnacht.
    • Marinette thinks the Woodpecker Miraculous is a very strange power, but she cannot argue with the results. The power of Alleviation involves the odd use of the Woodpecker's tools, a spout and receptacle, to basically tap a person like a tree for harvesting raw syrup. In this case the 'sap' is the target's fatigue and ill health. The first result of this strange concept is reinvigorating any target and curing them of ills, with this power being among the ones that can remedy dulled Soul Gems even at the brink of turning into a Witch. The second part of the power is then having someone consuming that fatigue, purified into a golden syrupy substance from its original gray. In doing so the person is powered up by however severe the fatigue, illness, and pain the tapped target had been. This very strange set up results in Lady Miraculous, having used it on herself after a long and brutal fight with Homura, more or less entering a Super Mode state that very quickly defeats Homura in combat.
  • Luffy's Renewed Adventure: The Open-Open Fruit is this. Zoro lampshades how feeble the power seems from the name when Luffy tells him about the fruit, but when he explains that it can open anything you can think of, including portals in time, which affords one the capability of undoing death or preventing birth, Zoro retracts that opinion very quickly.
  • Luminosity: In the sequel, Radiance, Elspeth's powers all relate to effective communication. On its own, it can be used as an Exposition Beam or to be magically convincing, but only of things she genuinely believes. Not useless, but far from a Story-Breaker Power. But it gets very interesting when someone capable of Power Copying gets involved and starts using it on Elspeth herself and in combination with other people's powers. By the end of the novel, she can instantly De Program the brainwashed wolves, erase people's minds, and resurrect the dead.
    Elspeth: Select eligible dead individuals, subject to terms and conditions, side effects include human sacrifice, void where prohibited-
  • In the Heroes/Kim Possible crossover "The Not-So-Average Girl", Kim's power of enhanced survival instincts seems superficially tame at first, but it actually has various applications. Even when just in school, Kim's ability means that she performs well above the academic average as she's constantly taking in information that might help her survive in some way, ranging from learning to predict peoples' reactions from studying literature to knowing how to find her way in the wild by learning geography (she's only bad at home economics because she'll never need to know how to cook; either she can easily buy food in cities or she's in the wild and just needs to know what won't poison her). In combat, Kim's enhanced instincts also increase her reflexes to superhuman levels when necessary, allowing her to adjust her flight when she's thrown towards a wall to avoid a fatal impact or rapidly leaping to safety when she's thrown into the middle of a busy street. On a wider note, absorbing Kim's ability also helps Peter Petrelli overcome his canon issues with his other powers, as her instincts help Peter subconsciously realise how he can use his other powers to keep himself alive.
  • One Piece Plot Bunnies: In the fourth snippet, Luffy has the Spin Spin Fruit and, with some advice from Shanks, quickly learns how versatile the ability to "make things spin" actually is. One of his most basic attacks is to spin his arm like a drill while punching someone, but he can also launch objects at people by making them rotate towards his target, spin air around himself to fly, and he defeats Doflamingo by spinning everything near him to form a massive drill that penetrates all the way to the ocean floor. Luffy also figures out how useful spinning parts of his body is when having sex.
  • Orajje's As N Approaches Infinity Fan AUs and Oneshots (registered users only) features Homura achieving Bankai, as the result of the oneshot being a crossover with Bleach, which takes on the form of a golf club. Homura initially thinks the Bankai is completely useless if not outright mocking her due to her own past use of a club as an ineffective weapon, until she hit something with it out of frustration, at which point she discovered the Bankai's power as a Always Accurate Attack. She then used it to hit a knife at every Incubator in existence causing said knife, which promptly ignored physics, to kill every one of them in a few days.
  • Pony POV Series: Multiple characters have seemingly useless powers that later prove to be quite useful and/or deadly in certain applications.
    • Lemon Hearts' special talent is lemons. Just lemons. However, she's very creative with this to the point of being a Gifted Unicorn. For reference, most Gifted Ponies have Special Talents like commanding time or lightning abilities. Lemon Hearts is on par with them simply by being exceptionally creative with it. It's to the point where the royal guard are afraid of her (and this is a universe where the Royal Guard is competent), and she is decidedly one of the heavy hitters during the Wedding Arc. Though it helps that Changelings have an inherent aversion to lemons (namely they stink bad to them) due to being insects, but she only finds this out when she turns lemons into eye-burning smoke bombs. Her Dark World counterpart is responsible for having made a sapient race of lemon ponies.
      Lemon Hearts: [while chasing a pair of Changelings down with a stallion-sized, monstrous lemon-based Familiar] HOW'S THAT FOR AN ANGRY MOTHER LEMON?!
    • Another example is Running Gag, a member of Shining Armor's squad. His talent is languages. While on paper, this might sound useful, but not impressive, it turns out it's not just learning languages. Gag has the ability to learn any language after only hearing it spoken a few times and speak it fluently. This makes him very useful on the group's diplomatic mission and allows him to fool the Changelings utterly during the Wedding Arc by copying their native language and pretending to be one.
    • One of the things Derpy's potential Alicorn self, shown in alternate universes, is Anthropomorphic Personification of is Letter Carriers. Because nothing can stop the mail, she's The Juggernaut.
    • Apple Pie from Dark World's special talent is finding paradoxes. This talent lets her do what no one had managed to do in a thousand years: undermine Discord's control over Twilight enough to redeem her, unknowingly setting in motion the events that let the world finally be saved. She then awakens as an Element of Laughter and gains the ability to Logic Bomb things by pointing out paradoxes. This includes an entire zombie army by pointing out the paradox that they can't be alive and dead at the same.
    • Also from Dark World, Inquisition's special talent is asking questions. While useful in getting information out of others or pointing out flaws, after she becomes an Element of Honesty in the Loose Canon follow up, her Element makes it so the person she asks can't not think about what she's asking, making her both good at Armor-Piercing Question tactics and being incredibly distracting.
  • Remnant's Bizarre Adventure: Eleven Men's canon Stand power of "being able to concentrate eleven guys in one body" in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Steel Ball Run doesn't seem particularly impressive as a power. Here, Eleven Men is an extremely deadly opponent who manages to beat Yang even after her Character Development.
  • Royal Heights: Witches are all born with a certain specialty ranging from telepathy to shapeshifting. Embry's power? Words. Seems quite useless at first until you see that literally anything that corresponds with letters can be manipulated to her liking. This also pertains to learning an ancient language in seconds, changing an entire book or journal, and having complete knowledge of anything she has ever read or written.
  • The Secret Return of Alex Mack: Shaman can talk to animals, which is cute and all, and goes some way toward explaining why her parents let her run around the jungle by herself, but not all that fearsome. Except that it gives her unparalleled reconnaissance abilities. And then she brings two hundred peccaries and howler monkeys to the final showdown. One of the sequels shows her fighting against pirates with a dozen elephants, a whole pack of baboons, and 150 vervet monkeys.
  • Shadows Awakening: The normally useless Tiger talisman (balance between one's chi) is the one thing keeping the Queen of the Shadowkhan from corrupting Jade and fully possessing her.
  • Sheep Go to Heaven: Izuku is born with the quirk to change back and forth into a sheep. While seemingly unimpressive, this grants him horns and a thick skull and neck for headbutts in his human form. And, where most people are used to fighting humans, no one has any idea how to fight a sheep.
  • Shinobi of the High Seas: Like in canon, Ms. Valentine can change her weight anywhere between 1 kilogram and 10,000 kilograms. At first, she merely uses it to float up and then crush people. Later on, she learns that her physical strength is the same no matter how much she weighs and that she can increase the weight of other people/objects. Cue Ms. Valentine one-shotting a Pacifista by axe-kicking it with a 5,000-kilo leg.
  • Son of the Western Sea Percy's ship control powers may not as appear to as useful in battle as the Mark of Achilles or destructive as his ability to control storms or making volcanos erupt. But being able to bind enemies in ropes, fire cannons, or turn an opponent’s ship against them with a thought while having perfect knowledge of anything that is happening on a ship? Lethal. It is especially notable when he fought Chrysaor, who demolished Percy at swordplay despite the Mark of Achilles and negated his water control. He is done in when Percy fires two cannons with Greek Fire projectiles at his back.
  • Sons and Daughters of Sineya: Zigzagged.
    • Xander's portal to Narnia is immensely useful as not only does it give him a place to store things from whatever Monster of the Week they defeated, but it also allows him (and later Buffy and Willow) a place to have unlimited time off the clock. They can heal, do homework, or just generally relax all while knowing that nothing important will happen even when they're gone for a week.
    • Going as the Lord of the Dance for Halloween leaves Xander with three useful quality-of-life abilities. First, he's an amazing dancer who can improve the dancing of anyone nearby and the quality of any music playing. Second, he can create high-quality alcohol out of just about anything, which helps the three seduce Queen Jadis. Finally, Xander and those close to him are nearly immune to cold. Xander and Buffy have sex under a shower spray that's described as freezing cold and don't even notice the temperature.
    • On the other hand, Buffy's minor ice magic she gained from dressing as Elsa is described as being very weak by Giles and that she'd need a decade of devoted training to make the weather snow over a couple blocks.
  • Switchblade: Tripswitch had the ability to put anything, both living and non-living, into snow globes, and Izuku is later given this quirk by All For One. Some of the quirk's requirements (the user needing to be holding on to glass pieces or pebbles in order to form the snowglobe, physical contact with the target and needing to concentrate on intensely possessive feelings) made it difficult to use in direct combat, but its true worth shines in espionage-related missions, allowing the user and accomplices to smuggle anyone or anything past security who wouldn't know what to look for. It's also very useful for transporting critically injured patients to a hospital, since it prevents their injuries from worsening until they can receive medical care.
  • Tealove's Steamy Adventure: Tealove's special talent is tea. For most of the story, she isn't much of an action protagonist. However, in the final fight scene, she makes her skills useful: she brews a tea that can heal her injured teammates, then she uses the leftover boiling water as a weapon.
  • That Gnawing Worm, Cancer: Getting a mere ten pounds of telekinetic lift in exchange for brain cancer seems like a bad joke to Taylor. Except that she doesn't have a Manton limit, or any other such limit. Ten pounds of force is quite a lot when applied directly to the trigeminal nerve, or the jugular vein...
  • In Therapy, Taylor Hebert gets the shard Conflict Resolution. It has zero applications in combat...but it allows her to remove the psychological issues of anyone she touches, meaning it's a simple matter to make villains have a Heel–Face Turn.
  • This Bites!: The basic ability of the Noise-Noise Fruit is to copy and manipulate the users sounds. While limited for a human, in the possession of a Transponder Snail like Soundbite, he can hear and project his voice within a mile range (allowing for either eavesdropping and bluffs) and has extended his abilities to translate animal languages for his human crewmates, induce vertigo on opponents, shatter objects by projecting sound that matches their frequency, and unlock the voice of all things. He becomes more powerful once he Awakens his devil fruit.
  • Total Command: Izuku has a Quirk that gives him conscious control over his hormonal processes. This gives him a large growth spurt that makes him jump up to almost two meters, a set of muscles of the kind that takes years to get in a few days, bones that would take a steamroller to break, a Healing Factor that can heal even a broken neck and the ability to make his body acquire the optimal conditions for whichever situation he is in. When combined with One for All, it makes him almost unstoppable, since its main drawback (breaking Izuku's bones) is nullified. It also allows him to learn things a lot faster and willingly enter a state of "flow" that makes him much more efficient when fighting.
  • Unbreakable Red Silken Thread: According to Dawn, Cody's presence has this effect on people, either bringing out the best in them or at minimum comforting those he is around. His outgoing and social nature factor into this along with his general good nature.
  • Voyages of the Wild Sea Horse: You wouldn't initially think much of a Zoan Devil Devil Fruit granting its bearer the powers of a rabbit. But to Shampoo, the fact it partially overwrites her Jusenkyo curse makes it a huge boost, as it removes her most glaring weakness (and also gives her a leg-up in her drive to pursue Ranma). And that's before she starts figuring out the actual superpowers it gives her.
  • With Strings Attached: As it turns out, the power of clairvoyance is this. The Hunter calls Ringo's mindsight "the single most valuable ability" amongst the four — beating out Super-Strength, Nigh-Invulnerability, complete control over water, and unlimited shapeshifting — because he can see anything. Including atoms. With perfect clarity. At any distance, up to and including the surface of the sun. Knowledge is power, indeed.
  • Young Midoriya: Tohru's invisibility allows her to run rings around Izuku during their spar as he can't figure out where she's attacking from to counter her.

    Film — Animated 
  • In The Book of Life, Manolo's love of singing and playing the guitar helps him tame the demonic bull.
  • Chickenhare and the Hamster of Darkness:
    • Chickenhare’s chicken and hare halves endow him with incredible agility, his chicken feet are practically hands in their own right, his feathers can pick locks or be used to make opponents sneeze, and his massive ears combined with his feathers and wings, allow him a form of flight.
    • Abe’s removable shell allows him to use it as a sled, or a surfboard used to conceal items such as the various hats he wears or to hide his friends, or as a shield against armed opponents.
    • Meg’s skunk spray is very useful. She can clear out rooms with stink, blast away obstacles with her musk’s massive amount of explosive force, and is capable of temporarily stunning the undead.
    • The power to control a million ghost hamsters doesn’t seem useful at first until you see what they do during the final act. They can come together as a massive monster, overwhelm foes through sheer number, are small enough to get through tight spaces, are incredibly fast and inventive, such as making the traps of the Royal Adventure Society course extremely deadly, and best yet, the user is capable of controlling them without the scepter.
  • In Encanto, the Madrigal family is blessed with miraculous powers, from healing, to weather control, shapeshifting, and so on. Only one in the family, Mirabel, has no powers, and consequently, she feels inadequate and like she doesn’t belong. When the family starts losing their powers, Mirabel is the only one with the empathy to get them to admit their anxieties and self-doubts. And after the magic is lost, she helps the family find a new purpose by supporting each other through trouble. When the magic returns, Mirabel still gets no supernatural ability, but it’s clear to the entire family that her compassion is the most important power of them all.
  • In Inside Out Joy can't figure out what Sadness's purpose is and tries to keep her from doing anything at all. It turns out, Sadness lets Riley empathize with others, express distress when she's in need of other people empathizing with her, and also helps her appreciate the good times that come after the bad.
  • Zigzagged and played straight in Moana, where the titular main character is chosen by the Ocean because of her compassion and empathy. What's so special about her compassion and empathy? Well, nothing, really. It's basically just your regular, everyday compassion coupled with some good old empathy... but it is also her compassion and empathy that allows Moana to realize that the demon Te Kā is actually the goddess Te Fiti, driven mad by the loss of her heart, and only by reaching out to her can she be calmed, allowing Moana to restore her heart and save her. Some regular, everyday compassion and empathy may not be as flashy as coherent beams of destruction, but they're nothing to scoff at.
  • Ratatouille: Rémy's father thinks that his refined and sensitive palate is utterly useless to a rat, who's supposed to be able to tolerate eating garbage, but Rémy winds up proving him wrong when it turns out he can identify when food has been poisoned and saves the rats' lives. Unfortunately for Rémy however, this winds up getting him assigned as the group's designated poison-tester, something he isn't remotely satisfied doing with his life.
  • Raya and the Last Dragon: Raya is not particularly impressed when Sisu says that her dragon power is being a very strong swimmer, but later on they're trying to escape the bad guys on a rather slow boat and Sisu turns out to be strong enough to act as an outboard motor.
  • In Shrek the Third, Snow White uses her animal-friend ability to its full extent: she summons them to do battle. During the same sequence, Sleeping Beauty displays that being able to instantly go into a voluntary coma can prove extremely handy in (literally) tripping up attackers.
  • A Snow White Christmas: Hicker's hiccups. The more stressed he is, the worse they become, even to the point of destroying the Evil Queen's castle.
  • The Super Mario Bros. Movie: Mario equips a Super Bell to try and turn the tide against Donkey Kong. At first, everyone except Mario and DK gushes at how cute he looks as the plumber displays annoyance and the gorilla throws a punch. Only for Mario to realize as he swiftly dodges that he does have catlike reflexes which he uses to win the battle.
  • Tangled: Even ignoring its magical properties, Rapunzel's 70-feet-long hair demonstrates enough versatility to befit an Action Girl. She uses it to incapacitate intruders, swing from buildings, tie Instant Knots, and stay warm while outdoors.
  • In Turning Red, it takes both 4*Town's hit song and the aunties' chanting sung from the heart in order for the panda-sealing ritual to work.
  • Wreck-It Ralph:
    • Ralph might bemoan his wrecking talents, but he uses said talents quite well to build a racetrack for Vanellope.
    • Felix's base power is fixing, which he usually only puts to use on his building. It turns out that it can be quite versatile, being able to fix injuries, fix cars without any previous knowledge of mechanics, etc. It is unstated at the end, but it doesn't take a genius to work out who fixed the newly-inserted refugees' code to work as well in his home game's new bonus level as original code would do. Felix learned a few things fixing what Turbo and Ralph almost wrecked.
    • Vanellope's status as a glitch causes her to be ostracized by everyone else in Sugar Rush and targeted by King Candy/Turbo, but it's shown a few times throughout the movie that her occasional glitching out causes her to phase through objects. Not only does she use this to avoid crashing when Turbo tries to shove her car into a pillar, but once she gains control over these glitches and becomes a playable character, she's able to use them to effectively teleport and become a fan-favorite in-universe.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Ant-Man takes this trope and runs with it. The titular character is well-known in comics as a major case of What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?. The movie goes out of its way to prove how truly useful his powers can actually be. Shrinking while retaining your normal strength and density? You got a fighter the size of an insect, nearly impossible to see or aim at, capable of infiltrating places you will never see him coming from, who can kill you in one punch provided he hits you with the strength of a human fist focused in a quarter-inch of area. Controlling ants? Just keep various colonies of ants from dangerous species at home and you have a miniature army with various abilities adapted to the situations. Or you can place a shrunken camera on their back and use them to spy on anyone you want. Shrinking other objects? Well, you can shrink a real tank and keep it as a keychain which you can turn back to its normal size whenever you need it.
    • The sequel, Ant-Man and the Wasp, continues this trend. First off, the Pyms not only have a collection of cars that can shrink and grow back to full size at will, the entire building that houses their lab can shrink down into a luggage bag. The Wasp suit also has all the advantages of the Ant-Man suit, but is also equipped with wings and blasters, making her an even more effective fighter. Finally, shrinking allows one to enter the quantum realm, which doesn't sound like much, but energies of the quantum realm allow Janet to cure Ghost's condition, and the quantum realm's physics become very important in Avengers: Endgame since it enables time travel, giving the heroes a chance to save the universe after they thought they lost their chance.
    • This is taken to its darkest extreme in an episode of What If…? (2021), where it turns out in an alternate timeline Ant-Man killed almost every founding member of the Avengers. Most he simply pierced like a bullet or beat them to death, but a heavy hitter like the Hulk he shrank inside him and threw an enlarging disc at his heart, exploding him.
  • An ascended meme in Aquaman (2018), where Arthur's commonly ridiculed (in-universe and out) ability to communicate with sea creatures causes him to get bullied as a kid: however, it proves useful when he uses this ability to command the Karathen, a Kaiju sized sea monster that effortlessly demolishes the massive Atlantean ships, an entire fleet of them no less, and is completely immune to all of Orm's artillery. It is also shown to be an extremely rare ability and Arthur is the first Atlantean to have it in many centuries. Thus there is no one who can teach him how to use it to its full extent. Once Arthur uses it to its fullest, it becomes clear why the last person to have these powers became a legendary Atlantean king who took Atlantean civilizations to its pinnacle and then accidentally caused its fall.
    • Aquaman's ability to live and breathe underwater is expanded upon in the Aquaman movie. His extreme durability and fighting prowess while in Russia and fighting Steppenwolf in Justice League (2017) makes his ability to swim underwater actually turn him into an above-ground meta-human with an extremely sharp trident. He surfs a minion to the ground at one point out of the sky and doesn't seem to show any sort of fear during the entire feat like this is totally normal for him.
  • In Deadpool 2, Wade thinks that Domino's power of being really lucky barely counts as a power, much less one that would make for good action scenes. Not only does she not die automatically like all of the other D-listers that Deadpool gets for his X-Force, but her power allows her to casually pull off flashy stunts and survive disasters that would get any other character killed.
  • In Everything Everywhere All at Once: Evelyn gains the ability to access the skills of her alternate selves, like several other characters do. However, unlike the Alphaverse fighters, she doesn't have someone providing her information on what exactly she needs to do to gain a particular skill set nor can she just automatically gain them like Jobu Tupaki. Instead, Evelyn is forced to "do something weird" then make do with whatever knowledge or skills she gains. Maid? She now knows about a hidden sex dungeon her family can hide in. Blind singer? She uses her Super-Senses and increased lung capacity to fight in a cloud of tear gas. Sign twirler? Evelyn steals a riot shield and fights off over half a dozen enemies with it. Even the universe where people have hot dogs for fingers, which is initially treated as a joke, turns out to have usefulness: in a world where fingers are useless, people instead evolved to be very good with their feet, something Evelyn uses when she's cornered by several Alphaverse minions.
  • In The Hobbit, Gandalf believes that the best way to keep the forces of darkness away is to embrace kindness in all its forms, no matter how small, and this is the primary reason why he believes in Bilbo so strongly. Which works at first sight only thematically, but per Gandalf's style ends up working pragmatically, too. Bilbo's niceness, lack of ambition, and general rustic charm makes him a sort of Morality Pet of the Dwarfs, generally acting as a voice of reason and an inhibitor of conflict. Moreover, it makes him mostly resistant to the lure of the Ring, which is important in the sequel.
    Frodo: It's a pity Bilbo didn't kill Gollum when he had the chance.
    Gandalf: Pity? It was pity that stayed Bilbo's hand. Many that live deserve death. Some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them, Frodo? Do not be too eager to deal out death in judgment.
  • When Jerk Jock Fridge chooses his character for Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, he ends up with the Plucky Comic Relief zoologist, Mouse (he initially misread Mouse's name as Moose, which he thought sounded badass). However, in Jumanji, zoology can be used for animal taming, allowing him to deal with a black mamba (the world's most poisonous snake) and tame and ride an elephant into battle.
    Fridge: Zoology, bitch!
  • Krull: Ergo is able to turn only himself into animals, which is only used for comic relief until he turns himself into a tiger.
  • Sky High (2005): Sidekicks were often underestimated in their usefulness. The viewer is initially led to believe Ethan's ability to turn into a puddle is useless. Near the end of the film, however, it turns out to be absolutely perfect for setting up a sneak attack. Lash never saw Ethan coming. Also note that, right before he takes down Lash, Ethan demonstrates the ability to flow vertically, something he'd never done before then.
    • Also worth noting that the coach who decides whether you're a hero or a sidekick doesn't really think about his decisions and just goes with his first impressions, much like a comic book reader who looks to what seems cool rather than useful. For instance, the kid who can turn into a rock monster immediately gets named a 'hero' despite being incredibly clumsy and useless.
    • The trope is heartily played with throughout. Other "sidekick" powers of the current class include a girl who can turn into a guinea pig, which is immediately deemed lame, despite the fact that she can still communicate verbally, and a guy who glows. While not great on the surface, being able to turn into a very small, nimble rodent can allow one to get into all kinds of normally inaccessible places, and sharp teeth are great for, say, cutting through electrical wires. And the guy who glows is great if you find yourself in a dark Air-Vent Passageway. One Actual Pacifist simply declined to demonstrate her powers and got branded a sidekick, so it came as quite a shock when she revealed how badass controlling plants and making them grow at ludicrous rates could be.
    • And, in what might almost be a reference to Cypher above, the villain is a technopath, who originally went to Sky High at the time the current class's parents were. At that time, technopathy was just "being a super science nerd" and she was relegated to sidekick, became a supervillain, got de-aged by her own device, and went back to Sky High to get revenge, where her technopathy powers were considered much more powerful and useful with the prevalence of modern technology.
  • When the slave Antoninus joins the rebellion in Spartacus, his initial listed talents of singing, storytelling, and magic tricks for his rich masters are initially laughed off by Spartacus himself. Antoninus wins the respect of the army by drilling to become a soldier and undergoing the same training as any of them, however... and his talents for entertainment wind up being very much appreciated and doing wonders for morale. Spartacus himself quickly admits he was wrong about Antoninus.
  • In Star Trek (2009), Kirk asks Sulu about his combat experience while en route to fight hostile Romulans. "Fencing", he replies simply. Once the fight begins, Sulu produces a sci-fi collapsible sword which he promptly puts to use. The "fencing" line and ensuing scene was a Shout-Out to Star Trek: The Original Series with the infamous Sulu shirtless fencing scene from "The Naked Time".
  • The Suicide Squad:
    • What can Ratcatcher II do with the ability to summon and control rats? Pretty much anything she wants. Rats are small, stealthy, intelligent, and incredibly numerous in any area with any degree of human habitation, and their jaws can bite through just about anything with sufficient time and energy. Her powers make her an excellent scout, infiltrator, and assassin, and are extremely useful in direct combat as well, as the Corto Maltese military and Starro find out to their cost.
    • Polka-Dot Man can release a stream of polka-dots from his body. Despite being labeled as useless by damn near everybody in Belle Reve, up to and including freakin' Calendar Man, they're revealed to be extra-dimensional plasma bursts and obscenely deadly, able to reduce a person to Ludicrous Gibs with almost no effort. He's one of the few members of the Squad that can directly damage Starro in the climax.

