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Lethal Joke Character

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"His buffs and updates to his moves in the more recent games have actually allowed Dan to become a legitimate choice in the tournament setting, to the point that players say that Dan's greatest strength is the illusion that he's supposed to be bad."
The Street Fighter Wiki on Dan Hibiki

You've just unlocked an absolutely useless Joke Character. Weak attack, laughable specials, etc. And yet, your buddy next door uses them every time... and always kicks your ass.

Are they Cherry Tapping? Nope; the last time you won was when you put it on "random." They’ve discovered how to use the Lethal Joke Character.

The designers, looking for balance, have sneaked in one obscure, impossible-to-master, but incredibly rewarding technique for this character, and using it, you'll win every time... if you can get it down. But doing so requires skill, practice, and the ability to see the potential in the seemingly-useless. It's a sort of Obfuscating Stupidity applied to the game mechanics. Whether the character is actually considered good in the game's competitive scene can vary, as these characters are typically defined by a single powerful gimmick—sometimes, that gimmick is the only string to the character's bow, meaning they can struggle against a player who knows how to beat it, while other times, it ties together an otherwise unimpressive skillset and turns the character into a very real powerhouse.

Quirky Bard is a subtrope found in many role-playing games. Compare Elite Tweak, an in-game feature which takes a capable character and turns them into a wrecking monster. Difficult, but Awesome refers to characters whose potential is more obvious, but requires more effort to utilize. Unlike a Magikarp Power, the Lethal Joke Character always had this ability to kick ass; it just requires a lot of skill to use them. See Lethal Joke Item for useless inventory and skills that eventually become overpowered. Heart Is an Awesome Power is the non-gameplay version.

Not to be confused with Fighting Clown, which is a silly character whose strength is readily-apparent (whereas here it isn't), or Mechanically Unusual Fighter / Mechanically Unusual Class, who/which is intended to be a viable option without resorting to an obscure tactic.

As with Joke Character, this is a Game Trope. For non-game examples, see This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman, Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass, Beware the Silly Ones, or Heart Is an Awesome Power. For villains who turn out to be more competent and dangerous than they initially appear to be, see Not-So-Harmless Villain.


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    Action-Adventure Games 
  • The mecha combat action game Another Century's Episode 3 allows the player to unlock the Gotchko, a small, relatively basic unit from Overman King Gainer. It would seems like a bit of a joke character, or maybe just an affectionate inclusion to play to the fans of King Gainer... until you actually use it. The unit, with few or no upgrades, is one of the most powerful units in the game simply because of the ridiculous range and accuracy it has for its two weapons. It is restricted to ground stages, and cannot actually fly, but it doesn't need to. Seeing that Gotchko is Gain's unit of choice, this shouldn't be very surprising.
  • Harley Quinn in Batman: Arkham Knight. She cannot reach all vantage points, she is constantly talking, she cannot take an enemy out without being heard. Yet, if she takes down 4 enemies in any way, she can go absolutely berserk, and can perform up to 4 instant takedowns. While Joker at least carried a gun, her gadgets consist of Snares made of confetti, Exploding Jack-in-a-boxes and laughing gas.
  • The Binding of Isaac:
    • The base game has ??? (aka Blue Baby), who cannot ever pick up Heart Containers and thus has to subsist entirely on Soul Hearts, and whose starting item allows him to poop on the floor once per room. However, the inability to carry red hearts has some interesting effects on certain items that require the player to be half a red heart to use (such as Whore of Babylon always being active, and the Polaroid shielding the player after every hit, and the Scapular making him effectively invincible if used with the Cursed Skull) that can make Blue Baby a potential powerhouse.
    • Rebirth added an even bigger Joke Character The Lost, who's a true One-Hit-Point Wonder, in exchange for starting out with flight and free Devil Room items. He's even trickier to use, but the Devil Room item pool contains powerful items like Whore of Babylon (which again, is permanently activated) Brimstone and the Dead Cat (which gives you 9 extra lives without the health penalties, since you have no health to begin with,) and there are items that can shield you once per room without having to take damage. Afterbirth made him even more lethal with the ability to unlock one of the shield items after giving enough money to the machine at the end of Greed Mode.
  • Risk of Rain Returns, remake of Risk of Rain, alongside one returning and two new characters, introduced a Secret Character, Robomando. This little guy is essentially worse Commando, with less damage and faceplant instead of dive. However, he is also quicker than all other survivors even without items, can change directions and retain moving speed while shooting, his secondary attack can stun and, as an absolute hell of a cherry on top: he has a hacking software that activate all chests and drones for free, regardless of stage. This means that, while other characters have to go around killing things to earn money for items, Robomando can zip straight through the chests and towards the teleporter. In a game where time is important, he's an absolute menace. Suffice to say, he's very well-hidden, to the point you'll probably have trouble finding him yourself.

    Beat 'em Up Games 
  • In Guardian Heroes, there are several joke characters, including Nando the bunny. However, if one were to go into 6-player versus mode with a team of at least three Nandos, that player will DOMINATE everyone else. Nando is incredibly tiny and has virtually no delay time between punches. Three or more at time can hit any character so many times that they won't be able move and it's inescapable. This even includes the couple of gods the player can use.
  • Almond in Noitu Love 2, who can't attack at all and spends the whole game simply having to dodge everything. However, he can put up a projectile-blocking shield around himself at will just by ducking, and to make up for his inability to attack, the player can attack enemies directly much like a mouse-controlled lightgun shooter, and even pick him up and carry him around with the right mouse button.
  • The Novice class in Ragnarok Battle Offline seems to be completely true to the source material at a glance, having terrible HP and MP, slow and weak attacks (Some of which result in them tripping or knocking themselves out), an extremely slow ground movement speed (Some characters can walk faster then either gender can dash), and only two skills, one of which is practically useless due to it only resorting a measly five HP per use (In a game where HP goes into the thousands range). However, once you place enough points in the right stats, they become capable of busting out highly destructive special attacks that can clear most of the screen in a single use, assuming you know the button inputs (Though as they're Cast From HP, they can only be abused to the fullest with the aid of an Acolyte ally who can heal them). The male Novice also has a sweetspot on one of his basic air attacks that makes it deal a massive amount of damage (A fact the female Novice compensates for by being a more competent fighter overall).
  • Cut from the US version of Streets of Rage 3 is Ash, a Manly Gay character who runs and screams like a girl and has a limited move set (no air attacks). However, his main attack, a love tap, can tear bosses apart in seconds!

    Collectible Card Games 
  • In the PS1 video game Digimon Card game, the Rare tribe had some elements of this, with awful stats but some interesting support effects. In particular Numemon and Toy Agumon. Numemon was the usual monster that looked like poop and had stats to match, but when played from your hand as support forced the opponent to discard 2 cards in their evolution pile. On its own, card advantage and a delicious way to mess up your opponents tempo while you beat up their underevolved mons, run a bunch of them and you can force your opponent to use almost nothing but rookies, except with the odd champion for the rest of the duel. Toy Agumon had unimpressive stats but the broken effect of making both mons' HP 200, meaning you could one-hit KO the enemy even when they were an Ultimate or a tweaked out Armor Digimon, then heal next turn, possibly with another lethal joke card, Psychemon — which changes your HP to make it the same as the opponent's.
  • Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft:
    • The Angry Chicken. Normally it's an unimpressive card with 1 attack, 1 health, and a cost of 1 mana. But if you can buff its max health and damage it without killing it, its enrage feature kicks in and gives it +5 attack, turning it into a very cheap Glass Cannon.
    • Murlocs have some of the lowest stats in the game, but they're generally cheap to play and some of them have synergies that work well with each other (some give stat boosts to other murlocs, others gain bonuses from being played alongside other murlocs, and still others bring more murlocs onto the field). Played properly, a murloc deck can crush an opponent in the early stages before the high-value cards make an appearance.
    • Yogg-Saron was meant to be a worthless Just for Fun card, and most players initially wrote him off as one. When he's played, he casts random spells on random targets per each spell you cast previously that game. The problem is, it couldn't pick illegal targets (you couldn't summon minions for your opponent, you couldn't use board clears on your minions, etc), and the majority of spells are purely beneficial. It turns out that it was a pretty much guaranteed board clear and card draw, and even if it whiffed, you usually were only playing it as a last resort, so it didn't matter. It turned the game into an RNG-fest where Yogg would come down and potentially win on the spot. Blizzard eventually nerfed him by making it so that he stopped casting if he died, got transformed, got returned to the hand, or got Silenced in the middle of casting, making much more of a normal Joke Character.
    • Purify is a Priest card from One Night in Karazhan with the unimpressive effect of silencing a friendly minion and letting you draw a card. It quickly became known as a memetically bad card, especially since Priest already has the Silence card that silences any minion and costs no mana. But then Journey to Un'Goro came out with the card Humongous Razorleaf, a cheap card with huge stats and an effect that prevented it from attacking, and Lyra the Sunshard which put Priest spells in your hand when you played a spell. Combined with Ancient Watcher, another cheap, high stat minion that can't attack, they made Silence Priest decks viable. Players would play both Silence and Purify eithier to silence cards that needed it or as fuel for Lyra.
    • Similarly, Mean Streets of Gadgetzan introduced Gadgetzan Ferryman, which returned one of your other minions to your hand if you played at least one other card earlier in the turn. The problem was, this card compared unfavorably to Youthful Brewmaster, who always returned an allied minion to your hand. Players derided this card the same way they derided Purify... and then Journey to Un'Goro came out with The Caverns Below. If you played enough minions with the same name, The Caverns Below turns into a card that supercharges all your current and future minions — but since you can only have two copies of a card, you would need to get played minions back into your hand somehow. It turned out that The Caverns Below's effect was absolutely insane, causing players to use both Youthful Brewmaster and Gadgetzan Ferryman in order to have enough return-minion-to-hand effects. Gadgetzan Ferryman would fall out of favor when The Caverns Below was Nerfed, but for a time it was in one of the most powerful decks in Hearthstone.
    • Dirty Rat is an overstatted 2 mana 2/6 Taunt that summons an enemy minion from your opponent's hand. Playing him on curve often results in Epic Fail moment where your enemy gets an 8/8 Lich King or 12/12 Tyrantus for free. But he is one of the first cards that directly affects the opponent's hand, and if you have a Removal ready, you can use him to drag out the enemy's key minion and get it killed, seriously throwing a wrench in their combo. Even if you don't have a Removal ready, enemy minions played in such a way forfeits their Battlecry, so Warlocks who just finished unsealing Azari the Devourer is in serious risk of having their hard work undone thanks to this little rat. Likewise, Hecklebot and Unseen Saboteur have similar abilities (Hecklebot pulls from the deck, while Saboteur pulls out spells).
    • King Togwaggle is an 8 mana 5/5 that swaps both players' decks around, but gives your opponent a King's Ransom to swap them back. Originally he was quite gimmicky (read: useless), but then Azalina Soulthief was released, a card with the effect of replacing your hand with a copy of your opponent's. One simple combo is to quickly draw through your entire deck, reduce either Azalina or Togwaggle's cost by 7 using Dreampetal Florist, then swap and copy their hand. If they try to swap back, you use the King's Ransom that Azalina created. Then, you just Naturalize or Coldlight Oracle to force your opponent to draw lots of cards from your empty deck, killing them.
    • One of the upgrades you can pick up in The Great Dalaran Heist singleplayer mode is Wondrous Wisdomball, which depicts Khadgar making a silly face and has the description "Occasionally gives helpful advice." You're probably expecting him to be an Exposition Fairy, and you might be made certain of this when you see him get triggered to say things like "Remember, when you run out of health, you lose!" However, Khadgar's actual effect is randomly activating when certain conditions are fulfilled... and the effects he provides include things like drawing more cards, doubling spells cast, reducing costs, duplicating stuff you play, or nuking the enemy field. He's random, but even one or two activations will put you into a winning position. And throughout it all, it's played as "advice."
  • Magic: The Gathering
    • Ornithopter looks mostly harmless: A flying 0/2 is pretty useless. The 'thopter's real value for combos is that it has zero cost — and you won't necessarily be using it for attacking. Hint: Enduring Renewal. In addition, it fuels cards like Arcbound Ravager and other components of the Affinity / Robots decks, including Cranial Plating, which made it into a lethal evasive attacker. It can also be used to sneak in stuff using ninjutsu. Amusingly, old versions of the rulebook (printed before any of those other cards existed) ended with an italicized notice: "Our condolences to anyone who has been killed by an Ornithopter." Ornithopter's status as one of Magic's most infamous Lethal Joke Characters earned it a spot in the Masterpiece Series: Kaladesh Inventions, a set of foil reprints at Mythic rarity featuring some of the most popular and powerful artifacts in Magic's history. Its Flavor Text even lampshades how unassumingly dangerous it can be.
      Consider all confiscated items hostile until proven otherwise.
      - Confiscation directive
    • Painter's Servant was a Junk Rare that changed the color of every card in play and each player's deck. Grindstone was a similar Junk Rare that makes a player put the top two cards of their library into their graveyard and can repeat its effect, but only if the two cards share a color. Seeing as most competitive decks are two or three colors to avoid either Crippling Over Specialization or Master of None and lands, which make up about a third of most decks, are classed as colorless, the extra cards were rarely achieved. Players put two and two together and built a deck that could win on turn 3.
    • Tarmogoyf was initially meant to be an Early-Bird Cameo for the Tribal and Planeswalker cards that would appear in Lorwyn. And in the Standard environment it was legal in, it didn't make any waves, leading to players dismissing it as yet another Junk Rare. However, in Extended and Modern, the 'Goyf's ability to tank some of the best and cheapest removal spells available — such as Red's classic burn spell Lightning Bolt — and its ability to come down as a big creature for the low price of 2 mana would make it a format staple and one of the most expensive and sought-after cards in Magic, to the point where Wizards has reprinted it twice at Mythic Rare to satisfy demand.
    • Gurmag Angler from Fate Reforged, at first glance, looks like Limited fodder. Even its "Delve" ability, which lets the player exile cards from their graveyard to pay for its cost, doesn't do much when it's a 5/5 creature for 7 mana with no means of evasion or special abilities. However, put it in formats like Modern or Legacy, where decks can rack up a fair number of cards in their graveyard just by playing, and it shows its true power. In decks that get tons of cards into their graveyard, like Delver or Hollow One, the Angler is a 5/5 that dodges most removal and can be played for as little as 2 or 3 mana.
    • Several unlikely creatures have had successful decks of gimmicks built around them in the Commander format. For instance, Squee, the Immortal comes off as pretty underwhelming, but the ability to be cast from Graveyard or Exile means never having to pay the increasing cost for losing one's commander, making repeated sacrifice strategies that much more viable. (And if your opponents do try to bury him in the deck, he can just be sent to the Command Zone in the process anyway.)
  • Pokémon Trading Card Game:
    • Durant, the source of the Durant Mill. The most Durant can deal is a pathetic 20 damage in an era where 100 damage or more is commonplace, and with only 70 HP, has less than half of the main attackers in the majority of popular tournament decks. Its potential, however, lies in its attack that doesn't deal damage: For each Durant the player has in play, "Devour" makes the opponent discard cards from the top of his or her deck. As there can be up to 4 Durants in play at a time, the opponent must discard up to 4 cards for each "Devour." Combine this with the card drawn at the beginning of each turn and search cards that burn through decks like Professor Juniper, and the Durant Mill became the only deck to see wide tournament play in the card game's entire history to create wins through depletion of the opponent's deck rather than knocking out Pokémon. Considering that Durant is ranked as Uncommon, the second-lowest rarity in the game, odds are the card designers didn't realize Durant's potential either. Durant became such a problem that a Heatmor card was produced specifically to eliminate Durant Mill decks. It didn't work.
    • In the Phantom Forces expansion, the Night March attack turns Pumpkaboo and Joltik into this. Night March does 20 base damage, with a multiplier based on the number of cards with the Night March attack the player has in their discard pile. Paired with the Battle Compressor trainer card, which allows you to search your deck for three cards and put them straight into your discard pile, and the Ultra Ball, which makes you discard two cards from your hand to get a Pokémon from your deck, you can potentially very quickly set these mons up for impressive damage. Most people rocking a Night March deck will put Lampent, a stage 1 evolution that has Night March, into their deck without any Litwick, just to be able to discard them. With four Pumpkaboo, four Joltik, four Lampent, and four Battle Compressors, you could potentially have a 30HP Joltik dealing 220 damage before factoring in weakness or resistance.
    • The Omastar released in the Majestic Dawn set, when put into play, would take all of the opponent's evolved Pokémon on their Bench and devolve them by one stage, with the evolutions returning to their hands. On paper, this isn't really that powerful, since it doesn't deal with the opponent's Active Pokémon, and they can just evolve them back the next turn. This Omastar started seeing wide tournament play, however, with Empoleon from the Platinum set, whose "Jet Smash" attack deals 70 damage to any of the opponent's Pokémon. While Empoleon cannot use "Jet Smash" on consecutive turns, nearly all not-fully-evolved Pokémon at that point had 70 HP or less, providing the player with the ability to KO almost anything they wanted. This was particularly valuable if there was a Pokémon on the opponent's Bench providing useful passive abilities, since, of course, knocking them out would also shut them down.
    • Exeggcute from Plasma Freeze also deserves mention. It has very low 30 HP and one attack that does 20 damage for two energy, and the Exeggutor it's supposed to evolve into isn't too impressive, either. Except its ability "Propagation" lets you return it from the discard pile to your hand. Thanks in part to a rulings snarl* this opens the door to a myriad of combos that involve cards and abilities requiring you to discard resources in order to work, which when combined with Battle Compressor can give you free uses of cards like Ultra Ball. Because of this, it's tough to find an Expanded deck that doesn't have a copy or two, just because of how useful it is.
    • Similar to Exeggcute, the earliest sets had Tentacool from Fossil, who has a measly 30 HP and an attack for 10 damage for 1 Water Energy. Its value is its Ability, "Cowardice," which allows you to return Tentacool back to your hand at any time during your turn before you attack. This means any attack or Ability that requires one of your other Pokémon take damage, as long as it's 20 or less, can use Tentacool as the damage recipient, after which you return Tentacool to your hand and put it back in play, good as new. This pairs exceptionally well with Alakazam's Ability "Damage Swap," which let you move damage from one of your Pokémon to another as you please. As your Active Pokémon takes damage, use Alakazam's "Damage Swap" to place up to 20 damage onto each Tentacool, then use "Cowardice" to effectively remove that damage from existence; and with Mr. Mime from Jungle, as Mr. Mime's Ability, "Invisible Wall," blocks all damage unless it's 20 or less. A deck with Mr. Mime, Alakazam, and Tentacool all together at once is effectively invincible.
  • From the online card collection strategy game Poxnora there is a Champion called the "Magma Bunny" that had stats well below average for the Mana Cost. However, it had the ability to split off a copy (splitting its HP), and if you upgraded a useless ability you could pump its Mana Cost to huge levels. Senseless? Perhaps, except for two spells, one that sacrificed a champion to refund the full Mana Cost, and another spell that sacrifices a champion and deals damage equal to the Mana Cost to the nearest enemy champion. And each copy cloned off of the original had the same mana cost as the original. Then there also happened to be another (in most circumstances crappy) spell that allowed you to keep redeploying your Magma Bunny after Sacrificing it, over and over again. That Deck became known as the "Bunnies of DOOM!" Finally the mechanics were nerfed.
  • The Star Trek Collectible Card Game had End Transmission, a card that instantly ended your turn, skipping all "end of turn" effects. Since one of those effects was drawing a card, it seemed worthless at first glance. Then the game introduced "processing ore", allowing you to draw cards during the turn proper, as well as a large array of cards with powerful effects balanced out by a countdown timer that would destroy them... except the timer only counted down at the end of the turn. Players put these together and created decks that locked the opponent down for as long as the player could keep playing End Transmission. Did we forget to mention there were no limits on how many copies of a card you could have in your deck?
  • In a twist on this, when the first WWE Raw Deal tournaments kept coming back with the same superstars dominating every tournament, Comic Images insisted that the remaining superstars had "specific killer strategies" that players just weren't finding (and, ultimately, never did find).
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • The Ojama Brothers are a trio of low-level Normal Monsters with goofy looks and zero attack points, which, naturally, makes them useless. That was, until Konami released a number of support cards for them, starting with a spell card that wipes your opponent's field for free if you have all three out, and also including a pair of fusions that lock down your opponent's ability to summon their own monsters, a couple of "Cousins" that can help search and bring them out, and a number of spells which boost their attack (Including their own Field Spell) as well as search and summon them. Another Ojama support card, in a Call-Back to Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, focuses on supporting LIGHT-type Machine Unions, of all things. This is gimmicky but surprisingly effective when played with the outdated VWXYZ cards... and downright ridiculous when played with the tournament-winning ABC cards.
    • There's also four cards based off of Parodius, resembling four plastic men riding paper airplanes. Two of them are normal monsters with almost no attack or defense, but the other two are Union Monsters (monsters that can turn themselves into Equip cards) and when unioned to the others, make them impressively powerful.
    • Skull Servant. This guy is well known as being among the weakest monsters in the game with no effect, low stats, and no support. Various aspects of the game treat them as the Butt-Monkey... Until the release of King of the Skull Servants, a creature that gains 1000 attack points for every Skull Servant in your graveyard, as well as every King of the SS. Still sounds pretty tame given that you can only have up to three of each, so King caps at 5000... until they received a whole series of cards based around them, all of which count as Skull Servant in the Graveyard, turning King of the Skull Servants into a horrifically powerful beatstick that can comfortably reach five-digit ATK values and caps at over 20000 ATK, enough to comfortably One-Hit Kill the opponent twice over.
    • Similarly, there's Mokey Mokey. A 300/100 fairy with no effects. But its flavor text says "Sometimes he gets mad and that is dreadful," and its support cards show just how dreadful it can be — three Mokey Mokeys can be fused to create Mokey Mokey King which, despite having the same low stats, allows you to summon as many Mokey Mokeys as you have in your graveyard when it leaves the field (destroyed, returned to the deck, etc.), and the spell card Mokey Mokey Smackdown increases Mokey Mokey's attack to 3000 for 1 turn if a fairy type monster you control is destroyed. The official ruling is that if a Mokey Mokey is summoned after the effect is activated, it gets the effect too. Chain all three together and you probably get very close to beating your opponent in 1 round.
    • Low-level Normal Monsters in general qualify. Low stats? You bet. No effects? Comes with the territory. But they are fast. Cards like Common Charity, White Elephant's Gift, and Heart of the Underdog give them a surprising amount of draw power, while Human-Wave Tactics, The League of Uniform Nomenclature, and Enchanting Fitting Room make filling the field with them easy. Level 1 Monsters are favored thanks to a little card called Triangle Power, which boosts their ATK and DEF by 2000 at the cost of destroying them later... which slots in well with ace card The Law of the Normal. Law can only be played when you have five Level 2 or lower Normals, but it destroys all cards on the field and in both player's hands except those Normals. Play Triangle Power, then Law, and your opponent will be facing down a combined total of over 10,000 ATK with nothing to defend themselves. A variation of this is a trio of cards: Oppressed People, People Running About, and United Resistance. All three are weak, effect-less, and common... but they have a personal Trap, Huge Revolution, that can only be used when all three are together. It nukes your opponent's entire hand and field.
    • Rescue Cat might be the most famous example. When it was created, most players dismissed it as a Com Mon with horrendous stats and a third-rate effect, and though it had some good runs in certain Beast decks, it was broadly only considered notable for its absurdly cute looks. Come Synchro Monsters and X-Saber Airbellum in particular, and Rescue Cat jumped from cutesy Com Mon to Game-Breaker overnight. Its effect? Tribute it to summon two low-level Beasts, which are destroyed at the end of the turn. That's an instant Level 6 Synchro (and later, Rank 3 Xyz), right off the bat, just by itself, on a monster weak enough to be searched by dozens of effects. It's even a series of Ridiculously Cute Critter monsters with similar effects, one of which (Rescue Rabbit) had its own tournament-winning deck and remains a staple in Normal Monster-focused decks.
    • The anime, and some of the video games, featured the Ancient Treasure cards: Crystal Skull, Ashoka Pillar, and Cabrera Stone. They all have 0 ATK, all except Ashoka Pillar have 0 DEF, and they deal damage to you when they're Summoned or destroyed. The trick is that the damage they deal is pretty damn high, and if you have the right cards, such as Barrel Behind the Door or Spell of Pain, you can easily redirect it to your opponent. If you get all three out, you can activate Triangle — O, which destroys all cards on the field and redirects the damage to the opponent, most likely taking a massive bite out of your opponent's LP.
    • Kuriboh was this in the original series, to the point that Kaiba was actually shocked when he realized that someone used it. As it turned out, the Kuriboh's notoriously low stats also made it a perfect target for Multiply, a combo that Yugi won multiple games with. One tiny fuzzball isn't much — an infinitely-replicating horde of tiny fuzzballs is another thing entirely.
    • Winged Kuriboh. If destroyed in battle, you are safe from any further battle damage for the turn, and can be Special Summoned with The Flute of Summoning Kuriboh... and it comes with a much more powerful upgrade, Winged Kuriboh LV10, which is much more lethal. LV10 requires Transcendent Wings has the same stats as Winged Kuriboh (let's be fair, you don't summon Winged Kuriboh LV10 for its raw brute-force), but comes with a highly powerful effect: During your opponent's battle phase, you can tribute it to destroy all their face-up attack position monsters and inflict damage equal to the combined ATK of all destroyed monsters. This basically makes it a much more powerful (albeit slightly harder-to-play) version of Mirror Force. Combine that with Battle Mania, a trap that forces your opponent's monsters into attack position and makes your opponent unable to skip their battle phase, and chances are pretty big that you can defeat your opponent during their own turn.
    • Number 30 — Acid Golem of Destruction appears to be the embodiment of Awesome, but Impractical at first glance. It has very good stats for a Rank 3, but it blocks off all your own Special Summons, it requires you to detach an Xyz material each turn or take 2000 damage, and once it's out of materials, it can't attack, so its stats are meaningless. So play Creature Swap and give it to your opponent, meaning now they have a useless monster that shuts down their strategies and kills them in four turns. You can even use Bahamut Shark to bring out a material-less Acid Golem right off the bat, ready to make your opponent suffer.
    • The Dustons are an Expy of the Ojamas, and work pretty similarly. They all have 0/0 stats, can't be Tributed or used for most types of Extra Deck summoning, and when they're destroyed, their controller suffers a detrimental effect. They sound completely useless, but this comes together with the card House Duston, which summons a bunch of Dustons to both players' sides of the field when destroyed. This means you can instantly flood your opponent's board with useless monsters, and when you add in Goblin King (which gains 1000 ATK for every Fiend in play) or Starduston (which gains 1000 for every Duston sent to summon it), it can follow up with a One-Hit Kill. Unfortunately, they've since been hit hard by Power Creep, as your opponent can use Dustons for Link Summons, turning them into a more straight Joke Character.
    • Jam Breeding Machine was widely seen as one of the worst cards in the game on release. All it did was spit out extremely weak Slime Tokens once per turn, at the cost of also blocking off summons of anything but Slime Tokens. However, much later, hefty ATK-boosting cards Wetlands and Token Stampede were released, and Slime Tokens are among the few things that can benefit from both, turning them from 500-ATK liabilities to 2700+ indestructible powerhouses. It's a long way from effective in competitive play, but against more casual opponents, beating down your opponent with a Slime Token is well worth it.
    • At first glance, Gale Dogra seems like one of the worst cards ever made. For the price of terrible stats and a colossal 3000 LP, it lets you send a monster from your Extra Deck to your Graveyard, and due to the rules on Extra Deck summons, monsters sent this way cannot be revived. The thing is, there are a surprising number of Extra Deck cards that activate when being sent to the Graveyard by any means—in particular, Herald of the Arc Light to search Ritual Monsters, Elder Entity N'tss to destroy any card, and PSY-Framelord Omega to recycle any of your cards. And since there are no more limitations on the effect than the LP cost (which can be resolved by Reprodocus and Telekinetic Charging Cell), you can use its effect any number of times per turn. The result is that Gale Dogra's most widespread use in the modern game is using it for first-turn kill strategies, creating loops through the effects of the above cards that potentially let the player draw every card in their deck and burn all the opponent's LP.
    • The Winged Dragon of Ra — Sphere Mode was initially written off when it came out as it is essentially a dud card that requires three Tributes from either side of the field to summon to that side of the field, does nothing when it comes out, and its only "useful" effect is to Special Summon "The Winged Dragon of Ra" with 4000 ATK/DEF from the hand or Deck, which, combined with the Egyptian God cards being a notoriously mediocre archetype, you'd have a hard time justifying running even with Sphere Mode as an alternative summoning option. However, Tributing from your opponent's side of the field is an extremely powerful non-targeting removal option as very few cards can actually stop a Tribute Summon; combined with the modern metagame of using massive combos to build huge boards designed to mow down your opponent and use layers of removal protection effects to prevent your opponent from getting through it, being able to just pitch three of your opponent's monsters without them being able to do anything about it and leaving them with a dud that is nigh-unusable unless they happen to run Ra can single-handedly break entire strategies, causing Sphere Mode to be a powerful situational Side Deck option.
    • Appointer of the Red Lotus was basically an attempt to make a "balanced" version of banned-for-decades card The Forceful Sentry, and spent most of its history as a punchline. Sure, you get to look at the opponent's hand, but so do they, and though it does banish a card of your choice, that card only stays gone until the end of the opponent's turn. In the slower formats of the time, this was essentially giving up one of your cards permanently along a quarter of your starting Life Points just to get rid of one opponent's card for a single turn. However, as the game got faster, Appointer went through a kind of inverse Power Creep—duels getting shorter meant that Appointer worked incredibly well as a counter to individual "board breaker" cards like Dark Ruler No More. Sure, the opponent would get their card back for their next turn, but in a situation where you would want to use Dark Ruler No More but you can't, there typically won't be a next turn. This is before accounting for the added info that comes from seeing the opposing hand. Due to this, Appointer was ultimately banned in the TCG.

