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Redemption Demotion

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"You were so cunning in the first episode. What, did you lose your brain when you became good? Seems to be what happens."
Black Gryph0n, Bronies React: Season 6 Premiere

Having a villain, especially a particularly threatening one, change sides is generally a good plot, and can be for any number of good reasons, such as:

  1. It lets you add more shades of morality to the story while introducing a "darker, edgier" hero.
  2. It reinforces our notion of the inherent goodness within people.
  3. It prevents the Worthy Opponent or Anti-Villain from falling victim to What a Senseless Waste of Human Life.

Unfortunately, a lot of the drama in such works hinges on the odds being massively unequal: the villains always seem to have the heroes at a substantial disadvantage. To set a villain apart from being an Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain, a Harmless Villain, or otherwise being comedic, they are built up as the equal or superior to all of the heroes combined, a serious threat to their team. Often, they're far and away the strongest of the Evil Minions our heroes have faced thus far.

And then they switch sides, and they lose their powers. Suddenly, they're not substantially stronger than the others, and may be less powerful than the leader of the heroes. From a story telling perspective, it's more dramatic to have the villains be a threat to our heroes. But if the reformed villain remains more powerful than the hero, then the villain will outshine the hero and solve problems that the hero is supposed to solve. The depowering of the villain prevents the heroes from dominating their opponents.


There are a number of possible, rational justifications for why a villain-turned-ally is suddenly weaker than before:

However, sometimes no explanation is given at all. It could be worse though; if the Heel Face Turner is particularly unlucky, they'll just suffer Redemption Equals Death and that will be the end of it. Sometimes, a new ally goes through enough Character Development (or just Training from Hell) to acquire some new, heroic ability to replace their old ways, and can contribute to the cause from then on. This trope can apply in reverse to characters traveling the other way, because Evil Is Cool. A character that does a Face–Heel Turn will often find that they suddenly have access to much larger levels of power, possibly enough to take down their entire former team single-handedly.

Very common in RPGs, since the "playable" versions of the characters tend to have many fewer Hit Points, fewer and less impressive abilities, and generally worse stats than the "boss" versions (bosses are often balanced around facing a squad of heroes alone, after all). In older games, they even got physically smaller, since hero sprites were much smaller than enemy ones. Usually, this is a Gameplay and Story Segregation, since it wouldn't exactly be very fun to just pick "Mind Erasing Maimblaster" over and over again.

Compare Good Is Boring and Good Is Impotent. See also the Balance Between Good and Evil. Frequently accompanied by Badass Decay and/or Villain Decay and in video games, you'll likely see a few Secret A.I. Moves. Redemption Promotion is the opposite of this trope.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Dragon Ball, nearly all of Goku's allies were at least rivals to him, and frequently outright villains, when first introduced, and were credible threats to him. But after Defeat Means Friendship kicked in, they were quickly left in the dust by Goku. Though this is more because they weren't able to keep up to the stronger villains being faced ahead.
    • The debut of Yamcha. While initially posing a threat to Goku, then turning good, and saving everyone from the final threat (Goku in a Were creature form ironically), Yamcha often takes a backseat afterwards, losing to the Big Bads of the tournament storyline, eventually rapidly fading from relevance.
    • Ditto Tenshinhan, who permanently crippled his first on-screen opponent, nearly did the same to Yamcha, and stood toe-to-toe with Goku in their first fight (and technically won), yet was quickly banished to Jobberdom. Only stayed in the big leagues due to his Kikouhou/Tri-Beam, which literally sapped the life from him. (And even then, later on, it was only good enough to sucker-punch Super Buu, who swiftly - and apparently permanently - returned the favor.) In particular, he also seems to forget about a lot of his old moves, including limb duplication, the Dodonpa, Solar Flare/Taiyouken, No Selling ki attacks, and the Multiform, in favor of just spamming Kikouhous.
    • Which is more than can be said for Chaozu, who didn't even win a single fight at all. That said, Tenshinhan, Yamcha and Chaozu do get a bit of redemption in a Filler episode where King Kai makes them go up against the Ginyu Force as a means of testing their training. And what's more, they win.
    • Vegeta in Dragonball Z had destroyed dozens of planets, but when he turned good, he was left permanent second-banana to Goku. At one point, he willingly becomes a minion of the current Big Bad, pointing out that as a hero, he could only ever be second-rate, but he was a damned good villain. That Vegeta is a better villain than hero is further highlighted by the fact that shortly after this he makes a second Heel–Face Turn, in which he attempts to save the world via a Heroic Sacrifice. And fails. While he never really loses any power per se, he simply Can't Catch Up to Goku's increasing power.
    • Even Majin Buu suffers from this midway through his own saga, as his attempts to go good are immediately followed by the evil parts of his heart besting him in combat and absorbing him. After he frees himself, he's mostly used to distract Kid Buu so that he can't interrupt Goku's charging of the Spirit Bomb, and in Dragon Ball GT, he doesn't partake in combat, instead fusing with Uub to give him a needed power boost (which still wasn't enough to take down the Big Bad of that saga without Goku's help).
      • Dragon Ball Super was all set to bring him back on stage twice, but both times he literally fell asleep and missed out. He even trained in preparation for the 2nd, shedding his Fat Buu form for a form named offscreen as Fit Buu which resembled Super Buu. He did get in on one exhibition fight before transforming into Fit Buu which gave glimpses he still held amazing power, but never gets to show it off in favor of giving Freeza of all characters the spotlight.
  • Digimon:
    • In Digimon Adventure 02 the first Big Bad, the Emperor of the Digital World, joins the team and is, for the most part, not able to defeat Digimon he would have earlier brainwashed easily. Part of turning good required giving up the massive brainwashed armies he would have used, as well as the Applied Phlebotinum he used to take control of them so easily. It turns out that Ken's genius and ability in sports was heavily (it's unclear how much precisely) augmented by his being infected with the Dark Spore. In the dub, Oikawa outright states that this is what made Ken a genius, so theoretically, with the spore dormant...
    • Poor Kouichi. As Duskmon in Digimon Frontier, he was the most powerful of the Legendary Warriors by a wide margin, easily matching Beowulfmon (who is meant to be about two power upgrades above him) and soloing the whole team as Velgemon. On paper, once he's been purified and joined the good guys, he didn't lose any power, managing to defeat an opponent who knocked out the whole team. But just two episodes later, the final power upgrade gets revealed - and it consists of everyone, Kouichi included, donating their power to Takuya and Koji. Consequently, Kouichi doesn't exactly do much for the rest of the series, until he pulls a Heroic Sacrifice to upgrade Takuya and Koji even more.
  • In Naruto there is a zig-zagged example: Gaara. A psychopathic villain who would kill without a second thought, he severely injured one of the main characters, and it looked like he was about to kill Sasuke. After losing to Naruto, he becomes an ally, and loses the drive/ruthlessness/insanity that let him be so completely over the top in a quest to justify his existence with destruction. Even then he was doing better against Kimimaro than Naruto and Lee in Drunken Master mode - they could barely even hit him even when his curse mark wasn't active, and Gaara was mostly winning against him even when his curse mark reached Level 2. He lost to Deidara due to sacrificing offence in order to protect his city (leading to him actually getting killed having his sealed beast extracted, only to be revived by another character at the cost of her life). He also became a Kage at age 14, beating Naruto to the punch, and when his rematch with Sasuke started, he clearly had the upper hand due to his sand absorbing the Amaterasu. Ultimately, he becomes more powerful than when he had his sealed beast, and even powerful than the sealed beast itself.
  • Zelgadis from Slayers, to a certain extent. While shown to have impressive powers while he still opposes the group and/or is in the plot's spotlight, once he joins the party he becomes close to useless combat-wise. Whenever he attacks, the attack usually accomplishes nothing, if only to show how powerful their adversary is. Also, his demonic ability to move faster than the eye can track seems to be largely forgotten, as it never allows him to dodge out of the way of incoming cannon blasts or spells while the rest of the party are unable to. The times when he does accomplish something in battle, it's usually something another character could've done just as well, be it shield or levitation. However, his decreasingly important role in battle is somewhat redeemed by the sheer variety of his skills, the hardiness of his stony skin (which enables him to take a cannonball to the head only to have it bounce off) and the fact that he's pretty much the only mature one in the group and often makes important discoveries and observations that the others had missed.
  • Temporarily used in Dragon Quest: The Adventure of Dai. When he leaves the dark side, Hyunckel loses some of his power; it's later explained to be a side-effect of losing the internal conflict that had driven him since childhood. When he finally finds a new reason to fight, he becomes more powerful than ever.
  • Freeze from Corrector Yui come from a ruthless, most dangerous and competent enemy among Grosser's henchmen into a bumbling chick who can't do anything right. Since she's a program specifically designed to be bad, when she starts something good it goes badly.
  • Usually played so straight it hurts in Kinnikuman, whereby a character trumped up to be an analytical genius killing machine cyborg proceeds to lose every damn fight after his Heel–Face Turn except for one. The reason for that was losing his memory and snapping back to his original brutal nature for part of the fight, thereby showing no restraint in mauling the opponent severely.
  • Renji from Bleach, albeit a justified example. By the time he comes around to the good guys side, the only baddies left to fight are the ones that would have kicked his ass even when he was on their side.
  • One Piece:
    • Nico Robin won almost all of her fights easily, had one of the highest bounties in the series, and was the second highest ranking member of Baroque Works before joining the Straw Hat Pirates. Afterwards, she can't keep up with the stronger characters anymore. She never really got depowered or less effective, she just doesn't get any one-on-one fights like the other Straw Hats tend to, having only really been in two in the considerable time since her Heel–Face Turn. The problem is that Robin has a Story-Breaker Power, leaving just about any encounter with her to end in one of two ways: either she she kills her opponent the instant she feels like doing so, or her opponent is completely immune to her tricks/can turn her efforts against her, rendering her useless.
    • Despite being able to present a threat to the heroes when they fought against them, Buggy and Mr. 3 are barely able to take on the Mooks of Impel Down, whom Luffy is able to defeat almost effortlessly. Kind of justified as they're who fight strategically. While they didn't have the brute strength of Luffy they helped in other aspects during the Impel Down and Marineford arcs.
  • Lyrical Nanoha is generally good at averting this, with Fate, Arf, the Wolkenritter and Nove not seeming to become any less effective after their Heel–Face Turn. However...
    • Played straight with Reinforce. When she's on the evil side in As she had Nigh-Invulnerability and a city-sized Starlight Breaker. As a playable character on the good side in The Battle of Aces... not so much.
    • It took some time but it got finally played straight with the Wolkenritter. In StrikerS it was stated they've started to lose some of their healing factor and is implied their other powers will also start to weaken from that point onwards. They still managed to remain among the strongest characters during that season with impressive feats of damage endurance. Then came FORCE and the bad omen finally started to become true with them being showed to be significantly less powerful and resilient to damage than before (formerly able to take killing blows like nothing, both Vita and Signum got easily downed after a mere couple of slices). And then ends up subverted again in a latter chapter. When Signum wakes up and still recovering, she challenges Cypha again, this time with faulty weapon. And she completely trounces her before Cypha could repeat her previous feat.
    • Vivio in ViVid. In StrikerS, she goes toe-to-toe with Nanoha, an experienced soldier wielding latest in technomagical hardware. When she gets her own series, she's struggling against juvenile civilians in martial arts tournaments. It's explained that Nanoha damaged her Linker Core when they fought but it comes across as a blatant nerf to stop Vivio from curbstomping everyone.
      • Lutecia Alpine is also much weaker in ViVid than she is in StrikerS. Because she's still on probation, she's only allowed to participate in the tournament under a Power Limiter.
  • Accelerator in A Certain Magical Index. Five minutes after deciding to stop being a jerk BAM! Brain damage. He got better alright and is even stronger than before!
  • Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo:
    • While Jelly Jiggler was always pretty silly, he at least had some chops when he was a villain. After he turns good, though, he becomes the biggest Butt-Monkey in the series.
    • Ironically inverted in the Tournament arc for the Chrome Dome empire. His former right-hand Katsu reappeared in the tournament. Despite having a very capable technique, Jelly Jiggler defeated him in a single move.
  • Soul Eater: For the sadly brief period they were on the good guys' side, Crona had his/her strength decreased and stood up to Giriko marginally longer than Maka. An indication of how strong Giriko was being that he managed to cut Crona. The black blood had previously been damaged only by Maka's super-powered evil side and Death Scythe. The demotion was explained in the anime by Maka's special soul wavelength, and in the manga by Shinigami taking the souls Ragnarok had consumed. Crona's state following their Face Heel Turn would suggest they've 'improved' dramatically, Black Star's approach notwithstanding ('stronger than', apparently, 'reasoned with', hell no).