  • The powers in Brandon Sanderson's Alcatraz Series are all examples of this trope. Each member of the Smedry family has a unique ability called a Talent that sounds somewhere between useless and actively detrimental. However, creative application allows the family to use their Talents well:
    • Main character Alcatraz has the gift of breaking whatever he touches. This initially does nothing but get him into trouble with his various foster families, as he has a tendency to break precious objects. However, he later learns that he can use the power to break anything, which essentially makes him impossible to imprison (he simply breaks whatever's holding him captive). An ancestor with a similar ability once broke time to create a Time Stands Still zone for his tomb.
    • Grandpa Smedry has the power to arrive late to things. Annoying for keeping appointments, perhaps, but also incredibly useful: bullets always miss him (because he's "late" to their hitting him), he can keep himself from bleeding or sensing pain because he's late to feeling it, and he even hints that he's essentially immortal because he's constantly showing up late to his own death.
    • Quentin Smedry speaks nonsense. This makes any information or secrets safe with him, as he quite literally can't reveal them, even when being tortured. It also comes with a minor ability to predict the future through his gibberish, although it's quite hard to interpret.
    • Australia Smedry has the ability to wake up ugly. However, "ugly" is an incredibly relative term; furthermore, she can use the Talent to wake up looking like an ugly version of somebody else. In essence, she's a Master of Disguise, as long as she can get a nap in first.
    • Kazan Smedry's Talent is getting lost. He uses this power to teleport out of dangerous situations, such as falling from incredible heights — he "gets lost" on the way to the ground, you see. He can also use it to cover enormous distances by getting lost and reappearing thousands of miles away.
    • Folsom Smedry is a really, really, really bad dancer, and starts doing his horrible moves whenever music comes on. However, the Talent also makes him an incredible warrior, as his awful dancing allows him to fight others with unpredictable and dangerous movements.
    • Aydee Ecks (a cousin) has the Talent of being terrible at math. She uses this gift to save the family during a fight against giant robots, as she's put in charge of their ammunition — and it turns out that by asking her how many exploding teddy bears remain in their arsenal, she can miscount and thus provide an infinite supply.
    • The Oculator lenses also apply. There are lenses that, among other things, let the wearer shoot wind, fireballs, inflict terrible pain... and the one that is the most powerful is a pair of glasses that grants the ability to understand, read, and write any language. Knowledge is power.
  • In Arifureta: From Commonplace to World's Strongest, Hajime Nagumo's class is transported to another world, where all of them are granted amazing powers... save for Nagumo, who has the Synergist class, mostly considered a glorified blacksmith. Then, he is betrayed by a classmate, drops to the depths of the labyrinth they were exploring... and, from the sheer will to survive, his experimentation leads to him discovering how truly overpowered his class can be if he has access to enough materials. It's also his basic power (transmuting rock) this that lets him find the Divinity Stone, which produces a liquid that ends up helping him survive eating monster flesh - and that boosts all of his stats beyond the strongest of his classmates, as well as grants him new powers.
  • In the Book of Swords series, Woundhealer destroys Shieldbreaker (the most powerful Sword) and saves the hero's life when Woundhealer is stabbed into his heart. The narrative explains this by stating that there is no power greater than the human heart.
  • Campfire Cooking in Another World with My Absurd Skill is about Mukohda, a normal man from Earth who's taken to a fantasy world alongside others to defeat a demon king. While the other summoned heroes become powerful wizards and warriors, Mukohda has weak stats and the power of Online Grocery. After he figures out how it works, it turns out that being able to buy mundane objects from Earth is extremely useful, as the objects are priced according to their value on Earth, but are considered luxuries in the medieval world, and the process of teleporting food from Earth turns it into Power-Up Food. Being able to buy sauces and cooking meat in them even earns Mukohda the loyalty of Fel the Fenrir, a One-Man Army who can tear through elite monsters like tissue paper in exchange for regular meals. Since the body parts of monsters are valuable, but Fel only cares about the meat, Mukohda quickly becomes rich from bringing Fel's hauls to the butcher.
  • A Certain Magical Index:
    • Cendrillon has the power of Cinderella. This gives her incredible speed and agility to casually dodge a cluster bomb strike (based on Cinderella's dancing and the pumpkin carriage) and lets her remotely mutilate the feet of anybody with a different shoe size than her. After all, one version of Cinderella's tale has the stepsisters cut off part of their feet to fit the glass slippers, and she can do anything involved in the story of Cinderella.
    • A Certain Scientific Railgun:
      • Mii Konori has "Clairvoyance," which manifests as X-Ray vision. Perfect for a cop and an investigator, as it allows her to instantly identify any hidden weapons or clues.
      • Mikagami Nagisa has the power to control fat. She became a political force in her school completely by accident as everyone wants her help slimming down. Not bad on its own, but then she gets into a fight and demonstrates why this is a dangerous power. One second she's rail-thin for speed, then when she throws a punch she's suddenly a hundred pounds heavier, and when she needs to escape from a trap she's skinny again.
  • Circle of Magic
    • Don't let his power fool you: Briar Moss's power is that of plants. You might think he can only grow plants, but in Tris' Book, he works with his three foster sisters to create killer thorns to protect the temple he's currently calling home. And in Street Magic of The Circle Opens, he's considered a full mage, and on his own, he uses a basket woven from dried reeds to bind up and hold down a girl he was trying to convince she needed magic training, use roses to torture an allergic gang member for information, and in the climax uses plants to tear down walls, cause wooden doors to come alive as if they're still trees, and use a thorny vine to kill someone by having the thorn grow THROUGH someone trying to come up behind him.
    • Lady Sandrilene Fa Toren will tie you up with your own clothing (or anything else that could be considered "thread" or "woven material") if you try to defy her. Thread is an awesome power.
      Sandry: The cloth-head tied [my bonds] with ribbons. I suppose it didn't occur to him ribbons are made of cloth.
      Sandry: [her captors are now encased and gagged in woven cocoons, the ringleader tied to a rock in a similar predicament] You can tell all Namorn this is what happens when I'm vexed.
      • Even more impressive is in the first book, where she uses sympathetic magic involving thread to "tie" the four main characters' magics together. This is because her power doesn't just extend to physical thread, but also any magic that can be visualized as string, such as life and nothing.
      • In the first quartet, her consideration of escaping bonds by un-weaving knots leads to the idea of enacting a Defeat by Modesty.
      • She once immobilized a group of her uncle's guards when they tried to keep her from reaching him when he had a heart attack. It's also implied she stitched her uncle's soul to his body to keep him alive until the healers showed up.
    • Niamara Bancanor is quite disappointed when she learns that her ambient magic is in carpentry, as she believes that (compared to her sisters' cooking magic) it would devalue her as a potential bride. Her mother promptly says that she knows at least three shipbuilding clans who would give their eyeteeth for a bride that can sense wood rot. She later saves her own and Daja's life by holding the wood in a burning building together long enough for them to get out.
  • Molly Carpenter from The Dresden Files lives in a setting where most problems are solved with Super-Strength, giant fireballs, or hordes of undead servants. Her forte? Illusions. At first, it's mostly good for hiding from a fight. As time goes on she learns to dazzle and disorient enemies with a "one woman rave" of light and sound, and eventually to create convincing duplicates of herself to draw enemy fire wherever she wants it. Now that the 14th book has had her forced into the position of a lesser queen of the fae, who are physically incapable of lying, she could wreak havoc with the entire supernatural power structure by speaking only through lying illusions of herself.
  • Many magical powers in the Erec Rex series are often much more powerful than they appear at first glance. The series' resident Big Good and Reasonable Authority Figure, King Piter, has the almighty and magical power of talking to plants — which so happens to give him an information network like you wouldn't believe. In comparison, the guy whose power is talking to animals isn't nearly as strong.
    • Bethany is a young girl who happens to be really, really good at math. Supernaturally good, almost. As it turns out, this actually gives her amazing divination abilities (and it runs in the family).
    • The butler Jam Crinklecut has the magical ability to "always be ready to serve." As it turns out, if you get stuck in the wilderness, having a guy who can summon food from nowhere is extremely useful.
  • The protagonist of Finding The Way is a Pathfinder: she instinctively knows how to travel anywhere safely, even places she's never been before. This ability is very useful in her job as a guide, but nowhere else...until it's revealed that she also knows how to dodge enemy attacks.
  • All of the humans in From the New World are extremely powerful, able to toss huge objects around with their minds and generate arbitrary amounts of fire. In addition to this, Satoru has the seemingly unusual ability to create floating mirrors. This may not sound impressive, but it turns out to be very useful for looking around corners and concealment. He saves lives with his weird floating mirrors multiple times.
  • In Frostbite, Rose Hathaway doesn't think Mia Rinaldi's elemental power of water will be much use in fighting off the monstrous Strigoi. Mia later saves Rose from a Strigoi by surrounding its head with water, nearly crushing it under the water pressure.
  • Full Clearing Another World under a Goddess with Zero Believers has Mokota with 'Calm Mind'. At first, the skill 'Calm Mind' seems like a useless skill but Noah pointed out that with 'Calm Mind' Makoto won't panic in battle or get over confident when fighting a monster. Not only that, but 'Calm Mind' also protects him from spells that causes fear or mind control.
  • Tasha from The Gods Of Dream sneaks into Eloria as a talking mouse. She then proceeds to be incredibly useful several times, from chewing through ropes to incapacitating an Incubus, wielding a ring around her neck to purify Loor's influence, and acting as a lookout to help them get through a maze. She even ends up laying the finishing blow on the Big Bad, because she's the only one who can get close enough.
  • Harry Potter:
    • The Power of Love is so potent that Lily sacrificing herself to save her son Harry allowed him to survive the killing curse that gave him his scar, and when Harry dies (sort of) to save the inhabitants of Hogwarts they became incredibly resistant to anything the Death Eaters can throw at them.
    • Neville is considered a loser by most of Hogwarts, with his only redeeming feature being Herbology. He weaponizes it, hurling screaming plants that cause instant death off the walls of the castle and carting around man-eating tentacle plants, during the Battle of Hogwarts. He potentially killed the entire first wave of Death Eaters by throwing a potted plant at them.
    • For the Deathly Hallows Dumbledore regards the Invisibility Cloak as this. The Elder Wand is powerful but also makes you a target. The Resurrection Stone doesn't really solve anything and in the end makes you long for something that can never be. On the surface, the Invisibility Cloak is the weakest of the three since experienced wizards have other ways of turning invisible but as Dumbledore points out it's the only one of the Hallows that lets you protect someone else.
      • In both the books and the movies, it's pointed out that spells let one person turn invisible: whoever the caster is. The Invisibility Cloak from the Hallows is one of the few things that can make multiple people invisible, and anything that that wizard-kind has made trying to imitate it fails after a few uses where the Invisibility Cloak has longevity. Also, while the Wand and the Stone are potentially hazardous to anyone who attempts to use them (the Stone especially), the Cloak is easy for even an inexperienced wizard to use. Further, it turns out the Cloak is resistant to magic; when some Snatchers in the final book attempt to use a summoning spell on it, the Cloak doesn't react to it at all; the Snatchers incorrectly assume this means Harry's not using it, giving the Trio a little more time to find safety.
    • The defining characteristic of Hufflepuffs is their loyalty, honesty, and hard work. Compared to the bravery, cunning, and knowledge of the other houses, this led to many in-and-out-of-universe regarding Hufflepuffs as something of a joke. But then they, to a man, all elect to stay and fight in the Battle of Hogwarts and provide the necessary weight of fighters to keep everybody else safe. Turns out being able to rely on somebody in even the worst crisis means more than knowing your Mandrakes from your Blast-Ended Skrewits.
  • He-Man villain Stinkor wasn't allowed to appear on the cartoon itself because his power of smelling really horrible was deemed too ridiculous. However, a supplemental book for the rejected Stinkor episode was in fact published. Turns out that Stinkor smelled so bad it sapped even He-Man's strength and Stinkor came closer to beating He-Man than almost any of Skeletor's other servants.
  • The Heroes of Olympus: Compared to her companions, Piper's Charmspeak seems very underwhelming. But throughout the series, she's demonstrated the full utility of being able to get your enemy to do anything from turning against their allies to falling unconscious on the spot with nothing but a few choice words. The last two books in the series take her effectiveness up a notch when she fights the Boreads and Khione on her own by ordering Festus to wake up in The House of Hades and putting Gaea to sleep in The Blood of Olympus.
  • Recognizing this is one of the defining traits of King Souma in How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom. Where others see nothing, he sees great potential.
    • Others saw Poncho as a noble who wasted his money traveling to eat weird foods, while Souma saw him as crucial to helping find new food sources during the kingdom's food crisis.
    • Tomoe seemed like just one of many War Refugees, but Souma saw that her ability to talk to animals and demons made her one of the most important people in the country.
    • Ginger seemed like a bad slave trader, wasting his money educating them before selling them off. Souma made Ginger the headmaster of a new school, helping educate more than just the nobles in the country, a step in eliminating the practice of slavery entirely.
    • Naden Delal was a dragon who had no wings and couldn't breathe fire. Souma recognized she was an Eastern-style ryuu and could still fly, that her control of electricity was more useful than breathing fire, and most importantly of all, that she could predict the weather, allowing the kingdom to have reliable weather forecasts.
    • Ichiha Chima was the weird, sickly kid in a family where everyone else was renowned for their skills and good looks. Everyone else thought Ichiha just had a weird hobby of drawing monsters, while Souma recognized that Ichiha had come up with a classification system, allowing more effective fighting against monsters in dungeons and along the border of the Demon Lord's Domain.
  • The Hunger Games: Peeta was a cake decorator at his family's bakery, which doesn't seem like it would be too useful in a death match. Until, that is, he uses it to paint his body to camouflage himself by the river. In Catching Fire, Katniss notes that out of all the Hunger Games' victors Peeta is the one who is best suited to lead a rebellion because whereas the others are all deadly fighters he possesses enough goodness to make people rally around him through the things he says.
  • Kazuma from KonoSuba never changed his class from Adventurer, which is the beginner class, to another more powerful class. While he can learn basic magic spells, they are pretty worthless and more so for party tricks, and he would normally need to change class to learn more advanced magic and skills. However, he discovers that he can learn advanced spells (which cost him a lot of skill points) from every other class, even ones that shouldn't be learned, as most people never stayed as Adventurer long enough to find out that information. He also has extremely high luck, allowing him to steal powerful weapons (and girls' panties) without fail. While he can't use the weapons due to his class and level, he can sell them for a high price. His basic magic also counts, like how he's able to use a simple freeze water spell to cause his foes to slip and fall, leaving them open for major attacks from other party members.
  • Billy Harrow, the main character of China Miéville's Kraken, is a hapless museum curator and preserver of dead animal specimens. In fact, it turns out that he is the saint of museum curators who preserve dead animal specimens. This isn't all that impressive until he realizes that his preservationist powers extend to reanimating zombie lab specimens as his familiars, and briefly stopping time. He's also a pretty capable Barrier Warrior.
    • This leads up to Billy foiling the Big Bad's plan after it succeeds: squid are gods, according to the Krakenists, but Billy realizes this particular squid (dead, preserved in a jar) isn't a god, it's a specimen. And Billy's the saint of preserved museum specimens. Cue victory through semantics.
  • In the third trilogy of the Kushiel's Legacy series, a group of occultists manage to summon up a demon from the Ars Goetia, who teaches them the language of ants. This is treated as a prank on the demon's part and a useless nuisance until one of the occultists learns to "speak" the language of ants and command them. And moves into the Amazon jungle, which is chock-full of soldier ant colonies. At that point it stops being a nuisance, takes a flying leap past Awesome, and lands right in a lake of terror.
  • The Legendary Moonlight Sculptor: "Art" based classes like sculptor, architect, and painter can learn skills with incredibly broken combat applications, like the ability to cause large scale natural disasters, provide permanent stat increases through their art, perform unlimited group teleportation in return for drawing a single picture, and so on.
  • In the Lioness Rampant quartet, Alanna uses thread magic to dump an arrogant male student on his ass when he starts deriding "women's work".
  • The Long Price Quartet: The Khaiate poets can describe specific ideas using a special grammatical form and bind them into existence as corporeal spirits known as andat. Since you can't use the same idea twice, and most of the good concepts were used up long ago, the andat by the time of the story tend to be very narrow ideas. They are still astonishingly powerful.
    • At the beginning of the story, the city of Sarakhet holds the andat Removing-The-Part-That-Continues (or Seedless for short). It's usually used to facilitate the cotton trade by willing the seeds out of the raw cotton and to abort babies, but if anyone ever attacked Sarakhet Seedless could ripe the babies from their women's wombs and ruin their crops with nothing more than a thought.
    • Another andat we see is Stone-Made-Soft, which is usually used to facilitate the mining and pottery industries but could be used to melt mountains or make entire cities sink into the ground.
  • In Elana Frink's short story "The Los Angeles Women's Auxiliary Superhero League", the character Jane is initially embarrassed about her power of "niceness". It turns out that she can mesmerize people by speaking to them gently in a soothing tone of voice, to the point where she can stun would-be muggers and reduce a supervillain to a drooling vegetable. She later gets the superhero name of "Hypnotique" which she likes much better than "the nice one".
  • The Machineries of Empire: The Nirai. Among people with glamour powers, people who can channel Geometric Magic, and people with Touch of Death, the Nirai have the faction ability to... always know what the local time is. However, this allows them to measure the calendric rot, and the greater the calendric rot, the less the world's Functional Magic works, meaning that they're the first people to know when something's very, very wrong.
  • Several magical girls in Magical Girl Raising Project have powers that sound lame and weak at first but are actually very powerful with some creativity or by taking them to their logical conclusion.
    • Tama has the ability to create holes on any surface she scratches. It has a few uses such as burying trash or laying a trap, but it seems pretty weak overall. Until she realizes she can use also tunnel through living matter, meaning she can instantly kill anyone she can scratch.
    • Rain Pou can create rainbow bridges, solid beams of light that people can easily run on. Or they can be used to stab through anything — including other Magical Girls — silently and act as near unbreakable shields.
    • Prism Cherry can change the reflected surfaces of any mirror-like objects, an ability she frequently bemoans as useless. But it turns out her actual ability is the manipulation of light reflected by mirrors, which enables her to blind enemies and provide a power battery to power Marika with.
    • Filuru's ability is to sew through anything with her magic needles and thread. Doesn't sound impressive at first, but her threads are near invisible, near unbreakable, go through people like anything else, and don't hurt anything, allowing her to easily restrain people, create makeshift weapons, and lay a variety of traps.
    • Marika Fukuroi blooms magical flowers on her head. She's figured out how to make those flowers shoot laser beams, emit a variety of poisons and healing fruits, create a variety of deadly weapons, and more. Needless to say, no one makes fun of her despite her ability's lame description.
    • Snow White initially has the superficially lame ability to hear the thoughts of people who are in distress. That is, until she realizes she can literally hear anyone that's experiencing distress. Even if it's a bad guy attempting to sweet talk his way out of a sticky situation.
  • Alf Seidr (Elf Magic) in Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard is primarily used for healing, growing, and bringing peace. It sounds pretty lame when compared to the various reality warping abilities that come with rune magic, right up until Magnus demonstrates that he can use it to instantly disarm everyone in a wide area around him, which is exactly what he does to a large group of fire giants, including Surt himself, at the climax of the first book.
  • Maigret solves cases primarily through his skill to develop empathy and understanding for the criminals, he is going after. Many times, there comes a point, when they collapse by themselves under the weight of his charisma. Compared to this power, deduction by evidence takes a backseat.
  • Mercy Thompson: Walkers such as Mercy are nearly extinct because the vampires hunted them all down because the walkers were too dangerous. For the longest time, Mercy can't figure out why; her own shapeshifting is far less powerful than a vampire's, and while European magic (like what the vampires use) often acts in unpredictable ways on her, it's too unreliable to be an effective weapon. Eventually she discovers that it's all about what she's always considered her most minor ability: Walkers can see all ghosts, instead of just ghosts directly related to them. Ghosts are created when someone is killed painfully and needlessly. Vampires kill people painfully and needlessly all the time. Walkers were hunting down vampires just by finding houses with dozens of ghosts and then killing the vampires while they were defenseless during the day.
  • Mistborn:
    • Allomancy includes powers like pushing and pulling on metal at lethal speeds and enhancing your own body to impossible levels. Then there's emotional allomancy, which lets you either dampen or enflame emotions. Soothers and Rioters are by far the most feared allomancers. After witnessing a brutal execution that drives her into a righteous fury, Lady Allrianne uses her emotional allomancy to incite a riot, and attack the executioners with an angry mob.
    • A Feruchemist can use the fictional metal atium to alter his or her age, but because Feruchemy is an Equivalent Exchange based magic system, in order to become young they'd have to spend an equivalent amount of time old, and as such, this power is considered worthless except as a disguise. Enter the Lord Ruler, who can do both Feruchemy and its sister magic system, Allomancy. The interaction between the two powers lets him, among other things, exponentially increase the output of his Feruchemy, so that instead of a worthless power, in his hands atium gives him what amounts to a closed loop of infinite youth- thereby making him functionally immortal, as long as he has Atium to burn, at least.
    • Tin, as an Allomantic metal, allows one to have Super-Senses, but if you're just a Misting instead of a Mistborn (who is able to use all Allomantic powers) it essentially turns you into just a human watchdog. Useful, but not as devastatingly powerful as the powers granted by other metals like pewter, iron, or steel. Spook, who can only use tin, is Overshadowed by Awesome thanks to his comrades' far greater physical combat abilities. Then in Hero Of Ages he eventually burns so much tin he effectively becomes a "tin savant" whose senses are so intensely acute that he can locate enemies based solely on the sounds of their heartbeats and outmaneuver opponents by sensing what they're doing based on tiny things like the rustle of their feet on the ground.
    • Wax and Wayne:
      • Marasi is a Cadmium Misting, a person who can burn Cadmium to create a bubble of slowed time; time moves slower within the bubble than outside it. Initially this power is considered rather useless, as there aren't many times that someone needs to move slower than the rest of the world (though one character points out that, since she's interested in law enforcement, she could use it to speed up stakeouts). However during the final battle with Miles, she uses this ability once all of Miles's mooks are gone and he's distracted. Since Miles doesn't notice the bubble has gone up, this allows plenty of time for Wayne to get the police and come back to Miles's hideout, where they capture him. In the second book, she causes an assassin's bullet to miss its target by enveloping him in a time bubble, which messes with the direction of objects entering or leaving it. Plus while she and the assassin are slowed down, the target has plenty of time to escape. Then in the third book, Marasi's power becomes vastly more powerful when she discovers a Magitek grenade-like device that lets her "charge" it with a time bubble and throw it, effectively letting her create time-stopping bubbles separate from her own body. In the fourth book, Marasi has started using the "wait for backup" plan as a standard part of her arsenal. Turns out that capturing a few dozen criminals isn't that hard if you only have to hold them for five minutes before backup arrives.
      • Feruchemical iron lets you alter your own weight; you weigh less while storing it, and weigh more while using it. While not useless, this was largely considered unremarkable. Without any other abilities, it's not totally useless (you can do some neat things with suddenly weighing very little), but it's not particularly powerful. Wax, however, has this power in addition to Allomantic steel — meaning he can telekinetically Push on metals. His weight relative to the metal he's pushing will determine if he or it is pushed away, and since he can control his weight, he can much more easily control which of those things happen. At one point he's able to level an entire building by Pushing down while in the air and tapping years' worth of stored weight to make him weigh more than the building. Wax also uses his weight-control abilities to immobilize opponents by sitting on them and making himself too heavy to move, and escapes from an explosion by making himself so heavy, the floor gives way.
  • Koyomi in Modern Magic Made Simple has the ability to summon washbasins, and cannot do anything else. Any spell she tries to use turn into a basin. It seems like a lame power at first, until everyone around her realizes that it can transform any spell, regardless of who cast it or how powerful it is, effectively giving her a universal Power Nullifier. Koyomi herself never actually catches onto this.
  • Momo: Momo listens to people. That doesn't sound special, and the narrator notes it outright. But Momo's willingness to listen to anyone, about anything, really does help people work through their worries, fears, and quarrels. Her listening skill also helps her against the Grey Men; by listening to one, and asking the right question at the right moment, she induces him to confess the truth of what the Grey Men are up to, including one or two truths he previously may not even have admitted to himself.
  • While the Nasuverse has a notable share of insanely durable or insanely powerful characters, there is at least one character per setting, who while having a power that sounds unspectacular, can produce results as equally ridiculous as their overpowered brethren. Consider:
    • Asagami Fujino: Mild Mannered High School student with the psychic power to... turn objects clockwise or counterclockwise? Uses? How about twisting victims into a bloody pulp by sight alone? Or reducing a whole suspension bridge into wreckage?
    • Kiritsugu from Fate/Zero has the dual origin of severing and binding, which translates to breaking things and then putting them back together, which causes irreparable degradation. That doesn't sound very useful, but when his target is a mage's Magic Circuits (like blood vessels, but for mana)... well, there's many reasons people call him the Magus Killer, and this is the nastiest one.
    • For Tsukihime and Fate/stay night, see the Video Games examples.
  • Door from Neverwhere can... open doors. Thing is, it doesn't matter where the door goes or whether there was even a door there to begin with. The Big Bad is treating her as a Living MacGuffin to get her to open a door to Heaven; she opens a new door on top of the existing door and throws him into outer space instead. Wow. Not to mention that early in the story she is driven into a corner by her pursuers, and literally opens one of them. Yes, she can open doors in human bodies — the results are messy.
  • John Taylor of Night Side has a gift that lets him find anything. Big deal, right? Well, with only the slightest application of learned magic, he can find the activating key to any spell, holes in dimensions, the one pin on the grenade belt that's looser than the others, the glass jaw of an eldritch abomination, etc. He calls taking bullets out of opponents' guns his "party trick", and routinely counters villains' threats with offers to do likewise to their favorite internal organs.
  • In the first The Paper Magician book, the main character is initially dubious about paper-based magic, and most prospective magicians seem to share her opinion; her school has to force people into the field just to keep it from dying out. But it turns out you can do a lot with it: you can create origami-animal servants, project house-sized illusions, predict the future, summon gusts of wind, shield yourself from projectiles...
  • In Pegasus in Flight, Tirla is a very restricted telepath... who also happens to have a Talent that makes her fluent in every language in existence, and she can translate them effortlessly. Given that she lives in a giant community full of people who speak different languages, it's basically her full-time job.
  • In Percy Jackson and the Olympians, the children of Demeter can make plants grow. This comes in handy in the Battle of Manhattan, where Percy has them use their powers to block up the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel against an invading army of monsters.
  • The main characters of Mur Lafferty's superhero novel Playing for Keeps are examples of this trope. As "Third-Wavers", they are discriminated against for having weak or incredibly specialized powers, but as the story goes on, they discover ways their powers can be far more useful than they thought, to the point that some would qualify for Lethal Harmless Powers.
    • Keepsie has the superpower that nothing that belongs to her can be taken from her without her consent. Anyone who tries is paralyzed until they stop trying. At the beginning of the novel, she considers this to be a pretty useless power. Once she figures out that her life counts as something which belongs to her, and gets a power-up from Zupra EX that grants her more control over her powers... She also later learns to extend this protection to her friends and business, because they're "hers".
      Keepsie: You're breathing my air.
    • Peter can learn things about other people by smelling them. Turns out this means he can not only track people like a bloodhound but also know exactly what they're doing and where they're going, and he can instantly find out anyone's biggest strengths and weaknesses.
    • Michelle's only power is that she can carry any tray, no matter how full it is, without dropping or upsetting it. This means she can carry anything, no matter how big and heavy, as long as it's technically on a tray — and it also gives her lethal aim if throwing the tray like a discus.
    • Ian can send out high-pressure beams of feces from his hands. Extremely gross, but actually a very effective weapon.
    • Alex has Healing Hands, though he can only heal one square inch at a time. He still ends up saving the lives of quite a few people with this power.
    • Collette is a Supreme Chef who instinctively knows exactly what kind of food everyone wants. Comes in handy when someone is trying to impersonate one of your friends because while they may be able to mimic his appearance and voice, they have more trouble mimicking his exact food preferences. Also, it's amazing how useful an intricate knowledge of cooking oil and its boiling point might prove when you're under siege...
    • Tomas has Super-Strength, but only for five-second bursts. Still, it's incredible what you can do in five seconds.
  • Cinderella in The Princess Series can summon animals to help her. Birds and mice? Try sharks and sea serpents!
  • In Relativity, the villain "Cricket" has the power to talk to insects (and spiders), which doesn't sound very useful... but, he does manage to talk some tarantulas into stealing some small but valuable items for him.
  • Release That Witch: Many magic powers most consider "worthless" end up having massive applications after being put towards Roland's industrial revolution. For instance, Soraya's "magic paint" ability eventually evolves to allow her to create "covering" compounds of various types rather than just colors, which Roland uses to replace the entire plastics and rubber industry, leading to the creation of bike tires, hydrogen balloons, an entire heating and plumbing system, and more thanks to a single ability.
  • The Rising of the Shield Hero: From the get-go, everybody writes off Naofumi's Legendary Weapon as useless for its defense and support-oriented abilities. But as any MMO player will attest to, defense and support classes are vital to getting anywhere. Due to its inherent ability to change forms, Naofumi still has access to abilities you wouldn't immediately expect from a support tank, such as using shield-shaped barriers as platforms and surprise traps, containing targets in domes made of chained shields, deploying poison vipers, and vicious biting dog heads on attackers, draining MP and SP, and unleashing hate-powered cursed flames and torture devices on unfortunate enemies. Though, in the capital's case, they might have known that the Legendary Shield wasn't nearly as useless as the other Heroes stupidly believed it was, but still acted that way to the point of actively refusing, and even trying to handicap Naofumi anyway due to the inherent bigotry towards those who worshipped the "weapon". On top of that, the Shield's own drawbacks end up helping Naofumi, as it forces him to pick up other non-combat skills in order to survive, preventing him from further falling into Crippling Overspecialization.
  • In the Rose of the Prophet trilogy by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, a wizard named Mathew teaches several women how to cast a simple spell that will create a fog to help them escape from their enemies. The chief component of spell is water and Mathew has never cast the spell in a desert environment. While they provided all the water they could for the spell to work, it was not enough. What they didn't know is when the spell is not given enough water, it will seek out water from any source possible. And what is the human body mostly made of?
  • Saintess Summons Skeletons: Due to her broken class, instead of summoning heroes, Sofia can summon litres of human blood. She's initially underwhelmed, but it turns out that it has lots of uses. Setting the stage for a Wounded Gazelle Gambit. Turning a surface slippery. Selling it in bulk to vampires, who are willing to pay very well. Fuelling necromantic rituals that need large amounts of blood without having to kill anyone. It's actually more useful in her early development than her ability to summon a Holy Skeleton.
  • Second Apocalypse: The Super-Genius Warrior-King and Archmage Anasurimbor Kellhus runs afoul of the gods, but most especially Yatwer, the goddess of fertility. She doesn't sound like a very fearsome goddess, but she's not fucking around. Her Mother-Supreme, Psatma Nannaferi, uses sex magic to seduce powerful warlords against Kellhus and uses life magic to empower a random youth into becoming a holy assassin with Kellhus in his sights. Yatwer and the members of her vast cult display a number of other powerful and mysterious abilities.
  • In the Sensor series by Susan Illene, the main character's abilities sense. She knows when someone is lying, and can sense other supernaturals, their powers and such. Useful, but she has no combat powers. Sensing a vampire does no good if they can just rip her apart with their bare hands. BUT. When it's groups fighting against each other, she can tell her allies the enemies' positions, numbers, and capabilities, which is a huge advantage if they don't have their own sensor.
  • Super Powereds:
    • Similar to the Deadpool 2 example above, Nick's luck-manipulation power doesn't seem like much in a class where the focus is combat, which tends to rely more on training and skill than random chance. That said, he demonstrates the (current) full extent of his power at the end of the first book, when he causes a truck speeding on the highway to experience every conceivable malfunction at the same time, turning it into a pile of metal. In Year 2, he turns a Curb-Stomp Battle into a hard-won fight for Chad (the best student in class) by closing his eyes and ducking at random, while his power is active. Sure, he loses the fight, but there was no way he'd be able to beat Chad anyway, and this way he avoided demoralizing his team with a quick loss (plus, by fighting Chad, he prevented him from fighting his teammates). Things get even more epic when he's supercharged by a boy on Globe's crew, allowing him to see probability lines and even predict the future with a great degree of accuracy. He can selectively lower or increase odds for certain events, which means he doesn't have to fear walking into the middle of a firefight, since the guns will either miss or will have a misfire. This is also how he kills the Big Bad: the guy has a gun aimed at him, so Nick boosts the odds of a catastrophic misfire to the max, causing the gun to explode and a piece of it to fly back into the shooter's eye and brain.
    • Titan has the ability to adapt to anything. He uses it to become the (physically) strongest man in the world and impervious to most damage. The ability also means his strength and endurance don't atrophy with disuse.
    • Chad's mastery over his own body means he can force it to absorb minerals and carbon to boost his muscles and make his bones unbreakable. He can also increase his brain's reaction speed and instantly learn reflexes. As a side effect of him rewiring his brain for efficiency, his mind can't be read by any telepath. He can also grow bone armor and use his blood as a water saw (gross but effective).
  • The eponymous item in The Sword of Shannara Trilogy. Its power, which is hidden for much of the first book, is revealed to be telling the truth about whatever it touches. Lame, right? Well, no not quite. You see, the Sword not only tells the truth, it forces whoever it's touching to accept that truth. This comes in pretty handy as the Big Bad is revealed to be Dead All Along and deeply in denial about it. Bye-bye, Brona. But that's only one use, right? Wrong again. The Sword shows up in almost every book in the series, proving to be the perfect antidote to every Manipulative Bastard and Evil Mentor out there. It saves Par from being possessed by Rimmer Dall in The Heritage of Shannara by revealing the latter's lies, and sends the Ilse Witch into a Heel Realisation-induced Villainous BSoD after revealing the lies she has built her life on. So what's a lame power again? It also has some more practical uses, such as being able to guide an airship through a maelstrom while flying blind. Unfortunately, it's only as good as a normal sword in situations that would require a normal sword, such as being ambushed by ten bandits.
  • In Tales of Pell: The Princess Beard, the centaur Vic has tea magic - he can conjure tea and desserts at will. To most people this would have a lot of practical applications while not being terribly flashy or useful in combat, but Vic starts the book entirely preoccupied with his own masculinity and wants his magic gone, and is not very bright besides, so when he floods a gym with scalding tea he doesn't stop to think about the applications. Over the course of the book he uses hard scones as bludgeoning weapons, prevents people from being shot by conjuring splashes of tea and barrel-clogging icing sugar at a distance, rains enough bearclaws down to bury the crew of a rival ship, and gives a friend a pastille that eases pain. He also keeps himself fed and watered with conjured protein-heavy muffins and green tea, and at the end of his Character Development reflects that he does actually like his power, and provides his friends with refreshments.
  • Almost the entire anthology Temps (and its sequel, Euro Temps) features the losers in the Superpower Lottery; while there is the occasional temp who can make the Gods jealous with their powers, most are on the level of the woman who Always Knows Exactly Where David Earnshaw Is — as long as he's in Britain. However, some of them manage to become dangerous anyway:
    • The main character of David Langford's story "Leaks" is targeted by a Mad Scientist who wants to see if his power can be expanded to other fields. The main character's power? Teleporting a pint of beer between glasses. Can it be expanded? Yes, to include any liquid in any container. Including, to the mad scientist's chagrin, the blood in the human circulatory system. The scientist similarly theorizes the narrator could teleport an airborne plane's fuel away. By the end of the story, the main character even moves beyond liquids, teleporting money out of the pocket of his superiors.
    • "Leaks" also mentions a wild talent with the ability to incinerate individual grains of dust — but only one at a time. He gets the idea of focusing his power on gunpowder and goes on to have an illustrious superhero career as Mr. Misfire, the Man Whose Adversaries Shoot Themselves in the Foot.
    • The heroine of Roz Kaveney's "Totally Trashed" can materialize random pieces of litter and garbage out of the air. She stops a homicidal robot by covering it in old stamps and scraps of paper that block its sensors and discovers that when she really gets mad, she can drop an old, rusted-out car on top of someone. Later she finds out that many of the things she materializes are actually potentially valuable antiques from alternate universes or timelines, such as a tarnished, slightly dented Roman centurion's shield that looks at first glance like a garbage can lid and old newspapers from other timelines that prove the existence of alternate universes, drawing in the interest of Nobel Prize-hungry researchers.
  • There Is No Epic Loot Here, Only Puns: Old Mr Haldi is a cheese mage! He has dedicated his life to studying the magic of cheese. As you might expect, his cheese tastes really good. Supernaturally good, in fact. If he likes you, it might even cure all your ills. If he doesn't, well, you probably shouldn't eat it, because it would likely poison you. But you might not even get the chance, because if he doesn't like you, he'd probably just send cheese golems after you. In fact, he's still wanted, decades later, for the time he successfully assaulted the capital and destroyed the royal castle with them. To the point where random citizens are likely to recognise and fear his name.
  • Patrick, in Two Percent Power, has the superpower of being able to manipulate milk telekinetically. He uses this to generate projectiles, shields, whips, and ramps. And eventually develops the ability to pull recently drunk milk out from inside of an opponent...
  • Boots from The Underland Chronicles, The Chosen One of the cockroaches. Given how valuable the cockroaches prove time and time again in the series, having them completely on your side is an awesome power indeed.
  • The Unexplored Summon://Blood-Sign:
    • Intense emotion can mitigate the catatonia suffered by losers of a summoning battle- mitigate it just enough that said losers can take one independent action. This ability is incredibly circumstantial and little-known (because few people ever get into a summoning battle in the first place), but it is useful because nobody expects catatonic people to do anything. So if you really want your enemy dead, like Lu wants her "owner" dead, losing to them paradoxically gives you a perfect opportunity to assassinate them. (Assuming they don't immediately kill you first.)
    • Shigara's power as a goddess is to delay death for 30 minutes. It doesn't fix the causes of that death, so it's mostly useless. But when she's partnered with a supernaturally skilled doctor, it can ensure someone survives otherwise fatal wounds, even if they don't want to.
  • In Unlimited Fafnir, Yuu's ability to summon a handgun seems a bit pitiful compared to the girls being able to cast devastating spells and attacks. However, said gun proves useful against human targets, and he is also able to summon a Wave-Motion Gun, which comes in very handy for defeating dragons with.
  • Averted in Warrior Cats: From an outside view, Jayfeather's Dream-Walking doesn't seem that impressive beside his brother Lionblaze's Nigh-Invulnerability or second-cousin Dovewing's Super-Senses in combatting the Dark Forest. Readers are never given this perspective, as the series established far earlier than The Power of Three that dreams can provide a vessel through which living cats can visit the afterlife, meaning Jayfeather can lucid-dream himself into direct communication with the dead.
  • Androl Genhald in The Wheel of Time is a very weak Asha'man who can channel just a little of the One Power, and therefore stands miles below the main characters. Fortunately for him, he's very good at making Gateways, to the point that he can make Gateways hundreds of times better than he should have been able to. The character uses this with quite a bit of imagination, and due to the unique properties of gateways using his skill to cut an iron chain is the least of it. At one point, he opens a huge gateway on a battlefield with the other side inside a frikkin' volcano. He could hold his own in combat against the best, if not for the fact that an enemy channeler could just shield him. He is the only one able to make a gateway when a relic prevents traveling and uses a pinhole portal to redirect Baelfire, the most powerful spell in the series.
  • Wild Cards:
    • Digger Downs can literally "sniff out" aces, but also happens to be a paparazzi who works in the magazine about aces.
    • Astronomer won the Superpower Lottery, but employed a lot of aces and weak deuces and taught them to use their powers well. Did you know that if you can control nearby water, it also extends to bodily fluids?
    • Popinjay arguably takes the cake. He has a power to teleport... only other people, only if he can "shoot" them with a pretend gun (you know the gesture), and only to places he's been to numerous times and knows excellently. He works as a private eye and, amongst other things, teleports people to jail. However, later into the story, we find out that the location from his recurring nightmare that makes him wet himself apparently works, too.
  • Worm:
    • The main character, Taylor aka Skitter, is a fifteen-year-old wannabe superhero in a world full of people with powers. While most famous heroes and villains have standard abilities like flight, strength, healing, speed, etc, she only has the power to control insects, spiders, and other invertebrates, but she's smart enough to come up with all sorts of creative ways to apply her powers. These include attacking with hundreds of black widow spiders and other venomous creatures, spying on people from two blocks away by looking through the eyes of insects, devising a bullet-resistant costume by commanding spiders to spin one from their silk, improvising a costume with carefully directed insects, which not only conceals her identity but intimidates her opponents with a giant, creepy-looking human-shaped swarm, arming even the nonstinging, nonvenomous insects (imagine being divebombed by bugs whose undersides are coated in capsaicin, the active ingredient in pepper spray, who are guided to your mouth, nostrils, and eyes), have her bugs vibrate to mimic speech, pull the pins on grenades, used spider threads as triplines or to cocoon people, and even kill a Nigh Invulnerable character by cramming insects down their throat so that they suffocate.
    • Another example of a character with a very unimpressive power is Oliver, who is an Empathic Shapeshifter who involuntarily takes on traits that fit other people's ideals of beauty. This turns out to be extremely important because it allows him to impersonate the final Big Bad's counterpart.
    • A villainous example would be Nice Guy, who has the power to not be seen as a threat. People can still see and talk with him, but when his power is "on", they perceive him as just another face in the crowd. Even as he is literally killing them. Stranger powers work this way in general, making the person harder to notice or interact with, and are often among the hardest to counter powers in the setting.
    • In most other settings, Good with Numbers would qualify as a very, very minor power. Number Man takes this to the extreme, though — he can use math to predict and dodge attacks, he can No-Sell falls and even explosions, take shots that ricochet around shields, and perform a Shatterpoint Tap to the skull of a super tough parahuman. He's the only living ex-member of The Slaughterhouse Nine, and his clones show some of their skill against a group of the best-trained heroes in the world, taking them out without even getting short of breath. This isn't even that unusual, as other "Thinker" powers (anything about gathering or processing information) are almost universally the most dangerous powers in the setting.
  • In A Wrinkle in Time, when Mrs Whatsit is giving the children gifts, she gives Meg "your faults". Meg protests that she's always trying to get rid of her faults, but she learns during her first encounter with IT that her faults of pride, anger, and stubbornness helps her resist IT's influence. These traits alone are not enough to completely overpower IT, but Meg discovers during her second encounter with IT that The Power of Love that IT doesn't understand is strong enough to break its brainwashing of her brother Charles Wallace.
  • Xanth:
    • In Xanth, everybody has a single, unique magical ability. Useless abilities are referred to as "Spot On The Wall" powers, meaning that they do useless things like making a colored spot appear on a wall. One character literally has that power, but it turns out that she can use her power to make mosaic images with amazing detail. Furthermore, she doesn't even have to know what she's making in order to create it. In one scenario, she makes an image of an "operations manual" to a device in order to learn how to use the device. "Magicians" are at the top of the social order because they have exceptional powers but most of the time it's simply this trope at work and using an otherwise specialized power in clever ways.
    • Irene's power is to make plants grow faster, which is actually a pretty useful ability, but seemingly mundane. However, Xanth is full of a ridiculous number of plants with very specific powers, and armed with the right seeds Irene can produce virtually anything. In her case the awesomeness of the power is universally recognized, being designated as Magician-tier (the highest level magic there is among humans).
    • Lacuna has the power to change text, which growing up she primarily used for pranks. As an adult, however, she ran up against the mighty Com Pewter, a Reality Warper who can make anything in his vicinity happen...via text appearing on his screen. She then permanently reprograms it into a Heel–Face Turn.
    • Jenny Elf can entrap people in dreams by singing, as long as they can hear but are not paying attention. Good for mild entertainment but not much else? Well, try mesmerizing guards and some of Xanth's nastier critters. The downside is the creature has to be able to properly hear it; Nadia can barely make it out in snake form.