    Fighting Games 
  • Helix from ARMS is a green, boneless alien who that looks like a useless joke character, but his true strengths are hidden below the surface. At the expense of mobility, Helix can duck and stretch, avoiding attacks with high potential for counterattack when used properly.
  • Naru from Battle Arena Toshinden 3 is one of these, by virtue of being the last unlockable character in the game. She's very small and carries a comparatively big sword, making her attacks slow. But her size also makes her harder to hit and quick on her feet, allowing her to literally run circles around her opponents than perform the few second long dodge roll all characters are able to perform. Along with having a broken ability to instantly throw opponents by making them eat the floor by dragging them by the foot and with greater recovery, her fighting style is close to that of her adopted father Kayin with an emphasis on priority special moves with more reach, so characters who know how to master him should be able to fight as Naru no problem.
  • Bleach: Blade of Fate:
    • At first glance, Yachiru seems worthless. She has two moves, a dash attack and her Battle Aura, and one super that's a stronger version of the aura. If you use her personal Spirit Card deck, however, you'll see it's all Stability (which prevents her attacks from being stopped if she gets hit) and Spirit Pressure Increase. That's the trick — use her dash to corner her opponent, then bust out her super, and the opponent can't escape taking every hit. If you have three super bars, that's most of their health. No wonder she's a Cute Bruiser.
    • Hanataro can make a claim to this status — unlike Shattered Blade, he only has two attacks that heal the enemy, and one of his special attacks inflicts paralysis, which is like a "Free Air Combo" ticket. Even in Shattered Blade, Hanataro can make this claim. If used correctly, he can be one of the most powerful characters in the game. His special attack can inflict over half a health bar's worth of damage. This is only beaten out by Byakuya's Bankai attack, which is really saying something.
  • Bloody Roar: Primal Fury:
    • It manages to include a joke boss. In a tournament filled with shapeshifters who can turn into man-tigers or wherewolves, his basic beast form is... a penguin? Not a human-sized penguin, or a superfast penguin, or one who hits supernaturally hard. It's about two-feet tall and squeaks. It attacks with wingslaps. His normal human form is a bit bishie, too, and not particularly strong with abrupt combos. Except a two foot tall penguin coincidentally happens to be far too short for most attacks, even many special powers It can't be grabbed, and thus is very easy to turtle with. It can be hard to predict, and will interrupt enemy combos with its wussy slaps. In some cases, you can force enemies to turn around while continuing their combo, leaving them open. His Hyper Beast Mode is a short-lived, human-sized phoenix with a one-hit kill. And it's still a downgrade from the penguin!
    • Uriko debuted as the first game's final boss (against her will) and was unable to complete her transforation in subsequent games, so she looks like a token catgirl instead of a weretiger (and acts like the former as well). Many of her techniques cause her to lose her balance or leave her dizzy, regardless of whether they were succesful. But her basic and beast combos are infinitely chainable at the right tempo, and can keep all but the perfectly-timed opponent juggled 'til their lifebar is gone.
  • Castlevania: Judgment has Maria Renard. Not only is she a silly character in general (a Cute Witch in a Gothic Horror setting), her attacks are quirky and even prone to misfiring, causing her to break her own combos. But, if handled properly and kept at the right range, she can devastate her opponents, including Demonic Spider-type foes.
  • Death Vegas has two lethal joke characters: Duff, a fat guy wearing a Hawaiian shirt and a crown, and Lourdes, a cleaning lady wielding a plunger. Both of them have nasty counterattacks and are capable of holding their own against a roster that includes a karate expert, an martial artist assassin, a tazer-packing FBI agent, and a 'roided-up boxer.
  • Jefailey from Divekick was meant to be a poser, like Dan Hibiki. His kicks have a pitiful reach unless they're charged beforehand, and his head inflating with each win to make him a bigger target! Even S-Kill, who's obsessed with nerfing the other characters, found that he can't possibly nerf Jefailey any further and actually offered to buff him. On the flip side, however, said head inflation also makes him jump higher, almost rivaling Dr. Schoals' massive rocket jump on his fourth win. His kicks also arc instead of traveling straight forward, which can trip people up, and if charged can make him fly almost the entire width of the screen. His Ground Technique also freezes time for everything but the clock, which can help secure a win by time out.
  • Most of the games in both the Dragon Ball Z: Budokai and Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi series have at least one of these.
    • Ginyu could qualify for this trope in the first four games of the Budokai and Budokai Tenkaichi series — simply let the opponent beat him up, use Body Change (which switches the characters' respective health bars), and finish what your opponent started. However, this was heavily nerfed in Budokai Tenkaichi 2, to the point where the move is practically useless.
    • Videl from Budokai Tenkaichi 2, whom most players quickly dismiss because she has no long-range offense whatsoever, has a very small health bar, and has a weak short-range offense. However, she's fast. Very fast. As in, "can string together 30-hit combos with minimal effort and finish them with a 75-hit combo" fast. Those hits may be weak, but they add up. Against a competent Videl, most opponents aren't even given a chance to breathe during their Death of a Thousand Cuts, much less amount to any form of counteroffense themselves. This also applies to Videl in Raging Blast 2. While most see her as weak, she can combo opponents repeatedly into paralysis with a combination of melee and her signature skill. Her signature skill is a series of kicks that leave the opponent unable to counter and can be combo-ed with itself until you run out of ki, potentially getting combos in the hundreds of hits.
    • Mr. Satan. Unlike every other character in the Budokai Tenkaichi series, his standard combo has no knockback whatsoever (on top of doing next to no damage). His Ultimate Blast can be either pathetic... or do only 1 damage. At first glance it seems his only saving grace is Present For You, a Blast 2 that can counter any close-range attack with a powerful bomb. Problem with that is, Mr. Satan has a Blast 1 called False Courage that makes him immune to knockback. At long range, he can simply dodge everything and not care about what does manage to hit. At medium range, he can use a rush Blast 2 that has a tremendous amount of knockback (and in the meantime, he's charging energy to re-use it). At close range, Present For You. Game, set, match.
    • Yajirobe in the anime was an obese man with a sword and no powers besides good training, who fell into Can't Catch Up faster than anyone else. He's quite possibly the weakest Z Warrior. Budokai Tenkaichi 2 Yajirobe seems like he'd be a gag character at first glance (since Yajirobe couldn't fly in the series, this version does flying sequences by dog-paddling the air), but once you experiment a bit with him, you find that he has the fastest stock recovery in the game, letting him hurl out moves like candy — including a full heal through eating senzu beans. Yajirobe is even labelled a Game-Breaker by some for this potency.
    • Arale Norimaki of Dr. Slump in Budokai Tenkaichi 3. She has low HP, weak attacks, very little variety in attacks, short reach with her melee attacks, a basic special attack which is slow and easily dodged, weak flying and being an android she can not charge KI. But she has 2 things which make her lethal: she is small and she is fast. This allows her to avoid most attacks simply by running around. She can keep doing this until she can use her basic special, which while near useless at range is near instant cast making it dangerous if you run in and use it at point blank range while your opponent is missing you with their special. It will knock the opponent over allowing you time for a quick retreat. Her weak flying also comes into play when combined with her size as any opponent taller than her (which is the majority) will be unable to complete a combo on her in mid-air as long as the player ceases any input, causing her to quickly fall below their attacks mid-combo leaving them wide open to her special. The result is a character very suited to hit and run combat.
    • Tarble from Raging Blast 2 also counts. For those who don't know, Tarble is Vegeta's younger brother who was outcast for being too weak and kindhearted. Overall he plays like a weaker version of Vegeta with moves that are similar to his brother's, but weaker and sometimes with less effect. What drives him into this role, however, are two of his special techniques: Wild Sense and Energy Booster. Wild Sense allows him to instantly dodge any move that would otherwise connect and Energy Booster boosts the damage of his rush and ki attacks. If you combine the two with his relatively quick moves, decent ki consumption rates and toss in his Explosive Wave and Galick Burst for emergency defense and ambushes, then Tarble becomes every bit as viable a fighter as anyone else.
  • Fighting game Eternal Champions 2 (also known as Eternal Champions: Challenge from the Dark Side) had, as an unlockable character, Crispy, a chicken with no special moves and not many regular moves to speak of. But he was also so small that the majority of moves couldn't hit him, and opponents could only block his attacks while crouching (unless he jumped). Crispy was supposed to be just a cute novelty character, but he was ridiculously-hard to beat, even when used by an inexperienced player. He was practically invincible in the hands of someone who knew what they were doing. 2 also introduced a buggy "juggling" mechanic, and Crispy was fast enough to easily juggle his oppnents. Yet too too small for other characters to juggle.
  • Gundam:
    • In Gundam Battle Assault 2, the player can unlock such powerful cheese machines like the Big Zam, Epyon, deceptively-ridiculous Zeong, the SNK Boss Dark Gundam, the more under-the-radar Hydra Gundam, the Missile spam crazy Heavyarms Custom, and the custom Psycho Gundam Mk-III. Sharing the spotlight with these mechanical titans is... a Ball, piloted by barely-above-no-name Shiro Amada. Not to denigrate his status as a pilot or a protagonist, but Shiro isn't exactly on a par with Newtypes like Char Aznable or zombie-cyborgs like Major Ulube Ishikawa or even pretty boy aces like Treize Kushrenada. Still, people fear the Ball, all for one reason: sheer speed. Ball is the second-fastest character in the game, and has a trick by which it can stop its vertical boost and rapidly descend with an attack. This lightning-fast cross-up could then be canceled into his damaging jackhammer attack or his even-more-damaging 120mm cannon shot. Even without any mega-specials and pitiful defense, the trusty Ball managed to crush almost anyone in its path.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam: Encounters In Space has traditional Joke Characters in the Ball and Core Fighters, but a number of other suits can be dangerous. Perhaps the best example would be the Japanese-only MS-06SHAKU Zaku II Shaku Yumiko Custom. Custom Zaku? Uh oh. Custom bright pink Zaku? A little odd, but after Char and Johnny Ridden, it'll frighten most dedicated players. Custom bright pink Zaku decorated with bright pink hearts? Not so scary, especially since its damage and speed is the same as normal Zaku IIs and it can be carved up by an experienced GM pilot with a bullpup machinegun. Its distinguishing feature? An I-field powerful enough that it can sit down in front of a Big Zam and smile smugly, because with said I-field it takes minimal damage from beam weapons, and thus can tear apart beam-only/beam-dominant mobile suits like the Gundam Blue Destiny units or Gundam Physalis.
    • The Ball of Mobile Suit Gundam: Federation vs. Zeon has the lowest armor and most limited weaponry of any suit, while being slow and having rather limited boost power. A Rick Dom or most Mobile Armors can blow it up in a single shot. It's mostly in-game for plot purposes. It can still be ridiculously lethal in the right hands, though, since where you'd only get a couple Rick Doms, players using the Ball get at least six, and often many more, all of which are small targets devoted to long-range attacks. They can only take down real mobile suits by nibbling them to death, but they can nibble things to death.
    • Gundam Extreme Vs:
      • Acguy appears weak and pathetic, but is fairly fast and has three different Support MS's it can call up, meaning you can easily find yourself Zerg Rushed by Acguy variants.
      • Extreme Vs. Full Boost adds Patrick Colasour's GN-XIII from Gundam 00 to the mix via DLC. Like the Acguy, it's ranked in the lowest of the game's four Character Tiers, meaning it has comparatively low damage output and Hit Points. However, it has exceptional mobility thanks to its barrel roll maneuver, a temporary Super Mode, and can have seemingly infinite ammunition if the player carefully manages its two guns (its GN lance machinegun and GN beam rifle). On top of everything else, its Finishing Move involves grappling the enemy and exploding, dealing massive damage at the cost of reducing the GN-XIII to 1 HP, just like one of the more famous instances of this trope.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • Pet Shop from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Heritage for the Future is a bird whose Stand, Horus, is an ice elemental which only allows him to fire tiny icicles and stalagmites at his enemies which do little damage, as well as having the lowest health in the game. However, being a bird, he's the only character in the game who can fly seamlessly around the battlefield, meaning he's able to dodge just about any attack by simply flying over it, and has some of the most spammable moves in the game, one of which is incredibly powerful. The tourneys for the game actually consider him to be the highest-tiered character. Some even have him banned from use in competitive play.
    • Shigechi in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle. A small, fat, really weird-looking high school student, Shigechi has the Stand Harvest, which manifests as a bunch of tiny insect-men. They're expended for his special attacks, which forces him to constantly replenish them — and the move to do so leaves him open for a split-second. However, he's short, and (unlike Iggy) his hitbox reflects this — high attacks can't touch him when he's on the ground. Many of his attacks hit low, which is an advantage because many players rarely think to block low. One of his special attacks drops stuff on the enemy — which makes it an overhead in a game where there are not a surfeit of overheads. For a character who died horribly only a few chapters after his introduction, Shigechi is surprisingly able to hold his own.
  • For all intents and purposes, Shingo Yabuki is to The King of Fighters what Dan Hibiki is to Street Fighter. Granted, he's not exactly treated as a loser in the story (unlike Dan, where Shingo actually won a tournament in canon and even fought alongside his idol twice), but from a gameplay standpoint, he's a fairly unremarkable, if average composite of Kyo's classic Shotoclone moveset and his post-'96 "Rekka"-style moveset. That is until you get into his Critical Hit mechanic in '97 and '98, which amps up his combo damage and makes him a whole lot more formidable as a result. The mechanic is removed from '99 onwards, but in turn, Shingo given iterative improvements as the series progresses (even being able to do his Shingo Kick in the air in 2003 and XI), Zig-Zagging this trope depending on the game.
  • In the main Kirby series, the Sleep ability serves no purpose other than to briefly inconvenience the player. Despite this (or perhaps because of it), it managed to win Nintendo's poll for what the final ability in Kirby Battle Royale should be, and was given a full moveset for the first time ever. Said moveset includes a large and hard-to-avoid Snot Bubble projectile, a grapple move that makes opponents fall asleep, and an automatic Healing Factor that can be used infinitely. Keep in mind the only other way to heal in this game is via an item that can only be used once per game.
  • In Mace: The Dark Age, you can play as Pojo the Magic Chicken with a code. Pojo is weak and has very few attacks, but is so small that most attacks miss entirely, including everything the Final Boss does.
  • Marvel vs. Capcom 3:
    • Phoenix Wright is quite possibly the most overly complicated, useless character in the hands of the wrong person. As his power stacks with his "legal defense", players have to switch between threenote  attack modes while collecting relevant evidence to build a case; additionally, there are five different evidence pieces which all carry different special moves if used as attacks. Despite all these complications, however, collecting three pieces of evidence and landing a clean hit with an "OBJECTION!" allows him to access Turnabout Mode, which has an exponential damage boost, allows super move variants, and unlocks the use of Ace Attorney, the most damaging move in the whole game, which cannot miss. Phoenix Wright's damage and speed boost when activating X-Factor is staggeringly high when he is the last man on his team, and if Ace Attorney is used while in X-Factor, he can knock out any character even if they have a full HP bar. One bad move and Phoenix Wright can turn the entire game around, kind of like what he does in the cases of his own series, actually.
    • Rocket Raccoon. Yes, he's a walking raccoon with a gruff British accent, he has middling HP, and his combos are very difficult to pull off, but he has great trapping ability, good keepaway, and is hard to hit due to being the smallest character in the roster.
  • The Super-Deformed cat girl Neko-Arc in Melty Blood. Despite being unplayable (literally) in half of the versions, Neko-Arc is hilariously broken: very small height, good speed, and powerful ranged and throwing attacks. A safe strategy leans towards crouching in a corner continually tripping her until she runs out of health. Luckily, she doesn't do too much damage overall, and has about the worst defense in the game, but if a skilled player hits enough times... Neko-Arc suffers from one problem: her only attack that's likely to land a hit on the opponent is her True Ancestor Beam, which requires magic circuit to use. Neko-Arc Chaos, on the other hand, combines all of Neko-Arc's advantages with some of Nrvnqsr Chaos' far-reaching attacks. Both Neko-Arcs (in modes retaining their unique paper air-dash) can actually stay out of an attacker's reach for a ridiculous period of time. If they gain a life advantage during a match, then get hit in mid air near the peak of their high jumps, they can air-recover (resetting their actions) and air-dash slowly across the screen... TWICE.
  • M.U.G.E.N has a fair share of these, as anyone is capable of making their own characters for the engine:
    • Someone made a version of Mario called "NES Mario." NES Mario is just like what you think: the version of Mario from Mario 1, and he's tiny at that. He can only attack by jumping on enemies and he dies in two hits (if you don't press the button to turn into Super Mario again at the expense of some of the lifebar, a merciful addition). However, there's something that makes him lethal: Fighting game characters flinch when hit, Mario does not. If you get a window of opportunity, you can just keep on stomping your foe and finish them off in less than a minute. Ironically, he can't survive his own stage, and you have to wait a long time after he dies for the game to progress!
    • Metool, a Mascot Mook from Mega Man X. It takes twice the damage from any attack, hence dying twice as fast as a regular character. However, it's tiny and very hard to normally damage, it can juggle opponents with its Spread Shot, has access to its signature helmet guard which makes it invulnerable to ANYTHING, an unblockable super where a bunch of metools rush the enemy for a third of their health, and finally, its ultimate attack drops the Metool Daddy from Mega Man 4 on the enemy for an unblockable One-Hit Kill.
    • Bandana Waddle Dee from Kirby Super Star, more specifically his boss fight in Ultra. He pretty much plays like he did in his original appearance. He can't dash and has a delayed jump and cannot defend. His only attack is a form of Collision Damage with Scratch Damage. However, said attack also makes him nearly untouchable. Any kind of physical contact towards Bandana Dee will also hurt the attacker in the process and he/she can get knocked back. Thus, Bandana Dee is a surprisingly tough boss for any character who relies on rushdown attacks. He can be stopped by long-range attacks such as projectiles and also grabs.
    • don't worry these pizzas are in good hands, which is also used in VHFSMACVUSMRRM is an edit of Marvel vs. Capcom 2 Spider-Man, based on the memetic pizza delivery minigame from the Playstation 2 game. At first glance is a joke character what with his slowed down speech, overriding the music to play "Funiculi Funicula" and a lot of his movements causing damage to himself. The "lethal" part comes that he's still extremely fast and can easily stream combos. If you know what you're doing, you can easily cause a lot of damage before you actually hurt yourself.
  • The Naruto: Clash of Ninja games had Akamaru the puppy who, unlike all the other human characters, was very tiny. Even though he only had a few attacks that don't do much damage, all the other characters' attacks were designed to attack regular characters, meaning a vast majority of them fly over him. It came to the point that all of a character's intricate combos would be useless and they'd have to focus on aiming kunai or carefully timing sweep kicks to hope to survive.
  • Hidden character and in-game store owner Mel from Power Stone 2. She has three special attacks: of these, two do low damage and are difficult to connect with. The third also does low damage; unlike any other special attack however, it can be used up to four times in a row. Combine with Mel's special ability to triple jump out of range, and suddenly the opposition is being crushed by a never-ending rain of unavoidable moneybags spawned by an untouchable foe.
  • The Chairperson in Rival Schools is pathetic in battle, as she trained in Saikyo, the martial arts style of Dan Hibiki! Her design is nothing to write home about, either; she's unremarkable — but that's part of her appeal. Her Team-Up Attack is one of the most powerful in the game, as it is the only one which recovers both health and your super meter. She's useless as a player character, but invaluable as a teammate.
  • One of the base classes in Soulcalibur III is the Dancer. Its initial weapon discipline is a pair of tambourines. Despite the silly-looking nature of the moveset, it's A) incredibly fast, B) two of the tambourine weapons (Mazurka and Terpischore) have the ability to heal the character with every successful hit, and C) many of its most basic moves utterly break the A.I. Use the class enough times also unlocks the Soul of Xianghua, meaning access to her infamous "Great Wall" attack.
  • Street Fighter's Dan Hibiki. Being such a famous joke, few bother to properly train against him, which is a mistake.
    • Dan debuted in Street Fighter Alpha as a parody of Street Fighter copycats and "Shotoclones" in general. Dan relied on cheap shots to win, but he was known for being very tricky in the right hands. His normals are some of the hardest-hitting in the game, and his pathetic Shoryuken (the Koryuken) becomes invincible after a certain amount of attacks or taunts. This is why Dan has more taunt inputs than any other character in the Alpha trilogy. If you're good at keeping count, this can lead to a humiliating defeat for your opponent when you cancel their Super!
    • Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter and Marvel vs. Capcom 2 change his useless Otoko Michi from an amusing way to kill yourself into the most damaging move in the game. It still reduces Dan to exactly a pixel of health when it hits, but losing Dan to take out one member of the opposing team is a net gain. More hilariously, it has priority over the Dangerous Forbidden Technique, Shun Goku Satsu, which Otoko Michi is a parody of: if Akuma (the strongest Shoto character ever) and Dan both use their respective supers on each other, Dan will emerge triumphant! His Punch and Launch throw is especially nasty, leading to some loops and mind games when used well. He had good pokes, and with the right partners he could actually be very effective.
    • In SNK vs. Capcom: SVC Chaos. Gadoshokoken piffles out after a few feet, but covers the same area as a Haohshokoken, which means that it'll catch you in a jump every time. Stupid, showy power punch (mimicing Ryo's super move which dizzies enemies if it connects) has a hideous recovery time, but does a lot of damage and sends his oppnent flying across the screen, so it can't be punished unless they land directly in a corner. The long windup functions as an autoguard which can block anything, even normally unblockable moves. Same ol' dumb Dankukyaku which is faster than before and can easily punish fireballs. And of course, the Otoko Michi, his Desperation Attack, takes off half your life and causes him no damage.
    • Dan is also effective in Capcom vs. SNK 2: Mark of the Millennium, albeit due to a bug. If you pick A-groove and activate it, you can infinitely chain his Dankukyaku and juggle his opponent.
    • Dan is at the height of his power in Street Fighter IV, making him middle-tier. His Shisso Buraiken Ultra Combo has priority over Akuma's Shin Shun Goku Satsu Ultra. This is hilarious to see in action: if Akuma's move activates, he cannot escape. Dan's Super is a stupidly-long combo which is easily punishable if you miss, but surpasees his Super if it lands. His Koryuken and Gadouken now deal more damage than their counterparts, all variations of his Dankuukyaku are "safe on block" i.e they can't be punished, his taunts stop oncoming attacks, and his Ultra Combo isn't nerfed like everyone elses'. In Ultra Street Fighter IV, performing a ducking or jumping taunt fills his Super Meter, which is crucial for a character with some of the funniest taunts. Shissho Buraiken has armor-breaker properties, to boot.
    • And Dan still managed to surpass himself in Street Fighter V by being the only character who had a true infinite combo. While his infinite ended up getting nerfed, they nerfed it by buffing him, giving him a random chance of firing an enhanced Gadoken which drops the combo.
    • Street Fighter III: Sean is Ken's young student and attacks with, er, basketballs. (And they're finite, to boot!) But he's actually quite good. He also strives to be everything Dan wasn't. They nerfed his balls off (err...) in 3S, though, making him the worst character in the game. It's notable that Sean's actually worse than de facto Street Fighter joke Dan Hibiki in the storyline.
  • Super Smash Bros.:
    • At first glance, Jigglypuff is a terrible character: Slow ground speed, short reach, two incredibly punishable specials, is sent flying off the stage if its shield gets broken, and is as light as you'd expect from the "Balloon Pokémon" in a game where launching people off the screen is the name of the game. However, Jigglypuff's real strength comes from its amazing air game: It's incredibly nimble in the air and can jump multiple times, which combined with effective aerial attacks with low-angled launch trajectories means getting back on the stage against a good Jigglypuff is a nightmare for many characters. Adding to that, its special "Rest" is the ultimate Death or Glory Attack; although it has an incredibly short range and leaves Jigglypuff completely defenseless for a long time, sleeping somehow sends people rocketing upwardsnote  even at relatively low damage. note  This has been Zig-Zagged, however, as Jigglypuff is known to vary heavily from Balance Buff to Nerf, being all over the place from a legitimate powerhouse (Melee) to an ineffectual gimmick (Brawl, 4) to somewhere in between (64, Ultimate).
    • Smash 4 has the Villager, who like Jigglypuff, has all the makings of a truly bad character. Not very fast, poor combo ability, and light weight making them combo fodder for other characters really hides just how deceptively powerful the character is. The Villager's first main calling card is their forward smash, which has good reach, hits very hard even at low percentages, and is very effective for edgeguarding. Villager also has the "Pocket" move, which catches objects and stores them for future use, including virtually every enemy projectile and even makes Villager completely invulnerable to all damage for a few frames. Finally, there's the Villager's trump card: Timber. The Villager grows a huge tree that can either be cut down (which causes incredible damage) or used as an effective shield. Not only that, as long as the tree is on the field, Villager can instead use the Axe as a powerful attack, making the Villager a quirky but dangerous character overall.
    • In Super Smash Bros. Melee, Pichu is truly a pretty bad character — It's extremely light, a large number of its moves do recoil to it, and its attacks don't have much range or do much damage. On top of that, it's a clone of Pikachu, who, while not top tier, does basically everything Pichu can do much better. What else would be expected of a baby Pokémon? Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is a different story, though. Pichu is still the lightest character in the game, still has bad range, and still damages itself, now with even more moves giving recoil. However, the recoil doesn't do as much damage, Pichu's mobility and recovery have improved, and a lot of its attacks are quite powerful. Combine that with the rage mechanic — which makes a character stronger the more damage they take — and Pichu's biggest weakness is at least partially converted into a strength. It was, on the whole, re-worked from a Joke Character into a Glass Cannon. It helps that Pikachu is a whole lot better in Ultimate than Melee.
    • The Ice Climbers are a pair of small children with hammers who come from an almost completely forgotten game, and their signature gimmick of being a Puppet Fighter puts the second Climber in the hands of Artificial Stupidity whenever they're separated. An inexperienced Ice Climber player will quickly find the duo isolated and eliminated. But once one masters the art of de-synching the Climbers, allowing true control of them both, they become one of the most insanely powerful Glass Cannon characters on the roster, with multiple infinite-grabs in both Melee and Brawl. Even when chaingrabbing was removed in Ultimate, they still do excellent damage when de-synched.
    • From the same series as Villager, adorable fan-favorite Isabelle from New Leaf became Promoted to Playable in Ultimate as a semi-clone of her higher-up. While a lot of her traits are the same as Villager's own Difficult, but Awesome playstyle, she has a few differences in her moveset which set her apart while still making her a literal bitchnote  to face if you aren't prepared. Her attacks are not especially damaging — her jab, for example, is a squeaky toy hammer which only deals 1% damage per hit — but her true calling card is versatility, with answers to all kinds of situations. These include, and are not limited to, her dash attack dropping a projectile straight down which can hit opponents trying to reach a ledge from below, her forward smash and up-smash being able to deal surprising burst damage at point-blank range, and the same slingshot aerials and Pocket ability as Villager. Most important, however, is her side-special, Fishing Rod, which allows her to not only snatch items from a considerable distance but also grab opponents before hurling them over the horizon if the lure hits them during either casting or reeling in. On paper it seems like a risky strategy because it forces Isabelle to stay still while the hook is out, so failing to hit opponents with it leaves her a sitting duck, but an experienced player can combine this with the impressive recovery offered by her up-special, Balloon Trip, by following an airborne opponent off the stage before aiming and timing the cast so it can catch and fling them straight into the blast line even at moderate KO percentage. This combination of skills makes her noticeably harder to punish than most would suspect, allowing her to go toe-to-toe with the best of them all with as cheery a smile as ever. (The aforementioned Fishing Rod was also responsible for the infamous "infinite Assist Trophy" glitch, wherein two Isabelles used Fishing Rods to catch an Assist Trophy at the same time leading to one Isabelle summoning an endless amount of a single Assist Trophy, but this has been patched out as of Version 2.0.0.).
    • Exclusive to Smash Remix, a Game Mod of Super Smash Bros. 64, is Polygon Kirby. Originally just one of the enemies for Multi-Mook Melee battles, Remix makes it Promoted to Playable. None of the Fighting Polygon Team have any special moves, so they have no projectiles and are bad at recovering, and they don't have throws, so they virtually always lose the classic Attack/Block/Throw Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors that fighting games are known for. So you'd think Kirby, despite his being one of the two most competitively powerful characters in 64, would also have his Evil Knockoff being pathetic with these handicaps, right? Well... Kirby barely ever uses his special moves in tournaments anyway, and most of his recovery is in his multiple jumps — which Polygon Kirby retains — rather than his up special. In addition, one of 64 Kirby's most major strengths is his effectiveness at easily breaking shields with his standard attacks. So, functionally speaking, Polygon Kirby is barely even touched by the polygons' limitations and is almost as strong as ordinary Kirby.
  • Mega Man's sidekick and kid sister, Roll, is a joke character in the Vs. games who is only worth it to hear her J-Pop theme. But in Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, she's significantly improved. She still has a low stamina (with Karas being the lowest), but she is tiny, has a disjointed hitbox thanks to her broom, and has a fast air-dash. Her ground combos can lead to her Roll Sweep-Sweep special move, which can hit a grounded foe and cannot be escaped. She also has a level 1 hyper move that recovers her health decently too. Adding to this, a hidden detail to her is that if she sweeps up the puddles she can produce with a special move using her mop, she becomes even stronger, nearing some of the strongest characters strength-wise with a maximum of 5 swept-up puddles (or just a single one if she uses the super version of the sweep-up attack).
  • Tattoo Assassins: As pointed out by The Angry Video Game Nerd in his "Mortal Kombat ripoffs" episode, the Nancy Kerrigan-esque figure skater (Karla) is the most offensively sound fighter in the game!
  • Tekken:
    • In Tekken 3, we got the baby T. rex Gon... who, despite being a bit slow and short (or due to being short), cannot be attacked by high attacks, cannot be thrown, and has unblockable projectiles.
    • Not to mention Dr. Boskonovitch, who spends most of the time lying on the ground! But he provides quite the challenge as the end boss of an optional mini-game, and can be lethal in the hands of an expert player. Dr. Boskonovitch can turn the tables in an instance with his variety of stances and fakeouts which, for a game like Tekken 3, is quintessential. Hell, he's got an unblockable paralyzing attack, can do a sudden ground-stomping-kaboom after mindlessly evading your attacks, is practically unpredictable, etc. And he's got a killer 20-hit combo, while the rest of the characters have only 10-hit combos. The downside is that it can be hard to learn how to control him properly.
    • Kuma and his son Kuma II (as well as their Distaff Counterpart Panda), the latter particularly in 6. The Kumas are bears with big hit boxes and crappy range (though less of a problem in Tekken 2), they move slow, and their moves are predictable. On the plus side, in Tekken 2 and 6 they attack at a decent speed. For some reason from Tekken 3 they decided to nerf Kuma II note  into a crappy Joke Character, then Tekken 6 undid a lot of the damage, and gave him a whole bunch of new moves, including the fact he can now juggle! Kuma II still moves slow, he still has crap range, a big hitbox and can be very predictable if not played properly... but he attacks at a decent pace and he still has his high power meaning he can put on a lot very quickly. Yay rebalancing! Not to mention the "Bear Fart." It's hard to connect, but it's one of the most powerful moves in any Tekken game and practically a OHKO if it connects. To wit, South Korean professional Hyeon-ho "Rangchu" Jeong, a dedicated Panda player for most of his career, took a character widely agreed to be low-tier by the Tekken community to the Tekken World Tour in 2018... and won.
    • Tekken Tag Tournament 2 has few of these too. Lili's butler Sebastian makes his debut as a playable character, and shares most of his moves with Lili. There's also the slimmer, sexier version of Bob. He has the same moves as Bob, but has some trouble doing some of the moves due to his trim figure. Also, previously mentioned Doctor B. reappears as a DLC character. His movelist has been changed, so now he surprisingly spends most of the time standing, but he still has a lot of joke moves. Here is a video about his infamous butt slide attack.
  • Kurumi of Vanguard Princess. Unlike the super-beings that are the rest of the cast, she is just a schoolgirl with only one move, but is the only character who can chain combo (deadly in this game as combos tend to be low in number and hit at near full power to compensate,) and as of the latest revision her supers are basically a One-Hit Kill.
  • Ponygon is a.. thing from Zatch Bell! Mamodo Battles. He has no spells (and thus no ultimate spell) due to his lack of a partner, which leaves him with only punching with his hooves. However, if you get your opponent up against a wall, he has an infinite that can't be teched out of, both with a conventional tech or a spell counter tech. Attempting either of these will just have him hit you again before you're able to do anything. This also works regardless of body size, so both big and small characters alike are unable to escape once they're hit.

