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"It doesn't matter how hard I try, or how much better the work is. It doesn't last the way it does when you do it."
— Wizened viewpoint on mortals, Changeling: The Lost

In a Speculative Fiction setting, there are often a lot of people going on about how incredible and powerful the Phlebotinum is, which is why people who have it are the ones who move the plot rather than all the ordinary Muggles who need to be rescued.

Except, sometimes, the superhuman devices or abilities in the story aren't really all that earthshaking, at least not compared to the more mundane methods available. Sure, being able to create fire with your mind might be neat, but if it's not on a large enough scale, you might be better off with a handheld lighter. And a Trick Arrow that electrocutes people could be useful, but we do already have stun guns. And that guy saying he'll Take Over the World now that he's got skin as strong as steel? Yeah, apparently he's never heard of armor-piercing bullets. Of course, if they don't work, there's always the Nuclear Option.

Sometimes the usefulness of Muggle methods will be a big part of the story, like Van Helsing using modern scientific methods against vampires in Dracula. Other times supernatural abilities and Muggle abilities will be kept largely separate thanks to the Masquerade, but when they do intersect the superiority/equality of Muggle methods will be clear. And then there are some stories where it's clear the writers didn't really think about what ordinary people could contribute, but the fans certainly will.

There are two ways this trope can go if it isn't used correctly. In some cases, it applies if and only if the Muggles are Crazy-Prepared. A girl who freezes you at will may be able to kill regular soldiers easily, but if they have insulated suits specifically to fight her, well, then it becomes a teenage girl with a useless power vs. a squad of heavily-armed, trained soldiers. And one-sided fights aren't very entertaining. Usually. On the flip side, it can become unsatisfying fast if Fridge Logic sets in and critically-thinking viewers recognise that the only reason the Muggles win is because the supers are holding Idiot Balls, suffering from Misapplied Phlebotinum and using Hollywood Tactics rather than embracing the true potential available. For example, smart audiences may wonder why supers do not use guns when muggles do. Trying to get this trope to work well may involve a delicate balancing act. In fanworks it can result in something similar to Alternate History Wank in which the "wanked" party is the Muggles, and as such the term "Mugglewank" is sometimes used by detractors.

Related to, but distinct from, a Mundane Solution, which is where the Phlebotinum is given a specific weakness to some commonplace thing that it didn't necessarily have to have. See also Weaponized Weakness, when muggle methods are used to exploit an already dangerous Achilles' Heel or Weaksauce Weakness.

This trope is the main power and indeed the only hope of the Un-Sorcerer. Also a key characteristic of the Badass Normal, who utilize such methods in a way to keep up with (and sometimes defeat) the other superpowered beings of the universe. Can also lead to The Magic Versus Technology War, with the Tech Level being that of the present day.

Compare with Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better, which is when mundane weapons work better than fancy shiny phlebotinum-powered weapons, though not necessarily as sometimes the "mundane" weapons are pretty phlebotinum-loaded too. Compare Post-Modern Magik, which is when technology and magic intertwine, and Magic Must Defeat Magic, where muggles are hopeless against magic and you need more magic to fight it. Also compare to Medieval Stasis, as this trope assumes the supernatural is locked in such while the muggles continue to advance. Contrast Guns Are Worthless, where those fancy muggle toys are, well, worthless in the face of a supernatural threat.

Unrelated to Tropers Do It Without Notability.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • The WWII/Vietnam War-era weapons that have crossed over to the world of Halkeginia in The Familiar of Zero appear to far out-power all elements of offensive magic except that of the Void. Giant golem? LAWnote  beats it. Dragons? WWII era Zero beats them. Giant walking magically impervious armor? Flak cannon shoots straight through it.note 
  • In Negima! Magister Negi Magi, while a combination of magic and technology usually works best, it seems that cell phones are almost universally more useful than the Telepathy that mages tend to use, so long as there's reception. In terms of pure offensive firepower, the magic world does not appear to have anything like nukes. In a flashback, Nagi talks about it a little.
    • Nagi however does state that the strongest magics surpass nuclear weapons in destructiveness and the sequel series has the two strongest mages fighting on the moon and basically reshaping the surface of the entire celestial body with their spells.
  • Darker than Black employs this trope a lot. Despite their (sometimes) awe-inspiring powers, the majority of Contractors are not Immune to Bullets; they are usually no match for a well-trained squad of armed police or soldiers. Contractors are therefore seldom used in open combat and are employed more like special operatives where they're able to get the jump on people.
  • Squid Girl's titular Musume is quite powerful and would make for an excellent B-movie monster - until the JDSF arrives on the scene. At the end of the day, squids are squishy, and there's only one of her.
  • In, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, all the main characters have very efficient magical weaponry, and yet it's Homura who seems to be the most efficient magical girl out of the group, despite mostly killing witches with stolen military and Yakuza firearms rather than her powers. Though that's because her powers are over time, making using firearm much more cost-efficient than a direct magical attack and ending up driving much of the plot.
  • In Hunter × Hunter, the local Functional Magic system, Nen, allows the characters to use the aura every living being has to get Super Senses, Self-Enhancement, perform Ki Attacks, and create unique techniques, rendering normal weapons mostly useless against them. But when they had to face a Big Bad whose Nen greatly surpassed the strongest human characters, they gave normal weapons a shot. They threw a Rose Bomb at him; a Rose Bomb being an illegal weapon of mass destruction deemed too inhuman to be used in war. Thanks to his massive aura, he survived the explosion, but the exposure to the bomb left him poisoned and doomed to die anyway after a few hours.
    • Chapter 370 also introduces the 9-millimeter Luger, a widely-available handgun that has enough firepower to tear right through Nen reinforcement and one that even experienced Nen users stay on guard around.
    • On a more mundane note, there is no supernatural equivalent in this series to the cell phone. Even the most powerful of Nen users carry cell phones with them and use them like everyone else. Only one character, Shalnark, is shown able to use Nen for long-distance communication, and that's because he uses it to create a replica of a cell phone—and because it's so complex, Shalnark never had the time to learn how to conjure anything else.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • Very few of the good guys had any supernatural abilities. The Pharaoh did, as did Aki from Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds, and some could see and talk to Duel Spirits, but that was about it. (Kaiba might have had a few remnants of the magical skills that his past self as Priest Seto had, but couldn't use them at will.) Still, they tended to fight and defeat sorcerers, demons, and Eldritch Abominations on a regular basis.
    • One of two people to defeat the Pharaoh in a duel was Yugi himself in what was likely the greatest duel in the first series. Just a few episodes before that, Yugi had defeated Yami Bakura without the Pharaoh's help.
  • The exact premise of Gate. Powerful Empire from a fantasy world sends the conquering army through a magical gate which leads to current day Japan. Said army hits policemen and then the Self Defense Force, and falls back very shortly afterwards. Then Japan's Self-Defense Force goes through to fantasy world, and the inhabitants are horrified by what humans can do to them with simple machine guns and mortars. And after that tanks, jets and APCs show up. Luckily for them, Japan is seeking for a diplomatic solution, rather than simply curbstomping the entire realm.
  • In One-Punch Man, Saitama thinks he's this trope: he's a former salaryman who, in a world full of superpowered heroes and villains, relentlessly trained his body to be at the peak of human performance. The namesake of the series, Saitama inflicts One Hit Kills on all sorts of supervillains with the barest minimum of his full power. However, Saitama's strength is far beyond what is logically feasible for humans, and the amount of training he did is at a level many people in real life do without being able to effortlessly kill supers in one punch. This is somewhat explained in that it wasn't merely Saitama's training, but his willpower in relentlessly striving to become the strongest hero in the universe that ended up breaking his God Limiter.
  • This is initially averted in Attack on Titan, where humanity is barely capable of holding out against Titans despite possessing early firearms, which for the exception of heavy artillery pieces with exploding shells, are completely useless against Titans, and 3D Gear. The only infantry weapon to be truly effective against Titans is barely able to even the fight and even then unless the soldiers are extremely skilled, killing even a single Titan often means sacrificing several men and women. Only when Eren gains his Titan Shifter powers does the humanity have any real chance to fight back against the Titan threat. However, in the world outside the Walls and Paradis Island where technology has been improving at a steady pace, the Kingdom of Marley, which has relied almost entirely on Titans to maintain their military supremacy, becomes increasingly threatened by its more technologically-advanced rivals, who have developed industrial-era weapons specifically designed to kill Titans. In the latest chapters, these weapons are shown to even be capable of destroying the almost impervious Armored Titan. The primary motivation for Marley's aggression towards the Eldians is their desire to bolster their forces before their many enemies make enough technological advances to render Titans as a whole obsolete in warfare.
  • Minor example in Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid. Tohru and Kanna mention that Earth's vegetables and rice are superior to what is found in their world due to some magic called "selective breeding".
  • In Black Clover, magic is so ubiquitous and widely practiced that defense and detection mainly revolve around locating areas of high magic concentration. For the most part, this works, because almost all offense is created through people's magic reserves. Said defenses and detection are completely ineffective, however, against actions done through non-magical means. This gives the Badass Normal Asta a bigger leg up than most people who meet him suspect, as everything he does cannot be defended against or detected with magic. For instance, the seemingly unstoppable Kirsch Vermillion, who immediately spotted all of Xerx's traps and disarmed them, falls into a pit that Asta dug completely through manual labor.
  • Durarara!!: Saika's children have a Hive Mind, but it is inefficient (they can't communicate with other children, only their mother), and most of them are very confused when they are first born. They gained a lot of coherence and stability once they discovered the Internet.
  • Plus-Sized Elf: In Elfuda's magical world, all meals are extremely basic with no cooking techniques beyond grilling or boiling existing, seasoning as simple as salt and pepper are extremely expensive, and the elves' vegetarian diets consist of nothing but raw vegetables. As such, Elfuda and the rest of the female cast prefer Earth food due to its much wider array of choices.
  • The eponymous creatures of Parasyte initially seem impossible for humans to kill, being able to shred people at Super Speed and even deflect bullets with their Combat Tentacles. However, this turns out to be more because the parasites blend in, take people by surprise, and aren't publicly known to exist. The government eventually develop means to covertly detect the parasites and discover they can overwhelm their defenses with shotguns. Against a platoon of properly-armed and trained humans, only Gotou proves truly Immune to Bullets.
  • During the final skirmish in the ecchi OVA Labyrinth of Flames, the super powered and specially trained protagonist finds himself overwhelmed by the villainesses demonic puppets, cue the Lovable Sex Maniac showing up out of nowhere and proceed to lay down the law with a T-34 tank, all backed by Kalinka.

    Comic Books 
  • One of the Marshal Law comics sends superheroes back to World War I. They turn out to be pretty useless to the war effort. The idea that superheroes aren't all that useful in actual combat is in fact a recurring theme of the series.
  • Zig-zagged with Fables. The more powerful magical beings are basically gods that can destroy worlds, but a good chunk of the war between the Fables of Fabletown (living in the real world) and the Adversary (what they ran away from) shows the advantages mass modern technology has over magic...but it's made clear that it stems in part due to a lack of preparation by the Adversary to have counter-defenses.
  • Subverted in an issue of Justice League of America: the son of the recently deceased Green Arrow has to fight a bad guy and his mooks using an old set of arrows his father left behind. He laments that they're all ridiculous trick arrows, such as a handcuff arrow or a boxing glove arrow, and wishes his dad would have had at least one regular arrow among them. He ends up defeating the bad guy with a boxing glove arrow.
  • Often played with in The DCU and the Marvel Universe. Some characters manage to do very well against superpowered adversaries with nothing more than the training and technology you see in the real world, The Punisher being a perfect example. Oftentimes, though, the police, the army, would-be Heroic Bystanders, and others are completely ineffective against the villains.
  • In his first fight against the Masters of Silence, Iron Man was confronted with the fact that they were immune to his repulsor bolts. In their second battle, Iron Man wore the so-called War Machine armor, equipped with guns. A lot of guns. The Masters of Silence were promptly trashed before being confronted with the fact they had been tricked into attacking Stark in the first place.
  • A long-standing question in X-Men is why Sentinels are a threat to mutantkind. Magneto has demonstrated a penchant for using his powers and scientific genius to construct incredible Supervillain Lairs inside active volcanoes or on asteroids and even uses robots himself from time to time, but never seems to consider countering human Sentinel technology by simply building his own comparable battle robots (though he did once use his powers to make them kill humans instead of mutants.)
  • In Issue 3 of Loki: Agent of Asgard, the eponymous character is faced with giant fish Andvari, who is so strong and slippery that "neither hook nor net nor magic could land him". Loki decides to instead use a rocket launcher and take his gold that way.
    Innkeeper: B-but where did you get such a gold-hoard, old one?
  • Subverted in the backstory of Irredeemable. An alien race to attempting to conquer the Earth, and all of the world's superheroes were powerless to stop it. A Badass Normal called the Hornet snuck onto the main ship and got the aliens to leave peacefully. This incident earned the Hornet widespread acclaim, but the truth was that he was just as powerless as everyone else. He only saved Earth by making a Deal with the Devil.
  • Something of a central theme to The Boys. The first American superheroes prove useless against the Wehrmacht in the Second World War, the G-Men (X-Men expies) are handily wiped out by Red River personnel armed with machine-guns and flamethrowers. Later, the U.S. military wipes the floor with the superheroes occupying Washington D.C. using copious amounts of airstrikes and heavy weaponry, with only the Superman Substitute Homelander proving too tough to crack that way.
  • The DCU has an odd relationship with this trope. Typically, heroes that handle massive cosmic threats will often run into problems dealing with an evil Badass Normal, The Joker being the most famous example. The trope is often subverted with superpowered threats to the whole planet, which typically require someone with powers to stop them. So, muggles are better at dealing with muggles, and superpowered heroes are better at dealing with superpowered villains.
  • The "Final" arc of Hack/Slash ends with this, when Cat Curio manages to whip up an antidote to Akakios's slasher-creating potion in a few days in her own lab. Turns out that alchemy isn't magic after all and scientific chemistry did make some strides in the last two thousand years.
  • One Bronze Age Doctor Strange story involved an extradimensional warlord magically stealing the U.S. army's equipment. When he steals a nuclear warhead, Dr. Strange gives him a magical vision of the horror such a device can unleash, and he's so aghast that he returns it and all the tanks and such and wants nothing to do with them.
  • Wonder Woman (1987): After giving both Wonder Woman and Hermes a hard time, Ixion is ultimately taken down by the U.S. Air Force, though Wondy and Hermes were trying to capture him rather than kill him.
  • Of a sort in Spawn. The title character's Hell-based powers are capable of incredible things, however, he operates most of his series with a fixed amount of power that, if he uses it up, will send him to Hell. Spawn delays this inevitability by using guns, bombs, and other mundane weapons, which usually are powerful enough to take out Spawn's foes. So magic is better, but muggle weapons won't ultimately send your soul to Hell.
  • When The Mighty Thor ex-villain Skurge the Executioner made his Last Stand against Hel's army of the dead on Gjallerbru, he fought them with a pair of M-16 assault rifles. The rifles took down scores of the supernatural army before they ran out of ammunition. Even then, Skurge went down swinging one rifle like a club.