    Live-Action TV 
  • All That had the recurring sketch "Boring Man" which centered around a superhero whose power was boring people. By that we mean he's so boring that anyone he talked to would instantly fall into a coma, which enabled him to defeat the villain and his goons with little difficulty.
  • The Almighty Johnsons:
    • The main characters are all mostly depowered gods. Some of the powers like Anders' Compelling Voice or Olaf's eternal youth are obviously awesome, but then you've got people like Michele's mother — as the goddess of parties, she decides to throw a party, and everyone instantly knows there is a party (including whatever theme she feels like including), and they will be there.
    • Mike is Ullr, god of games, and doesn't lose games under any circumstances. Pretty cool on its own, but absolutely awesome when you keep in mind that a game is anything two people agree is a game. He's invincible in a fight if his opponent makes the mistake of betting on it, and he can even read minds if someone asks him "Guess what?" After all, it's a guessing game.
    • Johann, father of the Johnson brothers, is Njord, god of the sea. His power is to "spread oil on troubled waters," to calm arguments. Sounds like a weaker version of Anders' Compelling Voice? Maybe, but it means he never has to face any consequences for all the shit he pulls since no one can stay mad at him.
      Olaf: And yes, he also calms the actual sea. Great if you're a sailor, not so great if you're trying to take your twenty-one-year-old out surfing.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
  • In Charmed, Phoebe developed the power of empathy which seemed inconvenient at best and debilitating at worst before she got a handle on it. As her control progressed it was discovered that, because all powers in the series are tied to emotion, channeling them from others means she can copy and redirect anyone else's powers, at an amplified level too if she's channeling enough collectively. Not to mention the Bad Future where a more amorally proactive Phoebe discovered she was capable of using her empathy powers to Mind Rape someone with a feedback loop of their own feelings until it kills them by basically frying their brain.
  • On Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Aunt Hilda is often viewed as a dowdy matron who lacks the raw power of the other black-magic witches in her coven. But her quieter form of enchantment, like telepathy, is just as useful in taking down foes without raising any sort of fuss. Hilda's non-magical skill as a Supreme Chef also prove incredibly effective in secretly casting spells on people (her shortbread, for example, can provide Laser-Guided Amnesia to anyone who tries some, which is helpful in keeping the Masquerade in place)—or, in one case, killing someone who had protected herself against any sort of magical attack, but failed to consider that the delicious almond cookies she was eating might be poisoned.
  • Doctor Who: The Doctor's companions are an interesting variation of this. When compared to the Doctor themself — a 2000-plus-year-old Time Lord with a time machine, encyclopedic memory, sonic screwdriver that can pretty much get out of any situation — their "mere" human abilities seem lame in comparison. But the companions and their various training have saved the Doctor's bacon on countless occasions:
    • Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright, the Doctor's first human companions and a science and history teacher respectively, were able to use their respective skills countless times to save the day and deal with human cultures throughout Earth's history.
    • Zoe and Adric's mathematical acumen saved the Earth in countless stories.
    • Romana's academic knowledge was even greater than the Doctor's, and she was often able to match or even exceed the Doctor's Gadgeteer Genius abilities (for example, she once built her own sonic screwdriver, and the Doctor tried to pickpocket it).
    • Martha Jones, a medical student, provides invaluable services when dealing with humans and aliens alike; she's eventually recruited by UNIT as a master of alien biology, and even saved the Doctor at least once by memorizing his body structure and working to heal him.
    • Similarly, Rory Williams, a hospital nurse, once saved his own life by teaching his fiancée Amy how to perform CPR (or at least the television version of it).
    • Sarah Jane Smith is an investigative reporter by trade, which gives her skills in sneaking around and researching alien threats covertly. She's one of the main reasons that Earth is still around in the series.
    • Donna Noble doesn't even have a permanent job — she's a "temp", or employee hired on a daily basis to fill in for absent workers — but her knowledge of office life is incredibly useful, not to mention her ability to quickly figure out how new-to-her workplaces function. In "The Sontaran Stratagem", she explores a facility and discovers a crucial fact about the employees — namely, that there's never been a sick day in the history of the office — which proves that hypnosis is involved. In "Journey's End", her abilities as a typist actually end up saving reality itself although admittedly, she'd gained the same mental capacity as the Doctor in that particular case.
    • Yaz, a police officer (still in her probationary period, no less!), is able to temporarily stall a squad of Judoon because they recognize her legal authority.
      • In general, almost every companion has had at least a few moments when they are able to save the day due to the Doctor being elsewhere, incapacitated, or just unable to connect with frightened humans.
    • As for the Doctor him/her/themself, the list of beings inspired to do better, be better, and perform the odd Heroic Sacrifice thanks to the Doctor's gift for well-placed You Are Better Than You Think You Are speeches is too long to list.
  • Fate: The Winx Saga:
    • Aisha at one point mocks Stella's power for being useless. But as Luna demonstrates, controlling light can make herself invisible or create illusions. Plus Stella once blinded a character with her powers, though that was an accident.
    • Empathy isn't much use in combat, but Musa's able to use her powers to confirm that the Burned One they subdued is still alive — sparing the others from being attacked. And she later discovers that Farah's worries about Callum's murder.
  • Game of Thrones: Think being fire-proof isn't much of a superpower? Wait until you see the epic ways Daenerys uses it, such as escaping heavily armed captors by setting the room on fire with her still in it.

  • Hell's Kitchen: Season 3's Julia Williams. Amidst a group of trained professional chefs who largely worked in fancy restaurants, her qualification was that she worked as a short order cook in a Waffle House. Nobody on her team ever took her seriously, but she managed to outlast all of her bullies and make it into 4th place because she was the ultimate Boring, but Practical cook, and working in a hurried and high-stress environment meant that she was able to easily defeat the constant challenge of producing consistent cooking when you're in a hot, unfamiliar kitchen with Gordon Ramsay yelling at you and producers occasionally messing with your ingredients.
  • Kamen Rider Fourze, with 40 different pieces of equipment, was bound to run into this. In one episode Kengo is ready to write off the Hopping Switch as useless, but Gentaro insists that everything has its use; he demonstrates this by dodging the chameleon Monster of the Week's tongue (and again in The Movie, where he uses it to pinball-kick about a dozen Mooks). Later on, even Gentaro thinks the Pen Switch is a wash, but his friends discover that its ink hardens into a metallic substance, meaning it can make instant barriers; he also disables a Perseus-themed monster's Taken for Granite powers by painting over the Medusa head on his armor.
  • Similarly, Kamen Rider Wizard had a few of Haruto's magic rings come off as duds during his initial test, only to prove much more useful with a little thought. The Sleep Ring puts its wearer to sleep; Haruto figures out that if he slips the ring on someone else's hand first, it lets him disable human enemies via Instant Sedation. The Excite Ring's first use has Haruto develop shirt-shredding muscles, seemingly just for the purpose of a sight gag (and Parent Service); using it as Kamen Rider Wizard, however, makes him Hulk Out.
    • In a more literal example, we have the Hope Ring, which sounds innocuous but turns out to be exceptionally powerful because the gemstone set into the ring is the Philosopher's Stone.
  • For a villain in Kamen Rider Ex-Aid. The Lovlica Bugster is a Bugster based on dating-sim games. This seems utterly ridiculous for good reason, but it comes with a variety of powers such as weaponized cupids, rose thorns, and more importantly, since dating-sims are rarely combat-heavy, attacking him is nearly impossible. However, it's only nearly because just being dissed by a girl seems to take him out in one hit, and the riders get around this altogether by destroying his Bugster harem.
  • In Legend of the Seeker, Richard's sister Jennsen is known as a "pristinely ungifted", which means she's utterly immune to magic. This makes her the only person able to sneak into the Big Bad's storage room protected by spells and to walk onto an ancient magical battlefield with still-active magical land mines, as they won't even trigger with her there.
  • The Lost Room:
    • One of the Objects is a pair of Scissors that can rotate things around a point, which seems pretty limited until you realize that the center of rotation can be outside of what's being rotated. The protagonist finds out the hard way when the previous owner uses the scissors to toss him around the room like a ragdoll.
    • The Clock, which can sublimate manganese. How often does one encounter manganese, you ask? Turns out it's a component of quite a few alloys, including brass and stainless steel.
    • The Glasses inhibit combustion of whatever you're looking at when you wear them. One cruel Seeker tests them by putting a gun to a claimant's forehead and pulling the trigger a few times. Nothing happens.
  • On one episode of Misfits we see a guy who can control milk and dairy products telekinetically. No one takes him seriously until he realizes that he can force dairy food around people's bodies and more specifically, back up people's digestive tract to choke them with it.
  • Mako Mermaids: An H₂O Adventure: Rita teaches the mermaid trio Volume Reduction, basically a localized compression spell. Nixie is unimpressed, until Rita reveals she can use it to rescue herself from a cave-in or fend off an orca. Nixie later finds a more horrifying use for it, namely using it to strangle Sirena while the latter is doing an on-stage singing audition.
  • Motherland: Fort Salem:
    • Tally's magic specializes in the branch of precognition, specifically giving her the ability to sense the presence of other people and to track them down, which makes her very conveniently useful within her unit.
    • In the second season, after being brought back to her youth and normalcy from her biddies state, Tally in addition to developing the ability to be able to relive Alder's memories in the first person, obtains a rare ability that allows her to be able to see as trails of colors any sound that comes from a vocalization. This ability comes in handy to her several times in the second season starting from passing successfully a drill and to discovering the infiltration of a Spree spy among Alder's biddies. Spree leader and founder herself, Nicte Batan, mentions how unfortunate it is to have to kill someone with such a unique ability as hers.
  • Once Upon a Time: Emma is the product of True Love, so she seems to be magical by default, being a Living Lie Detector and apparently being able to jumpstart Regina's magic just by touch. In general, however, her "magic" seems to just be the fact that she is a physical form of The Power of Love. This suddenly becomes useful when it's revealed that love allows her to No-Sell Cora trying to rip her heart out. More generally, True Love's Kiss is capable of negating any curse, no matter how powerful.
  • One Pulp Sport sketch has a superhero whose power is to be able to find the start of a roll of sellotape in an instant. This proves incredibly useful.
  • In Sense8 the cluster of eight people has a wide variety of useful skills, including a cop, MMA fighter, thief, and hacker. One of the group is merely a DJ, but she is able to use her wide variety of social contacts quite effectively. She even makes useful social connections by throwing a rave.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: Invoked in "Rightful Heir". To avoid a Klingon civil war, Worf suggests making Kahless the new spiritual leader of the Klingon people and giving him a figurehead title.
    Koroth: The title is meaningless without the power to back it up.
    Worf: Real power comes from inside the heart.
  • Warehouse 13: The Regents, who oversee the titular warehouse and its vast collection of empowered historical artifacts, are specifically recruited because they have a seemingly-useless skill that proves extremely useful in their line of work. The group's recording secretary, Theadora Stanton, is a waitress in a diner, meaning that her ability to quickly and accurately write down complicated information in shorthand is second to none. Other Regents include a kindergarten teacher (whose status as a Friend to All Children makes her able to bond with any kid) and a man with a master's degree in American history (since the artifacts all belong to famous people from the past, he's able to track historical figures' lives with extreme precision).
  • What We Do in the Shadows (2019): Colin Robinson is an energy vampire, who feeds on emotions (particularly boredom), and lacks the superhuman strength, flight, and shapeshifting abilities of traditional vampires. He's also the most dangerous character in the series because of his power to drain humans, vampires, trolls, and almost any other supernatural entity of their energy, meaning he feeds on everyone around him on a constant basis. He's also immune to sunlight, and if overloaded on energy he can manifest many other abilities including self-copying.

  • Plumbing the Death Star:
    • Madrox the Multiple Man has the power to make exact copies of himself and absorb them for their knowledge; "Is Madrox just the worst for the MU?" makes the case that he could potentially take over every job in the world economy, learn every possible skill, become everyone's significant other, and become the dominant species on Earth by himself solely through his one superpower.
    • Whenever a generic spell needs to be brought up in "How Dare Wizards!?", the Plumbing Boys always go with a spell they made up that turns water into flowers. They start off making jokes about how pointless it is, but they eventually figure out that this spell could be used to escape waterboarding and empty the oceans in the style of Ice-9.
  • Red Panda Adventures: The Red Panda's self-proclaimed nemesis, the Mad Monkey, possesses as his main superpower psychic control of baboons. It only works on baboons, with apes and other monkeys unaffected. His first crime spree with the Red Panda features him using this to good effect nonetheless, recruiting more than forty baboons into his army and using his mental control to make them able to carry out crimes and even fire pistols. The Mad Monkey's powers also render him Immune to Mind Control, which is problematic when the Red Panda's main superpower is hypnosis. As the series goes on the Mad Monkey is able to upgrade his powers to limited control over humans and is generally one of the Red Panda's more dangerous foes in that he escapes as often as he's captured.

    Religion and Mythology 
  • Classical Mythology:
    • Aphrodite, goddess of love, sex, and relationship drama. One of the weakest fighters among the Olympians (unless you lived in Sparta, where she was also a goddess of war). Given her relatives' tendency to let their dicks do the thinking even when she doesn't actively get involved, she wields a lot of power and is very good at making the lives of people who oppose her miserable. There are, canonically, only three people in the world who Aphrodite has no power over: the three virgin goddesses Artemis, Athena, and Hestia.
    • Hestia was the goddess of hearth fires. Sounds boring, but it meant that she was the metaphorical and literal center of all homes and cities (and even the Earth itself, as the Greeks believed there was a fire at its center), and her favor was important because none of the fancy stuff mattered if you had no home to return to. She was also generally considered to be the nicest goddess and the only one who never got involved in shenanigans, and if you didn't show her proper respect, her entire family would be lining up to smite you for daring to upset their favorite Cool Aunt. In Rome, her temple famously contained a fire which was never allowed to go out, because if it did then Rome was considered to have lost her favor, which was a very, very bad thing indeed.

  • The Ballad of Edgardo is the story of someone making a character in a roleplay filled with overpowered characters... while poor Edgardo is a Bare-Fisted Monk with "Overflowing Spirit." "Overflowing Spirit" is an ability that removes your Spirit (MP) cap, but makes you unable to use elemental abilities, limiting you to only "Raw Spirit", a Non-Elemental "element" that cannot be resisted by anything but is so much weaker than the actual elements that it is regarded as completely useless. In addition, unarmed combat is also completely useless as it receives no combat multipliers, meaning you do jack against anyone wearing any kind of armor. This made Edgardo pathetically weak at the beginning and he promptly gets his ass kicked by everyone he meets. However, it actually ends up being beneficial to him as it allowed Edgardo and a fellow brawler he befriended to train by beating each other up, since unarmed is so weak that it would take days to kill each other this way and neither of them were spending any Spirit points to empower their attacks (other characters wouldn't be able to train this way since weapons and magic are so much more powerful they'd quickly kill each other). This allowed Edgardo to level up once and take a perk that doubled the amount of Spirit he would regenerate per day, and he also built up a large stockpile of it due to all that training, which let him and his companion kill a Jerkass player who was much more powerful than Edgardo, and who had already kicked his ass once before. Then Edgardo's player read over the lore of the setting and discovered that there was a city that contained the "Spirit Well", and as long as you were in the city and for a day after you left it, your Spirit instantly regenerated up to the cap. Edgardo had no cap. Getting there meant that he was able to do infinite amounts of unblockable damage, allowing him to One-Hit Kill anything that moved.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Arkham Horror can be an extremely punishing game if you do not have the best team of characters or good draws, and this can be made even worse if you start at a disadvantage. Rex Murphy starts off cursed, so he can only ever pass any checks by rolling a 6, and he doesn't roll to discard it at the beginning of the turn during Upkeep like any other character (meaning you can theoretically be stuck with it the entire game). The benefit, however, is that it can be removed if you are blessed, and if Rex can pull this off and gain a blessing, then he can truly take full advantage of his other ability to gather an extra clue token whenever he gains any. This can allow him to close gates extremely early into the game and seal them off, and without the curse holding him down it is possible for him to do this without much difficulty at all.
  • Bleak World has this with Werecockroaches; it seems lame, yes, until you remember a cockroach can fly short distances and can lift 100 times its own weight while surviving with its head off.
  • In Cosmic Encounter, each alien has a unique power. Most of these powers are obviously strong and/or useful, like turning your cards into additional ships, never losing your ships to the warp, or even permanently removing your opponents' defeated ships from the game. And then there's the Loser, who has the power to win an encounter by losing. Despite this power sounding almost like a joke, it's incredibly strong against aliens whose powers permanently increase their ship and/or attack card numbers like the Macron or Warrior who otherwise become increasingly difficult to defeat the longer the game lasts. It's so strong in many situations, in fact, that virtually all ranking lists of Cosmic Encounter alien powers rank the Loser at the very top or near it.
    • Cosmic also has the Philanthropist, which has the power to...give away cards to other players. What makes this actually an awesome power is that you have to use up all of your cards, even the terrible low-numbered Attack cards, before you can draw a new hand; the Philanthropist can not only draw a new hand more quickly, it can stick its opponents with bad cards that they now have to use.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The magic school of Divination, at its higher levels, makes you a metagaming pro, allowing you to do things like scry out the Big Bad, teleport directly to them, and kill them. Despite this, it's perhaps one of the schools most commonly stereotyped as What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?, to the point where 3e made it much cheaper than the other schools to specialize in. To specialize in a school (gaining the ability to cast extra spells per day of that school) in 3e, a wizard has to give up the ability to cast spells in two other schools forever. This is a major sacrifice. But specializing in divination requires only one barred school, meaning a divination specialist can potentially have a more varied selection of spells than a specialist in any other school.
      • Forgotten Realms canon admitted that knowledge is power: diviners firmly stood on top of very competitive and unforgiving hierarchies — Gromph Baenre, the Archmage of Menzoberranzan and Zalathorm, king of Halruaa. Melegaunt Tanthul, prince of Shade, was bold and sneaky enough to go study Sealed Evil in a Can from inside its can and succeed.
      • Realms also has Gayrlana, "Lady Bloodsword". A female human fighter with topped out Charisma (traditional Dump Stat) and Mindlink (ability to talk directly by telepathy) as a psionic wild talent. The result: a great Lethal Joke Character, because she used these advantages, and what started as a simple dungeon crawl ended with her as the head of Mindulgulph Mercenary Company, a mercenary company comprised predominantly of Monster Adventurers,note  and continued along this line. Whatever the task is, they probably have creatures well-suited to it and humans or humanoids who can play intermediary.
      • Also, one article in Dragon Magazine told the story of a heroic and legendary wizard who, after his death, was revealed to have been a diviner. The article also included his spellbook, which included new Divination spells that were very useful.
      • In 5e, Divination is considered to be the strongest wizard school. Why? Because of a little ability called Portent. Diviners get to roll 2 d20s at the start of a day, and at any point, they can replace the roll of any creature they can see with one of their rolls. This includes saving throws. For example, the spell Feeblemind is essentially a spellcaster's worst nightmare (It reduces your intelligence and charisma to 1 for a MONTH at minimum and prevents you from casting spells.) However, it's an intelligence save, which means that most wizards will pass their save. But if the diviner rolls a natural 1...nobody's passing their save from that.
    • Illusion, similarly, is often perceived as being far weaker than it really is. Even a low-level illusionist has the ability to create voices in crowds, pass unreadable messages, and make documents that appear to be whatever paperwork is required, which while not spectacular in straight combat are ideal for running a rebellion. At higher levels, incredibly complex illusions can be created with a nigh-impossible saving throw, or can manipulate foes by substituting their reality for another or causing them to die of a fright-induced heart attack. (Your Mind Makes It Real applies in all these situations.) The problem here is that something like 2/3rds of the creatures in the game are flatly immune to 90% of the spells in the illusion school, which forces it into What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway? by way of balance-intended neutering.
      • In 3.5, there is a prestige class known as the Shadowcraft Mage. This one prestige class takes the Illusion school and turns it up a notch. It does so thanks to its ability Shadow Illusion, which allows spells such as Silent Image to replicate the effects of all evocation and most conjuration spells a sorcerer or wizard can cast (one level lower than the spell used to replicate them). This means that one spell can be prepared and serve the function of almost two entire schools of magic on the fly in addition to its normal effects. This becomes more important when you realize that you can increase the level of a spell via metamagic feats such as Heighten Spell and Earth Spell, two feats present in almost all Shadowcraft Mage builds. Suddenly, you have a character able to use almost two entire spell schools for the cost of knowing one spell. Even better, however, is that the spells replicated use the cost of the illusion spell used to replicate them. With the right feats, you suddenly have characters capable of casting Miracle note  for free, which in turn means that illusions can replicate the effect of almost every spell in the game.
      • Likewise, the above immunity to illusions backfires thanks to Shadow Illusion's secondary effect. The spell replicated can be disbelieved, but doing so means that it has 10% of its effect per spell level of the illusion used to replicate it. This means that a basic Fireball spell would be at least 50% real. However, there are feats and abilities (one even given by Shadowcraft Mage itself) that boost the quasireality of a spell, meaning that higher level spells are actually more real when disbelieved, turning an immunity to being fooled by illusions into a weakness to the replicated spells.
      • In 5th Edition, illusion wizards gain the ability to make their illusions PHYSICALLY REAL. Meaning they can create just about anything they can imagine. And even before that they can create minor illusions pretty much at will (with both sound and image) and modify any illusion on the fly, so they can keep others fooled for quite a while. Not to mention some illusions can and will kill people via psychic damage.
    • Enchantment has the same issue exact same issue as Illusion; it is perceived as weak because the writers, recognizing the Game-Breaker potential of the school, have gone out of their way to neuter its effectiveness, thus making it almost worthless.
    • In the Elfslayer Chronicles, a game of D&D played over an IRC chat, an illusion-mage PC decided to go Off the Rails in response to the DM's blatant elf fangirlism (with her being a Yaoi Fangirl adding fuel to the flames) and start strategically murdering elves, using his illusion magic to give himself alibis and incriminate those who he wanted to. He ended up almost singlehandedly throwing the nation into chaos and pushing the elves into a war they couldn't ever hope to win.
    • In 4E, there's Warlords (and to a lesser extent, Bards) with the "grant free melee/ranged basic attack" gimmick. Hey, cool, a free attack that usually has a lower to-hit chance than most abilities, and one roll of weapon damage instead of potentially between 2-5 rolls plus all sorts of bonuses. Nice, not great. And then Essentials came out, whose character classes were usually based around turning someone who only has melee/ranged basic attacks into a Person of Mass Destruction suddenly lashing out three times their equivalents' damage per attack, and a Warlord that could grant an extra attack or three just cut the average encounter time in half. Some classes also have powers that can be used as a basic attack.
    • The Diplomacy skill — used to convince others to do you favours — is so overpowered it has gained the nickname 'diplomancy'. An optimised 2nd-level character can reliably convince gods to fight for him. See here:
      • Bards, as experts of diplomacy (with many spells and abilities that assist with it) fall under this as well, despite their Quirky Bard reputation; even without diplomacy, they're fairly powerful, combining most of the advantages of rogues with reasonably effective spellcasting.
  • Magic: The Gathering has cards designed specifically for players who fit this trope]]. As the article states, this is Johnny's whole deal: Find good uses for "bad" cards.
  • The (very) old Marvel Comics Superhero RPG had numerous weak powers that could be awesome in the hands of a creative player. Best example is Coloration, the ability to change the color, transparency and refractive index of matter. Seems very lame, until you're fighting vampires in the sewers and you turn the ground above, not just transparent, but into a giant magnifying glass.
  • Mage: The Ascension:
    • Beginner characters, being limited to a couple Spheres at rank 1 or 2, seem sucky. Until you realize that, for instance, the first rank in the Mind Sphere already gives you the ability to boost your cognitive abilities to superhuman levels (total eidetic memory, information processing, etc) and psychic Aura Vision. Being that the whole game is pretty much about thinking outside the box, players and Storytellers are encouraged to use lateral thinking.
    • As a warning for potential game masters out there: Don't let someone who understands basic chemistry or physics take Matter or Forces unless you are prepared to deal with the consequences of, say, mud in a swamp being transmuted into sodium metal under your bad guy. If you don't know the consequences of that statement... just don't let your chemistry geek friend take Matter.
    • Any sphere can become this with enough imagination. Spirit becomes a taxi service to the Umbra, Life allows for crazy healing, helpful player mutations, and terrifying Body Horror on their enemies, Entropy brings the failing of every mechanism not working in the player's favor... the list goes on.
    • Entropy Level 1: Sense Fate And Fortune. Go to Vegas. Play slot machines. Get blacklisted by every casino from Shanghai to Los Angeles. Use any number of disguise spells to evade the ban. Repeat. Wipe your ass with hundred-dollar bills.
    • The truly nasty spells come from two-sphere combinations since you can do those with a starting character and the addition of the second influence can rapidly strip essentially every limit from the core spell. Consider: low-level Spirit allows you to talk to spirits and convert some of your power into spirit-compatible bribes. Nice enough, but even though you can talk to basically everything that you can imagine having a personality (rocks, computers, your schedule) the power levels of the spirits rapidly outpace your ability to bargain meaningfully, much less bribe them. Add in Prime, which allows you to juggle your power reserve and extract power from other things, and you're bribing the spirit of the entire city to assassinate a rival you don't like and things of similar scale. With about three levels in each sphere.
  • Nobilis:
    • The player characters are Physical Gods. Mortal NPCs often have enormous magical, supertech, and quasi-miraculous powers — and remain completely unable to challenge them, except extremely indirectly. What is the one class of mortals these Sovereigns of Creation must be cautious of? Botanists. It turns out the Angels used a language of flowers to define reality. Clever botanists can write their own addenda.
    • The Nobles (player characters) themselves can be like this if the player wants them to be. There's an example of a Noble who is the Power of... Blankets. All blankets. Everywhere. And he can see through them from any distance. And he can make them do anything he wants, also from any distance. Including suffocating you while you sleep in them. He is one of the most feared Nobles in the setting.
    • Powers of various emotional Estates are ridiculously powerful when combined with the animistic nature of Mythic Reality, especially in 1st & 2nd edition. Suddenly, gravity doesn't like you anymore.
    • In 3rd edition, Persona miracles can let you affect the "borders" of your Estate, making things more or less like the important traits of it. For example, if the Power of Hope states that one of the properties of Hope is that "Hope springs eternal," then Persona miracles of Hope can make things immortal.
    • When compared to its siblings, the Powers of Chaos and Strife, being the Power of Borders seems underpowered. Then the Estate is explained as having the power over all boundaries, including metaphysical ones (like class boundaries), and tells of how the current Power plunged Cincinnati (whose Mayor offended it) into anarchy for forty days by erasing the distinction between citizen and criminal.
  • The Chromativariation mutation in Paranoia allows the user to change an object's color. Sounds pretty useless at first, but since clearance levels are color-coded, a user of that mutation can easily and convincingly accuse someone of treason by simply turning some of their possessions violet.
  • In Scythe, the Tesla faction gets extra draws if you're using mech mods. However, if you're not using mech mods, Tesla is the only faction that gets only 2 character/mech abilities, which is extremely limiting (the ability to Riverwalk and the ability to move +1 tiles like any other faction). It also isn't great that you get 3 factory cards, but these cards are instantly discarded after use. It seems nearly pointless to even try using this faction... until you draw 3 excellent factory cards that let you start the game with a ton of resources, 2 movement every use, and possibly a couple mechs or structures. Being able to get an early-game advantage and planning for being overwhelmed in late-game can actually make up that shortfall and put Tesla in the best position to own the board by turn 3 (and possibly hold it for a considerable time).
  • In both Shadowrun and Cyberpunk, one of the weapons characters can have access to is basically high-tech squirt guns. Yes, squirt guns. Think this is super lame? Well, fill them with high-potency acid or lethal skin-absorbed poison and shoot it at someone's face, see how lame that is. Noah "Spoony" Antwiler made a whole video on them.

    Video Games 
  • In Arknights, while Amiya is shown to have offensive Arts abilities, it's her empathy (admittedly a bit more than just being sensitive) that contributes to the main plot and allows her to be Rhodes Island's young leader rather than just another child soldier. However, this ability extends way, way further - as Amiya is able to relieve a traumatized Jessica from the stress and eventually able to telepathically communicate with Patriot and influence the Sarkaz common consciousness.
    • A very similar case is going on with Theresa, whose Arts has a calming influence. She has been shown using it to calm down entire hordes of Sarkaz troops. She is very highly implied to have transferred at least part of her into the aforementioned Amiya as well.
  • The Binding of Isaac has the titular character being initially a Master of None, until you can unlock his special starting item... the D6, a six-faced die that rerolls pedestal items. At first, the power of rerolling items seems pretty unimpressive compared to things like Maggy's Mighty Glacier stats, Eve's Whore of Babylon, or Azazel's flight. Yet the ability to change an item if it doesn't fit your playstyle is considered one of the most valuable skills you can get in the game.
  • In the Interactive Fiction game Chuk and the Arena, the titular Chuk enters a fighting competition despite being a small, physically weak alien whose only power is to change the color of his skin — but as it turns out, changing colors is really helpful in disguising oneself, sneaking around to collect useful items, and even befuddling an alien species who's unable to see certain colors, especially when in the hands of a Guile Hero.
  • In City of Heroes, one of the least-played Controller powersets was Mind Control; it had a bad rep due to not having a summonable combat pet as a tier 9 ability. This would seem to give it "What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?" status, except for the minority of players who used this set could attest to just how powerful it is in capable hands. It makes the immobilization powers found in other sets seem obsolete.
  • In Civilization IV, India's special unit is the Fast Worker, the Worker unit with one additional movement point. Compared to, say, Germany's Panzer, China's Chu Ko Nu or America's Navy SEAL, it is a bit underwhelming. However, the Boring, but Practical Fast Worker is one of the most useful special units in the entire game, capable of allowing cities to flourish with more growth and industry and also being more useful for maintaining larger empires and also being the only special unit that is available throughout the entire length of the game, from the stone age to the modern-day.
  • This is part of Copy Kitty's premise: Entanma are beings who possess a single ability that makes them a local Reality Warper. Protagonist Boki Lamira's ability is the power to copy something. She was so desperate to gain a cool superpower her sheer envy awakened her own power to mimic others, she doesn't think much of it. Her uncle Savant thinks differently and sends her a VR training program to convince her of how versatile her powers can be. Turns out, he's right: Power Copying might not sound all that great, except that Boki can perfectly copy fighting styles, copy an enemy's Mook Maker abilities to summon her own minions, or even power herself up whenever a boss Turns Red. Oh, did we mention that Boki can combine those copied powers into a wide variety of ludicrously destructive attacks? How about the part that involves copying a (giant) robot's Magitek AI in order to take control of it?
    • Taken to terrifying extremes during the Exgal fight. Whatever Boki's limitations are, the Dangerous Forbidden Technique powering Exgal's abilities (that was never meant to be copied) isn't one of them. It doesn't end well for Exgal or Boki.
    • What's more, Boki's only just learning how to use her copy power, Savant hints and confirmed by Word of God that Boki's potential is vast. With proper training and the right abilities, she could potentially put a dent in the Cybers' ranks on her own.
  • Danganronpa doesn't have superpowers per se, but Ultimate talents serve pretty much the same narrative purpose. You get into Hope's Peak by being extremely good at a mundane or semi-mundane profession or skill, which can be pretty much anything. Some talents are obviously pretty awesome, like Mukuro Ikusaba the Ultimate Soldier, Miu Iruma the Ultimate Inventor, and Mikan Tsumiki the Ultimate Nurse, while some are useless in-game, like Celestia Ludenberg the Ultimate Gambler, Hiyoko Saionji the Ultimate Traditional Dancer, and Toko Fukawa the Ultiamte Writer, but many students get surprising use out of theirs.
    • Makoto Naegi and Nagito Komaeda both have Luck as their talent. They're both pretty self-deprecating about it, because it basically just meant that they got into Hope's Peak by chance and not anything they did. But both of them do very well in the killing games, often making it through dangerous situations or finding important evidence because they got lucky. Komaeda has this to an extreme, as his luck is insanely powerful and obvious; he can win Russian Roulette with only one empty chamber, and any part of his plans that he leaves completely up to chance reliably succeeds, which he uses to nearly create a perfect murder with himself as the victim and the culprit totally unaware that they killed him. It only fails because it was based on a false premise; namely, that The Mole for the Future Foundation wasn't on the students' side.
    • It doesn't come up much, but Sayaka Maizono says her Ultimate Idol talent comes with a surprising level of agility and endurance because she dances a lot on stage. It also makes her a amazingly good at faking her own innocence; if she'd been just a little more ruthless or had chosen a better target, she would've succeeded in committing murder and framing Makoto for it.
    • Leon being the Ultimate Baseball Player means he's strong enough to break Sayaka's wrist when she tries to kill him, and he's able to dispose of evidence in the incinerator despite not being able to reach it with his pinpoint pitching accuracy.
    • Hifumi Yamada the Ultimate Fanfic Creator can whip up a cosplay disguise overnight with limited materials.
    • Ibiki Miyoda is the Ultimate Musician; while her music doesn't do anything, she also has hyper-acute hearing.
    • Gundham Tanaka, the Ultimate Animal Breeder, is able to train his hamsters to help him kill Nekomaru.
    • Servant talents, such as Chisa Yukizome the Ultimate Housekeeper and Kirumi Tojo the Ultimate Maid, mean in practice 'is hypercompetent at anything their employer might request of them', and both Chisa and Kirumi are skilled fighters as well as homemakers.
    • Ryota Mitarai from the anime is the Ultimate Animator, and in his quest to invoke greater emotions with his anime he invented a way for his work to brainwash the viewer. Junko was able to gain most of her followers by stealing this little innovation, his anime is the 'killer' of the Final Killing Game (brainwashing victims to commit suicide), and when he has a Face–Heel Turn he uses a brainwashing video on his phone on pretty much everyone he meets.
    • Tsumugi Shirogane is the Ultimate Cosplayer, which also makes her the Ultimate Master of Disguise so long as she isn't disguising herself as a real person (she's allergic... really, she breaks out in hives if she tries to cosplay someone real). The final trial reveals that she can perfectly cosplay the other characters and change clothes in mere seconds.
  • The titular character of de Blob has the ability to change color by absorbing paint and then painting any object he touches. It would be pretty ineffectual if not for one important detail: Blob's entire world pretty much runs on color. In addition to his surface abilities of restoring buildings, Blob can revive dying plants, transform massive structures, and free people from mind control.
  • In Don't Starve, Wilson's ability to "grow an magnificent beard" sounds pretty useless compared to being a strongman or being fireproof, but a long enough beard provides insulation to help survive winter, and it can be shaved off to provide one ingredient for a Meat Effigy and a little sanity.
  • Dungeon Crawl features Cheibriados, the god of time and slowness. Followers are rewarded for pious deeds by slowing them down, but Cheibriados eventually rewards the slow with seriously great time-related powers and attribute boosts.
  • Dust: An Elysian Tail has Fidget's magic attacks, which are pitifully weak on their own, but if caught in Dust's Dust Storm attack they turn into more powerful spells, and if combined with the lightning spell she eventually learns turns her into a flat-out Game-Breaker capable of stunlocking nearly anything and everything.
  • One of the creatures of the entropy element in Elements is a Schrödinger's Cat — a weak and cheap creature that has the ability to die willingly while staying alive. It's completely useless unless it's used along with the element of death. Death has several cards that give positive effects whenever a creature is dying (vultures and condors gain a boost to attack and health, boneyard creates skeletons, etc.), which makes a creature that can die as many times as needed extremely useful.
  • Elden Ring: The various demigods in the setting have a wide swathe of powers, ranging from Gravity Sucks to Blood Magic to a Holy Hand Grenade... and worse. Then there's Miquella, a childlike demigod who seems to be the Messianic Archetype and odd-man-out amongst his siblings. His goals are peaceful (providing a sanctuary for the outcasts in the Lands Between) and he ostensibly has no combat ability whatsoever, delegating military matters to his sister Malenia. Nevertheless, amongst all the demigods, he is The Dreaded for having divine charisma and "wielding the power of love". In The Shadow of the Erdtree DLC - which will feature Miquella's first onscreen appearance - an NPC recounts during the trailer that "there is nothing more terrifying" than the love he wields.
  • Epic Mickey uses the thinner and paint mechanic to mean destroy/kill or repair/love. There is not actually any change in battle style, except the first will remove the tank from the fight, and the second will make him fight for you. Many have also pointed out the Fridge Horror in that mind control is the far darker option.
  • Fallout:
    • In the earlier Fallout games, you can play your character either combat-centric, diplomatically or stealthily. Playing diplomatically may seem boring initially... but then you realize that a Diplomatic player is basically a Mage with Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards in full-effect. With a high speech skill, you can effortlessly defeat the strongest opponents in the game without firing a single shot, to the point you can literally talk down the final boss! While combat is definitely possible, it's also entirely possible to negotiate your way through the game without killing a single person, and it's generally a lot more satisfying than violence.
    • This ends up being hilariously subverted in Fallout 2 where trying to talk out with Frank Horrigan... doesn't end well. Fortunately, there are other NPCs nearby who a talky character can convince to help them in the fight.
      The Chosen One: Can't we talk this over?
      Frank Horrigan: We just did. Time for talking is over.
    • Additionally, Charisma can be a very awesome stat too. It may seem not too useful due to your Speech stat being perfectly fine without it, but a character with high Charisma can recruit up to five companions at once, being able to swindle merchants for hilariously low prices, and generally have yourself be able to do things that would be impossible for a character with low Charisma.
    • While the Bethesda-era Fallout games and later do require your character to have some levels in your other stats, a lot of quests can be easily finished or simply beaten with little effort by just tricking your opponent with speech and science checks. New Vegas alone allows you to completely subvert fighting Legate Lanius on Speech alone, and this allows you to skip the fight with the most dangerous human opponent in the game. Sure, your speech and science skill isn't going to help in a fight with a Radscorpion, but gaining access to additional weaponry, secret locations, or just easy XP by finalizing a quest with a check, is a great reason to have the skills as high as you can.
  • Final Fantasy VI:
    • Gau has a lot of powers, but most players don't know how to use themnote , and lament that he is uncontrollable. He also gets to attack for quadruple damage by using the rage of a lost housecat. Or he can use flowers to turn your enemies against each other with his charm ability. And he can use a jellyfish for the one time in the first half of the game that pussycats can't kick ass. Even without the well-known overpowered strategies like "Wind God Gau", any observant player can see Gau use magic for free and earlier than normal.
    • The same game also has Relm. She can draw pictures. Completely useless, right? Except that with it, she can single-handedly defeat the most powerful cephalopod in the game. Although initially her ability only lets her copy a random power, it turns out to be a Magikarp Power with the addition of a relic that allows it to specifically control an enemy's abilities.
  • A villainous variant can be found in Five Nights at Freddy's: Sister Location — or, more specifically, the secret animatronic blueprints hidden in the game's files. In it, you find out that each animatronic has some sort of child-abduction technology put in by William Afton — Circus Baby has a chest cavity designed to capture and hold children when there's only one child in the room, Funtime Freddy has a voice mimicry module, etc. So when you get to Funtime Foxy, you find that he/she/yes has the ability to... release scents. Doesn't sound that threatening... until you realize that chloroform is a scent, which would explain how he/she/yes knocked you out on Night 3.
  • Various ghosts get various powers in Ghost Trick, but the one who takes the cake for this trope is Missile. He used "swap the location of two similarly-shaped objects" to stop someone from being shot after the gun has fired based on the principle that a bullet in flight is roughly the same shape as a harmless knit cap.
  • Discussed in Hades, where Achilles thinks that Aphrodite is the mightiest of the Olympian gods, as hurricanes and thunderstorms are preferable to a broken heart. In-game, Aphrodite's boons grant the biggest numerical damage boost compared to other Olympians, inlcuding Ares.
  • Hustle Cat has Reese. While he initially appears to have the power of extremely weak Art Initiates Life, it's revealed in his route that his real power is... sewing. His friends have Shock and Awe, Playing with Fire, Rewriting Reality... and Reese is stuck with sewing. Funny, right? Yeah, well, turns out he can use a seam ripper to tear open seams in the fabric of the universe.
  • inFAMOUS: Conduits are basically a sub-species of humans that have a wide variety of spectacular powers (not too different from the Mutants of Marvel Comics), from the ability to wield Electricity, Fire, and Ice, to being able to transform into a gigantic monster. Hell, even the powers Delsin receives in Second Son, while not conventional in the leastnote , still proved to be pretty powerful even without resourceful thinking. Then came Celia Penderghast, a conduit with the power to control paper! You'd think Celia would be pretty useless with a power like that, but you'd be wrong since her powers allow her to teleport, construct armor, and create extremely effective projectiles.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • It's right there in the title. At one point in the first game, six Disney Princesses and Kairi are kidnapped because their pure hearts are the key to unlocking Kingdom Hearts. To an even more basic extent, the strength of one's heart decides if the person is able to bear a Keyblade, a giant magical key that can cause a world of hurt on any creature it hits.
    • It's hinted that despite saving the universe multiple times over with his entire self-taught Keyblade powers (including intuiting how to use Master level powers by the time of III), Sora's true power is his amazingly strong heart. His heart can forge nigh-unbreakable bonds with others, hear hearts in pain and instinctively reach out to them, and keep the hearts of several others inside his, among other things. It's even hinted that his heart is able to house, heal and revive people who technically never existed. Heart may just be the key to saving the universe this time around.
    • Keyblades can lock or unlock anything. This means that, among other things, it's difficult to contain their wielders within conventional prison cells as their keyblade allows them to unlock the jail door without the need to steal the warden's keys. It's also possible for them to unlock every chest they come across, unseal anything that is sealed with a sort of lock, etc. As revealed in Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, the locks don't even have to look like a keyhole in order to work — if it's a lock in one sense or another, the keyblade can work on it. In fact, the lock doesn't even have to be physical. For example, keyblades can be used to seal or unseal the hearts inside of others, open gateways to other worlds, etc.
  • LEGO The Incredibles: Power over ice-cream doesn't sound very impressive, but as shown both in her boss fight and as a playable character, it pretty much makes Brainfreezer into a less skillful version of Frozone. But what she lacks in his technique, like gliding, she makes up for in sheer power.
  • Master of Magic: The Halfling top-tier unit are Slingers — a ranged unit with Luck. However, that means they always hit for maximum damage and when they're at Elite level, they can take down anyone.
  • Mega Man (Classic):
    • The Top Spin in Mega Man 3 is frequently regarded as the absolute worst weapon in the series. Once you figure out how to use it, however, it is one of the most powerful weapons in the game. It will one-shot any enemy who's not outright immune to it, with the exception of most bosses. Even some bosses are destroyed in one shot by it, including the final boss! The only thing you have to keep in mind is which enemies are immune to it, and the fact that the weapon drains energy for as long as you're in contact with the enemy, so it can empty out its energy very quickly if you're not careful.
    • Other Robot Masters exist with themes and weapons that sound silly on paper but are a lot more effective than you'd expect, such as Bubble Man and especially his eventual successor Burst Man, who combines giant bubbles capable of trapping and carrying away Mega Man with explosives and Bubble Man's Spikes of Doom-covered ceiling. The Bubble Lead is also extremely useful as a tool for identifying false floors.
    • It's really not uncommon for this series for the final boss of a Mega Man game to be hurt the most (or in some cases only hurt) by the weapon that's the most stupid-sounding or cumbersome to use. The most infamous example is in Mega Man 7, where the weapon you get from Spring Man (Who looks about as stupid as he sounds, likewise for his attacks) is one of the best to fight Dr. Wily's final weapon.
  • The Cobras in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. The Pain controls bees and is effectively a living beehive. This makes him pretty much unstoppable on an open battlefield, stinging to death any soldiers without having to even be present himself. The Sorrow is kind of a spirit Aquaman. He didn't just talk to spirits, he could pull battle plans, orders and other assorted information regarding the opposition from ANY dead soldier, which, you know, there can be a lot of in a war.
  • Monkey Island's Guybrush Threepwood can famously hold his breath for 10 minutes. The Pirate Elders are, to say the least, less than impressed when Guybrush mentions this as his special skill. As it turns out, being able to hold your breath for 10 minutes is a DAMN useful skill for, y'know, A PIRATE.
  • Mother:
    • In EarthBound (1994), Paula's Pray ability produces unpredictable results throughout the game. However, it's absolutely essential to defeating the final boss, Giygas. When Paula prays during the final battle, it deals five-digit damage to Giygas and eventually kills him.
    • EarthBound Beginnings has a similar sequence, wherein after all the weapons that Ninten and company bring have failed to scratch Giygas, they defeat him... through the lullaby, his adoptive human mother sang to him as a baby. The Melody of Love causes the psychic alien to break down and cry before retreating, and presumably are what drove him to become the mindless Eldritch Abomination he appears as in the sequel.
    • And in Mother 3, PK Love is the name of Lucas's special move, due to his great compassion. It's what allows him to pull the Needles. That being said, sometimes Heart isn't so awesome, when the villain turns your twin brother into a soulless cyborg because he has that power, too.
  • Nasuverse examples that don't belong to the Anime section:
    • Tsukihime: Tohno Akiha's power is called Plunder, which gives her the ability to "steal body heat." ... well, okay, but we have people that can kill absolutely anything and others that can drop the moon on you, so what? How about being able to steal all of it from a person at any range, with such sudden violence that the target will instantly and functionally Self Combust? note 
    • Shirou in Fate/stay night is so limited in magic that he can only use two kinds; Reinforcement and Projection. Neither seems very useful because Reinforcement just strengthens existing objects and Projection can only create an object for a very limited amount of time. In Shirou's case, however he can use Projection to recreate any weapon he's seen before as a slightly weaker copy. Shirou is surrounded by heroes and demigods who use absurdly powerful weapons. And since Shirou is making disposable copies of the weapons anyway, he can reinforce them to the point that they explode on contact with a target, eliminating the power gap between the copy and the original. By the end of the three routes, Shirou is... rather dangerous for a human.
    • Your player character in Fate/Grand Order has barely more magic circuits than a normal human. Your only actual qualities are high compatibility with Chaldea's Magitek, and The Power of Friendship. The former lets you convert other sources of energy to power your spells, overcoming your lack of magic circuits, and the latter lets you command every Heroic Spirit ever with perfect obedience. By Part 2, Chaldea is actively downplaying your abilities to keep the Mages' Association from finding out and putting a bounty on your head.
    • See the Anime examples for The Garden of Sinners.
  • The Advocate from Nexus Clash has no direct combat powers and their main class-unique ability involves spending enormous amounts of their limited Character Points on stat buffs to others that do not have any direct benefit for the Advocate. However, there's no upper limit to the number of people the Advocate can buff this way, and an Advocate who can give full buffs to dozens of characters at once edges into Game-Breaker territory, altering the outcome of the whole war at the price of individual power.
  • In the Persona series, starting from Persona 3 this trope is used extremely literally. The series uses Tarot Motifs to refer to numerous characters and individuals met throughout the protagonists' joinery through the game. The protagonist is somebody represented by the Fool card, which is noted to be like the number 0—'empty, but with limitless possibilities'. Interacting with people who represent the other tarots in the game and forging meaningful connections with them allows the protagonist to create a 'social link' with them, granting them benefits on their journey. In-game, this grants them the power of the 'Wild Card', allowing them to not be restricted to a single Persona like their other teammates, and even use the Velvet Room to fuse enemy shadows they encounter into beneficial persona they can utilise the strong abilities of. Each persona has their own arcana connection, and increasing the corresponding social link allows the protagonist to fuse higher-level persona as their heart becomes strengthened by the bonds they forge with others to withstand the immense power of the Persona. In fact, the climax of both 3 and 4 end with the respective hero successfully defeating a negative aspect of the collective consciousness of mankind by summoning a greater power than them through the bonds they've forged throughout their journey. In which respect, reaching One Hundred Percept Completion and maxing out every link before that point feels even more rewarding for the player for successfully summoning the necessary power to win through their efforts all game long.
  • In Pixel Dungeon, one of the Random Drops you can find is a Wand of Flock — basically, it summons a couple of indestructible sheep. Sounds lame, but these sheep can help keep mooks from hitting you.
  • Some Pokémon have an ability called "Klutz," which makes them unable to use most held items. No healing with berries, no powering up moves of a certain type, etc. This may sound beyond useless until you remember there are a few held items with negative effects. Disability Immunity comes into play in competitive battles, where items that reduce speed, cause poisoning, and the like are frequently used in combination with moves that transfer held items onto the enemy. Klutz foils opponents who swap nasty items onto your Pokémon, and lets you bring your own trap items into battle without them harming your own team.
  • The Realm has 5 schools of magic, magic costs mana crystals which cost gold. One of the circles is Enchantment, which lets you permanently enchant items. But the enchantment has no innate spells so its entire circle requires you to have learned other circles, but with enough ability, you can enchant any spell to any item.
  • Played for laughs in the South Park games The Stick of Truth and The Fractured but Whole, where the player character's "power" of gaining social media followers really quickly is treated as somehow more amazing as their highly-destructive, time-warping farts. In the latter game, however, Cartman does manage to make use of the New Kid's social media power by making them take selfies with people wearing Mitch Conner (AKA Cartman's hand) merch, which causes all the easily influenced idiots who follow them to vote Conner into power.
    • Taking a cue from the show, The Fractured But Whole also makes sure Mint-Berry Crunch still qualifies for this. Mint and Berry isn't just control over cereal, but the power to infuse allies and enemies with the very essence of Mint and Berry, respectively. And those Minted are utterly immune to those Berried, so this power over cereal has the potential to keep your entire team invulnerable to attack if you manage it well. Fittingly, Mint-Berry Crunch is top-tier as far as team members go.
  • In the Super Smash Bros. series, a number of characters have moves fitting the description of this trope. However, an extreme example of this is seen in the case of Jigglypuff, whose "Down-B" special attack is "Rest". This doesn't even heal the character, as it does within Jigglypuff's origin franchise. However, if used with perfect timing, it can cause a two-hit KO; KO's at 30 damage, and it DOES 30 damage. Until they Nerfed it in Brawl. Even then, it can KO in 3-4 hits against an opponent with full health, as well as inflicting a health-draining status (which helps reach the KO-mark).
  • Touhou Project: A lot of powers in the series may sound useless or very abstract, but have the potential to be creatively abused:
    • Reimu has the power to fly, something which nearly everyone else in Gensoukyou also possesses along with their other powers. Except Reimu can also fly away from reality, making her completely untouchable for as long as she wishes.
    • Kogasa is an umbrella youkai with the power of "surprising humans", and she's not even very good at it. She appears as a Stage 2 midboss and boss, and that appears to be the height of her power. Until she suddenly appears as the mid-boss of the EX-Stage, complete with the massive power boost that suggests! What a surprise for us!
    • Subverted with Yuuka, whose mastery of flowers is explicitly noted to be just as useless as it sounds. However, she's still one of the oldest residents of Gensoukyou with physical and magical power to match.
    • Lily White has the power to announce the coming of spring. She does this by showering you with an unholy amount of bullets.
    • Rin Kaenbyou has the power to haul corpses to fuel the fires of Hell. It isn't just their body though, but also their soul, breaking them from both the cycle of reincarnation and the easily accessible (and escapable) afterlife. In a setting where everyone and their grandmother wields a Story-Breaker Power, the cat is one of the only ones that can render you Deader than Dead.
    • Koishi Komeiji gave herself a poke in her Mind Reading Third Eye in order to escape all the hurtful thoughts people harboured for her because of her power. This had the side-effect of making her unable to read her own heart and mind as well as giving her the ability to manipulate the subconscious... How exactly is that useful? Well, it gives her a Perception Filter that makes her so unnoticeable, you may not notice her even if you look straight at her, and also wipes her existence from the minds of everyone who take their eyes off her.
    • Besides being an ancient wizard-messiah with all the power that entails, Toyosatomimi no Miko has the power to listen to ten voices at the same time... which includes the "ten desires" that make up the human psyche, meaning she can effectively read minds (or at least, personalities). This ability also causes divine spirits (physical manifestations of human desire) to be drawn to her, which she can absorb for power in a small-scale version of Gods Need Prayer Badly.
    • Raiko Horikawa can ride any rhythm, which sounds really abstract and useless... until she starts shooting lightning everywhere. Then you realize that in classic Touhou fashion she found her way into the repertoire of another rather notable drummer and suddenly her Ex-boss status makes rather more sense. Another way to read her ability is that she can make anything follow a rhythm, which doesn't sound too formidable either, but she could totally kill you via cardiac arrhythmia.
    • Yukari Yakumo has the power to manipulate boundaries. This seems like a fairly useless power until you realize that she can manipulate ALL boundaries, physical and otherwise, since boundaries are what basically makes up reality as we know it. The applications for her powers are varied and highly creative, including manipulating the boundary between truth and lie to use a reflection of the moon to commence a lunar invasion note . When not using it as a Semantic Superpower, she creates gaps — portals to an eye-filled dimension that (according to the fandom) she uses mostly for stupid pranks.
    • Okina Matara has the less-than-awe-inspiring ability to "create doors on the backs of anything," these doors lead into the land of the back door and fans quickly took to mockingly referring to her as "nerfed Yukari"... However, these seemingly unimpressive doors also allow Okina to control physical and mental energies, Super-Empowering individuals, enfeebling them, driving them insane and, if she applies a door to the back of an inanimate object, even allowing her to bestow that object with life. All of this, in addition to the fact that Okina is a goddess of formidable power, supports her boast that she could remake Gensoukyou from the ground up with a snap of her fingers if she so desired.
    • The series also has an inversion with Rumia, who has an awesome-sounding power (manipulation of darkness) that turns out to be really lame, or at the very least she sucks at it — her vision is weakened by her own darkness. According to ZUN, he intentionally gave a first boss an ability that sounds like it would be more at home on a final boss.
    • Sagume can't talk about anything without having it fail: if she says she's going to take a holiday, events will conspire so she can't. This proves remarkably handy when she's talking about bad things.
  • In World of Warcraft, engineering was largely considered a joke profession, most of its unreliable gadgets being watered down versions of better spells. Then The Burning Crusade expansion was released, and some smartass figured out that you could use the otherwise pointless Gnomish Remote Control to take command of the unstoppable Fel Reaver. Hilarity Ensued. Briefly.

    Web Animation 
  • DSBT InsaniT: Seth has the power to summon toy airplanes to attack with. Given that he can summon biplanes for kamikaze attacks, bomber helicopters, and stealth jets for a good old-fashioned strafing run, it's way more effective than it sounds.
  • In Epithet Erased, one in every five people has an epithet, a random word inscribed into their soul that grants them Semantic Superpowers. Some of them are more useful than they sound:
    • Molly isn't just being humble when she says her power is "Dumb", and doesn't consider it terribly useful. But with a little creativity, "Dumb" is flexible enough to nullify sounds, No-Sell attacks, banish Epithet summons and make people very, very stupid.
    • Giovanni's "Soup" epithet isn't very powerful, but he's managed to get some surprising versatility out of it. Scalding balls of "Lavacid"note  give him a ranged attack, he can use steam jets to move quickly or create a blinding fog, and his soup can be nourishing enough to act as a healing potion.
  • In the world of RWBY, every good Huntsman and Huntress has unlocked a Semblance, a single, unique superpower that can aid them in battle, both against other Huntsmen and against Grimm, creatures of destruction attracted to negative emotions and the primary threat (besides Salem and her cohorts) to Remnant, RWBY'S setting. Some good examples of semblances would be: Ruby's Super-Speed, Glynda's Telekinesis, Pyrrha's Polarity (A.K.A the ability to control metallic objects), and as of Volume 5, Jaune's Aura Amplification. But then there's semblances like these:
    • Lie Ren's semblance is the ability to mask negative emotions. While the semblance is pretty much useless in a fight against another Huntsman, it makes him practically untouchable against Grimm. It was lucky he had this power, because if he didn't, Nora and he probably wouldn't have survived the Nuckelavee Grimm when they were children. Volume 8 continues to increase its effectiveness when it evolves to let Ren see spikes in emotion as differently colored petals, allowing him to ascertain how someone really feels and serve as emotional support (something Ren really couldn't be prior to then).
    • There's also Velvet Scarlatina, the rabbit Faunus of Team CFVY (Coffee). Her semblance, Photographic Memory, allows her to mimic the movements of other people. Not only does this mean she can copy the fighting style of every ally and enemy she's ever encountered, she also built her signature weapon around this ability. Anesidora looks like a normal camera, and Velvet seems to be a terrible photographer. But then it's revealed that she was actually taking pictures of weapons, and Anesidora is able to then create hard-light copies of those weapons. This allows Velvet to perform combo attacks that usually require an entire team of Huntresses. There are only 2 reasons she isn't the most overpowered character in the entire show: the dust to power her weapon is finite, and the constructs only last a few seconds, then she has to take another photo to use that one again.
    • Another example comes from Elm Ederne, a member of Atlas' special forces unit the Ace-Ops. Her semblance allows her to create Roots made of Aura around her feet, anchoring her to the ground. It would be lame and useless... if Elm wasn't a six-and-a-half-foot tall Amazonian woman built like a brick house. With her strength and semblance, she can stop a charging Grimm the size of a house and flip it.
    • A non-semblance example is given by Doctor Oobleck in season 2: he is an accomplished Huntsman, fully capable of massacring hordes of Grimm. But he prefers to spend his time in a classroom, teaching potential future Huntsmen and Huntresses. As he explains, working in the field he would be able to clear out many Grimm and save many lives, but those numbers become multiplied by each of his students. He does far greater good for the world by teaching, instead of fighting.

  • Cucumber Quest: The party gets some weird powers, like creating comically oversized bathtub drains, or summoning a pizza delivery when no one is in the mood for pizza. They manage to use the latter to escape a deathtrap using the pizza deliveryman's ride.
  • Daughter of the Lilies: Growing plants doesn't seem to have much in the way of tactical applications — until Thistle needs to plug a breached summoning circle fast.
  • Dreamkeepers: The Indigos' ability to change colors? That's pretty lame as far as powers go. But then they go and use it as a way to disguise themselves practically right in front of a platoon of enemy soldiers.
  • El Goonish Shive: Elliot gains the ability to turn into a girl by messing around with experimental alien technology and an ancient magical artifact (in that order). Elliot's a fairly well-built martial artist, and his female form is a more idealized form, so the ability is really only useful for slipping out of ropes at first. It acts as the catalyst for turning him into an actual mage, and later allows him to shapeshift into any female body he imagines... around the time this new magical power forces him to transform on a regular basis, because of all the previous interference. He quickly grows to find the transformations inconvenient, creepy, and awkward. Then he gets a spell which, while it still keeps him, female, turns him into a superhero with some superpowers and three "Secret Identity" forms which gently alter his behavior so as to keep a low profile. It's kind of a mix between this and Magikarp Power.
    • Meanwhile, Edward Verres has the Power of Exposition. That is, he can explain complex subjects moderately well, conjuring (by magic?) charts and graphs to assist him. This suffices to protect Earth from a deathless army of rage on at least one occasion.
      • Conjuring charts was made / confirmed canon.
  • In Everyday Heroes, Cool Hand Lucy is a villain who can drop the tempature of anyone she touches by 5°F. That doesn't sound like much, until you realize that five degrees is more than enough to induce hypothermia in most people, allowing her to disable most foes with a single touch.
  • In The Family Party, Aphrodite explains just how awesome and terrible heart can be.
    Aphrodite: You are afraid of me.
    Zeus: Why would I be afraid of you, Aphrodite?
    Aphrodite: Because you are no fool. You know that I am more than just a pretty face and a beautiful body. And you of all the immortals should know how terribly sweet and destructive my power can be.
  • In the Spanish-language A Friki's Life, an elf's gun of choice when surrounded by giant, carnivore ants: Invoking the flower fairies in their circulatory systems.
  • Done with a magical object rather than a person in Goblins: Life Through Their Eyes. Forgath has the Anymug, an enchanted mug capable of creating any non-magical drink the owner desires. Emphasis on drink — although it can produce disgusting things like urine that no person would willingly drink, it can't create anything that's outright too toxic or volatile to drink at all. When in a fight, he uses it to create an indefinite supply of Dragon Lung, a delicious and ultra-flammable liquor.
  • Homestuck:
    • Tavros' seemingly-useless ability to commune with Alternian fauna? It works on the hordes of imps, ogres, and other such beasties that appear in Sburb, allowing him to amass an entire army of imps, ogres, and basilisks before even hitting his second gate. Suddenly, the guy who was mercilessly taunted for being a useless cripple before is now probably the most powerful player in the session. Said powers of communion extend to Becquerel, Earth's First Guardian and Reality Warper extraordinaire.
    • John's friends eventually have the power to teleport, jump around in time, and manipulate luck. John just has wind powers. And he ends up stronger than all of them put together simply because he was tricked by Vriska into a permanent Super Mode.
    • Vriska's mind control has kind of a weird power curve: it starts off very useful but becomes somewhat pointless when the game starts (there are 12 trolls around, some with resistance/immunity to boot, and like 50 million enemies? Awesome.). By the end of the session, these 12 trolls have become absurdly powerful. And that's nothing compared to all the ghosts of every dead Beta version.
    • So it turns out that Gamzee can amplify people's fears and give them terrible nightmares. He uses this to doom the kids' universe.note 
    • This is done literally with the Heart aspect in Sburb. The fanbase assumed that Heroes of Heart were simply good at managing relationships. Eventually, we discover that in Sburb mechanics, Heart is roughly synonymous with Soul. To hammer it in even further, this is revealed to a character known as the "Prince of Heart", along with the fact that "Prince" is a "destroyer" class. In other words, he's the "Destroyer of Souls". He later proceeds to demonstrate his abilities by ripping Aranea's soul out of her body.
      • This also makes Nepeta, the Rogue of Heart, often portrayed as an innocent young troll, the Stealer of Souls.
    • Jade, with her friends flying around, creating super tornados, time-traveling and using other amazing magic powers, was unsure of how useful her potential "space" powers were going to be when she would inherit them. Later she is shrinking planets to the size of baseballs, teleporting meteors, and accelerating battleships to the speed of light. (Though while changing the size of objects is certainly a power of the Space aspect, it is unclear whether teleportation and telekinesis are part of her Space powers or due to her merging with Becquerel and gaining his dog-like powers.)
    • Biscuit of the Felt's "power" is to hide in a broken oven, mistakenly believing it's a Time Machine. Much later, it's revealed that said oven's true power is that it's Bigger on the Inside. The entire Felt gang can be transported inside it.
    • Roxy has the Rogue of Void power, which allows her to "steal nothing". She, understandably, thinks that her powers are most useless of the bunch. Turns out, that she can steal concept of nothingness from imaginary things, thus creating anything, she can imagine from nothing.
  • JoJopolis: Mr. Jones' Stand, The Family Stone, has the power to... write down a person's family history in hieroglyphics. Doesn't sound that useful, right? Well, it nearly turns into a Story-Breaker Power when paired with his fiancée, Ms. Jackson, and her Stand, Language Arts Crew, which allows her to temporarily use the abilities of any real person she reads about. She ends up using the combined abilities of Robert Speedwagon, and William and Caesar Zeppeli. She also comes very close to copying God Only Knows, the Stand of Jordan Joan's father, and becoming omniscient.
  • Last Res0rt has a surprising number of these, justified by the Fantastic Racism of the Celeste (the Celeste maintain schools where they learn to use the full cadre of their abilities, whereas the rest — including Djinn and Light Children — only learn of their powers once they gain access to one or two abilities, and rarely advance beyond that.) The end result means that "progress" from one ability to the next implies a new use of the old power:
    • Jigsaw's abilities have slowly grown from merely being able to read thoughts (and communicate in kind) to the ability to generate illusions and turn invisible.
    • Daisy's primary power appears to be her ability to 'bounce' (read: teleport), which she originally used to try and escape, but also works as a way to surprise foes from behind and above!
  • The villain Cat-A-Pult from League of Super Redundant Heroes has the power of telekinesis... except it only works on cats. Naturally, he gets a metric buttload of pet cats and attaches useful items to them with tape. His powers apparently also get him some figurative pussy, as one strip shows him getting a letter from Cat Lady, seductively stating: "You move me"...
  • MegaTokyo:
    • Junpei claims that Magical Girls follow a "code of love", which is much more dangerous than the ninjas' code of honor, and results in "much destruction of urban area". Magical girls have been shown to possess super speed, super strength, super athleticism (balance and so forth), teleportation, and shrinking, and the closest thing this setting has to a Big Bad is an immortal Really 700 Years Old Dark Magical Girl who controls hordes of zombies and destroyed one of the most complicated MMORPGs in existence when she was bored.
    • Three so-far-unnamed Magical Girls are "potentially catastrophic grade." The zombie master mentioned above is not one of them.
    • While we are on the subject of Magical Girls, let's talk about Yuki Sonoda. Her power is stealing things. Even she doesn't think her power is any good, but at one point she steals a Rent-a-Zilla. And it seems to obey her perfectly.
  • Oglaf: A man was cursed to be the best in the world at blowjobs; either he'd never use his ability and have to accept he was wasting it, or he would use it and forever after just be known as "the blowjob guy." When an invading warlord demands to fight using sex, blowjob guy volunteers and wins, becoming the blowjob king. He then manages to solve every problem the kingdom has using awesome blowjobs.
  • In Ow, my sanity, Dave has such good luck with Eldritch Abominations due to his inhumanly intense empathy. This tends to confuse and intrigue them enough for them not to eat his head and allows him to just roll with things that would cause others in the Cthulhu Mythos to go stark raving mad. Unfortunately, it's useless in interacting with other humans, as they use it as an excuse to treat him as a doormat.
  • Paranatural: Isabelle's second power just lets her flip things, including herself. She quickly learns to incorporate it into her martial arts, using it to switch her or her opponent's position in order to get around blocks or attack from unexpected angles. Even the spirit who gave her the power is shocked at the many applications she found for it.
  • In this one, a villain called the Existentialist, whose powers aren't exactly defined but are sort of implied to consist of knowing existential philosophy, comes up with a plan to beat the invulnerable Regenerating Man by causing him existential angst and confusion.
  • The power to decrease the price of any good is a pretty good supervillain power in a world where people obey oversimplified economic models.
    Depreciatrix: By lowering the price of soda to zero, I can raise consumption to infinity, causing everyone's stomach to burst.
  • Scoob and Shag: Dee's Ballyhoo, "Closed Caption", can translate any language into English by manifesting subtitles in mid-air. This is initially treated as a strictly non-combat power, leading to Dee being sidelined to recon and interpretative jobs, but it turns out that one of the "languages" that it can translate is the Inner Monologue, which means that Dee can literally read other people's minds.
  • In Sidekick Girl, Illumina's powers are floating a few feet off the ground and creating light, powers that she has no idea how to use practically and uses them just to show off. Then she and Sidekick Girl have a "Freaky Friday" Flip, and the much smarter Sidekick Girl shows what these powers can really do, discovering that Illumina can fall safely from any height — she slows into a hover rather than suddenly stopping by hitting the ground. As for light? Well, extremely high-intensity but otherwise normal light is the "flash" part of flash-bang grenades. Intense enough light can stun, as well as temporarily or even permanently blinding.
  • Ashlie Jackson of Survival of the Fittest: Evolution. Her power was that if she spoke, her speech would come off as Sensory Abuse rather than anything intelligible, causing the listener to feel ill. How does she use this? She uses it as a distraction so that she can get a bullet into someone while they're down.
  • Discussed in this Twitter comic, which shows how a character with the power to create bubblegum is treated as a one-note laughingstock in western comics but in manga is treated as a threat due to being able to fill the lungs of his enemies with bubblegum.
  • Jack from Zebra Girl has power over all things plaid. That sounds ridiculous and useless until Jack points out that at a near-microscopic level, any fabric's weave is a form of plaid. He used this logic to trap Harold Duvase (an evil Harry Potter Expy) inside his own scarf and then banish him into another universe

    Web Original 
  • Linkara of Atop the Fourth Wall points out in a review of a Captain Planet comic book that because the power of "Heart" gives you Mind Control (in a sense), it should technically be the most powerful ring/power within the series, while Wheeler's fire powers are the weakest. All Wheeler can do, basically, is shoot a stream of fire from his ring.
  • Critical Role: Fjord's homebrew Paladin class gives him access to Marine Layer, a 30-foot radius sphere of dense fog centered on Fjord that obscures the area entirely, becoming see-through when standing within 5 feet of Fjord. It created far more problems than it solved in the fight against Avantika since it essentially made half the ship impossible to navigate and provided cover for enemies too, and the party quickly wrote it off as a useless power. Fjord casts it again during the fight against Lucien and even jokes about how much of a waste of a turn it is... only for it to turn out to be incredibly useful, since the Eyes of the Somnovem aren't meant to get within melee range and all except one need a direct line of sight with their targets. Fjord was able to use Marine Layer to get cover from the Eyes and Lucien while sniping them down with Eldritch Blast, Veth was able to stand next to Fjord and get her Sneak Attack damage without having to spend a bonus action to hide, and Jester and Caduceus, the party's only healers, were able to hide inside Marine Layer when both were at 1 HP.
  • The protagonist of the (extremely NSFW) story A Day In the Life has the superpower of total and comprehensive immunity to every known form of mind control, mind-affecting drug, and mental manipulation. Now, normally this would be a useful but hardly spectacular power, but she happens to live in River City, "the global capital of mind control and assorted mental arts and crafts", making her by far the most indispensable member of the local superteam.
  • In Dead West, from all wielders of Psychic Powers, Medices and Vindexes and Propugnators are considered weak and "soft". Guess what are the Porcelain Doctor's main powers. When you combine these powers with superior swordsmanship and a diamond will, you've got one terrifying juggernaut. The young and nice doctor can slaughter a dozen of commoners and two other aristocrats in a matter of minutes without getting killed, or protect the whole lazaretum by himself.
  • DSBT InsaniT: Seth's power is summoning toy airplanes to attack with. They are far more effective than they sound.
  • How to Hero's entry on "Lame Superpowers" is all about teaching heroes how to make good use out of their seemingly lame superpowers.
  • Quinton Reviews introduced a team of Super Zeroes in one video, with the most notable being Multiplication Man, who can create a duplicate of himself... but the original dies seconds later, meaning that not only does he have to kill himself to use his power, but functionally all it does is create a corpse. A later video revealed that his powers, while ineffective, have No Conservation of Mass, which allows a villain to use him as a functionally limitless power source.
  • In Scrub Club, the kids have the power to turn into hand-washing tools and prevent people from getting sick. This seems lame, but some transmissible diseases can kill, so they can indirectly save lives.
  • Suburban Knights involves this very literally with Ma-Ti. His ring is the one thing that can defeat Malachite. As it turns out this delves more into Crippling Overspecialization, and it ended up Casting From Lifespan and killing Ma-Ti.
  • In the world of Tales From My D&D Campaign, what is the one race that the evil Kua-Toa deemed too dangerous to permit to live even as slaves? The ones that summon elemental Mooks to do their bidding? The ones that shoot lightning bolts? No, the race that they truly fear are the ones that, like the Kua-Toa themselves, can freely breathe both air and water.
  • In We Are Our Avatars, Sawbuck's ability to teleport him and his attacker to any place in the space-time continuum is used by Snowman to kick Drakina out of her building.
  • Whateley Universe:
    • Aquarena has the spirit of the squirrel and is a joke on the campus of Whateley Academy. But in her combat final, she figured out how to use her powers to thrash one of the school bullies.
    • Generator's power starts off looking very lame. But she keeps figuring out new things she can do with it (other than babysitting and doing the dishes). By their first Christmas break, she's turned into a one-woman Mook Horror Show, stopping an Infernalist witch cold and almost single-handedly destroying a Syndicate hard site.
    • Gateway can only open 'gates' to other places. Then she finds out she can summon things from other dimensions through those gates. Starting with Rythax, an intelligent winged panther-like thing bigger than a tiger.
    • Verdant can secrete stuff. But she can secrete anything she can think of, through any of her glands. She can bite you and inject the deadliest poison known to exist.

    Western Animation 
  • Aquaman receives this trope in the animated medium as well. Justice League Unlimited and Batman: The Brave and the Bold in particular use it to great effect and make him one of the most powerful characters in each series, while in one episode of Super Friends he uses microscopic aquatic organisms to control water itself. In The Brave and the Bold, he's weak primarily because he's by far the most relentlessly positive do-gooder Gentleman Adventurer and has very definite ideas about how a hero should behave, and most of those ideas involve faces and the punching thereof (not really where he shines, though he's reasonably strong). This leads to some rather hilarious sequences where he turns aside from a hopeless fistfight to casually stop a large-scale natural disaster or weapon of mass destruction or other "non-heroic" issue in a matter of seconds, then returns to losing the fist-fight against the villain.
  • In The Awesomes, the villain Whiskey Dick has only one power: The ability to make people around him intoxicated. However, with this, he can easily incapacitate other heroes, especially anybody who Can't Hold His Liquor.
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold: B'wana Beast's ability to combine the best abilities of two different animals into hybrids didn't seem that useful (and at times, disturbing). However, the Faceless Hunter saw the potential of his powers and used him to create a giant Starro monster.
  • Ben 10:
    • Some of Ben's alien forms. Most notably, Grey Matter's power is to be small and have high intelligence. Seems pretty weak, until you realize he can build a laser gun out of pieces of scrap, destroy Killer Robots from the inside, hide in smaller spaces and outsmart most opponents. The Omnitrix, which give Ben his ability to turn into aliens, was created by a guy from Grey Matter's species (and he is considered to be the smartest sentient being in multiple GALAXIES).
    • In a now alternate future episode, Ben's son Kenny used Grey Matter to hack the Omnitrix (being given his own as a birthday present) and turn off the power limiter, therefore giving him access to all alien forms currently available with no time limit between them.
    • We also see Grey Matter's ability proven in the Of Predators and Prey two-parter of Omniverse. After trying to ever since getting the new Omnitrix, Ben finally re-unlocks Humungousaur, takes on the shapeshifting monster... and is quickly cocooned. He tries to switch to Way Big, gets Grey Matter instead... and realizes how to immediately take down the monstrosity with a precise nerve pinch.
    • Cannonbolt is an in-universe example. The first new alien Ben unlocks after the original ten, Ben laments that all the form can do is turn into a ball and roll around. It's only later in the episode that he finds out that when Cannonbolt picks up speed, his tough shell makes him more or less a free-rolling wrecking ball. Not only does Cannonbolt rip the planet-destroying Monster of the Week apart from the inside out, but he goes on to become one of Ben's more prominent alien forms. As seen in "Be Afraid of the Dark", Cannonbolt can survive atmospheric re-entry and the resulting crash into the earth while encircling two completely normal people (who are likewise unharmed).
    • Toepick's sole power is... being ugly. Sounds useless, right? Except his masked visage is so hideous when seen, it terrifies the unlucky sod who caught a glimpse of it. So far, each occasion where Ben used him ended up defeating the villain he was facing in a matter of seconds, and showrunner Derrick J. Wyatt has said that if Alien X's halves saw Toepick, they'd be terrified.
  • Captain Planet:
  • In the Chaotic episode "The Thing About Bodal", Tom is saved by Bodal, an "extremely important, though extremely underappreciated servant of the OverWorld leader, Maxxor", who asks Tom to scan him and use him in his next Chaotic match as a way to repay him. The problem? Bodal is a non-combatant with very low specs who would most likely be defeated in mere seconds in a real fight. Unfortunately, Tom is indeed forced to use him in his next match but manages to find out one thing that turns the tide of the match in his favor: Bodal has an innate knowledge of all the secret passageways and shortcuts in OverWorld, which he uses to defeat his opponent.
  • Class of the Titans:
    • Jay's inherited role is to be a really good leader, which he lampshades in the first episode as being pathetic (and not half as helpful in battle as his teammates' heightened physicality). In the final episodes, however, one of the team goes crazy and tries to kill everybody, and the fact that she knows Jay is a completely trustworthy and compassionate person who only has her best interests at heart is integral to talking her down.
    • Neil has it worse (better?) than Jay, however, because his role is to be superhumanly attractive. This would be useless in most settings, but the team deals with Greek Mythology...whose creatures are infamously susceptible to seduction, no matter what they're supposed to be doing at the time.
  • In Danny Phantom, the Box Ghost becomes the definition of Harmless Villain after the first few episodes and Danny gains some control of his powers, but his A Day in the Limelight episode reveals 'control of all boxes' includes Pandora's Box (although that one kinda backfired). In the Bad Future episode, we meet Boxlunch, daughter of the Box Ghost and another recurring enemy, The Lunch Lady. She's got the powers of both her parents, which she quickly uses to create some Powered Armor for herself. Not to mention Box Ghost himself Took a Level in Badass in the Bad Future, to where even his catchphrase "Beware" sounds threatening.
  • The aforementioned Stinkor in He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2002). In this cartoon, the character got the chance to show just how lame of a power stink really was, and He-Man was almost defeated. In later episodes, Skeletor treated Stinkor much better than his other minions, just because of how powerful he was. Stinkor's stench is so awful that Skeletor has to hold his nose around him. Skeletor doesn't have a nose. Another episode showed that his stench is strong enough to send dragons running for the hills, no easy feat. He proceeded to clear out basically every dragon in the country so Skeletor's plan could move forwards (the dragons were the natural predators of his latest weapons).
  • The Hollow: Vanessa taunts Mira about the lame nature of the power to simply talk with animals and swim. She answers to this by calling forward a huge murder of crows that entraps and attacks her.
  • Invincible (2021): From the get-go, Shrinking Rae is set apart from her comic counterpart by demonstrating the range of applications shrinking has: taking down an opponent by attacking their inner ear to induce nausea, getting small enough so your teammate can throw you at an unsuspecting target, and grabbing your enemy in a chokehold, then shrinking to make it even tighter.
  • Jackie Chan Adventures: Being the Sky Demon and possessing actual wings means that Hsi Wu has true flight instead of the Not Quite Flight of his brethren. This allows him to be noticeably faster and more agile than his siblings while flying, as he was the one closest to escaping through Shendu's portal during the race against the other Demons thanks to this. In fact, his flying speed could be compared to that of the Rabbit Talisman.
  • One episode of Krypto the Superdog introduces Drooly, a sheepdog looking to join the Dog Star Patrol with the power to...well, drool. A lot. The Dog Stars are understandably underwhelmed and a little grossed out, but then Drooly proceeds to fight off an attack on their headquarters alone by utilizing his drool as a very sticky ranged attack, producing forcefield-like drool bubbles, and at the end of the episode, creating so much drool he literally floods the hallways and flushes out the invaders.
  • In one episode of Men in Black: The Series, after exposure to an alien device, Kay becomes a golem and Elle gets telekinesis and heat vision while Jay apparently only gained enhanced gymnastic skills. However, in the Final Battle with the Monsters of the Week who were also give superpowers, it's revealed that Jay also gained Super-Speed. Rather fitting, given the first movie had his less-than-impressed reaction to the "Noisy Cricket"
    Jay: Jack be nimble, Jack be quick!
  • Miraculous Ladybug: Quite a few akumatized villains and Miraculouses are granted powers that have absolutely no right to be as dangerous as they are.
    • The Bubbler...makes bubbles. Which he first uses to enact a mass kidnapping of every adult in Paris and sending them into low orbit. And when he's forced to fight, he demonstrates the ability to make the bubbles explode.
    • Mr. Pigeon has control over, drum roll please, pigeons. But not only can he make them strong enough to dent steel and form whatever shape he needs them to, the sheer number of pigeons in Paris alone means he's almost never without ammunition.
    • The Collector can capture anything and store it in his book. He uses this to steal the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre.
    • Silencer's only ability is that he can steal people's voices. Which wouldn't be much of a problem if he weren't in a setting where all of the heroes' special abilities are voice-activated.
    • Simpleman can...well, make things simpler. But that includes people, and he very nearly convinced the heroes to hand over their Miraculouses for two pieces of candy.
    • The Eagle Miraculous's ability to provide "Freedom", such as releasing a person's hidden potential, sounds rather boring and more like a support power on paper than anything else. But when it's used by one of the bad guys in Season 3, it turns out that the power's definition of "providing freedom" can be interpreted and abused quite liberally, and it's used to "free" a group of superheroes from the restraints of their moral codes and personal ethics, causing them all to turn evil and wreak havoc across their home city.
    • The Pig Miraculous has the ability "Present", which can reveal a person's most heartfelt wish. It doesn't sound anywhere near as useful as some of the other powers a Miraculous can grant, but every Akuma and sentimonster in the series feeds off of negative emotion, meaning "Present" can help a person fight off their influence, something very few people can do on their own.
    • The Dog Miraculous' ability, "Fetch", allows the user to summon any object their ball has touched. It doesn't sound that useful… but in "Strike Back" Félix uses this ability to steal Ladybug's yo-yo and give sixteen Miraculouses to Gabriel in exchange for the Peacock Miraculous.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: It's right there in the title.
    • In the series premiere, Twilight Sparkle represents Magic in the Elements of Harmony, but she and her friends can't access the Elements' full potential until she learns the value of friendship.
      Princess Celestia: I saw the signs of Nightmare Moon's return, and I knew it was you who had the magic inside to defeat her, but you could not unleash it until you let true friendship into your heart.
    • Amongst the unique abilities ponies possess, Fluttershy being the Friend to All Living Things is highly useful when nature needs to be managed, but doesn't seem that impressive. Except her ability really does include all living things, including a manticore, a gigantic adult dragon, a cockatrice, Cerberus, and even the spirit of chaos himself, all of whom she managed to pacify with nothing but a firm tone and a kind touch (with occasional help from The Stare). Good thing she's the nice, shy little pegasus she is...
    • Earth ponies don't have any obvious magic, unlike the unicorns, who cast spells from their horns, and the pegasi, who walk on clouds, control weather, and have tactile telekinesis that allows them to tow things while in flight. According to Word of God, they're stronger and have more endurance than a unicorn or pegasus of comparable physique, and have a deeper connection with naturenote  and the earth. The latter means that they are inherently better at growing and tending plants of any kind, to the point wherein ancient times earth ponies were the only pony tribe capable of producing food, and even in modern times, only earth ponies have ever been seen growing anything. The greater strength of earth ponies is seen most notably in "Hearts and Hooves Day", where an earth pony schoolteacher is strong enough to break through two walls when properly motivated (and without an Impact Silhouette or any other comedy beat that would say "don't take this bit seriously." No, a door barricaded with furniture and the wall it's attached to are just demolished with little effort.), while one who is notably stronger than average is shown effortlessly towing a house. While skipping.
    • Maud Pie, Pinkie's sister, was able to reduce a boulder to dust with her bare hooves to save Pinkie. Though, like Big Mac (the one who towed the house), she is atypical (if all earth ponies were that strong, Pinkie wouldn't have needed saving. Though Pinkie is strong enough to effortlessly toss another pony over her 'shoulder' on a few occasions.)
    • The strongest may be a small filly the equivalent of elementary school age, able to lift a building. Again, explicitly shown as not normal. It's still another point for earth ponies, however, because which race is it, again that has all the Kryptonian-grade ponies?
    • We can also add to the feats not called out as atypical: a classmate of the one who lifts buildings was able to easily carry a merry-go-round. His large teeth, which he was made fun of for earlier, gave him extra grip, but it doesn't explain the strength and no one batted an eye at it. Also, a middle-aged tourist who bolted when her claustrophobia, which she'd fought all episode, finally won out was able to utterly shatter double doors made of stone or metal. (What it was made of isn't clear from the animation. We know it was gray, very solid-looking, and at least a foot thick.)
    • However, it's the Green Thumb abilities that really fit the trope. Pegasi can fly! Unicorns can do magic! Earth ponies can... uh... garden. Woooow. But think again: it's only them who have the ability to tend the soil and make crops grow.
    • Pinkie Pie's special ability is making other ponies happy. While this mostly manifests in throwing sweet parties and being a delightful Cloudcuckoolander, this also gives her access to the Rule of Funny, allowing her to regularly perform feats that break the magical rules of Equestria, most forms of logic, and the fourth wall, interrupting the Iris Out on three separate occasions.
      • Pinkie's "party cannon" helps her set up parties super fast. As the changeling fight showed, it can also be used as an actual cannon.
      • It was shown that Equestria is home to a type of elemental called Windigos whose special ability is to turn the entire world to endless winter if the ponies are in discord with each other. Pinkie Pie's parties are holding the apocalypse at bay.
    • A literal example with Princess Cadence, the third Alicorn in the series. She's a Love Goddess who has the power to repair the bonds between ponies and spread love wherever she goes. Compared to the Physical Goddess level abilities her aunts show, this doesn't seem as impressive. Then you remember that The Power of Friendship is the most powerful magic in the world, and The Power of Love is its close cousin. Cue her and her husband-to-be using The Power of Love to deliver a Heart Beat-Down to Queen Chrysalis that sends her and her minions hurtling over the horizon. We see in the Season 3 opener that her love magic is capable of repelling King Sombra, an ancient and extremely powerful unicorn king who took both her super-powered aunts to defeat a thousand years ago.
    • In "Twilight's Kingdom, Part 2", The Elements of Harmony, in their Rainbow Power form, are more powerful than the magic Tirek absorbed from countless ponies across Equestria, including that of the four alicorn Princesses and the personification of Chaos itself.
    • So much so that even the villains have begun dabbling in it: Cozy Glow is in effect an evil Twilight Sparkle, using The Power of Friendship strictly for the power end of the deal, and Season 9 involves Grogar recruiting King Sombra, Cozy Glow, Lord Tirek, and Queen Chrysalis and teaching them to use this power against Equestria. They're skeptical... until they watch the Mane Six brutally obliterate King Sombra on-screen using nothing but this power and no MacGuffins.
  • The Owl House: Many witches have a very dim view of illusion magic, due to the fact that it can't make anything "real". Gus proves the full capability of illusions in "Through the Looking Glass Ruins" when he drives out the Glandus students through psychological tactics, like luring one student away by crafting an illusion of his father, and by covering existing objects with illusions to make them seem even more real. He even manages to convince one of the Glandus students that her magic has stopped working entirely and forces her into a panicked retreat. Thanks to Gus, she was oblivious to the fact that her magic was working completely fine and the spells she fired off actually did work. Had Gus not properly kept up the illusion and dodged her magic, it's possible he would have been seriously hurt or killed, but the Glandus student had no idea how close she actually was to winning.
  • The Powerpuff Girls (1998):
    • The Amoeba Boys may be the Goldfish Poop Gang, but they are still giant mutant amoebas, and their natural abilities as amoebas have turned them into legitimate threats on two occasions. In "Geshundfight", they would catch a cold and, since they're giant mutant microbes, they were able to influence the disease and they brought all of Townsville, including the girls, to their knees in sickness.
    • In the episode "Divide and Conquer", they accidentally found out they are able to divide into a huge gang of orange-stealing amoebas, eventually causing a scurvy epidemic across Townsville.
  • In the Rugrats episode "The Mega Diaper Babies", when the babies are imagining themselves as superheroes, Chuckie is forced to be "Stinky" and constantly complains about it. However, after the others are Curbstomped by Big Bad Angelitron, Stinky's stench overwhelms her and causes her to self-destruct.
  • Schoolhouse Rock!: Zero the Hero's power seems useless on the surface, but at one point he altered any number by the power of 10 through adding (and presumably removing) zeroes. He also altered weights by adding zeroes, making it literally heavier. He created money by altering the $4 written on a piggy bank to $4000, and there doesn't appear to be any limit to this. So he theoretically could change reality, simply by altering numbers. If there was a box of "10 guns" he could grow it to a box of "1,000,000 guns" and supply an army. This also implies he could reduce anything to zero as well, causing it to vanish! He didn't do much in the video besides making some small-time money and making weights heavier, but he is still young yet... The video.
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: Compared to the rest of the Princess Alliance's powers, Netossa's ability to create nets doesn't seem very impressive, even if they are enhanced by magic. In practice, however, she's an out-and-out Barrier Warrior, able to create shielding walls and domes to protect herself and allies or trap enemies. She can also make small but dense net balls to throw at people as a type of hand blast, flat anchored planes for safety nets, and single strands she can use like rope.
  • South Park: Mint Berry Crunch has the power of mint and berries yet with a satisfying tasty crunch! He successfully uses it to defeat Cthulhu himself.
  • Ezra Bridger of Star Wars Rebels has "connection" as his main skill, rather than say, lightsaber combat or raw Force power. Except that he's in the early stages of the Rebellion, so his ability to connect to people is invaluable in building it up and gaining allies, as well as getting them to work together efficiently. Also due to his ability to empathize with Darksiders, he's probably the only person in canon who can claim Bad Powers, Good People (although it took a lot of character development to get there), and also the only one that can access the World Between Worlds, which requires both sides of the Force.
    • Developing this ability also allows him to connect with animals, which he has used to great effect on multiple occasions.
  • Steven Universe:
    • Rose personally considered the ability to grow and change humanity's greatest ability that made them superior to Gems in that way, and thus viewed it as one of the most amazing things Steven would get from his hybrid nature. Not only can Steven change and grow, he can make others change and grow, including Gems who are normally very unchanging. It shows in that he has managed to make the Crystal Gems grow more in his (comparably) very short life than they had in millennia. According to Rebecca Sugar, this is the exact reason his pure unleashed power was able to overpower White Diamond: he had to actually train and grow to gain ability over his power while White and the other Diamonds naturally have theirs. As such, his power became far, far greater.
    • Pearl of the Crystal Gems, like all other Pearls, was designed to be a simple courtesan servant, and at first only had the ability to create holograms. To work around this, Pearl created a holographic double to practice her swordfighting and became skilled enough to beat quartz Super Soldiers. She has also somehow retooled her light manipulation to fire laser beams, which is either a rare ability or something she developed over time based on Bismuth's reaction.
    • Padparadscha has defective Seer powers that only let her foresee events that have already occurred. However, since these visions are still perfectly accurate, she can point out details from past events that others missed or overlooked.
      Lars: Come on, come on!
      Rutile Twins: Hm, strange. The core should have come online by now.
      Padparadscha: I predict that Captain Lars will be pressing the wrong button.
      Lars: Oh.
      Lars pulls his hands off the console, and the ship activates.
    • Of all the Crystal Gem Fusions' weapons, Smoky Quartz seems to have gotten the short end of the stick with their Killer Yo-Yo, especially in Sardonyx's eyes. But it's actually one of the most versatile weapons the Crystal Gems have access to. In addition to being a great close range melee weapon, as shown with their fight with Jasper, it can have incredible range and accuracy, makes for a handy grappling hook, and can be used for a Blow You Away attack which graduates into full-blown tornado generation when they summon more than one.
  • The Tick: The Breadmaster is a supervillain whose skills gimmick revolves around baking. He's actually one of the most competent and dangerous villains in the series thanks to his signature explosive bread rolls, expanding bread bombs, and sentient gingerbread henchmen.
  • Vince, the one guy in Voltron Force who doesn't get a weapon or tool from his Voltcom, is arguably the strongest; he allows Voltron to reconfigure its component lions and overcome the Haggarium Kryptonite Factor.
  • The Wild Thornberrys: Eliza's ability to talk to animals also lets her imitate any sound of any animal, which she occasionally uses to great effect to scare or distract.
  • DC Comics' Sportsmaster is a minor super-villain who uses sport-themed gimmicks. In Young Justice, he's an incredibly dangerous assassin, and his repertoire seems to have been expanded greatly, to the extent that he's effectively an evil version of Batman.


Video Example(s):


Illusion Magic

This episode shows that some witches look down upon illusion magic because they can't conjure anything "real". Gus proves at the end it's totally possible to dominate multiple opponents using knowledge of your foes, psychological warfare, and using illusions to cover-up physical objects to make them appear real, making it every bit as viable as other magics in combat with enough skill.

How well does it match the trope?

4.71 (34 votes)

Example of:

Main / HeartIsAnAwesomePower

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