  • Rurouni Kenshin: Initially played straight with Sanosuke, who starts out as a tough fighter who takes Kenshin's attacks with ease. After his Heel–Face Turn, later opponents are shown to easily crush him, which drives Sano to go through training.
  • Suite Pretty Cure ♪:
    • Double subverted with Siren. When she changes sides and becomes Cure Beat, she's quite badass and crushes the Monster of the Week easily two or three times, even finishing them off herself! After a dozen or so episodes later, she's the one getting defeated by a single Monster of the Week and Cure Rhythm and Melody have to bail her out.
    • Cure Muse is a neutral-to-good example, but otherwise she plays it awfully straight. She spends half the series being a Mysterious Protector and a badass, but the very first battle she's in after joining the main girls, it begins with her getting punched off by the Monster of the Week. Then her Special Move is ineffective and is told she has to rely in others. She eventually kills the Monster of the Week on her second try, but not before making it clear this trope is in effect. At least Ellen was awesome for a while!
  • While we're on the subject of Pretty Cures, poor Kaoru and Michiru of Futari wa Pretty Cure Splash★Star. They get their Heel Face Turns, save the day with Saki and Mai... then get Demoted to Extra come the Pretty Cure All Stars movies.
  • Medaka Box: After the invincible Shishime Iihiko is purged from his host body and destroyed by his own power, an "echo" of him appears beside Medaka when she's alone and about to stop the falling moon that Tsurubami Fukurou has spitefully decided to drop on the planet upon his own death. This "echo" does not have the unstoppable power the real thing had, and so can't really help Medaka save the world now. However, he does display a bit of the more heroic qualities Iihiko must have had five thousand years ago by consoling Medaka, who was shaking with fear in the face of the task ahead, by sharing his own experiences and feelings in such a situation. When he joins the members of the Shiranui Village to fight Medaka as part of her "farewell party" after that, he is defeated just as quickly as the rest.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam: Poor, poor, Char Aznable. As the infamous Red Comet of Zeon, he made many Federation soldiers wet their pants and was the only one to be able to go toe to toe with Amuro Ray. Once he took up the moniker of Quattro Bajina, he was finding himself getting owned all over the place, culminating in Haman Karn nearly killing him. Come Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack, Char's back to being evil and being a badass. Though this mostly has to do with his available equipment. As Quattro in Zeta, he's neither the main character nor the rival, and they get the flashy toys. The only unit they had to give him was the unspectacular Hyaku Shiki, while the titular Zeta Gundam went to main character Kamille, whereas in Zeon he had access to the latest cutting-edge and/or Ace Custom mobile suits. When he goes back to Zeon, he's the rival again, and he gets the Sazabi with extreme firepower and remote weapons as a result.
  • Aki of Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's suffers from this. When she first appears, she tended to utilize intelligent and tactical moves that allowed her to dominate most of her fights, took blows without flinching or breaking stride, and had enough psychic power to destroy city blocks. Even against Yusei, she manages to keep her matches almost frighteningly close. Then she gained control of her powers and turned good. Upon this, she spent most of her Duels struggling against opponents she would have decimated, screamed whenever she got hit or lost, and seemed all too content to sit on the sidelines. She also largely dropped the Token combos, Field Spell use, and Burn tactics that had once defined her strategy, in favor of simply using Black Rose Dragon as a beatstick. This wasn't helped by the decision to remove her powers outright, nor by the general switch to a Duelling format which she (almost inexplicably) had no experience in.
  • Satsuki in Kill la Kill gets hit hard by this. Ryuko never used to be able to put a scratch on her, but in the very episode she pulled her Heel–Face Turn, her mother trounced her, and since then she gets her ass kicked left and right—most of all by Ryuko. But that's what tends to happen when you're surrounded by Empowered Badass Normals...
  • Fairy Tail:
    • When Juvia and Gajeel join the Fairy Tail Guild post-Tower of Heaven arc, they go from being S-Class Phantom Lord wizards to be regular Fairy Tail wizards. It's worth noting that S-Class is a rank decided by individual guild masters and not a calculation of power (although if you are S-Class, you tend to be pretty dang strong, and Juvia herself was a candidate for the Fairy Tail S-Class Exam while Gajeel, while certainly strong enough to qualify, was still under suspicion for his actions against the guild during the Fairy-Phantom war), but going by Grand Magic Game standards, Fairy Tail's S-class wizards are significantly more powerful than those of other guilds.
    • Panther Lily went from being strong enough to fight Gajeel in a one-on-one despite lacking any real offensive Magic aside from flight and his BFS as a villain during the Edolas arc to being far less effective in combat after it. This is justified however in that he lost the ability to maintain his Battle form constantly like in Edolas and can only maintain for a limited time before he returns to his true tiny form. On the occasions he can cut loose before he runs out of time, he's still just as dangerous. His BFS was destroyed during said arc as well and it took him awhile to find a new one that could change size with him.
  • Polnareff, in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders, demonstrates a number of powers in his brief run as a villain that rarely (if ever) show up again once he's become a good guy, including a Shed Armor, Gain Speed ability, cutting through nonsolid objects, and moving fast enough to create indistinguishable afterimages. Kakyoin undergoes basically the same thing, never really getting to use Hierophant Green's puppeteering or painting abilities in favor of shooting around emeralds or being a Rubber Man.
  • Carol Malus Dienheim in Symphogear GX was a borderline Invincible Villain who required the entire cast in Super Mode to make her sweat. When she returns in XV, she was nowhere near as strong, had to retreat to Elfnein's subconsciousness after major displays of power, and was completely outclassed by Shem-Ha. Fairly well-justified in her case: Carol's powers are based on burning through her memories, and she had almost completely exhausted her reserves in the later parts of GX. Consequently, she's running on fumes during XV, on top of not wanting to drive herself (more) insane.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman:
    • During the DC Rebirth event longtime Batman villain Clayface belatedly decided that Being Evil Sucks and accepted an offer from Batman to help stabilize his powers and personality in exchange for working for him. As an ally to the Batfamily Clayface was decidedly useful, but as a combatant he was somewhat less effective due to now having to hold back his powers.
    • Damian Wayne the fifth Robin got this when he became a good guy, since he was raised and trained as an assassin by his mother and Batman's strict adherence to Thou Shalt Not Kill renders most of his former strategies moot; though he's still as strong and smart as he's always been, he's still a ten year old who will have issues against supervillains like say, Killer Croc and Bane.
    • Much like Clayface above, Poison Ivy generally sees her efficacy as a character take a nosedive during the periods when she's on the face side of the Face–Heel Revolving Door she loves so much.
  • The USAgent first showed up in Captain America and while he was not a full fledged Big Bad, he was still an Anti-Hero with shades of Sociopathic Hero due to mental tampering. In this state, he was a stronger and more aggressive version of Captain America who had a great deal of trouble bringing him down. Once USAgent calmed down a little, joined The Avengers, and became more of a standard hero, he was quickly turned into Captain America-lite. In one issue, Captain America was implied to be stronger despite USAgent having Super Strength as opposed to Cap who is "simply" peak human.
  • Justice League villain Starro joined the Team Mystery spinoff of the League; as Starro is a Galactic Conqueror most of the time, this has obvious problems. Therefore, in Dark Nights: Metal, which takes place right beforehand, he was shown to have been nearly-killed and currently regenerating, making him considerably smaller and weaker than his usual proportions, and being a lot younger, he's a fair bit less mature personality-wise. He did develop the ability to use Psychic Powers without sticking Starrophytes on people first, but it doesn't seem to be as strong as a connection, as the Martian Manhunter can block it to some degree. On the plus side, he can speak telepathically now.
  • Namor the Sub-Mariner was technically an Anti-Hero at first but once he was brought into the Silver Age, he was a villain for a few years. As a villain, he could single-handedly defeat the Fantastic Four and was dangerous enough that The Avengers would go out on patrols looking for him. As a hero, he often ends up in Worf Effect situations and is usually not as powerful.
  • Spider-Man:
    • The Molten Man was a pretty tough villain for Spidey, but when he reformed he was often at the receiving end of beatings from Harry Osborn during his more villainous days (they were brothers-in-law). These beatings were pretty one-sided, defying Molten Man's past showings.
    • Classic Spidey villain the Sandman also found himself afflicted by this during the (respectably lengthy) period when he was trying to reform as a reserve member of the Avengers.
    • Subverted with the Rhino, who attempted to hang up his horn for a time and go straight after falling in love. Unfortunately, a new criminal took up the Rhino identity and killed his wife purely For the Evulz, driving Rhino to suit back up and Kick the Son of a Bitch.
  • X-Men:
    • Juggernaut was literally an unstoppable force. Basically the only way to defeat him was to trick him into going away (or to remove his telepathy-blocking helmet, but getting the thing off generally necessitated a battle royale). After going through a Wonderful Life montage, he repented his evil ways and joined the good guys' side. Despite formerly being able to take out entire teams of superheroes by himself, he was now having trouble taking on solo villains as 'part' of a team. (When Juggernaut was at his most evil he could go toe-to-toe with Hulk or Thor, when he was at his most good with New Excalibur he got his ass handed to him by the Wrecking Crew, a C-list group of super thugs.) Justified in that the evil god who gave Juggernaut his powers was displeased by his servant's kinder, gentler personality and was slowly removing his powers. He later made a Face–Heel Turn and scaled back up to his full power. He was hit with this again due to the events of Uncanny X-Men (2018) and the subsequent mini-series.
    • Long-time adversary Magneto is one of the most powerful mutants in the Marvel Universe... except when he switches sides. He's still impressive, but 'standard team member' strength rather than 'guy who has curb-stomped the lot of them repeatedly' strength. Justified, up to a point, by the fact that using his powers at high levels messes with Magneto's brain chemistry and makes him act crazy. In other words, when he's on the hero side (and therefore at his sanest) he needs to hold himself back to avoid going over the edge again.
    • The few times that Magneto's daughter, the Scarlet Witch, has gone insane and became evil, she turned into a force of nature. When she's a hero, her abilities wax and wane Depending on the Writer.
    • It must be a genetic thing. When Magneto's other daughter, Polaris, first showed up as a Brainwashed and Crazy villain, she was as powerful as Magneto himself. After she snapped out of it and joined the X-Men - not so much.
    • Quicksilver gets the short end of the stick powers-wise among his family, but he was a match for entire teams during the time that Maximus was screwing with his mind (and even managed to take down the amazingly powerful Exodus after being powered up with Isotope E). As an Avenger, it's hard to imagine. (However, in his early appearances, he wasn't that powerful as a member of the Brotherhood.)
    • In her first appearance, a villainous Rogue took on the Avengers all by herself and was a major force in her early encounters with the X-Men. Then she joins the X-Men and is thereafter beaten up by all subsequent villains to show how tough they are (okay, slight exaggeration). Justified (a bit) by her being less willing to use her increasingly dangerous absorption powers.
    • In the regular timeline the Knight Templar mutant Exodus is a Superpower Lottery winner who is easily one of the most powerful mutants around. In the Age of Apocalypse a kindler, gentler Magneto inducts Exodus into the X-Men (unlike the regular timeline's Magneto who radicalizes Exodus into mutant supremacy) but as the tradeoff he also affixes Exodus with Power Limiter devices to keep him from being corrupted by his own power. The result is an Exodus that, while being significantly more stable and less prone to Black-and-White Insanity than the mainstream version, is also significantly less powerful.
  • In the original Runaways series, Alex was The Chessmaster, brilliantly playing his friends against their own parents as part of a plot to make him and his family rich and powerful. In Power Man And Iron Fist, he managed to play two gangs against each other. In Runaways (Rainbow Rowell), he cons his way back onto the team... and mostly ends up babysitting Molly or attempting poorly-planned betrayals. Possibly justified in that most of Alex's talents require that he be in a position of leadership, whereas none of the other Runaways are willing to listen to him anymore.
  • In Mighty Avengers this happend to Ares. As a villain, he'd been a major threat who'd killed more people than nearly the entire rest of the Avengers' foes combined. As an Avenger, despite being described as "like The Mighty Thor and Wolverine combined," he never accomplished anything except to get embarassingly beaten up by whatever the latest foe they were facing was, and he was ultimately Killed Off for Real as a means of showing that The Sentry had finally snapped and gone into full villain mode.

    Fan Works 
  • The Oops Cycle: While the redeemed Demon Princes directly become Archangels post-redemption, Mariel — once Demon Princess of Oblivion — is bumped down to being a Wordbound angel after being resurrected.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Diamonds Are Forever: The main Bond girl is Tiffany Case, a professional diamond smuggler. In the first half of the film, she's shown to be a seasoned pro, good at her criminal work, with enough authority to even have her own henchmen. Late in the film, she successfully (and cleverly) eludes a crowded auditorium loaded with CIA agents ready to arrest her. After she turns good, her brains go south, particularly over a mix-up with cassette tapes. This prompts both Bond and Blofeld to make snide remarks about what an "idiot" she is.
  • Godzilla: The villain King Ghidorah, despite significant Villain Decay over the years (it used to take two to three monsters just to stand a chance against him), still generally manages to put up a good fight against Godzilla (even in the Hesei film, he manages to strangle Godzilla until soap suds come out). However, in Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack!, he's one of the good monsters, and gets profoundly curbstomped. Then he comes back from the dead stronger, and gets curbstomped again. Then he comes back, even stronger, and he got curbstomped a third time. Originally, lower-tier monsters were supposed to be used in place of Ghidora and Mothra, but Toho execs wanted to use their most popular monsters.
  • Hellbound: Hellraiser II presents an extremely glaring example. Near the climax, the heroine talks the four main Cenobites of the previous film- including Pinhead, the series' most popular villain- into a Heel–Face Turn by reminding them they were once human. Minutes later, they are unceremoniously Curb Stomped by a newly-converted and thoroughly evil Cenobite. The screenwriter received so much hate mail over this, he wound up invoking Worf Had the Flu.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • As the Big Bad in Thor, Loki nearly kills his brother and plans on destroying a planet with all inhabitans, and in The Avengers heroes come together to stop him from conquering Earth. He is imprisoned or bound for most of Thor: The Dark World, though he still uses magic and trickery to achieve his ends. In Thor: Ragnarok where he makes a Heel–Face Turn, Doctor Strange humiliates him, he loses a fight to the Valkyrie, and Thor sees through his illusions. In Avengers: Infinity War, he attacks Thanos with a plain dagger and is easily killed off. Justified because he initially uses a lot of external sources of power (the Casket, the Destroyer, the Bifrost, the Tesseract, the Scepter, alien army) which he later stops relying on, and Thor wisens up to his tricks.
    • In Avengers: Age of Ultron, Wanda Maximoff (aka Scarlet Witch) is able to take down every member of the Avengers (except Hawkeye) by using her telepathic abilities to induce fear and visions of longing or foreboding. Once she joins the team and is fighting alongside Team Cap in Captain America: Civil War, she never once uses this power and instead restrains herself to using telekinesis. Justified given that she's horrified when she realizes that the conflict in Age of Ultron was indirectly her fault. Her capabilities caused cracks on the team and lead Tony to create Ultron out of fear and paranoia. Using them again would be highly immoral and could lead to unpredictable results. However, when she comes Back from the Dead in Avengers: Endgame, she nearly tears Thanos a new one in rage and sorrow and is only stopped when Thanos commands an aerial bombardment on top of him.
    • Bucky Barnes, The Heavy of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, still retains all of his skills and superhuman abilities even without his Winter Soldier programming "On", but regaining his old self and conscience comes with the cost of reduced efficiency, Justified as he's lost the ruthless efficiency he has when brainwashed and tends to hold back, not to mention also lacking the weapons he used to have as HYDRA's top assassin. Shown during the airport clash in Captain America: Civil War: Fighting opponents who could compare even to Captain America who have no reservations about fighting him seriously makes him less of a help to Steve's team, needing to be saved by Falcon and Winter Soldier. Black Panther specifically has no intention of holding back, even as Bucky tries to.

  • In the Bloodline series, this is invoked when Quincey makes a Heel–Face Turn. As part of his “redemption”, he attempts to resist the desire to drink human blood. Unfortunately, this leaves him weakened and vulnerable, and even his appearance suffers. Ultimately this was All for Nothing- by the end of the book, he is forced to resume drinking human blood, in order to keep himself strong for the battles to come.
  • In Xanth, the Dastard is one of the smartest and most powerful villains in the books. Then he gets his soul back, turns good and gets his original talent of having bad ideas back.
  • While "redemption" is probably overstating the matter, Lady in The Black Company novels is a lot less powerful as a protagonist than she ever was as an Evil Overlord. Justified because her reign was ended by her being Brought Down to Normal, meaning that she pretty much had to relearn all of her magical skills from scratch during the books where she was a main character. That said, once she regains a certain level of power she's still the most powerful individual protagonist, even if she's a lot less of a heavyweight than she was though leeching power off Kina probably helped.
  • In Worm, this is justified when Taylor defects to the Protectorate and discovers that to be a superhero requires altering her tactics and methods to make her less effective but more palatable to the public eye.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Power Rangers, every single time they did the "evil ranger" plot. The original Green Ranger was so strong he nearly killed the Power Rangers, even in five-against-one fights, but the second he switched sides, he was weakened immensely. Ditto the Titanium Ranger, the Wild Force Wolf Ranger, the Thunder Rangers, and Dino Thunder's White Ranger.
    • The Green Ranger actually got handled pretty well, mainly because he was basically only called when the going got tough (read: damn near every battle). The only real thing he lost was the power of darkness, and the reason for that is obvious. When he became the White Ranger though...
    • Justified with the Wildforce's Wolf Ranger, as his backstory showed he had a ranger-like form in the past that was no weaker or stronger than the other five; but had used a demonic artifact to grow stronger in a Godzilla Threshold scenario. It was the power of this artifact when added to his ranger powers that made him so strong when he was evil. When he became good again, is artifact driven power-up was lost and he reverted to his original ranger powers
    • Dino Thunder is an odd duck, since in the source material, the White Ranger (Abarekiller) technically never joined the heroes. Thus, Dino Thunder had to resort to the plot of an Evil Twin to justify all the footage where he fought the Rangers despite their version being forced to join the good guys earlier via Executive Meddling. Also his super-powerful Dino Gem was driving him evil, but when he was punished by the Big Bad via an energy draining device, weakening the gem led to him returning to normal... with powers reduced to standard Ranger level.
    • It should be noted that when the Sixth Ranger is good upon introduction, it's no different. He schools whatever enemy the starting five Rangers couldn't beat, looks awesome doing it, and it will continue in the next episode as we are getting properly introduced to the character. Immediately after that, he's no stronger than any of the main five, and is often even subjected to The Worf Effect.
  • Super Sentai, being the source material for Power Rangers, has almost all of the same rules apply. Of special note is Dobutsu Sentai Zyuohger, where Zyuoh TheWorld is always portrayed as being exactly as absurdly powerful as a hero as he was as a villain, but instead suffers a different sort of handicap: he suffers from hallucinations and crippling depression, which were suppressed while he was a villain due to being under mind control.
  • Kamen Rider:
    • Happens in record time in Kamen Rider Decade. Yuusuke is Brainwashed and Crazy and upgraded to Rising Ultimate Kuuga. He floors several Riders just by gesturing in their general direction. When he's restored to normal, Shadow Moon soon attacks and schools him and Decade easily.
    • Kamen Rider Ghost has Alain lose virtually all of his more impressive powers when he turns good, both due to no longer having an army of mooks to use his puppeteering powers with, and due to being kicked out of his immortal ghost body.
    • Kamen Rider Ex-Aid is a somewhat unusual example in that Kuroto actually gains some new powers upon his face turn, but the nerf that he was struck with at the end of his tenure as a villain sticks, and the new powers don't fully make up for it.
  • Angel:
    • Wolfram & Hart create a diversion to distract Angel while they extract vital information from Lorne's mind. Angel completely falls for this ruse despite its similarity to one that Angelus used on Buffy in "Becoming". Indeed, Angelus often seems a bit more clever than Angel. A lampshade was hung on this in Season 4, with Cordelia observing that Angelus is "smart" and Angel taking umbrage, and Wesley (the guy employed to be smart) outright states that Angelus is smarter than him.
    • Connor personified this trope. As a conflicted character, he was constantly switching sides; when fighting at his father's side he was a bit slower than Angel and not as agile, but when he fought against the good guys he was like Spider-Man with a cause, decking multiple foes with each blow and always one step ahead.
    • Illyria, when she was first introduced, seemed as if she'd be the Big Bad of the 5th season, downright godlike in her invincibility. Wolfram and Hart, the main villains of the entire series, were collectively so weak in comparison as to be like insects to her. There were other characters in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel who were actual gods, and Illyria could've overpowered any of them. Basically, she was Cthulhu in a cute human girl's body. But when she ended up more or less on the heroes' side, it's oh-so-coincidentally revealed that her new, human body can't handle that level of power, and she gets powered down to the point that The Dragon is able to beat her into the ground.
  • Meanwhile in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Spike's fall was so severe that Badass Decay was originally named after him. Eventually Buffy tells him "I want the Spike who's dangerous, the Spike who tried to kill me when we first met." She more-or-less gets him for the remainder of the series, as by then the Sorting Algorithm of Evil has rendered him barely effective.
    • Similarly, Anyanka becoming human and eventually good obviously cost her her demonic powers which she gets back in the sixth season and uses in the finale to help defeat the Big Bad.
  • A particularly weird example occurs in Heroes. Peter and Sylar are both immensely powerful, but it's dealt with by keeping Sylar as a villain and handing Peter the Idiot Ball. When Sylar was given a Heel–Face Turn, the writers suddenly noticed the trope and turned him back in order to hijack the plot. As of the season 4 finale, they tried to redeem Sylar again, and started angsting about getting rid of his powers.
  • Castiel suffered this in Supernatural's fifth season. The show justified it by claiming that his powers were diminishing due to being cut off from Heaven.
  • Allan-a-Dale from Robin Hood became a lot less smart once he joined Guy of Gisborne and the Sheriff. The outlaws still managed to run rings around them, even though they were still using the techniques that Allan was familiar with. Of course, you could argue that Allan was deliberately sabotaging himself for the sake of his former friends...
  • Glee:
    • Both Blaine and Unique are hyped up as one-man juggernauts who can single-handedly lead a show choir performance that would wipe the floor with the One Directions (until they inevitably rediscover The Power of Friendship and succeed against all odds). Once they actually join the ND? Relegated mostly to background status and barely getting more voice time than the (canonically much less skilled) average Joe in the New Directions, with Rachel still being worshipped as the true coming of show choir-Jesus by all characters.
      • Subverted somewhat in that Blaine did get some credit for being a high-tier performer in Seasons 3 and later, though nowhere near the level implied by his absolute lead-man status as a Warbler.
  • Tyrion in Game of Thrones spent the first few seasons being quite successful as a cynical chessmaster Anti-Hero using any and all means to achieve his ends. However, after he became inspired by Daenerys and started to believe that a better world was possible, he embarked on an endless losing streak wherein every clever plan he attempted invariably blew up in his face, and was at the end of the series he's a Broken Hero who admits that his supposed cleverness has led to nothing but disasters. Sometimes, this arises from his failures coming from trusting people too much, or putting himself at a disadvantage to minimise casualties, but other instances are just regular old idiocy. Even Peter Dinklage called him out for it.
  • Alison DiLaurentis in Pretty Little Liars. When introduced through flashbacks, it was as an Alpha Bitch who blackmailed, mutilated, and terrorized the people around her to get what she wanted, and for much of the show her ultimate allegiance to the Liars is in question. When she becomes an unquestionably good character, she also seems to lose all ability to take care of herself, and the Liars must save her multiple times from her own bad decisions.
  • Teen Wolf:
    • The Alpha twins Aiden and Ethan who work for Deucalion have the ability to merge together into a large and powerful werewolf. After almost dying against the Darach, they lose this ability by the time they join Scott's pack.
    • Theo Raeken at the end of season 5 successfully absorbed the powers of his two packmates and was able to produce electricity and venom. In season 6, he's resurected without his powers and forced to team with the heroes.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • This happens a lot in Professional Wrestling; after a Heel–Face Turn, the new face proceeds to fall for all of the tricks that he perpetrated as a bad guy. See Chris Jericho. The flipside of this is that a wrestler who was able to get clean wins as a face will only be able to win by cheating after a Face–Heel Turn. Reputedly lampshaded by Ric Flair, who said he didn't cheat because he needed to, but because he could.
  • Lampshaded by Diesel after he got beat by Bret Hart for the WWE World Heavyweight Title. Diesel claimed that he lost his edge while trying to be Vince McMahon's latest reimagining of Hulk Hogan, and that he was going back to being the badass that effortlessly cleared rings during battle royals. He then became a Tweener that gradually transitioned into a full-blown Heel.
  • Also lampshaded by Sting in the dying days of WCW who, after years of everyone in his life turning on him, finally got ahead of the game by seeing Elizabeth's Face–Heel Turn on him from the same million miles away that the audience did. Subverted and played straight at the same time when Sting was exiled from the Main Event Mafia in TNA. He offered MEM member Kevin Nash a ball bat and turned his back, testing whether or not Nash would have the courage or lack thereof to hit him from behind. Sting had a second ball bat concealed in his trench coat which he used on the Mafia when Nash was about to swing. Trope is still played straight in the fact that Sting was still in a six-on-one situation and when the Mafia got the advantage, they had TWO baseball bats to use on Sting.
  • When a monster heel is brought into the company, he wins nearly every match, with many of them being squash matches. After his face turn, he will become easier to beat and his win/loss record will show that (e.g. Yokozuna, Vader, The Great Khali, Mark Henry, Vladimir Kozlov, Ezekiel Jackson...)
  • Crossed with Badass Decay: The Oddities went through this at the end of 1998 to the beginning of 1999, as they became a low midcard comedy act without a push.
  • As a subtrope of an inversion of David Versus Goliath: Paige Turner got a Face reaction for her entrance before her match with Bree Ann at TOP (Texas Outlaw Promotion) Wrestling's February 20, 2016 show at the Mineral Wells Expo Center...and pretty much got squashed. Aside from a senton and working over Bree Ann's neck, her offense proved much less effective as a Face than as a Heel.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering: Rhys the Exiled is a powerful elf from Lorwyn. Following the Aurora, which converts Lorwyn into the bleak Shadowmoor, he becomes Rhys the Redeemed, with significantly reduced strength and durability.
    • It's only a demotion in the most technical sense. His power and toughness *are* lower as the Redeemed version, but his special abilities are *much* better. Rhys the Exiled is pretty much a waste of cardboard, while Rhys the Redeemed is very popular in the Commander format.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • In 3rd Edition, normally, monstrous creatures (or just atypically powerful races) suited for use as player characters have "Level Adjustment", a number of "virtual" levels to count them as already having (added on to their racial hit dice) before adding class levels, to balance their innate prowess. In many cases, however, monsters' LA is badly overestimated. They often would have gained much more by an equivalent number of levels in an actual character class, meaning that when controlled by players, they often are very weak for the party's level. This problem can be exacerbated by racial hit dice, which provide the monster's core abilities (hit points, attack bonus, etc.) and count as effective levels, since they provide no other direct benefits and some racial HD types are vastly superior to others. Under-estimated LA, and/or very powerful HD types (dragons, outsiders, and magical beasts being strong contenders), and/or good synergy with class features can cause this to be inverted.
    • More directly exemplified in the "Savage Species" supplement, which introduced an alternative to make monsters playable at low levels, by allowing you to gradually earn the abilities represented by a monster's level adjustment by gaining levels as a monster instead of in a character class. In short, the creature is intentionally demoted to bring them theoretically on par with normal characters, gaining portions of their full innate power instead of class levels. The aforementioned level adjustment just causes the monster to gain less than a conventional character might have, rather than actually demoting it.
    • Vampires are by far the biggest sufferers, with a +8 Level Adjustment. A 1st-level vampire is the equivalent of a 9th-level character, but with only 12 HP, that vampire will have to retreat to his coffin whenever someone of his level so much as looks at him funny. (Even a Squishy Wizard at that level will have around 30-40 HP.)
    • Part of the problem is that some monsters have abilities which are pretty mundane in straightforward combat, but turn devastating in the hands of a player. For instance, many undead have a Create Spawn ability, which causes opponents slain by them to rise as similarly-powered undead under their control. In the hands of a wandering monster, this really just means that if one of the party somehow dies, things just got a bit harder. In the hands of a player, however, this is pretty much the key to creating an entire army by simply running through a town of commoners. Because of this, every undead with the Create Spawn ability winds up with LA so high that both them and their erstwhile army get one-hit-killed by anything level-equivalent for a player - compare the CR of a shadow (3, about equal with a grizzly bear or an ogre) with its ECL (10, meaning it should be fighting fire giants and adult white dragons with its 19 hit points).
  • Omnitron-X in Sentinels of the Multiverse is theoretically more advanced than the various Omnitrons you face in play, but has less power because it needs to coexist with other heroes in the co-operative game: its components break more easily, its removal effects do less damage and destroy less, its plating is more limited and only lowers, rather than eliminates, damage, and it can't create drones. A Justified Trope, though: Omnitron is a factory. Cosmic Omnitron is the size of a large vehicle. Omnitron-X is basically a mechanical human. There isn't space for drone factories or enormous railguns, so it has to make do with what it can fit on a humanoid form.
    • The Harpy (formerly the villain The Matriarch) is much less powerful than she was as a villain (game wise The Matriarch is a difficulty 4 villain, the highest difficulty). This is because she is purposely limiting her power due to disastrous things (like becoming a Super Villain) happening when she loses control.
    • Lifeline (formerly the villain Deadline) is also less powerful due to lacking the device that lets him cause natural disasters on a whim.

    Video Games 
  • Ace Combat Zero, where Solo Wing Pixy's ADFX-02 Morgan has all three special weapons equipped without needing to RTB to change, albeit in phases, and has a far more potent ECM system than Cipher's ADFX-01 copy has. Also Ace Combat 6, where Ilya Pasternak's usage of the CFA-44 Nosferatu comes with a bunch of attendant drones, whereas Talisman's doesn't. In X, the playable Fenrir lacks the High Powered Microwave Cannon and Digital Optic Stealth of the enemy versions, though there's a throwaway line or two about being incomplete.
  • In Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits, Tatjana as well as many of Darc's allies have this to some extent, but many of them have just had no real affiliation with the villains before meeting Darc, and Tatjana had merely been betrayed as a wake-up call. Tatjana is seen as one of Dilzweld's commanders and is capable of mutating a deimos into a state where it is completely unrecognizable. She is also fought as an enemy on Darc's side, but it is revealed that a lot of her power comes from having her advanced science (that is not portable) and from being able to command soldiers, since when she is a guest-party member in Kharg's group at first she is easily picked off by the boss monsters unless saved.
  • Justified by Sarevok in Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal. When he finally does join your party after having previously opposed you he has lost all of his Bhaalspawn gifts and equipment in the meantime (being dead will do that to you), not to mention that his experience has been static ever since and allowed you to close the level gap between you as well. He is still the best fighter NPC in the game despite this.
  • Inverted and played normally in Baten Kaitos over the course of a single battle: one of your party members pretends to switch sides in order to get the rest of the party to "test your strength," rejoining the party after that battle. The party member has 3300 hit points during this battle. Now, the mechanics of the game are such that bosses don't have all that many more HP than the party members (the ratio is more like 3:1 rather than 20:1), and this party member will actually reach 3300+ HP in the course of the game (assuming you level her up), but at the time when this pitched battle occurs, it's still more than the high-three-digit HP values your party will probably have at that point in the story.
  • As a boss, ISIC from Battleborn is more than a challenge. As a playable character, he's just on par with the rest of the Battleborn. The downgrade's justified though as the giant robot body he had as a boss was destroyed in the battle and he was given a new body.
  • Sabata from the Boktai series gets a serious downgrade in power when he switches to his brother's side, and gets a downright obscene power boost when he goes back to the Immortal's side. It's justified since he uses darkness: not only is it fueled by hate and negativity, weakening it when he's using it for good, but also the game's Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors renders it much more effective against humans than it does the undead and the immortals.
  • Nitros, from Bomberman Hero. During the game, he's quite a hard guy to defeat, using all kinds of weird powers. But at one point, after you defeat him, he realizes he's been brainwashed and adds his power to yours. But do you get any special board-game based attacks? Nope, you get to lay more bombs. The funny thing here is that you'd have to be more powerful than him to defeat him in the first place. Also, as soon as you next die or turn off the game, you lose all that power. And you don't get any power from beating him another time replaying the level - it only happens when you first trigger the cutscene.
  • Breath of Fire:
  • Particularly bad in Castlevania III when you must fight two of you possible allies - Grant and Alucard - before they join your party. Not only do they take more hits and do more damage when you fight them, but they're significantly larger in size as well. Justified in the case of Grant as he's been turned into a ghoul when you fight him.
  • Castlevania: Symphony of the Night:
    • Justifying this trope makes up the opening to the game. Alucard, having chosen to renounce Dracula's ways prior to the start of the game, storms the castle with a few extremely powerful weapons, obliterating every single one of the first enemies in a single hit. The moment he meets Death and it's revealed what's going on, Death steals all of his weapons and in the next room, the character who was mowing through giant beasts in a single sword swipe is now resorting to punching a slow, weak zombie to death just for a short sword.
    • Inverted with Richter, whose powers as a vampire hunter would seem to prove very useful against Alucard when he's under the control of Shaft, but Richter is not particularly powerful or difficult as the Disc-One Final Boss. When unlocked as a playable character, however, he becomes a Difficult, but Awesome Lightning Bruiser who has an array of extremely powerful moves that can be chained together at speeds much greater than he ever pulls off during the boss fight.
  • Magus in Chrono Trigger was an incredibly badass boss, but when he joins you, he has significantly less HP (going from 6666 to at most 999), and he has to relearn all but three of his spells. This is explained by having his powers weakened by a Masamune beating and drained by Lavos, since if you choose to fight him again he only uses the three spells he starts with if you recruit him. Meanwhile, the discrepancy in the stats are explained by simple game mechanics and ratios: enemies and bosses have more HP, but the main characters do more damage.
    • Sequel game Chrono Cross also has several examples of this, due to the incredibly huge number of characters you can recruit. Probably the biggest example is Grobyc. As a boss, he has thousands of hit points and attacks that can annihilate your entire party repeatedly. Afterwards, he has the usual 400 or so HP and can no longer use the oh-so-broken Vigora.
  • Lampshaded in Cthulhu Saves the World, where Sharpe's in-combat description is "Has a much higher max HP now than he will in a couple minutes." (Health/Damage Asymmetry is the culprit, in this case.) Also inverted, as he initially sees Cthulhu as the villain (With good reason).
  • Dawn of War II has a weird example where the character in question doesn't switch sides. In Chaos Rising Ulkair is the most difficult boss in the entire series, with health in the millions, area of effect attacks that will one-shot entire squads if they hit, and frequently calls in elite units. In Retribution during the Chaos campaign the player can unseal Ulkair and have him on your side, where he plays exactly like a regular Great Unclean One from multiplayer, with 6000 health and weak, marginally useful abilities.
  • Cube Colossus: When you fight Loki, it has 999999 Shield, but when you use it, it has the lowest Shield of any A.M.U, even at Shield Level 99, being half of the Azarel, which is the starting ship.
  • The U.S. Military in general in the Dead Rising series. In the first game, their response to the zombie outbreak consisted of dozens of heavily armed, well trained, Gas Mask Mooks who methodically and efficiently swept through the mall, easily disposing of all the zombies. They also used air support in the form of Blackhawks, which strafed zombie crowds with their machine guns, and actual tactics, such as remembering that they have guns and firing on the zombies from the roof. They even sent at least one tank. In the second game, their response consists of two eight man rescue teams, with no armor or air support, who just blindly rush in. Predictably, they get slaughtered. Sure, the zombies they were fighting were more dangerous than the ones that the last game's soldiers were fighting, but their new abilities wouldn't have mattered at all if the U.S. Military had the same response they did in the first game.
  • Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening: Similar to Zero of Mega Man fame below, the playable version of Vergil (accessible in the Special Edition) lacks moves that the boss version can do. However, playable Vergil does get some moves his boss incarnations don't, and the series also tends to make Dante, the hero, far more badass than any evil counterpart.
  • During the Legion of the Damned campaign in Disciples 2, the demon general Asteroth is pretty beefy in the mission you control him — about 500 hitpoints, and the ability to attack twice for 99 damage a pop each turn. In the next mission, Uther stops pretending to be Bethrezen and decides he doesn't need you anymore, and Asteroth sides with Uther. As an enemy Asteroth has twice as much health and attack power and is able to lead a couple other units in his party. In both situations Asteroth remains evil. Too bad being evil doesn't mean you're on the same side.
  • Disgaea:
    • Kurtis is a ruthless boss (with a matching level), but when he eventually joins your team, he becomes much less effective. Probably because dying and coming back as a Prinny takes a lot out of you. On the other hand he does have all of the abilities he previously had, as well as Pringer Beam, and like any character he can be built back up to his old level.
    • Maderas and Hoggmeiser have considerably more HP as bosses.
  • Justified in Disgaea 2, where such a Heel–Face Turn was the result of a loss in power by pseudo-antagonist Etna. Even then, she only hangs around the protagonist and his entourage until she regains her former power (descriptions of which are rife with fourth-wall breakage).
  • Present in Disgaea 3 DLC characters. You're prompted to fight them before they actually become playable, and while facing them as enemies, they sport very strong and rare weaponry, have the strongest weapon skills at their hand and have between 10.000 to 25.000 HP to boot. Once they become playable, they lose all their equipment, lose all of their weapon skills and their HP is cut down to an average of 3.000. Though as in the prior two games, once the character in question is yours, you can train the character back up and give them equipment that far outranks whatever they had as a boss. And when you eventually cycle back through the game and acquire them again, they'll be at the same level with all their gear.
  • Hot-Blooded Matsu from .hack//G.U. is an Adept Rogue, with the ability to use Broadswords and Steam Guns, the former being his preferred weapon from his Player killing days. However, when he joins Moon Tree, he becomes a pacifist and stops using it. When you get his member address to call him into your party, he can still only equip Steam Guns. The problem here is that Adept Rogues learn moves for their chosen weapon classes at a slower rate because their actual strength is their ability to use multiple weapons, so Matsu is essentially an extremely weak Steam Gunner in comparison to your other, actual Steam Gunner (though he has the ability to equip heavy armor, something steam gunners can't do).
  • In Dragon Quest VI, Terry takes a lot more of a beating when he fights the party than he can when he becomes a party. Justified, as he had made a Deal with the Devil that the party had just defeated.
  • Averted in Dragon Quest XI Jade ends up momentarily Brainwashed and Crazy against you thanks to Booga's spell that can turn humans into monsters. When you save her, she actually keeps the ability to go into her super-mode, and it's one of her most powerful abilities.
  • Dynasty Warriors:
    • Lu Bu in 2-6 — In one map he's a virtually unkillable super-armoured warrior in constant Musou Rage who can kill you in one or two hits. Then you unlock him and get the version balanced like everyone else (however, since he's so cool as the NPC version, most people will mac him out ASAP anyway — but he's STILL not as tough as the NPC version. Though if played well with pre-considered access to Musou Rages and the right balance of magic stuff, he can sometimes kill his other self—just barely.
    • Good luck getting Guan Yu to be as good as his Fan Castle iteration or Zhang Liao and Gan Ning to do the same for their He Fei forms. Generally if a general was famous for their actions at a specific battle they will get a huge power boost over their regular forms. This is even the case with Lu Bu; compare him at Hu Lao Gate to say Guan Du or the Imperial Seal and you'll notice a huge power difference.
    • Partial exception: Destiny of an Emperor allows the player to recruit bosses at their full strength. However, since the main PCs gain soldiers (the game's equivalent of HP) over the course of the game and the bosses (and less important allies) don't, the bosses-turned-allies eventually become worthless. Except Zhou Yu.
  • Dynasty Warriors: Gundam:
    • Much like Lu Bu above, the Big Bad Gundams of the first three games (Musha Gundam, Musha Gundam Mk. II and Knight Gundam) are toned down from their boss counterparts when acquired as playable units (though they are still plenty powerful).
    • Some of the antagonists that experience Adaptational Heroism such as Haman Kahn and Paptimus Scirocco experience this to a degree in their respective story modes for the sake of teaching them The Power of Friendship.
  • Inverted example in Exit Fate: when you defeat Vanrushal the vampire, the damage drains his power and leaves him on a "mere" human level. Since he finds you interesting and, more importantly, cannot stay at his monster-filled mansion like this, he joins your army instead. In other words, his demotion causes him to join you, not the other way around.
  • Fate/Grand Order is a pretty textbook example. If you fight a Servant, chances are that they'll have five-digit HP as a baseline, hit just as hard as your Servants, charge their Limit Break by themselves, and may have a few extra boss skills on top of that to fit their lore. Many of them require a coordinated team of six powerful Servants to deal with. When they join you as a Guest-Star Party Member, they function like any other Servant, tend to have around a tenth the HP, and are often Overrated and Underleveled. When you summon them to add them to your team permanently, they join at level 1 and require a metric ton of investment just to bring them up to par with their guest-star selves. This is somewhat justified, though: the protagonist of the game is a very weak Master, and when they switch sides, the Servants tend to now be running off your pitiful mana reserves instead of whatever was fueling them before.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy IV:
      • When Cecil converts from a Dark Knight to a Paladin, he has to fight Dark Knight Cecil as a Paladin. The Dark Knight Cecil uses Dark Wave every turn, but that attack was removed from the Easytype version (which was also the version that was released as Final Fantasy II on the Super Nintendo in the US), leading players of those versions to wonder why Dark Knights could shoot energy beams all of a sudden. Cecil also goes down to Level 1 as a Paladin, but starts with around 600 HP and quickly gains levels and statistic points; a level 1 Paladin Cecil is nearly, if not as good as a level 20 Dark Knight Cecil.
      • When he's evil, Golbez takes a Meteor to the face and shrugs it off, can almost one-shot Cecil's entire party, and manages to regenerate his entire body from just a hand. After his Heel–Face Turn, he's left with just 2,943 HP. His HP actually goes up in Final Fantasy IV: The After Years, seemingly subverting this... but, in the process, he goes from over 500 MP to only 230.
    • An extremely egregious example in Final Fantasy V: when you fight the summon Carbuncle, he is a huge gorilla-like beast with terrible fangs, deadly attacks and a vicious temper. You beat him, gain the power to summon him, and when you're ready to use him to thrash over your enemies... you discover that he's turned into a tiny green mouthless squirrel thing that can only cast support magic. And he will continue like that for the rest of the series.
    • Umaro from Final Fantasy VI is a mild case, as in his enemy form as the Yeti he has 17,200 HP and significantly higher stats than he has upon recruitment (though he still has the highest HP, Strength and Defense of any character in the game).
    • Yuffie in Final Fantasy VII has several unique and powerful attacks when you first encounter her, but upon joining your party she loses those abilities and becomes a normal character. However she'll eventually become far more powerful in your party than her random encounter version ever was.
    • In Final Fantasy VIII, Edea the Evil Uber-Hot Gothy Witch Queen is the Big Bad of the first act — and turns into a rather weak playable character thereafter (additionally no longer ruling the world). The reason she becomes good in the first place is that she loses all her sorceress powers which made her powerful (and brainwashed) to Rinoa, thus making her a normal human being. When Squall tries to physically stop the brainwashed Rinoa from leaving the lunar base, he gets launched into the nearest wall. However, when you get Rinoa back, she isn't one bit more powerful than before (except for having a new Limit Break).
    • Slight example in Final Fantasy IX with Worthy Opponent Beatrix, who proves to be more than a match for your party as you battle her time and time again. When she realizes the ruler she has sworn fealty to has gone mad, she joins your party, and proves to be every bit as powerful as she was when you fought her. (Sadly, she doesn't stay long.) However, her MP seems to take a nosedive upon joining you, meaning that she can't use her frighteningly powerful sword skills as often as she could when she was against you. And said sword skills have been downgraded from "Total Party Kill" to "slightly better than Steiner's" when used against monsters instead of your party. Her max HP is also significantly reduced. On the other hand, you learn that she did not use all of her spells against you, such as Full-Life or (thankfully) Holy.
    • Final Fantasy X has Seymour to a degree; a while after you see him shredding all of those fiends with Anima, he'll join your party for a single bossfight. While very powerful, more so than your characters will be at this stage, he can't summon Anima and isn't nearly as powerful as when you fight him for the first time not too long afterwards. So he loses power when joining the good guys, it just happens he does this before being revealed as a bad guy.
      • Anima itself inverts this trope. It appears as a boss and is not particularly hard. When obtained for the player to summon, admittedly much later, it's much more powerful with its Overdrive dealing over 100 times the damage it did as an enemy.
    • Final Fantasy XII:
      • A Guest-Star Party Member pulls a Face–Heel Turn on your party at one point and is much more powerful and durable when you face him in an inevitable boss fight than he was when he was on your side. However, other than gaining passive abilities when he Turns Red, he doesn't pull anything you haven't seen before. All of his attacks are the same ones he had when he was helping you, they just do significantly more damage.
      • Judge Gabranth, The Dragon to Vayne for much of the game, who pulls a Heel–Face Turn and assists your party during one portion of the Final Boss fight against Vayne. His health and strength levels are significantly lower when he's helping you than they were during the two boss fights when he fought against you earlier in the game. Justified, though, as the second boss fight against him happens only a few minutes earlier. So when he comes to your aid, he's still weakened from the beating he just received by your hand.
      • The Espers, particularly the optional ones that the player does not automatically receive during the main storyline, who are among some of the toughest boss fights in the game. After you beat them, they become available as summonable allies. While they are fairly powerful when summoned, it is nowhere near the degree that they were during the boss fights.
    • Final Fantasy Tactics has the inverse. Delita, Argath, and Gafgarion get Betrayal Promotions and become more powerful after they Face–Heel Turn, Delita especially. Fortunately for the latter, the one time you interact with him in-battle after his Face–Heel Turn, he's on your side, making for a rather easy Curb-Stomp Battle.
    • Final Fantasy Tactics A2:
      • When Adelle is brainwashed by the Big Bad, her level skyrockets to 44 (or levels down if you spent a lot of time Level Grinding) and has some awesome equipment. When you get her back, she reverts back to the level she was before she left you, goes back to the job you were raising her as, and all the items she had in the battle are not kept. Subverted in that not only the job and power she had during this fight becomes available after she comes back, but she also gets more of them, gradually turning into something close to a Game-Breaker.
      • Fighting and beating Al-Cid plays this trope straight. Al-Cid is a pretty strong opponent, but when he joins your party, he comes in several levels lower than he was when you fought him previously.
      • There are several missions where the leaders of Duelhorn, Marquis and Alyss, join you a few times as a guest unit. When you face against them, they are quite powerful and dangerous. When they join your side for a while, they simply don't use their powers and opt to just stick to melee attacks or use abilities that are useless. However, when you fight against them afterwards, they go back to being powerful.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem:
      • Justified by Camus. When he joins you in book 2 under the alias Sirius, he is weaker than he was as an enemy because you beat the snot out of him and he spent the past few years as an amnesiac.
      • In the prologue of the remake, Fire Emblem: New Mystery of the Emblem, on harder difficulties, allies will inexplicably become far weaker after you defeat them in boss fights and get them to join you.
    • In Fire Emblem: Thracia 776, Saias has ten Leadership Stars while he's on the enemy side—meaning all enemies on the map gain +30% to their hit and dodge rates. Plenty of players will go out of their way to trigger his "leave the map" event before engaging any enemies. When he joins you, that count drops to five in his joining chapter, and three thereafter. Saias is still a very powerful unit, and three Leadership Stars is better than anyone else under your control, but it's a bit of a blow...
    • In Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade, Vaida is a wyvern lord with greatly boosted stats, the boss of a "survive" mission (i.e., you don't have to kill her to win, so don't even try because she has at least +5 to every stat). When she becomes recruitable a few missions later, she is rather mediocre at best. Justified in that she was powered up by the Big Bad's magic. In an unintentional subversion, the player can use a glitch to steal Vaida's Spear, the item that was coded to increase all of her stats (dubbed the "uber spear" by fangroups), and give it back to her in the next mission (or maybe even someone else, like a General or Paladin) allowing her to retain her beastly stats even while good.
    • Fire Emblem Awakening:
      • Walhart has several skills on higher difficulties (Aegis and Prescience in Hard, those two, Rightful King and Pavise in Lunatic) that he inexplicably loses by Paralogue 19 where you can recruit him and only retains his base skill Conquest. He only can relearn Pavise if reclassed into a General but all other skills are lost.
      • Downplayed with Aversa in Lunatic Mode who loses the enemy only skill Hit Rate +10 and has weaker stats in Paralogue 22 when she joins you. On the other hand she has learned Relief and Rally Movement.
    • Fire Emblem Fates:
      • On harder difficulties, Kaze and Rinkah suffer a severe stat drop between fighting you as the bosses of chapter 2 and joining you in chapter 4.
      • The Conquest route is particularly bad about this. Hoshidan characters will often have enemy-exclusive weapons and skills they couldn't get their hands on when playable in the other routes. Hinoka, her retainers, Sakura, and Rinkah get enemy-exclusive 1-2 range weapons with no drawbacks; Ryoma, his retainers, and Hinoka get enemy exclusive skills; Kaden gets his bullshit illusion ability; and Kagero gets a skill that she cannot obtain in legitimate gameplay. The biggest example, however, is the Final Boss. Takumi gets his hands on a swanky 1-4 range bow, two enemy-exclusive skills, and one more skill that he cannot legitimately obtain when playable. It's justified here because your actions on this route have led to Takumi getting possessed by the Greater-Scope Villain, who gives him a massive power boost.
      • Gunter is an interesting example in that his stats consistently get weaker the more sympathetic of a cause he is fighting for. In Revelation, where he is fighting on behalf of The Wise Prince trying to stop a meaningless war and defeat the true mastermind, he's a rather weak Crutch Character; in Conquest, where he is fighting on behalf of an Anti-Villain following a tyrant out of loyalty to their siblings, his stats are serviceable, if not spectacular; when he is possessed by Anankos and fights you as a boss late in Revelation, he has fairly solid stats and access to the enemy-exclusive Dragonskin and Immune Status skills.
    • In Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, Zeke plays with this on Hard mode. He starts out as an enemy level 7 Gold Knight, but can defect if you rescued his girlfriend. He fights one battle as an allied NPC at level 7, and then drops to level 3 when he properly joins you.
    • Fire Emblem: Three Houses:
      • In this game, the Flame Emperor is the main antagonist of the first half of the game, but one circumstance allows you to get them and their subordinate the Death Knight to join your partynote . The Flame Emperor loses their unique class (though their canonical/default post-timeskip class is basically a differently dressed version of that one) and a couple of unique enemy-only skills, while the Death Knight loses Counterattack and Poison Strike as an allied NPC and has to get them back once under your control.
      • You can also, under specific circumstances, have Lysithea join the team if she hasn't been poached during the academy phase (hint: it's only possible on the route where the Flame Emperor joins you earlier as Edelgard)... at the cost of a number of skills, most notably a sharp drop of her Faith magic skill rank.
  • Acknowledged in universe, and justified, in Forever's End. When Elise, who had very recently been a boss that took on three characters at once, joins the party she warns that her magic is weaker now "for some reason". It's later revealed to be a side effect of the main villain's attempt to tap into her powers and separate her from the crystal. Though this is played with because the player character is the one who pulls a Heel–Face Turn while Elise was a Hero Antagonist during her boss fight.
  • Descent: Freespace does this with a ship: Dragon-class fighter is notorious for being an absolute nightmare to fight against due to it's ridiculous speed, maneuverability and small size. In one mission, you get to fly a captured Dragon... except it's been gimped to the point of being rougly equivalent (or arguably worse) to the Terran's own Apollo, a rather unimpressive Jack-of-All-Stats fighter which has been made mostly obsolete by more specialized craft at this point of the game.
  • Variation: One of the drama CDs of Guilty Gear depicts an Alternate Universe in which the character Dizzy — a sweet, innocent Friend to All Living Things in the games — inherits the title of Big Bad from her mother. In the games, she's more or less toe-to-toe with the rest of the characters (sort of), partly because she's trying to suppress her powers so she doesn't hurt anyone — although this doesn't seem to change drastically when she goes berserk in the third game. In the Alternate Universe, she single handedly destroys a fleet of airships using one move.
  • In Genshin Impact, Childe/Tartaglia is a powerful boss towards the end of the Liyue arc. He is also a character in the game's Gacha system, meaning it is possible to acquire him. His lower power level is justified by saying that he's using a bow, a weapon he isn't very skilled at using, in order to practice with it. His elemental skill has him switching back to his dual blade style and attacking very rapidly.
  • In Heroes of Might and Magic V an infernal general Agrael in the end of his campaign decides that he had enough of his demonic masters, bails and switches to being a Warlock (well, the best he could get in his condition and he turns out quite a nice guy for a Dark Elf). Naturally, he loses all his abilities, even not demon-related, and levels of experience in the process and has to start evolving from scratch. Explained in-story as the effect of the ritual that purified him of demon taint. The same happens earlier, at the start of his own campaign: formerly a formidable hero in Isabel's campaign, he is suddenly brought down to level 1, and there's no story justification here.
    Agrael: How sad it is that I, the ultimate servant of evil and commander of the demon invasion, is reduced to weak buffoonery as soon as control is given to the player.
  • Done to a ridiculous level in the Hyperdimension Neptunia series where it is not uncommon for your 9,999-max-HP allies to have several million HP when you face them in battle. Even Idiot Hero Neptune herself at one point.
  • Lampshaded and mercilessly parodied in the Affectionate Parody game Jay's Journey, where after the player defeats Shade the Ninja, Shade and Jay realize that they're actually on the same side. Upon joining the heroes' team, Shade loses a ton of hit points, can no longer cast the Dark 2 spell, and drops one sword, causing Jay to gripe. Shade can eventually get the spell and second weapon back, but those boss-level HP are gone for good.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • In Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories and Kingdom Hearts II, Riku loses most of the independence and ambition that he had when he was on the Dark Side, and leaves all the hero work to Sora (though he does regain his cool at the very end of Kingdom Hearts II, but still...)
    • The same can be said about Roxas, as when he is fought as an enemy in the No Export for You version, he's far more powerful than when you played as him.
    • Terra and later Lingering Sentiment in Birth By Sleep are missing most of the attacks that Lingering Sentiment would fight Sora with 12 years later in Kingdom Hearts II. (This goes both ways though as Terra has some nifty darkness based powers LS doesn't have in Kingdom Hearts II.) The only move you do get to use is the Keyblade cannon which is admittedly their coolest move. Oddly Terra can still transform his Keyblade into a vehicle mode to travel words but can't use it in battle, however Aqua and Ventus can use their Keyblade transports in battle making it an odd omission. Furthermore, when he fights Terranort in III, the latter managed to not only overwhelm him but even destroy the armor, a far cry from 12 years ago when he is the one who emerged victorious.
    • Aqua in III, while possessed, nearly kills Riku and gives a boss fight to Sora. When she gets un-possessed, her biggest showing afterward is getting taken down by Vanitas in a rather anticlimactic manner.
  • Kirby Star Allies: If the allies you summon at Dream Palace are believed to actually be the characters and not clones of them (which can be argued that you can have more than one of the same character at a time), this means Marx survived his fate in Kirby Super Star and reformed. Meaning that Marx, who survived a planet-sized explosion, can now be killed relatively easily by enemies.
  • Zawu of Last Scenario had the ability to summon a troublesome boss, appear and disappear at the most convenient of times (passing through unwalkable tiles), and could even deal quite a bit of damage when you finally fight her. She was already a competent soldier when two of the main characters were just little children. And then she joins your party... Part of this is handwaved with the explanation that she was using the last strength of Entalar's barrier to empower herself for her boss fight.
  • The Legend of Spyro: A New Beginning: Justified. The villain for most of the game, Cynder, is actually a baby dragon, mutated into a powerful adult-like form by the powers of the actual main villain. Once she is defeated, she is cut off from these powers and reverts to her natural younger-looking, weaker, and much less badass form. She remains in this form throughout the ending and subsequent Spyro games, where she is a protagonist.
  • Mostly averted in Luminous Arc. Boss characters are simply a few levels higher and better equipped than you, but keep their stats, and equipment (which is generally on par with yours by the time they join). However any character who could summon monsters won't be able to do so when they switch sides.
  • Lunar: Eternal Blue has this with Leo... but averts it in that Leo appears to be Level Grinding at the same rate as the protagonist, and when they duel one on one, Leo only has about 288 HP... around the same as he did when they teamed up. But the PlayStation version undoes this by giving Leo about 750 HP for the duel.
  • Lunarosse zig-zags this trope a little. Elijah and Milo are actually stronger when they join up, but that's to keep them up to date as they join much later than their boss fight. Sonia, the Tierkreis, Abel and Marina play it straight, having noticeably less HP when they join. A justified example is Noel, who only fights the party when possessed by his Superpowered Evil Side, who wouldn't hold back against the good guys.
  • Every secret character you can get in Makai Kingdom is high or very high level (with the exception of Asagi, who is only level 50) when you have to fight them, but drop to level 1 and lose their stuff when they join you. Makes sense for several of the Overlords (as you're actually gaining a "phantom copy" of them), but not for Laharl and company, who join as themselves. Even the Robosuit reverts to level 1 after you claim it.
  • In Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story, this happens in the middle of the game. Bowser, who you had previously been controlling, fights the Mario Bros as a boss. He has increased HP, increased Attack, and the ability to target both brothers with a move which normally targets one opponent.
  • Mega Man:
    • Zero from the Mega Man X games is at his most powerful when he's fighting against the player: he even has access to moves that the playable Zero is never able to use. In X2, he was rebuilt with the ability to charge his saber and both busters. He remains this powerful throughout X3, and "loses" power in X4 in exchange for not, y'know, needing to charge his guns up every time he wants to fire. In X5, Zero is empowered by the Maverick Virus, as he is the original carrier of the virus and designed to be at his most powerful under its influence. The player finally gets to use Zero's boss moves after defeating Bonus Boss Omega (oh, and clearing the game) in Mega Man ZX. It is GLORIOUS.
    • Seen also in Mega Man Powered Up, if playing as one of the other robots. In the place of the robot master you're playing as, you'll fight against an evil Mega Man wearing a purple scarf. He can charge his buster, Slide, and is quite the pain in the ass.
    • Mega Man Unlimited has this very noticeably with the final boss, the Z-Prototype. When you fight him as Mega Man, it's as a Hopeless Boss Fight where none of your attacks do any damage and you can basically do nothing except let him gradually whittle your HP down to 1. Later updates added an extra mode where you can play as this character, and not only is he not invincible, he actually loses HP every time he misses an attack!
  • Sam in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is a Hopeless Boss Fight when he's first encountered, and in his second fight he zooms around the battlefield dishing out quick strikes and powerful combos while taking all Raiden's attacks without flinching. When he's playable in the Jetstream Sam DLC he's Difficult, but Awesome, capable of amazing feats but without any access to the moves you can be on the receiving end of, with vastly reduced health.
  • A series-wide example occurs in Might and Magic games. In most of them, Minotaurs are HP hogs with high strength that allows them to hack your party to pieces with their axes in short span of time. The strongest of them usually can oneshot your party members with regular attacks, or have a ranged spell that can do the same. When you get to play as them in VIII they're probably the worst class in the game, being unable to learn the magic of self past Expert, having only two skills or so which they can Grandmaster, and unlike most hybrid classes they don't even have special that Vampires or Dark Elves have.
  • In Monster Girl Quest: Paradox, enemies you recruit lose most of their HP, but their attacks also become much more powerful, and their skills (and sometimes resistances) change somewhat. However, this trope only really applies to those bosses who are recruited immediately after you defeat them. Regular enemies and bosses with delayed recruitment are generally just as strong in your party as when you fought them. The trope is outright inverted in the case of Lucretia, who can only be recruited a very long time after she's fought, and is therefore far more powerful than she was as a boss.
  • Justified in Neverwinter Nights 2: by the point Ammon Jerro joins you, he has just been stripped of his incredible power as a result of Shandra freeing the bound demons that powered him. Still somewhat in play due to Gameplay and Story Segregation; he's supposed to be a powerful wizard with some bonuses thanks to his demonic pacts, but when you control him he's a pure Warlock (a much weaker class in this game) and a poorly built one at that.
  • Sturm from the Nintendo Wars game Advance Wars is an unlockable CO upon completion of the campaign. In the campaign, his units have 120% attack and 90% defense, while his CO power is to call a meteor down from the sky, doing up to 8 or 9 damage to all enemy units in the blast radius. The dev team (perhaps understandably) found this grossly overpowered, so in multiplayer, his units have 90% atk/120% def, and the damage from his meteor power is cut in half. Averted in Advance Wars 2 though where Sturm becomes even more powerful, and isn't nerfed at all in multiplayer. If you choose his character, your friends will hate you.
  • Nocturne: Rebirth has a downplayed example in Ristill, who never pulled a full Heel–Face Turn. She forms an Enemy Mine with the party in the final boss battle, but her stats are now similar to theirs' and nowhere near as high as when she was a boss. This is justified because the final boss weakened and nearly killed her in a previous cutscene.
  • Perspective flipped in Overlord II with Queen Fay. In her appearances as a hero she possesses magical powers such as teleportation, but shows no magic whatsoever after becoming your mistress following her Face–Heel Turn. Justified in that turning evil was a side effect of you draining her powers to recharge your Tower Heart, and the Tower Heart has also consumed every drop of magic in the entire Sanctuary, so that by the time Fay is converted she's literally out of juice.
  • In Persona 4, Personas are created out of Shadows when the person in question accepts their "true self". While the transformation makes the spiritual entity loyal and controllable, it also decreases their stamina at least a hundredfold, eliminates all their cool attacks, reduces them in physical size, and decreases their attack power. This is justified by Teddie's explanation that a strong-willed Shadow draws others to it to form a big mass of Shadows, and they make up the form you fight in the boss battle. So you're really fighting several Shadows combined in the boss battle, whereas when the character gets his Persona, it's only made up of a single Shadow.
    • Golden changes this around thanks the new abilities and new chances to give abilities to party members, making them skillwise, eventually as powerful as their shadows (Yukiko gains a variation of the exclusive fire attack her shadow had, Rise can shield all party members from damage for a turn like her shadow could, Naoto gets Heat Riser, and 3rd level element skills like their shadow, etc.). Their HP is still much lower, but it's a significant improvement.
  • In Persona 5, The Mole Goro Akechi is far more powerful as a two-stage boss fight than they are as a playable character, even when they become playable again as part of an Enemy Mine in the Updated Re Release. While they were explicitly holding back their capabilities before betraying the party, no explanation is given for their weakness after rejoining it.
  • Planescape: Torment has Fall-From-Grace, a succubus cleric who joins your party as The Medic. She retains the elemental resistances of the tanar'ri, but she lacks the immunity to non-magical weapons and innate spellcasting ability that succubi normally have in 2nd edition D&D. No in-game explanation for why she lacks these abilities is ever given.
  • Onix in Pokémon Red and Blue's sole purpose was to be That One Boss to people who picked Charmander or were playing Yellow, to the point that it was the exact reason Charmander was able to learn Metal Claw in the remakes. By the time the player is able to catch their own, they soon discover that its abysmal Attack stat, massive Defense with no HP to back it up, and mediocre Speed makes it effectively useless. It isn't until it received an evolution in Pokémon Gold and Silver (and a Mega Evolution in Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire) that it became worthwhile.
  • Pokémon Mystery Dungeon:
    • Pretty much every legendary you can recruit. By hacking the data it is possible to see that you actually get a copy of the recruitable boss upon defeating it. The boss version has higher stats in all areas, but most notably HP. They have 500 to 900% more HP than the playable copy you get.
    • The most egregious example in the first pair of games is Rayquaza: the climax hinges on Rayquaza having a Hyper Beam attack strong enough to destroy an incoming meteorite big enough to destroy the Poképlanet, but doesn't know Hyper Beam yet when you recruit it.
    • Common recruitable Pokémon also suffer this: as enemies they have 300 to 600 IQ points, but once recruited they lose all the IQ points and all the IQ skills learned.
  • Fan-made Pokémon Uranium allows you to recruit the final boss after beating it, but it can't be powered up to its final form anymore. Largely justified by the fact that it needed to consume enormous amounts of radioactive material to reach that form, so it's not sustainable.
  • In [PROTOTYPE], the military generally acts as stupid as possible until you show up on the scene, at which point they'll call in heavily-armed air support. This is notable since, unlike you, the infected have no effective air support; you can easily destroy every single Hive in the entire city in less than ten minutes using a single helicopter, but apparently Blackwatch is saving them just for you.
  • In Puzzle Quest: Challenge Of The Warlords, you'll often find that after capturing an opponent, the uber-spell you were hoping to learn from it isn't available. (for instance, you can't learn Deathsting from the Giant Wasp or Breathe Ice from the Frost Dragon). Also, since the mana costs of learned spells are 50% higher than from "natural" use, often you won't have enough of a certain level to use it, even with full mana levels (Ex: You need 30 Blue Mana to use the Call The Horde spell, but Orc Lords only need 20) or the cost per attack isn't worth it (Rend is deadly in the hands of a Wyvern, not so much in yours).
  • Radiant Arc: Derek joins the party after the events of Chaos Tower, but due to losing Seperus's evil sword, he's nowhere near as strong as he was in his Duel Boss battle with Linky.
  • Rakenzarn Tales plays it pretty straight. Even in friendly fights, your party members will be packing five-digit HP they didn't have five seconds before. One of Alleyne's training fights at least attempts to handwave it by saying she used forest magic to help out Kanon and Nowa for their fight against Kyuu.
  • Rise Of The Third Power: Downplayed with Commander Rashim, who is a Hero Antagonist during the Nadim segment. When he joins the party, he lacks his boss stats and his ability to move twice a turn.
  • Two examples feature in Shining Force II:
    • Jaro the Pegasus Knight is initially met on the side of the devils (with his named shortened to 'Jar' for some reason) and joins the Force mid-battle because he's tired of working for the devils. As is typical for this trope, he's stronger as an enemy unit than he is an ally, though due to his starting position it's entirely possible he will defect before any of the Force's soldiers even have a chance to engage him.
    • The last soldier recruited to the Force is Lemon, a Tragic Hero who was brainwashed into becoming the murderous Red Baron. Indeed, you have face him as the Red Baron, and unlike Jaro he's not just a regular enemy but is in fact a pretty tough boss. Once you beat him, he snaps out of the brainwashing and runs off trying to kill himself before discovering he can't and joining the force. While not as strong as the Red Baron, he does avert Gameplay and Story Segregation by having the ability to resurrect himself whenever he dies in battle.
  • This is all too common in Shin Megami Tensei. Fuseable demons that are faced as enemies tend to be stronger and/or have skills their playable versions lack, moreso if the demon is a boss.
  • In Skylanders Trap Team, this trope applies to most of the bosses. While, as bosses, they have a large health bar. When they are playable characters, their health bar recharges when not in use. However, said health bar is usually much smaller in health and takes damage over time. There are a few exceptions to this trope .
    • First is Sheep Creep, who, despite having the same health bar as the rest, is actually an improvement over his villainous Tutorial Zero-Effort Boss fight that can be defeated in one hit with the right attack.
    • Next is The Gulper, who, being a huge behemoth in the confrontation, then normal skylander sized as a playable character, would seem to be a perfect example of this trope if not for the fact that he can't win the fight due to not attacking. His playable version actually has a moveset.
    • Inverted with Broccoli Guy, Rage Mage, and Masker Mind. Like the Gulper, these Bosses have no way of attacking, but they all come with enemies to attack you and get enhanced. However, the bosses actually gain an attack when you play as them alongside their normal support abilities (Broccoli Guy's healing, Rage Mage's speed boost, and Masker Mind's ability to posses enemies).
    • Finally this trope is actually subverted with the final boss, Kaos, despite the fact that he is a Marathon Boss who is also That One Boss with three phases, healing between each of them and shredding through skylanders like wet tissue paper. Kaos, when redeemed, has very powerful attacks, but nothing near the level of his boss counterpart. Not only that, but he still has the disadvantages of most trappable villains. How does this trope not apply? Well, he has an elemental circle attack, that summons a circle of elemental magic with effects dependant on the element. Then, you realize the magic element allows you to heal yourself up to full. Therefore, with propped use of it, you literally can be immortal, having basically infinite HP.
  • In Sonny 2, Felicity is an early-game boss battle, with 2500 HP. When she joins you at end game, she has... 2500 HP. Which wouldn't seem too bad, except you and your enemies will probably be doing about 1500 damage per hit, not counting special attacks, making her an ultra-brittle Glass Cannon.
  • Inverted in Starcraft: Brood War in the Zerg mission where you betray and kill Duke and Fenix. Since you're playing as the bad guys here, this technically means you are the one being "un-redeemed" rather than your former friends. In any case, someone who was previously on your team is now your enemy, and Fenix in particular has much stronger stats than when you controlled him.
  • Super Paper Mario: Played with. Bowser counts as a spiky enemy in this game, so if you jump on him, you take damage and he doesn't. After the first fight with him, Bowser joins your party. Although a.) This isn't a true Heel–Face Turn until the end of Chapter 8-1, and b.) His attack power is twice as strong as the other characters' and he is a force to be reckoned with when combined with Thudley, as well as his ability to breathe fire being extremely useful, there is one thing he loses for as long as he is in your party: His Spiky status. Enemies or bosses who jump or fall on Bowser from above will inflict damage while taking none themselves.
  • Super Robot Wars:
    • One of the more extreme examples is in Original Generation 2, where a boss character who pulls a Heel–Face Turn goes from having 100,000 HP to 5,500 - in the middle of a battle.
    • Subversion in Super Robot Wars Reversal (SRWR). After fighting the rival robot of Gear Fighter Dendou, Gear Fighter Ogre, you can get it and it's stats will go down. But if during a route split you choose to fight the possessed Subaru who is using Ogre, after the battle you get him back and find out that the bad guys put Ogre back to the stats it had before, and you get to keep them this time. Also includes a Lampshade Hanging: if you're able to rescue Master Asia and revive him with Shin Getter Robo, they rebuild Master Gundam for him to use, though Rain points out that it isn't as strong as his original Master Gundam (which was not only DG Cell-powered, but also a boss unit in other games.)
    • In Super Robot Wars J with Johnny and Yuu's sister from Brainpowerd, who's Barons are more powerful than all but Nelly Brain, but are nowhere near the 60k they exhibited as bosses.
    • Played straight in the inverse in Super Robot Wars Original Generation when Ingram pulls his Face–Heel Turn and steals the R-Gun to boot. The machine's stats are way higher than they were five seconds ago when you were using it.
    • Played depressingly straight in the true final stage Super Robot Wars W. After Critic deposes Inference and takes control of the Sapientia, Applicant shows up in the Val Arm to give you a hand. Naturally, the machine is many times worse in every respect than it was as the final boss of the previous stage, and Applicant himself is demoted as well, with lowered stats, fewer abilities, and missing his Double Move skill as well as his face cut-in. Also, he gains Main Character status and is not allowed to die. Oi.
    • Folka in OG Gaiden plays around with this. As a boss he has well over 100,000 HP taking very long to kill but only has two relatively weak basic attacks so he's no real threat to your guys. Upon joining you his HP drops to the PC average of 6,000 but he also unlocks his incredibly powerful Fist of the North star type attacks (which he seemingly could always use but just didn't feel like it as a bad guy) causing him to do insane amounts of damage.
    • While still ridiculously powerful in Super Robot Wars V, Mazinger ZERO loses its regeneration ability after it joins.
    • It's even more notable with Roze, Anew, and Kagura who don't even get to keep their units in the Super Robot Wars Z series. Roze and Anew are demoted to subpilots, and while for Anew this isn't that big a deal, Roze has higher stats than the main pilot of the Cosmo Crusher AND like Takeru has the ESP ability but is nonetheless forced to be Kenji's SP tank instead. Kagura at least gets to pilot, but he's a melee character as his brutal attacks as an enemy show, and despite having two different powerful melee centric units as an enemy, as a PC he's forced into the Aquarion Gepard, which has only ranged attacks, making his stats totally wasted. Averted with Jin, who like Kagura loses his Abductor unit in favor of Gepard, because his stats suit it anyway.
  • Tales of Destiny pits you against Leon Magnus, a genius swordsman who is tasked with kicking the snot out of the hero and his party. Given that this happens within the first few hours of the game, the party isn't even near the level needed to wear down his 9999 health points and survive his attacks. However, once he joins you, his level and stats are barely any higher than those of your other characters. And of course, when he turns against the party halfway through the game, he suddenly gets a whopping five digit health and access to moves that the party member version didn't. The Remake gives this more of a realism by reducing the boss version's HP and statistics to around what they should be when he joins the party, and instead just made him literally unbeatable.
  • Tales of Symphonia:
    • Kratos, Sheena and Regal, with the former happening in reverse order. What makes it strange is that he's fought both in a normal and solo fight, and when fought solo, Lloyd tells him not to hold anything back, but he not only has only 1/4 the HP he has in the normal boss fights, but appears to have taken considerably more damage when the fight is over.
    • Potentially worse is Zelos; if you choose the Kratos path, you end up in a boss fight against Zelos. Despite that he was in your party two minutes ago, he's suddenly got five-digit HP and tons of kickass moves. A handwave is attempted by the fact that he's now using angel powers, which he doesn't do with the party, but it's still jarring.
    • Sheena loses the ability to use the various guardian summons that made her boss battles so difficult. It's implied in one cutscene that she had a very limited number of those guardians, and has used them all up by the time she joins the party permanently.
  • Tales of Vesperia:
    • Flynn is an odd example — although he's not evil in the slightest. In the one instance when he joins you in combat, he has somewhere around 5000 HP and a paltry amount of Artes. Approximately one day later in the game's timeline, he and Yuri duke it out — and he's suddenly gained six-digit HP and a repertoire of deadly Artes, including Holy Lance and a Mystic Arte, Radiant Dragon Fang. He must've done a buttload of Level Grinding in that one day. This is downplayed in the Updated Re-release, where his boss version still has the advantage in HP and combo-breaking mechanics, but his playable version gets access to all of his Artes while his boss version is unable to use Altered or Burst Artes.
    • Captain Schwann exemplifies both this trope and Evil Is Cool. As a boss, he's incredibly difficult (although most of the difficulty comes from the fact that both your healers are absent from the party), has six-digit health, and extremely powerful techniques. He's missing most of those techniques and is back down to four-digit health when he rejoins the party not much later as Raven. Justified in that he's using his Dangerous Forbidden Technique (his blastia heart) during the battle, and wielding his sword in the other hand.
    • In the PS3 remake the final team arena battle pits you against the party members you don't currently have with you. Not only do they have boss class hp and stats now, but they break the party size limit to attack you with ALL unused members making the match 4 against 5. The party seemingly puts more effort in friendly arena match than against the guys that want to destroy the world.
  • Tales of Xillia 2 gives Bag of Spilling to the previous Xillia cast, of course, but also allows Gaius, and Muzét, to join your party now. Both used to have five-digit HP or more, but are now reduced to 9.999 HP at most. Though both of them still retain skills that put them close to Game-Breaker status.
  • Every Touhou Project game, in which player characters only have access to a small number of their available Spell Cards, which are also drastically reduced in both power and duration compared to when they were antagonists. The regular games are more a case of mechanic asymmetry; the "boss version's" hit points are traded for mobility and evasion, and the variety of spell cards are replaced by supercharged regular attacks and a couple of equally upgraded cards (you can theoretically dodge any boss's attack or spell card; they generally can't avoid any of yours). The fighting games, however, play this trope straight for any character you have to unlock, as most of the challenge in the single-player story mode is learning how to dodge and shut down the various unlimited-duration, amped-up spell cards the AI characters invoke and spam between bouts of regular fighting.
  • Twisted Metal: The playable versions of Minion in every incarnation are about half the size, have no force fields, lower life, weaker weapons, etc.
  • In Ultima VII Part II, Selina the sorceress briefly joins with you early in the quest, is absolutely worthless at doing anything, and teleports out when the going gets tough. Later on, she turns up as an antagonist, and is surprisingly effective at that. You later find out that she was working against you from the very beginning, and was presumably half-assing it while she was in your party.
  • Justified In The World Ends with You when Beat decides to join Neku's side after all other options for Neku's survival are destroyed. As a consequence he is kicked out of the Reapers, simultaneously losing all of the power that made him near impossible to beat.
  • Inverted in the first two X-COM games (UFO and TFFD). Your mooks are inaccurate (even with training) and stupid... but when they get their brains sucked out and replaced with green alien goo they become much more capable, accurate and dangerous. "Durrr, I'm shooting at something I can't even see on the other side of a bookshelf, and ignoring the thing sneaking up on me." (wet slurping noises) "Boom, Headshot!! Boom, Headshot!! Boom, Headshot!!"
  • Xenogears. When you first meet Rico, you have to fight him in the arena and he does 5 digit damage to you per attack (an instant kill a hundred times over). When he joins you, he turns out to be pretty pedestrian.
  • Subverted in Zone of the Enders Fist Of Mars: It's possible for the villain's cohort to Heel–Face Turn, and although she loses her powerful boss mech, she still maintains her well-above-par stats. On the good path, you can recruit someone in a boss mech with an absurd amount of hp (20000, when the others have like 5000) and strong attacks, and in the next fight she will be at full strength. Although she'll have trouble hitting the fast final boss, she will take a ridiculous amount of attacks and OHKO the minions. Also, this game subverts Evil Is Cool.
  • Inverted in Mortal Kombat when a number of the heroes die and are brought back revenants. As heroes they all have their share of victories thanks to the player controlling them. But because the player only fights the revenants and never actually plays as them, it means as villains the lose every fight they take part in. It doesn't matter what victories they had a heroes, as revenants they cannot win a single fight, even against characters they were established as being stronger than while alive. This gets especially egegrious in Mortal Kombat 11 where the heroic counterparts of the revenants return and continue to get more victories while their revenant counterparts still can't win a single fight.

  • When Gwynn first started learning magic in Sluggy Freelance, she was able to throw around spells like nobody's business in her quest to get payback on Riff. When she realizes she was wrong and tries to be a good person, she uses magic much less frequently. Justified since her powers come from the "Book of E-Ville", and she got so caught up with revenge that she nearly lost her soul via Demonic Possession. She actually tried getting rid of the Book of E-Ville, but it turns out to be a Clingy MacGuffin and a recurring source of temptation.
  • In Dungeon Crawl Inc, hot drow cleric Teagan loses her magic powers after falling in love with Castor and siding with the heroes.
  • In Double-U Tea F, Raike goes from the Big Bad/Ganon of the series (Capable of taking on most of the heroes at once), to being one of the less effective heroes after his Heel–Face Turn and subsequent name change. However, looking back at his earlier appearances shows that when he isn't using Chaos Corruption, he has about the same level of power as his (Heroic) brothers, and may actually be slightly weaker (Understandable, given that he's the youngest of the three). It's just hard to notice due to the fact that he has precisely one fight scene where he doesn't use Chaos Corruption, and there's enough of a power gap between him and his opponents that he seems super strong by comparison. Not helping matters is the fact his final appearance before his Heel–Face Turn featured him Having his soul placed in an android body that was even stronger than his Chaos Corruption form, which he lost upon having his old body being restored at the end of the arc, which made his subsequent fight scenes make him look even weaker by comparison.
  • Poked fun at in RPG World, with the assassin Eikre. In Eikre's first appearance he saves the party from an unusually high level enemy by one-shotting it with his Top Cut technique. After joining the party he is inexplicably no longer capable of using the technique, much to his new allies' dismay.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Zuko lampshades this in Avatar: The Last Airbender when he joins Team Avatar and briefly loses his firebending, speculating "I bet it's because I changed sides". He turns out to be right, as firebending is fueled by rage and desire, which for him previously revolved around capturing Aang. He then learns the ancient, original firebending technique which isn't powered by rage, and it makes him even stronger.
  • Scavenger in Transformers Armada was initially a quite a big threat, until he became an Autobot and started taking a lot of naps.
  • In Transformers: Beast Wars, Blackarachnia was notably less effective as a Maximal than she was as a Predacon, though more because of inner emotional distress than any explicit depowering.
  • A justified example; after his Heel–Face Turn to the side of good on Gargoyles, David Xanatos laments that he's not as pro-active as he was when a villain, being limited to reacting to threats rather than causing them. He does, however, remain frighteningly competent.
  • In the Rankin-Bass holiday special Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town, the Winter Warlock appears as a villain with massive powers of weather control. After Kris Kringle uses The Power of Friendship to melt his icy heart, he later sadly explains his powers are now limited to a few novelty gimmicks (such as corn that makes reindeer fly).
  • In The Batman, the original Clayface, Ethan Bennett turns good and goes fighting a new Clayface who has the exact same powers. Despite having three more years to practice with his powers, Bennett still loses miserably to the new Clayface; Basil Karlo, who just got his power a few days ago. To be fair though, this had more to do with Karlo intentionally mutating himself by taking an ass-load more of the clay that created them both than Bennett did. Also, unlike Bennett, Karlo didn't have to worry about losing control because he didn't care.
  • Ben 10's Evil Counterpart Kevin 11 undergoes this following his between-series Heel–Face Turn between Ben 10 and Ben 10: Alien Force. In the original series, he was a deadly enemy with the powers of Ben's 10 original aliens plus his own energy absorption powers (which he'd once used on the Omnitrix.) After the Time Skip, he is inexplicably not evil anymore, and his powers have just as inexplicably changed: he now absorbs matter, turning into any material he touches, Absorbing Man-lite. In this form, he suffers The Worf Effect to the point that we'd be calling it The Kevin Effect if the series had come along earlier. Waaaay later, we get the explanation: he can do matter and energy, but absorbing energy warps his mind. He has to stick to matter or he'll go evil again.
  • When opposing them, Amazo from Justice League was the most powerful being ever introduced who could brush off every superhero in existence with minimal effort. When he fought against Solomon Grundy on the JL's side with the intention of simply erasing him from existence, his attack only served to empower Grundy. Realizing this, Amazo backed off and retreated several light-years to come up with a new strategy. He was still thinking about what to do when the episode ended and was never seen again.
  • Kim Possible:
  • In BattleTech, Ciro Ramirez is a passionate, competent, but also arrogant and inexperienced Mech Jockey serving under Adam Steiner in the 1st Somerset Strikers. He experienced a reversed form of the trope after his Face–Heel Turn, justified in that the Clans have better technology, more experience, and presumably gave him the sort of training that the Clans are known for. note 
  • Dark Heart from Care Bears. Before the Heel–Face Turn, he was a bad ass shapeshifter. Some Power of Love and Clap Your Hands If You Believe later, he's a weak human with no powers. Becoming a real boy is overrated.
  • Hexadecimal from ReBoot. As a virus, she is the queen of chaos. As a sprite, she can't even fly. To save the system from the supervirus Daemon, she must power back up-which drives her right back into total insanity. Justified in that her transformation into a sprite took away most of her powers.
  • Tohru in Jackie Chan Adventures. In Season 1, he's The Brute among the villains and very much a Mighty Glacier who routinely tosses Jackie around like a ragdoll during fight scenes. In the Season 1 finale, he pulls an abrupt Heel–Face Turn and becomes a Gentle Giant. Though he can still hold his own in a fight when needed and is always The Big Guy when teamed with Jackie and/or one of Jackie's other allies, these are few and far between and he's typically not portrayed as the overwhelming powerhouse that he was as a villain in Season 1.
  • Vision from The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes!: As a villain he is able to take on multiple Avengers at once, easily trouncing them by either phasing away from or getting too dense for every attack. As a hero... he is frequently surprised and knocked down, despite clearly still demonstrating these abilities.
  • Peridot from Steven Universe becomes far less intimidating after beginning to cooperate with the Crystal Gems, largely due to losing access to her limb enhancers and gem technology. Later on there is a slight subversion to this trope once her newfound friends help her to discover her latent ability to control metal telepathically.
  • Mostly averted in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
  • Cyril Sneer in The Raccoons. In the first four TV specials, he is a ruthless maniac prone to cruelty and greed. In the series starts menacing but a little more moderate, more like The Scrooge to eventually evolve into what was basically an Anti-Hero and a regular ally of the raccoons when it matters. Like in the next to last episode "The One That Got Away!" in which he helps arresting a Corrupt Corporate Executive polluting a pond.
  • Rataxes in Babar: He was a ruthless warlord in the first movie, taking elephants for slave labor. In the series, Rataxes is presented as a jerk, but still a loving father, husband and even friend (acknowledging Basil as his best friend), with a deep rivalry against elephants but still committed to peace and with some heroic moments once in a while.
  • In Star vs. the Forces of Evil, before becoming Marco's friend, it took sixteen years for Marco to defeat Hekapoo (or just blow out her flame). Since than, she's fought Toffee, the Truth or Punishment Cube, and Meteora and lost every time. And that was when she had a fair amount of backup with her.
  • In The Angry Beavers, Norbert was quite skilled as Baron Bad Beaver, the arch-nemesis of Muscular Beaver (Dagget's alter-ego). When he became Muscular Beaver's sidekick, he lost his cape and fearsome helmet and became more or less Norbert with a bucket for a helmet.
  • In the first episode of Young Justice (2010), Superboy easily defeats Robin, Aqualad and Kid Flash. He's consiberably weaker after joining the team and loses against Aqualad alone in season 2.
  • In the second episode of What If...? (2021), Thanos as a "good guy" is way less of a threat than his prime counterpart from the live action films, and has a hard time fighting the Black Order.

Alternative Title(s): Heel Face Downgrade, Corruption Promotion