    Fan Fic 
  • Child of the Storm has this as the initial anvil of the first book, before increasing nuance later on and into the second book.
    • The broad gist is that magic has had the upper hand for a very, very long time - though non-magical folk can be exceptionally dangerous in numbers, especially when organised to a purpose - but over the last century or so, technology has grown exponentially more effective, while most organised magic has stood relatively still. A muggle Super Soldier like the Winter Soldier can carve through swathes of Aurors.
    • However, it is also demonstrated that once magical people get out of the Medieval Stasis mentality and use their powers properly, they can be frighteningly effective: the aforementioned Winter Soldier gets taken out by a single Imperius when he gets caught off-guard; Coulson notes that even an average Death Eater is like a tiger - possible to cage relatively easily if you're prepared and know how (and not overly bright), but if you screw up, it will be the last mistake you ever make; and Arthur Weasley figured out how to convert an ordinary car into a flying car in his garage on a budget with a relatively limited knowledge of physics, solving a cost problem that Stark Industries spent decades unable to crack. Also, magic tends to power some of the heaviest individual hitters in the story, and even ordinary wizards have a vast advantage in flexibility over the vast majority of mutants. In general, the most effective functions, and the highest powers in the setting, are the ones that most effectively combine magic and technology.
  • Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness provides this explanation for the Masquerade in Act II. As the others explain, no matter how powerful monster might and magic is, human technology and weapons are superior, and humankind vastly outnumbers monsters.
  • In The Three Kings: Hunt the mages after centuries of losing to the wizards have begun mounting an affective resistance by using the Internet
  • The Discworld of A.A. Pessimal explores the relationship between Assassins and Wizards. The Assassins, after a lot of practical experience over the centuries, will now only accept a contract on a Wizard or a witch after "due contemplation and reflection". It is believed that a contract on a Weatherwax woman, some centuries ago, resulted in an excruciatingly embarrassing failure for the Assassins, for instance. Young Assassins are now taught that you only ever get one go at a Witch or Wizard, and if you miss on that first go, you can forget it. You can also forget living for much longer. However, Wizards are also excruciatingly aware that an Assassin with the advantage of surprise is lethal. A state of wary mutual respect exists. Today's Wizards are also aware that when marriage happens between a Wizard and an Assassin, Ponder Stibbons is very effectively bodyguarded by his wife and can be regarded as unkillable. A promotion-seeking wizard who was slow to get the message was found dangling from a very high place on a fraying rope tied to one ankle, and screaming incoherently. Mrs. Stibbons had an alibi; she was leading a class of student Assassins on a night-climbing exercise. Apparently.
  • In The Moment It Began, instead of being defeated by The Power of Love, Lord Voldemort, the most powerful Dark Wizard in the world, is defeated... by Snape's Muggle father Tobias and his trusty handgun.
  • This is one of the running themes of Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, where Harry has learned all about the scientific method and critical thinking before going to Hogwarts. For example, wizards believed you could only transfigure whole objects, but Harry was able to transfigure only part of a sphere because he knows that scientifically there's no difference - it's just a collection of atoms either way.
  • This is the Anvil in The Return; The Demons and Eldritch Abominations have all these fantastic powers, but Humans have inventiveness and are much better at being bastards, and normal military tech more than levels the field.
  • Old Soldiers never Die frequently makes use of this trope. It's also doubly ironic because Voldemort was defeated almost entirely by a force of 80+ year old squib veterans using technology that at its most modern dates back to World War II.
  • Sort-of-done in My Immortal. Instead of telling Ebony to kill Vampire/Harry via magical means, Vloxemort gives her a gun to shoot him. Of course, given Tara Gilesbie hasn't displayed any real understanding of how the actual series works...
  • Left Beyond has quite a bit of this. The Omega develop counters to angelic powers by observation, trial and error, and sacrificing a lot of Red Shirts to the cause until they find something that works. Once they do find something that works, they apply it industrially, so that by the end of the Millennial Kingdom, Angels and even Archangels can be tackled by drones with minimal loss of life.
  • In Harry Potter and the Invincible TechnoMage, Reed Richards and Tony Stark (Iron Man) discover how Harry Potter's magic works, and manage to make it work with their technology rather than against it (and Tony uses the magic as a cheap energy source for his various armours, such as the one he gives to Harry).
  • The Book of Dobby, by Doghead Thirteen, focuses on Harry fighting the Death Eaters with World War II-era bomber and fighter planes. Of course, he's basically going Magitek, what with the dragon-hide coatings and the de-ruster spells and so forth, but it's the same idea.
  • An example appears in Oh God, Not Again! to explain why Theodore, a Slytherin, is in Muggle Studies. When asked why he was there, Theodore noted that his father learned the hard way that Muggles weren't as harmless as he thought after being shot on a trip to Las Vegas, and wanted his son to learn as much about Muggles as possible.
    • Harry also brings certain Muggle school supplies with him, such as pens, paper, and the like. These turn out to have a remarkably strong following amongst the students, especially Muggleborns, to the point where the professors grow frustrated trying to guess how many words, say, '12 inches on hazelwort' would be.
  • Faery Heroes background had Voldermort coming back to life once more and deciding to wage direct war against Muggles. By the time of the story, almost 3/4ths of the magical population of Britain is dead, most of the survivors are in hiding, having been utterly unprepared for the grenades, the bullets, and just the way muggles wage war.
  • Subverted by a few Heroic Bystanders who have tried to defend themselves with their guns in both the Ultimate Sleepwalker and Ultimate Spider-Woman series, rather than waiting for the heroes to rescue them. Unfortunately, Failure Is the Only Option for these Muggles.
  • Discussed in the The Familiar of Zero/[PROTOTYPE] crossover Unfamiliar; while magic can do many thing technology can't, it's also inefficient for more mundane things. For example, an earth mage can do the work of ten farming machines; however, it takes years to train an earth mage, whereas you can build farming machines in days.
  • Subverted in some Hetalia: Axis Powers fics involving human beings trying to take on the Nations themselves. As it turns out, all conventional weapons (whether it's a knife or a .50 caliber rifle) could do is simply stall them long enough for the Muggles to escape with their lives.
  • The Conversion Bureau: Not Alone runs on this, as a deconstruction of The Conversion Bureau fanfic genre. Pony weaponry and magic are only remotely an even match for humanity's massed artillery, armoured cars, and automatic firearms. Much to the point where the ponies start stealing people's guns with their magic to use against the humans. It's also especially notable in that the Royal Guards weren't even facing a major military power such as Britain, France, America, or Russia; they were facing a bunch of hastily trained rookies from South Africa who were using outdated equipment. And aside from this trope and Humans Are Warriors, We Have Reserves is also in full effect - even though humanity loses ten soldiers for every one pony killed, the humans still have a pool of about seven billion potential recruits, and could drown the Equestrians in sheer numbers alone.
  • In The Negotiations-verse, another Deconstruction Fic of The Conversion Bureau, The Great Offscreen War between humanity and the ponies ends with the latter completely and utterly defeated after the humans managed to find a way to punch through Equestria's magical barrier and get around the ponies' advantages with a Magitek weapon that cancels out magic, resulting in Luna getting killed in battle, the Equestrian armies getting literally mowed down by copious amounts of gunfire and the Crystal Empire getting nuked. By the time Twilight Sparkle meets with a representative from the United Nations to negotiate a peace treaty, humanity is basically holding a metaphorical gun at Equestria's head and are perfectly willing to pull the trigger if the ponies don't comply with their terms and conditions.
  • Thinking In Little Green Boxes has the following from the "Punisher's War Journal":
    I've finally figured out how to bypass the defenses of Voldemort's hideout. It was actually easier than dealing with the Mob, since Death Eaters aren't quite as good as taking pain as they are dishing it out. They also have absolutely no experience or talent for psychological warfare or interrogation, rather they just choose to cast a few spells and expect things to work. They also don't expect people to be able to dodge. They called me a muggle, whatever that means, I called them target practice.
  • In Fallout: Equestria, while magic and magic-powered devices are capable of amazing things, guns and explosives tend to be more reliable in combat. Even Alicorns can easily be dispatched by completely normal gunfire without their magic shields (and at several points cannot react to conventional attacks fast enough to get those shields up). Even these shields can be broken by enough force — say, dropping a train car on top of the Alicorn.
  • One of Arthur Arcturus' fears in The Audience is that humans will find their way to Equestria, as it's his evaluation that Equestria's magic and (at best) Napoleonic era battlefield tactics would be no match for even a third-world human army. His suggested solution to the Diarchs is to invent a magical anti-tech field.
  • A running theme throughout Knowledge is Power is how wizards underestimate Muggles, culminating in Mrs Granger shooting Mrs Weasley. Which Makes Just as Much Sense in Context.
  • Naruto's deal with the clans (and later the Hokage) in The Mouse of Konoha relies heavily on this. While every clan compound and restricted area is almost perfectly defended against shinobi intruders, they tend to have little to no defense against civilians. In exchange for finding the flaws in their security, the various clans teach Naruto different skills.
    Council Member: (After reading the note on a crossbow bolt fired through the window) "Whoever wrote down the time and location of this council meeting, congratulations. You've just killed us all."
  • An odd sports-related version comes up in Harry Potter and the Wand of Uru. When Wood is knocked out of the game with a fractured skull, Hermione steps in as Keeper wearing her field hockey pads (she played goalie). Every non-muggleborn is amazed when she takes a bludger to the arm without injury.
  • The Hokage learns a valuable lesson in A Month as Naruto Uzumaki, and it was learned the hard way - only the Super Reflexes he developed in his youth saved him from injury. The lesson? Ninjas are weak to explosives, when those aren't triggered by chakra. He makes very good use of it later.
  • In Being Dead Ain't Easy, at one point Yami Bakura knocks Yami Yugi out with a lunch tray as opposed to a magic spell.
  • Played with in Broken Souls, as they do it better when it comes to autopsies at least, and even then it's less a technological thing and more a cultural one. Medical examiners and pathologists are said to be looked down on by the rest of the Wizarding world due to their association with death. There's only one ME for all the British Isles and Ireland, and Eddie had to be brought in from San Francisco because nobody local wanted the position after the last one retired. Furthermore she examines bodies for both magical and muggle causes of death, and wears scrubs instead of robes because the latter are outdated and unhygienic.
  • A non-combat example is shown in Zero's Bullet where Rip Van Winkle's off the rack suit from a discount store is still highly valuable even after being damaged beyond repair because no one in Halkagenia has ever heard of polyester. When replacing it, she's given quite a bit of money by the shopkeeper who intends to use the scraps to make gloves and scarves.
  • In The Perils of Innocence, Muggleborn (and children growing up without wizarding parents, such as Harry Potter and Dean Thomas) have no idea that they can do magic, and have to learn to control their "supernatural abilities" on their own or with Muggle therapists, as Harry, Hermione and Dean do. The upside to this is that they can do magic without wands or Latin-sounding invocations (though they later discover that a properly attuned wand is an excellent focusing tool) and can make up new spells as needed just by focusing their will, and their abilities don't set off magic-detecting alarms. This gives them several very solid advantages over traditionally trained wizards. They also have the advantage of wider Muggle schooling and Muggle technology, as wizards are woefully ignorant of anything outside the wizarding world.
  • In the Danny Phantom/Beetlejuice crossover story, Say It Thrice, there's a minor example. Non-ectoplasm ghosts can't show up in photographs and their voices cannot be heard over the phone. But since it is established that they can move and manipulate solid objects, pushing buttons is perfectly within their capabilities. Adam and Barbara are able to text Lydia once they have access to a cell phone.
  • The Harry Potter fanfic "THERMOS!, or, How a Muggle-Born Brought a New Age of Spell-Making to Hogwarts (Entirely by Accident)" explores this, featuring a Muggle-born witch that, well, does just that, starting when her Pureblood friend is baffled by how her thermos manages to keep her drinks warm all day.
  • In Harry Potter and the Nightmares of Futures Past, this is toyed with from time to time. Harry notes that one of the advantages guns have over wands are that they're quicker to use, though wands are far more versatile. One particular example stands out when Harry finds an (enchanted) firearm in Arthur Weasley's study, which he quickly divests of his guardian on the grounds that Arthur put the gun to his own head and squeezed the trigger (Thankfully, tragedy was averted at that point). Arthur mentioned this one in particular had a self-cleaning charm and "some sort of conjuration in the handle." Harry sneaks off in the next chapter and tests it in the forest, initially intending to use up all the ammunition and render it harmless. He spends almost a minute shooting the ground before he realizes that he's fired the pistol over thirty times, revealing that the conjuration enchantment effectively gave it unlimited ammunition. Turns out that combining magic and technology can achieve some very interesting results that neither could accomplish on their own.
    • Later on, the Weasley twins decide to consult Harry on mundane pranking methods, reasoning that in the Wizarding World, everybody's on the lookout for a cursed handkerchief, but nobody's likely to notice a bucket above the door.
    • When Harry located the Sorting Hat horcrux in the Bad Future, a mass of silent alarm and detection spells blocked his way. He got around these by using a set of lockpicks.
  • In A Great Endeavor, for all the ponies' magical powers, it's ultimately a big question mark if Equestria made a significant contribution to the war effort on the grand scale.
  • Downplayed in Ambience: A Fleet Symphony. While ship girls are indeed superhuman and nearly immune to small arms, heavy weapons are still very much a threat. Excellently illustrated at the end of chapter 167; the Abyssals have just steamrolled the Combined Fleet, but when friendly air support shows up, the hitherto invincible Aircraft Carrier Water Demon is told to retreat under the belief that, as powerful as she is, even she can't stand up to the newcomers.
  • Despite the magical mons capable of lighting up dark areas, Pokémon Reset Bloodlines is quite clear that flashlights are much more effective and simpler to use.
  • When it comes to runes in Dodging Prison and Stealing Witches muggles are far superior because while one can only carve runes so small by hand and still be accurate, a machine can carve them small enough to need a magnifying glass to see and still be completely accurate. Several projects involving runes had previously been considered impossible/impractical because no one could carve them small enough.
  • Harry Potter and the Natural 20: Milo was flabbergasted to know people could make big chunking carriages of steel (i.e.: trains) move. And move at a speed he's never known in his world full of magic.
    • Later on, he does the math and has a Heroic BSoD moment when he realizes magic is keeping his world in Medieval Stasis.
    • Further, it comes down to a matter of scale. The semi-phenomenal, nearly-cosmic powers of magic simply can’t contend with the power of a lot of Muggles working really damn hard all together all at once. It’s like comparing a pressurized water mining tool to all the collective raindrops of a flood.
  • For Love of Magic: When the Statute Of Secrecy is irreparably broken, Goblins try to take control of muggle banking like they control the wizarding banks. Unfortunately for them, muggle banks rely heavily on digital currency with actual cash often ignored in favor of checks, debit cards, and credit cards. By contrast, wizards only pay for things with tangible currency.
  • Dungeon Keeper Ami: one of Ami's biggest advantages when thrown into the dangerous fantasy setting of Dungeon Keeper is her knowledge of modern science as seen with her use of windmills, Faraday Cages and magnets to outwit her enemies.
  • Justice, Justice Shall You Pursue is a Harry Potter AU fic in which the British muggle government, under John Major and later Tony Blair, get increasingly involved in magical affairs following the events of Goblet of Fire, culminating in Blair ordering a successful military assault on Diagon Alley, the Ministry of Magic and Hogsmeade (with magical support), turning the tide of the war as early as September 1997.
  • The titans' vulnerabilities to modern weapons is even more prominent in Freedom's Ring where the combined forces of Survey Corps and United States Armed Forces managed to clear out the entire Paradis Island in span of months instead of years like it did in canon. Later on, they also successfully decimated the titan forces send in by Marley and the World Union in a last ditch attempt to subjugate the island and purging its population.

    Films — Animated 
  • Syndrome's long term goal in The Incredibles is to invoke this trope, to give away his advanced technology that matches (and in many ways, surpasses) the powers of the supers so superheroes aren't special anymore. In the context of the universe as a whole, though, this is patently already the case: the Supers are mostly Glass Cannons (the DVD special features show that Mr. Incredible is the only one who has massively superhuman durability) and not very numerous. In fact, many of the Supers were killed by capes getting accidentally caught in things like jet engines and elevator shafts. It's pretty much taken as a given that they submit to the (non-super) government, like everyone else.
  • In ParaNorman, the zombies walk into town, only to be more scared of the normal people than the people are of them. They are quickly mobbed and several of them are literally pulled apart. Although, the zombies really don't want to eat anyone, and this trope is very subverted when the witch comes along.
  • Wizards plays with this.
    • Blackwolf studies dark magic and combines it with WW2 styled tech excavated by his minions. He eventually uses Nazi propaganda (implied to be augmented with magic) to get his disorganized army in shape... while using it as psychological warfare.
    • Then the ending is all set up for a showdown between Blackwolf and Avatar, the two wizarding brothers. Avatar just shoots his brother, since as he mentioned earlier, he was out of practice with his magic.
  • Onward has a particular mundane example. Magic used to be common in the world, but magic took long period of practice to master (as we see in the intro of a wizard accidentally burning himself slightly trying to cast a simple spell to create a small fire). Technology on the other hand can be used by anyone who can flip a switch. Magic essentially became obsolete and disappeared.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Thor: Ragnarok features Magitek zombies made from Asgardian soldiers, who are able to fight on par with their living counterparts and overrun Asgard's few remaining defenders. However, they're absolutely slaughtered when Skurge whips out a good ol' pair of 5.56mm-spewing assault rifles from "Tex Ass."
  • In Avengers: Infinity War, the heroes equipped with conventional weaponry (e.g. The Falcon's submachine guns and mini-missile launchers, War Machine's minigun and bombs, Bucky Barnes' light machine gun) end up racking up far bigger body counts than their comrades equipped with sci-fi blasters and fantastical indestructible melee weapons when fighting the Outriders at the end of the film; a few seconds of minigun fire can even cause the alien wheel-tanks and flyers to explode in a fireball. Rocket Raccoon even asks to buy Bucky's machine gun from him. Earlier in the film, two superhuman alien commandos with nano-tech blades and plasma guns who had just drubbed a super-powerful psychic and a combat android are forced to retreat when a regular human threatens them with a pair of handguns.
    • War Machine is all about this in his MCU appearances. His suit is armored in regular titanium-steel and he uses regular guns like the M134 7.62mm or F2000 5.56mm instead of the other Avengers' assortment of lasers, energy bolts, super-punches, magic lightning, and so on, but he's one of the most effective members. In Avengers: Age of Ultron and Iron Man 2, his mundane firearms are shown to be if anything more effective than Iron Man's repulsors and flechette launchers against the Hammer Droids and the Ultron Sentries. Similarly, in The Avengers (2012), Hawkeye was more effective when piloting a transport VTOL with a minigun on it than the other Avengers (bar Thor), cleaving through the Chitauri infantry and flyers effortlessly with its GAU-17/A.
  • In the French movie Arthur et la guerre des deux mondes (Arthur and the war of two worlds), the Big Bad entered the human world thinking he would rollover humanity with his army of really stupid mooks... he did rollover the population of a mostly unarmed and peaceful really small town. But when an actual human army show up, they pulverized the evil army in seconds. Hell, the tanks were complete overkill. Granted, the Hero does lampshade the fact that the Big Bad had utterly no clue about humans' capabilities, as he come from a millimeters-sized population of fairy-like creatures that lived in the gardens and forests.
  • Star Wars:
    • In Revenge of the Sith, the vast majority of Jedi are gunned down by common soldiers with the element of surprise.
    • Attack of the Clones has the Jedi Master Coleman Trebor leaping up to the platform to challenge Count Dooku... only to be nonchalantly gunned down by Jango Fett. All of the Jedi without Plot Armor are gunned down by droids during the same sequence. Within the Expanded Universe, Jango's people, the Mandalorians, have this almost as a cultural hat. In a galaxy dominated by two schools of very powerful sorcerers fighting an endless, cyclical religious war and dragging everyone else into it, various attempts were had at establishing the Mandos as a Badass Normal independent faction that could tell both the Jedi and Sith which hell they could go to and send them there if needed.
  • Ghostbusters: the title characters are Science Heroes who take on ghosts and extraplanar creatures.
    • In their first movie, they avert the invasion of the plane-hopping conqueror Gozer the Traveler using Fantastic Science in the form of four unlicensed nuclear accelerators.
    • In their second movie, the judicious use of the scientific method and cassette tapes of upbeat rock music turn the Big Bad's slimy energy source against him.
  • In the Underworld (2003) series, vampires and werewolves have been fighting for centuries with neither side being able to achieve victory, and for all their supernatural abilities, both sides use standard firearms against each othernote . In Underworld: Awakening, humans get involved and drive both species to near extinction almost immediately.
  • In the Blade Trilogy, this is the reason why the vampires keep up the masquerade. Lacking Blade's ability to move around at day and their weakness to other common things, the humans would be a serious problem if they didn't keep their activities limited.
  • In The Mist, strange monsters from some other world are brought in after some secret military experiments in a nearby base, with many of the characters believing that this will be the end of the world. At the end, it is revealed that the military actually has the situation under control, leading dozens of survivors to safety and almost casually burning down the nightmarish nests with flamethrowers.
  • Most of the eponymous Army of Darkness was destroyed with common explosives attached to arrows, a guy with a chainsaw and a shotgun, and a heavily modified car.
  • Descendants: Carlos and his technology beat the Magic Mirror into locating the museum where Fairy Godmother's wand is being displayed.
  • There's a scene in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them where the witch Queenie and the Muggle/No-Maj Jacob are trying to break into a magically locked office. Queenie tries the old standby Alohomora without success because the owner of the office uses a locking spell Alohomora can't deal with. Jacob then kicks the door down with hardly any trouble.
  • The Little Vampire: Vampire hunter Rookery, with his glowing cross and radar, is a serious threat to the Sackville-Baggs and comes close to killing them several times. The human Tony and his parents, on who these weapons have no effect, prove much more of a match for him than the vampires.

  • The Fair Folk are ethereal folk capable of enchanting humans and messing with their minds. Yet somehow they always seem to hide from humans. Why? Well, humans have lots and lots of iron.

  • In one science fiction story, a group of (essentially) mutants left earth because their powers were feared. Years later, when the "normals" and the mutants met again, the normals had developed technology to such a point that every person had access to more capabilities than the mutants (like Syndrome wanted to do in The Incredibles).
  • In the world of The Darksword Trilogy, everything is done by magic. Technology and science are considered Dark Arts due to a prophecy about someone without magic destroying the world and mutterings about technology being a bit too effective when it comes to killing things. Halfway through, people in tanks show up and demonstrate that technology is indeed a superior weapon.
    • That has a lot to do with the magic world being founded entirely by exiles fleeing witch hunts on Earth. Most of the more competent and rational mages either died gating the "civilians" there and establishing the magic-trapping field surrounding the world which enabled them to survive without tools, or stayed behind to help guide the magicless societies towards an eventual reconciliation. The latter category included every engineer ("Death Mage") available. Initial emotional trauma led to institutionalized guilt over not releasing magic again into the greater universe once it was safe to do so (as promised), and thus to forgetting about and demonizing the nonmagical. And to being totally unprepared for encounters with it.
  • Discworld:
    • Since Equivalent Exchange, Magic A Is Magic A, Dangerous Forbidden Technique and Useless Superpowers are in full force, muggle-type solutions are genuinely best. This is true to the point that even genuine wizards are very rarely seen doing any sort of magic in the series, since it's often better to just deal with most problems in the mundane way. (To illustrate, it's entirely possible to conjure up a loaf of bread instead of baking it, but not only would the time and energy you'd spend be equal to that if you'd just baked it, you'd also have to research the exact spell and end up attracting attention of Things from the Dungeon Dimensions.) Subverted in the (rare) situation where magic actually is the best choice.
    • Particularly noted in Lords and Ladies, when the elves prove to be quite resistant to magic, but are perfectly vulnerable otherwise (especially to iron and Morris dancing).
    • Witches tend to prefer mundane solutions (psychology, chiropracty, the placebo effect) over magical ones, though they may try to make you think they used magic, as a big part of being a witch is making sure people know you are one. Wizards are flashier, but at the very least Archchancellor Ridcully has a similar view. Like all wizards he carries a magical staff, but his first instinct when dealing with a threat would be to simply bludgeon it, his reasoning being that anything that can take a thwack from six feet of oak is probably immune to magic as well. And when faced with a choking man, the other wizards started debating which spell could save him, obviously not going to find a solution in time. Ridcully just gave him a smack on the back, and he started breathing again.
    • It is also mentioned in Sourcery than many warriors with magical swords and mighty wizards have been defeated by people who hit them in the back of the head with a half-brick in a sock.
  • This trope is the reason why the supernatural community in Dora Wilk Series hides from muggles, although more than our weaponry, leaders of Thorn worry about humanity's forensic medicine and modern research technology. The whole Masquerade could be blown up by a blood test performed on some unlucky werewolf or magical. As one of the characters put it, "It's not the Middle-Ages when we could drink the blood of a whole village with no one the wiser. It's the twenty-first century and humans have forensic medicine, criminology and dozens of other methods that endanger us all". Not to mention that the main character of the story prefers guns over magic (it's faster).
  • Star Wars:
    • The setting offers many examples of Muggle people and groups doing things better than either the Jedi and Sith.
      • This trope in-particular is codified into the philosophy of the Jedi Sentinels: one of the three branches of the Jedi that serves as the Orders' dedicated Black Ops specialists tasked with hunting down Sith and elements of Dark Side corruption within the Galaxy. Unlike with the other two Guardian and Consular branches of the Order who regularly seclude themselves away from the outside world and only come out when deemed necessary, the Sentinels take the opposite approach; often spending years if not decades away from the Jedi Temple on missions deep undercover and working alongside Muggles as members of law enforcement, very rarely using their Force powers or brandishing their Yellow-bladed Lightsabers in combat to instead rely upon methods that other members of the Order would definitely frown upon.
      • This is best exemplified in "The Locked Door Test": a mental exercise that describes the philosophy and approach members of the Jedi Order would take in order to get past a locked door. A Jedi Guardian would rely upon his skills in combat and training with the Lightsaber to cut through the door. A Jedi Consular would rely upon his mastery over the Force and Diplomacy to use a Jedi Mind Trick on a Guard to have them open the door for the Consular. A Jedi Sentinel however would use the skills he picked up over the years while away from the temple to essentially hack into the doors' control panel and have it automatically open for them.
  • The Dresden Files:
    • Killing a wizard is a very dangerous proposition since, if they know they're going to die, they can expend their life energy to create a "death curse" that can do really horrible stuff to their killer (ranging from killing them horribly to maiming them horribly, depending on how powerful their target is). So Kincaid explains that, if he ever wanted to kill a wizard, he'd do it from a mile away with a sniper rifle; the bullet would hit before the wizard knew what was happening, and even if they do manage to work out what's going on and cast a death curse in time they wouldn't even know who their assassin was or where they were located. Harry acknowledges that it would almost certainly work too. At the end of Changes, someone makes good on the idea. It is revealed in Ghost Story that Kincaid carried this out at Harry's request to help him avoid becoming the Winter Knight. It absolutely worked too, although the intervention of Uriel, Mab, and Demonreach prevent it from sticking.
    • One of the primary limiters on Wizards specifically is they frequently interfere with the functionality of technology. This is something of a moving target—magic used to have other effects like making milk curdle or cause moles and warts—but the fact that supernatural creatures like vampires can use things like electronic bank accounts and stock-trading algorithms while the modern wizards cannot has been the major reason it's never really become a curb-stomp favoring the wizards. Marcone eventually takes this in an interesting direction by becoming an intermediary between muggle resources and various supernatural entities.
      • Marcone himself proves this trope applies in the short story "Even Hand", using a combination of firepower, booby traps, and prepared lines of defense to erode a Fomor lord's defenses until a single rune-marked bullet could take his opponent down. The Fomor wasn't impeded by the sprinkler system, but that's because the defenses were designed to kill Harry, not a Fomor.
    • In the same story, Marcone uses WW2-era designs for night-vision/infra-red scopes (albeit built with modern materials) to defeat the anti-tech capabilities of the Fomor.
      • This is also the reason for the Extra-Strength Masquerade: bringing in mortal forces is the equivalent of a nuke in the supernatural community (and not just because they have nukes). Modern human weapons are still dangerous to most supernatural beings, and most types of supernatural creatures exist in relatively low number, especially compared to the billions of humans in the world. When the secrets of how to fight Black Court vampires got out via Bram Stoker's Dracula, they were driven to the edge of extinction in a matter of years. Despite this being a setting where throwing a werewolf through two buildings with magical brute force is impressive, but nowhere near the top of the power curve, everyone from Fallen Angels to Fae still use machine guns.
      • Speaking specifically of the Fae, ancient beings connected to nature itself: The top tier of Fae are literally immortal, and even weaker Fae have powerful magic they can use as easily as breathing. But because some bullets have iron in them, steel-jacketed muggle bullets are dangerous to even the toughest fae. Even Mab, Queen of Air and Darkness, and on par with angels in terms of power, jumps back and refuses to touch a nail when it rolls towards her. Only Mother Winter herself has the power to touch iron. And she turns it to rust.
    • In Turn Coat, Morgan talks about a battle he had with a skinwalker. He couldn't take the monster down with magic, so he went for the next best thing. He lured the skinwalker onto a nuclear testing site right before they detonated the bomb, and hopped into the Nevernever right before detonation. Even Harry has to admit that it was pretty damn awesome.
    • It is something of a recurring theme in the series that muggle abilities can be just as deadly as magic, in their own way. For example, in Small Favor, he is ambushed and nearly killed by two of Torelli's goons, and admits that if things had played out just a little differently, the two hitmen would have killed him, Murphy, and Molly, with no magic required. In White Night Harry mentions that most tougher supernatural beings can easily deal with, for example, a random human with a handgun. On the other a group of trained humans with high powered weaponry like automatic rifles, shotguns, and high explosives who know what they're up against can more than balance the odds.
      • It's mentioned that magical creatures need to pay attention to keep their constructs intact, and having their constructs get torn up is in part breaking their concentration. Enough and it forces them back into the Nevernever because they need to keep concentrating to stay in our world. Then... ectoplasm. Ew.
    • Harry uses this to his advantage, too. There's been more than one supernaturally-inclined baddy that thought he was totally out of the fight once he'd exhausted his magic, or they'd disarmed him of his staff, only to receive a few slugs from a .44 while they're gloating. In one sequence in Summer Knight, Harry and Murphy take out a heavily magic-resistant ogre using the contents of a Wal-Mart: a steel chainsaw to lame it, and a Super Soaker loaded with gasoline and a can of Sterno to light it on fire. And then Harry runs down a plant monster with his car, and Murphy finishes it off with the chainsaw.
    • This is one of the reasons that the Red Court does so well against the White Council in the war. Most magical creatures don't interfere with technology nearly as much as wizards, so they (and even more so, their goons) can threaten wizards much more successfully. Early on in the war, the White Council is desperate to secure the Ways in the Land of Faerie because the Red Court's ability to use modern transportation will let them easily outmaneuver the Wizards otherwise. Additionally, money and law are mentioned as facets of power, and any self-respecting magical faction has a lot of money they can throw around.
    • In the Dresdenverse, a few Muggles even do magic better. In Ghost Story completely non-magical coroner Waldo Butters has, by virtue of being curious, analytical, having a good memory for even half-heard facts and having a good teacher, become one of the world's most proficient magical theorists in less than six months, outstripping wizards who have been using magic for centuries.
      • It also goes the other way: the most impressively powerful wizard spell so far involved the mundane humans doing all of the actual work of putting the satellite the Blackstaff used for his Colony Drop up there in the first place, and the most complex wizard spell involves using the muggles' modern plethora of construction materials and surveying methods to build a hyper-accurate simulacrum of a city for use in Sympathetic Magic.
    • And the point of outright battle gets proven in Battle Ground. The Fomor attack Chicago in a massive army, but it's pointed out repeatedly that the National Guard is on its way and once they arrive they are going to seriously kick the ass of the Fomor. Even the Big Bad admits that the Fomor were only ever cannon fodder who's early successes were caused by being able to launch a sneak attack on a bunch of panicked, unarmed civilians and that they stood no chance against the National Guard once it arrived. And the one part of Chicago that came through the attack fairly well was the South Side: by the time the Fomor's forces arrived, the South Siders had prepared, set up defenses, and brought enough guns to bear on them that the Fomor were cut to ribbons.
      • Then there's the reason the National Guard showed up in the first place: The Men In Black, a.k.a. the Library of Congress Collections Division. Marcone thinks they've identified every entity involved in the Battle of Chicago from the after-action news coverage. Lara thinks it's optimistic to believe they weren't all identified as they rolled into town. Put simply, these are people who scare physical gods shitless.
  • A major plot point in Everworld, where not only do the Coo-Hatch almost hand the Hetwan a victory over Olympus with a fairly-primitive cannon, but Senna's ultimate plan turns out to be importing an army of gun nuts into Everworld to help her overthrow the gods, who, it turns out, aren't quite as immortal as they thought.
    • The aforementioned white supremacist gun nuts are feared by the protagonists as one of the most dangerous forces in Everworld (a setting filled with gods, magic, aliens, and mystical creatures), even after the death of Senna, their witch leader. And rightfully so, considering just one Sennite armed with an Uzi slew a dragon with ease. The Sennites go on to kill a mythical giant and slaughter the better part of a company of elite Celtic warriors known as the Fianna. For their final trick, they manage to slay Fenrir in seconds in addition to driving off Loki and his grand army of trolls.
    • Not all of the examples of this trope in Everworld are combat-related, per se. The protagonists half-joke that their modern running shoes are one of their primary advantages whenever the shit hits the fan. April saves Sir Galahad's life with relatively basic modern first aid and medical skills (painkillers, stitches, and an improvised blood transfusion), even after Merlin himself had written his wounds off as too serious to treat and was preparing to kill the knight out of mercy. Jalil offers to radically increase the productivity of the Dwarf kingdom's mining operation through modern principles of technology and engineering. The introduction of the telegraph is a massive game-changer in Everworld. There are numerous occasions where even if the protagonists can't solve the current problem through sheer power, the simple virtue of their background in the "real world" sometimes gives them the necessary knowledge to tip things in their favor.
  • Zigzagged in Harry Potter. In The Magic Versus Technology War, magic has both some incredible applications and solutions to problems, but is also shockingly lacking and limited compared to what the technology of the time could offer (the series being set in the 90s).
    • Magical communication seems to be significantly lacking behind the muggle alternatives pretty significantly. The best method they have is sending letters by owl, a system with a number of obvious flaws. Even something as basic as a telephone apparently has no magical peer. In Goblet of Fire, Harry mentioned that Muggle surveillance equipment might be useful. Hermione refutes it, but on the grounds that the amount of magic present around Hogwarts prevents anything electrical being used, not that it wouldn't be effective. There are several instances where such technology would have made life a lot easier or solved a plot point altogether. If they had any sort of magical-equivalent Google search for the library, half the suspense of Books 1 (Nicholas Flamel), 2 (The Chamber of Secrets), 3 (Sirius Black's bio), and 4 (gillyweed) would definitely be eliminated, as instead the kids were forced to just stumble through on incomplete information. Books 5, 6, and 7 also feature significant issues with communications. Message boards, wikis, or any sort of standardized instant-communication system like cell phones or even two-way radios could have prevented Sirius' death. Although Harry did have a magic two-way mirror, the wizard equivalent of a cell phone (although apparently not common at all, as this the only time it appears in the series), he just forgot that he had it (a fact which is lampshaded at the very end of the book).
    • Regarding weapons, there are extremely long debates, some on this very wiki, about how far this goes. As a result of a supposed comment by Rowling, along with the fact that apparently the most deadly spell in wizard arsenal is in the same realm of effectiveness as a conventional firearm, it's become Fanon that a Muggle with a shotgun could win against a wizard, but of course that's a rather vague scenario to begin with get and questions about the exact rules, situation and functionality of things like "Can a shield charm protect from a shotgun blast?"note  and "What about a sniper rifle?"note 
      That said it's fairly obvious that modern military equipment is vastly more destructive than anything Wizards are shown to have. (Mr. Dursley's rifle was rather worthless against Hagrid, but Hagrid didn't actually use any magic in that encounter and Dursley never actually fired his rifle.)
    • Wizarding medicine generally seems to be far superior to the Muggle alternatives. Muggle methods for treating mundane injures usually amount to ensuring the body heals correctly over time and preventing infections, while magical solutions can do thinks like repair bones instantly or regrow them overnight. Not to mention magical injures, like in Order of the Phoenix which Muggle methods don't seem to be able to do anything about. When Mr. Weasley is in St. Mungo's for a magical snakebite whose wounds won't close, he and a young trainee healer decide to try closing them up using stitches. It doesn't work, the implied reason being that the snake's venom dissolved through them.note 
    • Pottermore suggests that the one area where Muggles have wizards beat is transportation. Only the most vehement anti-Muggle wizards will attempt to deny that the automobile and train are excellent modes of transport that really have no magical peer, which is why Hogwarts students travel to the school by train, why the Ministry owns a fleet of cars and why the Knight Bus exists. (Although since all three seem to be powered by magic and not a combustion engine it's debatable how "Muggle" it is when it's essentially a magic box in the general shape of a car or bus.) The wizards do have a number of varieties of instantaneous teleportation in the forms of Apparition, the Floo Network, and Portkeys, but they all have significant limitations. Apparation is a difficult skill to learn and potentially fatal if not done properly (and apparantly doesn't work in certain areas, like in and out of Hogwarts), the Floo Network requires a magical connection to other fireplaces and can easily go wrong if the user doesn't do the process properly, and Portkeys have a designated departure time and often leave users feeling ill, to the extent that when they were used for Hogwarts before the invention of the Hogwarts Express, so many students either didn't turn up at all or were so ill that they missed the first week of classes.
      Mr. Weasley: Trains! Underground! Ingenious these Muggles!
    • The Tales of Beedle the Bard contains some of Dumbledore's reflections on medieval witch hunts, indirectly proving that Muggles Do It Better if wizards aren't using their brains. He notes that when the Inquisition came knocking, not everyone who was arrested was a muggle, and not every captured wizard was able to effortlessly spirit themselves away. The Masquerade began for a very good reason — as a result, the muggles have never really had (or wanted) an answer for it.
    • In Book 4, it's mentioned that entire sections of the Ministry of Magic are derailed by the Quidditch World Cup, with their logistical abilities struggling to accommodate 10,000+ wizards, when there are a dozen muggle stadiums that can hold ten times that number. Then again, this might be justified since Muggles usually don't have to worry about keeping it a secret, and with the low population of wizards they're simply not used to dealing with crowds nearly that large.
    • One thing that makes it weird is that the magical community (of Britain at least) seems to deliberately use obsolete technologies for aesthetic sometimes. For instance they've had paper and printing presses for centuries, but students are still writing on rolls of parchment with quills. They use candles as a light source, even though magical lights are a very simple spell. There are also random exceptions, like cameras working perfectly fine (though it could be an old-fashioned one). However, this may be a cultural difference exclusive to Wizarding Britain. In Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the Americans use (era appropriate 1920s) technology more. The Wizarding government there use charmed typewriters to do official business.
  • Part of the Heralds of Valdemar series' approach to magic and mages is that they can be taken down by physical force just as easily as any other mortals. This is a deliberate inclusion by the author, who didn't want magic to become an in-universe game breaker. It's neatly summed up in By the Sword, when a company of Private Military Contractors is brought into Valdemar — a country where magic is all but unknown — specifically to help fight the mages of an enemy nation. When worried Valdemaran citizens stop them to ask what fighting mages is like, the inevitable response is, "They die."
  • The Infected while Infected by definition have superpowers, 90% of them either have no combat applications, or are significantly less dangerous than a trained soldier with a gun, and even those who can drop hundreds of people can benefit from good old-fashioned PT and weapons training.
  • In Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, faeries seem to suffer from creative sterility, or at the very least, extreme laziness, due to their innate magic abilities. Long after human civilization has invented wooden floors and stones castles and drink from metal cups, Faeries sit on dirt floors in holes in the ground and drink from stone cups. And that was several centuries before the book takes place, by which point humans have invented printing presses, firearms, and steam engines.
    • "In men reason is strong and magic is weak. With fairies it is the other way round: magic comes very naturally to them, but by human standards they are barely sane."
  • Isaac Asimov's "Kid Stuff": According to the elf, when humans started really developing (around two centuries ago), electricity and dynamite outclassed what the elves could do with Psychic Powers. It admits that the elves suffered from an inferiority complex at seeing humans surpass them, so they retreated to Avalon, in the Atlantic Ocean.
  • ZigZagged in The Long Price Quartet. One of the major themes of the story is the contrast between Galtish technology (which is limited but reliable and grows over time as new discoveries build on old) and the andat-magic of the Khaiate (which is potentially infinite in power but only as stable as the health and mental stability of the poets that control it, and which weakens over time as more and more concepts are used up).
  • A small example from The Lord of the Rings. Saruman, a great wizard, does not bring down the wall of Helm's Deep with any spell or incantation, but two giant black powder bombs. This is borderline, though; he and Gandalf (with fireworks) are the only ones ever shown to have black powder technology.
  • Malazan Book of the Fallen: There are many examples throughout the series of Nigh Invulnerable ancient beings of terrifying power coming up against a Malazan soldier with a Moranth grenado - much to the former's surprise and (often short-lived) chagrin.
  • A constant theme in the Mercy Thompson series. The Fey, and later werewolves and probably soon others, have been forced to drop the Masquerade and come out to humanity due to advances in things like forensic science and policing techniques. Interestingly, although things like guns and designer drugs can help muggles take on powerful beings like werewolves, it's actually modern communications that are the real problem. It doesn't matter how strong you might be, if the evening news shows you tearing apart a human you have to worry not just about angry mobs, but also about what laws the government might pass to deal with you.
  • In Robert A. Heinlein's Methuselah's Children the Howard Families flee Earth because the rest of the population is getting ready to imprison and torture them to learn the secret of their longevity treatment — which doesn't exist; their longevity is the result of an experimental breeding program going back centuries. Years later they return, and find that the people of Earth devoted a massive project to "recreating" their secret . . . and succeeded.
    • One of the Howard Families scientists feels like an idiot for abandoning the line of research that led to the longevity treatment Earth developed, but is told not to as it took thousands of scientists decades at a cost of billions to develop it. (Sometimes it's just that Muggles do it better because they simply have more resources to use on a problem, since there are so many of them.)
  • Mistborn: The Original Trilogy: The way Yomen deals with Vin in the third book. First, he traps her in an underground vault. Despite all her incredible powers, she can't tunnel through solid rock, so he could just wait for her to starve. Then he offers to let her out if she drinks some drugged wine to sedate herself first. When she wakes up, she discovers that she's all out of the metals she swallowed ahead of time (which she needs to use her powers); Yomen just waited for them to pass naturally out of her system before he woke her up. Then he makes sure her cell has no metals she could swallow, not even traces on the eating utensils. Not one step of that plan required even the slightest amount of supernatural power.
  • Monster Hunter International: Five of the seven master vampires (super-powerful vampires that are more dangerous than even normal ones) aiding Lord Machado are contemptuously dismissive of the titular team they face in spite of warnings from the other two more recent conversions to master vampire, one of them a former MHI member who's very familiar with the ability of human devices thanks to regularly using them when part of the company, and the other a Nazi soldier from WW2. They walk into a blizzard of Hunter gunfire as the humans open up with belt-fed grenade launchers, rockets, and 81mm mortars. The five pay for their arrogance and ignorance with their (undead) lives.
  • The Name of the Wind has an interesting example - many things are done better with magic, but at higher cost, great risk, hours of headaches perfecting the solution so it doesn't have side effects, etc. In Kvothe's example, it makes much more sense to use mortar than figure out the dozen-odd sigils needed to magically glue bricks together. Per brick.
  • Robert Sheckley has a story where a couple running an electrical appliance store have a few of them stolen. Turns out it was a genie from the past who got a job at the royal palace solely through having influential relatives, and, when the queen demanded spells to clean her clothes or cool her chambers, he found the spells to be too complex and could do nothing but steal some tech from our time. At first, they try to banish him (doesn't work because a genie is immune to all spells except from his own country, which they don't know). Then, they sabotage the devices and refuse to do maintenance on the ones already taken. So the genie attempts to start trading. At first, they are afraid it will cause a Temporal Paradox, but change their mind after the genie says "Don't worry, I'm from Atlantis. A couple of years and nothing will remain of it or your tech". Then, they decide to trade as much as possible.
  • A hired mook falls victim to this in Skulduggery Pleasant. In preparation for a battle with the titular magical detective, he makes himself immune to fire. It works great until Skullduggery pulls out a revolver and shoots him. In this case, magic was not inferior to technology; the goon could have protected himself from bullets too, but being magical, it didn't occur to him that Skullduggery would resort to mortal weapons.
    • A staple of this series is that muggle weapons, while not a match for magic in terms of power, are still reliably dangerous, and can end you just as easily as magic without protection. Skullduggery states outright that magic has no better solution to a vampire that a whole lot of bullets.
  • Charles Stross:
    • Taken Up To Eleven in The Trade of Queens, the last book of The Merchant Princes Series. A parallel world with magic has people able to "walk between worlds". Unfortunately, all they do with this is smuggle drugs. The U.S. Government slowly figures out what's going on. Then Lawrence Livermore Labs figures out how to do "world-walking". The magic world tries stealing a tactical nuclear weapon and setting it off in Washington. This provokes Massive Retaliation. It does not end well for the magic world.
    • Occurs in The Laundry Files novel The Nightmare Stacks, in which modern-day England is invaded by elves fleeing their doomed world. As the elves are from a society with millennia of experience using magic, The Laundry's mystical arsenal proves utterly outmatched. The Laundry has vampire agents, but the elves have more vampires, and know how to counter them. The elves easily evade The Laundry's detection spells. The elves' Deadly Gaze spells prove highly lethal, whereas England's equivalent basilisk-derived defense grid malfunctions due to faulty data and accidentally kills some cosplayers. What the elves don't anticipate, however, is that the "human communication device" the Emperor confiscates from the captured protagonist can be used to coordinate a drone strike. Oops.
    • Even then, it's noted that the Laundry makes use of magic far more efficiently than the elves (magic being a form of mathematics, the same techniques that optimize computers can also be used to optimize spells and rituals, but the elves are an Iron Age culture that still does everything by brute force). For example, after one of the Laundry's vampires is captured by the elves, they use a pile of salt to secure him in the expectation that he won't move until he's counted every last grain. Which is true, except that he's used magic to program a macro into his brain that uses a chunking algorithm to get the total far faster than they expect — something the elves have no idea is even possible.
  • In The Trouble With Mages by Alexandra McKenzie, the wizard protagonist explains to the detective protagonist that technology has sort of outpaced magic in some areas; many spells that were useful in the medieval era now have easier and faster mundane equivalents. The spell to communicate over long distances is pretty labor-intensive compared to dialing a phone number, for example.
  • Viceroy's Pride: Magic has many, many advantages, so most cultures stop advancing technology somewhere in the neighborhood of the Iron Age. The initial invasion of Earth, including an elite corps of elves who have been slaughtering humans for centuries each, is curb-stomped by standard infantry guns and one tank. Humanity then goes on to invent ways to use magic that take months to learn rather than centuries, allowing them to catch up with the elves who have had a space-faring empire for longer than Earth's recorded history.
  • In Sergey Lukyanenko's Watch novels, the Others are mostly immune to human weapons by virtue of always having the ability to enter the Twilight, where no human can go. Also, all seriously wounded Others instinctively enter the Twilight to heal up. Also, the Masquerade prevents humans from knowing the truth. Several Others have been killed by Muggle means. Edgar's wife, a witch, is killed by a truck driver having a heart attack. One story involves the possibility of resurrecting an ancient dragon-mage, who, being from before the Masquerade, would go rampaging across Europe. The Others argue that, in a battle between a mad dragon and missile-armed gunships, the gunships would come out on top (Take That!, Godzilla).
    • Power levels of Others differ greatly. The majority are so weak that they can't enter Twilight and improved lifespan, health and minor mind tricks is all they get from it. Even a group of thugs can beat them to death. The strongest have immense telepathic powers, precognition and firepower that rivals battleships, while being invisible, intangible and immune to almost any return fire.
    • The only human weapon that almost no Other can escape is a nuke. A nuclear explosion will even reach into every layer of Twilight, leaving no places for Others to hide.
      • When shit really hits the fan, one of the most important weapons of the Others is their mind control abilities to dictate the use of mortal weapons. Rather than magical attacks, the ability to launch Russia's or the USA's nukes is considered to be extremely key.
    • Given that magic is actually made by humans and absorbed by Others, if humans expand into space, the Others that follow will be depowered until sizable colonies are created.
    • Book four features muggle weapons being a legitimate threat to Others. However, each time it was the enchantments on the weapon and the user that allowed them to see and shoot through Twilight, pierce magical shields, overcome the Healing Factor and somewhat protect the user. Notable are remote-control gun note  and mind controlled SWAT team that was issued charms to storm the Night Watch branch. They succeed rather effortlessly, but it was protagonist (high ranking Night Watch operative) orders to avoid confrontation and flee and not to use lethal force that would have overwhelmed charms. There is also the fact that the branch in question was very minor one with rather weak Other personnel being jumped on and outnumbered 20 to 1.
    • It's revealed that the Communism experiment was deliberately sabotaged in Russia (turning it into the mess that it was). Why? Because it would have resulted in a world with advanced military tech, even more polarized than it was during the Cold War, and the collapse of the Masquerade and the extermination of all Others. Basically, no matter how strong they are, even a top-level Other can't stand up to billions of Muggles with advanced tech.
  • In The Witcher series, emperor Emhyr var Emreis, highly successful expansionist, quotes his preference for modern siege engines over the unreliability of magic. The only described large-scale attempt to use mages as a stand-in for artillery support in a major battle, while evidently successful, led to high casualties within the mages' ranks.
  • In The World of Eldaterra: The Dragon Conspiracy, there are two problems. One, a fantasy race similar to orcs invading earth. Solved with Brits with bolt-action rifles. Second, dragons trying take over the world. Solved by one guy with a grenade.
  • Discussed in Xanth. In Centaur Aisle, Dor visits Centaur Isle which is near the fringe of magic, and therefore magic is used much less. As a result, they're much more technologically and socially advanced compared to the rest of Xanth which is stuck in Medieval Stasis. This leads Dor to wonder (briefly) if that means it's better not to have magic. His conclusion: Ridiculous!
    He had followed the thought to its logical conclusion and found it absurd, therefore the thought was false.
    • Played straight in the first book, A Spell For Chameleon. Bink is exiled from Xanth and meets Trent, an "Evil" Magician who has spent the last 20 years in Mundania (our world). Although he wants to get back to the land of magic, he and his army have come prepared, with superior ships that can sail against the wind, and catapults that can take down Xanth's shield (generated by a stone within it) once they know its location. Trent also mentions that firearms would end the conflict with ease, but he doesn't want them introduced to Xanth, and has trained his men in swordplay instead.
      • Part of this is due to the fact that mundane means don't require magic. You can get milk from a mundane cow, (with all of the infrastructure that requires), or you could just pick a pod from a magical milkweed plant. But if the magic disappear, which has happened, the cow is less likely to die from shock, and will still produce milk.
  • Justified in the final fight against the Slaughterhouse Nine in Worm. Their ringleader, Jack Slash, has a secondary thinker power that interacts with other people's powers, giving him a semi-conscious intuition for what they're doing and when. It's subtle enough that he's not fully aware of it himself, (and neither was anyone else until they realised the sheer number of times he's been able to manipulate or survive encounters with capes vastly more powerful than him meant it couldn't simply be luck and cleverness,) but it meant that when he's fighting capes, he will always be one step ahead. Until an unpowered police officer with a containment foam gun enters the fray and blindsides him.
  • Second Apocalypse: Anasurimbur Kellhus needs to learn magic. His teacher wants to teach him but can't because a psychic imprint of their order's founder won't let him. Kellhus uses mundane hypnosis to speak to the imprinted personality directly and gain the required permission.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Once Upon a Time, after getting a taste of the comforts the modern town of Storybrooke has to offer (television, air-conditioning, indoor plumbing, etc.), the fairytale residents find themselves vastly preferring it to the medieval setting of the Enchanted Forest where they originally hail from. Also acts as a case of I Choose to Stay.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer periodically showed that even the most badass of supernatural beasties could be taken down with real world firepower. While it's shown that guns can't kill vampires, they do "hurt like hell," and most other monsters have no such immunity, and even Buffy was once almost killed by an ordinary guy with a handgun. Most fights were still superpowered slugfests, since the self-imposed Masquerade kept the police or military from getting involved in the plot much, and the Main Characters could only occasionally get their hands on post-medieval weaponry. This got a little wonky in Season 4 and beyond, though, when the government did get involved, equipping a lot of Muggle soldiers with hi-tech weapons and sending them off to fight demons; how successful this actually was tended to vary by episode. One of Joss Whedon's ideas for the season was "magic vs. science, magic kicks ass", which was proved by the Curb-Stomp Battle in the penultimate episode, but up until the Big Bad made his move, it was largely back and forth.
    • In "Homecoming", when various people, vampires, and demons compete to see who can kill Buffy and Faith, it's the two humans with machine guns and grenade launchers who prove the most effective and deadly (that's not to say they won, but they lasted the longest at least). To be fair, she had to trick them into shooting each other, she couldn't take them out directly.
    • In "Innocence", the Judge is poised to destroy the world. The Judge is an ancient demon that it had previously taken an entire army to defeat because "no weapon forged can kill him". Buffy shoots him with a rocket launcher. To be fair, it didn't kill him, but he previously spent hundreds of years as a few large pieces and will spend a few hundred as hundreds of little pieces. (He didn't even know what the weapon was. His minions, however, certainly did, and ran the other way - fast.)
    • Mayor Wilkins, the Big Bad of Season 3, spent a hundred years making deals with demons in order to become the gigantic snake demon Olvikan and take over the town of Sunnydale, and possibly the world after that. Once he finally becomes a demon, he finds his vampire army being defeated by a bunch of Ordinary High School Students armed with arrows, stakes, and a couple of flamethrowers, and he himself is taken down by some strategically placed dynamite.
    • The setting is full of monsters and vampires that were previously defeated or placed in their can by ordinary non-magical humans with medieval or older technology and numbers on their side.
    • In "Angel", Darla found herself facing a pissed off Angel and a crossbow-wielding Buffy, and quickly neutralized Angel and nearly killed Buffy by whipping out two SIG-Sauer P226s and shooting Angel first. The only reason our protagonist survived was that Angel managed to overcome the pain from getting shot twice (as a vampire, he wouldn't die from being shot, but it really hurt) and staked Darla.
  • Stargate SG-1 makes great use of this trope (as, to a lesser extent, do its spin-offs). The Goa'uld have starships, plasma cannons, and teleporters. The heroes have... normal, modern-day (or at least, late '90s/early 2000s) U.S. Air Force issue weapons. But the entire Goa'uld society essentially runs on Cool, but Inefficient — their high-tech staff weapons are scary and flashy, but inaccurate and have a slow fire rate; their Space Fighters are impressive, but a surface-to-air missile will bring them down as surely as a plasma blast would. This is often lampshaded in the show. In one episode, O'Neill points out explicitly that Earth's comparatively low-tech weapons can be superior to the Goa'ulds' Applied Phlebotinum because the Goa'uld are obsessed with intimidating and impressing their enemies, while primitive Earth weapons are designed simply to kill. As the show goes on, Earth gradually gets more and more Applied Phlebotinum of its own, but even then the protagonists remain armed with old-fashioned Tau'ri guns.
    • The introduction of the Replicators is probably the best example of this. The Asgard are getting their super high-tech asses kicked by robots that assimilate technology—the more advanced the better. So how do you fight them? Bring in primitive ballistic weapons. (In the Asgard's defense, they are savvy enough to realize this after the first time it's demonstrated.)
    • Another factor is that the Asgard and Goa'uld were always preparing defenses against the Goa'uld staff weapons. The Asgards themselves noted that the idea of using expanding gas to send a projectile flying never occurred to anyone else.
    • To be fair to the Goa'uld, they do have a serious trump card in the form of their Ha'taks, spaceships that are impervious to nuclear weapons and capable of bombing a planet back to the Stone Age from orbit. It's not until relatively late in the series that the Earth has a defense against a direct attack like that. Much of the series is about preventing such an attack in the first place, usually using guerilla tactics and subterfuge.
    • Even when Earth gets more Applied Phlebotinum, they tend to use it to improve and enhance what they already have, instead of simply replacing their existing technology. They don't use the super-science energy source to replace nuclear weapons, they use it to make nuclear weapons with a really, really big bang. It's not until the Asgard hands them a plasma cannon strong enough to fight the ships of the Ori that they upgrade.
    • It's also revealed that Earth humans (Tau'ri) aren't the only ones who are good at this trope. After the destruction of the Goa'uld Empire, the resulting power vacuum is filled by various smaller powers, including a criminal syndicate (largely composed of humans) called the Lucian Alliance. For the most part, they're treated as a nuisance at best, using old Goa'uld tech that's already worse than what Earth has by that point. Then Stargate Universe comes, and we find out that the Alliance has its own tech geniuses who upgrade Goa'uld tech to stand up to Tau'ri tech, including the cool Asgard plasma beams that even the Ori couldn't handle. They freely use cloaking tech to infiltrate Earth and plant sabotage, as well as recruit Za'tarc agents.
  • Teen Wolf has werewolf hunters, who can be extremely effective and deadly in their usage of modern weapons and technology. Stiles himself has even proven this from time to time, like when he pelted Peter Hale with concentrated acid. The fact that werewolves seemingly have a psychological block against using modern weapons themselves is never scrutinized too closely. Despite having been harassed by gun-toting hunters for much of his life, Derek himself never even considers using a gun until he is Brought Down to Normal at one point. Although Scott averts it somewhat when he uses some of the Argent's flash-bang arrowheads to blind Deucalion in the season three finale. Further, as a former hunter herself, Kate Argent still kept the habit of using firearms after she turned into a werewolf.
  • In the Doctor Who (Seventh Doctor) episode "Battlefield", retired Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart kills the Destroyer Of Worlds by simply walking up and shooting it in the chest with silver bullets.
    • The reason The Brigadier had silver bullets was that, when the Doctor had earlier warned him that the enemies he was facing were immune to bullets, the Brigadier pointed out that his troops were using armor-piercing bullets, and then explained how the UNIT armory was well stocked in a wide variety of bullets to deal with any of the aliens they'd faced. Then the Doctor asked about silver bullets, and right after he left, The Brigadier immediately called up the armory to send over a case of silver bullets.
      • This gets a callback in the new series' "The Poison Sky". The Sontarans are using a technical doohickey that affected the copper casings on UNIT ammo; the soldiers just switched to ammo with steel casings and tore them apart.
    • Look at it this way: The Brigadier was a British soldier who had personally faced down the most evil and terrifying things in the entire universe - the stuff of nightmares - and did not blink even once. That goes way beyond Badass Normal territory. The Destroyer Of Worlds never had a chance. There's a reason why he has his own trope.
    • Defied in the special episode Dreamland, when the Doctor tries to warn Colonel Stark about the most likely betrayal of his Viperox allies. Stark immediately points out how absurd it seems that "an army of giant cockroaches" could defeat tanks and planes, but the Doctor replies by revealing the Viperox once defeated an alien species whose technology was 1000 years ahead of Earth's. When Stark later pulls a Heel–Face Turn, his forces indeed prove ineffective against the Viperox.
    • Becomes a Running Gag throughout "The Crimson Horror". The Doctor is prepared to do something clever, then one of the human companions solves the current problem.
      The Doctor: Hang on, hang on, I've got a sonic screwdriver!
      Clara: Yeah? I've got a chair!
  • Ultraviolet (1998) works on this, because modern technology means the "Code 5"'s - vampires - have to take a lot more care these days. The hunters are armed with the likes of gas grenades loaded with the active anti-vampire ingredient of garlic, and guns with video cameras (which, like mirrors, vampires don't appear in) and carbon rounds (like tiny, very fast stakes).
  • Comes up repeatedly in The Librarians. When Cassandra tells someone "There's nothing more powerful than magic." Jacob corrects her with "Except knowledge." When the villains steal Excalibur and the crown that controls it, the heroes realize it can't just be to use it as a weapon, because even though a flying sword is more impressive than a regular one, the modern world has far more powerful weapons available.
    Flynn: Librarians don't win with magic. Librarians win with knowledge. Librarians win with science. Librarians win with ELECTROMAGNETS! [electromagnet activates and causes magical crown to fly off villain's head].
  • Lost in Oz uses this as Caleb holds the Wicked Witch at gunpoint. While she claims it can't kill her, it apparently can, as a new host for the Witch's soul is chosen soon after.
  • In the Sherlock episode "The Sign of Three", John and his fiancee Mary are trying to decide on table settings for their wedding reception while Sherlock sits in on the conversation. The former two leave the room for a few moments and return to discover that Sherlock has folded all of the cloth napkins into various origami figures. He at first attempts to explain how he did it with some mathematical Technobabble before admitting that he learned it on YouTube.
  • In True Blood, it was the humans who created synthetic blood that finally allowed vampires to "come out of the coffin" and live alongside humans. The Vampire Authority's primary goal is "mainstreaming", getting all vampires to integrate into human society and convincing humanity that vampires are not their enemy. The Guardian, the head of the Council, is convinced that it's too dangerous for the vampirekind to antagonize humans, as humans outnumber vampires at least 1000 to 1, and the vampires have certain weaknesses (e.g. daylight/UV, silver, Hepatitis D) that humans know about and can exploit. In fact, when a Pentagon general arrives at the Authority's bunker to warn them not to mess with the US Government, he points out that the government (and probably all other world governments) has been preparing for a fight ever since vampires went public. There are anti-vampire weapons and tactics that would most likely ensure a human victory.
  • The Magicians (2016):
    • Battle magic is extremely powerful, but difficult to learn and harder to use since it requires a very specific mindset that is hard to get into on demand. On Earth most magicians just use guns, and in Fillory they use swords and bows—though those might be enchanted since magic is so ubiquitous there.
    • Abortion magic exists, but it's centuries out of date due to even the most primitive muggle methods being better. Kady mentions that even the best abortion spell has a good chance of erasing the mother's uterus in addition to the fetus.
    • While magical wards are common, after a certain point they become too complex for their own good. Alice's parents, two of the greatest magicians on Earth, have a perfectly normal electronic lock on their study.
  • In Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, while witches can live for centuries and are able to use a wide range of spells, physically they are as vulnerable to death as any human. Witch-hunters are just normal humans armed with normal mortal weapons. A witch had a magical artifact that protected from all magical attacks. Aunt Hilda poisoned her with cyanide instead.
  • Heroes: Noah Bennett has hunted down many people with superpowers effectively despite having no powers himself. He has earned a fearsome reputation because of it. Subverted, since his partner, the Haitian, cancels out the superpowers of other people around him.
  • Supernatural: Hunters, Sam Winchester being a notable exception, are normal humans who train to hunt all manner of supernatural beings. Some must be defeated by magical weapons, but there are plenty of threats that can be destroyed with human ingenuity and standard weapons. Vampires, for example, can be beheaded with a sword but also a modern circular saw, and Zombies can be taken out by a headshot from a normal gun.
    • One time, a collector presents Dean Winchester with a sword-in-the-stone. When Dean can't pull it out, he simply obtains a jackhammer and removes it that way.
    • Sam keeps a recording of an exorcism on his smart, which he can play if he encounters a demon.
    • And then a woodchipper pretty much trumps anything as Bobby Singer discovers when he finds himself without a very specific weapon to defeat an ōkami.

    Tabletop Games 
  • A frequent observation about the game system in Rifts, where advanced technological weapons can seem to have a huge advantage over magic and psionics in terms of rate of fire, range and number of shots. However, clever Game Masters might note that certain things, like the e-clips used to power most energy weapons, cannot always be easily recharged in the Schizo Tech environment of Rifts Earth, where many locations are very primitive and do not even have electricity! Likewise, getting repairs done on your Powered Armor might not be possible in the middle of the wilderness.
  • In the world of Warhammer 40,000, almost every army relies on technology so advanced it might as well be magic or actual magic. The Imperial Guard, on the other hand, somehow (barely) hold back an implacable hive mind, undead killing machines, barbarous green savages, and magic-using traitors with just laser guns, tanks, and artillery. And infantry. Lots and lots of infantry.
    • Da Orks, strangely, are both Muggles Do It Better AND Wizards Do It Better. Despite using bullets, guns, tanks, and giant battle axes as their primary weapons - barely more advanced than what we have now - they can still kill just as good as any other race, and it is agreed that if the Orks were ever united, they would be able to walk over the rest of the galaxy. However, their technology runs on their collective psychic powers MAKING it work by thinking it will.
    • The Imperial forces have fanatical faith in a Clap Your Hands if You Believe setting, which explains how they can kill sector-destroying horrors (a sector is a thousand cubic lightyears in 40k).
    • Eldar technology is all made of psychically reactive wraithbone and other psychic materials. In other words, Eldar "technology" is literal techno-sorcery and might not actually count as technology at all.
  • Warhammer: Similar to the above-mentioned Imperial Guard, the Empire is constantly under attack by 8-foot-tall demon-worshipping Vikings who wield huge weapons lesser men would struggle to even lift, Nazi rat-men with machine-guns and flamethrowers, psychotic mutants who want to tear down civilisation out of spite, and vampire warlords with huge armies of walking undead. All they have is ordinary men with their sharpened steel, their primitive firearms, and their faith in the gods. And somehow, against all odds, they hold.
    • One notable example (from the 7th Edition Daemons codex) is a story about Skarbrand, a Greater Daemon of Khorne who appeared in a battle against Imperial troops and was promptly splattered into a puddle of gore by 16th century cannons. Greater Daemons are superhumanly strong, command incredible magical powers ranging from flight to teleportation to energy projection, and explicitly stated to be worshipped as lesser gods by the Chaos tribes of Norsca. Too bad they're also biologically immortal so the death didn't stick. Still very badass though.
  • In Changeling: The Lost, part of the angst for the Wizened is that, yes, they have magic and it does spiffy things; the problem is that it's just not sustainable.
  • Most Old World of Darkness supernatural characters have this problem, given that magic and mad science suffers from No Ontological Inertia, while human technology does not. The Masquerade and the equivalent dictates are in place partially because the supernaturals learned this.
    • In Mage: The Ascension, this problem was deliberately caused and created by the Technocracy. Additionally, both sides of the Ascension war have to worry about Paradox (Technocrat spe—ahem, procedures aren't immune), which is consensus reality snapping back on anyone who pushes it too hard. So most of the time, it's safer and easier to just do things the normal way, and save those spaces on your Paradox track for when a truly dire situation comes up.
    • Werewolf: The Apocalypse points out this trope in Hammer and Klaive, the sourcebook detailing fetishes (magic items). Fetishes used by the more rural tribes tend to be flashy, ostentatious, and straight-forward. The urban tribes, on the other hand, tend to go "Okay, we can find a wooden stick, inscribe it with a few glyphs and anoint it with sacred oils, bargain with a spirit of lightning and thus get something to point at people to kill them — or we could go to the local gunshop to get the same thing for a couple bucks." As a result, the more modern werewolves engage in lateral thinking and use fetishes for purposes that can't be achieved technologically.
    • In the Gehenna scenarios that involve the Masquerade being blown wide open, it's not uncommon for single squads of human soldiers armed with automatic weapons to take out thousands-year-old elder vampires whose cultural stagnation has kept them from adapting to the times. To wit; they're not so stupid or Luddite that they don't know what a gun is, it's just that guns didn't exist in a time when they were still young and didn't spend as much time as possible ignoring the world, so they have no idea how to practically handle such a threat in person. Escalation happens when the smarter vampires start taking action; for example, a Ventrue using Dominate to force the launch of nuclear missiles.
    • In a twist, the Technocracy's mission is to expand the boundaries of human belief so that magical solutions don't appear immediately impossible to Sleepers and cause the magic to unravel. Rocket launchers and faster-than-sound aircraft are actually magical, but the muggles have been persuaded that they're mundane, and that's why they work (if you believe the Technocrats, which not everyone does).
    • This carries over into Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition: What finally shattered the Masquerade was not some big supernatural event, but diligent signal-intelligence work by the NSA. As good as clan Nosferatu are at computer security, the muggle hackers were just a little better. This led to the re-formation of the Inquisition, backed up by most of the world's tier one special ops forces, which in turn led to the complete destruction of the Sabbat, the near-unravelling of clan Tremere, and a severe weakening of the Camarilla in general. It turns out that while a single clueless muggle with a 9mm is an annoyance, a squad of SAS operators with military grade weaponry, explosives and incendiaries, air support, and (above all) good intel on what they're up against and how to kill it, is a whole different bunny.
  • Zigzagged in the New World of Darkness game Mage: The Awakening. It's very much not "Muggles do it better", it's "Muggles screw up magical solutions". Part of what incenses the Diamond Order about the Lie is the fact that it forces muggles to rely on purely technological solutions when magic could do so much more. A fairly untalented Mage could easily cure AIDS or cancer, feed an entire village single-handedly, fix all sorts of genetic drawbacks, or create rare materials... but for two slight problems. The first? Seeing Supernal magic drives muggles insane. The second? Observation by a muggle destroys magic. So, a well-meaning Mage can cast "Cure Cancer" on the Littlest Cancer Patient... and all he does is drive them insane and give them maybe a few days more of life before their very soul unravels the spell and forces the cancers to come back. Tremendous power, but so very little opportunity to actually affect the world around them in any major, meaningful way: this is some of the true horrors of being a Mage.
    • That said, some of the sourcebooks mention ways to get around this. One Legacy in Legacies: The Sublime, the Transhumanist Engineers, have a little game they play: they use magic to build an Imbued device (something that doesn't set off the Lie), which works just a tad better than what we have now, and show it off to Sleepers. And then mention they really hope nobody beats them to market. After that, they just sit back and wait for the viciously competitive tech sector to figure out how to do it. If the muggles can't do it better now, give them a little push.
    • Subverting this is one of the main themes of the Period Piece sourcebook, Mage Noir, set in the immediate aftermath of World War II. Here, it's less 'Muggles do it better' and more 'Muggles do it quicker, more efficiently, more consistently, and with less of a chance of breaking if people think about it too hard.' (Medicine and the then-recent breakthroughs in antibiotics are the main example.) Muggles can do it better, but it's a much rarer occurrence. (The prime example here is the Atomic Bomb.) There's even a whole Legacy, The Quiescent, whose whole philosophy is 'Muggles can and are doing it better, so what right do we have to get in their way?' So they strive to become as unnoticeable as possible, and keep their magic as unnoticeable and as Boring, but Practical as possible.
  • Genius: The Transgression, the New World of Darkness fan-game, subverts this trope. Sure, the Inspired can make changes last forever (it's very hard, though), and they've built some of the oldest still-functioning machines in the world, and anything muggle technology can do, a Wonder can do better. Despite all this, as a rule of thumb: as soon as mundane science reaches the point where it can do something only Wonders could do before, the Inspired start using the mundane solution (e.g. switching from a network of Apokalypsi-based 'communication nodes' to... just connecting to the Internet). Sure, the effects aren't as flashy, but mundane science doesn't fall apart or go berserk when not "fed" enough Mania, it can be maintained by regular people without causing Glamour Failure, it can be mass-produced easily. In short, Geniuses do it better, Muggles do it reliably.
  • In Princess: The Hopeful, this is one of the core principles of the Court of Diamonds. While Noble magic can accomplish wondrous things, it is a finite and limited resource. For this reason, the Lady of Clear Water teaches that whenever possible a Crystal should design systems by which the humans can solve their own problems, systems that will keep running long after the Noble has left for other work.
  • In Exalted's Autochthonia, this was made a basic point in the laws of physics of the world by Autochthon, its creator. While the Alchemical Exalted wield far more personal power than any muggle as the warrior champions of their people, Alchemicals lack Favored Abilities, which means muggles can become better at things much faster than them, and they are divinely forbidden from ever achieving a place in the gubernatorial hierarchy - not to mention only mortals can be blessed with the knowledge of how to make other Alchemicals by their patron god. This stands in stark contrast to most of the rest of the Exalted, which have an underlying theme of being better than puny little humans in every way and designed to be rulers and lords.
    • Though Exalted lacks a clear division between magic and non-magic, anyway; unenlightened mortals are just so weak that they have no control over their Essence. On the other, other hand, the Solar Exalted, among the most powerful of Exalts, explicitly have powers that resemble the 'mortal' way of doing things (shooting arrows that hit you anywhere in the world and leaping over mountains instead of teleporting or firing blasts of fire) and are designed to win out against more obviously magical effects.
  • The Dungeons & Dragons adventure "The City Beyond the Gate" by Robert M. Schroeck, in Dragon Magazine #100, where a PC party goes through a dimensional gate to modern-day London, England. It's specifically stated that if the PC's decide to fight it out with the British police and/or military that they'll be slaughtered, either immediately or after their magic runs out.
    • On the other hand, some D&D material averts this trope. For example, one Forgotten Realms novel states that the reason behind the Realms' Fantasy Gun Control is because magical resistances are all-encompassing. It doesn't matter if you're throwing a stone, firing a bow & arrow, or blazing away with a Vulcan mini-gun, if there's no magical basis to it, then it won't even scratch someone under the effect of a Protection From Normal Missiles spell, though this only applied to older versions of the game and also ignores weapons like grenades, as explosive and fire attacks have always been a way to bypass such effects.
  • Zig-Zagging Trope in the d20 Modern Urban Arcana setting. Obscuring mist? We have smoke grenades. Water breathing? We have scuba gear. Fireballs? Rocket launchers deal more damage. But at the same time, some magical effects are impossible to replicate with current mundane tech (Electro Magnetic Pulse spell, spell that turns the traffic in your favor...) and others do the things that mortal tech does, but better - that Water Breathing spell protects you against getting the bends and doesn't require you to keep a death-grip on a cumbersome breathing tank, for example. The situation is further complicated by magic being the ultimate in concealed carry and being able to reinforce muggle tactics, and muggle tactics being able to reinforce magic (a fireball is essentially an incendiary explosive, and can thus be used in similar tactical situations where incendiary grenades might be used, and Combat Clairvoyance abilities would be an extremely useful addition to anyone who would engage in otherwise purely mundane gunfights).
  • One Call of Cthulhu adventure involved a villainous plot to psychically link a dreaming Eldritch Abomination to the collective unconscious of humanity, thus driving the world's entire population insane in its sleep. As a campaign-preserving failsafe, one of the proposed alternate endings was that, if the player characters couldn't stop the plot, it would indeed establish such a connection ... only to have the abomination itself go insane because, while its own otherworldly mind was powerful, the minds of humans were equally-strange to it, and there are just so darned many humans on Earth that its psyche would be overwhelmed by sheer numbers. Humanity, on the other hand, just has nightmares.
  • In BattleTech's Clan Invasion, the invading Clans had even more powerful versions of the Lost Technology that the Inner Sphere spent 300 years trying to replicate, and had genetically enhanced soldiers trained in The Spartan Way from the day they were born. However, outside of their Genius Bruiser powered armor warriors, the Clans' genetic enhancements were either nothing to write home about or were actually worse than their Inner Sphere counterparts in the case of the Space Plane pilots. The Inner Sphere begins to rediscover LosTech and reverse-engineer Clan equipment, allowing them to catch up the Clans while the Clans were starting to stagnate; turns out Klingon Scientists Get No Respect doesn't bode well for one's society.
  • In Chuubo's Marvelous Wish-Granting Engine, one of the running themes is that miraculous powers may change your life, but they won't necessarily make it better— Chuubo can get ice cream much more easily by buying it than by wishing for it, for example. On a mechanical level, the Knight Arcs, Become Somebody and Allegory, are extremely good at miraculous combat, with Become Somebody giving an Auctoritas to support you and Allegory straightforwardly letting mundane actions take on miracles - but in both cases, the best way to shut them down is to simply apply a mundane action with a higher Intention level.
  • Iron Kingdoms: A major part of the lore of the game centers around a cultural movement from magic via magitek to actual technology. Mundane technology is considered the cutting edge, and all the major power players in the setting have huge research programs intended to try to take the "magi-" out of "magi-tek". The results technology gets are generally not quite as spectacular as those magitek gets, but the fact that mundane technology can be used by anyone, gets consistent results and requires far fewer specialized resources makes the trade-off more than worthwhile.

    Video Games 
  • One of the major points of the Starcraft series is the three races: Protoss (pyschic humanoid aliens with telepathy), Zerg (ever-evolving bug aliens that can be created en masse), and Terrans (humans). Despite the obvious power differential in Terrans against the others, Terran tech is more than a match for the others, and even trounces them narratively on several occasions. Story wise, the Protoss, Zerg, and Terran end up taking down Amon, a literal god and embodiment of the Void.
    • This was also used in the opening video of Heroes of the Storm where Starcraft Terrans (Nova and Jim Raynor) fight against Diablo (the devil in his home series). Just as Diablo approaches to kill them, you see Jim smile as he closes his helmet followed by one particularly iconic phrase from the computer in his helmet.
    Adjutant: Nuclear launch detected
  • The Bonus Ending of Drakengard. Turns out even the most skilled of dragon riders, atop one of the strongest dragons there could be, is little match for a squad of Japanese fighter jets, getting downed by a single missile.
    • To be fair though, said dragon and dragon rider had just fought a grueling battle against an Eldritch Abomination and could barely stand much less fight.
  • Various Final Fantasy titles plays with this trope in varying ways.
    • Subverted in Final Fantasy VII where the Huge Materia Bomb is not sufficiently powerful enough to destroy the meteor. It's zig-zagged with the Weapons in plot scenes, however, where the Sister Ray does in fact have enough power to kill both Sapphire and Diamond Weapon; the former with a shot to the exposed head, the latter, when upgraded with the Mako reactors in Midgar, was able to punch through Diamond Weapon and lose little to no actual power from the actual shot. On top of taking out two Weapons, the Sister Ray also tears down the barrier surrounding the North Crater with the same shot it killed the Diamond Weapon with.
    • In Final Fantasy VIII, the giant spider robot during the Dollet mission has been hounding your squad all the way down the mountain. You can't kill this thing, as it auto-repairs. All your superhuman strength, training, magic, Guardian Forces, and archaic weaponry cannot freaking stop this mechanical monster. It just keeps coming. Then, you get to the beach, where Quistis is waiting in the gun turret of your hovercraft, manning a .50 caliber machinegun, and she tears the robot apart with nothing but intense, drawn-out automatic fire.
      • Late in the game, the party must board Lunatic Pandora, a floating obelisk with a shield around it. They get through the shield by flying their airship at it and shooting it a lot. They get through the wall by shooting more, until they've blown a hole through the side. The airship itself is one of three that were originally made for the sole purpose of dragging a sorceress into space so she couldn't harm the world any further; she was made docile enough for this to work by what amounts to cryogenic suspension.
    • Played straight in Final Fantasy X however. The heroes never would have beaten Sin without the non-magical airship and Wave-Motion Gun. The only reason the gun can't be used beyond the initial stage of the fight is that it's Lost Technology that nobody actually knows how to maintain.
    • This trope generally holds true in Final Fantasy Tactics as well, thanks to the Faith mechanic. A character with low Faith can't use magic well and beneficial spells are less effective when cast on them, but by the same token, they also take less damage from magical attacks. Thus, wizards tend to get cut down pretty easily by faithless characters if not backed up with conventional weaponry.
      • Except for Calculators who can take down large groups on their own thanks to their ability to basically carpet bomb areas with magic.
    • Doctor Cid of Final Fantasy XII embodies this trope. He was able to reverse-engineer nethicite, a magic-absorbing type of magicite gifted by the gods to their chosen, into weapons that harness nethicite's destructive capabilities on a smaller scale. He also puts his artificial nethicite to use for peaceful purposes such as airship engines that function in Jagd. While he did have help from Venat, said entity is impressed with how much progress he's made with it in just six years. Turns out that they're working together to end the influence of Venat's fellow Occuria on mortal affairs and the nethicite was their main tool for this purpose. Mortals being able to use nethicite freely strips the Occuria of that advantage. It even figures into his second boss fight as he is able to bind and summon an Esper with it.
    • Final Fantasy XIV:
      • The Garleans are a race of people that look like very tall Hyur with a "third eye" on their forehead, but are biologically incapable of manipulating aether, unlike almost every other living being on Hydaelyn. What they lack in magic they make up for with superior weaponry and technology, specifically magitek, to the point of becoming the world's sole superpower as the Garlean Empire. Their military also tends to have extremely high standards for its soldiers, resulting in an overall higher level of baseline performance compared to Eorzean militaries.
      • However, in Endwalker, a key weakness of their technology is revealed, pushing this closer to a partial subversion: Garlean magitek requires a consistent fuel source, specifically ceruleum (magical, blue petroleum). Since the largest known deposit of ceruleum is in Garlean land, that's usually not a problem...but things go south very quickly without it. When their whole society is intentionally torn apart by civil war and Primal tempering, no new ceruleum comes through, and Garlean supremacy collapses in a matter of weeks. By the time the player arrives, the last surviving non-tempered Garlean soldiers are huddled in an abandoned subway station, barely keeping the place above freezing as they ration out their fuel. This ultimately shows magic and mundane have both strengths and weaknesses: magic is hard (or impossible) to learn and not entirely reliable, but recharges with a night's rest and a good meal, while magitek will keep going like a tank or a machine gun, but without supplies, it's worthless scrap.
      • The Allagan Empire zig-zags this trope, having developed "aetherochemistry," the science of combining technology and magic together into a single, cohesive, mutually-beneficial body of theory. At the empire's height, Allag was significantly more advanced than current humanity, specifically because of aetherochemistry. Cloning, lifespan extension, genetic engineering, cybernetics and robotics, artificial intelligence, holograms, a literal moon-sized space station, things equivalent to solid-state disk drives and DVDs, etc. The developers even include humorous references to modern culture, like 'version updates' of software, user license agreements, etc. Unfortunately, when their civilization collapsed in the Fourth Umbral Calamity, it buried or destroyed not just the infrastructure, but almost all records of Allag's existence, making most of their technology completely irreplaceable.
  • Knights of the Old Republic makes Jedi not look as invincible as they are generally believed to be. Vibroblades are infused with cortosis, special ore that can resist lightsabers, which allows non-Jedi to fight a Jedi on equal terms, and blasters can still retain effectiveness even after acquiring force powers, especially in the sequel. Basically, although the Jedi still generally have an advantage, it's not a Foregone Conclusion.
    Master Vrook: Nothing is more embarrassing for a Jedi than to be cut down by a stray blaster shot.
    • HK-47 has a lengthy discussion with the Exile in the second game on how best to kill Jedi (if you earn enough Influence to unlock it). He particularly notes about how Jedi don't like to fight at range but, at the same time, can deflect regular blasters. Sensory Overload is the recommended tactic because Jedi can't deflect it or isolate themselves from it in battle.
    • In Star Wars: The Old Republic a Sith totally laughs off the Bounty Hunter character, as a force user 'cannot be defeated by some hired gun'. One short battle later and she's gasping on the floor, heavily injured. Indeed Bounty Hunters use plenty of mundane weapons that both Jedi and Sith are noted as weak to, such as close-range fire attacks, explosives, and dart weapons. Appropriately, the Bounty Hunter is offered a chance to join the Mandalorians (see above).
    • All of the player characters which are not Force-sensitive really, in some quests you get to fight force users and win, and one of the dialogue options you get is "The Force is overrated". Since when does Stock Striking do more damage than a lightsaber strike?
    • Additional material shows that projectile weapons ("slugthrowers") are actually quite effective against Jedi, as the heavier, denser bullets are much harder to deflect or control than blaster energy bolts.note  They also have the advantage of not leaving telltale bolts as they travel, making them almost impossible to track (and therefore stop/deflect) by all but the most keenly-aware force users. Several bounty hunters actually prefer slugthrowers, and swear by them as effective Jedi-stopping weapons.
  • The Sealed Evil in a Can in Return to Castle Wolfenstein was sealed because he was impossible to kill in his era, by mundane means or magic. Turns out perfectly ordinary World War II-era guns — and some less ordinary ones — do the job just fine. He's not even a Puzzle Boss, it just takes a LOT of firepower to finally bring him down.
    • In fact, almost all of Ids games include some elements of this. Doom's demonic invasion was basically slaughtered by one man using human-made fire power, shotgun, rocket launcher, chainsaw, and BFG. Wolfenstein remake had most of the interdimensional beings able to be killed by WW2 era machine guns.
    • Doom³ averts in the story but plays it straight in the gameplay since the various bullet weapons using identifiable real-world calibersnote  can dispatch the various monsters just fine, and the little robot companions you can get will utterly slaughter any demon they see, yet somehow the human forces were all quickly killed. Helps a bit that many of the staff were turned into zombies and that the demons essentially teleported into the place out of nowhere before any response could be coordinated.
    • History repeats itself in Wolfenstein: The New Order's expansion, The Old Blood— the Monstrosity was an unstoppable beast of war, able to slaughter the invading Magyars by the thousands, and even the alchemists who created it could only seal it away in an underground vault. That was in 964 AD. In 1946? One man with an assault rifle kills it by shooting it in the mouth.
    • In fact, beyond the ability to kill supernatural/otherworldly beings with mere guns, Wolfenstein demonstrably proves that Stupid Jetpack Hitler is superior to the Ghostapo: all efforts by the occult branches of the SS end in abysmal failures, whilst Deathshead's advanced scientific arsenal eventually helps Nazi Germany conquer the world.
    • In DOOM (2016), the Doomguy, called the Doomslayer, who only uses guns, a chainsaw, and his bare hands to literally tear demons apart, is seen by the demons as an unbeatable killing machine that the demons only stopped by dropping an entire temple on him.
      • A somewhat downplayed example as Doomguy also uses magical runes and doses of concentrated demonic energy to upgrade himself, and the ability to get health and ammo from Glory Kills is implied to be an In-Universe supernatural power that he has, but these still ultimately serve to support and feed his more mundane skills and arsenal (mainly, firing really big guns).
  • Fitting his 90s FPS predecessors, Serious Sam kills literally thousands of super-strong, psychic, and/or magical aliens/demons/zombies/etc. using regular guns (plus more mundane sci-fi foes). Even a powerful warlock the size of a skyscraper falls after enough HEAT rockets to the face.
  • An example due to In-Universe Technology Marches On: Biotics in Mass Effect were easier to turn into game breakers than other mechanics, and biotic characters are always both powerful and diverse enough to be a threat on the battlefield. In Mass Effect 2, defenses were buffed after Sovereign's destruction left Reaper tech lying around to salvage giving biotics significant trouble dealing with hardened armor, for which a Soldier with a big gun and anti-armor incendiary rounds is preferred.
    • During the final mission of Mass Effect 2, you get to choose which teammates are to Hold the Line. Each teammate has an assigned numerical defensive score. So who's the best at holding off a small army of enemies? Not the super-strong assassin with Psychic Powers or the Person of Mass Destruction who can explode things with her mind, but rather Garrus and Zaeed, who have no superpowers and don't use much in the way of fancy gadgets. They just have sniper rifles, assault rifles, and grenades, and are very good at using them.
  • In Dreamfall: The Longest Journey, the Azadi Empire easily conquers a large chunk of Arcadia despite many magic-wielders opposing them by using Magitek and old-fashioned cold steel. It's implied it has more to do with their zealotry and organization, as they are made out to be the most militarily organized power in that world. Marcuria is just a mercantile city-state, which is already suffering from an invasion by The Horde, and said Horde is hardly the organized power that the Azadi are.
  • In Fable II, we discover that the Heroes' Guild was wiped out by muggles shortly after guns were invented because good Heroes were no longer necessary and evil Heroes were no longer worth the hassle (although it's stated most of the good Heroes were unarmed/didn't fight back).
  • Earth Bound has Jeff Andonuts, who uses home-made bombs and rockets to make up for his lack of PSI, and the weapons he cobbles together from junk can cause more damage than the PSI his allies wield.
  • At first glance, it might seem like Rise of Legends plays magic and technology fairly equally, but then you realize that one of the factions uses Magic from Technology and, in the game's plot, curbstomps the current tech and magic users.
  • A major theme of Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura is that sufficient amounts of one cancel out the other. Guns jam in a wizard tower, but spells fail to work in towns with steam engines and industries. Part of why this is a big issue is because technology is much easier to use and lends well towards the kind of ubiquity you'd never see out of mages.
    • The best mechanic example of this is healing. Healing potions and spells require you to Clap Your Hands If You Believe - the more character is bent toward magic, the better the results. On the other hand, conventional medicine and pharmacology works for everyone - even mages - on the same, constant and efficient rate.
  • In the Nasuverse many "True Magics" have been lost due to the continued growth of technology. True Magics are defined as an act of magecraft that cannot be duplicated by mundane means. Before the twentieth century, flight could be considered a True Magic but ceased to be such once airplanes were invented. Even outside of True Magic, the inherent danger and limitations of magecraft mean that the mundane approach is often safer and easier.
    • For a direct example, in Fate/Zero Kiritsugu largely bases his fighting around normal human weaponry. Mages are pretty much all completely scornful of technology and thus dismiss it completely. Kayneth is utterly shocked when Kiritsugu pierces through his magic barrier with a high caliber bullet and vows to use his full strength to block the next one. Which is actually when Kiritsugu uses magic to win, but still. Apart from this, magical familiars used for spying are pretty easy to detect and be fooled by illusions, but you can neither find nor trick a mundane camera with magic.
      • This trope is subverted when it comes to Servants, who can typically move so fast that normal humans can't see them. Mages believe that only a Servant can defeat a Servant, and by and large, that's true with almost anytime a human is forced to face a Servant, they lose. Badly. The only exceptions have been the result of very strong magic for a human, or the human managing to exploit a weakness of the Servant.
    • A subtler example would be Kuzuki Souichirou in Fate/stay night. After becoming a Master, he simply continues with his daily routine while his Servant does the job; coupled with his lack of Magic Circuits, this allows him to pass undetected by enemy Masters and Servants alike. When it comes to fighting, he takes advantage of the surprise factor and tries to kill as swiftly as possible. Finally, he's not above retreating when things go bad.
      • Kuzuki zigzags this trope since he's only strong enough to pose a threat to a Servant because his own Servant Caster uses her magic to make him strong enough. Without her help, Kuzuki was killed by Archer almost immediately.
  • In Spyro the Dragon (1998), the last and hardest of the standard enemies you fought were not the magicians, not magical beasts, but Gnorcs wielding grenades and machineguns.
  • An amusing scene from Scribblenauts: Unlimited plays out like this. You are told to equip an adventuring party for battle with a dragon, including a knight, ranger, wizard, and cleric. No matter what you equip them with, they will attack the dragon in sequence, only to pull out bazookas and blast it the dragon to pieces.
  • In Multiplayer Online Battle Arena games, mage-type characters are often out-DPSed in lategame by "carries" with their normal attacks. But also subverted in that the high DPS is usually achieved with the aid of buffs from spells and magical items.
  • Marvel vs. Capcom 3, alongside its many superheroes and villains, has normals like Chris Redfield, Frank West, Hawkeye, and Haggar. In this case muggles really do do it better, because Phoenix Wright - a human lawyer with no powers whatsoever - has the most powerful Hyper Combo in the game.
  • In Saga Frontier 2, Spell Arts and enchanted weapons of wood and stone have traditionally dominated the battlefield. Along comes Un-Sorcerer Gustave XIII, who decides to get around the limitations of his disadvantaged birth by training in the use of Weapon Arts and steel weapons, and later creates military units who are so equipped. The resulting steel soldiers cannot use magic, but as steel resists magic, they are nearly immune to it in turn, and the mundane superiority of steel over stone leads to a horrible curbstomping of anyone not so equipped.
  • In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, there are combatants who can use their bare fists, magic, and summons to aid them in battle. And then you have Snake, one of the strongest fighters who uses military explosives for most of his attacks.
  • World of Warships (of all things) referenced this trope in their promotional release for the tier III British battleship the Bellerophone. It notes that the battleship would have slain the Chimera way faster than her namesake because the original Bellerophone was just a demigod in bronze armor riding a magic horse where the HMS Bellerophone has several inches of steel armor and twelve-inch guns.
  • In [PROTOTYPE], you can use your badass powers - such turning your fists into claws or wrecking balls, shapeshifting, and super-strength powerful enough to make people explode into Ludicrous Gibs by fist-bumping yourself within ten feet of them - to slaughter the defenses of your objectives before tearing them down brick by brick. Or, you can just hijack a helicopter and just shoot the objective until it dies in total safety, and then fly around and destroy every Infected Hive and military base within, oh, half an hour. Helicopters are so overwhelmingly powerful and effective (especially given the Infected, despite their grossly superhuman strength, have no real anti-air power beyond throwing easily-dodged cars and boulders at you) that it's kind of inexplicable that the military has so much trouble getting anything done. Ditto artillery strikes- the Infected have literally no defense against them, so even boss-level enemies that can rip tanks apart with their bare hands can be taken out with one radio call.
    • It's telling that, outside of a small handful of missions, [PROTOTYPE 2] doesn't give you the ability to fly helicopters until the very end of the game. Stealing tanks and other military hardware is still often the most effective way of dealing with anything though.
  • Much like its basis in Old World of Darkness tabletop, this topic comes up in Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines; while the Kindred are generally stronger, faster, and individually superior to their mortal cousins, they are notably not superior to humanity as a whole, since they're not only less in numbers than humanity but also still very vulnerable to being killed by any human who knows what they are doing. It is all but stated that if definitive existence of vampires were to make its way to human media, the Kindred would be in the very real danger of being wiped out by the inevitable response organized by human governments and militaries. Thus, as in the tabletop, the Kindred carefully attend to The Masquerade so to make sure their existence remains little more than a fairy tail to humanity at best.
  • In the original X-COM: UFO Defense, humans are outgunned, outnumbered, and have nowhere to run. So they take what victories they can, take what Phlebotinum they can scavenge from their enemies, and learn how to use it. By the end of the game, human tech is at least on par with alien tech, and in the case of the final vehicle you can develop in the game, the Avenger, it's leaps and bounds better than the largest alien battleship. Top that off with perfectly replicated alien technology, armor that's stronger and has much more utility than any alien gear, and an outright canonization of Jack of All Statsnote , and the alien invasion is quickly ground to a halt.
    • XCOM: Enemy Unknown takes it a step further, with the XCOM team not only adapting alien tech but improving on it in literally every way. The Firestorm interceptor is capable of shooting down a much larger and better-defended Battleship single-handed. Aliens use plasma rifles? XCOM develops plasma sniper rifles. Floaters use crude jets that give them vast mobility, but also require replacing significant parts of the base species with disturbing technology. XCOM takes those jets and creates armor that is better than anything the aliens develop, and allows even better mobility, without harming the wearer in any way. Even in the Enemy Within expansion pack, when humans do develop the technology to create cyborgs similar to the floaters, the MEC troopers are a huge power increase over anything short of a Sectopod.
  • The second boss of Kingdom Rush: Vengeance is a massive Ice Wyvern who's so huge that none of Vez'nan's supernatural army, magic-using towers, technological towers or spells are capable of hurting it and don't even bother targeting it. Vez'nan's solution? Use two massive gunpowder cannons to blast its face in.
  • Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth: the protagonist Jack Walters single-handedly slays dozen of superhuman and technologically advanced Deep Ones, a handful of evil wizards, Father Dagon, Mother Hydra, a Shoggoth, two Flying Polyps, and a Cthulhu star-spawn, using an assortment of early 20th century guns. Invoking this trope was in fact the entire point of the game: the Great Race of Yith conspired to have Jack kill the two Flying Polyps beneath the Deep Ones' city (albeit, using one of their guns) because they couldn't do it themselves. Additionally, the most dangerous enemies in the game are arguably the human cultists, because they're the only ones with hitscan ranged attacks (i.e. guns). Also, as in the stories that inspired the game, local U.S. law enforcement shuts down Innsmouth and foils the Deep Ones' invasion attempt by bombing their underwater city with torpedoes.
  • Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag: The MacGuffin is a Precursor artifact known as the Observatory, which lets you use a blood sample from a particular individual to see through their eyes. In the 18th century, this is a huge deal, but the modern Templars going after it get mocked by their peers because it is utterly obsolete; there is nothing the Observatory can do that modern data-mining and electronic surveillance tools can't do much more effectively and discreetly.
  • Bayonetta 3: The main antagonist of the game, Singularity, and his Homunculi were born entirely from human technology without any magic involved. Yet they managed to bring about genocide on multiversal scale and push Bayonetta to the very brink, far surpassing any damage the residents of Paradisio and Inferno have ever caused.

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney: Each major playable attorney has a way to detect lies - for instance, Phoenix Wright has a Magatama, an amulet that detects whether people are forcibly hiding something, Apollo Justice has an inherited trait to be very sensitive to nervous tics, which inevitably happen when someone's lying, and Athena Cykes is extremely sensitive to the emotional tone of people's voices and uses a small computer to help process the information. Miles Edgeworth, on the other hand, only uses Logic, yet he's no less effective than Phoenix, Apollo, and Athena, whose methods are closer to (and are, in Phoenix's case) supernatural.
  • Syrup and the Ultimate Sweet: The candy alchemist Syrup is a human who lives in a town full of witches. Her shop is the only shop in town that sells candies that aren't made with magic. Her candies are also considered the tastiest candies in town.

  • Sluggy Freelance parodies how Harry Potter uses this trope, by having Torg take on a Voldemort Expy and his gaggle of Death Eaters with a shotgun.
    • He also realizes that all the safeguards on the Goblet of Flameyness don't stop them from tampering "Muggle Style."
    • In another storyline Sam, a human who recently became a vampire and turned to killing other vampires, demonstrated that although vampires cannot enter houses uninvited, getting the invitation with a gun works too note . The funny part? He's the dumbest recurring character, yet no other vampire had ever thought of that.
  • Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal shows what to do with those pesky magic circles.
  • Endstone did more or less the same thing as the above example
  • Harry Potter Comics enjoys pitting magic vs. technology. Neither side wins regularly. It also features several villains (and later heroes) who have enhanced Muggle equipment with magical enchantments.
    • It did factor in to defeating one half of the Big Bad Duumvirate: Mohammad is killed by a sub-machine gun blast to the head. Whether or not he'd stay dead is rendered moot when his body was raised by the other half of the Duumvirate, The Necromancer.
  • Inverted in an earlier 8-Bit Theater strip where a demon is destroying a town right off-panel;
    Random Citizen #1: Look out, he's using laser eye-beams!
    Random Citizen #2: But we haven't invented lasers yet!
    Demon: WE HAVE.
  • Johnny Saturn has this as a theme before the plot moves along to him getting cool gear.
    "Unorthodox small puncture weapon. Treat as knife fighter."
  • A variation occurs in ''Looking for Group". Because the Chachas were created to fight the Archmage, they're perfect for combating magic in any form. However, against a non-magical attack, they're completely helpless.
  • Homestuck has this in a pretty big way. The trolls are a race with technology that far surpasses ours, are more durable, stronger and faster, and some of them even have psychic powers. The first set of players (the Beforan trolls) failed miserably due to teen drama and being wholly unprepared to take on Sgrub, so Doctor Scratch conditioned the post-scratch troll race, molding Alternia and the trolls into the psychotic, bloodthirsty and violent race that they are so that they are ready to take on Sgrub. It mostly works, with the second set of players (the Alternian trolls) succeeding in beating the game and creating a viable universe in the form of Bilious Slick, which is the universe that the beta kids hail from. Then, we have our four humans, ordinary everyday kids without any special powers. Although they have a bit of a rough start, they quickly blitz through the game, with all four reaching god tier, Jade and Dave creating a viable Genesis tadpole that isn't inherently flawed like Bilious Slick, John retrieving the Tumor from the battlefield, the Scratch being initiated and ALL FOUR players escaping the scratch successfully. And it's implied that they did all this IN TWENTY-FOUR HOURS.
  • El Goonish Shive:
    • This is discussed by what is probably the most powerful character around :
      Pandora : Why not make magic available to everyone? A thousand years ago, I could see the point of restricting it! Armies powered by magic against swords and arrows? I can see a problem with that. NOW? Humans have GUNS! EXPLOSIVES! INTERCONTINENTAL BALLISTIC MISSILES! Magic is exotic and scary, but any random fool with a gun can still best a wizard!
    • This is tragically called back to when the Aberration "Scarf" tries to use a handgun to kill her son while he's distracted, forcing her to break immortal law to save him.
  • The Wandering Inn takes place in a world which the Protagonist from Earth compares to a fantasy game with magic and a leveling system. However, it is mostly limited to the technology of the middle ages, which causes no end of suffering to the protagonist who misses things like indoor plumbing and tampons.
  • Digger: Wombats are a stolidly sensible race of tunnelers with little patience for the occult. Digger is particularly disdainful of dwarves because they use unreliable magical Reinforce Fields rather than engineer their Underground Cities to stand on their own.
  • Unsounded: Because the inak can't use pymary they don't have the option of spelling their ailments away and thus have a far better understanding of medicine, biology and how the body actually works. They've cottoned on to germ theory while the humans of Kasslyne think wounds get infested with ghosts, and an elderly inak is able to explain basic brain mechanics to a sceptical human audience. This is why Prakhuta knows about bacteria.

    Web Original 
  • The Salvation War: This is pretty much the entire theme of the work. Humans have modern day technology. Demons have superpowers like superhuman strength, huge size in some cases, and limited mind control, but they have Bronze Age technology. Humans are pretty quick to figure out how to counter the superpowers. It goes very badly for the demons. Angels have better superpowers than demons, so they pose more of a threat to human armies, but they still lose.
    • In the first battle, 440,000 demons marched against an army group of a few thousand humans who knew the attack was coming and was allowed to prepare for the assault. 600 human lives were lost. Only 300 demons survived.
    • The commander of the demonic invasion force performs a Heel–Face Turn after a group of men in plain suits show him a little video titled The Manhattan Project. Though this was also due to the humans showing mercy and not eradicating him and his family, something neither he nor his overlords who sent them all to die in disgrace expected. He'd heard humans speaking of some weapon they were afraid of themselves, but it was the video that explained what they were afraid of and why, and showed him that the humans could have slaughtered his forces at will and had just been playing with him.
  • In the SCP Foundation, almost every anomaly is contained securely with nothing but discipline, organization, and ordinary technology, and although some require higher tech or other anomalies to hold or keep secret, it's still a struggle of ordinary humans to use their humanity and tools to overcome the supernatural (or just plain natural, but secret from the public).
  • The "Dragon Slayers", the bogeyman of the mutant world in the Whateley Universe, turns out to be a team of seven highly-trained U.S. Marines with complicated tactics but standard weaponry.
    • And in one Team Tactics training sim during winter term, Team Kimba (with uber-mage Fey, Flying Brick Lancer, and Person of Mass Destruction Tennyo) gets slaughtered by conventional forces who use sniper rifles, regular soldiers with machine guns, and some surface-to-air missiles for Tennyo.
  • In the Potter Puppet Pals, they resort to killing Voldemort by using machine guns. Voldemort also apparently kills them all with a pipe bomb.
  • The Cracked video "Why The Harry Potter Universe Is Secretly Terrifying" discuses, among other Fridge Logic aspects of the books, why it was stupid not to inform the Muggle governments about the danger Voldemort posed to the world.
    Bowie: Because you fight fire with fire. Wizards are supernatural. What help is a Muggle going to be?
    Swaim: There’s a bunch of us and we have helicarriers and assault rifles. We killed Hitler, Hussein, and Houdini. You think we can’t nuke Volter-man into next week?
    Willers: He has limitless dark power.
    Swaim: That he has to aim through a wand. We can shoot people with a thousand rockets from space!... With iPhones.
  • In How Harry Potter Should Have Ended, Snape kills Voldemort with a gun. Then, after his utterly muggle-like victory, he uses a magical time-turner to go back to when Voldemort was a young orphan named Tom Riddle being introduced to the existence of magic by Dumbledore, so that he can kill him way back then and none of the deaths will ever have happened in the first place.
  • This Harry Potter fanart.
  • Linkara from Atop the Fourth Wall, frequently criticizes this trope with bad Batman stories, because the cases where it appears allow this trope by depicting characters WITH powers as outright incompetent to make Batman look better. He also invokes this with his Top 15 Things That Are Wrong with Identity Crisis video, where in the fight with Deathstroke, he notes that he's standing still for most of it while taking on the majority of the Justice League. In his words: "This is the part where you take yourself out of the story and realize that a sniper rifle would be more effective than flashy superpowers, and in a story about superheroes, we really shouldn't be thinking that."
  • Shown clearly in It Came From Tumblr 3:
    Knight!Medic: This Hell-armour of mine has been enchanted to reflect any blade, arrow, or mace!
    Elf!Scout: What about a gun?
    Knight!Medic:The fuck's a gun-BLAM
  • In the Dragon Ball Z Abridged "Cell vs." shorts, Cell has to face multiple opponents with various abilities. The only one to completely and absolutely win is Kenshiro, who simply attacked him with pressure point strikes while he was distracted with the usual results of Kenshiro's fights-twice. Not even Deadpool could match it, as Cell managed to kill him multiple times...
  • Release That Witch:
    • Witches are capable of using magic, but they're still the subject of oppression from regular humans, who have numbers and Anti-Magic stones on their side. However, combat-trained witches can nevertheless win against small groups of human soldiers.
    • Roland's faction plays with this. Roland himself has the knowledge of a modern Earth engineer and, by combining this with the magic of witches, is able to rapidly advance the technology of his faction.
  • Mahu: In "Frozen Flame" prince Arius and his army face off against all kinds of magical beasts, ghosts, and other fantastical creatures. Though magical users pull their weight too, most of the army's power comes from the steel and gunpowder of the prince's normal regiments.
  • Welcome Back, Potter:
    • In Dumbledore's Opening Narration, he remarks that it took the rebels a lot longer than it should have to find Harry and Ron because they didn't have access to computers.
    • Jarry manages to defeat Voldemort by whipping out his gun and shooting him.

    Western Animation 
  • Here's a case of Nice Job Breaking It, Hero that almost got the heroes killed. In one episode of Aladdin: The Series, Aladdin and Jasmine went on a secret covert mission to infiltrate Mozenrath's castle but did not ask for Genie's help, or even tell him about it. Genie found out what they were doing, and wondered why they would do something so dangerous on their own. (Mozenrath is definitely not someone you mess with without some serious backup.) So he followed them anyway, and as it turned out, Aladdin and Jasmine had the right idea. The dark wizard had upgraded his security with an anti-magic focus specifically with Genie in mind, so the two realized that their best chance of success would be to not use magic - or magical beings - at all. Genie's presence quickly gave them away, and they barely escaped. The one good thing to come out it was, he learned he had to start trusting them more.
  • Done quite a bit in Gargoyles. Humans have always been a risk to the gargoyles because of how vulnerable they are to being smashed during the day when they're stone.
    • In the first episode, after being awakened from their thousand-year sleep, the Manhattan clan faced off and barely avoided being killed by a group of well-armed human mercenaries. A human holding Hudson at gunpoint notes that he doesn't know what Hudson is, but he isn't bulletproof, which Hudson agrees with.
    • In a later episode taking place on the island containing the offspring of the Greek Gods, they note that the invisibility shield won't hide them from humans much longer because of the advancement of human technology.
    • Another episode, taking place on the island Avalon, featured a wizard who now had an extreme amount of magical power and the power to travel through time. The first thing he warned his younger self was that taking over the world would not be easy because human technology of the late 20th Century rivals the most powerful magic (the wizard in the question is from The Middle Ages). In fact, the reason he wants to make Avalon his launching point is that it cannot be reached by non-magical means.
    • Curses are shown to be written with nigh-impossible "escape" conditions, even with magic; ("They shall sleep till the castle rises above the clouds" and "They shall be stone till the sky burns"). Turns out technology (and loads of cash) can do many things that were thought impossible to the curse writers. (Move the castle on top of a skyscraper and set the sky on fire by dispersing flammable gas).
  • In The Legend of Korra, Amon explicitly says that modern technology now allows any non-bender to go toe-to-toe with a bender, thanks to the spiffy taser gloves his men have invented. In practice, though, a bender still has the advantage at range (they haven't moved up to guns).
    • Subverted due to most electricity in the city being produced by fire benders working in electrical plants.
    • Another example is how the Bender police, Metal benders trained as elite cops, were wiped out in a Curb-Stomp Battle by non-benders piloting Giant Mechs. Though that was framed more as Crippling Overspecialization, as the mechs were built with armor that could resist metalbending. Chief Bei Fong and Bolin (using normal earthbending) were shown to be a match for them, at least in smaller numbers.
    • However, the non-benders have been able to win most of their battles against the benders by either closing the gap or exploiting the weaknesses of elements.
    • Subverted when Vaatu shows up and fuses with Unalaq to become the Dark Avatar. An entire army throwing bending and weapons at him does nothing.
  • In the Love, Death & Robots short, "The Secret War", the Red Army in late 1942 puts up a brilliant effort against ravenous Siberian demons. While the platoon members all die in a Last Stand against a huge barrow of thousands of them in the end, they still take down enough that in the morning the valley is littered with dead demons, and then a fleet of bombers arrives and blows the place to kingdom come.
  • The Real Ghostbusters continues the general theme of the movie, the heroes constantly using technology to fight supernatural threats - successfully - time and again. This is played with in the episode "The Collect Call of Cathulhu" (Yes, the name is misspelled, something that the DVD collection even commented on.) Normally, muggles cannot face Cthulhu itself without being driven insane. However, the Ghostbusters were somehow able to do so. Word of God suggested that this was because they faced horrifying monsters on a regular basis, and the beast really wasn't that much worse by comparison.
  • Robot Chicken:
  • In Samurai Jack, a pair of Dixie bounty hunters, Ezekiel Clench and his wife, Josephine, defeat and capture Samurai Jack using nothing but their skills and weapons. No dark magic, no robot armies, just their skills and their tools. If it wasn't for Josephine turning on Ezekiel after they captured the samurai, Jack's story would have ended there.
  • In South Park's "Woodland Critter Christmas" special, the Woodland Critters have the powers of Hell at their hands, ready to bring back the Anti-Christ. How does Santa beat them? With a 12-gauge shotgun.
  • Zigzagged in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Individual Jedi are presented being more of a threat than a group of battle droids or clone troopers, but the whole problem of having so few Jedi, as shown in the prequel films, does mean that the clone troopers have enough of an advantage to win a full-scale war. However, even if a character is a Badass Normal, fighting a Jedi nearly always ends in them losing.
  • While Gems in Steven Universe have either Magic from Technology or outright magic that typically outstrips anything on Earth by a huge margin, there have been a few cases where a more mundane solution has worked where the Crystal Gems have failed. In one case, they were able to patch up a magical storm using simple duct tape.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Phlebotinum Are Overrated


Guns vs Wands

Jarry Potter manages to take down the Dark Lord with a gun.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / MugglesDoItBetter

Media sources: