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Lethal Harmless Powers

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What part of "anywhere" did you not understand?

"Did you know I can create a force field inside someone's body and expand it until they explode?"

There's oodles of different kinds of powers, some lethal and some harmless. Having obviously lethal powers has remarkably many downsides. Bad Powers, Bad People means the owners can't use them at all for fear of becoming killers, they tend to miss a lot when aimed at heroes, and they tend to corrupt or slowly kill them anyway. This can make the "wimps" with the power of Heart become surprisingly useful by using their "harmless" powers in surprisingly creative ways.

One of which is using the harmless power in a horrifyingly lethal way.

Turns out the kid with a Green Thumb can make the local flora emit toxic pollen, the Barrier Warrior just needs to tilt her barrier to use it as a knife, or the person who can create love can also create fear so powerful it makes people's hearts explode, or the White Mage with Healing Hands can reverse her ability to rapidly drain Life Energy, or worse, heal too much and give the victim horrible cancer. Other times, the power itself always had the lethal applications, such as Psychic Surgery being used not to take bullets out of a person, but to put them in... by hand. However, the character had a self imposed Drama-Preserving Handicap in the form of Mind over Manners or Non-Lethal Warfare to avoid becoming a villain.


But eventually, these heroes will face a situation that crosses the Godzilla Threshold. Maybe their life or the life of a loved one is at stake, or a villain just pushed their buttons in the worst possible way and forces their gloves come off. And even if that does not happen, they may still have their power stolen by an unfettered villain and see it exploited to its full lethal potential, whether they like it or not.

It goes without saying that this is Darker and Edgier stuff, and in generally light series a hero forced to use the lethal applications of their abilities will probably enter a Heroic BSoD even if they don't kill an enemy. Some heroes who do a lot of thinking on their powers will usually realize they can do this and get very, very scared of the potential horror should the Instant Allegiance Artifact, Mirror Morality Machine, (or plain old life) make them do a Face–Heel Turn. This doesn't mean they won't ever use this potential application; they can use it to threaten enemies as the above quote shows.


This causes a related phenomenon — villains very rarely get the powers that can be abused in this way specifically for this reason. When they do, they become Good Powers, Bad People.

Compare Dangerous Forbidden Technique and Required Secondary Powers. May cause viewers to decide that Heart Is an Awesome Power. Contrast the Inverse Law of Complexity to Power. Similar to Lethal Joke Item, in that neither are taken seriously until their lethality is revealed. Often an aspect of a Semantic Superpower.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Being Able to Edit Skills in Another World, I Gained OP Waifus, several of Nagi's Battle Harem can, and if pressed, will do this.
    • In chapter 1, Nagi's first waifu was asked to cast a light spell to temporarily confuse a slaver and skill merchant that were trying to kidnap them in the middle of the night. She responded by summoning a light on par with what exists at the surface of the sun.
    • Later, Nagi gains a Ninja Maid, Aine, who has a skill that creates and expands muddy puddles. The puddles are expanded by sucking moisture out of the environment, including plants, animals... and people. Good thing that Nagi is an Ideal Hero who doesn't want to stand out.
  • Garbage Brave has Tsukuru's stand out almost instantly. His [Cooking] class sub-skills [Ignition] and [Dismantle], used for preparing meals, have the short line that they can be used on anything. When Tsukuru finds himself dumped in Bolf forest, a ridiculously overpowered dungeon, and finds himself face-to-face with a large feline monster that sees him as lunch, he uses [Ignition] to set its face on fire, and [Dismantle] when it has him pinned to the ground, reducing it to Ludicrous Gibs.
  • In Please Save My Earth Mokuren's Green Thumb powers seem pretty limited to making plants grow or die quicker than normal by her singing. Yeah, it's not instantly lethal to anyone. But killing all the plants on a planet (or even ecosystem) is deadly in the long run. Not to mention that plants growing out of control overnight is pretty scary too. And if you live in a space station with nothin' but vacuum outside...
  • Darker Than Black just generally likes this trope:
  • Raquell from Scrapped Princess has plenty of offensive spells, but during one fight in a cave she couldn't use them because she had to use a shield to keep her allies safe. Just as her enemy started mocking her about it she expanded the shield to cover nearly the entire cave. The enemy surrendered just seconds before his head was crushed between the shield and the wall.
  • Yureka:
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Seemingly harmless Stand powers, like healing or being able to turn into string, become incredibly lethal in the hands of a creative user.
    • From Stardust Crusaders, Steely Dan's The Lovers is microscopic and can only exert force proportional to that. But it can attach itself to people's brains, and when its user feels pain, the target of this ability feels the same pain, but amplified several times. This allows him to take someone "hostage" and makes it nearly impossible to fight back against him without also harming the target as any injury great enough to incapacitate Dan would also kill the victim from the shock. Although Dan openly refers to his Stand as the weakest, the only way to defeat it was for Polnareff and Kakyoin to send their own Stands on a "Fantastic Voyage" Plot inside the brain of the victim, Joseph, and during this time Dan was able to boss around Jotaro Kujo, owner of one of the most powerful Stands, and humiliate him in many ways.
    • Diamond Is Unbreakable:
      • Josuke Higashikata's Crazy Diamond has the power to return things and people to their original state, usually healing others' wounds (though he can't use Crazy Diamond on himself). Josuke twice destroyed an object and then reverted it to one piece around his enemy, merging them with it and permanently immobilizing them. He's also turned shards of glass into razor-sharp homing missiles by smearing his own blood on them and his target, then "healing" the two bits of blood so that the glass would hit the opponent on its way back.
      • Tamami Koboyashi's Stand, The Lock, can amplify feelings of guilt, getting heavier the guiltier one feels. The most he uses it for is guilt-tripping people into giving him money, but if it gets heavy enough, the victim will attempt to take their own life.
      • Arguably, the entire team of heroes in Diamond Is Unbreakable is full of this trope. Josuke's Crazy Diamond has the aforementioned restoration powers, Koichi's Echoes can generate the sound of any object, Okuyasu's The Hand can remove segments of objects but has no offensive power itself, Mikitaka's Earth Wind and Fire allows him to transform into inanimate objects, and Rohan's Heaven's Door allows him to learn about people's life stories and give rules for them to follow. Even Jotaro, the hero of the previous story, uses Star Platinum mainly to stop time. They all sound like powers best reserved for backing up direct fighters, but they all battle on the front lines, making creative use of their skills to overcome numerous foes who do have highly destructive, damaging powers.
    • Similar to Josuke, Vento Aureo's Giorno Giovanna possesses the Stand Gold Experience, which has the power to "imbue life" into an object by touching it (such as turning a brick into a snake, for example). While this seems useless in direct combat and he generally uses it to heal his teammates, if Gold Experience punches a person, the overload of life energy makes their mind accelerate to such a speed that their body can't even keep up, leaving them helpless as their face gets punched in for what feels like an infinity.
    • JoJolion:
      • Tamaki Damo has the Stand Vitamin C, which makes other people's bodies soft as putty. He then slices them apart with a folded up banknote while they're still alive, and destroys their vital organs while they melt into a puddle of goo.
      • Speaking of banknotes, the userless, parasitic Stand Milagro Man has the power to multiply money, doubling any cash spent or destroyed by the person under its effect. Seems like a pretty great thing to be "infected" by, until the victim realizes that it can't be turned off. As long as they're affected by Milagro Man, any time they get rid of money, ever, it comes back to them doubled. If the victim is too free with their spending, they'll rapidly be literally buried and crushed to death by the weight of their cash. And the only way to pass it on is to trick someone else into stealing and then destroying one of the bills (or other currency) created by the Stand, which is as difficult as you'd think - especially given that, unusually for a Stand, the existence of 'the Milagro Man' is an Open Secret in Morioh Town. And, of course, when the Stand is passed on, any money it created vanishes instantly.
  • Much like JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Hunter × Hunter also makes constant use of this trope.
    • The most famous example of this is Hisoka, who usually overkills his opponents using the power of chewing gum. That's not using chewing gum as a weapon, his ability is literally making his energy stretchy and sticky.
    • The main character, Gon, calls out his signature moves before doing them. Unlike most shonen series, this is a liability in Hunter X Hunter, as it telegraphs what the user is going to do. But Gon is fully aware of this drawback, and takes advantage of it by not only deliberately miscalling his attacks so his opponents expect one thing but get attacked with another, but also by exploiting the general rules of Nen regarding conditions and vows making Nen abilities stronger. Calling (or miscalling) his attacks and subsequently telegraphing his attacks to the enemy actually does make his Janken attacks more powerful due to the higher risk involved.
  • Naruto:
    • The medical ninjutsu can be put to astonishingly lethal uses, like creating a chakra scalpel that cuts right through subcostals and important blood vessels while leaving the skin intact. Even the basic healing touch ability can, if used unskillfully or deliberately wrong, mess up a person's body in unspecified nasty ways, no doubt involving your cytoplasm turning into lethal poison.
    • This is kind of how Gaara's power feels when you try to describe it outside the context of the show. "He has telekinetic control over sand." "Well, that's...kind of useful, I guess, what does he do, make roads in the desert—HOLY SHIT."
    • Pain's Deva Path's primary ability is to push and pull his targets away or towards him. Its targets include non-concrete objects such as Amaterasu. And at high enough power, it was able to destroy the entire Konoha village in one blow. He can also create a manifestation of his "pull" power outside of his own body. Ergo, he can basically create an artificial black hole.
    • The Animal Path Pain, besides summoning enormous monsters that can easily knock down buildings, is rather strategic with where it summons them. In a fight against one of the ANBU ninja, it places a summoning seal on the ninja's stomach, impaling him on the beak of the giant bird that is subsequently summoned.
  • One of the deadlier members of the Noah family in D.Gray-Man, Tyki Mikk, has powers similar to Shadowcat mentioned below. Being a villain, he uses them to rip out organs.
  • Bleach: Orihime's shielding powers, given one can split a target in half. In Chapter 449, she revealed she's learned how to use her defensive shield to turn her attacker's power into something that not only turns back onto its originator, but which also detonates on that attacker like a bomb.
    • Her healing abilities reject events, which is why she can regenerate missing limbs. Its implied that if she kept going, she could erase your existence.
    • During the Thousand-Year Blood War, Uryu Ishida reveals his unique Quincy ability known as The Antithesis. This ability allows Uryu to designate any two targets and completely reverse anything that has already occurred between the two of them. For example, if Uryū were to be greatly injured while fighting an opponent, he could reverse what occurred between himself and his enemy, simultaneously healing himself while grievously wounding his opponent. Unfortunately for him, his opponent's own ability effectively allowed him to reverse that reversal, putting him right back at square one.
  • One Piece is full of this. In general, power sets in One Piece have a specific theme, but the sky's the limit with how one can use those powers, given enough experience with them. Devil Fruit powers canonically don't get stronger; their users just get more creative with them. One of the things this series is known for is its incredibly pragmatic use of weird and otherwise useless powers.
    • Nico Robin's Flower-Flower fruit gives her the power to sprout new limbs like flower petals. Thing is, they don't have to be attached to her body. Does her opponent have a neck? *snap*
    • Kaku can turn into a giraffe, who makes use of his elongated neck to gain more momentum for his strikes and puts his elongated limbs to work by enhancing his strikes' power and reach; Razor Wind that could previously cut a man in half now can bisect entire buildings.
    • Rocinante can make certain areas completely silent, as well as cause objects and people to be completely silent. It turns out that he is unparalleled in taking out entire groups of people and destroying buildings without anyone noticing, as projectiles from firearms will also be totally quiet, as are people's screams when shot.
    • Doflamingo's power revolves around strings. Sounds lame, but in practice these strings are sharp enough to slice through almost anything, and its strength can go up to 'utterly unbreakable' with the Birdcage technique. Even worse, he can attach these strings and forcefully take control of someone else's body.
    • The villain from 10th movie, Shiki, has ability to levitate matter. He uses it to create giant lion heads by lifting masses of ground or water and ram them into enemies.
    • Cracker has the ability to generate an unlimited amount of biscuits and, thanks to this power, has amassed a bounty of 860 million Berries. He was able to achieve this destructive power by creating a limitless army of biscuit soldiers—any adversaries he couldn't defeat through brute force, he defeated through attrition.
    • The Big Mom Pirates have multiple candy generators like the one above, and they are all obscenely dangerous thanks to the properties they can imbue their materials with and the tricks they can pull with them. Whipped cream can become so sweet as to be dangerously caustic, just as an example. Though Katakuri might be the defining one as not only the strongest of the three Sweet Commanders, but right behind Big Mom herself in terms of fighting ability. He has the ability to generate mochi—that is, glutinous rice paste. The way he uses it, however, is essentially Luffy's own fighting style, except bigger and more destructive.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica:
  • In Brynhildr in the Darkness, one character openly asks how someone with the ability to change places with anything could kill someone. The other responds by stating how she could jump off a cliff and switch places with her target so they plummet to the ground.
  • In Zatch Bell!, Kanchome's powers at the start include Poruk, which transforms him into various objects (but he retains his personal strength no matter how he changes shape), Koporuk, which makes him a few inches tall, and Dikaporuk, which makes a two story illusion of him. He's so weak that he offers absolutely no offensive power in the Belugim EO fight, resulting in Kid getting sent back to the Demon World. Come the end of the manga however, he is one of the first to learn a Shin-level Spell, Shin Poruk... Which allows him to RESHAPE REALITY IN AN AREA AROUND HIMSELF - that single spell with a few days worth of training was SO POWERFUL he was able to beat Zatch in a hard sparring match without taking ANY damage, easily nullifying Bao Zakeruga and breaking down into happy tears at how strong he's become... illusions aren't just for show, you know.
  • The Black King in Drifters can magically heal and regenerate cellular growth in an aversion of No Cure for Evil. He can also overclock cell regeneration to cause Body Horror cancerous tumors to burst from one's body. (He does this to humble the Bronze Dragon.)
  • Yuuno Scrya from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha can ram those shields into your face. Those chains can cut you. His teleportation does not require consent. And because of his sensors, you can't hide from him. The only reason we don't see Yuuno fight more is because he doesn't like killing, and all of his combat options that are more powerful than a basic Shield Bash are incredibly lethal.
  • My Hero Academia: Figuring out the full extent of one's Quirk is a major part of the series, and naturally there are a few powers that can have surprisingly dangerous applications when used correctly.
    • Komori's power to grow mushrooms seems basically harmless at first glance, until she uses it to one-shot Tokoyami by sprouting spores that had drifted into his throat, instantly suffocating him. And that's not even getting into the potential applications of the poisonous mushrooms she could theoretically grow.
    • Present Mic's ability to amplify his voice mostly sees use to allow him to address crowds without help from sound equipment. In a combat situation, though, his shouts can become powerful enough to stun entire crowds and completely nullify other sound-based quirks. His hero costume's primary piece of equipment is actually a sound dampener, so he doesn't simply rupture everyone's eardrums in a mile radius every time he cuts loose.
    • Mr. Compress can transform anything he touches into a compact, marble-like ball. Seems like a party trick, but his power doesn't discriminate between living and nonliving things, and it can also selectively shrink parts of his targets, breaking the targeted piece away from the whole, a functionality he exploits to tear off one of Chisaki's arms in a piece of Laser-Guided Karma.
    • Eri has the power to rewind biological matter to a previous state with her touch. In most cases the effects manifest as Healing Hands, but when she loses control (which, as the biggest sufferer of Power Incontinence in the series, happens frequently) her power can also be used to strip someone of their Quirk or de-age them into nothing.
    • Normally you don't get an idea of how dangerous Uraraka's Gravity Master quirk is, as she doesn't generally use it for brutal offense. When the quirk is copied by Himiko Toga however, it becomes clear she could basically splatter people against concrete as she pleased if she really wanted to.
  • Telekinesis exists in the world of Gantz, but it's extremely weak compared to much of fiction. A common early training exercise is manipulating dust motes in the air, and it doesn't scale up much from there. Fortunately, it doesn't take much telekinetic futzing about in the brain to cause a lethal aneurysm. Late in the story, a telekinetic master suffers a mental breakdown and commits genocide on a park full of innocent giants whose brains are over ten times the size of his body.
  • Ban from The Seven Deadly Sins has ability to snatch things from people. This, despite sounding harmless, allows him to take from person whatever he wants — including body parts or internal organs, which he uses to dismember opponents from a distance.
  • In her solo series Codename: Sailor V, Sailor Venus shows the power of summoning the stinking atmosphere of Venus. When she does it she only stuns a group of youmas, but one look at what Venus's atmosphere is actually made of...
  • Danganronpa 3 occasionally explores some of the more harmful applications of the more mundane-looking Ultimate Talents of Hope's Peak. For instance, the Ultimate Animator admits to incorporating brainwashing techniques to invoke emotion in the viewers of his anime, and the Big Bad exploits this to create a brainwashing video to drive the world to despair.
  • The titular character of Goblin Slayer once said that "creativity is a weapon. Those who fail to use it die first." He frequently utilizes things in ways that are Not the Intended Use, and has defeated hordes of opponents this way.
    • Goblin Slayer has Priestess use her Holy Light miracle as a rather effective flashbang. While not debilitating in and of itself, this does allow Goblin Slayer to rush in while his enemies are blinded and kill them.
    • When faced with a horde of goblins in a castle, Goblin Slayer used a Sleep spell to simply put everyone in the castle to sleep, then easily killed them when they couldn't fight back.
    • Goblin Slayer once used a Gate scroll to rip a demon into bloody pieces by putting the portal's destination as the bottom of the sea. The intense water pressure cut through the demon's body like a hot knife through butter.
    • Priestess in Vol. 7 gains access to the Purify Water miracle, which allows her purify contaminants in water. However, as it turns out, it works on anything with water in it so when Priestess casts the miracle on a goblin shaman in a panic, the shaman painfully suffers from hydro-poisoning when the miracle turns his blood into water. The Earth Mother visits Priestess in a vision, forbidding Priestess from using the miracle this way again lest she lose her ability to use miracles altogether.
    • Goblin Slayer also frequently has Priestess use her barrier miracle in creative and unusual ways, such as using it to block the only exit to a fortress that Goblin Slayer had just set on fire so that the goblins inside would burn to death, or placing two barriers very close together to squish an enemy between then.
  • The Law of Ueki is all about this trope. Metatron decides to retire and let someone else be the Face of God (mostly so he can get laid), and runs a contest for the seat; each angel gives an ordinary middle-school kid superpowers to win the contest, on the one condition that they apply a Power Limiter in the form of a cute condition. Ueki in particular has the power to recycle (hand-sized only) trash... by transmuting it into a giant tree. Then there's the guy who can turn electricity into sugar and back by squinting his beady little eyes, which he uses to transmute batteries into sugary powder and then into a cloud of lightning.
  • Another "healer uses his power to harm" example is found in Redo of Healer, an adult LN adapted into a manga, with its Villain Protagonist Keyaru, the "Healer Hero". Because his only ability is to heal (and even that causes him extreme pain), he is basically used as a drugged-up slave by the rest of his party. Eventually it turns out that "healing" in this setting, at least when used by a Hero-level healer, basically amounts to biomanipulation (with a side-order of telepathy). So debuts the aptly named [Corruption] Heal, a technique in which Keyaru uses the same power that would normally allow him to restore someone to peak shape to wreak havoc on the target's organism instead, killing them instantly and often messily.
  • Tama from Magical Girl Raising Project has a Dog Motif, with the ability to "dig" holes by scratching things. Compared to the other combat-oriented Magical Girls, Tama is considered relatively weak and useless to her group. She ends up using this ability to kill the nigh-unstoppable Cranberry by scratching her, creating a hole that tears the Big Bad in half.
  • In Revenge Of The Teapot Hero, the main character's gods-given ability is boiling water. When this is found out, she's treated with derision, and marked for death behind her back. After her home village is utterly massacred, and she's fleeing for her life, she starts getting creative, causing an avalanche to bury the pursuing soldiers, and when their commander has her cornered and is sadistically tormenting her, she realizes the human body is mostly water in an elastic container and gives him a Cruel and Unusual Death.

    Comic Books 
  • Marvel Comics:
    • X-Men:
      • Nightcrawler:
      • He has mentioned many times that he could use his teleport power to Tele-Frag people but he has never done it... at least not in the main continuity.
      • In one alternate continuity story, he ended up taking someone's fingers with him when he jumped.
      • In the Age of Apocalypse storyline, that universe's Nightcrawler teleported Wade's, aka AoA timeline Deadpool head off.
      • There was one in-continuity story where he removed a hi-tech glove off the Red Skull by holding onto it and teleporting...and took all the flesh off the Skull's hand with it leaving nothing but bone.
      • A much simpler, but effective strategy allowed Nightcrawler to defeat Omega Red, who was giving both Wolverine and Colossus a hard time. He simply teleported Omega Red really high up and let him fall to the ground. Take note that Omega Red is functionally Made of Iron; if Nightcrawler did it to someone any less durable...
      • Also since 'porting is usually uncomfortable and nauseating to those not used to it he'll also grab someone and quickly and repeatedly port them until they pass out.
      • It gets taken to a whole new extreme in Uncanny X-Force, where Age of Apocalypse Nightcrawler kills Blob by teleporting a live shark into his stomach.
      • It's also been suggested that he could just leave them in the dimension he travels through when he teleports if he bothered to learn how. This dimension by the way is Hell, literally; that's why being teleported by Nightcrawler is an unpleasant experience.
      • Shadowcat:
      • Once, when Marrow's bone-growing powers were going out of control, Shadowcat used her ability to pass through matter to pull her out of the gnarled mass of bone. Marrow wondered aloud how she could've done it, since the bones were still part of her body, and Shadowcat mentioned that, were she so inclined, she could pluck vital organs out of people's chests.
      • In a 2010 What If? One-Shot comic, Kitty does exactly that, stopping a possessed Emma Frost by pulling out her heart while the latter is halfway through transforming into her invincible diamond form.
      • In another What If? issue, Kitty sorrowfully Mercy Killed a Brainwashed and Crazy Wolverine by leaving her severed hand lodged in his brain.
      • Noting also that Shadowcat, were she so inclined, can also leave a person behind as she's going with them through something solid. She's made the threat various times.She actually does this to the Hulk once, though Hulk being Hulk, it only stops him temporarily.
      • In the Magik miniseries, the alternate version of Shadowcat defeats the alternate version of Nightcrawler in a sword fight... by leaving her sword in his leg.
      • An alternate Kitty Pryde in Exiles killed an evil, alternate Wolverine by pulling his claws from his body, then removing other parts offscreen.
      • Shinobi Shaw is a rare example of a villain with such powers - his powers are identical to Kitty's and squeezing people's hearts while still in their chest is his signature move.
      • New X-Men: Academy X:
      • Elixir has the ability to control the biological structures of organic matter. Normally this power manifests as Healing Hands, but he is also capable of using them to deliberately infect people with diseases. He's used this power to outright kill one villain, and gave another an inoperable brain tumor - in the shape of an X. Using his powers in this way turns his normally gold skin metallic black. In an alternate continuity story he teamed up with a mutant with Touch of Death, which when combined with his Healing Hands caused parts of the victim to continually die and regenerate; a process said to be "quite painful".
      • In the Age of Apocalypse Marvel Continuity, fellow teleporter Blink demonstrates what happens if she closes one of her portals while somebody is halfway through. A fairly powerful (and ugly) villain gets literally turned to dust. When this version of Blink is brought back in Exiles, she (temporarily) dispatches a Superman Expy by teleporting a few tons of sand inside him.
      • Jubilee:
      • She could make pretty little fireworks in the air. She often used it to blind flying enemies, causing them to crash. However, there was a lot of foreshadowing indicating that she was actually an inversion - she functionally had The Power of the Sun (indicated as a potential omega class) but a mental block kept her abilities at a relatively harmless level. This has actually been demonstrated on one occasion; when she thought Wolverine had been killed by the Mandarin, she absolutely lost her shit and let out a burst of energy so massive it leveled the Mandarin's castle. The place was so thoroughly wrecked that the Mandarin was never able to use it again.
      • In one issue, she used her powers to run a fusion reactor by channeling her powers directly inside it.
      • Even with the mental block restraining her powers to a mostly-harmless level, when Jubilee caught her parents' murderers, she noted that by putting her fingers to their ears and using her powers she'd be able to fry their brains. Though very tempted, she refrained from doing so.
      • Dazzler:
      • She originally had the power to convert sound into light. Then it turned out she could focus the lights into lasers. Then it was hinted that, given time, she could reach the point where she could convert any of the fundamental forms of energy into any other, effectively becoming a god.
      • In her old solo series, she once channeled the ocean's roar into a beam strong enough to stun Galactus.
      • The Klaw is made of soundwaves. Naturally, it didn't end well for him when he fought Dazzler.
      • There's also the fact that the word "light" can be interpreted fairly loosely, and technically refers to any form of electromagnetic radiation... including gamma rays and micro waves.
      • Iceman:
      • He usually slides around on ice slides, turns into ice, and throws ice spikes at people. When Emma Frost took over his mind, she was able to get him to turn his entire body into water, enter a river, and come out downstream perfectly fine. She also used moisture to make weapons more effectively, and turned Iceman into a gas as well as a liquid. The entire X-Men Gold team wasn't able to stop him. If he gets hurt as ice and turns back to normal, it heals. Bobby has been confirmed as an "Omega-level" mutant, which, while never defined, seems to basically amount to "demigod". If only he wasn't so lazy. One enduring effect of this revelation is that Bobby has become even more of a go-to candidate than Wolverine to not-quite-kill to show how dangerous a villain is, since he can be literally vaporized and still reassemble himself back into water, then ice, then flesh.
      • In the story in which he's a teacher at Wolverine's school, Logan asked him to start being serious. He soon delivers - in the form of multiple ice clones.
      • X-men ally Sage's power revolved around helping other mutants control their and strengthen their powers. X-men enemy Fabian Cortez had the same ability, but would push a mutant's power out of control, killing them. Cortez once did this to Magneto, and almost succeeded in killing him. Unfortunately for all involved, this made Magento even more powerful when he recovered.
      • One-time X-Man Dr. Cecilia Reyes initially had a personal forcefield that would protect her from harm (mostly). With a little practice, she discovered she could make the forcefield spikey...
      • A self-inflicted example was Sally Floyd's mutant daughter, Minnie, who developed the power to reverse her age. Since this manifested when she was only two years old, she had no way to control it, regressing until she turned back into a fetus and died.
      • The Morlock Masque has the ability to change anyone's appearance by touch. Doesn't sound so scary—until you consider what happens if he decides your appearance doesn't need to include a mouth or a nose.
    • Spider-Man:
      • Minor villain Mr. Brownstone aka Garrison Klum has the ability to teleport matter...but only a few grams at a time. Since he works as a drug dealer, a few grams of heroin teleported straight to the heart is all he needs to incapacitate or kill someone. On a more mundane but equally criminal front, it can be used to immediately get a customer high by teleporting a smaller dose of heroin directly into their bloodstream.
      • Francis Klum, the third Mysterio and the younger brother of the aforementioned Mr Brownstone. Francis has teleportation abilities far stronger than that of his brother and can use them to far deadlier effect as he isn't limited to teleporting a few grams of matter. His feats include teleporting Black Cat's mask into Spider-Man's neck and killing his brother Garrison by teleporting into his body and blowing him up.
      • Many people think that the villain Shocker is a loser Butt-Monkey and that his sonic gauntlets are useless. These people are unaware that the gauntlets can kill or deafen people and cause buildings to collapse if he cranks them up high-enough. He's canonically used them to take out the Punisher in a single hit. The only reason Shocker isn't an a-list, city-wrecking bad guy is because he's also a Consummate Professional and prefers to keep his head low. Blowing up buildings doesn't pay, and while murder can pay it also draws a lot more hero attention than mere theft.
    • Fantastic Four has Invisible Woman (a.k.a. Sue Storm):
      • Quoted above, she has the ability to turn invisible and create force-fields. Humble as these abilities appear, Sue is regarded as the most powerful member of the Fantastic Four. She has developed some brilliant applications of her force fields ranging from creating steps to walk on air to massive battering rams. She can, as she stated in the movie, create a force field inside a body and expand it with lethal - and messy - results.
      • In the Marvel Zombies comics, she demonstrated that you kill a zombie by destroying its brain by going Mama Bear on a zombie She-Hulk.
      • Her invisibility extends to those around her as well. And while not lethal, she was able to blind a pack of zombies by making their optic nerves invisible. She also once threatened a classroom full of teenagers that she could make their clothes invisible.
      • Also she could make the skin, flesh and skull of a person's head become invisible, allowing ordinary sunlight to directly reach a person's vulnerable brain, rapidly causing heat stroke and slowly lobotomizing them.
      • Invisibility could also make a section of the Earth's Ozone Layer become invisible (as in it does not distort or deflect solar radiation), allowing the full might of the Sun to burn whatever she wanted.
      • In Four, at one point she creates a forcefield surrounding herself and her family, protecting them from the villain. Then she creates another forcefield encompassing her and the villain. Then she starts extending the first forcefield, crushing the villain into the second one until he surrendered.
      • The various lethal uses of her powers can be frequently be seen being used by the Super-Skrull (he has all the powers of the F4). He of course doesn't have Sue's good nature, so he doesn't hold back as much as she does. Also, in Exiles (a book about a reality hopping super hero team), they once visited a reality where Sue was the leader of Hydra and showed how horrifying her powers can be.
      • Sue (while evil) also once threatened to kill a man by creating a tiny force field in his carotid artery, which would cause a massive and probably fatal stroke.
      • Sue Richards' force fields are hyperspace-sourced. Hyperspace is, in the Marvel Universe, the source of all energy. This allowed her to destroy a Celestial's physical form. The Celestials are a race of Physical God Eldritch Abomination Precursors. Their antibodies are strong enough to hurt Thor. Sue obliterated one of them effortlessly. She is the only mortal who has ever accomplished such a feat.
    • Great Lakes Avengers:
      • Most of them have pretty useful powers, but the most dangerous/powerful member of the team is canonically Door Man, a living portal whose powers have a fairly short range. He's capable of sending attacks right back at enemies and has also used his powers to help break into maximum security areas. In one infamous incident, his powers actually killed one of his own teammates by accident; a villain tossed a sai at Door Man who instinctively activated his powers, unaware that Grasshopper was standing right behind him. The weapon proceeded to fly harmlessly through Door Man and impale Grasshopper through the skull, an event so traumatic it sent Door Man into a deep depression where he refused to use his powers and tried to drive Squirrel Girl off the team because he was terrified of accidentally hurting her.
      • Door Man's powers have been revealed to work by tapping into the Darkforce Dimension, the same dimension that turn Marcus Daniels into the insane supervillain Blackout. That means that he essentially sends objects and people that pass through him to a nightmarish world of pure energy and yanks them back. This means that he could theoretically leave people there if he wanted to (though Door Man would never do so; he's far to much of a Nice Guy).
    • Squirrel Girl's powers are simply defined as possessing various squirrel-like abilities, including the ability to communicate with other squirrels. Yet she manages to canonically be the most powerful being in the Marvel universe.

  • DC Comics:
    • Ya know Aquaman's power to control fish? Well, it's a stretch, but he can apparently shut down the more basic parts of your brain, causing you to become braindead, since that power is actually telepathy. Writers love doing this with Aquaman (there is a reason he is the image for Heart Is an Awesome Power).
    • The Atom: Identity Crisis first showed how potentially deadly the Atom's ability to shrink and re-grow to normal size was when Jean Loring accidentally killed Sue Dibny by shrinking into the latter's brain and then growing. This caused Sue to suffer a fatal aneurysm. In an infamous moment from Justice League: Cry for Justice, Ray Palmer tortures a criminal using this method.
    • Batman's love interest Shondra Kinsolving had a low-level healing ability. She once used it to kill her abusive father by healing him to death; her brother, while manipulating her to do something similar to an entire village, explains that she makes people so fit that their hearts explode. He plans to turn Shondra into a WMD, that can kill people from anywhere in the world, and nearly succeeds.
    • You wouldn't think that superspeed and vibration would have many lethal effects unless you crashed into things. However as the Reverse-Flash has shown, that power can be horrifyingly deadly if used right. One famous issue had him kill Barry Allen's wife Iris by vibrating his hand to insane speeds that allowed him to phase his fist into her skull. He also regularly exploits a not-often mentioned potential side effect of going faster than light; Time Travel. The only reason he hasn't just erased the Flash from history is because doing so would erase himself too thanks to a Stable Time Loop and Grandfather Paradox.
    • Gates from Legion of Super-Heroes has the power to create portals that he and his teammates could use to travel long distances. They also have sharp edges that can destroy anything they open inside of, such as Ra's al Ghul arm.
    • New Gods: Glorious Godfrey's power is to be handsome and be manipulative. He's actually Darkseid's vanguard when conquering planets, using him and his army of "Justifiers" to rid planets of their superheroes through pure rhetoric and persuasion, as seen in the Legends event and the Reach invasion in Young Justice.
    • Plastic Man is generally considered the funny stretchy guy, but this is a vast understatement of his capabilities:
      • Mentioned in Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Strikes Again. Batman launches a series of strikes to free superheroes who have been imprisoned by Lex Luthor's rogue government. During one of the missions, Batman's narration reads "he could kill us all; for him, it would be easy." The panels then reveal who he's talking about... and it's Plastic Man.
      • One time, Plastic Man lost his cool after Rama Khan grievously injured Martian Manhunter. The result was Plastic Man turning into a giant snake and viciously crushing the guy like a boa constrictor. The attack was so brutal it ended up giving Khan brain damage and rendering him catatonic. Don't fuck with Plastic Man.
      • Batman famously (or infamously given how often they fall into villainous hands) has contingency plans for how to take down every other hero in the event of them turning evil. When Martian Manhunter went insane and became the nearly unstoppable Fernus the Burning (as the name implies he no longer has the Martian vulnerability to fire, and is still as strong and fast as Superman while also having psychic powers), Batman's contingency plan was Plastic Man. Incidentally, Batman's contingency against Plastic Man himself is even simpler: Don't let Plastic Man become evil in the first place. All of Plas's vulnerabilities come from him being a Nice Guy with a strict code of honor; otherwise, even Batman has no idea how to stop him.
    • In Robin Series Tim briefly acknowledges that the non-lethal defensive tech he's developed for his cape could easily kill someone during a fight if he's not careful when he uses its ability to quickly detach and cling to whomever is grabbing it and it wraps itself tightly around a mook's head, which will suffocate the man if Tim doesn't disable the cape in time.
    • Watchmen:
      • The Comedian at one point uses non-lethal rounds lethally — tasers to the face, shooting someone in the chest with a tear-gas grenade from a few feet away.
      • And of course, there's Rorschach's famous usage of his grappling gun.
    • Wonder Woman's Lasso of Truth has always been a much more dangerous item than it's name implies:
      • Wonder Woman (1942): During The Golden Age of Comic Books the lasso had the additional ability of being able to make anyone wrapped in it obey the commands of the one wielding it, which made it far more dangerous in villain hands than it was when Wonder Woman was using it.
      • Wonder Woman (1987): By this point the Lasso's powers had been streamlined and more clearly defined; it is indestructible and those in its power cannot lie and are forced to face the truth about whatever the wielder is questioning them on. In Wonder Woman's hands these life altering revelations usually lead to people reforming to an extent, but even then they lead several people to their deaths via sacrificing themselves for the greater good, and in more cruel hands can cause people to kill themselves in despair.
      • Wonder Woman (2006): Diana is horrified when Genocide gets hold of her lasso, as she knows the being will use it to torture people with twisted cruel truths they cannot escape from until they're allowed to kill themselves.
      • Wonder Woman: Odyssey: Nemesis uses the lasso to drive people insane and to their deaths.

  • In the Rising Stars comic, a girl whose power is to psychically manipulate small objects is later shown to have grown to be a traceless government assassin: she simply pinches the victim's carotid artery from a short distance away.
    • In the Troy universe, Cixi learns to use her ability - water temperature control - to cause all blood in a body to boil instantly, described in-universe as lethal even to teleporters. Although prequel issues have shown her to manipulate other body fluids shortly after her powers manifested.
  • ElfQuest:
    • Redlance has the benign power to shape wood and make plants grow. A peaceful sort, he's badly traumatized after he's forced to make thorns sprout from his spear's shaft to pierce the clutching hands of a troll in the heat of battle.
    • The comic also has the "inverted healing powers" trick. Leetah is basically sickened by the idea and uses her power in that way only very, very rarely as a last resort, but Winnowill takes it and turns it up to eleven, especially post-timeskip when she's shown using her magic to casually turn normal animals into monsters and on at least one occasion kills several humans on the spot by turning her flesh-warping powers on them. By the time the "Kings of the Broken Wheel" storyline rolls around it's kind of hard to remember that she even started out as "merely" the Gliders' Smug Snake designated healer.
  • PS238:
    • The First School for Metaprodigies (super-kids), kids with powers 'unsuited for crime-fighting' go to the special 'Rainmaker' class, where they learn to use their powers in friendly, non-hostile ways that'll make them highly valuable to the private sector. The class includes a mortal incarnation of Hestia, the Goddess of the Hearth (who can promote fertility and forge harmony within a troubled family). Another kid can turn anything edible, delicious, and nutritious. Other powers includes Green Thumb, superfast tunneling, and creating music. All harmless but no doubt profitable in the right places. Until the Lower-Deck Episode, 'The Rainmaker Cometh'... turns out Hestia becomes nigh-omnipotent if she's protecting a home from an interloper, that suddenly-growing trees are an effective way to swat flying foes from the skies, while properly amplified music can disorient and stun. And of course, the digger can take people with him underground... and leave them there.
    • The terrifying potential of the food-creator goes unmentioned - this isn't a horror-comic, after all. It's clear, though, that his powers change the consistency of the object, since he's seen eating rocks despite having non-superpowered teeth. So imagine if he just went and transformed your body into something with the consistency of whipped cream...
    • Incidentally, the titular Rainmaker that the class and the episode is named for, was one of these too. The first superpowered individual to appear with a 'harmless' power - to make it rain, or STOP raining. Useful for helping out farmers, but otherwise no biggie. So the Government Conspiracy spirits him away to a secret lab to use him as a guinea-pig in order to perform basic research on the hows and whys of superpowers, just 'cuz he can't fight back effectively. One Mad Scientist experiment later, and he creates a flood that effectively destroys the entire facility.
  • 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 that harmful... until she sends several armed terrorists to the hospital by loudly reciting an unabridged review of a particularly bad restaurant. Later her powers were revealed to be able to induce fatal food poisoning.
    • Xocoscalpere has the power to sculpt chocolate with such incredible accuracy, that anything that he crafts can mimic properties of the real things. Naturally, this power is used almost exclusively for making weapons - like guns, for example.
    • There also cibopassimy - which allows the user to telepathically broadcast something to all people in the world. While this power doesn't seem scary, it can broadcast a Brown Note, which was exploited with a devastating effect.
  • The Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye introduces a couple.
    • Damus/Glitch is an "outlier" Cybertronian, born with a mutant power - he can temporarily short out any (non-sentient) machinery he touches, but has trouble controlling this gift. However, as time goes on he learns to A) affect living machinery like his fellow Transformers, B) perform it at a distance, and C) eventually make the effect both lethal and auditory, so he can kill with his voice and becomes the villainous Tarn.
    • Minimus Ambus is a "point-one-percenter", a rare Transformer born with a much more powerful spark than most, which normally means the bot will be bigger, tougher, and stronger than his peers. Alas, Minimus is a variant called a "loadbearer" who is actually tiny by Cybertronian standards, and his only gift is being able to support far more mass than he would normally be able to. However, it turns out that this includes the ability to support and power a far bigger body than he was born with, allowing him to don a mechanical suit and become the Grade A Badass known as Ultra Magnus. And in a later issue he has an even more massive body constructed, making him the absolutely gigantic Maximus Ambus.
    • Chromedome is a "mnemosurgeon", a useful if not dangerous skill that allows him to probe the memories of deceased transformers for information. But later issues reveal that a skilled menmosurgeon like him can also rewrite memories, erasing them and even effectively brainwashing transformers...and Chromedome used to do just that under the corrupt Senate, an act for which he is desperate to atone. And later still we meet someone whose mastery of mnemosurgery is so great that he can cause transformers to forget how to transform, so when they try they turn inside out.
    • In one issue, Trailcutter claims to be this. His power is making forcefields, and much like The Invisible Woman above he once claimed he could put one inside someone's body and destroy them. He may have been bluffing - he was actually without powers at that moment and successfully psyched an enemy out with this claim. But from the way his powers work, it seems entirely possible that he was telling the truth and is just too much of a Nice Guy to ever actually do that to someone.
  • One Hitman arc had a supervillainess whose only power was to make roses magically grow. She mostly used it to horribly kill people by making roses grow inside them.

    Fan Works 
  • Juxtapose: The definition of Izuku's Quirk, Minor Banishment. He can take up to 10 grams of any substance nearby that he touches and make it disappear. Despite Izuku and most of his early-day peers and doctors thinking it's a completely useless Quirk for heroism, it is a truly insidious Quirk that can erase anything from internal circuitry, to sizable masses of air, to internal organs.
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers fanfic Gankona, Unnachgiebig, Unità: At first, it seems like all Italy can do is run. However, since he can accelerate and decelerate without dying or be even remotely harmed on impact because he is immortal, if he decides to run into you with a sword in hand...thank goodness he is way too nice to even consider this.
  • In Maelstrom, Izuku uses his ability to control water to take out three villains by slowing bloodflow to their hearts, choke out another by forcing blood to his mouth and nose, and kill the Noumu by blowing apart its brain during the USJ attack.
  • Child of the Storm has Sean Cassidy, a.k.a. Banshee, whose power is, at its most basic, a case of Make Me Wanna Shout. Thanks to multiple decades of practise, he can use it for all sorts of delightful things, like liquefying granite and shattering wands to powder. And it also works on human bone. And that's leaving aside his Compelling Voice, which he once used on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge that gave Nick Fury nightmares, and his ability to dampen sound around him, meaning that he can pull a Stealth Hi/Bye that would impress Batman and, in one case, make sure a claymore mine goes off completely silently.
  • Poké Wars has these aplenty because of the dampener removal. Want an example? Gravity can crush skulls, and String Shot can be honed as thin as Razor Wire.
  • Apocalypse Johto, a Nuzlocke Comics spin-off with a similar storyline to Poké Wars, has wild Abra using Teleport for a Tele-Frag, among other things.
  • An early chapter of Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality has Professor McGonagall explain to the class the many horrific ways Transfiguration can be used to harm (intentionally or not), since things eventually return to its normal form, and she forces the students to take an oath to avoid many very specific situations, such as never transforming things into a gas, fluid or ingestable. (Imagine turning a piece of steel into wine, serving it to someone, then waiting for it to turn back...)
  • A now-disappeared In Name Only Yu-Gi-Oh! fanfiction featured the Yami/Hikari pairs as ancient avatars of opposing forces, including Light and Darkness, Order and Chaos, and Creation and Destruction. Yami claims that Malik can't kill him because Malik embodies Creation and has no control over Destruction, but Marik assures him that isn't true.
    Malik: "I could create pieces of shrapnel inside your body right next to your vital organs. Or I could create a box around you and let you breathe yourself to death."
  • In Game Theory, one of the original characters uses a medical spell meant for gathering oxygen to assist someone who is having difficulty breathing to start a fire with the concentrated gas.
    • Also, Lotte uses a binding spell to strangle someone.
  • Jinx in Coincidence And Misunderstandings uses her bad luck powers this way. Used on an inanimate object, they cause it to break (handcuffs for example). Used on a person, they cause anything from a sprained ankle to a massive aneurysm. She defeats Starfire by sniping her with a hex bolt that gave her a heart attack.
  • In the Life Is Strange fanfic Letters From Tomorrow, Future!Max has learned how to weaponize her Mental Time Travel powers. In the game, Max's ability to bring objects back with her when she reverses was mostly just to make certain parts of the game less annoying (outside of a couple of puzzles that rely on it). Here, it's pointed out that if Max killed someone, soaked up all their blood in something she owned, and then reversed time, her victim would suddenly be exsanguinated without a mark on them. The first hint that Future!Max killed Mr. Jefferson in one timeline is that he suddenly feels anemic (because about a pint of his blood got soaked into Max's hoodie).
  • In Conversations with a Cryptid, Izuku tells All for One that his mother's Quirk (pulling small objects towards her) works on internal organs.
  • In Quirk: Incubus, Ruki confesses that she inadvertently used her hormone-controlling quirk to give her brother a hormone-based sex change when she was too young to properly control her powers, something that was implied to give her and her family a lot of grief in the past.
  • Suicune in Traveler can instantly purify any body of water of contaminants, such as purifying "all those pesky compounds necessary for life" in a living being's body.

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country established that even a phaser on the stun setting can kill if used at point-blank range to the head.
  • In Mystery Men, Dr. Heller (played by none other than Tom Waits) designs only non-lethal weapons. For some reason, a tornado in a can is non-lethal.
    Dr. Heller: Totally non-lethal, totally effective.
  • X-Men: First Class:
    • Azazel teleports hundreds of feet up with his foes, then teleports back down without them. Gravity does the rest.
    • When Magneto finally confronts Sebastian Shaw, he uses his magnetic power to manipulate a single coin... which he slowly drives into Shaw's skull and through his brain.
  • In Push, those known as "Stitches" have the power to repair all physical injury simply by laying their hands on a person. However, it also works the other way around, leading to the main character being incapacitated when an enemy Stitch touches him and dislocates various bones and organs.
  • In Ant-Man and the Wasp, it raises implications that Ava Starr/Ghost's intangibility could cause horrible injuries if she were to turn solid inside another person. Notably, when she threatens Hank by phasing her arm through his throat and manages to kill Sonny's double agent by phasing her hand through his chest and doing something that critically injures him.

  • In The Adversary Cycle book The Touch, the Dat-tay-vao, which is a healing power, can work in reverse if anyone gets in the way of the person who has it.
  • Piers Anthony:
    • In Cluster novel Viscous Circle, the Bands stage a mock fight for training in which they inadvertently kill (or possibly drive to suicide) those on the other side of the mock fight by using the light that transmits their emotions between individuals to transmit powerful HATE messages to the Bands on the other side. Afterward, they go through a Heroic BSoD and suicide themselves. It's pretty sad, really.
    • His Xanth series has a few examples, but the most overt is Hugo, who has the power to conjure fruit out of thin air. Sounds unimpressive, but the odd magical biology of Xanth means that one application of this is to conjure pineapples (slang for hand grenades in the real world, but more literal in Xanth) out of thin air.
      • The Big Bad of Night Mare turns out to be one of these, a fellow called the Horseman who has the unimpressive ability to create a line of sight between two points. Useful for espionage, but not much else, right? Well, there are these things called Hypnogourds that are gourds with a peephole in them, and if you look into one you fall into a trance until something breaks your gaze. Since the Horseman can effectively force you to look into one by magic, and nothing can break the connection, he can take down anyone in a second. Nearly a dozen kings of Xanth, the most powerful magic users in the country, fall by this method.
  • In Artemis Fowl: The Time Paradox Holly is able to use her faerie healing powers to incapacitate a villain, by restoring his lost sense of smell. As this happens in the middle of a leather tannery full of chemicals, he's overwhelmed by all the bizarre and unpleasant smells that he never noticed before.
  • The Belgariad:
    • Relg has the ability to move through solid rock, which is extremely useful for pathfinding or rescue missions, but seems like a non-combat ability - until it turns out that he can also use it to push other people into the rock and leave them there.
    • Garion and Durnik - being powerful wizards, have plenty of deadly powers at their command, but they often use their farmboy-simplicity to use powers in ways other people wouldn't think of. Tearing down a wall psychically? Impossible. Loosening the underground rivers beneath the wall, so the dirt can no longer support it? Half a day's work without breaking a sweat.
  • In The Black Magician Trilogy, both factions possess some magical techniques which the others do not. The enemy wizards know Black Magic which boosts their power to insane levels. The good guys know... Healing. Turns out that since they didn't realise such magic was possible, the enemy wizards don't know to block it. This allows a protagonist to speed up an enemy wizard's heart until he has a heart attack.
  • Tamora Pierce's Circle of Magic series:
    • Many of the ambient mages' powers are like this. The most obvious would be the abilities of "stitch witches" like Lark and Sandry. They have control over thread. Awww, what a quaint little power. Now, just remember that your clothes are made of thread, and imagine what happens if you get them to squeeze.
    • Sandry's foster brother Briar can also control plants. This works in his favor if someone has an allergy to plants. In one scene, he ties up a girl in roses, which she's allergic to. In another, he attacks someone with thorns. He also once tore apart an entire palace by growing plants from the inside out.
  • Codex Alera, has powers whose use can be best described as playing with Lego, and Guile Hero character Tavi is quite good at seeing how to apply them in more unusual ways.
    • Even the most combat-oriented elements have non-combat application (inverse) such as using metalcraft to gild, using firecraft to make iceboxes ("coldstones"), earthcraft to mine, and so forth.
    • One ability of Earthcrafting is to incite lust, so exotic dancers and prostitutes are actually highly skilled Earthcrafters as a result of using it every day. At one point Tavi employs a group of them to help rapidly construct some very impressive and critical fortifications.
    • The "softer" elements, water and wood, are often overlooked, but Tavi figures out that you could use clever applications of water and wood to make cracks in stone and fill them with plants to expand the cracks, and so on, effectively weaponize wear and tear. When it happens it allows a single person to take down walls viewed previously as basically unassailable. Even Tavi is shocked at how incredibly effective it is.
  • The Dresden Files:
    • Harry Dresden has a great deal of impressive magical powers, but his skills at quick-and-dirty earth evocation are less than stellar. He can't do much more on the fly than some telekinetic control of metal, like, say, a small ring of keys. Of course, a small ring of keys is a lethal weapon when thrown with proper force, as Lord Raith learns the hard way when his eyes get gouged out.
      • He also knows a spell that can temporarily remove all gravity in a twenty-foot area and concentrate it in one spot. He uses it in a parking lot, simultaneously crushing a vampire and setting off a whole bunch of car alarms as a distraction.
    • Earlier in the series, Harry also turns an otherwise useless spell, designed to take control of brooms for easy cleaning, and uses them to drive off a horde of poison scorpion golems.
    • Molly Carpenter is incredibly skilled at illusions, which, while extremely useful, aren't really a great combat-oriented power (at least, compared to Harry's massive amounts of fire). That is, until she uses her "One Woman Rave" to disorient and blind enemies and gets them to attack thin air/each other by making it look like she's in a different place than she actually is, or to make a Dirty Cop think the man bribing him is reaching for a gun.
  • In Elvenblood, male Elves are taught combat magic, but females are taught mostly aesthetic things, such as sculpting flowers into fantastic shapes. One of the females, Sheyrena an Treves, defects to the side of the half-blood Wizards — it later turns out that she can use variants of the 'useless' female magics to make food from leaves in the wilderness, and even stop a heart.
  • Harry Potter:
    • In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Harry's Signature Move Expelliarmus betrays him because, as Harry points out later, using a stunning spell on somebody who's on a broomstick hundreds of feet up in the air would be just as lethal as the "unforgivable" killing curse.
    • Parodied in the Giblets of Fiber storyline in Sluggy Freelance, where it is pointed out that there is no need to make the killing curse forbidden because, regardless of means, murder is already illegal. Particularly since many basic spells are highly dangerous, if not lethal, with a little creativity.
  • In Inheritance Cycle, is revealed that Murtagh's and Eragon's mother was also Morzan's most trusted assassin. How did she gain this position? She was instructed to kill three men using one word from the Language of Magic. The word in question was heal: she accomplished it by using it to purge their negative emotions, effectively removing their will to do harm. She then killed them while they were unable to defend themselves.
  • Opal Cowan's glassblowing powers can be turned to much more lethal ends in Ixia and Sitia.
  • Larry Niven's Known Space:
    • The 'verse has what's called the Kzinti Lesson: "The more efficient a reaction drive, the more effective a weapon it makes". It's called that because the supposedly-weaponless, pacifist humans used their light-sail drives (powered by giant lasers) and mass-driver mining tools (fires hyper-velocity ores around the asteroid belt, both burning off the impurities and getting the ore to market) to utterly trounce the hyper-militarized Kzinti empire. This theme is repeated in most of the Known Space stories; various harmless tools always seem to have a setting that makes things die horribly. Flashlights with adjustable focuses, starting diffuse as "light a room" and dialing all the way down to "laser beam". Communication lasers that have a setting for communicating with things in orbit, which just so happens to burn holes in anything not in orbit. Disintegrator mining tools, which work just as well on flesh as they do on rocks. Humans never seem to have dedicated weapons, just loads of useful tools that ALSO can kill things.
    • Many of those belong to Nessus, a Pierson's Puppeteer. Louis specifically mentions that Nessus could point to every single piece of equipment the expedition has and say "That is not a weapon, we brought it for thus-and-so reason," but there are very few pieces of equipment that couldn't be used as a weapon, somehow. This, among other reasons, is why he christens their ship Lying Bastard.
    • The Kzin planet Warhead got new management ... and a new name ... when the Human planet Wunderland built, and transported into the system, a gigantic version of the digging tool. Actually, two versions; the normal digging tool operates by temporarily "suppressing the charge on the electron", but the Wunderland Treatymaker included another beam, that does the same thing for the proton. The two beams hit Warhead's surface about ten miles apart, resulting in what's described as a "gigantic, solid bar of lightning" between the two points, and the production of the planet Canyon's most distinctive and eponymous feature.
    • While we're on Niven, Gil Hamilton lost his arm in an accident, but developed psychokinetic powers to compensate. They're weak and limited: he can only "reach" about as far as he could reach with his old arm, and can only lift very small weights ... but if the picture's good enough, he can "reach" through a television screen, and you don't need much strength to squeeze someone's heart.
  • Kushiel's Legacy has a group of rather inept and foolhardy sorcerers who summon a demon which can teach the language of animals. The demon, being a demon, agrees to teach them the language...of ants. This seems to be worse than useless...until one of them uses it to command an army of vicious carnivorous tropical ants and attempts to make himself a God-Emperor with it.
  • In Middlegame by Seanan McGuire, the two main characters, twins Roger and Dodger, are the incarnations of the forces that run the universe, words and numbers respectively. Dodger would be stronger, but most of her powers don't work without Roger—alone, she's mainly really, really good at math, and can sight-calculate all trajectories and dimensions pretty much instantly. The villains assume this means she'll be easy to take out. The villains very quickly find out they're wrong. Having the dimensions of her home memorized means she can move twice as fast as the would-be assassin, and she literally can't miss when she throws things at him, which combined with Dodger braining the jerk with a toaster ends with him tied to a chair, all before the cavalry arrives.
  • Allomancers in the Mistborn books can have a variety of powers, and while some of them are very much combat ready (Super Strength, telekinetic metal control), others are relatively nonlethal at first glance (the ability to calm emotions, Super Senses). This does not stop the protagonist from using the former as a devastating Emotion Bomb or someone whose only ability is the latter from abusing it to basically become fantasy Daredevil, able to predict others' actions from the feel of the air currents and sound when they start to move.
  • The Loonies demonstrate that rocks are as good as nukes if you drop them from sufficient altitude in The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress.
  • In Neverwhere Door and the rest of her family have the power to open, well, doors or portals between places. While useful, it's not immediately obvious as having offensive capabilities. However, the second time she uses her power, it's to open a "door" in a man's chest. At the end she also opens a door to the furthest place she can imagine, which sucks in Islington, Croup and Vandemar.
  • In the Nightside series, John Taylor has the power to... find things. He regularly uses this to take the bullets out of guns. This is useful on its own, but he's also done the same trick with the fillings and crowns from his opponents' teeth and the breath in an enemy's lungs, and he has claimed to be able to do this with organs as well.
  • The Warhammer 40,000 novel Path of the Renegade features and Exodite Eldar worldsinger, who has psychic abilities that allow her to commune with the World Spirit and effectively make her a Friend to All Living Things, allowing her to do things like read emotions, make plants grow and calm down raging beasts. As far as psychic powers in 40k go, that doesn't seem all that impressive. That is, until the end of the novel when she kills a whole bunch of Dark Eldar by using her powers on a deadly virus.
  • Laura "Keepsie" Branson, main character of Playing for Keeps, has the superpower of people being unable to steal from her-anyone trying to is paralyzed until they stop trying to take it. Experimenting, she briefly paralyzes her friends, then notes:
    Keepsie: You were all breathing my air.
    • Ultimately averted as she never actually uses that application of her power, but the terrifying implications remain.
  • In Tanya Huff's The Quartered Sea, a bard (Benedikt) kills someone by telling the kigh to remove all of the water from her body.
  • In the novel and film Ragtime, a character is an expert at making fireworks. This is regarded as a pointlessly silly skill, until he clarifies that fireworks are just carefully-controlled bombs. Everyone stops laughing.
  • In the Star Wars novel Red Harvest, a member of the Agricultural Corps (basically where Jedi not good enough to become Knights usually end up) has the ability to communicate with plants. This allows her to kill zombies created by a virus derived from one of her plants by communicating with the plant and convincing it to grow inside the zombies' bodies.
    • The Light Side of the Force is all about defense, harmony, protection, creation, etc. Sounds fairly useless, right? Not so much when you discover that a Light Side Force user can sever others' connection to the Force, control and accelerate the growth of plant life (to bind an opponent), heal others, and even purge Dark Side nexuses of their darkness.
  • In The Redemption of Althalus the protagonists have access to a nice house that happens to belong to their Team Mom goddess. Being the home of a major divinity, it can have as many rooms as you need with no concern for spatial physics, and the doors conveniently open anywhere you like. When the war starts, they use it to house their entire army, and use the doors to deploy entire companies behind enemy defense lines. The villains have almost the exact same thing, but their god isn't nearly as cooperative or imaginative.
  • Cricket, a minor villain in Relativity, has the power to talk to insects (and spiders), which doesn't sound very threatening until he commands a swarm of bees to sting someone to death.
  • In The Salvation War:
    • In the first part the most damage demons have managed to do to humanity was by opening a portal between a human city and an active volcano. In-universe, that's what really happened to Sodom and Gomorrah.
    • Demons and Angels have the power to control human minds. The Archangel Uriel has the power to control them into dying, and en masse at that.
  • The Geometers in Sergey Lukyanenko's The Stars Are Cold Toys have no weapons and no word in their language for "enemy." But if you happen to be a "non-friend," then you're in for a world of hurt. Their "harmless" laser probes can suddenly slice through your starship armor like butter, and plenty of other tools can be used offensively. A single Geometer scoutship destroyed dozens of heavily-armed ships, some of which are capable of Earth Shattering Kabooms. They are, however, pretty adept at designing race-specific plagues, all in the name of Friendship.
  • The Stormlight Archive:
    • Windrunners and Bondsmiths share access to the Surge of Adhesion, which simply lets them stick things together. Turns out that this can be quite useful in a fight, as the Surgebinder sprays power over a large area, all his opponents stick to it, and then he kills them while they're stuck. It helps that the Surgebinder is immune to their own Adhesion.
    • Windrunners and Skybreakers also have the Surge of Gravitation, allowing them to redirect, amplify or lessen the effects of gravity on anything they can touch. The standard use of this is to change gravity to allow people to fly (or run on walls and ceilings indoors), allowing for fantastic mobility in or out of flight. It also can be used to send giant stones "falling" horizontally along the ground into groups of enemies or to send people straight up into the air until the Stormlight used in the Surge runs out, causing them to return to normal gravity and fall to their deaths.
    • Soulcasting is the ability to change things from one material to another. Waste can be turned into food, structures can be built from wood before being cast into stone, wood can be produced in areas where it is scarce and so on. Soulcasters are relatively rare and is generally seen as a holy power, so they are use more or less exclusively for logistical purposes. However Jasnah starts using it to turn her enemies into things people aren't generally made of like stone or smoke, or condensing the air into a wall of pitch then soulcasting a bit of fire into it.
  • In Stranger And Stranger, Ainslee discovers this capacity of her healing Blessing.
  • In Super Powereds, Roy is a typical arrogant Made of Iron Super with Super Strength. He's goaded into challenging the top-ranking male student for his spot. Figuring his typical Attack! Attack! Attack! approach will work, he quickly finds out that there's a reason the other student is number one. The other guy has perfect control over his body and mind. When Roy hears this, he doesn't think much of this power, until the other student explains that it isn't much by itself, but it has allowed him to ingest massive quantities of minerals in order to toughen his muscles and bones to superhuman levels, as well as allowing him to easily read other students' body language and Super Reflexes.
  • In the Temps story "Leaks" by David Langford, the protagonist has the almost-entirely-useless superpower of being able to teleport beer out of other people's glasses into his own. He falls into the hands of a mad scientist who plans to experiment on him to find out if it's possible to extend his power to other beverages in other types of container, and things go very badly for the madguy once it occurs to the protagonist to wonder whether it will also work on bodies and blood.
  • The Wheel of Time:
    • Portals that let you step through space can cut you in half if you accidentally walk into their edges. In earlier novels this is just an unfortunate side effect, but later on characters develop roving gateways that can be swept across battlefields for ludicrous gibs. This is of particular use against shadowspawn, who can't travel through gateways at all so that the whole portal (not just the edge) is deadly. This then leads to piles of inhuman corpses at the other end of the portal. Generals are also able to use them to station lines of cannons in safe positions and fire through the portals at the enemy or get a birds-eye view of the battle for easy up-to-the-minute intelligence.
    • Healing powers can also be used to stop a beating heart and for torture.
    • Green Men are biological constructs with the ability to encourage plants to grow. In the Age of Legends, they were used to manage croplands. In the present day, one kills Balthamel, one of the Forsaken, by tearing him apart from within with fungi.
  • In the Wild Cards universe:
    • The ace Water Lily can kill by instantly removing all water from a person's body as the lethal form of her water-gathering and minor water control.
    • The ace Bagabond controls small city animals, but can kill via causing traffic accidents or ordering cats and dogs into massive kamikaze attacks.
  • Wizard of the Pigeons: Summoning pigeons for feeding time seems harmless enough, right? Wizard calls them and commands them to feed on the villain.
  • Worm loves this trope. A lot. Anyone with a seemingly odd or over-specialized power can be relied upon to do something clever with it. Justified by the fact that, because of their source, every power has some sort of combat capability, even if the person who has the power isn't aware of what it is..
    • Shatterbird is capable of controlling silicon with ultrasound. Silicon like in electronics or sand or glass—and she can give it sudden explosive movement. Plus anything she effects can extend her range by affecting other nearby objects, allowing it to hit an entire city at once. Now think about how much glass you have near you right now. Having Shatterbird break all the glass in a city is the Slaughthouse Nine's preferred way of announcing their arrival.
    • Tattletale has the ability to fill in the blanks in incomplete information—essentially giving her superpowered intuition. In one early chapternote , she uses this ability to deduce the complete floor plan of a bank from a satellite image of its footprint. In later chaptersnote , she figures out a way to tear a hole in The Multiverse and connect their universe to another. Much later on, this power is used to fill in the gaps that the Entities deliberately left in the powers they gave humans to hide their presence, letting her extrapolate their true nature using those exact gaps.
    • Panacea acts almost exclusively as a healer in the story, but the sheer versatility and potential terror of her power makes one glad for that fact. At one point she accidentally turned her adopted sister, Glory Girl, into a still living mass of various body parts. She also manipulates a bacteria to counteract the effect of a toxic developed by Bonesaw. If she wanted to, she could do something similar with more malicious intent and wipe out humanity with any manner of horrific diseases.
    • Trickster can swap his current position with anyone he can see, and do this with others as well. He can, for example, jump off a building and proceed to swap his position with a target, causing them to fall in his place- he actually uses a variation of this (with a stuffed dummy instead of himself) to take down Cherish.
    • Canary is an example of an accidental use of this trope. Her power causes anybody who hears her sing to become susceptible to commands. The problem is, it comes with a side-effect of making victims extremely Literal-Minded. Telling someone under the control of Canary's power to stand still will make them stand absolutely rigid- they won't even breathe or blink. Canary's ends up getting sent to the Birdcage (super-villain prison), after she told her Bastard Boyfriend to go screw himself- and he actually tried to. Apparently the results were very unpleasant.
    • The Number Man's superpower is literally being Good with Numbers. What exactly does that allow him to do? Well, among other things, he can effortlessly dodge just about any attack, survive ten-story falls without a scratch, Wall Crawl, shatter an enemy's skull with a tap of his finger, take down a warehouse the size of a city block with a couple grenades in the right places, and is among the world's most dangerous Cold Snipers. As for how he uses those powers? He used to be a member of the Slaughterhouse Nine—under the name Harbinger — as (presumably) a teenager, before he helped kill their leader at the time and left. Now he works for Cauldron and is one of the top-rated Thinkers in the world.
    • Taylor Hebert, the main character, has the ability to command bugs (really, any arthropods) within two blocks of her location. All the bugs within two blocks of her location, simultaneously. The weakness of any individual bug doesn't matter that much when she sends out swarms of thousands of them (and the number of bugs in the typical two block radius from a given urban point is usually much larger) at a time, and that's before she starts getting clever and does things like having hornets airlift in black widow spiders to drop on people she doesn't like.
      • Insects don't understand human anatomy, and tend to fly away when the colossal things they're pestering start to swat at them or spray toxic chemicals on them. Taylor's bugs, on the other hand, are controlled and directed by a human intelligence. Imagine being attacked by a wasp that isn't going to run, knows to go for your eyes, groin or fly into your mouth, and will keep stinging and biting until you kill it. Now imagine a thousand of them. You don't fuck with Skitter.
    • Capes classified as "Strangers" generally have powers that make them harder to detect or attack, with examples including making others physically unable to look at them or unable to notice them. This can be problematic when someone you are unable to notice or harm starts stabbing you or strangling you.
      • Nice Guy's power is being The Nondescript. He's a Serial Killer who gets away with brutal acts right in front of people, who see him as a harmless bystander, if they notice him at all. Even people he's actively harming don't always notice.
      • August Prince is a villain who's power is simply that no one can intentionally hurt him. Plans to harm him cannot be made in the first place, and even if he is literally strangling someone they are unable to harm him to defend them self.
    • The villain String Theory is a Tinker whose creations only work once and have to be set on a timer. However, if she has enough resources to work with, her devices can do just about anything. She could strike targets across the world, was threatening to knock the moon out of orbit when she was captured, could inflict serious damage on the god-like Endbringers, and even managed to send Scion flying into space with her G-Drive.
    • Another villain, Phir Se, has the ability to create portals that go back in time a few minutes. He's one of the most feared villains in India, and in the one demonstration of his power that we see, he rigged portals to continuously double and re-double particles of light over the course of three straight days, leading to a Wave-Motion Gun with sufficient power to vaporize the entire Indian subcontinent. He shot it at one of the above mentioned Endbringers, Behemoth, leading to the single greatest amount of damage anyone had ever inflicted on an Endbringer, reducing the civilization-destroyer to only 20% of its original body mass.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Joey in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has the power to melt and reform metal at will- potentially destructive, but generally pretty harmless once he manages to get a handle on his powers. Then he uses it to kill Lucio in self-defense by reforming a metal bar into a pointed spike and driving it into the poor guy's heart. For his part, Joey is horrified at what he's done.
  • In The Almighty Johnsons, Mike is Ullr, God of Games. He doesn't lose games, not ever. This does not extend to fights—unless someone bets on the fight. Then it's a game again, and he wins. He managed to completely outmaneuver Colin, also known as Loki the trickster god, by saying "I won't let you hurt my family," to which Loki replied with a sarcastic "I'll bet." Mike accepted the bet...which made it a game. And suddenly there was nothing Loki could do to hurt Mike's family.
  • Alphas has Dr. Kerns, who has the Disability Superpower of echolocation. He can also modulate the frequency of it to such a degree to cause extreme and subtle structural damage to a building, and if given time he can enhance it into Make Me Wanna Shout.
  • Babylon 5:
    • Lyta uses telekinesis to lightly slap a PSI cop (or made him think he was slapped). When the villains start wondering whether she could stop all of them, she blusters and says that she might make a mistake and "accidentally" cause a brain hemorrhage instead.
    • In the first season, Jason Ironheart states that Psi Corps experiments in boosting telekinetic power and refining control is intended to be used to assassinate people by pinching arteries shut, contrary to the more benign and defense-oriented uses he thought were the goal when joining the project.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Doctor's sonic screwdriver does just about anything the Doctor needs it to, including turning screws, with sonics. It's also as powerful as needed, so it's really only the Doctor's "generally pacifist unless you get him really mad" tendencies that keep it from being used lethally. The Master's laser screwdriver, on the other hand, is very lethal. Because of lasers, and evil.
      • In "The Day of the Doctor", three incarnations of the Doctor use their sonic screwdrivers in unison and the combined force is enough to destroy a Dalek.
    • Time Lords has the ability to regenerate — creating a new body, after their current one is mortally wounded. While they're doing that, their bodies emit beams of energy that can be pretty powerful. River Song weaponizes this by prompting soldiers to shoot her shortly after her regeneration, forcing her body to use remains of the regenerative energy healing bullet wounds and emitting a shock wave, powerful enough to knock the soldiers out. The Doctor later weaponizes regeneration himself, after his regenerative cycle is replenished, which made his body emit a giant beam of energy powerful enough to destroy a Dalek battleship and a town-leveling shock wave that killed the rest of the Dalek army.
  • Heroes:
    • This is eventually revealed to be the driving force behind Sylar. He's originally teased as a cannibal who consumes the brains of superpowered people to absorb their powers. However, his actual power is just figuring out how things work, which he instinctively used to repair clocks. His Start of Darkness is when he starts using his power to figure out how other people's powers work and use them himself.
    • In a nutshell, this was Emma's story arc in Volume 5.
    • D.L.'s power of selective intangibility allows him to stick a hand in someone and mess around with their organs. He almost kills Niki this way and kills Linderman by sticking his hand through his head.
  • Legends of Tomorrow has an example in Season 5; Ray is accidentally swallowed by an immortal resurrected Rasputin. He returns to normal size while still inside Rasputin's stomach, reducing the Mad Monk to Ludicrous Gibs. It's as disgusting as it is hilarious.
  • Lucifer has Uriel's powers of pattern reading. All he does is sit and observe a pattern. Once that pattern is memorized and mastered, he's untouchable in direct combat. And he's a quick learner to boot. He also makes patterns that can occur from a series of Disaster Dominoes.
  • In Misfits, a villain of the week gained the power to control dairy based products (or "lactokinesis" as he calls it). You'd be surprised at how many people he can kill or seriously injure with yogurt and cheese, and quite creatively to boot. He even managed to take down Nathan of all people, by realising that while Nathan's power of immortality prevents him from being permanently killed, his ability to heal only kicks in when he dies. Thus, the solution was to simply manipulate the dairy to pool in Nathan's brain, turning him into a vegetable, but keeping him still alive.
  • In Smallville, Chloe's Empathic Healing apparently drains Brainiac severely when he attacks her, to the point he staggers and pants and says What the Hell Are You?. She later uses her Super Intelligence to overload a mind-reading guy's head, shutting his brain down.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation:
    • It took a holodeck-generated character to hit on the obvious use of the holodeck as a tool that can be used to fool someone into thinking they were someplace they weren't and interacting with people who weren't there. But once it was hit on, it was used in several Trek episodes.
    • Also in TNG, Wesley Crusher devised using the Enterprise main deflector array as a weapon against the Borg. Up till then, it was just the glowing dish on the belly side of the ship. Subsequently, several Trek ships used the deflector in a similar manner. The deflector dish became a go-to solve-everything tool, in fact - pretty much anything can be done by rerouting some Technobabble through the main deflector. (Mind you, using it as a Wave-Motion Gun never does any good.) There's a reason "Bounce a graviton particle beam off the main deflector dish/That's the way we do things lad; we're making shit up as we wish" is part of the chorus for Voltaire's song dedicated to technobabble.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The 3rd edition features quite a few spells that summon or conjure something somewhere within the spell's range. Sadistic players could easily confound their DM by choosing "Inside that orc"note . The next edition amends most conjuring rituals to say the caster needs to be able to see the location they are targeting, which mostly solves this (since if you can already see inside the highwayman's lungs, any sadistic spellcasting is purely recreational).
    • A particularly famous version involves the lowest-level druid spell Create Water. The spell's evident purpose is to provide clean water for the adventuring party or maybe quench a small fire. Even at the lowest caster-level the spell creates a gallon of water: more then enough to give even large enemies a lethal case of hydrocephalus.
    • The rules also state you cannot summon a creature outside of its habitat. This is primarily to stop people from dropping whales on bandits. From 100 feet up.
    • Shrink Item. Combined with "Fly", allows to drop something really heavy on the enemy.
    • The "Locate City" spell immediately notifies the caster of the location of a city within 10 miles. Seems harmless enough. With the right combination of reasonably minor feats (and a cooperative GM), it can become a nuclear-esque blast that kills everything within 10 miles and then resurrects them as Wraiths.note 
    • The first level spell Hypnotize is intended to be essentially a Jedi hand wave, but the wording made it so that even after the spell wore off the subject was "one step more friendly" in the regards of whatever you hypnotized them to do. D&D quantifies friendliness, and explicitly states that the highest level, Fanatical, is enough to make people throw themselves in front of rampaging dragons for you. A first level character given enough time and castings can brainwash entire continents into being their die-hard lackeys.
    • Under some interpretations of the rules, a Cleric with healing spells can be the most dangerous thing to undead, as healing magic causes them to take damage. This same rule is explicitly described as one of the few sure ways to kill a Nilbog, a (non-undead) creature that actually gains hit points every time it sustains damage. Healing, on the other hand, does it injury.
    • Clerics in general can come off as a Lethal Harmless Class to people who are only tangentially familiar with the game and assume that they're Support Party Members used primarily for healing the party. In reality, clerics are surprisingly versatile casters that can specialize in different things depending on the Domain of their deity, and that their spell repertoire includes such lovely and totally not horrifying spells as Inflict Wounds, Harm, and Contagion, as well as the ability to summon The Undead.
  • Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay has the "Light" spell, which turns an inert object into a perpetual light source for as long as the caster is holding onto it. There's absolutely nothing to stop it being cast on a weapon, thus turning it into a make-shift magical item (necessary for killing certain enemies like Ghosts and Daemons). Thanks to bad wording, the first edition was an auto-kill spell. "The object glows brightly for one hour, and then vanishes."
  • Psionics: The Next Stage in Human Evolution:
    • Technokinetics can make technology short out with EMP Blast. That’s annoying, but not so fatal, what with there being fail safes and dead switches and so on, right? Oh, if they have Penetration, it also works on cranial cybernetic implants…which explode when they short.
    • Chaff Storm disrupts all communications for an area up to 40 miles around the user, which is useful for keeping enemies for calling in backup. Now, think about how much collateral damage that might cause in a residential area, since the user is also blocking calls to 911, hospitals, poison control, etc.
  • Magic: The Gathering: Due to the Exponential Potential of the tens of thousands of cards in the game, certain combinations of otherwise non-lethal cards can be used to destroy your opponent. To note:
    • "Mill deck" is a catch all term used to describe a deck that negates damage and forces the opponent to discard cards from their deck. This is their entire win strategy. Generally speaking, both of these are viable tactics, but are used to hinder the opponent rather then outright destroy them. Combined, however, these effects quickly deplete your opponents deck to zero (which is an automatic loss) all the while countering, negating, and generally obstructing all sources of damage they attempt to put out. Only certain cards can even hinder this strategy in any form and most decks won't be running those since they are so situational. Made even more terrifying by the fact that being "milled" canonically equates to being Mind Raped into an Empty Shell - what with lovely spells like Glimpse the Unthinkable and Traumatize, and the Eldritch Abomination Nemesis of Reason.
    • Many "instant win" decks revolve around drawing several specific cards and using them to essentially nuke your opponent before the match even begins. Needless to say the key cards tend to be pretty unassuming at a glance. One infamous example is the "Vault Deck" - a combo which uses Protean Hulk (which summons creatures from your deck when it dies) and Flash (a cheap spell which summons creatures that instantly die if you don't pay a reduced cost). You Flash the Hulk, let it die, then use its ability to summon up four Disciple of the Vault, four Shifting Wall, and four Phyrexian Marauder. Since you're paying 0 mana, the Walls and Marauders become eight 0/0 artifact creatures. The 0/0s die immediately due to having 0 toughness which causes each of the Disciples to deal 8 damage to the enemy for 32 damage (starting hp is 20) killing the opponent instantly. With the right back up cards this can be done on "turn 0" (essentially the setup phase before the fight begins) ensuring your enemy can't even respond to it.
  • Clan Tzimisce in Vampire: The Masquerade have a skill called Vicissitude, which enables them to not only modify their own form at will, but to do the same to anyone they can physically touch. Why bother carrying a weapon when you can slap someone across the face and seal their mouth, eyes, and nose shut, or just open a gaping hole in their skin? Or, if that lacks ambition, fuse a dozen or so victims together into an elephant-sized monstrosity known as a vozhd, and turn it loose on your enemies.

    Video Games 
  • The classic Asteroids clone Maelstrom gives you 3 seconds of free shields at the beginning of every wave. Crafty players can use this time to swing their ships into asteroids for a quicker win.
  • Pretty much all shield-type weapons in Mega Man work this way, wherein contact with the shield damages enemies just as if you shot them, but it's usually an inefficient way to go about it. However, the Water Shield can deliver up to 8 hits this way.
  • Elizabeth in BioShock Infinite has the ability to open up tears in reality to alternate universes, essentially making windows to other worlds. The first time you see her use it, she opens up a Tear to Paris, to check how accurate her painting of the Eiffel Tower is. Later in the game she uses it to bring in gun or rocket turrets. Maximum deadliness occurs when she opens up a window to a tornado. In the finale she teleports herself, Booker and Songbird, the giant robot-monster-bird-thing that was threatening them, to the underwater city of Rapture. She and Booker appear inside the city, but Songbird is outside. Crunch.
  • Touhou:
    • Reimu Hakurei possesses the ability to fly, which is incredibly lame when considering nearly everyone else in the series can fly on top of whatever power they already possess. Except that Reimu can also, at a whim, fly away from reality, making herself completely invulnerable, and if she didn't place a time limit on it (fighting in Gensoukyou being largely a game) she would never lose.
    • Kogasa Tatara has the power to surprise people, which is unbelievably lame. Except that she managed to surprise the player by reappearing as the Extra Stage midboss, complete with the required massive power boost. While she hasn't done anything else with it yet, fans have logically deduced that, as long as it is surprising enough, she could do almost anything she wants. It can be safely said that few people expected her to appear again in stage 3 of Ten Desires.
    • Subverted by Yuuka Kazami, who has the power to manipulate flowers, which is as weak as it sounds. She can't make flowers bloom in an opponent's throat to stop their breathing or make them grow to giant size and attack people like Poison Ivy, or anything like that, she can just make them grow faster and healthier (as far as we know). She's still an outrageously powerful character despite this. She's simply got strong magic unrelated to her flower-manipulation, and is generally assumed to be physically powerful as well. It's the prime reason fans don't doubt her claims of being one of the strongest Youkai in existence.
    • Lily White is a fairy whose power is to announce the coming of spring. This also sounds unbelievably lame but she can somehow use this power to attack, so apparently riddling you with magical bullets is as good a way as any to announce the coming of spring.
    • Mamizou Futatsuiwa's ability is "disguising things and herself". Although it's a useful ability to have, it doesn't sound too useful for battle, and Mamizou is more of a trickster than a combatant. However, her "disguises" actively change the properties of an object or a person. In the fighting games, she is able to transform an opponent into a harmless animal to incapacitate them, as well as transform her tanuki minions to give them new abilities.
    • Yukari Yakumo's power is the "manipulation of borders", which on the whole is probably not this trope - while the extent of Yukari's ability is vague, if taken to its fullest possible extent, it's likely Reality Warping with the potential to cause the end of the world. What is this trope is her usage of the most common application of her power, the creation of portals, to the point that summoning a literal train from the Outside World to run over her opponent is practically Yukari's Signature Move. And if she has enough knowledge of the Outside World to always know where trains are and to be able to pull them out of reality at will, there is nothing to indicate that she couldn't grab something even more dangerous - such as, say, an atom bomb - if she really wanted.
  • Several characters in Guardian Heroes have a shield that causes mild harm if touched. The Sky God, however, being enormous, has a huge shield that can kill loads of characters at once by smashing them against the arena boundary, which bounces them back into the shield, etc.
  • Team Fortress 2:
    • The Medic's signature weapon, the Medigun, seems harmless enough; it heals teammates and, after a while, it builds up an "Ubercharge" that turns the healing target invulnerable for eight seconds. It's not so harmless when the Medic pops the charge on, say, a Heavy, who can and most likely will mow down more enemies than he could without the Ubercharge.
    • Pyro's airblast is fairly simple—for the price of some of your primary ammo, you fire a blast of compressed air. It does no damage whatsoever and has a fairly short effective range and a long recovery time before you can use it again. What good is it, then? Well, its main power can be described as 'pushing things.' Like, say, pushing an enemy rocket back at them. Or pushing enemies away from important targets, off cliffs, and into oncoming trains. Or 'pushing' a fire off a teammate to save their life. The airblast is arguably the ability with the greatest variety of uses in the game.
  • In Disgaea 2, one of the Dark World maps has a bunch of mages standing on panels with a "reverse damage" effect - any damage-dealing effects they take heals them instead. But the inverse is also true - healing hurts them, and it isn't stopped by the Resistance stat, so even weak heal spells can kill them outright. Since healers are usually held back by their restrictions (they only get a pittance exp from healing, and no mana), this becomes a very potent grinding spot for them.
    • Anyone in a Disgaea game who is in the midst of a grueling Item Dive can position their units all around these panels. Take out any units that can hit you with healing, then just have your units beat themselves up so you heal your own army without spending a single SP point.
  • KingsQuest series. Alexander of Daventry has some minor magical talent, mostly in Utility Magic. The nastiest spells he knows call up a rainstorm. He's still more than capable of destroying evil sorcerers, breaking into castles, thwarting pirates, and challenging Death with that knowledge.
  • At the beginning of Marathon, the AI Durandal is mostly in charge of menial tasks on-board the Marathon, among which are opening and closing doors. This is because Durandal was Rampant, which in-universe causes an AI to grow exponentially in size and intelligence. However, his handler was attempting to use the sheer boredom and meaninglessness of these tasks to delay the progress of rampancy. It was thought that Durandal would then be unable to cause serious damage with the systems he controls. The handler apparently overlooked that "control over opening and closing doors" includes airlocks...
  • In Bahamut Lagoon, a party with a positive healing level can use life-draining attacks.
  • Elements has two such spells:
    • "Gravity Pull" can redirect all attacks directed towards the player into one of their creatures. Usually this spell is used for defence, but using it on a Voodoo Doll (which shares all damage it sustains, including status effects, with the enemy player) would practically force your opponent to hit themselves.
    • "Rage Potion" increases a target creature's attack by five points, but lowers its health by the same amount. This is a useful tool in eliminating creatures with low health, but it can also be used on a Voodoo Doll, simultaneously hurting the enemy and boosting the Doll's attack power.
  • Pokémon Sun and Moon has the Z-Move "Z-Splash". Like Splash, Z-Splash does nothing. Nothing but boost the Mon's Attack stat by 3 stages, more than Swords Dance (boosts Attack by 2 stages).
  • In Golden Sun, Isaac's "Move" power is simply a floating hand that gently pushes large objects a short distance. In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, the Assist Trophy version of Isaac uses Move to gently push your opponents a short the stage. The fact that it's a gentle push as opposed to a harsh one works to his advantage, too: you're pushed only a tiny bit ahead of the hand, so you have no time to escape before it gives you another gentle push.
  • Throughout the series The Elder Scrolls, the Restoration school of magic usually deals with healing, protection, curing diseases and sometimes destroying the undead. Even In-Universe the school is mocked by practitioners of other schools, with Restoration master Colette Marence supposedly being mocked and borderline bullied by some colleagues at the College of Winterhold. However, in several games, spells that absorb something from a target and transfer it to the caster are classified as Restoration, which means that you could use Restoration to horrifically drain a target of life while making yourself healthier, vampire-style. In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, all such effects are reclassified into Destruction, but multiple mods carry on the horrifying legacy of Restoration. Ordinator, one of the most popular Skyrim perk overhauls, includes ways for Restoration to both inflict diseases instead of curing them and have normal healing spells harm hostile targets instead (presumably by wreaking havoc on the organism with the sheer overload of life force).
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Nia possesses extremely potent healing powers, but Malos taunts her by saying she has no way to harm him if healing is all she can do. Her next attack initially doesn't seem to do anything, but then Malos's body begins horrifically bulging and mutating, leaving him in intense blinding pain. She reveals that she used her power to supercharge his cells' replication rate... in other words, she gave him hyper-accelerated cancer. He only survives due to being effectively immortal.
  • Portal 2: The Portal Gun seems like just a means of getting around and solving puzzles, with the portals pushing you aside when they close rather that slicing you in half. You can, however, put portals on a lot of surfaces, including the Moon.

    Visual Novels 
  • Umineko: When They Cry:
    • Ronove has this kind of power. One of the 72 Great Demons and the butler of the Witch, Beatrice, he has no offensive magic unlike the Witches, Siesta Sisters or Purgatory Stakes. Ronove only has the ability to create impenetrable shields around himself. In Episode 4, he uses this to try to crush his opponent against a wall.
    • Even more impressively, Shannon used this and Loophole Abuse to kill MARIA, the Witch of Origins who could not be targeted by offensive abilities due to her Diplomatic Immunity. She did this by slowly expanding her shield until it crushed her, and her familiar Sakutaro against a barrier MARIA had made.
    • Gaap, another of the 72 Great Demons has the Power to instantly move anything, anywhere using bottomless holes which can appear absolutely anywhere, but only when humans who do not believe in magic are not looking. Normally used to travel, move corpses and cause general mischief, she used this power in episode 4 of the visual novel to redirect George's deadly Kick Fatality against Gaap and Jessica's unstoppable fist attack against Ronove towards each other. Thus causing the cousins George and Jessica to accidentally kill each other. This was despite the fact that George and Jessica were in completely different areas of the Ushiromiya Mansion at that time.
  • Ryouma Hoshi from Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony is the Ultimate Tennis Player. Doesn't sound very intimidating, right? Well, this guy was responsible for killing off an entire mafia organization single-handedly using his custom-made steel tennis balls. This earned him the nickname "killer tennis" and got him sent to death row.

    Web Animation 
  • Red vs. Blue, being based off of the Halo setting, includes Bubble Shields. It's well known that it reflects bullets from either side of the shield. What isn't usually thought of is that if you huck the generator like a football, you can trap and Swiss-cheese a sniper nest.

  • One Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal comic features a girl who can make Precious Puppies appear anywhere. (Hint: "anywhere" includes inside someone's body.)
  • The Magic: The Gathering webcomics:
    • One scene depicts three of the planeswalkers in battle with a horde of nim (aka zombies). Elspeth's ability to fight is fairly obvious, as she is a highly-trained knight and quite adept with a blade. Koth, a geomancer, is also quite nasty in a fight, due both to being built like a rock (literally) and being able to conjure/hurl boulders at his foes at a whim. Then we have Venser, effectively the geek of the trio. No weapons, no real fighting skills, and his only ability seems to be teleporting, which doesn't seem useful against zombies...then he takes hold of two of them, teleports with them a few hundred feet in the air, then immediately 'ports back down without them. Gravity ensues.
    • Far earlier, in one of the Mirrodin Block novels, the protagonist is given a series of one-use magical artifacts, one of which will teleport her to any place she chooses to name. In a pinch, she realizes that "inside of a person" is a place...
  • In Homestuck, your powers are determined by your Title, which follows the format X of Y (as in Gent of Piss). While the Aspect can be any monosyllabic concept like Mind, Hope, or Heart (most of which sound non-lethal), the actual Class can modify a non-lethal Aspect into a dangerous force.
    • For example, a Prince of Mind would, based on game mechanics, be able to destroy the brains of his enemies, and a Knight of Heart would be able to weaponize souls. Inversely, a potentially-deadly Aspect, such as Rage or Void, could be turned passive by its class. For example, an Heir of Void would just be able to make things near-impossible to find. Of course, "things" could include part of enemies or entire hostile armies.
    • For specific examples, we have John, the Heir of Breath. Doesn't sound that impressive compared to Time or Space manipulation. How about creating cyclones over lava, turning them into fire tornadoes with which to strike your enemy? Generating a windstorm so intense it drills through continents? Global hurricanes within seconds? Turning into wind to make yourself untouchable? It's quite a useful and versatile power, really.
    • There's also Dirk, the Prince of Heart. In Sburb's mechanics, Heart = Soul. Dirk is therefore able to tear a person's soul from their body. Yikes. Going by this logic, the often by fandom portrayed as innocent and cute, Nepeta as the Rogue of Heart is able to yank a soul out of a body and then redistribute it among her allies.
    • And then there are the troll blood traits. Some are awesome: immense telekinetic powers, Mind Control, and the like. Then there's Tavros, who can control animals. The lethal part is that it affects enemy Mooks generated by Sburb/Sgrub, like imps and ogres, enabling Tavros to make them his minions and breeze through the game without ever touching his class powers. Then he casually mentions to Jade that he can command First Guardians this way. Yes, talking to animals is a Story-Breaker Power in Homestuck.
    • Light is similar. Light symbolizes fate, knowledge, and literal light. Sounds pretty weak, right? It has so far been used to navigate the lack of physical space between universes, kill enemies without its user lifting a finger by robbing them of their fortune, and Mind Raping someone into insanity. And all Light heroes have access to these powers, just to different extents.
    • Jack Noir, after obtaining power of a First Guardian not only get a ton of different deadly powers, but manage to weaponize non-lethal one - he used ability to turn his own body into a portal, to redirect bullets, aimed at him, in Dave's back.
    • Jade has teleporting powers, similar to Jack's. She once threatened to kill Roxy by teleporting her intestines out of her body.
  • Dominic Deegan: People constantly underestimate illusions. For some reason, Mind Control magic is also scoffed at. To be fair, they usually fail to see through Luna's illusions, which are usually mimicking evocation magic... which she has a long history of actually being able to pull off, being the archmage successor to Miranda Deegan. It's not likely that people that weren't actually known for casting epic spells of destruction would be as convincing in their illusions.
  • Collin from White Dark Life is incredibly stupid up until he learns his latent abilities. Which is to walk on non-solid things and pass through solid things. Kind of like Tyki Mikk described above. What does he do with this? Dodge literally everything and tear "Snake-Jaw" out of the person he was possessing. A task that was impossible for several exorcists, an angel, and an almighty demon who can control almost anything.
  • Sluggy Freelance, "Holiday Wars": You'd think when Santa Claus has been transformed into an alien killing machine and is facing an army of Halloween and other holidays, what would make him most dangerous would be his new abilities, not the old ones. But what use is an army against a being that can move so fast that he can deliver presents to the entire world in a single night? Since his chief opponent is the Easter Bunny (no, really, It Makes Sense in Context), he also goes into egg-delivery mode, and they nuke it out while everyone else is frozen.
  • Erfworld: Some Caster disciplines have obvious combat applications. Others don't, and are generally intended for utility purposes, but can still be quite dangerous in the right circumstances.
    • Sizemore's magical specialty is Dirtamancy, which his Lord Stanley primarily utilizes for digging tunnels and crafting Golems out of natural materials. But those same tunnels? Sizemore can collapse them on enemy units with a thought, or bend them into a maze to get attackers lost, or turn an entire tunnel system into a devious assortment of natural pitfalls and other traps. His magic also gives him an intuitive grasp of architecture and structure, allowing him to singlehandedly outflank an entire invading army. And when mentally linked with Wanda during Chapter 1's climax? He uncroaks (read: brings back to life) a volcano, creating an enormous rain of lava that utterly incinerates both sides of the battle and permanently changes the surrounding landscape. Sizemore, as an Actual Pacifist, is horrified by how terrifyingly lethal his magic can be when used properly.
    • Dittomancers can, well, multiply things. Obviously useful for purposes like doubling army rations or increasing a nation's wealth, Jetstone's Dittomancer also demonstrates just how dangerous Dittomancy can be by multiplying an archer platoon's volley into a Rain of Arrows that would make the Persians of 300 proud.
    • Hippiemancy is the setting's equivalent of White Magic, with spells revolving around promoting peace, calming raging emotions, and growing plants. But in the hands of Olive Branch, each and every aspect of Hippiemancy gets turned on its head for use in war. Olive uses magic intended to promote peace and parley to restrain enemy factions her own forces can't overwhelm, then assassinates their leaders afterwards, or simply uses her Charm Person magic to Mind Rape the enemy into hapless, pliable slaves. She even weaponizes her ability to grow plants to create lethal poisons for use in the aforementioned assassinations, and renders the leader of her own side into a helpless Puppet Queen by forcefully addicting her to plants grown by Olive herself. She even turned her own father into a drug addict - his name is Charlie. Olive's willingness and ability to turn magic intended for peace into a lethal weapon makes her a One-Man Army simply because her tactics are so out-of-the-box for a world whose military forces otherwise rely purely on brute force, and it's only because she grabs hold of the Villain Ball and refuses to let go that she's ultimately defeated.

    Web Original 
  • Whateley Universe: One of the primary goals of the school is to teach students to use their powers effectively, no matter how powerful or how limited. Even a few Underdogs eventually learn that powers that seem worthless can still be used to devastating effect with enough cunning and ruthlessness.
    • Generator (Jade Sinclair) starts out with the power to cast a copy of her mind into an object and animate it for a little while. This is considered extremely lame by the standards of Superhero School Whateley Academy with its powerful mages and Flying Bricks. Then she nails a werewolf to a tree. With railroad spikes.
      • She's actually got one of the most terrifying powers, period. She could animate some wire- hey presto, instant flying strangling cords. By herself, she'd be a brilliant information broker... or assassin... or just about anything. Early on one of her teammates imagines what would happen if Jade projected herself into a pile of sand or a pool of water, before quickly resolving to never mention this to Jade and hope she didn't think of it herself. A later story includes her projecting herself into her own body to hold things in place and keep things functioning after being stabbed through the heart, doing the same to animate a handful of mook corpses, and then slaughtering her way through a secure facility as a "vampire princess" with a zombie army.
    • If Phase goes back to solid when within an object, he disintegrates its mass. He can vary his levels of mass, causing devastating effects. The only other known character with the same variation of density warping is Tinsnip, a virtually unstoppable professional assassin.
    • While no one would argue that super-martial-arts is a wimpy power, Chaka doesn't really have anything else except some slightly improved Exemplar strength and intelligence. That intelligence has proved the critical factor, as she has found uses for her Ki powers that no one would have thought possible, letting her fight one-to-one against far more dangerous opponents.
    • Gateway can create portals, and summon creatures through them. It's also been suggested that she could use them to Tele-Frag opponents.
    • The Siren powerset - being able to control your voice - sounds quite limited, until you see someone like Vox use it to make an Elite Mook shoot his commanding officer, or Screech use it to completely liquefy a combat cyborg.
    • Aquerna was considered a joke - and ridiculed as a Squirrel Girl wannabe - until she took a page out of that Marvel character's playbook and proved that a swarm of squirrels can indeed by quite effective. She also managed to outwit the Good Ol' Boys, something which they have yet to live down.
  • Cale from Darwin's Soldiers can use his electrical powers to fuse dust particles in the air into glass. This does not sound impressive when compared to his other power (electrokinesis). However, this means that he is never unarmed. And he once shredded some terrorists with a swarm of glass daggers .
  • Coatl in Trinton Chronicles has a rather lethal and yet seemingly harmless set of powers; she can boost powers (and thus cause them to go haywire for Super-Power Meltdown for villains) or her Healing Hands can be pushed to the extent of causing cancer!
  • In Anachronauts, the human witch Emily enters a magical duel with the Fey Archmage Lilith, in which Lilith's condition, according to the rules, is that each participant can only use one spell. Emily doesn't know any combat spells, and specializes in spells with useful effects such as making a perfect cup of tea. Emily's condition is Heart's Guardian; anyone who cherishes the duelists can stand by them in the fight, which means her friends can join in. Emily dodges the blast of fire Lilith throws at her and uses her friends to gain an advantage, then materializes warm, steaming tea directly into Lilith's lungs. Emily then humiliates her opponent further by saving her life using CPR to get the fluid out of her lungs, putting Lilith in debt to Emily.

    Emily's real power is that she literally doesn't think like other witches; since magic destroys whatever it is written on when cast, and most human mages memorize spells, they just end up going nuts. Also, they're usually taught the standard brute-force spells, since the Fairie Summer Court thinks of them as disposablenote . Emily is/was Cursed With Awesome to be unable to memorize spells, and has to copy them and read them to cast them, retaining her sanity, and prefers utility spells, which means she has to think tactically in a way that tends to elude the other human witches (sanity loss) as well as the elves who trained them (not very creative). Lilith, an elf, was one of the most powerful mages in the world, and her spell was basically just Maximized Fireball.
  • Enter The Farside: Tether has the power to link two objects and bring them together. He uses this to throw things and return them back to him by linking that object to his gloves, and also throw people about by their clothes, amongst other things. Katrina can generate a white, vapour-like substance that she can superheat to cause serious scalds and burns.
  • In Insane Cafe 3, Nani exploits pepper spray's flammability to set fire to a group of mages.
  • TierZoo: The Robber Fly is noted to have this in the context of the show. Most flies use their modified vestigal wings called halteres to give themselves balance, positioning and precise control in the air, primarily used defensively to easily escape attacks or as utility to land on hard-to-reach places. The Robber Fly instead uses this offensively allowing it to catch and take down prey in mid-air with high accuracy and precision. This landed it a spot in S-tier as one of the best, if not the best, solo insect class.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • It's repeatedly mentioned that airbending is primarily defensive in nature, wielded by the pacifistic Air Nomads, but a few times, like during the discovery of Monk Gyatso's body note , we see that it can be used to devastating effect. This leads to a lot of Ascended Fridge Horror in The Legend of Korra when a dangerous criminal named Zaheer gains airbending after Harmonic Convergence and shows no qualms about using it on others such as using it to asphyxiate the Earth Queen.
    • Water bending can also be applied in a rather nasty fashion known as blood bending, essentially puppeteering someone through the liquids in their body. Hama used it to try to force Aang and Sokka to kill each other, while Yakone appears to have attempted to crush Aang's organs.
    • Ty Lee and the Equalists use a technique called chi-blocking that allows them to temporarily nullify bending powers or just non-lethally incapacitate people by striking pressure points on their body to disrupt the flow of chi. Yakone's son Amon uses it in combination with the aforementioned bloodbending to permanently De-Power or cripple people.
  • Captain Planet and the Planeteers: Not quite lethal, but far more harmful than it appeared — Ma-Ti uses the power of heart to communicate with animals telepathically. A pretty lame power, until you realize that, had he wanted to, he could have easily brainwashed the entire population of Earth. In one episode, he uses it to save the Earth from a Grey Goo scenario by summoning a massive flock of birds to destroy a swarm of genetically-modified locusts before it can reach the mainland, something the rest of the group couldn't do with their elemental powers.
  • Another example of water powers that aren't harmless but could have been infinitely worse: Darkwing Duck has a character called The Liquidator, who has apparently complete control of water. He can generate it, boil it, and turn it into "hard water" — a yellow glue-like substance. Luckily for everyone involved, Darkwing Duck is a children's series, so we never get to see what might have happened if Liquidator had decided to turn the water of a living being's body into hard water... or boil it...
  • Justice League:
    • The Martian Manhunter: He's dangerous enough already, but he uses his intangibility offensively at least once — during his rampage through the Task-Force X, he reaches inside Deadshot's chest and does something to his heart that severely messes him up. And he takes out a mechanical baddie by similarly reaching into its head and pulling out what's inside.
    • The Flash:
      • Given that he has super-speed, his secondary ability goes mostly unnoticed: he can vibrate at a superhuman speed. Said vibrations create an unstable resonance which can cause things to explode.
      • To say nothing of running several times around the planet in a few seconds to gain enough momentum to punch Braniac out of Lex Luthor.
    • An episode also features expies of the Wonder Twins from Superfriends with their same powers. Whereas the Wonder Twins were near-useless and rather incompetent, this episode shows how their powers (turning into various forms of water and turning into animals) could be used to easily infiltrate an office building and hold its leader hostage.
  • In Miraculous Ladybug, several of the akuma villains Ladybug and Cat Noir face have abilities that fall under this, and often prove just as challenging as the villains with powers like Weather Manipulation, etc.
    • Mr. Pidgeon can control pigeons. Even without taking into account him making them strong and tough enough to dent a metal door severely, this allows him to cause chaos all over Paris, as it has millions of the feathered fiends.
    • The Bubbler uses his bubbles to enact a mass kidnapping of all the adults in Paris.
    • Lady Wi-Fi can "pause" people and teleport between phones, and very nearly reveals Ladybug's identity.
  • Levitating objects with magic is the stock ability of every unicorn from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, and thus is a mundane part of every day life. Of course, this includes other ponies, since Rarity levitates her little sister around and Twilight Sparkle levitates her friends on a few occasions. Then "Magic Duel" airs and Trixie displays just how terrifying this ability can be if misused, since there really doesn't seem to be anything a pony can do about it if levitated against their will. It's somewhat mitigated by the fact that most unicorns aren't strong enough to lift a full-grown pony. (Twilight is The Archmage, Trixie is The Rival to her at the beginning, or at least she sees it that way... a background unicorn once needed Rainbow Dash's help to open a jar after her magic couldn't do it.)
    • Though not lethal, Rarity's magical talent seems to revolve around beautifying things; she can be a living radar for the gems she uses in her clothing-making, she once created special effects for a fashion show of hers... you'd think she wouldn't come in handy when a large tree knocked over by a storm crashed through a house. However, turning a huge tree into several cute little topiaries made them easy to remove. It's all in how you use what you've got!
  • The titular character of Steven Universe, as he himself admitted, has mostly defensive powers. He can generate a force field and heal with his spit on top of having a shield as his personal weapon. However, he can make his force field grow spikes and throw his shield with enough force to slice a stone pillar in half a la Captain America.
  • In Wolverine and the X-Men, Nightcrawler, whose only mutant power is teleportation, puts it to devastating use against Spiral, by using it to Portal Cut her robotic arms. Then he implicitly reminds her that he could easily do the same to her organic ones.
  • X-Men: Evolution: Shadowcat's ethereal form wreaks havoc on electronics. She's not afraid to weaponize it. Teaming up with Nightcrawler, this let her take out an attack chopper that is harassing them.
    Nightcrawler: Hi! I'm Nightcrawler. This is Shadowcat.
    Shadowcat: And this is your guidance computer.

    Real Life 
  • Honeybees have the ability to vibrate their flight muscles and raise their body temperature, which they usually use to keep themselves warm during the winter. Japanese honeybees have figured out how to weaponize this against Japanese hornets (who have exoskeletons the bees' stingers can't pierce, but also can't survive as high a temperature as a bee can) by attaching themselves to the hornet en masse and heating themselves up, frying the hornet from the outside in.
  • A gun with blanks. Blanks are only safe from a few feet away from the barrel.
    • In 1984, on the set of the short-lived CBS series Cover Up, actor Jon-Erik Hexum got bored between takes and played Russian Roulette with one blank in his gun. A blank does not have a bullet, but has plastic and paper places in it — the propelling charge is all there. He died from his injury.
    • This was also how Brandon Lee died on the set of The Crow. Owing to the film's Troubled Production, the prop crew, rather than spend money on "dummy" cartridges for close-up shots of the revolver used to shoot Lee's character, created some on the cheap by taking actual, live .44 Magnum rounds, pulling the bullets out of the cartridges, dumping out the powder, and reinserting the bullets. However, they forgot to take out the percussion primers, which went off with just enough force to lodge a bullet in the gun barrel. When they loaded that same gun with blanks, the force from the shot sent that bullet flying out the barrel and straight into Lee's chest at close to full speed.
  • Physicists have noted that any form of Faster Than Light drive would be as devastating a weapon as it is a useful tool. Even leaving aside the various exotic wedgies you're giving to physics, there's still the fact that, as stated in Mass Effect, Sir Isaac Newton is the deadliest SOB in space (check out the page quote for Arbitrary Maximum Range for why this is so).
    • Even without FTL, any drive capable of producing sustained acceleration on an object can become this given enough time. Once you've got a drive that can produce relativistic amounts of thrust, you've got the capacity to make a planet-destroying weapon just by sticking that drive on a decent sized chunk of rock and aiming it in the right direction.
  • Many less-than-lethal weapons can inflict substantial injuries or even kill if they're misused.
    • A taser is supposed to provide a debilitating but non-fatal shock. With the right combination of taser and clothing, it's possible to set someone's clothes on fire. The MythBusters looked at this one, and found this to be plausible with the right taser and the right clothing.
    • Rubber bullets hurt. While designed to be non-lethal, getting shot with one in the wrong place can lead to serious injury, permanent disfigurement, or even death.


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