    First/Third-Person Shooter Games 
  • Mechless D.Va from Overwatch can be killed easily, since she is only armed with her Light Gun pistol, lost all of her abilities (except to wait so she can summon a new mech), and having the lowest health (tied with Tracer) out of all characters in-game. However, her pistol packs quite a punch, has no damage fall-off, pretty accurate even in mid-range, capable of headshots, and D.Va herself is very agile. If you play her right, one can make a seemingly easy to kill target into a force to be reckoned with, capable of winning 1 vs 1 encounters with other Tank characters in the game.
  • BB-8 and his evil Moveset Clone counterpart BB-9E in Star Wars Battlefront II (2017); while BB-8 does show some competence in defending himself in the movies, most notably The Last Jedi, he's still a cute, small, ball-shaped droid going up against some of the most powerful people in the galaxy, with no plane to control or even the apparent ability to shoot stored objects from TLJ. But his small size also means that he has an extremely tiny hitbox, can easily sneak up on you, barrel through your knees without stopping, and hide himself in low-hanging spaces; he's also incredibly fast, has an easily spammable electrical attack and Cord Spin, a decent semi-ranged attack that affects enemies at all angles. As a result, these droids can attack repeatedly and make their escape before you even know what hit you, can especially make life hell for blaster users, and are some of the most incredibly annoying characters you can fight in multiplayer; also giving us the hilarious imagery of the likes of Darth Vader or Obi-Wan Kenobi being taken out by what looks like an adorably beeping soccer ball.
  • The Monkey of TimeSplitters 2 and its sequel, Future Perfect. With character attributes off, the monkey still retains its MUCH smaller hitbox, making him VERY hard to hit. Worse yet, his hitbox is BELOW the neutral position viewline, meaning opponents need to deliberately aim downwards to make their shots count, adding to the inaccuracy. With attribs on, his speed combines with the already almost gamebreaking hitbox, making him literally impossible to damage with non-hitscan weapons if played right.
    • Monkey is only a Joke Character at the select screen. As soon as you face him you realize he's a Game-Breaker. There is even a stat that which keeps track of how many times you've played as him and he's overall seen as a cheat character. Modes like Monkey Assistant is a nightmare: The last player gets a team of monkies wielding rocket launchers after them. One should also not forget Robofish, who is probably an even more Lethal Joke Character. First he is really hard to unlock in all the games. Secondly he is a robot with a fish bowl for its head. After that he's equally fast and short as monkey, but since his body is as thin as it gets, he has a smaller hitbox. Even the head is hard to hit. The Shoal is also worth fitting up here. He's a floating whale with a top hat. The reason he's good is that when you realize he lacks legs he's harder to hit. He's got a fairly large torso, but the head is not part of the whale, but a fish on top. It's pretty small and unassuming and not very different from all the other fishes floating around him, thus it's very rarely anybody ever does a headshot on him.

    Hack and Slash Games 
  • Diablo IIs expansion Lord of Destruction features the Assassin which has a skill called Blade Fury which is weak in comparison to other traps the Assassin can set and receives barely a better base damage to mana cost ratio if you spend more skill points into it. The catch of this skill is that it gets stronger the stronger you get yourself as it inflicts 75% weapon damage to enemies. This becomes even more impressive when you realize that it also causes the traits of your weapons like elemental damage as well as the traits you add to it by other means like armor or skills. So if your weapon possesses Mana Steal you have a ranged attack that refills your mana as long as it hits, if your weapon possesses Knockback it will push enemies away from you and if your weapon possesses the ability to randomly cast spells it will cast that spell with a similar ratio where it hits and it costs almost no mana at all. The downsides of it are that you can't move while you use it (you can't move while you cast most spells anyway), it only hits single enemies as long as it doesn't cast other spells and enemies are still able to avoid or block it (though as evasions and blocks are often tied to an animation they might be hit by the next blade as soon as they recover from defending). This is an example of a literal Death of a Thousand Cuts for bosses outside of the screen caused by a spam attack.
  • Diablo III has the Angry Chicken Hex for Witch Doctors which turns them into a chicken that explodes two seconds later. While silly, an end game build exists for high-speed clears of rifts using this as a centerpiece.
  • In Dynasty Warriors 5, one of the (MANY) characters is Zuo Ci, an old man whose weapon is a deck of cards. At first glance, especially compared to massive pike-wielding badasses, this seems exceptionally lame. And yet his attacks, while not especially powerful, tend to hit EVERYONE even remotely close to him. In a game where it's quite common to be surrounded by 30-40 Mooks, this is invaluable.
    • The Qiao sisters and their twin fans are rather weak, in damage dealing terms. Still, if they're played correctly, they can defeat dificult enemies in levels where the rest of characters would have to run for their lives.
    • Further mention goes to Xiao Qiao, whose ultimate weapon in DW3 had the instant death element imbued onto her final charge attack string. Use it on an enemy officer and watch his/her life bar deplete instantly.
    • Also, in the online version, Zuo Ci's weapon seems to be the weakest out of all of them, inversely having one of the WORST stat averages of the game, the average high of the weapon is actually poor quality if compared to other weapons, and having a mostly gimmicky moveset. Unless you get the right combination of first and 6th charge attack. If done right, you can have a perfect assist weapon, second only to none. You could have the ability to naturally stun, freeze, or burn any opponent without using items, and if you do then you can stack up the advantage by using a combination of 2-3 elements depending on your luck with the weapon attacks. Being able to inflict status effects stacks well with the activation skill, you get a debuff and slowly lose health, one of the weapon's higher stats, and give a bonus in attack and defense to all friends, as well as heal them. You don't play this weapon for it's stats.
      • It also helps that C2 can effectively stunlock an AI enemy. Possibly while said enemy is on fire.
      • With a buff to the deck, it's gotten even more lethal. Instead of shooting three energy shots, the deck now shoots fire, just like Zuo Ci's. Combined with the deck's musou attack, you've easily got a slightly less powerful true musou.
      • Talking about online, a less straight out joke weapon is the Feather fan, not to be confused with the strategist's fan of the same game that is also a feather fan but uses black feathers, because you can ask anybody online about Zhuge Liang, the character that this weapon moveset is based off of, and they will tell you it sucks. However, those who do know how to use it are in for a treat. It has very high defense, life, and attack upgrades, comparable the weapon based off The Dragon from the original ''DW'' games, and a deadly Musou attack is hard to aim, being a spamming of beams forward, but if you manage to connect you get a very effective stunlock that is impossible to get out of once hit unless the attacker stop or misses. Along with that it has only one really good normal attack, a moving wall attack, and it makes it confusing if somebody starts using other parts of the combo, you aren't likely to see the Charge 4 in combat, making it confusing when it's suddenly used to knock you and anybody near you away after you trap a user.
      • The Tonfas are viewed as pathetic weapons due to their range, strange stat locations, and somewhat less than stellar emblems. Its charge 5, however, can naturally set things on fire, a very valuable attack to have. Ironically, it also has a large range and is very easy to hit someone from behind, effectively making guarding useless. Combined with a lightning orb, and you'll have an essentially undodgable attack.
  • Dynasty Warriors: Gundam has its fair share of units that are, well, underwhelming — most of these are the Mecha Mook Mobile of their respective factions and series. Most of them won't set the world on fire, but occasionally some will surprise players with their powers.
    • The GINN from Mobile Suit Gundam SEED, which at first glance is an unimpressive fighter with a machine gun and a standard steel sword, not even a beam saber. However, it spontaneously pulls out a gigantic beam cannon for its Limit Break, which can be upgraded to become just as powerful as any Class 1 suit with a similar attack. If you think you've caught it out in the air where its loadout is even weaker, surprise, it also has a giant quadruple missile launcher it will drop on you at the first sign of trouble.
    • The first Mobile Suit Gundam gives us the Gouf, a slow, somewhat plodding fighter with a short sword and a weak machine gun... that has armor for days and uses its Heat Rod to stun and beat down entire crowds of mobile suits.
    • The Acguy from the same series is a goofy, fan-favorite mobile suit that is weak, but combines a surprisingly fast speed with a charge attack that sends it rolling across the ground and bowling over entire squads of enemy suits; it may not kill them quickly, but enemies will be hard pressed to keep up with the little bowling ball.
    • The king of this trope, however, is Beargguy from Model Suit Gunpla Builders Beginning G. A rather silly-looking Acguy variant designed to resemble a teddy bear, Beargguy isn't any better than the Acguy it's made from at first glance thanks to low stats and weak physical attacks. That is, until it starts using its special attacks, at which point it reveals itself to be a Macross Missile Massacre-spewing, Beam Spamming monstrosity. It retains the Acguy's rolling charge attack, but now it fires waves of homing missiles with every tumble. Rather than the puny machine guns the Acguy is forced to use, it has laser eyes. Finally, instead of the simple claw attack that the Acguy has for a Limit Break, Beargguy fires sprays of energy blasts from a beam recorder (read as the wind instrument). This means that the Beargguy can launch a flurry of missiles, use the damage caused by them to charge its Limit Break, then use that to knock down enemies so it can start its missile attack again.
  • Fire Emblem Warriors gives us Tiki, a nearly-ageless dragon in the (current) form of a precocious little girl whose main attacks consists of flailing around, tripping and even skipping in special combos. Her only good points are her Awakening (when she transforms into a giant dragon to really put the damage on her enemies until the bar depletes) and her C1 attack which transfers all her Special Meter energy into her Awakening meter. Properly setting her up with the proper weapon attributes and skill crests, however, gives her the ability to be practically in Awakening mode for all (or nearly all) the battle, making her this.
  • Hyrule Warriors has Tingle, whose regular attacks are rather awkward, smacking enemies with maps and sacks of rupees and inflicting Amusing Injuries on himself with most of his moves. At least until you discover his C5, which throws him up in the air (where few if any attacks can hit him) and scatters bombs which PULL enemies under himself before detonating his balloon for massive damage. While it has a rather punishing delay, it is completely negated if it depleted an enemy's Weak Point Gauge, letting him chain the attack into a Weak Point Smash. Even multiple Captains or Generals stand no chance once he gets to wind up such an attack.
    • Ravio from the A Link Between Worlds DLC has it even worse on the surface: his hammer is slow, makes him move erratically during his basic combo and most of his Strong Attack combos hit small areas in awkward spots making facing Generals with him a challenge... until you find out his C5 can freeze ANY enemy barring giant monsters, regardless if they're guarding or even executing moves which would make them immune to any other crowd-control effect.
  • MORDHAU: Peasants have their available points cut in half, leaving them less than able to use perks, and their armor selection is limited to basically nothing. However, the weapons they have available, while improvised, include some that are quite lethal. In particular, the scythe is infamous for catching people across the neck for a One-Hit Kill even on helmet-wearing enemies, and generally just delivering a surprising amount of harm for a farming implement, and the sledgehammer is slow enough to throw off a lot of parry guesses and drains stamina so fast your enemy will be disarmed before he knows what's happening.
  • Gracia from Samurai Warriors 2 is pathetically weak if played like a traditional character... but her special skills are absurdly more potent than anyone else in the game, to the point of bordering on Game-Breaker. She can boost her stats at will, restore health, and blast with obscenely powerful attacks, all at the cost of a bit of Musou Meter — and she quickly gets skills that cause it to constantly regenerate or accelerate its normal regeneration.
    • She's ridiculously effective on a horse, also. While her normal attacks are essentially her flailing her tiny fists at people (little damage, no range), her mounted attack is lobbing fireballs of doom. Gracia + Matsukaze = apocalyptic destruction.
  • Sengoku Basara:
    • Sengoku Basara 3: Utage'' makes Yoshiaki Mogami, Sorin Otomo and Hideaki Kobayakawa into this. Yoshiaki fights exactly like how a Dirty Coward would fight: very very dirty with a helping of unpredictability. Sorin is actually a Lightning Bruiser who is quite capable in dealing with crowds and can eventually unlock a Super Mode that turns his weapon platform into a Mini-Mecha equipped with flamethrowers and eye lasers. Hideaki is also a capable crowd-clearer and capable of being quite annoying if used right.
    • In the expansion of the fourth game, Sumeragi. It's possible to temporarily transform into Kanetsugu Naoe if you activate a roulette roll. His attacks primarily consist of unimpressive sword swings and he can only take a single direct hit at which point you transform back into your character, but he can kill all human enemies with a single hit, including bosses.
  • Tenchu 2:
    • Genbu is the closest to a comic relief character in this game due to his Dumb Is Good nature and his failure at being stealthy. He is also the biggest boss in the game and can deal massive damage compared to the tiny Ayame.
    • Takehito Urano is a laughably old samurai warrior that Tatsumaru must defeat. He is slow but he carries both a sword and a spear, and he packs a mean punch if the player lets him.

  • Ragnarok Online:
    • A class called the Super Novice can be obtained if one creates a regular Novice and keeps it from obtaining a class until base lv 45. The Super Novice at first seems to have a great deal of potential, being allowed to acquire almost all the skills the 1st class Jobs can use, and having a collective pool of 99 points (instead of the usual 50 1st class Jobs usually have) to allocate them to. However, Super Novices can only use the same crappy gear novices have, and along with their abysmally low HP/SP gains from leveling up, can easily be killed in one or two hits. Their real strength shines if built like a Mage class, as, since casting time for spells is determined by the game's DEX stat, using the right gear, maxing their base DEX stat, and using all the DEX skill buffs available to them, the Super Novice can nearly be able to instantly cast spells. If coupled with a Bard skill that even further lowers casting time and after-cast delay, players can effectively make efficiently-leveled Super Novices into living, Fire Bolt-spewing maching guns... as long as their puny SP holds out, anyway. Or if built for maxing their AGI stat, they get the highest Flee sub-stat in the game and if their XP is kept between 99 and 100% they will get up if killed with a host of buffs making them a strange little tank so long as they're not being mobbed.
    • Another class that can become a Lethal Joke Character is Soul Linker. If you choose to go support route for its skill tree, then you practically have no way to damage monsters. That is, until people realized Soul Linker can equip anything that Mage class can equip, including the Lethal Joke Weapon, Counter Dagger. Counter Dagger is a dagger that massively boost Critical ratenote , however, the dagger is only equip-able by Mage class, making it useless as Mages are better off using their powerful magic instead of physical attacks, and magic can't even deal Critical damage to begin with. But a build focused on this particular weapon can be very deadly in the hand of a Soul Linker, especially since Soul Linkers' "Ka-" support skills are able to make them last longer in battles compared to Mage class characters. Physical attacks, including Critical ones, are also affected by "Mild Wind", a support skill from Taekwon Kid class, the class Soul Linker originates from. "Mild Wind" combined with Counter Dagger allows Soul Linkers to have strong physical Ghost, Shadow, and Holy element attacks, something that's a rarity in the game, not to mention they're also Critical attacks. With some buffs and the right stats build, a Soul Linker can deal an upwards of 1500-2000 constant Critical damage under 185-187 Attack Speed (note that the maximum Aspd is 190, meaning 185 is already very fast!), making it a very strong build when used right.

    Multiplayer Online Battle Arena Games 
  • Techies in Defense of the Ancients. His kit consists of: mines, remote mines, stun mines, and the ability to blow himself up for damage. He has no offensive capabilities to speak of. However, if he manages to place and arm a stun mine in the middle of a teamfight, it inflicts an insane 6 second area effect stun that pretty much equals gg. Also, a stacked mine nest is an instant kill, so you have to walk around with a gem of truesight at all times or risk instantly dying to nothing exploding on top of you.
  • Dota 2:
    • One of its strangest heroes, Meepo, comes off as this. He has terrible stats, and his first three abilities aren't really anything special either. But his ultimate is what makes him so unique. It passively creates a permanent replica of Meepo for each level + one more if he buys Aghanim's Scepter. Each Meepo clone can attack, use abilities, boots, and some bonus stats, meaning that at level six he turns from one terrible hero to two terrible heroes, and then to three and four and then finally five terrible heroes all bashing you in the face at once.
    • Rubick, despite being a Grand Magus, has crappy stat growth (his Int growth is in fact tied with Ogre Magi, and his other stats aren't any better). His spells, while not useless, pale in comparison to other heroes' (his stun deals no damage and has a hideously long cooldown, his Chain Lightning damage is really mediocre for its cost), and the way his ultimate works means most of the time he doesn't have an ultimate. But that ultimate is Spell Steal, and with a little experience and finesse, he can steal those big teamfight spells multiple times. Not only you have to contend with the enemy team's own spells, you now have to contend with your own team's spells turned back against you.
  • Murky the Baby Murloc in Heroes of the Storm. At first glance he looks atrocious — his abilities are weird and jokey and he has health and AA damage similar to a lane minion. Even the game describes him as "not quite a full hero". However, he can be an absolute nightmare in the right hands. For starters, he's built to die a lot, and is barely punished when it happens* Murky is a beast at clearing lanes and taking merc camps, which he can do at no cost thanks to his lack of a resource and insane health regen. His third ability, Safety Bubble, extends his tiny health pool far, resisting everything for a short period and letting him fearlessly bridge the gap and apply Slime. His sustained damage is among the highest in the game — again, at no resource cost, and if Pufferfish lands it hurts. Finally, his heroics are among the best in the game, either summoning a massive area-denying swarm of murlocs, or channeling to stun an enemy for three seconds on a relatively short cooldown.
  • Teemo in League of Legends is a cuddly bipedal hamster (he's actually a Yordle) wearing a scout hat and wielding a blowpipe. He's also a memetic Scrappy and Butt-Monkey, to the point where his fan nickname is 'Satan' (and no, they aren't calling him that because Evil is Cool). However, he has the same 'mind games' specialty as Dan Hibiki above — at the level where you're skilled enough to exploit his weaknesses, he's so rarely played that no one is actually prepared to counter him. It doesn't hurt that his kit is practically designed to let him run rings around those who underestimate him and pester his opponents into a Rage Quit. Leaving Teemo be will result in the entire battlefield being mined with his infamous mushrooms, making it dangerous for the enemy team to go into their own jungle. Losing it in frustration (it being seriously embarrassing to play as a badass barbarian leader, warrior prince, or whatever and get your butt owned by a cute Yordle who might be on the other side of the field and letting his mushroom traps do all the work) and chasing him is also a terrible idea — while Teemo is a Glass Cannon who will probably die to you if you catch him, it's probably a set up with Teemo and his team taking advantage of his legendary Global Taunt to lure you into a trap and/or a massive ambush.
  • In Smite, Kuzenbo is a big buff Kappa that spends most of his time either proclaiming how great he is or making references to dank internet memes. Ability-wise, he also seems underwhelming — he can throw Nene Kappas which deal alright damage but that's about it, he can push enemies (away from your own team's attacks, if you don't know what you're doing) and while his Shell Spikes seems great, it lasts a very short time. However, Kuzenbo's abilities have two important quirks: first, while his push deals no damage by itself, slamming them into other enemies and/or walls does, up to 3 times. Doing so deals a total of 600 +105% damage which, just for comparison's sake, is around the same damage as a Ra Ultimate! Second, being hit while using Shell Spikes refreshes his non-Ultimate cooldowns, including the aforementioned push. Both are definitely difficult to pull off, sure, but mastering those two quirks turns Kuzenbo into one of the most damaging Guardians in the game.

    Platform Games 
  • Castlevania
    • The Skeleton form in Castlevania: Circle of the Moon is clumsy, can be destroyed in one hit (0 Defense, which in that game means any attack deals infinite damage), and throws not-very-effective little bones as its attack... except for the instances where the standard, not-very-effective little bone is replaced by a comically huge, 9999-damage one. It's tricky to use, but highly effective if done properly, most notably against bosses.
    • The same is true of Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow and Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow: the Skeleton soul is almost useless, as the thrown bone only does respectable damage at the beginning of the game, but every once in a while, that huge bone comes out and all your problems are solved.
    • Castlevania: Lament of Innocence and Castlevania: Curse of Darkness featured a secret character named Pumpkin. In LoI, Pumpkin becomes playable after beating the game as Joachim: his max HP is lower than Leon's, but he starts with far more MP, hearts, higher defense and the Vampire Killer whip. He also starts with all special attacks and possesses an unique subweapon that he can't replace that also posesses a random assortment of other subweapons' Item Crashes. He's also a much smaller target and thus he has an easier time avoiding some enemy attacks. In CoD, he is a secret Innocent Devil who is almost useless in combat (and very easy to kill by monsters), but provides huge stat bonuses for the player as long as it is alive.
  • Milla Basset is Freedom Planet's analogue to Sonic's Cream the Rabbit — a character who has popped up multiple times on this page — she's young, timid, is still learning her powers, and can fly by flapping her ears real hard. She has half the HP of the other playable characters, she has a slow, clumsy Charged Attack with short range and a barrier during when she can't move, and she's the only character without a speed boost move of some sort. At least, not directly. By combining her charge attack with her barrier, she can create a bigger, more damaging attack, the downside being that if she uses it in the air, the recoil thrusts her back. It turns out that Milla can use this move facing away from the direction she should go for an instant burst of momentum via Recoil Boost that, when used repeatedly and in the hands of an expert, allows her to run as fast as the game can handle and maintain that speed while flying, skipping portions of every stage and setting speed records.
    • In the sequel she has more health (though still the lowest) and gains a defensive dodge that also serves to create a charge for her strongest attack, making her a powerful, if somewhat slow moving, Stone Wall character.
  • In LEGO Star Wars, the Gonk Droid. It's slow, it has no attacks whatsoever, it can't jump in a platform game, and it tips over easily. Its only advantage is being indestructible. Which is why you pick up the Super Gonk extra, which boosts its speed considerably and lets it jump, and Self Destruct, which lets it blow itself up, turning it into an unstoppable and remarkably fast Action Bomb that wipes out pretty much anything.
  • Mega Man Powered Up has Oil Man. His gimmick is he can shoot a single blob of oil on to the ground, which he then either has to ride or let an enemy walk into. And it's incredibly weak. What kind of character is that? To a player who knows how to use him, one of the best ones in the game. As his Oil Surfboard does boatloads of damage, knocks off enemy shields, gives him a double-jump worthy of the gods, incredible speed, the ability to glide across water and a near-complete negation to enemy knockback. Same goes for Mega, which is essentially Mega Man if he never became a Super Fighting Robot. All he has is a dinky little kick, which doesn't even have the length of Roll's broom. Useless, right? Well, no. It's actually one of the most powerful attacks in the game, can break most enemy shields and even causes Wily's first form to temporarily be stunned.
  • Mega Man ZX Advent has the Chronoforce A-Trans form. It's completely useless on land, incapable of even moving, but is immune from attack and even spikes from above thanks to its hard shell. Finally, its Time Bomb charge attack is incredibly useful since you can even switch forms and the effects will continue.
  • Team Rose from the fighting mode of Sonic Heroes. They're rated as the worst team, and in the actual game they're all much slower than their counterparts and less efficient overall, but are very hard to deal with in the fighting mode so much so that the Team Chaotix boss fight with them is actually one of the game's more difficult bosses. This is because Big (power character), by far the tallest of the characters, gives them a huge height advantage over the other teams while in flight formation, making them very hard to reach and able to hit you with long ranged attacks while you struggle to hit their flight character at all. Cream's solo attack is also a guaranteed hit unlike the other fly characters' and can be a huge pain to deal with. Amy's spinning hammer attack is the only speed character move that can break through or match a power character's attacks, and unlike other speed characters she can launch a tornado attack from a distance. It is actually entirely possible, with quick enough reactions, to jump, throw a tornado, and hit the entire team of your opponent, sending them spiraling off the edge in literal seconds. Big also tends to overpower the other power characters when they're directly engaging, blowing them much further back than they blow him. In standard gameplay, Team Rose is also basically the game's easy mode, having the shortest levels and the fewest obstacles. In addition to this, their Team Blast can be incredibly overpowered in gameplay and difficult to work around in multiplayer. Rather than having a special effect after the initial blast like stopping time or turning foes into money, it simply grants the player a shield, Invincibility and a free level-up for all three teammates. Similar to Amy's performance in the 2-Player mode of Sonic Adventure 2, letting Team Rose crack off even one Team Blast in multiplayer can lead to a swift defeat.

    Puzzle Games 
  • Marvel Puzzle Quest manages to make impressively great fighters out of seemingly laughable comics characters, such as Dazzler (a disco-themed superheroine that players only requested as a joke, only to actually have powerful attacks and a good defensive move), Howard the Duck (a talking duck which manages to have a good attack, and powers that stun enemies render him invisible) and Throg (the "Frog of Thunder" not only is a workable combatant, but has the potential to spend as long as possible airborne and thus borderline impossible to hit).
  • Meteos is a Match Three Falling Blocks Puzzle Game where the player can choose a planet to play on, with the goal to annihilate the opponent's planet by filling up their playfield columns. Matching three or more blocks causes those blocks and any above it to "ignite," launching them off the top of the screen. Each planet has its own gravity, playfield size, Planet Impact, physics, ignition strength, and even what colors of blocks will fall and in what frequency, all of which vary tremendously from planet to planet. This means some planets have potential less obvious than others:
    • Arod is a very low-gravity civilization, which means blocks fall slowly, and cleared blocks leave the playfield slowly. In addition, garbage blocks sent by the opponent seem to pack a lot of momentum on Arod, plowing through other blocks in its way. Its Planet Impact, Gambit, decreases the density of falling blocks on Arod while increasing it for the opponent. Arod's slowness renders it unable to keep up with any other planet in the game. However, it doesn't need to: Since things move so slowly on Arod, this civilization can stall and resist annihilation relatively easily, forcing attrition on the opponent. Once the opponent makes a mistake, Arod can then activate Gambit and finish them off.
    • Hanihula has one of the narrowest playfields in the game (meaning it fills up quickly) and very weak ignition strength. These weak ignitions normally mean it's very difficult to clear blocks on Hanihula, but a player who can find blocks to match quickly enough can keep stringing ignition after ignition before the clusters leave the top of the screen. As there is a score multiplier on consecutive ignitions, Hanihula's ridiculously complex ignitions allow it to outscore most other opponents, provided Hanihula can last long enough for time to run out.
  • Puzzle & Dragons:
    • YouTuber 常世ノ闇 TOKOYAMi goes out of their way to use characters like Baddie, the basic Dark Attribute slime available from the earliest levels in the game, in several end game dungeons by abusing its Pixel variant's Dark Damage Resist awoken skills and the Arianrhod line's skill that changes enemies' Attribute to Dark, allowing their teams to tank hits from endgame bosses that would normally strike for the entire HP bar. TOKOYAMi has also made videos with HP reducing Assist Monsters and Leader Skills, playing late game levels with only 12-14 HP at most and surviving by pairing up with one of the versions of Viper Orochi who can survive 1-hit attacks.
    • Certain late-game dungeons bring back Alt. or True versions of some of the early game weak mobs to throw players off by having them strike for tens of thousands of HP in damage.
    • Collaboration events also play around with bringing in the Lethal Joke Characters from their own franchises such as Gilgamesh from Final Fantasy having a skill that randomly chooses between Excalibur and Excalipoor, the Liquid Metal Slime of Dragon Quest halving your own team's HP but having one of the easiest and strongest Leader Skill-based shields in the game, and King from One-Punch Man having a highly resistant Leader Skill-based shield that sometimes works.
  • In Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo, Dan has the worst attack and defense stats of any fighter, and his gem pattern is nothing but red blocks. However, in the hands of a skilled player, it's possible to build up a huge combo which buries the enemy in gems, at which point Dan taunts them to death.
  • Sushi Striker: The Way of Sushido has the weasel-like Sushi Sprite named Uszo, the Com Mons you find at the beginning of the game, wielded by the first opponents. Uszo's ability, Super Scout, allows the display at the bottom-right to show only the opponent until it wears off. By itself, Super Scout has zero impact on the gameplay. However, it combines incredibly well with the Raw Power (passive ability) of Hist-9, which increases attack power by 15% as long as a timed ability is active. Most of the other Sushi Sprites' abilities either last between 3 and 8 seconds or are instantaneous, making Hist-9 itself mostly useless, but not only does Super Scout last a full 30, Uszo charges up fairly quickly and has a menu full of high-ranked sushi (meaning they deal more damage). Play well, and you can keep Super Scout active most of the time, giving yourself an attack bonus that trumps most other Sushi Sprites' abilities due to its generous time limit. Mouzo, found later in the game, has the similarly useless-at-first glance Super Star, which causes the display to show only the user for the next 20 seconds. Though its duration is shorter than Super Scout, Mouzo is still the second best pairing with Hist-9 in the game, and she both has an equally high quality sushi menu as Uszo and provides a rather large defense boost when on your team. One viable competitive scheme is Hist-9 with Uszo, Mouzo, and an empty third slot. They are apparently such a good pairing that putting anyone into the third slot actually makes the team worse. There is an enemy in the final Brutal Bonus Level who uses Uszo and Mouzo in approximately this way, albeit with Cherrykan in the third slotnote , implying the developers were fully aware of this strategy.

    Racing Games 
  • Vinnie in one of the video games based on Biker Mice from Mars. Even with great acceleration and grip, the White Wonder is pitifully slow and has an awful special attack. (He just jumps in the air.) Using his special attack many times in a row on a straight stretch will vault a player to the head of the pack... FAST! Slap a few engine upgrades on Vinnie and he will be on par with everyone else, and still have the best acceleration and grip in the game! Every other player ALWAYS has a "WTF?!" reaction when seeing what Vinnie is truly capable of. On top of this, while other characters can body-check opponents by power-sliding on turns, Vinnie does a full spin which can knock someone back around the corner entirely.
  • The Toy cars in Burnout Paradise. They're miniaturized Power Wheels-style versions of some of the regular cars. They're quite a bit slower than their normal-sized counterparts, but they are much easier to weave through traffic and extremely durable (some of the tougher ones can ram a bus head-on and not wreck.) Their maneuverability and light weight makes them great for Stunt Runs as well; the Toy P12 88 Special in particular gets an obscene amount of hang time.
  • The Flatmobile of FlatOut 2 is so comically fast that any typical player simply cannot control it. However, said acceleration is equally reciprocated in its brakes, and at sane speeds it can out-handle any vehicle in the game. In the hands of a truly skilled gamer, no other vehicle can possibly compete, even in the infamous destruction derbies.
  • The Forza Motorsport series often includes vehicles which have absolutely no reason to be in a racing game such as the Toyota Prius and Nissan Leaf. However, many of the joke characters can become stupid fast with a good tune; the AMC Gremlin, for example, has awful base stats (wallowy suspension, very long gear ratio, terrible 1970s tires), but a few simple upgrades can turn it into a monster, as it's one of the very few F-class cars that mounts a V8 engine, giving the hatchback enough torque to out-accelerate cars a tier above it and laugh at hills that cripple the momentum of cars with the usual I4 engine.
    • Forza 7 has the BMW Isetta microcar, which is extremely unlikely to be raced in real life, but when homologated in-game, even for E class, has the fastest acceleration in the Major Micros division.
  • Hot Wheels: Velocity X's Surfin' School Bus. Its 100 armor stat and bulky size make it extremely slow and unviable for joyrides, missions, and challenges... but it is a Mighty Glacier in Battle and can win (or come close to winning) drag races in the right hands.
  • The Bulk Star in Kirby Air Ride, but only on the Nebula Belt track. The Bulk Star requires charge meter to move, and only moves when it has it or is in the air, which normally makes it terrible because of how often you'd need to stop and charge, all for the ability to go only slightly faster than other rides when you're at higher speeds. The thing about Nebula Belt is that it has a number of ramps that the Star can go off of, and it doesn't lose charge while still accelerating in the air. This allows it to pass 100MPH (far above what other Rides can give) before it runs out of meter, as there's no cap to its speed. Due to the ramps, the only thing that can match it is the Wheelie Scooter, and only through exploits.
  • The Need for Speed: Underground 2 Toyota AE86. This car looks hilariously outdated, being a box-shaped mid-'80s car in a game about flashy modern ricers, and it is one of the starter cars alongside the unimpressive Peugeot 206 and Ford Focus. Oh, and it is also by far the best car in the game, beating Skylines and Supras left and right thanks to its very accurate handling. Still laughing?
    • This car is often amazingly good also in other NFS games. In Carbon, it is considered a BONUS alongide concept cars, and its handling makes the skilled player even able to stay behind a Murciélago in canyon races. In ProStreet this car is able to beat even the Drift King (and it is a tier one, the weakest of the game), and if fully tuned with Stage 4 parts (very much time consuming since they can be only won) can win in each game mode except the most difficult drag races. In Need for Speed (2015), it can conquer whatever drift race you just couldn't win no matter what on a different car.
      • In Real World drift races, it is still a popular car — so much, that an AE86 in good condition can cost no less than $10,000 US dollars, which is an exorbitant price for an almost 40 year old car, and it actually ended up having a Spiritual Successor in the Toyota GT86 (the name is a portmanteau of the GT2000 and the AE86).
    • Similarly, when tuned to the max with Junkman parts, the starter cars in Most Wanted 2005 are among the best cars in the game. Try owning multiplayer races with a Fiat Punto. Ah, the humiliation.
    • Or tuning a Volkswagen Golf to be faster than a Bugatti Veyron.
    • Need for Speed Payback introduced derelict and abandoned cars such as the Volkswagen Beetle and the pokey Volvo 242DL. And they're depicted as worn and deteroriated alleged cars. But don't worry. Restoring its body and fitting the right upgrades and watch those sleepers humiliate the likes of the supercars such as the Koenigsegg Regera and McLaren P1.
  • Ridge Racer 4 has the Age Solo Ecureuil, a mini car that has one gear but can go from 0 to 180 in three seconds. And you have to race against it in the Extra Trial to unlock it. The car would then appear twice with an extra gear in Ridge Racer(s) 2 for the PSP: once as the Angelus Kid and again as the Crinale Kid.
  • Despite his low overall stats, Donkey is generally considered the best playable character in Dreamworks Super Star Kartz. Why? Because his sole maxed-out stat is trick boost speed, Donkey can get so much speed off a single air trick that he can rocket through courses in record time regardless of how low his other stats are, and due to the abundance of boost ramps on most courses, Donkey has no problem chaining those boosts together to the point where he can easily go entire races without losing his speed for more than a second. As a result, Donkey completely dominates online leaderboards to the point where every single time trial record uses him.
  • Amy in Sonic R. Only one other character has a top speed worse than her. However, her advantage is having good acceleration and no speed penalty with rain weather effects turned on because she automatically hovers over water. Also, her special move temporarily makes her faster than Super Sonic — the best character in the game — but at the cost of control.
  • If you ever play the PvP racing game in Sonic Adventure 2: Battle, see Amy. She's easily the slowest of the available characters, however, she only needs to collect half as many rings to earn a special attack as Sonic or Shadow. In many levels Amy can spam special moves so quickly that her opponent may not even be able to move for minutes at a time. What's more, while Sonic and Shadow's time-freezing ability stops the opponent completely, Amy's only locks the player out of his controls; if they happen to be in the middle of some death-defying stunt (as they often are, given the nature of the game), they'll likely careen off into a pit, be sent back to the last checkpoint, and still have to wait out the remainder of the freeze. Meanwhile, Amy's collected enough rings to attack again... Also, Amy has an unusually fast grinding speed.
  • Cream the Rabbit from Sonic Riders has the lowest top speed in the game, and plenty of characters have better handling and acceleration than her. Her 'starting a race' voice clip has her telling other people to go easy on her (and not sarcastically). However, she is the lightest character, meaning her boosts last the longest in a game where you can do boosts at will (provided your gauge hasn't emptied out). Put her on the Light Board, which decreases a character's weight, and she can replenish her boost gauge faster than her boosts run out. An experienced Cream player, once they start boosting, will never stop boosting. She has to go easy on her competitors. (She got a Nerf in later Sonic Riders games — it seems her lethality was not entirely intentional.)
    • The Light Board in general in the first game is this. It doesn't just make boosts last longer, it adjusts your character's cruising speed to the speed of said boost with the speed raising up to match higher boosting speeds when you level up! The handling becomes extra touchy and there's lots of things you can do to negate the bonus if you're not careful with your maneuvering, but if you can handle the absurd speed that the boost gives, you can go through an entire race at 250 on a singular boost!
  • Over the course of its run, arcade game series Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune gives us two which are particularly Lethal Joke Characters: the absolutely diminutive Subaru R2 and the hulking Toyota HiAce. To clarify, the former is a dinky Kei Car and the latter is a huge minivan in a game series which is about tuners getting outputs of 600 horsepower and way up. The R2 is low-power but very lightweight, making it one of the most agile and surefooted cars in the game and the HiAce is a huge brick of automobile that needs to hit trucks to take the hint that it might want to get out of its lane.
    • The Toyota Celsior and Aristo (Lexus LS and GS, respectively) are cars that, while high-powered, are more designed for luxury than performance. As such their racing ability is questionable, and their in-game performance reflects it... unless you play VS mode. As the heaviest cars in the game, they are the hardest to push around, making it easy to knock away higher-tier cars into traffic or even walls. They also have only 4 gears instead of the standard 5 or 6, making them easier to shift especially in VS mode where the constant slamming of cars into things leads to frequently-fluctuating gears for other vehicles.

    Real-Time Strategy Games 
  • Strelets, the Russian unique skirmishers in Age of Empires III. Staggeringly weak attacks, low health, and generally regarded as a mere stepping stone to the more effective Musketeers, Halbardiers, and Russian cavalry, but given that Strelets cost 47 resources (compared to 100 for most infantry) and train nearly twice as fast, if you get a couple of the right upgrade cards you can drown your opponent with Strelets in Age 3.
    • The Ottoman civilization looks like this on paper; they have a steady trickle of free settlers instead of being able to buy them as fast as they can produce the resources which chokes their early-game growth and they have access to all of one (slow and very expensive) infantry unit, but if they can survive the early game their artillery and elite cavalry can make the endgame very one-sided.
  • The last leader pack released for Halo Wars 2 introduces Yapyap THE DESTROYER, a Grunt leader who may seem like a complete joke for plenty of reasons (and in a sense, he is), but he also has some powers that make him a viable leader to play, ranging from his unique "Cannon Fodder" unit, which are pathetically weak but don't cost any resources to make, to several powers such as being able to completely stop combat for several seconds and reducing the amount of veterancy the enemy gets from killing the player's units. Yapyap also has several unique units and the ability to train a maximum of three of his hero unit, the Goblin.
  • In Total War: Warhammer many lords specialize in a certain kind of unit, with the starting quality of the unit and the extent of the buffs varying. A couple specialize in units that are typically garbage and buff them to ludicrous levels, turning what would be a weak army of Cannon Fodder into one capable of facing off against elite enemies.
    • Grom the Paunch takes weak, cowardly goblins and turns them into heavily armored fearless warriors, whose attacks may still be relatively feeble but whose accuracy and sheer numbers turn the tide while his Power-Up Food grants them a shifting array of other abilities.
    • Helman Ghorst gives zombies multiple huge increases to their survivability as well as impressive damage boosts, ensuring his shambling army of corpses will outlast and tear down enemies that usually cut through them easily.

  • Risk of Rain Returns has Robomando, a Secret Character who is noticeably shorter than every other character and whose abilities all just seem to be flatly worse version of the Commando's. Its "EVASIVE MANEUVER" ability in particular pretty much just makes it Face Plant awkwardly onto the ground, leaving vulnerable to attack. It sets itself apart with its special skill, which allows it to instantly purchase any chest or drone for free. Combined with a short cooldown time of five seconds, it can quickly snowball items at a faster rate than other survivors in a game where the difficulty constantly increases with time.

    Role-Playing Games 
  • Albion:
    • There is a scientist called Rainer Hofstedt, who is easily the weakest character in the game, and is only in the party for story reasons. He's also one of the only two characters who can use one of the best weapons in the game (a gun, in a mostly medieval setting).
    • The demo came with an edited savegame, where he gets a magic ring, that allows him to hurl fireballs. Not too powerful, but it does a decent amount of damage, and doesn't require any attack skill to successfully hit the target.
  • Arc the Lad gives us Poco, the first sidekick of the hero, who happens to be a cowardly klutz who ended in the army drum corps. Once correctly leveled, he starts Dual Wielding cymbals, shooting laser beams from his drum and can do a Doppelgänger Spin where an orchestra of Pocos bring destruction through very loud sounds.
  • Baldur's Gate 2: Enhanced Edition has the Secret Character, Wilson the Bear. Being, well, an intelligent bear that communicates entirely through the word "growl", which the Bhaalspawn can understand for some reason, he plays by somewhat different rules than the regular party members you can recruit and his character concept is clearly Played for Laughs. He can't use equipment of any kind, can only drink potions, has no HLAs and his combat tactics are limited to 'bite stuff'. On the plus side, he gains Super-Strength and a Healing Factor, as well as AC bonuses and enchantments on his claws, by levelling up, has a chance to deal extra damage by "hugging" his enemy, moves at high speed across the battlefield and makes for an extremely damaging tank, albeit one completely lacking in combat options.
  • In Breath of Fire II, by Fusion Dancing your characters with one or two Shamans, they become buffed in various ways. (The effect is semi-permenant: it only wears off if you remove the Shaman or they drop to critical HP.) The best combos actually change what your character looks like; most characters have one such morph, but the Plant Person Spar has three of them. You'd think the badass grass dragon would be the best one, right? Nope. It's not the cute mushroom girl, either. It's the tiny sprout who walks by hopping. By casting Atk-Up on Spar in seed form and using the Bud attack, Spar can do absolutely ludicrous damage. Nothing quite beats the hilarity of overkilling evil demons by crashing a tiny hopping seed into them.
  • A lot of characters in Chrono Cross are there for novelty, nothing more. Mojo is one of the first secret characters you can unlock: a life-size, animate voodoo doll. He wiggles his ass and enemies explode. Topics about Mojo list him as a funny but useless character. But what about the highest Evade in the game? His chance of dodging attacks is off-the-charts, and with a pair of Kung-Fu Shoes he is almost untouchable. While it's great that nothing hurts him physically, magic still roasts him. Being able to reliably inflict a status effect and dodge makes him effective against bosses in the early game, but his performance gets worse later on.
    • The game's easy enough to where you can use any combination of characters and blitz through the game without trouble. Most people complain that CC has too many joke characters, and that's probably right, but Poshul has a pretty decent Strength for a frou-frou dog. Macha butt-slams the enemy and it dies. Pierre is crap on a cracker, the only reason to pick him over Guile and Nikki is to make the game harder. He's also the third-strongest character in the game when paired with all three Hero items. (But the Medal and Shield take up two of his accessory slots; many characters easily surpass him by putting on other accessories.)
  • Cielo from Digital Devil Saga. His weakness is to status ailments, which means that with Cielo in your party, not only might you have multiple characters fall asleep but the enemy will get an extra turn. He's also introduced relatively late, when the player has already sorted the other characters into various roles, so players often ignore him and fail to level him and get him skills. While using Argilla as the healer, despite the fact her stats make her the best Black Mage. Late second playthrough, this becomes a fatal mistake.
    • While other characters can't do anything about their weaknesses until the lategame, and even then they can only resist those elements by taking up a skill slot, Cielo in the hands of a player who sees his potential can begin to null individual ailments as soon as he's introduced, equipping whatever nulls are best for the boss or dungeon. Nulling an enemy's attack causes them to lose a turn. In addition to that, Cielo's seemingly odd and useless stat distribution means that he's got an incredibly high dodge rate & good MP. Dodging an enemy's attack also causes them to lose a turn. It's very common to lose one or more characters to attacks that Cielo dodges without a scratch. Eating the enemy's turn icons make Cielo a defense character, and in addition to that his odds of survival mean that he's able to heal and revive the party after a devastating blow, in addition to the fact that learning to null aliments also means Cielo can block and cure those ailments. Shoot the Medic First is impossible when the enemy can't hit the medic.
    • Like the skill Null Sleep, Cielo is also designed for the second playthough Superboss, one of the hardest in JRPG history. Cielo's increased risk of getting hit by ailments plus invulnerability while asleep makes him the most likely to survive the otherwise unavoidable Gaea Rage, on top of the benefits of having no elemental weaknesses & dodging physical attacks.
    • Since so many players failed to see Cielo's potential in the first game, Atlus responded by making him an outright Game-Breaker in the second. They tweaked his weakness from "all ailments" to three specific ailments, lowered his odds of being affected by those ailments and increased his dodge rate. Most importantly, they allowed you to use him earlier in the game; a major source of frustration in the first game is that you only get Cielo after "damage plus ailment" attacks become increasingly common.
  • Devil Survivor 2: Hinako. Dance Battler that can't use the Dance attacks. Raises Agility concurrent to her Strength. Most players ignore her. At least, the ones that don't realize that the skill Multi-Strike, which determines the number of hits based on Agility, was made for her. Pair her with Pierce (which cancels Anti, Null and Drain Phys) and presto: Instant Game-Breaker. Even better, give her Drain Hit (which converts damage dealt into HP recovery for the user) and she becomes a self-sustaining Lightning Bruiser.
  • Dragon Quest:
    • Dragon Quest III has the Goof-Off/Jester/Gadabout class. The male is a circus clown and the female is a Playboy Bunny. They have weak equipment, can't cast magic, and tend to shirk their responsibilities in battle; sometimes they do nothing. Sometimes they cause an enemy to lose a turn from laughing. Very rarely, they score a critical hit. The remakes give them Whistle which instantly triggers a random encounter. The random odd things they do without your consent are definitely annoying, but the early game is too easy for it to matter. If they can reach level 20, they will become a Sage, the best class in the game. Every other class needs a specific item in their inventory in order to become one. You can get your hands on two of those items in every version which isn't the NES version. That version only has one. So a Gadabout offers a way to have multiple Sages in your party.
      • In spite of Jesters' generally crappy equipment choices, they do get two legitimately useful ones: whips and boomerangs. The former hits an entire group of enemies while the latter hits all enemies on the field. Both serve to make random Encounters considerably quicker and less painful for your party. So while their antics are still annoying and they are still unquestionably the worst class in the game, they're not total dead weight!
    • In Dragon Quest IV: Some of Torneko's "goofing-off" actions include stealing items from the enemy (being the only way in the game to do so), performing a leg sweep to nullify some of the enemy's turns, calling in an army of fellow merchants he's befriended in his travels (who proceed to beat up on the enemy for a few rounds), covering an enemy's mouth to prevent spellcasting, and tripping. (Yes, tripping. His weapon somehow lands a critical hit on the enemy in the process.) The only thing keeping this power in check is that, again, these goof-offs are completely random.
    • Dragon Quest VII has the Jester, Dancer, and Troubadour. These classes don't excel in anything but "Style" points. They are required for promotion to Luminary or Druid later on. Luminary is worth it for Hustle: think of it like a multi-target heal spell which doesn't cost you any MP. Druid is a great utility character who gets Summon, which conjures another target for mobs/bosses can attack.
    • Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2: Wildcard's HP is pitiful (especially compared to its predecessor, Wulfspade Ace), but it's immune to almost everything, and has a permanent counter effect, so anything that does hit it is just as likely to hit the enemy as well.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • In Morrowind, there's the Mudcrab Merchant. He is identical in appearance to other Mudcrabs, he's hidden on a specific island in the Azura's Coast region, is difficult to find, he speaks with a drunken dialect... and he has more available gold for bartering than any other merchant in the game outside of the expansions. Even better, he's classed as a "creature," meaning he doesn't have a Disposition or Mercantile skill. Therefore, any items you sell him will be sold at their base price, making it extremely profitable to sell him your loot. If he's too far out in the wilderness for your liking, you can also escort him somewhere more convenient using a "Command Creature" spell. This is also true for Creeper, a Scamp merchant. He has less gold to barter with (5000 vs. the Mudcrab's 10,000) but is in a much more convenient location (the Orc mansion in Caldera, which is one of the Mage's Guild Guild Guide destinations.)
    • Skyrim, Cicero may count. He appears to be a babbling fool whose jester outift matches his personality. But becoming Keeper of the Night Mother and nearly killing werewolf and fellow assassin Arnbjorn foreshadows Cicero's impressive competency, or at least his skill as an assassin.
  • Exit Fate likes this trope. A talking cat that can't wear armor has surprisingly good offense and healing, a senile old man can spam spells faster than any other character in the game, and even a lawyer with no combat training can eventually function as a decent mage.
  • Fallout: In the older games, the Jinxed trait (vastly increases chance of critical failures for all characters) was more or less a joke on a normal build — sure, your enemy's weapons jammed more often than they fired, but so did yours. However, if you played an unarmed-focused character, the downsides for a critical failure were a lot less grievous (hard to drop or break your weapons and ammo if you aren't holding any), and if you maxed your Luck, this meant the chances of missing in the first place was pretty low. You could then waltz through the game karate-kicking people in the face, while every enemy drops their guns or shoots themselves.
  • Final Fantasy has the Mime class. This is an obscure job which is usually hidden near the end of a given game, just because it's so broken. For instance, Final Fantasy VI's resident Mime, Gogo, has fewer equipment choices than most characters and mediocre stats in every category. Their strength lies in their blank slate menu: They can cherry-pick from preexisting skillsets and equip them at any time, up to a total of three. They can also mimic the last action taken by your other characters, but without spending any resources like MP, shurikens, or GP. You can also double-cast Last Disc Magic like Ultima in this way. Gogo can pull off otherwise-impossible combinations like Blitz (one of the strongest Monk abilities) and Mighty Guard (a Blue Mage spell which is the best party-wide buff).
  • If you're confused about why you went through so much effort to unlock the seemingly useless Onion Knight in the DS remake of Final Fantasy III, then you obviously don't know that the Onion Knight's stat growth explodes at levels 90-99. In addition, they have access to all types and levels of magic from level 1, so they can be used to cast non-stat based spells (such as status cures) at lower levels than usual.
  • The "Spoony Bard" himself, Edward from Final Fantasy IV. People absolutely hated him in the original version.
    • His harps are generally useful and can inflict status ailments for no MP cost. The real trick is to equip a Lamia's Harp to Charm enemies or a Dream Harp to put them to Sleep while the rest of your party concentrates their fire on other targets. Salve (which was removed from the US/AUS version) allows him to combine single-target Potions and heal the whole party at once. Also, if you've got two or three characters knocked out, using Salve on Phoenix Down revives them all at once.
    • In the GBA and PSP versions, he learns new Songs naturally; and his Regenerative song, Life's Anthem, will easily handle healing duties during any boss battle. The Bonus Dungeons are the best thing to happen to Edward, thanks to new equipment. An upgrade to Bardsong (Chant) casts full-party Protect and Shell. Due to the game's poorly thought-out stat gains, you will see Edward gain a lot of health at Lv. 70, plus he has the highest base strength in the game at that level. He is so fast, it looks like he has auto-Haste, and Apollo's Harp hits most dragons and undead enemies in the final dungeon for 9,999 damage if he's in the front row. Guess he is just a late bloomer.
    • The party can also use the "Psycho Edward Bug" to turn the prissy bard into an invincible, semi-automatic machine gun. If he takes too many hits, he "Hides" off-screen. Casting Berserk on Edward and then dropping his HP to critical will cause him to attack like a normal Berserked character, with increased attack power. But he'll still be considered in "Hiding", so nothing can target him, unless everyone else is dead.
  • Final Fantasy V:
    • Fans who were burned by the Bard in previous games will be hesitant to use them here. Their stats are terrible, with poor equipment selection, and devastating penalties to strength and HP. Still, they're better in this game than poor Gordon or Edward. The role of the Bard is to sing Songs, some of which mimic other spells (like Stop and Charm) while others buff the stats of the party. It's quite useful to have a Bard singing a Song which increases everyone's strength or level, for example. They really shine in a select dungeon, where the Requiem song will lay waste to all undead enemies. The Bard's other ability is the "Hide" command, which works the same way as Edward's: the Bard runs off screen, where they can't be harmed by anything. Some of the worst attacks can be dodged in this way, including Grand Cross, the multi-target spell used by the final boss.
    • The Dancer seems like a pretty awful class. They are pitiful attackers, but they have a 1/4 chance of using Sword Dance, which does a lot of damage. A special Tiara can boost their chances to 50/50. Dancers also have atrocious stats. It takes luck for Dancers to even stay alive long enough to use Sword Dance, but it's honestly not a huge problem at the end of the game, when you can buff their speed and strike before the enemy gets a turn. They hit their peak in the final dungeon, with the ability to hold two weapons at once (Dual-Wield), a set of Dancer-exclusive equipment, and Rapid Fire. With the right weapons, they will consistently deal more damage than Mystic Knight, the heavy-hitter of the group.
  • Final Fantasy VI:
    • Mog the moogle. His Dances are under-whelming for the most part, and you lose control of him. You don't want to rely on Dance, anyway, because there's a good chance it just won't work in areas that have "special" terrain, like the final dungeon. But the only weapons he has are spears, which are decent but not great. Mog's hidden strength lies is his ability to tank. He has the best natural defense stat in the game. Mog is so versatile, he can be a good tank or a mage, but there are plenty of other characters who are good with magic; power him up into a fighter, and he can be surprisingly OP with the right equipment. When equipped with the Snow Muffler, his Defense is capped at 255, causing all physical attacks to fail when he's in the back row. Couple that with the Paladin Shield (earned by wearing the worthless Cursed Shield into 255 battles or something like that), a Ribbon, and a pair of Marvel Shoes, and it is possible to make him immune to virtually all attacks. You can also find a charm for Mog which eliminates random encounters when he's equipped with it.
    • Relm clones her current opponent and uses their own specials against them. She starts off pretty useless: her physical stats are a joke, she attacks with a paintbrush, and Sketch (even when it works) is not very useful. The fact that GameFAQs has a whole FAQ on it, pointing out where it's useful and such, and still concludes that "This move is awful" says everything. But take a look at her stat screen, and you realize that she has the highest natural Magic in the game. The real issue is her spellist; she's way behind everyone else. Since Relm is one of the only characters who can use Rods, they're excellent in her hands if you nail an elemental weakness. And speaking of Magic power, those elemental rods run off of it. She also can equip the Healing Rod and heal party members by attacking them; only Strago and Banon (a Guest-Star Party Member) can do the same. Sketch does have good applications, like killing Metal Slimes (Cactuars). Even her Control ability doesn't get much love: Relm can brainwash enemies if she's wearing the Fake Mustache accessory. It does wonders in stopping some powerful foes, like the much-feared Brachiosaur. Want its Rare Random Drop? Control is your friend.
    • Imp status. It turns the target into a helpless Imp, reduces their Strength to 0, and removes their ability to cast magic apart from the "Imp" spell (which removes the curse). The Defense of the Imp is very good, but their offense is very crappy. This changes if you find every piece of Imp Equipment in the second half of the game. Some are found normally, whereas others are Rare Random Drops, or have to be won in the Monster Arena. The Impartisan (a spear used by Imps for fishing!) will always crit if you're under Imp status, and their armor will outperform most anything else (probably exempting the Snow Muffler for the two people who can use that). Shadow can make use of them to reach 255 Magic Defense and 128 Evade. Then there's the Leviathan fight: wear one piece of Imp armor to absorb his water attacks.
  • Final Fantasy X-2: Songstress can't attack at all under normal circumstances, unless she uses her mic as a baton and does two-digit damage. And yet...
    1. Most random encounters can be trivialized by performing a Dance, most of which incapcitate them. Sleep/Stop works on most enemies, while Silence is preferable for spellslingers. And although it's only available in late Chapter 5, Magical Masque makes her completely impervious to magic attacks for the duration of the Dance. She also has her Sing abilities, with Matador's Song increasing your party's Evasion chances by 100%! It should be used against any brawny opponent. Situational? Yes, but these abilities are insanely broken when called for.
    2. The effect wears off after a round, but you can cast Slow on her. Every other job (or "Dressphere") would be at a major loss if they had to deal with that. You can also install your Songstress on the Highroad Winds Garment Grid so she'll act immediately at the start of battle. Equip her with an accessory which causes Slow and she'll clean house. You can also have three Songstresses in the party at once. So have a team setup consist of two Songstresses and one dedicated attacker, and you can start a new Dance with another girl before the first Dance has finished.
  • In the Mass Effect 3 multiplayer, the Volus race is this to a "T." They look like half-naked, bionic molerats. Plus they're pacifists. And they carry Fun Size guns? For all the jokes at the Volus' expense, they're literally the only race who immediately support Shepard unconditionally in ME3. (ironically they don't get a seat on the Council whereas all the other races want to do is dither and bicker.) Now take a look at their statuses: nothing but pitiful health, worthless shields and cumbersome weapon weight. They can't cover through walls or perform a conventional melee attack.
    • However, once you get used to the Volus, you notice that, not only does their Shield Boost ability restore shields to both the user and allies in its radius, it also can be specced to increase damage resistance by a whopping 40% when active. It also makes the makes the user (not the allies) invincible for a second. A well-timed Shield Boost can even No-Sell the Chunky Salsa Rule in some cases! Their light melee is replaced by an Invisibility Cloak, and their heavy melee is a Beehive Barrier which (like Shield Boost) provides a moment of invincibility, followed by a huge defense boost and minor shield regeneration; it also does mild damage to enemies within melee range and staggers them. Stack both effects with a Cyclonic Modulator IV, and the Volus can be a Stone Wall to rival all characters except the Geth Juggernaut. (Its already-crazy defense can be amplified with a Volus Shield Boost and the DR buff.)
    • Also, in case you haven't noticed, they're short. Hitscan weaponry doesn't track the barrel of the weapon which fired it, so they can technically hide behind chest-high walls without taking cover.
    • Volus are immune to the slowdown-while-firing effects of weapons such as the N7 Typhoon and Reegar Carbine. The Volus Adept or Vanguard cleverly use of the Biotic Orb's passive cooldown buffs to a) wield heavier weapons than normal, and b) use their bionics to keep their barriers up.
    • The Volus Sentinel stands out even among the volus. Apart from the barrier, all of their attacks are dependant on firearms. But with crafty use of Decoy, Combat Drone, and Shield Boost, they are quite capable of soloing even the highest difficulties... If you've got a few hours to kill, anyway.
  • In Might and Magic Kings Bounty, the Sorceress is often described as the worst character in the game, due to her low Leadership and bad starting army. Indeed her start can be a little more difficult. Leadership only affects the amount of troops you can recruit and can be easily raised by giving money to your troops, and the Sorceress has the best gold income which only gets better; said income also lets you replace your army. She has the ability to cast spells, something that is costly and time-consuming for others, and this allows her to win early fights with fewer troops and resources than other characters. Before you're off the first island, her advantages will easily eclipse her disadvantages: you're put in a stronger position in less time than other characters, your gold income is higher than anyone else's, and you're able to field the best army even though you wouldn't need an army as strong as the other characters to win battles! In the Genesis version, once she reaches her level 2 form, she can chain time stop into time stop giving you an infinite amount of time to complete the objective, even on hard, annihilating the game balance.
  • Monster Hunter:
    • Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate adds the "weapon" class of Prowler, which is basically a playable version of the game's Palico assistants. Palicoes, while appreciated when equipped with a Paralysis or Sleep weapon, aren't... great at the whole "damage" department. In addition, they can't use Potions and such to Heal Thyself, which is quite the important detail when an angry monster is trying to bite one's face off. So what's present in these little kitties that would make a Hunter prefer playing as one rather than the giant swords and such they normally use? Plenty: effectively unlimited lives with Far-cat-ster, unlimited Stamina and the ability to give everyone else unlimited Stamina as well, the ability to spew out much-appreciated heals and buffs like a Hunting Horn, exceptional Item Caddy abilities due to having a built-in pickaxe and bug net, unlimited traps that can even inflict Status Effects, a Rathalos-shaped miniature tank that can do enough damage per shot as some Greatsword attacks...
    • Monster Hunter: World:
      • The Great Jagras is the Warm-Up Boss so new players will likely kill it multiple times while getting used to the game. A later update to the game added the Greatest Jagras, a massively upscaled Great Jagras that pukes up valuable decorations. While amusing to look at, said Jagras has as much health as an Arch-Tempered Elder Dragon, its attacks have a proportionately enormous hitbox, and it deals enough damage to one-shot a High Rank hunter with some attacks.
      • The Kulu-Ya-Ku is a goofy early game monster which has an obsession with rocks and eggs. The Final Fantasy collaboration Event has a special one which acquires an indestructible Aetheryte Crystal causing it to grow progressively larger while you fight it. This is silly at first glance, but it's impossible to make the monster drop the crystal which means it's locked in its most aggressive moveset for the entire fight which only gets worse due to its increased size and buffed damage. And of course the crystal acts as a shield, deflecting player attacks across much of the monster's hitbox.
  • The gimmick of Monster Rancher is training up a seemingly-harmless enemy into a fearsome fighter. The more ridiculous, the better. The species with the greatest inverse proportion between silly appearance and lethality are:
    • The Monols, which are essentially giant, hovering, blank rectangular slabs of rock. Naturally, however, they have powerful Stone Wall capabilities (because that's literally what they are), and they have psionic abilities hidden deep within their bodies that make them strong magic-based attackers.
    • The Suzurins, an adorable species of creatures who resemble wind chimes and whose Monster Compendium data states they cause Cuteness Proximity in everyone they meet. They're actually masters of the Death or Glory Attack, who may not always hit, but one hit is all they need.
    • The Doodles, who are literally living stick figures. In both games they appear in, they're the last monster you'll unlock. Their specialty? Lots and lots of expensive attacks that do massive damage.
  • The Tokos in both the PS3 and (Japan-only) DS versions of Ni no Kuni. In the PS3 version, they're Metal Slimes that level up extremely slowly, and have a tiny level cap — but their magic defense and evasion go up exponentially with each level, making them obscene magical tanks. In the DS version, the opposite is true — they level up ridiculously quickly, and have extremely high magic attack and MP, but only learn status skills. However, if given gems to give them different skills, they can become insane healers and magic attackers.
  • Octopath Traveler: Some of the NPCs you can Allure/Guide are very clearly not the battle-ready type and have silly attacks like "Rag Toss" and "Dump Flour." However, while these kinds of attacks inflict pitiful damage, they also have a chance to poison and blind the enemy respectively, which may give them some merit.
  • Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth has Teddie. In Persona 4, Teddie was one of the team's only two capable healers and had more balanced moveset and stats than Yukiko at it, making which of them you used a pure matter of strategy. In Persona Q however movesets are mostly decided by Sub-Personas (essentially equipable summons) and Teddie is left with with some of the worst Defense and Speed Stats of the game's 18 playable characters, combined with only average Mana for a character who is primarily supposed to be a Magic User and HP that can't possibly keep him alive long enough to make up for all these shortcomings. To put the final nail in his coffin, his Attack Power is merely average, also eliminating all sense in using him as a Damage Dealer. His only good stats are Magic — which is hindered by aforementioned low Mana-Bar — and Luck, a stat which serves no other purpose than to increase the rate of Critical Hits dealt by physical attacks. This, however, is where the "Lethal"-part of this trope comes into play: The Persona Series is known for using the Shin Megami Tensei series' "Press Turn"-style of battle system, which makes dealing Criical Hits or hits to the enemy's elemental weaknesses crucial to win battles. In numbered Persona-games, hitting a Critical or a weakness would result in the character gaining an additional action the same turn — In Persona Q it results in "Boost", which means the character's stats (especially speed) are boosted very notably for an entire round and they become able to use any Magic or Skill for 0 Mana or HP cost in the following round. Since the only way to break this "Boost" is to deal physical damage to the character before he can attack and Teddie's low base speed will cause him to attack last in the round he first deals the critical and first in the round that he has boosted, it's nigh impossible to break Teddie out of boosted state, meaning his low Mana suddenly becomes entirely irrelevant, as he becomes able to use any Magic for no cost, as long as he can strike another Critical Hit with a physical skill any other round. And all it takes to ensure that this will happen is a Sub-Persona with a Multi-Hit Skill that hits the enemy 3 times or more in one attack.
  • Persona 5: The twins, the game's ultimate Superboss, use super-powered versions of low-level Mook Personas, such as Bugs, Agathion, and Series Mascot the Jack Bros.
  • Pokémon has a few examples:
    • The most famous of these is Wobbuffet. When it was first introduced in Pokémon Gold and Silver, its gimmick of only being able to counterattack and having a tiny movepool of only 4 moves left it quite difficult to use if you weren't good at predicting your opponent. Then Gen III happened, with the advent of its ability Shadow Tag, which prevents the foe from switching out against it, and the expansion to its movepool ever so slightly thanks to the introduction of a Baby Form that can learn Encore, a move that forces the opponent to repeat the last move used. Suddenly, it made the jump from the never-used tier to so unbelievably broken that no competitive player will agree to play against onenote , a designation it shares only with the most powerful Olympus Mons. It wasn't until Pokémon Black and White that the Power Creep finally caught up with it. And even then it's still considered a major threat, just not so much that it should be banned.
    • Then there's Dunsparce, who in Gen III gained the Serene Grace ability, which increases the chance to inflict a status effect. This means that players could completely immobilize the enemy opponent with moves which caused confusion, paralysis, freezing, attraction, flinching and others much more easily than any other "annoyer" Pokémon. A very popular strategy is based on its ability to learn Glare, a rare move (restricted to snake-like Pokémon) that paralyzes the enemy with 100% accuracy. If the enemy is not an Electric type, the resulting paralysis will give it a 25% chance of skipping a turn, and its speed will be cut in half. Dunsparce is slow, so, if its enemy is not a Fragile Speedster who will still outspeed it even when paralyzed, Dunsparce could repeatedly attack it with Headbutt or Bite, which will get a 60% chance of making enemy skip its turn. The result: a nearly immobilized enemy with a miserable chance of attacking.
    • Quagsire has some of the worst stats for a fully evolved Pokémon, but strangely has some of the best abilities in the game. Unaware allows it to completely ignore enemy stat boosts, rendering setup strategies useless. This only got more potent in Generation VIII, whose Dynamax mechanic is centered around stat changes, and Quagsire has quickly become a go-to Pokémon to counter Dynamax. Its typing of water and ground is a double edged sword too, giving it access to a diverse movepool and decent coverage, but at the expense of severe weakness to grass types. By all accounts, it just cannot be predicted, and has been played in literally every tier in the metagame, from the pathetic level of "PU" to the near literal godlike tier of Anything Goes.
    • Smeargle has astoundingly horrible stats, but it's still popular because it can learn and use almost every move in the game, with very few exceptions. This leads to a very effective moveset where Smeargle can Baton Pass the effect of Ingrain, making the next Pokemon immune to Whirlwind and Roar (switching out without Baton Pass forfeits all stat boosts and other similar temporary statuses) and being able to recover an additional 1/16th of max HP each turn. There's also the Endure/Spore/Endeavor/Dragon Rage w/Salac berry combo, a variant of the FEAR strategy below. Speed is the only decent stat Smeargle gets, and it's the only stat it needs. Another Smeargle strategy sometimes seen has Smeargle use Spore to put the opposing Pokémon to sleep, then use Transform to turn into the opposing Pokémon. Since this also copies that Pokémon's stats (excluding HP), Smeargle effectively catches up to the opponent in stats while they're unable to attack. Even more terrifyingly, when the Dream World was active, it used to get Moody as an active ability, which allows it to increase one stat while reducing another, an ability that has already proved broken on things like Bidoof. In addition to being able to pile up random boosts from its ability, it could Baton Pass them to a real sweeper. After that, cue Total Party Kill.
      • Smeargle's presence in official tournaments became so suffocating that this incredibly weak Pokémon was responsible for the biggest Nerf the series has ever seen. Smeargle can copy Dark Void, Darkrai's Signature Move, which has an 80% chance of putting either opposing Pokémon to sleep, checked independently of each other. Darkrai itself, as a Mythical Pokémon, is not allowed in tournaments, but Smeargle is. Generation VII put the kibosh on this strategy by not only reducing Dark Void's accuracy to 50%, but also not allowing anyone other than Darkrainote  to use Dark Void. Smeargle is still a terror after all this due to all of those other strategies listed above, and they only get stronger with each passing generation due to getting access to whatever new moves are introduced.
    • Shedinja is another Mon that may fit this trope. With a max HP of 1, most people would think this is a joke character, but the fact that it is only affected by attacks that are super effective means that it is immune to 13 out of 18 types of attack, making it invincible when used against the right enemies, most notably Kyogre and Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire's True Final Boss Deoxys. Gen V introduced the move Soak, which changes the Pokémon's type to Water. If you have an ally Pokémon use it on Shedinja in a double battle, it will only be affected by Electric and Grass attacks: both being relatively uncommon move types to see in competitive battling compared to the omnipresent Fire and Rock. Gen VIII then gave Shedinja Ally Switch, a move with increased turn priority that swaps its location with its ally in a double battle, turning all double battles with Shedinja present into a shell game.note 
      • How about 'Sturdinja'; a Shedinja that has been given Insomnia via 'Worry Seed', then Skill Swapped 'Sturdy'. With one HP, Sturdy will always activate, and since you are always going from 100% health it gets around multi-hit moves. The only way to beat it is to hit it with weather or status moves, and even that may not work, due to the Safety Goggles item and Lum Berry Recycling, respectively. You can see it in action here where it uses Final Gambit to finish off the fight.
    • In HeartGold and SoulSilver, contests are replaced by the Pokéathlon, a sport variety of Minigames. Each Pokémon has different stats in a category for how well they do in the competitions. The officially weakest Pokémon, Sunkern, has Pokéathlon stats comparable to Olympus Mons; the likes of Mew, Giratina's Origin Forme, and the Olympus Mon itself, Arceus. And Ditto. On top of that, its slightly-better evolved form, Sunflora, doesn't have these stats. However, its maximum stats are full, but its base stats are 1. And there is no way to get them all to full.
    • Rotom was an Awesome, but Impractical levitating Electric/Ghost type with an awesome movepool/typing but average stats introduced in Diamond and Pearl... which, in Platinum, gained the ability to transform into a handful of ridiculous alternate forms, such as a washing machine, toaster oven, lawn mower, handheld fan, and refrigerator. Now, these frankly ridiculous variants? They have excellent defensive stats, special moves that give them great coverage, and very nice Special Attack. Meaning that one of the best Pokémon in the game... is a washing machine. Of course, anyone who actually looks at its stats will notice right away that Rotom's appliance forms are no joke, but if you just have this kinda useless Pokémon that suddenly transforms into an appliance...
    • There's also Spinda, a Pokemon usually lambasted for its TERRIBLE stats. However, with the introduction of the Dream World, it gained access to the ability Contrary, which turns its stat drops into stat boosts. The Dream World also gave it the move Superpower, which would normally cut its Attack and Defense, but now RAISES them instead. Unfortunately, the only way to get a Spinda with this move is if you got it from the Dream World, and when move tutors in Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 started teaching Superpower, Spinda didn't get it.
      • It does still have one little trick it can do with this ability: Skill Swap. When partnered up in a double battle with the likes of Arcanine (or any other Close Combat user, but Arcanine is the most popular choice because of Overheat, Morning Sun, and Intimidate), Spinda itself still crumples quickly, but not before setting up its partner to be an unstoppable monster.
      • It also has access to the move Assist, which randomly uses a teammate's move. A niche battling option is to pair Spinda with one teammate which only knows V-Create, which deals massive damage in exchange for dropping defenses and speed. Spinda, being Contrary, does not have this drawback.
    • This Pokémon, while usually only used to learn lots of HM moves, becomes surprisingly beasty when its Hidden Ability Moody is in play. This ability makes it randomly gain a noticeable boost in one stat and a slight drop in another each turn. With enough stalling, it can become such a surprisingly deadly force that it was nearly banned. Who's that Pokémon? Bibarel. This Pokémon was not particularly shabby in the 4th gen, if proper use was made of the Simple ability (doubling all stat changes) and its tremendous movepool (including a handful of buffs and a variety of decent attacks).
    • Shuckle normally has Crippling Overspecialization, it has the highest base Defence and Special Defence stats of any Pokémon, but every other stat is abysmal. However, under a very specific circumstance, Shuckle can deal over seven-hundred million damage. To do so requires a specific power-up item, certain moves and abilities, it has to be a triple-battle, it takes five turns to build up, it has to be a critical hit, and the opponent has to be a level 1 Noibat, so it's not really functional in a real fight. This would only be undertaken for the sheer spectacle of dealing a hit that could theoretically steamroll every single Pokémon together, many times over.
    • Ditto (the trope namer for Ditto Fighter) was always a fun gimmick, but was so fragile that using it was pointless as it needed to spend a turn to transform into the opponent. In Generation V however, Ditto was given the ability Imposter. This lets Ditto transform into the enemy's Pokemon immediately upon being sent out. Instantly gaining the ability, stats, buffs and moves of an enemy Pokemon was powerful enough in Gen V, but with the introduction of Mega Evolutions, Ditto became even more ridiculously dangerous due to the fact that it can copy the Mega Pokemon but has its item slot free to power it even further. Ditto can also employ Loophole Abuse when it copies a Mega Evolution: You are not allowed to mega-evolve more than one Pokemon per battle. Since Ditto doesn't need to mega-evolve to transform into a Mega Evolved Pokémon, Ditto allows you to functionally have two Mega Evolutions on your team. Ditto also adapts well to Generation VIII's Dynamax mechanics, as whatever stat boosts were gained through the opposing Pokémon's Max Moves, Ditto will inherit when it transforms. If you haven't used Dynamax in the battle yet, Ditto can then Dynamax and use Max Moves to boost those stats further.
    • Pokémon Sun and Moon introduce Pyukumuku, who, like Wobbuffet, learns no attacking moves. However, with its great defenses, it can stall to victory using a combination of Curse, Recover, and Toxic. Even if the opponent has typing that is immune to poisoning (Steel or Poison), Pyukumuku can learn Soak to turn them into Water type and to lay down a Toxic attack anyway. It's also capable of learning Counter to pay its opponent back. Also, Pyukumuku has two Abilities to back up its Stone Wall status: Innards Out allows it to deal the same amount of damage to its opponent as the move that KO'd it dealt to it, and Unaware ignores all status buffs on its opponent, which means that even if Pyukumuku's opponent is a severely boosted sweeper, it will still do normal damage to that little rotund thing. Finally, its signature move, Purify, heals any status condition it may have, and, should it succeed, heals Pyukumuku for up to 50% of its max HP. When upgraded to a Z-Move, Z-Purify multiplies all of the user's stats by 1.5 as well.
    • Diggersby is one of the Com Mons in Pokémon X and Y with a lot of mediocre stats but has a Hidden Ability in Huge Power, which doubles the damage of its physical attacks. As a Ground-type, this means Diggersby carries some of the most painful Earthquake attacks in the game (thanks to the same-type attack bonus) and one of the few Pokémon able to consistently defeat Aegislash one-on-one. This power can also be backed up with Agility and Swords Dance to get Diggersby to dangerous levels.
    • Farfetch'd really got to shine in Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire's Pokémon Contests, as one of the few Pokémon able to learn the Swords Dance and False Swipe combination, the Swords Dance and Slash combination, and the Peck and Fury Attack combination solely through level-up. These combinations earn double Appeal points and can be used for different purposes (False Swipe will reduce the opponents' Appeal points, Slash is worth a lot of points, and Fury Attack will take the judge's attention away from another Pokémon), allowing Farfetch'd to adapt to any situation and dominate any category of contest at any rank without having to breed or expend TMs. Farfetch'd is also a lot more useful when given its signature item, the Stick. This increases its critical hit ratio by two stages all the time, and Farfetch'd can learn several moves like Razor Leaf that have a natural increased crit ratio as well (while using its physical Attack stat, which has a base value of 90). It might not have the best stats, but anything that can crit on a 1/4 chance (as opposed to 1/16) has the potential to deal damage. Gen VI changed up how criticals work, which means Farfetch'd can effectively crit on a 1/2 chance instead.
    • Clefairy, of all Pokémon, has become quite feared in double battling, especially when paired against another Lethal Joke Character who's popped up at the same time, Eevee. Clefairy has the Ability "Friend Guard," which reduces its own damage and that of its teammates when in a double or triple battle, and since it's not fully evolved, can take advantage of the hold item Eviolite to reduce its damage further, turning it into a Stone Wall. Clefairy can also learn Follow Me to direct all opponents' attacks towards itself, which complements this setup very well. Eevee, meanwhile, can use its Signature Move Extreme Evoboost to double all of its stats, then use Baton Pass the next turn to transfer the doubled stats to something else. It got so bad that Extreme Evoboost got banned on Smogon's double battling.
    • Clefairy's case is hardly unique; there are many Pokémon that are awful in single battles but excellent in doubles, and a few with the reverse. They include defensive behemoths with lots of supportive moves, Awesome, but Impractical Pokémon with weaknesses counterbalanced by a partner, and Pokémon with powerful abilities or moves that only work in doubles. Probably the most famous one was a situation where a Pachirisu turned out to be instrumental in the 2014 World Championship — its nonexistent offense turned out to be irrelevant when it was teamed up with a Garchomp, leaving it free to absorb hits through Follow Me, paralyze through Nuzzle, and chomp chunks of health with Super Fang.
    • Slaking is the final evolution of Slakoth with the same crippling Ability of Truant allowing it to move only once every two turns. The lethal part is how its stats are on par with Olympus Mons, and can even exceed them in some aspects. Tactics were developed to get rid of his crippling Ability for singlehint and multiple battles, and once it's off it becomes a Lightning Bruiser fully capable of wiping the entire enemy team by itself.
    • Eiscue is a relatively recent attempt by Game Freak at making a defensive Ice-type work, a type that has only found success in Glass Cannon builds, but this time, this little penguin pulls this off via Ice Face, an ice cube head that surrounds its real head and can absorb any physical attack, no matter how strong it is. Even Max Moves. On top of this, when Eiscue's ice head shatters, its base Speed stat jumps to 130 — giving it a perfect opportunity to finish off the opponent. The result is a Pokémon not found in a lot of teams, but one that has wreaked havoc on opponents when one does appear due to its surprising versatility, from wasting Dynamax turns to safely setting up Belly Drum, which quadruples Eiscue's Attack stat. Incidentally, Eiscue can also qualify as a Fighting Clown due to that ice cube head looking as ridiculous as it sounds.
    • Dugtrio has been a staple of competitive single battling for so long that many have forgotten they used to be this trope as well, and it may still be. They have low versatility in their moves, one of the lowest base stat totals of all common sights in the format, absolutely pitiful HP and defenses, and while above average, an Attack stat that isn't exactly standout. What they do have, however, is Speed higher than most Pokémon including Electric-types, immunity to Electric-type moves, and Arena Trap, an Ability that prevents non-floating, non-Ghost opposing Pokémon from switching out. This means if the opponent brings out a non-floating Electric-type Pokémon and you figure it will use an Electric-type move, you can simply switch to Dugtrio and knock them out with an Earthquake on the following turn while the opponent can do nothing about it. Team Preview, introduced in Generation IV, tempered Dugtrio somewhat, along with the official rules requiring you to pick only 3 Pokémon for battle, but its presence in Team Preview will still make opponents think twice about using their Electric-type Pokémon.
    • In Pokémon Conquest, every Pokemon species knows one specific attack (although multiple species can share the same move). Musharna's attack is Dream Eater, and just like the main series it only damages sleeping enemies. This makes it almost never useful, since very few things in the game can even induce sleep — you could bring a Munna, who learns Hypnosis, but that's dedicating two party members just to make one member practical. However, if you inspect Musharna's Abilities, it turns out they both have the same effect — a random chance to make enemies nearby fall asleep as a free action at the start of your turn. You have to hope for the RNG to be kind, but if it activates then Dream Eater turns from pathetic to an "Instant Death" Radius.
  • Robopon's first game has Teabot. Teabot is a little robot whose entire purpose is serving tea. You get one from your grandpa for completing your tower, and it's implied he bought it from a TV shopping channel. Its Monster Compendium data outright calls it "useless." Tell that to its high-powered software, and the fact that its basic attack can scrap enemies in one hit.
  • DLC character Mintberry Crunch from South Park: The Fractured but Whole while he's one of the only three characters to have actual Superpowers, the fact that they are centered around Mint-and-Berry flavored cereal may seem ridiculous. But in-game they translate into a very powerful support character: the "mint" buff dispels negative status on allies and gives them some defense, while the "berry" status causes enemies' attacks to be weaker, plus if a "berried" enemy attacks a "minted" character, they will recieve no damage. And to make it even more powerful, his Limit Break applies mint to all allies, berry to all enemies and causes damage to the enemies to boot!
  • Star Control II has the Thraddash Torch ship. It's got laughably small crew (ergo less health), low speed, and a puny blaster which does pitiful damage at a pitiful fire rate. However, its special move is an afterburner that makes it the fastest ship in the game when used correctly... and unlike most other fast ships, its "puny" blaster has a long range and can't be stopped by point-defense. As such, a skilled player can use the Torch's extreme maneuverability to stay out of range while inflicting Death of a Thousand Cuts. It's so good at this, in fact, that it's the only ship customarily banned from competitive play.
    • Also, in-universe as well, the Spathi Eluder. It looks ridiculous. Its charge is tiny (severely limiting weapon fire rates), its forward gun's effect is both narrow and with a short range, and its secondary weapon is missiles that do little damage and have a lousy range. However, it is faster than any other ship in the game using only its engines, and it is impossible to catch up with and hit the thing. And the aforementioned missiles both fire out from the back and home in on enemies. It will just keep flying away hitting you with missiles over and over while you futilely try to catch up eating the entire trail.
  • In the Suikoden series:
    • Sheena. He's a lecherous Upper-Class Twit with not-so-special stats. Basically, a character that most casual players would never use. However, long-time players of Suikoden swear by him, because he has something casual players tend to overlook. Sheena comes with three free Rune Slots, giving him insane twinking potential. With very little effort, one could very easily turn him into a Game-Breaker.
    • An even worse case is Hai Yo, who could also acquire three free rune slots... and is a cook.
    • In the third game, the dogs, which are normally just pathetic, can perform a united attack that can do over 4,000 damage to an enemy.
    • There's also the beavers: Cute talking critters and elite waterborne soldiers. Correctly used, they will turn most army battles into sick jokes and to add insult to injury, they don't even have a Gameplay and Story Segregation: storywise, it's when they join the heroes that their army start to get the upper hand in the war.
    • An interesting addition is Viki; up until 5, she was an above average mage but always fell short to other more powerful spellcasters. However, in this edition, she is a definite Game-Breaker, as her unique skill 'Chain Magic', when fully upgraded, can clear entire battlefields due to her ability to cast very powerful spells a second time at no additional cost about 60%-80% of the time! Equip her with a Fire, Lightning, or Pale Gate Rune and watch the destruction!!
    • The original had Milich. (Whose true gender is never clarified.) IV had Schtolteheim Reinbach III. Suikoden III has Augustine Nabor. This member of the Narcissist archetype (most of which are fairly useless characters) requires you to purchase a rare and pricey item to recruit him: a Rose Brooch. Just like the lottery results, it can disappear if you try and Save Scum to get it. He has the ability to raise his Parry stat up to an S rank naturally. This allows him to fend off any non-magicial attack with ease. Give him a second Brooch and you can bring his Swing stat up to an S, allowing him to perform 5 sword swings instead of his usual 2 or 3. He is a mirror image of Yuber in this game, Yuber being the resident Darth Vader. It's pretty cool seeing them go toe-to-toe, pitting them against each other in the Budehuc Castle siege. And seeing Augustine come out on top!
    • Also from III, Rico. The retainer to knight-errant Fred Maximilian, she looks like Strawberry Shortcake, has virtually no magical ability to speak of, and her weapon is a hammer which maxes out at two hits, tops. Her Combination Attack with Fred deals double damage, but puts her in the turn-skipping "Unbalanced" state. Then you look at her skill list and realize that she can build up to an A+ rank in a rare skill that prevents Unbalanced... meaning you can spam the Combination Attack (almost) every turn.
    • Finally, there's Juan. This straw-chewing bumpkin is one of the residents of Budehuc Castle, and is permanently saddled with a Waking Rune, which forces him to start each battle with the Sleep status! This is easily fixable with a Yellow Scarf accessory, though, and as a martial artist, his Swing skill is extremely high; at higher levels, he can get as many as six attacks per round in a game where fast normal attacks are key.
  • Tales Series:
    • Johnny in Tales of Destiny is a Spoony Bard with all around average stats and starts off underleveled. Buff his stats with boosting herbs, however, and one of his final attacks, Maware Rondo, will deal a great deal of damage to and juggle bosses with ease. Did we mention it's a Sonic type attack, and all late-game enemies are weak to the Sonic type? In the original PSX version, Johnny only learns items with Scores scattered around the world. However, one of these Scores teaches him a healing move more effective and quicker to cast than anything Rutee, the healer, can learn, making Johnny a very useful healer who can also contribute damage with his homing ranged attacks.
    • Lillith in the PS2 version of Tales of Destiny fights with a frying pan and ladle. She's also a Lightning Bruiser who can easily stunlock enemies with with her Manbo and Seared Steak attacks.
    • Chat from Tales of Eternia, as an optional character, only has two attack moves (and one of them only steals an item) and doesn't learn any more by leveling. However, go on her sidequests to teach her the Sacred Pirate Skills and she becomes a powerful status inflicter with good elemental coverage and stun attacks. Then there's her ultimate move, Eternal Hammer, which lets her throw hammers until she runs out of mana. Bosses will be stunlocked by the unstoppable rain of stun hammers, letting everyone else spam mana healing items on her and maybe casting a few spells here and there to speed up the death process.
    • In Tales of Symphonia, we have The Chosen One, Colette. She appears to be a frail girl, that, well, needs protecting — barely capable of holding her own in a fight. With only mediocre stats, low speed, an odd fighting style and bad AI, one would think she's not worth keeping in the party — even her magic is bad (a simple, low damage light spell, a status buff that takes forever to cast, an Awesome, but Impractical spell that kills her, and lastly a flashy spell that hardly hits anything) so why is she called a Game-Breaker? She gets the game's strongest Physical Special Attacks — including one that only uses 14 TP, deals massive (x4.6) damage (and it's Lightning Elemental — a LOT of the game's enemies are weak to it...), another that can do x10 damage — and that stacks with another hidden ability: Her seemingly weak Pow Hammer attack can become Toss Hammer, a poisoning attack that NOTHING IN THE GAME (not even That One Superboss) is resistant to, and anything afflicted by it drops its HP down to 1 in a minute (this in action). She also has an easy to use Hi-Ougi. In the hands of any skilled player she's a force to be reckoned with and NOT someone to be underestimated. Even in the hands of an unskilled player, combining her Hammer Rain with Lloyd's level 2 Sword Rain arts in an Unison Attack provides the devastating Stardust Rain combination, which can connect for 100+ hits on its own against a sufficiently large opponent.
    • Patty Fleur from the non-Xbox 360 versions of Tales of Vesperia. On top of using silly attacks like a frying pan, dishes, and mahjong tiles, her moveset is extremely luck-dependant, to the point that most of her artes change completely depending on which randomly-selected fighting style she is given. A lot of her Artes have a small but random chance of screwing the party over. She can also use magic, but her Brainiac form (the one that specialized in magic) randomly uses either attack or support magic, making her unreliable on that front (she can learn a skill that lets you choose between the two, but support includes both buffs and healing, so getting what you want still isn't guaranteed). A lot of this makes her seem unreliable, but once she learns the right skills she can spam top-tier spells with a much shorter cast time and smaller TP cost (even several levels before your dedicated mages start learning these spells), and (randomly) do extremely broken things like restoring the entire party's HP and TP, freezing time for the enemies, emptying all enemies' FS gauges, or activating Over Limit for the entire party for free.
  • In Tales of Maj'Eyal you can switch on or off "silly" enemies; ones from different series that don't quite fit the series' "The Lord of the Rings meets Dragonriders of Pern with the numbers filed off" theme. One of these enemies early on is a "floating mine." If you have enough skill in the Symbiote ability, you can fuse this to yourself and fire rockets. These work very well against Nazgul.
  • Xenogears includes Chu-Chu, a disgustingly-cute pink hamster creature. She has zero Deathblow combos, very low stats and a mediocre skillset in general, making her pretty useless most of the time; however, she does have some niche utility in that she's the only character who can heal other party members during a Gear battle and requires no fuel. That's because Chu-Chu's "Gear" is simply growing herself to giant size, with her stats scaling up to match. Building on this fact, if you have far too much time on your hands you can feed her hundreds of stat-boosting Drives and potentially make her the strongest character in the game, even surpassing a fully decked-out Xenogears in damage output and durability. But as this requires purchasing said Drives from Big Joe at 10,000 or 20,000 gold a throw (no small sum even in the endgame) and you already have plenty of characters who can be quite powerful without hundreds of hours of time invested, it's unsurprising that few, if any, players have ever attempted it.

    Shoot 'em Up Games 
  • The Classic ship from Space Invaders Infinity Gene. Compared to rapid fire, homing lasers, huge piercing energy waves, lock-on lasers, attack drones, gravity wells, laser blades and even an "Instant Death" Radius, its weapon is like that in the original game — a slow, tiny shot where only one can exist at any given time. Said tiny shot is a One-Hit Kill on anything, including bosses.
  • Brilliant Pagoda or Haze Castle gives us Sese Kitsugai, one third of the game's Plucky Comic Relief team of characters and owner of the most deceptively strong shottype in the game; While they start out extremely weak, only being able to throw measly bone projectiles that are affected by gravity, as well as a two-way spread of bullets, later Power levels give Sese the ability to shoot out straight-firing bone spikes that deal so much damage per frame that they effectively One-Hit Kill the enemy's attacks. Sese, alongside the equally game-breaking Hooaka, are the reason why a later update to the game gave all bosses Mercy Invincibility, just so they have a chance to shoot danmaku at you.
  • Birthday in Dimahoo is a seriously lackluster character, whether it's her slow as molasses speed, lackluster main shot with an odd spread that doesn't hit anything most of the time, and a slow to use and short-ranged Charged Attack. Her type on the character selection screen is "Bad". She, however, has by far the best Smart Bomb attack in the game, so powerful it one-hit-killsmost of the game's bosses, which if nothing else makes her an appealing option for survival-minded players.

    Simulation Games 
  • Dwarf Fortress infamously made fish too hardcore. Namely, the humble carp had just enough aggression to attack dwarves, and decent enough stats to force them into the water where they'd drown. The disproportionate stats were due to the way that swimming, which they are always doing, is treated as strength training. Later, Toady owned up to the problem and patched it, but later adjustments to the strength and combat systems made fish dangerous all over again.
    • In the 2012 version: Giant. Sponge. It can't move. It can't bite or kick. It can't breathe air. However, its mass is so great that it can kill dwarves with the default "push" attack that all living things are coded to have, and because it lacks vital organs, it's impossible to kill without air-drowning or massive damage. Undead giant sponges can move and leave the water, are aggressive, and massive damage is literally the only way to stop them pushing all your dwarves to death.
    Without a central nervous system, the only thing it can feel is anger.
    • Elves. They're usually the Butt Monkeys of the Dwarf Fortress universe, since they're ridiculously easy to anger (just cut down trees — which you'll need to do to get wood) and their sieges are easy to break, since all their equipment is wooden. However, elves have very good base stats and the adherence to wooden armament is a cultural thing, so elves who are part of other civilizations (most commonly because they were snatched at birth by goblins) and are thus willing to use steel can become serious threats, or assets if they're on your side. One such legendary elf is Cacame Awemedinade the Immortal Onslaught, who has done such things as killing a dragon in a few blows and breaking sieges by himself in defense of the fortress that he rules.
  • Freespace has the GTB Athena, designated as a light bomber, although it is unable to carry heavy warheads, thus making it rather useless for strikes on capital ships, which is what a bomber is supposed to be all about. However, when you compare it to many of the fighters in the game, it actually has decent speed and maneuverability, better durability, ammo capacity, and better placed primary hardpoints, as well as a thin profile that makes it difficult to hit. If it wasn't for its inability to carry a few of the more advanced primary cannons, it would easily be the best fighter craft in the game.
    • Freespace 2 introduces the GTF Myrmidon, which is the first ship you get to fly in the game. Despite the tech room hyping it up, it is in fact relatively slow, lacks maneuverability, can't carry much ordnance, has bad primary hardpoint placement, has a large target profile, and can't carry the best dogfighting missile in the game. What most people don't realize though, is that it (likely unintentionally) has the capability to carry the Helios torpedo, the strongest warhead in the game which is otherwise reserved exclusively for heavy bombers. This makes a wing of Myrmidons acting as fast strike bombers a deadly threat to any capital ship.
  • In the Wii game, Little King's Story, you have a simple jobs system at your disposal, and can change the abilities and attributes of your villagers. To train a class, one must first pay to acquire a building where you can upgrade a villager, and then an additional fee for each citizen converted. One such job is the "Gourmet Chef" class, which costs a tidy sum. However, once you have one, you learn he/she is near completely useless! They have mediocre stats, and can hardly do any work at all. However, you soon learn they can one-hit kill giant chickens, a very common and strong enemy. This turns them into a Chef of Iron. While this may seem situational, you will thank your lucky stars when you enter a kingdom populated almost entirely of them.
  • The Harasser hovercraft in MechWarrior Living Legends has laughable armor, crap weapons, gets outran by some mechs that carry 3 times the weapons, and is prone to spontaneously flipping over from touching small rocks. The Harasser Delta "Toast 'n' Go" variant carries a loadout of 6 flamethrowers. Like the other Harassers, it is hilariously top heavy and the addition of the flamethrowers makes the hovercraft melt when you fire. However, when carefully used, those 6 flamethrowers also cause enemy mechs to overheat so much that their arms fall off, instantly causes the fusion reactors on aerospace fighters to explode, and melts battlearmor in their suits. A newbie in one of these things is a free kill, while a pro driving one is an unstoppable boiling engine of fire and death spinning across the level at 160kph. A second deadly Harasser was added in 0.7.0, which carries 6 small X-pulse lasers capable of plinking away enemy armor with astonishing speed.
    • The Sparrowhawk scout plane is likewise a useless death trap in most players hands, but it is the destroyer-of-worlds in the hands of a pro pilot, as it is the single most agile unit in the game, capable of flying at 30 kph with no issues, or flying inside an enemy hangar and shoot at players repairing before safely doing a backflip and flying out. It has several variants designed specifically for taking out anything flying, as no other plane is capable of shaking off a Sparrowhawk if one gets on its tail, or, god help the enemy plane, if the Sparrowhawk is actually riding on the enemy's tail.
  • MechWarrior Online introduced the UrbanMech, an infamous "walking trash can" with horribly slow top speed (comparable to 'Mechs three weight classes above it) and light armor. In the original tabletop game, the Urbie was meant for patrolling urban areas (where high speed isn't essential) and was primarily an anti-personnel vehicle, as well as being very cheap and easy to mass-produce. None of these are factors in the pure 'Mech vs 'Mech gameplay Online features, which also happens to be the area in which the UrbanMech is least useful. However, the UrbanMech is capable of mounting almost hilariously powerful weapons like an AC 20, giving it firepower far beyond what most Light 'Mechs are capable of, and if the player installs a powerful engine in it (somewhat expensive, but doable) it can achieve a respectable top speed that makes it a contender with other Light 'Mechs, if still a bit on the slow side. It's also the only 'Mech in the game capable of rotating its torso a full 360 degrees, meaning it has no true blind spots one can exploit for a sneak attack.
  • In Star Wars: Rogue Squadron, the second game Rogue Leader features two bonus ships that both qualify as this:
    • On the "joke" side, there's Boba Fett's ship, Slave 1. It's slower than the Y-Wing (if you can believe that), can't turn worth a damn, has lousy shields, and its bottom-mounted blasters are awkward if not impossible to aim with. If an enemy ship gets behind you, you're dead. However, it has Homing Cluster Missiles. One shot can wipe out entire squadrons of enemy fighters. That said, you only have 20 of those per life, and once you run out the ship has nothing else going for it. It also can't fit into tight spaces due to its size and upright flight position, which on the Endurance bonus mission can even cause you to crash into a Death Star deflection tower right when the mission starts if you don't immediately pull up.
    • On the "lethal" side of this trope, we have the Buick. Yes, you heard that right, a Buick. It's only available with cheat codes, but it sports the same cluster missiles as Slave 1, and unlike Slave 1, it has excellent speed and shielding (on par with the A-Wing and X-Wing, respectively), fairly decent blasters (they're mounted in the headlights), and a tiny hitbox which makes dodging a breeze. Its joke status is also lampshaded heavily by the developers, as part of the code to unlock it is "WHATTHE".
  • Before the release of Stellaris' Nemesis expansion, the creators organized a stream featuring several youtubers playing various factions. Most of them were somewhat humerous, but the favorite was the theocratic Solar Imperium. While the winners... ended up being the Xumans, a joke created by Door Monster who's primary traits were being extremely friendly and putting X's in front of their names.
  • Vector Thrust has the antique MiG-21 Fishbed family and its Chinese knockoff cousins. At first glance, it's horrendous — paper armor and a tiny ammo pool make the starting variants something of a joke. If players invest the time and effort into upgrading the aircraft, however, they'll be rewarded with modernised Fishbed-93s and the like, boasting high mobility and surprising stealthiness due to their small size — not to mention a very attractive arsenal of all-aspect and medium-range missiles that open up interesting avenues of air to air combat. Compared to the near-uselessness of early variants the a late-game Fishbed is a One-Hit-Point Wonder that can hold its own in dogfights against aircraft like the Su-47 and F-22 (provided they don't get sneezed at.)
  • War Thunder:
    • The ZIS-30, the USSR's first tank destroyer. Effectively a tractor with a big gun on the roof, it is so top heavy that it does a dramatic nose dive every time it brakes, has zero protection for the gunner and loader, and is slow. On the other hand, it has a 75mm gun when most players are using 45mm or lower, and it's possible to get in the bizarre situation where the complete lack of armor helps it, as almost all armor-piercing shells will just sail straight the vehicle (over-penetrate) without doing any damage.
    • When it was first introduced, the USSR's flak truck had weird damage states due to having zero armor — almost every type of gun would over-penetrate and deal basically zero damage unless they hit its ammo cache — leading to an effectively unkillable truck which could do nothing but annoy other tanks by shooting their periscope and sometimes shooting their treads off. Careful aim, however, allowed them to cripple turret traverse mechanisms.
    • The Ju-87D-5 Stuka is slow, climbs poorly, and doesn’t have an exceptionally good payload. But it has 2 MG151/20 20mm Cannon mounted in the wings, generally considered to be one of the best aircraft guns in the game, and with 1000 rounds it has ammo to spare. Its large wings also allow it to turn very well, causing more than a handful of fighter pilots that mistake it for a free kill to themselves be eaten alive. And it also can carry an extra four cannons...
  • X3: Terran Conflict has the Truelight Seeker, a unique M6 corvette given as a reward during the Goner plot. On paper it's pretty mediocre, with only 400 MJ of shields, a top speed of 138 m/s, no turrets, average reactor power, and it's a larger target than the Argon Centaur it's based on. However, its spinal slots can mount literally every gun in the game except the Impulse Ray Emitter, and some have turned it into a Glass Cannon by fitting it with Gauss cannons. This is a weapon usually mounted on capital ships, but the Truelight Seeker is just fast and agile enough to dogfight with it, and since it relies on ammunition rather than the ship's reactor it can hit far harder its size would suggest.

    Sports Games 
  • Backyard Sports: Kimmy Eckman generally has the lowest stats of the backyard kids (in Backyard Baseball, she's a decent power hitter but a slow runner with so-so pitching and fielding abilities). If she's playing on her birthday (June 22nd) or at Eckman Acres, her stats get a major boost.
  • In Football Manager, there is a team named RGOUR Minsk, who play in the Fourth Division of Belarus, which is a league that the game does not actually allow to be played, requiring a mod to make them playable. They have a perfect 20 out of 20 for their training facilities, youth facilities and junior recruitment. To explain how big that is, Barcelona, one of the greatest teams in the world, with a long established academy that produces talent by the handful, only has 20, 20 and 19.
  • Mutant League Hockey has two examples in roughly the same mold:
    • The Chilly Liars. Rated 2 Skulls on a scale of 0-5, their players are largely well below average, and Coach Wimpson is a comically scrawny, clueless loser. However, starting LW Skingros is one of the best players in the entire game. Getting the puck to Skingros is often pretty rough because the other players are so weak and slow, and on higher Death Rate levels it can be hard to keep him alive, but it pays off very well.
    • The Slaycity Slayers are pretty similar: They have a 2-Skull rating and most of the roster is sub-par, but starting LW KT Slayer is perhaps the best player in the game. The Slayers' stats average out higher than the Liars, but their goalie lets more shots get through.

    Survival Horror Games 
  • One of Dead Rising 2's many survivors to be rescued is a guy with two broken legs. He can hobble around extremely slowly, or be pushed in a wheelchair. However, if you are holding the magazine that makes survivors slightly more powerful, he can zoom around the map at comically high speeds, and is the most powerful survivor in the game.
  • In the Resident Evil: Outbreak games, one of the weaker survivors is Jim Chapman, a slightly cowardly skinny dude who works in the city's subway system. His big move is that he can play dead, which makes monsters ignore him most of the time. However, he also comes equipped with his Lucky Coin, using which makes Jim stand still and flip it in the air. If it comes down heads up, Jim gets a permanent +15% boost to his critical hit rate that can stack up to three times. Since crits in Outbreak knock monsters flying and inflict massive damage, this turns Jim into a pipe-swinging engine of destruction, capable of bludgeoning his way through zombies like it's nothing.
  • In World of Horror, the final secret unlockable character, Kana, has a unique characteristic that locks their maximum Stamina and Reason to 8. Because their maximum Stamina and Reason cannot be reduced further, they can equip items and cast spells that would otherwise reduce those stats without penalty. They are also effectively incapable of being defeated by Stamina or Reason loss, as they will always reset to 8 when they would otherwise be reduced to 0 or below (although this is offset by a DOOM penalty each time this happens, and a Game Over can still occur from the DOOM meter reaching 100%).

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition:
    • Commoners are pretty much the useless class, with horrendous Base Attack Bonus, Hit Dice, and skills, as well as no class features — they're meant to represent an untrained human from the Dung Ages. However, they're also the only class capable of taking "Chicken-Infested", a somewhat obscure "flaw" from Dragon Magazine. The flaw (every time you draw an item, it has a 50% chance of being a live chicken) is meant for comic relief, being from an April Fools issue. Players noticed that it's a free action to draw items from a spell component pouch, and since a free action can be done any number of times, a Commoner could produce any number of chickens in a single turn. Astute players can use the chickens to suffocate dungeons, fill canyons, swamp invading armies, provide an infinite food source, and make DMs rip their hair out (but really, if your DM allows Chicken-Infested in a serious campaign, they've brought the ensuing chaos on themselves). Commoners can also qualify for the Survivor prestige class at level 1. Its only non-role play prerequisite is that you have to have your highest base save lower than your level (usually you start with at least one of the three base saves at two) and has exceedingly high defensive abilities. In the same list as the 'Chicken Infested' flaw you can find a flaw that causes enemies to arbitrarily attack the person with that flaw, which is also exclusive to commoners. Combining the two can potentially be quite potent... Assuming you can survive that first level.
    • Cautious building can net a character capable of creating swarms of angry, zombie chickens that explode for 1d6 negative energy damage.
    • Another infamous Commoner build is Bubs, a halfling Commoner 3/Marshal 1. One of the Commoner class skills is Handle Animal (to represent them taking care of farm animals), which, with enough investment, can allow the character to tame dinosaurs at 4th level. Downplayed, though, in that Handle Animal is by no means a Commoner-exclusive skill, and many classes can do it — but with it, a Commoner can be surprisingly effective.
    • Two other NPC classes, the Expert and Adept, are not to be underestimated either.
      • Experts are meant to represent noncombatants with specialized training, and to reflect this, they can have any 10 skills, which is potentially very useful when sourcebooks contain ways to make skill use lethal. In particular, Iaijutsu Focus can give them a solid damage option, Use Magic Device turns them into a knockoff caster, Tumble for mobility, Autohypnosis to become immune to fear and poison, Diplomacy, Sense Motive, and Intimidate to be The Face, and the same Handle Animal antics as Bubs. It has become something of a victim of Power Creep, as both the Savant and Factotum have all skills as class skills without needing to choose, while backing it up with actual features — but if you're playing an expert, you probably didn't care.
      • Adepts are intended as untrained low-powered casters, with an irritatingly slow progression, few spells per day, and no features aside from a familiar. But though their casting isn't much, their spell list is actually quite well-rounded, including Sleep, Baleful Polymorph, and Web to end encounters, Mirror Image, Stoneskin, and Protection from Alignment for defense, Invisibility for stealth, Obscuring Mist, Wall of Fire and Wall of Stone for battlefield control, Animate Dead for minions, a number of basic healing and blasting spells, and Polymorph. In most places, they come in at the lower-middle Tier 4, by far the highest of the NPC classes and surpassing a handful of core classes. Adepts even have a special Prestige Class meant for them, the Hexer, which bumps up their Base Attack and gives them more spells and a nasty gaze attack (admittedly, Archivists and Shugenja can take it too).
    • A good way to spot the difference between beginners/noobs and experienced players is how they view the bard class in 3.5. Anyone who's in the former will dismiss bards as spoony, the latter will point out Dragonfire Inspiration + Words of Creation + a few Inspire Courage bonuses = +8D6 damage to attacks made by your party members at Level 6. To put that in perspective, the other major things at Level 6 are druids getting the ability to buff while in bear form and the melee classes finally getting a second attack (which always misses) and the mandatory Shock Trooper feat, none of these are as helpful to the party as an average +30 damage to each attack. Perhaps even more impressive (in the hands of a skilled player) are the noncombat abilities of the bard. As the only Core base class capable of using both spells and skills, a properly played bard can do with a few rolls what would otherwise be difficult even with a large number of encounters. Another thing often missed is that players tend to dismiss its casting abilities because it only gets to 6th-level spells while the specialized casters get to 9th... but they're still 6th-level spells, in the edition that defined Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards, which is more than enough to outpace any core class that isn't a specialized caster and end or trivialize whole encounters with one spell.
    • The jester, introduced in Dragon Magazine and made proper with Dragon Compendium, is a Fighting Clown who looks like a worse bard at first glance. In fairness, this isn't far wrong — but more because, as mentioned, the bard is a lot better than it looks. It has a few baffling features (including armor proficiency but no armored-mage feature), and many of their abilities look worse than bardsong. But they have multiple useful save-or-lose tricks, they don't need to spend standard actions to buff their party members, and their spell list is surprisingly great, and includes some greatest-hits that the bard doesn't, including Alter Self and Polymorph.
    • Abserd, a Level 14 character who multiclassed into every base 5th Edition class once. Described as his creator as the ultimate Jack of All Trades, "an archer that can't shoot, a fighter that can't fight, a healer who can't heal and a wizard who can't cast spells". No Ability Score Increases either, but what he definitely has is a ton of cantrips and skill proficiencies, and surprisingly hard to kill to boot.
    • Kobolds are tiny lizard creatures with a base challenge rating of 1/4, and about that many hit points. Tucker's Kobolds became famous in D&D fandom for being able to wipe fully-prepared Level 10 parties with nothing but clever tactics and items.
      ...our party scrambled down a side passage, only to be ambushed by more kobolds firing with light crossbows through murder holes in the walls and ceilings. Kobolds with metal armor and shields flung Molotov cocktails at us from the other sides of huge piles of flaming debris, which other kobolds pushed ahead of their formation using long metal poles like broomsticks. There was no mistake about it. These kobolds were bad.
      • Any creature can become a heck of a lot more dangerous than their base challenge rating would seem to indicate with the help of clever tactics and items. What makes kobolds special is that they combine statistics and fluff that make it perfectly in-character to come up with and implement clever tactics with an extremely low challenge rating. Add to that a racial bonus to making traps...
      • In 3.5, Kobolds can perform the Greater Draconic Rite of Passage, which, for the minor price of a feat, two gemstones, and some hit points, effectively gives them an extra level of sorcerer (putting them on par with wizards in spell progression).
      • Kobolds can also take the Dragonwrought feat in 3.5, which removes all aging penalties, allowing them to start at Venerable age and gain +3 to all mental stats for no downside. Additionally, the feat turns them into a dragon. This allows them to pull off a number of crazy tricks, including picking Epic feats at any level, and getting all kinds of weird dragon-only abilities, such as Loredrake. And that's without accounting for the fact that dragons "automatically qualify" for anything which requires the dragonblood subtype... explanation
      • There was also the module in Dungeon magazine, "The Bandits of Bunglewood", where the eponymous bandits were six kobolds who had gotten training from an experienced mercenary. Everyone they had ambushed and robbed were too embarrassed to admit they had been beaten by kobolds, and as a result, stories started to circulate about orcs, ogres, lycanthropes, and other "respectable" monsters.
      • One of the most infamous builds in 3.5 was the "Pun-Pun" build, which was based on abusing various tricks at a very low level to gain Manipulate Form — an ability associated with a race of Abusive Precursors that created the reptiles of Toril, which allows the user to essentially give themselves every single ability in the game when properly set up. As the ability specifies that one has to be reptilian to be affected by it, and kobolds are the most notable reptilian race to lack Level Adjustment, this made the weakest race in the game a potential path to divinity at level 1.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • The Emperor Battle Titan. It costs more to field than all but the very largest armies all by itself, and requires a scratch-built model about 4 feet high so it was obviously never intended to see actual play. However: It carries so many ludicrously powerful guns that it could conceivably kill its points cost in smaller Humongous Mecha in one volley, while an army composed entirely of anti-tank guns could never hope to get through its shields before being wiped out itself. Its only weaknesses are close combat, which the 104 infantry it can transport can counter, and that it's so tall that many of its weapons can't hit targets less than three feet away.
    • The joke army list "Barrel of Monkeys". Basically, take Inquisitor Coteaz as a HQ, and build the whole army around Jokaero troops, who are basically alien space orangutans. Jokaero aren't just simple monkeys; they're a race of Idiot Savants who were likely created by ancient Precursors, and they're capable of producing incredibly advanced weapons technology, in fact they're even more advanced than the Eldar in some respects. Bring an army of Jokaero troops and your opponent will laugh at your fragile army of chimps, but you'll be the one laughing when he finds out that each Jokaero in the army is armed with a shiny little weapon ring which is the equivalent to a Lascannon, Multi-Melta and Heavy Flamer (note: "and" not "or"). While it won't win any tournaments, it's still an incredibly fun and surprisingly potent Glass Cannon army list.
    • Chaos Daemons in 6th Edition. It really plays to the idea of the fickle Chaos Gods: you can't even select wargear for your units, you have to buy a "chance" and then roll for it. The Warp Storm table, which activates every turn, has just as much chance to cripple your opponent's army as it does to yours, and the dice rolls don't scale in a linear fashion (you can get a great boon or a lethal handicap, they exist at both ends of the spectrum). Also, barring Tzeentchian daemons, they lack anything in the way of ranged firepower. However, with some incredibly powerful rules (if you can manage the rolls) and plenty of power weapons and invulnerable saves, along with the speed and immense close combat skill of the daemons themselves, they can be quite the force with a lot of skill and luck.
    • The Green Tide formation was originally written off as a joke; you need a bare minimum of 101 models to play it and they must all merge as one unit, so it's incredibly hard to maneuver on the board. In addition, if the unit dies, it's worth a whopping 11 victory points, which pretty much guarantees a loss. However, when people actually used it, they realized that this massive mob of boyz meant that any buffs brought in by a character was applied to every member of the squad at a cheap price. Painboyz essentially doubled the survival rate of the Boyz for pennies in points, and giving the Warboss a special relic that gave them fearless completely erased the Orks' sole weakness (their piss-poor leadership and Mob Rule). In addition, the 100 boyz made great buffering wounds for the Nobz and Warboss in the tide, making these already hardy units impossible to drop. The drawback of 11 victory points also only applies when the entire unit dies; so long as one Boy is still alive, you fork over nothing. Finally, every turn after the first, you can continually declare Waaagh, which solves the manouverability problem by basically allowing your boyz to run every single turn and still charge.
    • When the drop pod was moved to the Fast Attack Slot in Space Marine Armies (and thus do not require you to buy an existing squad beforehand) it didn't take long for people to realize that you can field an entire army of these. While almost completely unable to harm anything (what with only having a storm bolter for armament), players soon realized that, because they're dirt cheap, you can buy enough drop pods to wall off your opponent in their own deployment zone. On top of that, Drop Pods count as scoring units now, so after walling off your opponent you can just drop one or two pods near an objective and start farming victory points while your opponent desperately tries to hack through the wall of pods.
  • Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: Halflings as a playable race. Halflings have a miserably low movement rate, the lowest number of Wounds of all playable races and penalties to Toughness, Weapon Skill and Strength. Not what you'd build a warrior on? You'd be surprised. Halflings have a surprising number of warrior-type careers available, allowing them to compensate for their penalties quite quickly, and also get some nice Ballistic Skill bonuses. A halfling with a good crossbow will not be as cool as a Dwarf Shieldbreaker, but definitely hold their own in a fight. Oh, and halflings are the only race in the game completely immune to mutation, and can essentially juggle warpstone with no ill effects.
  • The legendary Old Man Henderson, the "man who won Call of Cthulhu" (although it was actually Trail of Cthulhu, but close enough). A schizophrenic, pot-smoking, crazy old man who lapses in and out of a thick Scottish accent despite not actually being Scottish, has a stuffed parrot permanently affixed to his shoulder that he talks to like it's a living person, and owns $40,000 worth of garden gnomes. Or at least he did, before he donated them all to charity while high, forgot about it by the time he sobered up, got confused by his sudden lack of gnomes, and came to the conclusion that the local cult of Hastur (who he thinks are Mormons) must have robbed his house and stolen them. He then proceeded to cut (or rather shoot and explode) a bloody swath of revenge through their ranks, engineered an Enemy Civil War between them and the local cult of Cthulhu, killed about ten of his fellow Player Characters either directly or indirectly, and eventually ended up permanently killing Hastur himself.
  • BattleTech:
    • If you're fielding an Urbanmech, your opponents are going to laugh at you. It's puny, weakly armored and armed with an AC-10, which while formidiable, is still often outclassed by other 'Mechs. And worst of all, it's slow. 9 times out of 10, that is. Because that 10th time, you're probably using it in an urban environment where speed is not an issue, and it can duck under cover and snipe. And own most other 'mechs on the field not willing to punch through buildings to get it. Against its fellow light-mechs, it is also rather well-armored, and its main gun, an Autocannon/10, has fairly long reach that out-ranges most of the small weaponry a light mech might typically carry, and is guaranteed to breach armor in a single shot against most anything not already better-armored than it. It also received a variant equipped with ultra-long-range Arrow IV artillery missiles. Impressive and powerful, sure. Turns out that a specific variant of the Arrow IV Urbie can also pack nuclear warheads.
    • The Charger CGR-1A1 has hilarious stats that makes any player think "why would you ever use this"; it's a 80 ton assault mech with the firepower of a 20 ton light mech. On the other hand, it moves as fast as a light mech while mounting the armor of a heavy mech; it seems purpose build to get into opponents faces and start beating the crap out of them with its bare robot fists. Retrofitted versions after the Clan Invasion mount devices like Triple Strength Myomer or MASC allowing it to charge into combat at 100kph and engage with a flying kick then Sniping the Cockpit.
    • The BNC-series Banshee was roundly mocked in the 3025 days, especially the 3-series versions. It's 95 tons and is loaded with armor and moves at the speed of a heavy 'Mech, but it lacks significant weapons other than its single PPC and autocannon, making it appear to be something of a Stone Wall. However, its more interesting uses were similar to that of the above-noted Charger, in that it weighs 95 tons and does 65 kph in a flat run. A Banshee can cross 180 meters of open ground in ten seconds and shoulder-tackle opponents, dealing the equivalent of four Gauss rifle shots in damage. If this is somehow insufficient it can also start punching, dealing the equivalent damage to an AC-10 with every punch and having a solid chance to hit a Battlemech in the head. Turns out that heads have only 9 armor at maximum, and any time the internal structure beneath the armor takes damage, there is a chance of a component being destroyed... and the cockpit counts as a component. This makes the Banshee terrifically effective at pinning down other Assault 'Mechs and simply brutalizing them to death.
  • Sidereals in Exalted* due to how unintuitive pretty much everything they can do is, especially compared to the straightforwardness of pretty much all the other Celestial Exalt types. The most durable ones don't wear armor, their main healing charm is in their Craft tree, and what is often considered the standard operating procedure charm for any other Celestial combat build is generally a bad idea for them (and that's just scratching the surface of their unintuitiveness). Sidereals have rather low raw dice and essence pools for being Exalts (the lowest in both of any Celestial), and have the lowest maximum health of any supernatural splat. They're also incredibly good at stacking the deck (which is part of their in-universe reputation and behavior as well), and many of their weaknesses are deceptive. They have the lowest maximum health, but have reasonably good soak, have access to regeneration and minimum damage reduction, the aforementioned healing charm in their Craft tree is likely the single best healing charm in the game in a system where combat-practical heals are both rare and expensive, and pack an enormous number of options that cripple the enemy's accuracy or outright cancel or redirect their attacks, even right back at the attacker. They have small essence pools compared to other Celestials, but with the right preparations, they have significantly more resources available than any other Exalt type when truly desperate (albeit not as something they can do all the time). Their raw dice pools are tiny, but they're also the only splat that's able to competently manipulate what number on the die is considered a success (and the usual Celestial combat standard operating procedure locks them out of using one of their two best tools for this), both for themselves and (with some effort) their enemies as well. This is all within their native charm set, without even touching upon Sidereal Martial Arts. Basically, if you play them straightforwardly like other Celestial Exalt types, they're going to be pretty weak. If played like the sideways-thinking deck-stackers they're portrayed as in-universe, a Sidereal becomes an absolute nightmare to fight.

    Tower Defense Games 
  • The Battle Cats: Stone Cat seems like a worthless cat at first glance, especially considering that it's a drop from the advent boss Evil Emperor Cat. In addition to having an unassuming design and an unflattering description (stating that it's surprisingly fragile, both physically and emotionally), all it seems to do when spawned is ram into an enemy for weak damage, then fall apart. However, the game doesn't mention its most notable stat: its HP, which is so absurdly high even at level 30 that it's functionally indestructible until its attack animation finishes and it disappears. This makes Stone Cat an excellent choice for buying time for units with a long attack animation to land a hit, blocking off enemies after a powerful boss lands a hit and preventing them from losing ground, and even baiting out the attacks of wave/surge enemies to make them miss. It also gets exponentially more powerful when paired with research combos, which can make it cool down faster and dramatically increase its stalling uptime — notably, with these combos, it's able to completely dominate the advent boss Kappy Jr., who's otherwise very challenging.
  • Plants vs. Zombies 2: It's About Time has a few plants that appear seemingly worthless, but are actually very potent:
    • The Imp Pear. Any zombie that eats it turns into an Imp, and any imps that eat it die instantly while releasing a stunning gas cloud. Besides being sort of ridiculous, it appears Overshadowed by Awesome by things like Chili Bean, which outright kills most zombies that eat it (while also causing them to fart), and many zombies don't even eat while instantly killing it. Imp Pear's Plant Food power, however, is insanely powerful — it turns a number of zombies on the screen into Imps, even those that don't eat such as Gargantuars, and this number starts from 5 but increases to a huge 15 at max level, essentially neutralizing a huge amount of threatening zombies.
    • The Pea Vine. Vine Plants have the capability to be planted on top of other Plants (ala Pumpkin), and provide various useful effects or attacksnote . The Pea Vine appears useless, firing a single Pea Shot like a peashooter and buffs Appease-Mint plants on its tile by 1.5x, which tend to fall out of favor due to the lack of splash/penetrating damage. However, this buff affects itself and increases substantially when it levels up, leading to a hefty damage increase as support. It also stacks with Torchwood's fire boost to peas — and thanks to Torchwood being an Appease-Mint plant, it also boosts this fire boost. Placing Pea Vine on a pea and the Torchwood in front of it will apply its buff twice, one from Pea Vine and the other from Torchwood's boosted flames, leading to insane amounts of damage from a single pea. All in all, what appears to be an underpowered plant at first glance becomes one of the most potent damage boosters in the game.

    Turn-Based Strategy Games 
  • The very first aircraft in Advanced Strategic Command, Zeppelin. It has fairly low ammo on all weapons and the second worst Armor after unarmed AWACS plane. It also has good View, so it can avoid being spotted too early by most units and use its advantages to the fullest. At High altitude it can fly with impunity over almost anyone, including Anti-Air trooper. It carries 6 infantry units and lands almost anywhere, so no need to use light Paratroopers, anything from mine-laying variety to snipers can be brought right to the target. 6x infantry of the right type can quickly destroy almost anything, especially supported by the same zeppelin that delivered them, and by breaking ammo and fuel supply may doom much more than they can kill directly. Oh, and Zeppelins are cheap. As is infantry.
  • India's unique unit in Civilization IV, where others get Samurai or Keshiks or Navy SEALs, is the uncreatively-named Fast Worker, a replacement for the standard worker unit with an extra point of movement. This sounds pathetic at first glance; it's boosting a noncombat unit and it's not even boosting the thing that unit is supposed to be good at. But then you realize this means India's workers can now traverse difficult terrain without wasting their turns, form up into stacks more quickly, outrun non-cavalry enemy units, and move and start building on the same turn. And since it replaces the worker, it never goes obsolete, meaning it stays useful for the whole game. Sure, it's not a military unit, but you're playing as Gandhi (or Asoka); what did you expect?
  • Venice in Civilization V was upgraded from a lowly city-state to a full-fledged civilization in the Brave New World expansion, and at a glance they seem severely outclassed - once their capital is placed they cannot settle new cities (ever!) or even annex captured ones, and their unique naval unit (the Great Galleass) is only marginally better than the standard version. But if they manage to get a decent start position and survive the early game, they quickly become overwhelmingly powerful - they get twice as many trade routes as any other civ and earn a unique replacement for Great Merchants that let them quickly curry a lot of favor with city-states or even turn them into puppet states without that nasty warmonger penalty, giving themselves more resources while denying their competition the same. They're also the only civ that can make gold purchases from puppeted cities, and being limited to one city also makes some otherwise difficult wonders (like the National Intelligence Agency) much easier to acquire. Late in the game, you'll be raking in an absurd amount of gold - magnitudes beyond the cost of to purchase whatever buildings or military units you may need, so securing enough allied/puppeted city-states will make a diplomatic victory extremely easy to achieve.
  • In Makai Kingdom, healers are largely worthless because their dependency on Resistance (which is the stat healing uses to determine effectiveness) means they can't fight effectively. Furthermore, once you get into the midgame, healing falls into disuse as a tactic in favor of just defeating enemies as fast as possible. Enter the syringe, a rare weapon you can't buy in the store... which not only can heal for free, but has damaging attacks, that are based on Resistance to boot! While absolutely no Game-Breaker (at this point, you'll likely have much more powerful damage dealers), the fact that they have all their ability based on one single stat makes them very efficient, as well as finally relevant again.
  • In Phantom Brave, Marona is only really intended as a summoner for the more potent phantom combatants, and has weak stats and poor combat skills, aside from an affinity for healing and status magic. However, she does have the significant advantage of never leaving the field (every other phantom returns home after a number of turns), and a properly fusioned weapon can give her godlike stats. Further, there are weapons that utilize healing-based, damage-dealing attacks, such as vases. It's perfectly feasible to turn Marona into a one-girl army.
  • The SD Gundam G Generation franchise lets players put any character they want into any mobile suit they want, which means plenty of characters who are supporting cast members and/or non-combatants in their home series can be this trope. But the queen of them all (pun not intended) would probably have to be Relena Peacecraft from Mobile Suit Gundam Wing; because she's an Actual Pacifist and political leader, her initial stats are all dismal except for her Leadership (which is usually the highest out of the entire Wing cast). However, her later-level stat gains are through the roof, meaning if you're willing to stick with her she can become a bona fide Lady of War. This actually makes Relena many players' preferred choice for power-leveling a new mobile suit, since she can more than cover for a starting MS's low stats.
  • Claude in Super Heroine Chronicle is this who is also a representation of This Loser Is You. At low levels, he's quite pathetic with his walking range being only 3 tiles, his attacks are silly looking plus his accuracy is pretty low, and his main specialty is to heal and he's not even that great at it so why is he here? Those silly attacks? They can easily hurt an enemy stat gauge from full to almost nothing, allowing him to follow up on Soul Sympathy attacks, or he could also be used to support Soul Sympathy attacks from other heroines. His healing skill is the only skill that gives him 10 exp (unless he's healing a higher leveled ally or enemy) consistently. And when he finally does gain those levels, he could easily go farther with his walking distance. With a lot of patience (and we're talking about a long time of healing, ending turn and rinse and repeat), he could easily get to level 99, then end the battle and pump up his bonus stats from all that leveling to his attack. Watch as enemies can't hit him thanks to his high dodge rate, and he could literally be your One-Man Army. Of course, training him for that long is an absurd amount of time invested.
  • Super Robot Wars :
    • Boss Borot is Magikarp Power incarnate, especially once you could start upgrading attack damage. In Super Robot Wars Advance, the upgrade mechanics meant you could buff him up more than Shin Getter Freaking Robo. Super Robot Wars J also gives him the ability to heal units along with the long-running staple of resupplying units, and you get experience every time you heal someone. In Alpha Gaiden, once his will was high, just plant him in water and have him fight beam using enemies. They do 10 damage, HE kicks their ass. Also, if you buff his defense and HP, you can actually turn the Borot into a highly viable meat shield in J and W. Alpha 2 takes it a step further, with Boss getting his copilots Nuke and Mucha. Unlike in J, they start out with a pair of decent-ish seishin each, until they hit level 80. At which point Nuke starts throwing Exhaust for 10 SP and Alert for 5. Not only that, but in J and W, he can use a Self Destruct attack when you think he may be of no more use if he takes too much damage. Crank up the Spirit commands to max and watch the fireworks. And it only costs a measly 10 in cash to repair. Not only that, there is often a meme of him being the true hero of whatever game he is in with the Self Destruct attack his mech has.
    • Super Robot Wars Compact series usually feature Leina Ashta of Gundam ZZ, Annoying Younger Sibling to Judou and Only Sane Man of the Shangri-La bunch, as a playable character. Lacking the abilities many MS pilots usually have, she's not a good pick for a Mobile Suit, but despite her low SP count and her tendency to draw critical hits (maybe a Shout-Out to her terrible luck in the series?), she is lethal in the right hands, as her stats are definitely not too shabby, and she has a pretty solid set of seishins. Put her in the Elmeth or the Alpha Aziel, and she will surprise you.
    • Super Robot Wars 30 has Giant Sang Yung, a giant version of Sang Yung created by Princess Aska. It looks goofy and only has one, somewhat weak attack for a Secret Character. Then players start looking at GSY's other stats starting with its pilot whose ace bonus improves its attack power by 20% which is the same as Mazin Power and improved mobility, the mech is a 2L sized mech and Aska does have the Wall spirit command which reduces all damage done to it, making it a surprising tank and its one attack reduces enemy morale by 10, reducing their chances to use their mech abilities and attacks. Even its own weak attack can be improved by upgrading the weapon's attack or using the Extra Arms power part and GSY has at least three part slots to improve the mech and finally, it's a two-seater pilot with Sang Yung having access to some support spirit commands. Aska even has a cheap Daunt spirit command which means endgame enemies have their morale reduced all the way to 50, allowing the heavy hitting units deal a lot more damage than they should.

