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Junk Rare

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The gold symbol on the middle-right says it's a rare card. The text says the developers are laughing at you.

There are the awesome, powerful rare cards that you're eagerly praying to see when you crack open a booster pack...and then there are these. A Junk Rare is weak, narrow, useless, or otherwise undesirable, and to make matters worse, it's rare, meaning that even if you wanted to get rid of it, you can't because there's always the possibility that you'll never obtain another copy of that card. So much for Power Equals Rarity.

Naturally, one player's Awesome, but Impractical is another player's Who Cares How Impractical It Is, It's Awesome! And one should never underestimate the power of Narm Charm. And 100% Completion. It's also possible that someone may even find a use for it and it turns out it's not as bad as once thought. If it gains enough notoriety, it ensures that it'll never leave the players minds.


This trope is not exclusive to Collectible Card GamesRandom Drops can qualify as well, and when they do they are often also Vendor Trash.

May be Awesome, but Impractical, Cool, but Inefficient, or a Useless Useful Spell. If it's only available through a special promotion, it's a Promotional Powerless Piece of Garbage.


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     Home Video 
  • The first 50 VHS releases by Magnetic Video are Pan and Scan versions sourced from beat up 16mm prints. While some of these would have new transfers by 1981, others wouldn't be so lucky.

  • The pinball version of Hercules by Atari. Although only 300 Hercules tables were made, it requires constant maintenance due to its massive size. Additionally, it is regarded as having rather blah gameplay (the table's physics feels sluggish due to the increased mass of the ball without a corresponding increase in table slant).
  • Any of the pinball machines created by SEGA in the 1970s. They are historically significant as Japan's first commercial-scale pinball machines, and were popular enough for SEGA to continue making them for several years. However, they used a lot of unique parts produced only by SEGA, no company currently exists that creates replacement parts, and for the parts that can be 3-D printed, no templates have been made. As a result, as parts break on existing machines, the only solution is to cannibalize parts from other SEGA pinball machines.
  • Orbitor 1 is unique for having a playfield that isn't completely flat, causing the ball to swerve around and trace unusual paths. It is a rarely seen novelty, but it's also just that—the playfield itself is so empty that there's barely anything to shoot for, and once the novelty wears off on Orbitor 1, what's left is an incredibly boring game.
  • New Canasta is a basketball-themed Enhanced Remake from a small vending machine producer from Spain and is the first mass-market pinball machine to carry several distinctions: The first to have an HD monitor, the first to use an acrylic surface instead of wood, the first to have magnetic switches rather than mechanical switches, and the first to use only LEDs instead of incandescent bulbs. The company is too small to create very many, but a number of small oversights came together to render the game far less appealing than the machine it was remade from.note 

     Tabletop Games  
  • Magic: The Gathering has a lot of these, usually on purpose. Mark Rosewater, the game's head designer, wrote a lengthy defense of the practice titled "Rare, but Well Done," in which he discusses in great detail why this trope exists.
  • The Star Wars Customizable Card Game has Epic Events, which typically require not only that you use associated cards, but your opponent use associated cards; for instance, Attack Run depends on your opponent using the Death Star and you having Death Star: Trench and Proton Torpedoes. All are rare.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • Gate Guardian. Useless unless you also have Sanga of the Thunder, Suijin and Kazejin (which are themselves pretty rare) and have them all on the field at the same time. And if you actually manage to do that, due to the aforementioned monsters' effects it's far more sensible to keep them on the field rather than waste them to summon Gate Guardian.
    • Pretty much any card that requires another card to play. This can be worse if the "summoning" card is a rare in of itself. Venominion and Venominaga are good examples, with one being Ultra Rare and the other being Secret Rare. Venominaga however can only be played with Venominion's ability (with almost no exception), so even if you do score this extremely-rare card, there's no way you can play it unless you shell out the money for the other, or get lucky with the pack again.
      • Archetype boss monsters in general fell into this, especially during the GX era, where Awesome, but Impractical was pretty much the norm. Volcanic Doomfire, Ultra Rare (one per 24 packs) cover card for Force of the Breaker, requires a card that requires another card that are both only useful with a bunch of other cards, leading to it being played rarely. The two most commonly-used cards from that set on its release were easily Gravekeeper's Commandant (Rare, meaning one per pack) and Raiza the Storm Monarch (Super Rare, one per five packs). Raiza and Commandant actually cost more than Doomfire on the aftermarket.
    • There is a "Short Print" rarity of card (or "Normal Rare" in Japan) where, even if the cards don't appear to be Rare, they are very hard to find. Often, Short Print cards are worse than your ordinary Commons. Just see for yourself.
    • Probably the earliest examples of Junk Rare are Celtic Guardian and Mystical Elf in Legend of Blue-Eyes White Dragon. Both are Super Rare - the same rarity as powerful Spells like Raigeki, Dark Hole, and Swords of Revealing Light - but they have lower stats than Commons like Uraby and Skull Red Bird and Rares like Giant Soldier of Stone and Aqua Madoor. On top of that, they were later made available in the starter decks. (This is an odd bit of The Artifact; LOB is a combination of several sets, and Guardian and Elf had been released in some of the earliest sets, where they were strong enough to justify their rarity. They were later packed in with stronger cards from later sets, and their rarities still hadn't changed.)
    • The most infamously bad rare card to date is a card called "Fusionist". While all fusion monsters were Rare at the time, Fusionist stands out as not only is it weak (even for a fusion monster at the time) and is a Rare, but it actually has lower stats than Mystical Sheep #2, one of its component parts. And Mystical Sheep #2 has bad stats to begin with! Its only use is being an Instant Fusion target in Rank 3-focused decks.
    • Sealmaster Meisei from Ancient Sanctuary. A vanilla 1100 attack monster whose gimmick relies on two floodgate cards that contradict each other. It is simply insulting to see cards get this kind of rarity in sets released much later despite its potential support.
    • Dark Rabbit took about a decade to be printed in the TCG, and it appeared as a rare in a 5D's-era booster pack. It's a 1200/1500 with no effect, which appeared in one episode of the series. Pegasus fans, rejoice?
    • The Poker Knights were reprinted in the middle of the GX era in the Elemental Energy set. They are mildly prominent in the anime, but that doesn't justify a set of cards whose best play is, by spending your Normal Summon for two turns to summon a pair of mediocre Level 4s, summoning one slightly stronger Level 5 (with stats equal to common Level 4s like Insect Knight) being printed as rare.
    • Cards that saw even remotely limited release in Japan tend to be packed as Secret Rare (the highest rarity) in American sets, regardless of how good they are. Gil Garth, a completely unremarkable vanilla beater, was a Secret Rare in a late-GX era set, pretty much solely because it'd been a promo in Japan.
  • In Pokémon:
    • Evolved (Stage 1 and Stage 2) Pokémon are mostly rare, and require basic Pokémon first. (You can get around using a Stage 1 with Pokémon Breeder (also Rare), but you still need the common basic Pokémon.) This was initially averted, as most basic Pokémon used to be rather weak, forcing players to evolve, but the introduction of EX Pokémon basically turned evolved Pokémon into Artifacts.
    • Another example would be the super Awesome, but Impractical legends, and some rares are actually extremely weak and nigh unplayable, like early Magneton, Pidgeot, etc.
    • Rarity seems to be more related to the Pokémon featured than the potential for playability. There have been instances in every tournament season up to the present (2010-11) of a player doing well with a deck using nothing above Uncommon, the second-lowest rarity, though such decks have never moved beyond the national level. There was one time a World Championship winner's deck used only 4 Rares out of 60 cards per deck. (There were at least three rarities above Rare at that time. And if you're curious, it was the Lunatone-Solrock deck.)
    • The game's creators had fun with this when they introduced secret rare XY-Evolutions Imakuni's Doduo. It's power involves throwing the card across the room when retreating it, and the attack requires singing. And oh yeah. At the bottom is the red text, "This card cannot be used at official tournaments."
  • In the early days of Heroclix, this is applied to uniques like Juggernaut without the helmet and original-costume Cyclops. Adding keywords didn't help these guys much. And the newer sets have gems like Spider-Man villain The Spot, Mr. Miracle & Oberon duo, and Queen of Fables.
  • The Star Trek: Collectible Card Game has a bit of a Running Gag with cards concerning Mot the Barber, the blue-skinned Bolian in charge of taming Picard's wild head of hair. Mot himself is a Red Shirt; Mot's Advice is barely useful. Barber Pole? It literally does nothing. And, just to make it more fun, all these cards are uncommon, not rare. (The final(ish) set for the game has a card, In for a Trim, that makes use of these cards.)
  • This happens due to random assignment tables in BattleTech: just because you got assigned an extremely rare 'Mech is no indicator of its usefulness or battlefield prowess. The Ostscout, for instance, is one of the rarest 'Mechs in the game, but is a Fragile Speedster that carries almost no effective weaponry or armor and is relegated to a passive reconaissance role at best. This extended to the rarity system in the Battletech CCG, where it was possible for the rare card in a booster to be a Lightning Bruiser such as the Ryoken B...or a nearly pointless Joke Character like the Baboon. This gets even worse if the random table includes things like prototypes or primitive tech—it's possible to get assigned the very first 'Mech design ever built that way. Hope you like having a slow, inefficient, underarmed museum piece!

     Video Games  
  • Video games themselves can qualify. Games such as Action 52 might be rare and valuable commodities, but they're also utter garbage gameplay-wise. In fact, many of them are rare because they're poorly designed and thus didn't sell well in their day and are now only available in low quantities, making them valued items for collectors.
    • Nintendo World Championships 1990 is one of the rarest NES games in existence with an interesting piece of history behind it, considered to be the Holy Grail of game collections. However, as shown on The Angry Video Game Nerd, it exists as nothing more than a competition cart split between segments of three very common NES games: Super Mario Bros., Rad Racer, and Tetris. Moreover, there are two versions: the gray one, which has a fairly standard label on it, albeit in black & white, and the gold one, which has a small label made with an ordinary printer and stuck onto the cartridge with glue. The gold one with the cheap label is worth thousands more.
    • The NES title Stadium Events is possibly the rarest game the system ever saw at mass retail, owing to its North American launch having been largely canceled after Nintendo bought the rights to it. Nintendo then rereleased it in massive quantities as World Class Track Meet, which Stadium Events is pretty much identical to and is no less common than any other NES game. Switch out the label and title screen (or even just switch to a region where the game got a more normal release), and the game's price suddenly drops 99%.
    • The Donkey Kong Country Competition Cartridge is one of the rarest video games ever released (only 2,500 copies are known to exist) and commands thousands of dollars whenever appear on the open market. With that in mind, the game itself is a completely unremarkable authorized romhack of the first Donkey Kong Country, only with the save option, multiplayer and animal tokens Dummied Out, and being impossible to complete since the game crashes if you complete Croctopus Chase, as the game was solely designed to be used in a Blockbuster high score competition with other players, and has a five-minute time limit slapped onto it that can't be turned off. The very rare Star Fox Super Weekend and Nintendo World Championship cartridges feature similar problems.
    • The Guy Game was panned by critics (most notably Seanbaby in an issue of EGM) and is impossible to find, and for a very good reason: The presence of an underage minor in a pornographic gamenote  makes it literally illegal to sell or own it.
  • The Philips CD-i was a poor seller in its day, cost 700 dollars at launch, and suffers from needing a (likely now-dead) battery that can't be changed without dremeling the motherboard open. It's also tricky to emulate, meaning that a console in good condition is generally your best option, and the controllers tend to break as well. The games that the system tends to be known for these days (Hotel Mario and The Legend Of Zelda CDI Games) frequently run for hundreds of dollars. What do you get for your effort? For the most part, crappy edutainment or FMV games and the ability to watch the origins of some Youtube Poop videos with proper context.
  • In RuneScape:
    • It's possible, but extremely rare, to randomly receive 100 silver ore as a drop from most monsters with drop tables. Otherwise, silver ore is a common item, and even a hundred of them are only worth a few thousand gold in total. The dragon spear is obtained through a similar system (an extremely rare drop from the same wide variety of enemies) and is very close to completely worthless.
    • Clue scrolls occasionally reward the player with rare and valuable items...and other times, you get a handful of mundane colored firelighters.
    • In the Old School version, three tough bosses can drop jars filled with dirt, sand, and swamp muck. The bosses have an incredible low chance of dropping them (dirt is 1/1,000, sand is 1/2,000, and swamp has a 1/3,000 chance). The three jars are filled with mundane substances and have no known uses, but are still valuable because of their rarity.
      • The construction update would later give a use to these jars (as well as other jars introduced for other bosses): they're used to create boss statues in your house's achievement gallery. You need to have killed said boss at least once to erect a stature and they don't do anything outside of looking cool and serving as displayable proof that you defeated the boss. The fact that you can just buy the jars means you don't even need to grind the bosses to get these displays either; just kill a boss once and buy its jar off of someone.
  • Anchors are the rarest items in Super Mario Bros. 3: every other world has a level where collecting an untold number of coins spawns a White Mushroom House that gives you an anchor. All the anchor does is stop the airship from changing its place on the map if you die. The airship moving can only really hinder your progress if you skipped stages after getting a Game Over in the current world. A rare glitch in World 5 (fixed in Super Mario All-Stars and Super Mario Advance 4) can make the airship fly to an unreachable square, so it's probably most useful there.
  • In Luigi's Mansion, Red Diamonds are tied with Gold Diamonds as the rarest treasure in the game, with only two found, and one of them is literally King Boo’s crown. However, unlike the incredibly valuable Blue and Gold Diamonds (2,000,000G and a whopping 20,000,000G [the game’s highest] respectively), Red Diamonds fall straight-up flat as they are just worth 5,000G, same as a coin, ranking as the lowest value in the game.
  • Pokémon:
    • There are plenty of rare Mons without much going for them in-battle: Tangela and Lickitung are this in the first generation, and subsequent games follow in their footsteps with such duds as Qwilfish and Dunsparce. However, Chimecho takes the cake here: In its debut games, it is located in a small area of a story location well off the beaten path, only has a 1% chance of appearing there, has a catch rate lower than some Legendary Pokémon, and isn't used by any trainer in the game, so you can't use the Pokédex to find it. If you somehow get lucky enough to find and catch it, you'll discover that it's one of the weakest Psychic-types ever introduced, with mediocre stats and a terrible movepool.
    • Supposedly, Farfetch'd is a deliberate invocation of this trope. In Pokémon Red and Blue it can only be gotten by trading a more-useful Spearow (who are thankfully common as all get out). While fine at lower levels, it isn't an especially useful Pokémon once it levels up more. It's a reference and parallel to a Japanese phrase "a duck comes bearing spring onions." Or a different interpretation which basically translates into "there's a sucker born every minute" — much like how a more useful mon has to be traded for it in the first generation.
    • Most baby Pokémon are also this. Many of them require you to capture and breed their evolved form(s), sometimes after obtaining a rare item, and then carry an egg around in one of your party slots until it hatches, for a Pokémon that is ultimately weaker than the one you started with due to being unevolved. Even raised up baby Pokémon are often worthless, as statistically there's no difference between a Raichu that started as a Pikachu and a Raichu that started as a Pichu. However, some Pokémon do have moves they can only learn in their baby forms (Wobbuffet, for example, can only learn Encore as a Wynaut) so there is some occasional use for them. Some appear in the wild like regular Pokémon in later games though.
    • A set of berries in Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire are extremely rare, only being obtainable through e-Reader cards. Some of these match consumable items already in the game. Being berries, however, they are easily renewed, so it offers some edge, at least. Some of these, however, match other berry effects.
    • Pokémon X and Y has not one, but two event-exclusive moves that do nothing when used: Celebrate and Hold Hands. The latter doesn't even work in Single Battles! Subverted from Pokémon Sun and Moon and on, where converting these moves with a Z-crystal will boost all of their stats (except for Accuracy and Evasion).
    • In general, any shiny Pokémon that is useless in battle. Shiny Luvdisc sure looks pretty, but it will end up in a PC box immediately after anyway.
    • To battle Regigigas, one must obtain the three legendary golems, which can be painstakingly difficult as it requires both collecting the one exclusive to that version and trading for the other two. After adding them to the party, Regigigas can be confronted and, with some luck and effort, caught. However, you will soon realize you just obtained quite possibly the most useless Legendary Pokémon ever, thanks to its Slow Start ability that cripples it for the first five turns of the battle, rendering Regigigas pretty much unusable both in-game and competitively. It's especially underwhelming in Platinum, where it's found at level 1.
    • In Pokémon GO, the player hatches Pokémon eggs by walking 2, 5, or 10 kilometers while playing the game. Eevee, while far from being a Com Mons, is one of the more common Pokémon to find in the world... and can hatch from the 10 km egg, which otherwise yields the rarest Pokémon. As a result from many players' frustration, this was eventually changed so it hatched from the shorter-distance, more common 5 km eggs instead.
    • In Pokémon Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum, an NPC tells the player that there is a rare Pokémon hiding in the pond of the Resort Area. It's a Level 100 Magikarp. Sure, the odds of finding it are small, and it can be exciting to catch a wild Pokémon that is at the highest possible level, but unfortunately Magikarp is one of the weakest Mons in existence, and since it is already maxed out, evolving it into the far more useful Gyarados is impossible.
    • In some cases Pokémon with Hidden Abilities can be this. Depending on the game that you are playing, getting a Pokémon with one can be relatively easy or a long, hard and tedious task note , but generally the results are worth it since most of those abilities are more suitable for competitive battles. However like the useless shinnies mentioned above, it depends on the Pokémon species, as there are species that have hidden abilities that are worse than their regular ones, like araquanid who instead of an ability that boost its water attacks, make it resistant to fire and inmune to burning, it gets one that make it inmune to a type that it is already resistant against. Other more evident examples are audino with Klutz and durant with truant note . And since it is not possible to change a normal ability for a hidden one, the contrary is also true. If you found a Pokémon with a worthless hidden ability, it will be stuck with it. Specially painfull if it turns to be also a shiny.
  • World of Warcraft:
    • Back in the days of vanilla World of Warcraft, Molten Core's Sulfuron Harbinger encounter occasionally ended in disappointment when one of the items dropped was Shadowstrike. Sure, it had the gimmick of transforming into Thunderstrike and back. But it was a Polearm (so Priests, Mages, Warlocks, and Rogues couldn't use it) with inferior DPS to other two-handers (so Warriors and Paladins didn't want it) and no stat bonuses (so Hunters, Druids, and Shamans didn't want it either). No surprise that its nickname became "Vendorstrike", and later "Nexusstrike," as it became a reliable source of Nexus Crystals from disenchanting.
    • Thor'idal, the Stars' Fury, the legendary bow that had a very low chance to drop from Kil'jaeden, the final boss of the Burning Crusade expansion. While by no means a bad weapon, it's main gimmick was that it created its own ammo. However, this wasn't that useful since you could buy Timeless Arrows, the best ammo in the game, for fairly cheap and in large quantities, and Timeless Arrows + The Golden Bow of Quel'thalas, an epic bow that was far easier to get, ended up doing comparative damage to Thor'idal. Near the end of the expansion, changes to how Steady Shot worked with weapon and arrow damage actually made the Golden Bow a stronger weapon for Hunters, making Thor'idal an unnecessarily rare weapon for something that's not even really an upgrade.
  • Several named weapons in Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas have unique appearances, occasionally special effects, and are slightly better than their baseline counterparts, but are underpowered compared to most regular weapons. You'll be happy to claim Pacer's straight razor "Figaro", but you won't be fighting any serious battles with it. There are also a number of very rare yet worthless Vendor Trash items, such as the Rake.
    • The original Fallout has the 9mm Mauser, which can only be found by looting Gizmo's body. It also requires unique ammo, which can also only be found by looting Gizmo. If you wield it in battle, you'll find it has a 20% boost to accuracy... and that's it. It's outdamaged by the starting pistol, and struggles to injure any enemy wearing more armor than a leather jacket.
  • Beets in Kingdom of Loathing no longer drop, and when they did it was only on ultra-rare occasions when resting. As a result, in the player economy a beet costs upwards of about two hundred million meat. This is in spite of the fact that the beet does absolutely nothing: it has no auto-sell value, it can't be traded to an NPC for anything, and you can't eat it, cook with it, or make cocktails with it.
  • Team Fortress 2 suffers this due to the Crate Lottery. Within the game there are crates that contain items of various quality. It's already a lottery when you gamble with the crates for a valuable strange weapon or an unusual hat. To further increase the drama, there is a second subset of crates called Salvaged Crates. Within those is where junk status truly begins. The Salvaged Crate offers a chance at weapons that may or may not ever see a release in a regular crate or you can get a strange version of a weapon nobody really wants or use.
  • Any game with a loot system, such as the Diablo, Torchlight, and Borderlands series, will fall into this sooner or later thanks to the Random Number God. Particularly noticeable in Borderlands, where quests will often reward you with unique, named guns which statistically are nothing more than Vendor Trash.
    • Diablo III had this happen to whole classes of loot. The broken gray class of loot is rarer than the common white class, and after about two years of patches, blue magic items tend to appear more often than so-called common ones at most levels.
  • The Goblin, Bomb and Mind Flayer summons in Final Fantasy IV and its sequel are dropped with 1/64 odds from the named monsters and are woefully underpowered. They're slightly more useful in the DS version and After Years, where they do more damage and cost less MP to use than equivalent black magic spells, and unlike the spell Break which can and often will miss, Cockatrice always works on an any enemy that's not immune to being turned to stone.
  • Omega Mk. XII on Final Fantasy XII has an insanely low chance of dropping a Mythril Sword. The most basic sword on the game which you start with. It's also the only place in the game to get a second one as no shops sell them.
  • Final Fantasy XI's Voidwatch has absolutely abysmal drop rates for gear - as in .01% or lower (thankfully each player receives their own loot, so there's no fighting over such rare drops). Most of the bosses with the good stuff have two such rare drops, and both are usually good in their own right. However, depending on what jobs a person has leveled (or plans to level), it's not uncommon for one of the two items to be "junk". A notable example is one boss which drops one of the best mage robes in the game - sought after by all casters. His second drop is a bullet that is quite good, but only for a single job (out of 20), the Corsair. By the time you get your fifth.01% bullet to drop and still haven't gotten the robe, you're ready to go on a murderous rampage against the RNGods.
    • Many drops from Notorious Monsters count. Many rare drops from them are inferior to items which can be crafted and many have a better common drop than their rare drop. One example being Bu'Ghi Howlblade who has a roughly 97% chance of dropping the best low level shield on the game and a roughly 3% chance of dropping a mediocre neck piece.
  • Final Fantasy XIV:
    • Aetherial grade gear, found in chests inside dungeons or as rare rewards from guildleves. This equipment is equal to a crafted high-quality item of the same item level, but with random stat bonuses as if it were already filled with a materia, where normal crafted gear instead had empty materia slots. But the stat bonus is random: caster equipment can come with strength, or tank equipment that adds piety, or anything that has a lot of skill speed or spell speed. Worse, these items can not be traded, and thus it's more common than not for a guildleve Aetherial drop to be unusable by one's current class, and either vastly under- or overlevelled for the player's compatible classes. They can at least be converted into materia, equipped at a lower level than their normal equivalents, or traded in at the Grand Company for Company Seals, though.
    • Some individual pieces are rare, high-level, and still not worth finding or buying, for mechanical reasons. The primacy of weapon damage and lack of good off-hand items meant that the Allagan Sceptre, a Black Mage one-handed weapon, was less useful than its two-handed equivalent until patch 2.1 powered it up.
  • Kantai Collection: Quite a few rare (gold/rainbow background) ships are outclassed by its more common (blue/silver background) counterparts. This is most apparent in the Destroyer class, where the strongest ships in that particular class are almost all common drops with second remodels.
  • Smashy Road: Wanted has four tiers named common, rare, epic, and legendary. The epic tier has almost, if not all, of the worst cars in the game.
  • Animal Crossing has many items that can be this: Depending on your perspective, many clothing items or furniture items can be this if it isn't something you want to have in your house or museum but you can't get rid of it because it can't be found in stores or ordered through the store kiosk and can only be obtained on a single day of the year, or a single playthrough with a given player character.
    • The best example of this is the Sloppy furniture series. All the items appear disheveled and messy and look like something that's ready to be thrown out. However, these items are only available if a villager decides to put them up for sale in Re-tail. Which only happens once in a blue moon. People are willing to pay millions of bells to get their hands on a whole set.
  • Cookie Clicker has one in the collection of eggs found when Easter is triggered - it's called "egg" (quotes and all), and all it does it improve production by +9 cookies per second (when even mid-game purchases on the same scale give hundreds of thousands for a single purchase). Without multipliers, depending on when it's bought, it could take months to pay for itself. And unlocking it is a 1% chance on every golden cookie click. Oh, and it has to unlock (though thankfully not be purchased) for an achievement. Though the absurdity of it all did make it into a fanbase inside-joke...
  • Realm Grinder: Most of the Lore Artifacts give no upgrade whatsoever and often have a small, specific and hidden chance to dig up.
  • Plants vs. Zombies: Heroes: Any "Super-Rare", "Event", or "Legendary" cards that aren't good in play would qualify.
    • Doubled Mint. Legendary card, and hypothetically capable of having the highest stats in the game. But due to this, the chances anybody will let it survive even one turn are nonexistent, and thu it's entirely negated.
    • Gargantuar's Feast. A Legendary trick that summons 3 random, hard-hitting Gargantuars that the Plant Hero can't do anything about would be cool. But the fact that it's so expensive (12 brains) that you'll hardly ever get a chance to play it. In order to be viable, you basically need to combo it with an Event card, Gargologist, which means using a low-tier Tier-Induced Scrappy.
    • Interdimensional Zombie. Its special, Legendary-worthy ability? When you play a Science zombie, it transforms into a random zombie that costs 3 brains. Its low cost and above-average health do nothing to help the fact that it's a Rare in a Legendary's clothing.
  • Terraria:
    • Played straight with the pre 1.3 Enchanted Sword, a rare sword with the ability to fire damaging energy beams with each swing. It is one of the rarest items in the entire game. The game has a small chance of spawning the Enchanted Sword somewhere underground in a destructible background stone when you first generate a world. There is no indication that the sword has spawned and since it's in a random spot underground you could potentially spend a thousand hours in a world with an Enchanted Sword and never know it's there. Even then, there is only a 1/3 chance that the sword in the background stone is the real deal - the other 2/3 are wooden swords that don't even drop upon destroying the stone. On the off chance that luck is in your favor, and you finally somehow manage to find an Enchanted Sword... you'll find that it isn't exactly groundbreaking, especially in comparison to the plethora of much more common, much more powerful items you can find even before Hardmode. It deals only one point of damage more than the Light's Bane, a low tier, fast-but-weak archetype of weapon. The ability to fire energy beams isn't all that special, even pre-Hardmode. The Ice Blade, another pre-Hardmode weapon, does the same thing, is almost as damaging, and is far easier to acquire. Made significantly less junky and rare as of 1.3, where, in addition to the usual stone generations, very obvious Enchanted Sword shrines can spawn (structures with a vertical, one-tile beacon of negative space that stretches extremely far up, sometimes even visible from the surface) that are common enough to reliably find at least two or three with ease in a large world. The Enchanted Sword has also been buffed to now be faster than the aforementioned Light's Bane and stronger than the Blood Butcherer, a mid-tier, slow-but-strong weapon, with its sword beam now doing it much more of a favor with the increased damage, ultimately bringing its newfound power much more in line with its lowered, more justified rarity. Additionally, 1.3 also brought the Arkhalis, which has a 1/10 chance to spawn in place of a real Enchanted Sword, seemingly bringing the entire Enchanted Sword category out of infamy for good.
    • Exaggerated with the Slime Staff. It has the lowest drop rate of any enemy-dropped item: only a 1 in 10,000 chance, and even Pinky only has a 1% chance to drop it, the highest out of all Slime enemies. This makes it potentially the rarest of any of the summon weapons, on top of being the weakest with a mere 8 damage and no ranged ability. However, combining this weapon with the Greedy Ring's effectsnote  and a specially-structured arena can turn it into a very profitable cash cow that nets dozens—if not hundreds—of gold coins in a few minutes, so it's not completely valueless.
    • Downplayed with the Coin Gun. It's the rarest drop in a pirate invasion, having a 0.25% chance to drop from the Flying Dutchman Ship (Meaning one in every 400 ships has one), a 0.05% chance to drop from Captains, and a 0.0125% chance to drop from anything else. It has a very high damage stat, but you need coins to use it. It has a power of 200... When using platinum coins. Unless you have a good money farm, it's very hard to get this weapon to its peak damage.
  • Some Servants in Fate/Grand Order can fall behind their comrades due to their skill-set or stats not living up to their rarity status, but the majority are still decent. When it comes to truly Junk Rare status, these Servants take it to an art form:
    • Stheno is a 4-Star Assassin with poor stats, poor skills, and a single-target debuff Noble Phantasm that is contingent on the target being male (it does have a instant death chance, but again that's dependent on the target being male and enemies tend to have high resistance to instant death anyways). Two strengthening quests added later did give Stheno a useful Attack buff skill for party support and a buff removal that works regardless of gender, but that's all she's got.
    • Angra Mainyu is the rarest thing that can be summoned in the game (to put it in perspective, he's 100x as rare as a 5 Star Servant!) as well as being the game's only No-Star Servant, and he's a self-admitted Joke Character. His stats are in line with the common 2* Servant, his skills don't provide much survivability (in fact, his most useful one also kills him after a few turns), and his Noble Phantasm is an unblockable Attack Reflector that requires him to both survive the enemy's attack while also being dealt enough damage to actually do anything useful. His Bond Craft Essence gives him the ability to revive from the dead once during a fight, but one can't help but feel like they're just putting him through more torture. This isn't a bad thing however, as he really does suck that bad in-story as well and it only contributes to his popularity.
    • Most Servants exclusive to the Story summons pool are given to you for free at completion of their story appearances, or star in events that make them available from the Limited-Time summons pool. The sole exception? Caster Gilles de Rais, who is almost never seen outside the Story pool, not even available in the Story pool until completion of the Orleans singularity, and only one of many 3-Star Casters, most of whom have more useful stats and/or skills than he does as well as being more accessible.
  • In Fire Emblem Heroes, you must spend Orbs to roll for new characters. The best units are 5* rarity and only have a 6-8% chance of showing up at base, and while every five summons increases the chance by .5%, it resets when you pull a 5*. This means that if you pull a worthless 5*, all of that pity percentage is wasted. While the 4/10/2018 update alleviated this by moving most of the crummier 5* units to the 3*/4* pool, Mist: Helpful Sister is still unequivocally the most useless 5* pull due to her mediocre stat spread and lack of good skills in her base kit.
  • In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, there exists a rare random encounter where the player can meet a chef-in-training named Balbus whose dream is to study under a reclusive master chef known only as the Gourmet. There is also a quest in one of the faction storylines in which the player has the opportunity to hunt down and murder the Gourmet himself, and steal a document from his corpse in order to impersonate him. If the player has completed this quest and has the Gourmet's document on their person at the same time they happen to encounter Balbus, they can pretend to be the Gourmet again, and a starstruck Balbus will give the player a handful of rare ingredients he's gathered... and a fork. It's called 'Balbus' Fork'. Its model resembles every other fork in the world. It has zero monetary value and zero weight. You can't trade it anywhere for anything, you don't get any bonuses for having it, and it's not even the wieldable variant of the basic fork. The only thing it's good for is to show off that you managed to arrange the above circumstances.
  • The LEGO Adaptation Game series has this in the form of the Expensive Generic/Joke Character. For the sake of 100% Completion, you'll occasionally spend all your studs or go on a difficult sidequest or both for a character who has no abilities or at least has no abilities that you didn't already have from a basic character. Some examples are Saruman and the Witch-King in Lego The Lord Of The Rings and the Emperor in LEGO Star Wars.
  • Mew in the Super Smash Bros. series is the rarest Pokémon you can get when throwing a Poké Ball, but all it does when summoned is fly away, not doing anything to help in battle. In most games, at least, summoning it would net you trivial rewards such as a notification, a bonus in 64 and Melee, a CD in Brawl, or any random collectible in 3DS/Wii U, meaning Mew holds some value. Ultimate, however, delegates all of its major collectible items to shops only, bonuses weren't brought back, and the "you found Mew" notification is conspicuously absent, making the New Species Pokémon on par with Goldeen in terms of usefulness despite its rarity. Celebi and Jirachi serve similar functions, though only Mew has physically appeared in every game.
  • Azur Lane has a few, with most of them being either early batches of Super Rare (SSR in JP) that are designed when the developers aren't that experienced with unit design yet like San Diego (crazy high AA, bad at everything else), Warspite (high firepower but extremely poor sole skill otherwise), Prinz Eugen (Stone Wall with very limited firepower for a heavy cruiser), although San Diego and Warspite received retrofits that massively buffed them. Also, prior to Kizuna AI collaboration event, all non-World of Warships collaboration Super Rare ships (an in case of WOWS collaboration ship, Izumo) are also considered to be mostly underpowered.
     Real Life 
  • As you might have gleaned from the pinball and beginning of the videogame series, in collecting, oftentimes the rarest things are also the crappiest. If something is good, it will be duplicated. If something is bad, there will be far fewer, and the ones that are built are likely to be destroyed. However, sometimes infamy outlasts fame, making otherwise worthless pieces of crap not only rare but desirable.
  • The Chauchat 30-06 conversion is famously one of the worst guns ever made. Thanks to improper converting between calibers, it often simply did not work and even the best examples could only run a few rounds before jamming, never mind what a century of wear has done. They can still go for nearly 40 grand in the United States because their crappiness makes them famous. Not to mention, you have to through the legal hurdles of owning a machine gun with none of the benefits, as it's functionally a single shot weapon or more realistically a decoration.
  • The Cobrey Terminator is a rare an notable for it's unique "slam fire" note  action and that raised the ire of gun control groups back in the day based on the false notion it could be easily turned into a full auto weapon. What you actually get is an extremely crude and uncomfortable gun to fire, if it even works at all.
  • Ford Pintos are starting to become collectable. To be fair the exploding problem can be solved easily with after market parts, but you are still buying a rather average vintage car the become famous for being an accidental car bomb.


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