    Turn-Based Tactics Games 
  • Fate/Grand Order:
    • Sasaki Koujirou, a 1-star Assassin, has very low stats, and during the first singularity, he's not very useful due to the fact that the class he has an advantage over (Rider) isn't present. Then along comes Orleans, the second singularity, with a large amount of powerful Rider-class dragons, and at launch, there were not a lot of effective Servants to use against them. Koujirou's low cost, as well as how easy it was to ascend/max out his skills, led many players to use him as opposed to Siegfried (a specialized anti-dragon Servant), making him the "Savior of France". With the addition of Palingenesis (Holy Grail enhancement) and some skill tweaks, Koujirou has become even more lethal, with dedicated fans using him to take down end-bosses like Tiamat, Goetia, and Kiara.
    • Mata Hari has abysmal stats, no passive skills, and mediocre active ones. However, she qualifies as this for 2 reasons: during the GUDA GUDA crossover event, she's an enemy servant at a ridiculously high level, and her noble phantasm always paralyzes enemy servants (especially male ones). The second one is that due to her class, Assassin, and third skill (which seals skills), she's actually a very good choice against the final boss, since not only can she stop the boss from using his strongest skill combo on his first turn, but as an Assassin, she gets bonus damage against him.
    • Angra Mainyu has terrible stats (even being the only 0-star servant), and his Noble Phantasm requires him to take damage to work (and it has to be enough damage to decimate his opponents, meaning that if they don't do very much, or they use skills, it's useless). However, against enemies that have massive defense buffs (most prominently in the Chaldea Summer re-run Challenge Quest), he's very useful, due to his Noble Phantasm ignoring buffs. And when fought as a boss? Well... hope that you can beat him before he gets a chance to use his Noble Phantasm, or if he does use it, hope that you either have Guts or don't deal enough damage for the damage he deals to decimate you.
    • In sharp contrast to Lancer Cu Chulainn dying in every route of Fate/stay night and being The Chew Toy of Carnival Phantasm, he rules the low-cost metagame in Grand Order specifically for his amazing survival skills. With an auto-revive, a three-hit Evade, and a debuff removal/heal, he can tank a lot of punishment.
    • Arash is a 1-star Servant with weak stats, an ability which boosts his critical star generation rate despite being barely able to generate any, and a Noble Phantasm that kills him after use. As such, initially, most people regarded him as a Joke Character. Later buffs, however, moved him into this trope: he got a new skill that increases his HP and NP regeneration, his Phantasm was made into an incredibly powerful Area of Effect blast, and the Palingenesis system gives the player the chance to make him stronger. As such, Arash now has a niche as a cheap nuker who goes in first and uses Stella to clear the field for the heavy hitters of his team.
    • The success of Arash led to a similar Servant, Chen Gong. His stats are barely better than Arash's, his skills look mostly like weird, situational buffs (one mostly only works on Berserkers, and provides a buff to crits when Berserkers rarely ever crit), and his Noble Phantasm, while highly damaging, kills the leftmost person in the party who isn't him — meaning that using it wrong will kill a more valuable character. Savvy players quickly recognized that this meant you could sacrifice a Servant whose skills are on cooldown and whose NP is at low charge, letting a fresh Servant from the back row take their place and come in swinging. Additionally, while his buffs are situational, they also enable many bizarre tricks, like forcing enemies to target characters with invincibility, or pulling off absurd damage numbers with crit-based Berserkers like Lu Bu. Particularly absurd builds combine Chen Gong with various Servants with charge skills — each time he kills one of his allies, another one steps in and drops all their buffs on Chen Gong, letting him charge again, and then he fires off his NP again, taking down the enemy wave and killing his ally again, letting him repeat the process by turning his allies into ammo and burning through waves in no time flat. (You should probably realize by now that he's a bit of a jerk.)
    • Paul Bunyan is a character from a comedy manga with a chibi design, whose own background acknowledges her pointless Gender Flip, and her survivability is awful even for a one-star (she has the lowest HP in the game, and as a Berserker, takes effective damage from almost everything). But she's incredibly cheap to upgrade and use, all her skills are useful party buff abilities, and she has an extremely short Noble Phantasm animation (which also hits all enemies, and as a Berserker, is extremely likely to do good damage despite her bad stats). This makes her one of the best farming characters in the game: drop all her skills on the first turn, use her Noble Phantasm to wipe out the entire first wave of enemies, and when an enemy drops her, bring in one of your powerhouses because Bunyan's cost is borderline nonexistent.
    • Jason is also a one-star, and he's even more obviously a joke than the others: not only is he the only Saber below three stars, but his stats are terrible and most of his animations consist of him calling out his friends to do the attacking getting caught in the crossfire. Even his Noble Phantasm has him getting turned into a Twinkle in the Sky by Heracles. However, all of his skills are supportive, and they're pretty strong on the whole. Not only that, but his third skill boosts in power significantly when buffing Argonaut teammates, which includes some very powerful choices, like the aforementioned Heracles. But what wraps his kit together is the aforementioned NP, which hits multiple times, is an Arts-type, meaning it charges itself on hit, and each use of it boosts his Arts cards, including itself. This means that with proper team support (i.e. Paracelsus and someone with another Arts boost), Jason can outright loop his Noble Phantasm, using the hits from one to charge up another almost instantly, and tearing through weak enemy waves with speed that feels almost unreasonable for such a low-cost Servant. Fans have also pointed out that while played for laughs in Grand Order, Jason being able to summon and command the other Argonauts at will would be devastating in a real Grail War.
  • The Fire Emblem games are practically designed around allowing joke characters to turn into total badasses, provided that you can stand to level them up. Magikarp Power is common throughout the series, and units that start out weak tend to have good growths to make up for it.
    • Tina in Fire Emblem: Thracia 776, when looking at her statline, seems to offer absolutely nothing. She has the worst staff rank of any of the game's healers, is as durable as a wet paper towel, and boasts a miserable 1 Skill with a 20% growth, in a game where low Skill on a staff unit can cause their staves to miss — Tina's Skill being so bad she misses about a third of the time at base level. While she does have five movement stars, giving her a chance to act twice, this mostly just compensates a little for her missing. At this point, you have multiple characters who can use strong staves, making a character who struggles with basic healing very undesirable. Her only standout point is two personal staves, which can only be used a combined total of seven times... and they're all she needs. While the Unlock Staff's ability to open any door or chest from anywhere is already highly useful in some maps, the Thief Staff is the real appeal — it lets Tina steal the held item of any enemy with lower Magic than her. Even at base level, this is enough to casually steal from any non-magic-using boss, and a few levels or a magic-boosting Pure Water will solve that handily. Its four uses can be quickly inflated by her sister's Repair Staff, making it fairly easy to use whenever you see something you want. Additionally, Tina's habit of missing actually becomes a good thing, since she still gets XP for using a staff and doesn't consume a use, and her personal staves give a lot of XP, meaning you can train her up very easily. And once she's raised her staff rank and promoted, her five movement stars means she gets two turns fairly regularly — and this is around the point that the really broken staves start showing up, which she can now use, making her one of the most versatile characters in the endgame.
    • An unusual example of this is the shaman Knoll, of Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones. He joins fairly late in the game, wielding the worst magic type, with stats that would have been unimpressive if he showed up five chapters earlier (including a rare 0 Luck) and growths that aren't going to save them. The guy is so depressed and pessimistic about his lot in life that when you first try to rescue him, he just assumes his execution date has been moved up. But what makes Knoll unique is that he is just high-level enough to be promoted from shaman to summoner without any grinding needed — and as a summoner, he gains healing and the ability to spawn a phantom every turn. Said phantoms enable all kinds of oddball strategies, because not only can they chip at enemies and traverse most terrain types, but their nonexistent durability means that enemies preferentially target them. This is especially useful when much of the endgame is full of enemies spamming the powerful and long-range Shadowshot spell — every shot wasted on killing a phantom makes your other units that much safer. Knoll even tends to see use in speedruns, just because he presents such a unique utility.
    • Due to the introduction of "Battle Experience", Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn are especially guilty. The former has Makalov, who has pink clown hair, orange armor, and is best described as an all-around doofus. Oh, and he also enters the game badly under-leveled. With some TLC, though, Makalov's great growths can make him into one of your best Paladins.
      • Mist is the Annoying Younger Sibling of Ike and enters the game badly underleveled while dressed in what can only be described as a sailor suit (in what is supposed to be a western fantasy setting). She is notable in the game for having some of the lowest strength growths and stat caps in the game while also having an amazing magic growth and stat cap. Unfortunately she uses swords as a weapon of choice, which makes her mediocre in battle at best. Until you give her one of the magic swords available in the game, which uses her magic stat for attacking and behaves pretty much like a magic tome. All of the sudden, you have a beastly unit capable of destroying anything... at least until her magic sword breaks.
      • This is only possible in Path of Radiance, however. In Radiant Dawn, magic swords do physical damage now. This makes Mist far less usable as an attacker, but allows for more than three sword users (one of whom isn't even in Radiant Dawn) to be able to effectively attack from afar, since every other sword user relies a lot more on the strength stat than the magic stat.
    • In Radiant Dawn, Meg seems designed as this. She's low-leveled and rather weak, and seems to exist as a punchline to a dialog in the previous game. However, she also has surprisingly high Speed, Resistance, and Luck growths for an armor unit, and her skill Fortune makes her immune to criticals. Fully maxed-out, she becomes one of the best armor units around... unfortunately, Radiant Dawn is a game where you really don't want to go through the trouble of babying a weak unit, high growths don't mean much when they quickly slam into low stat caps, and fellow armor knight Gatrie (who shows up a bit later) is usable out of the box and has comparable Speed, Resistance, and Luck to even a Meg that has been levelled properly.
    • The customizable classes and study goals in Fire Emblem: Three Houses. Many of the characters are extremely powerful when in their natural classes and working on their strengths... except that can be easily thrown out the window. The joke part comes with the fact that you can class anyone into any class you want, even if it's their weakness, and sometimes they can be amazingly strong. Your Squishy Wizard Afraid of Blood can turn into a ruthless axe murderer while your Book Dumb Big Guy blasts magic that he'd normally try to avoid.
  • Nintendo Wars has Sami, Colin and Sensei, three COs that are considered among the most broken in the series despite not seeming like it at first glance.
    • Sami's only strong units are foot-soldiers, and all her land vehicles are weaker. However, since her best units are the cheapest in the game, they're easily spammable, and foot-soldiers are among the most important units due to their ability to capture buildings to generate more income. Sami's happen to get a 1.5x bonus to capturing as well, which lets her easily get an economic lead over her opponents. (For perspective, you normally only need to do 1 damage to an Infantry unit to prevent a two-turn capture. For Sami's, you need to nearly wipe it out.) If she has her Super CO Power from the second game onwards, that bonus becomes instant, allowing her to potentially seize the enemy's headquarters and win the game within the one turn she triggers it. Her strong Mechs have favorable matchups against all light vehicles for less than half their price, and in numbers can even overwhelm Medium Tanks. And only her direct combat vehicles are weaker, and Indirect units happen to be both overpowered and a great support for Mech-spam.
    • Colin's gimmick is simple: all his units are 20% cheaper, but have 10% less firepower. You'd think that would just encourage flooding the enemy with weak cannon fodder... until you realise his units aren't any worse defensively, making Colin's lines incredibly hard to break through. And low firepower doesn't matter when you can get Medium Tanks and Bombers when your opponent is struggling to get out regular Tanks. Colin gets even better due to his Normal CO Power, Gold Rush. It's cheap and easily spammable and multiplies his cash on hand by 1.5, making all the above advantages even better. His Super CO Power, Power of Money, makes things even more unfair because it ties his units' stats to his cash reserves for one turn... so for every 1000 cash you're sitting on, you get a 3% unit boost across the board. This can lead to comically imbalanced fights and unlikely victories, such as a basic infantry team machine-gunning enemy jeeps (or, if your money is high enough, tanks) and destroying them outright.
    • Sensei has a strange set of specialties. Being a former paratrooper, he has strong Infantry and helicopters... and almost all his other units weak. This might look like Crippling Overspecialization at first, but his Infantry and Mechs have all the advantages of Sami's above (minus the capturing), and Battle Copters are one of the most versatile attack units in the game while being just cheap enough to be spammable. They're countered by Anti-Air units but Sensei's Mechs can cover those. His CO Powers have the unique effect of spawning free Infantry or Mechs in all cities he controls, which lets him easily overwhelm opponents and save money, and them starting with 9/10 HP is actually an advantage as it lets him generate even more money by Joining them. Sensei is even this in-universe, as his first Campaign mission has his opponent laughing at being faced by a senile old man... and Sensei quickly shows him exactly why he's a legendary war veteran.

    Other Video Games 
  • 100% Orange Juice! has the Shifu Robot; one of the three main bosses that were Promoted to Playable. Like with the other bosses, the Shifu Robot has been Nerfed for balancing reasons and is generally considered bottom-tier, with its only drawback being that it starts out and revives with 1 HP, making it an easy target for other players to pick off. However, if the player is smart enough to avoid battles for the first few turns and prioritize healing, when the Shifu Robot recovers all of its HP, it becomes a genuine threat to be reckoned with. It can still pick up stars from bonus panels (unlike the Store Manager) and actively participate in battles (unlike the Flying Castle). And once the player uses its hyper, it gains a Critical Status Buff to potentially One-Hit Kill other characters into oblivion (even those with high HP pools like Marie Poppo). Even if it does get KOed, it will revive instantly on the next turn with no dice input from the player, allowing it to quickly regain traction in the game.
  • Nuclear Throne's secret character Skeleton has a convoluted and counterintuitive method to play as it; first, you have to reach 6-1 as Melting, a challenge on its own: then you have to die inside of a purple necromancer circle. If you do everything right, you'll revive on the spot at level 1 as Skeleton, who has 4 max HP, is much slower than any other character, is also less accurate, and has a seemingly useless special ability (Blood Gamble, which allows you to shoot without consuming ammo in exchange for a chance you hurt yourself. Considering this is near the end of the game, it can be damn near impossible to reach level Ultra, but once you do, you unlock an achievement, and Skeleton's Blood Gamble can reduce reload time by a whopping *80%* each time you use it. Combined with other mutation choices such as Bloodlust, Trigger Fingers, and Rhino Skin, Skeleton can spam the Super Plasma Cannon to decimate anything in its way.
  • Palworld:
    • You can capture humans just like the eponymous Pals. Capturing a human yields a Joke Character with terrible work suitability, no Pal skills, poor stats and a weak, nonreplacable punch as their sole attack. This still applies if you capture a Syndicate Elite, they'll still have the same flaws, but due to a quirk in how damage is calculated, their punch attack deals as much damage as a rocket launcher.
    • Gobfin is a small Shark Man whose Paldeck entry mentions how they used to be large and strong aquatic Pals, but due to food scarcity adapted to land and became small and weak. Indeed, their stats are rather middling-to-low at the point of the game they're encountered. However, Gobfin has an ability that passively increases the player's attack damage while simply being in the party, and with an Elite Tweak along with the Vanguard passive skill, each Gobfin can increase the player's damage output by 30%. Having four of these and a mount with a Spell Blade effect can significantly boost the player's attack damage and is in fact a viable strategy against bosses.
    • Swee is a mop-like creature whose base stats at 60 each are as terrible as Chikipi, tied for being the worst in the game. However, like Gobfin, they function as Stat Sticks — simply having a Swee in your team will boost the attack and defense of all Sweepa in your team, allowing the player to have one tanky powerhouse of a Sweepa as the active Pal with four Swee supporting it.

Non-gaming examples:

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online, LLENN has a character build that favors Agility over Strength in Gun Gale Online, a game that favors Strength in its meta due to Strength builds being able to use the best guns. While this may make LLENN's build seem suboptimal at first blush, she uses it to her advantage, alongside her character's small stature, to become a Fragile Speedster who can get the drop on her opponents and take them out before they have a chance to react.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In-Universe example with Mouse from the titular video game of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. He's the Plucky Comic Relief sidekick with three weaknesses — cake, speed, and strength — while the others have one or none, and his only skills being Zoology and Weapons Valet. However, it turns out that Zoology is actually ridiculously broken if played right, as it makes one The Beastmaster in a jungle environment full of dangerous creatures like jaguars, black mambas, and elephants.

  • Arifureta: From Commonplace to World's Strongest: Hajime Nagumo's high school class is transported to an RPG Mechanics 'Verse, Tortus, where they all have defined character classes. Most of the class get things like Swordsman, Priestess, etc., but not Hajime, or their teacher Aiko-sensei.
    • Hajime gets the class Synergist, which basically makes him a glorified blacksmith able to change the physical form of earth and stones with the spell "Transmute". He turns it into a combatant class via hefty amounts of Not the Intended Use: he first transmutes the ground into pitfall traps to immobilize monsters so he can kill them, then graduates to immobilizing a boss-level monster by making it sink its feet and head into the ground. After falling into the depths of the Great Orcus Labyrinth, he starts crafting Hand Cannons, ultimately turning him into a One-Man Army.
    • Aiko gets the class Farmer, which includes a "Fermentation" power. She uses this to produce methane, which she makes into a fuel-air bomb while battling the Holy Church that brought them to Tortus to begin with.
  • The Avatar Chronicles: After Erik's latest character dies, he creates Cindella (from Sinbad the Sailor and Cinderella), a swashbuckler (very rare class choice), with all her points in the Beauty stat (usually dismissed as useless). It then turns out that the Swashbuckler has a lot of useful skills, and a high Beauty stat means that Non Player Characters give her preferential treatment, such as a jeweler giving her a powerful item that he didn't mean to sell.

    Live-Action TV 
  • "Chicken" George Boswell from the first All-Star season of the American version of Big Brother. He was the only houseguest to come from the inaugural season, which had a completely different format much closer to the British version, and the other competitors wrote him off as a total non-factor. Then in week 3, he was nominated for eviction, and this seemed to awaken a new competitive fire in him... culminating in the week's veto competition, where he agreed to eat nothing but slop for the rest of the game to get himself off the block. That turned out to be 40 days in all, as George was evicted in 5th place.
  • BattleBots:
    • Huggy Bear is pretty slow, has difficulty turning, and it cannot inflict any direct damage. What it DOES have going for it, however, is that it's one of the flattest bots in the middleweight division, meaning enemy attacks go either right over it or just barely graze it, and it has a unique tool, a sliding bar that travels across the middle of its H-shaped frame. True to its name, this bar is meant to trap opponents by hugging them, and once caught, it is very difficult to escape from, during which Huggy Bear will carry its opponent to a Pulverizer hammer or the Killsaws on the stage and stack up damage while the opponent cannot do anything. It is also very hard to flank: Its operator will bring it to the center of the arena, then have it sit there always facing the opponent waiting for them to approach, allowing it to overcome faster, more maneuverable opponents like Sabotage.
    • Wrecks is the absolute slowest bot in the ABC revival, only able to slowly hobble its way along and takes a minute to just move a few feet. It was curb-stomped in every tournament match it was in — then the 2016 rumble consisting of the previous year's returning bots took place, where Wrecks's giant flywheel sawblade demonstrated its absurd power, defeating 3rd seed Witch Doctor in one hit. It was curb-stomped by Bite Force later, but this one event was so unexpected to everyone (perhaps except to the people who built and operate Wrecks) that it elicited gasps and screams from the audience.
    • A series filled with buzz-saws, crushing hammers, and the occasional flamethrower, has the bot known as DUCK! Compared to other bots, DUCK! is bland and silly. A box on wheels with a duck theme and a tiny wedge. But as several of the more lethal bots found out, DUCK! was just as lethal as he was silly. Especially due to his utter invincibility. This came into play big-time against reigning champ Tombstone. Who was brought within 2 seconds of a count-out by the bot.
    • When you see Chomp out in the BattleBox, wildly swinging its pointed hammer around and tipping itself on its side again and again, losing most of its matches, you may think it's a bunch of useless garbage. Said "useless garbage," however, defeated the reigning champion Bite Force, doing so by pecking into a tiny hole, with ludicrous precision, that broke Bite Force's weapon and messed with its movement. So far, Chomp remains the only robot to have won against Bite Force.
    • The latest addition is RIPperoni. A weirdly-designed bot with a big vertical spinner counterbalanced by a flywheel, asymmetrical design, light armor, and themed as a pizza (the base painted as a pizza box, the flywheel decorated as a pizza, the driver coming out in a silly chef's outfit). It shocked the entire tournament by scoring a knockout over Giant Nut winner End Game and going 3-1 in the qualifiers before having an ugly slugfest and almost winning over Black Dragon, a bot knows for its Made of Iron durability.
  • Robot Wars:
    • Diotoir was covered in flammable fur that caught fire in every fight, couldn't self-right when flipped, wielded an almost useless weapon, and had a big cheesy grin on the face of the robot. Yet somehow, it has won multiple awards, competitions and fights against powerful robots (especially an infamous fight where it went toe-to-toe with a future championship-winning robot and won). All it needed was excellent driving, one of the strongest pushing capabilities in the entire competition underneath its joke exterior and creative use of its weapon to make a lot of progress. Even its fur had the "lethal" part of "joke"; it easily came off and snagged its opponents' weapons.
    • In the revived series, Nuts 2. In Series 8 and 9, it was easily just a Joke Character (its most famous moment being ending up on the receiving end of a Curb-Stomp Battle courtesy of Carbide in Series 8), but its upgrades in Series 10 made it much more powerful, almost turning it into a full-body spinner that kept landing crippling blows, including disabling Carbide's weapon outright! Nuts 2 is a member of a type of robot known as a "sit-and-spin" or "thwackbot," which was fairly common through the 2000s but had long since gone extinct in Nuts 2's weight classnote  due to the presence of robots with faster-moving, harder-hitting spinning weapons. To date, Nuts 2 remains the only successful thwackbot in its weight class and now also competes in BattleBots to continue to play this trope in the United States.
  • Jinkx Monsoon from Season 5 of RuPaul's Drag Race. For the first several episodes, she was written off by the other contestants as a corny comedy queen with an old-timey gimmick, and she kind of faded to the background... until the celebrity impersonation episode in which her hilarious performance as Little Edie Beale earned Jinkx her first win of the season. That's when the other queens realized that Jinkx was a threat after all. Sure enough, she not only won the season, but became a fan favorite due to being the underdog.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Family Guy episode "Patriot Games", Stewie is taking bets for an upcoming episode of Fox's Celebrity Boxing, in which the matchup will be Carol Channing versus Mike Tyson. Brian points out the matchup is an obvious Curb-Stomp Battle (elderly actress versus professional boxer) before placing a bet on Tyson. Sure enough, when the match happens, all Carol does is harmlessly nag and taunt Tyson before he expectedly beats her up. Shockingly, she gets back up and continues nagging as if nothing happened. This process repeats several times until Tyson collapses from exhaustion, making Carol the winner without even landing a single punch.

    Real Life 
  • In the world of fighting the embodiment of this trope was Eric "Butterbean" Esch, an overweight, short armed boxer with a very unrefined style, very little footwork and the proven capability to knock out pretty much anyone if he landed a single good punch, Esch went on to make a prolific career out of knocking out opponents that looked much more fit than him.
  • In LARP communities there is in nearly any group the "Skinny Fast Kid". Usually aged about 16 to 25, very slight build and looks like anybody would roll over them. And indeed normally anybody could take them out, if only they could catch them. There is one famous story about a Russian LARP group who had a rule: players with no armour have 1 HP, each piece of armour that gives real life protection confers +1 HP, and so historically accurate plate armour gives a lot of HP. One team had to run a message to an allied camp a few kilometers away through enemy territory, on a hot summer's day. Enter the Skinny Fast Kid who decides to take no weapons and wear only a pair of swimming trunks. Nobody managed to catch him.
  • From a natural selection point of view, Humanity in general is Mother Nature's best case of this trope: Far worse senses than many other species, far weaker physical "stats", absolutely worse survival instincts, poor resistance to pain, no natural weapons and contrary to what the H.F.Y. meme thinks, we aren't in fact, "the most dangerous and bloodthristy motherf_____s in the jungle", yet we are Scarily Competent Trackers and Super Persistent Predators, we have hands, which are excellent manipulators, and we have Science and Technology, our very own Real Life Difficult, but Awesome Game-Breaker.


Video Example(s):


Diotoir VS Tornado

Diotoir is well known for catching on fire in almost every fight it's been in, however in this Series 5 fight, it defeats Tornado, a future Robot Wars champion.

How well does it match the trope?

4.53 (19 votes)

Example of:

Main / LethalJokeCharacter

Media sources: