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Skill Gate Characters

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"[The Melodious archetype’s strategy is] ...the Yugioh equivalent of a middle schooler on COD running around with a riot shield, and then screaming bloody murder when they lose to somebody who knows how to deal with it."

Characters that are easy to use effectively for an amateur, but also easy to counter for an expert. Some circles call them pub stompers or scrub stompers.

They often are extremely slow, so that a faster character can bash them around without ever getting hit, or extremely frail (and possibly fast), with sturdier characters demonstrating that the most important Hit Point is the last. Crippling Overspecialization may also be at play. In fighting games, this is heavily associated with The Grappler, where most of the difficulty in facing one is being able to keep them from reaching you; players who struggle with this tend to fall right into an "Instant Death" Radius.

In some instances, none of the above applies: the character is simply ''good'' without necessarily excelling in any area and typically has a fairly straightforward gameplan and playstyle that's designed to make them easy to use for new players; however, they are outshined by the rest of the cast in various areas (whether it's offence or defence).

However, these characters may sometimes stay solid past the end of their "glory days" if used well enough and not have their once powerful weapon expected to be a Game-Breaker.

Contrast the Lethal Joke Character, who is weak unless used by an expert player who knows the trick(s). Also contrast Difficult, but Awesome characters: these are characters that are more obviously useful but may appear worthless or just impossible to play at first because they are, well... difficult to use. Sometimes a Skill Gate can also be either, creating an inverted bell-curve where they do well in the hands of both the newbie and expert players in their own tiers but appear to be horrid to average players. Not all Skill Gate characters are permanently locked out of excellence, particularly in Fighting Games, where some Skill Gate characters double as the strongest characters in their game... when played well, at least.

Not to be confused with a Crutch Character, which starts strong, but is inferior to other characters, sometimes because they have trouble keeping up. Compare Wake-Up Call Boss, which is a PvE encounter that similarly serves to separate new players from the experienced. Skill Gate Characters may be overly reliant on That One Attack and thus falter once the opponent learns how to counter it. Has some overlap with Necessary Drawback, in which a skill or character has drawbacks that prevent it/him/her from being overpowered.


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    Card Games 
  • Shadowverse has "Skill Gate Classes / Crafts" instead.
    • An unusual case with Forestcraft. The deck is used as a tutorial deck and it's meant to be a straightforward and easy deck to use. However, it's also borderline Difficult, but Awesome category as well because while the basic Forestcraft deck is somewhat straightforward to use, Forestcraft in higher levels of play will require careful management of Fairies and play points for the most efficiency. Subsequent expansions after Wonderland Dreams push this trope further straight for Forestcraft, as the new cards introduced for Forest significantly reduced the learning curve for the class.
    • When it comes to ranked games, Swordcraft falls more into this category, as it is very easy to construct a good deck at a low vial cost, thus making it accessible to new players wishing to scale the ladder quickly. Even in Take Two, the value of even its low-cost followers make the class a prime choice for trying to succeed there.
  • Hearthstone
    • Face/Zoo decks. The basic concept is to take a bunch of efficient minions, throw them all in a deck, and play a hard tempo game. Face decks look to kill the opponent as quickly as possible while Zoo decks use their swarm to own the board, but both accomplish it the same way. No other archetypes have as much consistency as these two, and they're very inexpensive to craft as well. However, more finely-tuned and synergistic decks can often recover from an aggressive start, and once a face/zoo deck falls behind, they just lose.
    • Hunters are this in the Arena. Their Hero Power, which deals 2 damage to the enemy hero once per turn, puts the opponent on a death spiral if they fall behind. The trick is of course not falling behind, which will leave the Hunter exposed and useless.
    • Whizbang the Wonderful invokes this trope. He's a card that replaces your entire deck with a random Deck Recipe (a prebuilt deck designed by Blizzard) which run the gamut from 'meh' to literal unplayable garbage. The nice thing is that you don't have to own the cards he gives you, letting new players experience cards and archetypes they might not have access to. Practically he has no use, but he is cool.

    Fighting Games 
  • BlazBlue
    • Ragna the Bloodedge: Maybe it's a side effect of being the main character? He has relatively straightforward (by BlazBlue standards) combos, strong offence, an easy-to-understand Drive mechanic, and a reversal that begs to be spammed. He's easy to understand but difficult to succeed with at the highest levels of play, as his neutral, mix-up, defence, setplay, etc., isn't outstanding (or even existent in some cases), making him the most noticeable Skill Gate Character in the game.
    • Jin Kisaragi: Unlike his brother, Jin is typically considered one of the game's best characters. Something of a Shotoclone, he not only has a strong projectile game, but the tools to deal with every situation, multiple reversals, safe offence, etc. But most new players crumple and die against ice car spam, whereas competent players can easily counter this kind of flailing. Put Jin in the right hands, however, and he's actually quite lethal.
      • As of CP, most of the "Ice Thundercats" are gone, though the trope still applies. Despite being a classic Skill Gate Character, Jin is once again topping tier lists.
    • Noel is also an easy-to-pick-up character whose confusing and seemingly relentless Drive attacks can overwhelm novices but can be taken apart by experts who recognise the openings.
    • Iron Tager has become this in BlazBlue: Continuum Shift. His incredible power coupled with the fact that he is much easier to use than he looks makes him widely hated by new BlazBlue players. Expert players who can keep him at arm's length and not get magnetized, however, can skillfully dissect him. Ironically, he was firmly on the Difficult side of Difficult, but Awesome in Calamity Trigger.
      • It has reached a point where people at low levels are Rage Quitting on the VS screen because of their opponent picking Tager.
      • However, Tager has the same issue that Jin has in that he has high-risk spammable attacks but those attacks aren't the crux of his gameplay. In the right hands, he can obliterate magnetized players due to his attacks (particularly his command grabs) dealing massive damage if they connect.
  • Gado in Bloody Roar 2, degraded from a Game-Breaker in the first game. Hits like a truck, and has some nice combos that can chew off life if you don't know how to handle it, but moves so slow. Seems devastating when your first fight against him or unlocked, but seems less and less fearsome as you understand the game and get better at it. Still makes a helluva annoying boss for new players. Unfortunately, in later games he was Nerfed to sheer uselessness.
  • Cloud in Dissidia Final Fantasy is easy to use for beginners but slow and predictable and therefore easy to block and counter. Though he has a couple of good wallrushing HP attacks that can hit hard if he has a decent amount of Brv, and he guard crushes in his ex-mode. In 012 his speed is improved on with aerial double cut, and assist combos means he has an easier time landing hits.
    • This is even lampshaded by Kefka for his pre-battle quote against Cloud in the first game:
    "Ah, the smell of inexperience!!"
  • Bob in Fighters Destiny is a Mighty Glacier with emphasis on the "mighty"; a very large portion of his move list consists of outright One-Hit Kills, and with the way the game implements its 2½D, it is extraordinarily hard to get around your opponent, meaning movement speed is largely a non-issue. Because of this, he can seem very overpowered to new players. The problem is that in this game, every character has at least one One-Hit Kill move, and they can be blocked and/or dodged - and when an opponent starts doing this, you start to realize that Bob's moves are all very, very slow. Even if Bob does land a hit, one of the things balancing One-Hit Kill moves in this game is that HP is not the deciding factor in a match: it's points. Seven points are needed to win, and One-Hit Kills are worth three - and Bob's special finisher, the only thing worth four points, is extraordinarily hard to execute.
  • Marvel vs. Capcom 2 had an entire Skill Gate Team, which consists of Cable, Sentinel (two of the best characters in the game), and Captain Commando (for his Captain Corridor assist). It revolves mainly around abusing Cable's zoning game in conjunction with Sentinel's Sentinel Force assist to keep them away and Captain Corridor to cover anyone who gets too close, as well as abusing safe DHCs with Sentinel whenever the team gets enough meter. It's a great team to use to understand the fundamentals of the game (proper assist calling, safe DHCs, proper meter usage) but ultimately pales in comparison to some of the other top-tier teams in the game (like the infamous Magneto/Sentinel-or-Storm/Psylocke team).
  • Frank West in Marvel vs. Capcom 3 can be this. He hits hard, but if you know how to avoid his slide and knee drop (his two main ways of getting in), he can be pretty easily dealt with, as he doesn't truly have any answers for people who fight at a distance.
    • Once past the Skill Gate of average play, Frank tends to be a monster in high levels and tournaments, where he's never around except as an annoying Assist with his shopping cart, and during tag combos designed to land two or more Hypers that also power up the range of his normal moves with his camera.
    • Sentinel has (prior to being nerfed somewhat in a patch) ridiculously high health, great air speed to play keep-away, simple inputs, good damage, and multiple attacks that cover the whole screen. A new player can get pretty far by simply flying to the other side of the screen and spamming his projectiles. However, he's also quite predictable, he's a gigantic target, he's not too great in melee, and his attacks come out slowly. More experienced players, especially ones with small or rushdown characters, can easily close the gap and proceed to rip him apart.
  • Full-Moon Riesbyfe Stridberg in Melty Blood Actress Again Current Code can be seen as this. With short but powerful chains that can easily do high damage, especially to more frail characters, she's held back by her absolute inability to deal with zoning in any capacity. As such, types such as Chaos can systematically take her apart.
  • Deidara in Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2. His power consists exclusively of sculpting animals out of explosive clay and allowing them to move like the animals they're based on. There is a particular long-range combo where he throws clay birds of increasing size and intensity, culminating in him creating a gigantic one, riding on it, and ramming it into the opponent. What makes this combo difficult for people not prepared for it is that Deidara goes up into the air bit by bit, becoming unreachable towards the end of the combo; and Deidara moves across the field for that last strike. However, this can be dismantled through good timing with support characters or by using the Ninja Dash to get right up to Deidara when he begins the combo, because the Ninja Dash will outprioritize Deidara's clay birds.
  • Rivals of Aether has Kragg, a large beetle with a moveset based around rocks. He's infamous in the community as a noob killer, as he lives longer than other characters, hits very hard, and can kill early. However, he has very few good matchups, losing to most of the cast, and high-level players can end a match against him in record time by just getting him offstage and knocking him off of his pillar. His hitbox size makes him an easy target for combos, while his own combos can be pretty easily avoided by a veteran.
  • Robot Arena 2 has EMERGENCY, whose powerful drive train and armor, and very powerful flipper make him a nuisance for new players... until you realize that flippers do almost no damage. Avoid edges with out-of-bounds zones and make sure your bot can (or doesn't need to) self-right.
  • Persona 4: Arena and its sequel:
    • Yu Narukami: Designed to be a 2D fighter Shotoclone in the style of Ky Kiske, as well as beginner-friendly (particularly to players who are new to fighting games) — he has attacks and specials to deal with every situation, strong offence and defence, several reversal options (including one that's difficult to punish regardless of skill level, due to how safe it is), and a complete lack of weaknesses. His damage is absurd in a game known for high damage, while his mix-up options are seemingly never-ending in a game that isn't focused on mix-up... and that's where this trope backfires: despite being the Skill Gate Character, Narukami is lethal even in the hands of a relative novice.
    • As of Ultimax, Minazuki (the one with the Persona) has become the new Skill Gate guardian. His attacks have amazing range, his damage is tremendous, his reversals are numerous... oh, and he has access to his own That One Attack in the form of a teleport. The teleport isn't a threat to the majority of players, but it's part of what makes Minazuki attractive to new players.
    • Kanji. As the standard grappler, he lacks range and movement in exchange for huge damage once he maneuvers his way in, and he can create an ugly guessing game after hitting an opponent. He tends to completely destroy newer players who don't know the range on his grabs and how to effectively keep Kanji at bay, but he's difficult to win with due to the fact that a skilled Kanji player needs to excel at mindgames in order to defeat opponents who know how to fight him.
  • From the Soul series, the nunchaku-wielders (Li Long and later Maxi) have somewhat erratic attack patterns and several easy-to-abuse moves that trap the opponent in them for multiple hits. For maxi, this is thanks to the Pure Soul Loop system. Pure Soul Loop allows you successfully button-mash forever, but at the same time, Maxi can only move in a straight line while combo-ing in general. Thus, stepping around him makes all the difference. Even still, Maxi has really high base attack, so Pure Soul Loop combos only have to succeed but a few times.
    • Rock is this in Soul Edge , for example with his final weapon you can easily KO the opponent in two or three hits, but his speed is the lowest of all characters so faster players can easily attack before he finishes his move. This is the primary reason why his style was reworked from Soul Calibur onwards.
    • The final boss Soul Edge (in Soul Edge / Blade) has a lot of powerful moves particularly his torpedo attack, which the CPU will frequently spam. However, he cannot execute this move when the player is crouching, and moves do more damage to him than to Cervantes - so it is quite easy to KO him provided you attack from a crouching. This flaw with crouching is generally common in the game, though not to quite this degree. It was phased out from Soul Calibur onwards.
    • Kilik is a notorious "easy to pick up and defeat opponents" character. However, a patient user of Guard Impacts and parries can quickly dissect and destroy a button-mashing Kilik player with relative ease.
    • Necrid is generally considered this by those that don't call him a broken character because they think he's a Game-Breaker. Necrid's movelist and gameplay tends to revolve entirely around Whoring, which means he can often get perfects against new players by simply pressing a button over and over. People that understand spacing and Guard Impacts, however, will usually curb-stomp Necrid since Spam Attacks are one of the only things his poorly-designed movelist is good for.
    • In recent games, Nightmare can be a nightmare for low-level play, with his extremely powerful, easy combos and general tankery. He's slow, however, and a pro can Perfect Guard even his least telegraphed moves easily, leaving him completely open to one of the faster (read: all of the) other fighters.
  • Street Fighter
    • Zangief from Street Fighter IV. He has a spammable spinning attack that average/new players will get creamed against, but it is severely punishable by expert players.
    • That Damn Ken and his Hurricane Kick spam! Until you notice his upper body is completely unprotected...
    • The Shotoclones are arguably an example of the "bell curve" type of Skill Gate Character in IV. They are easy to use and get into, but tend to be very predictable to fight for average players. But they get better after that thanks to good players abusing their normal attacks with quick recovery...
    • Vega's speed and claw range would overwhelm new players until they learned his fairly simple patterns. He gets better in expert play though, because of the skill and timing required to perform his Difficult, but Awesome tricks, such as the safe claw dive/grab mix-up in II and IV, and his infinite combo in the Alpha series.
    • Ibuki can be this at the beginner level. She has an air projectile, very easy target combos that bypass the need to learn execution for links, and EX attacks that bypass all projectiles. Then in higher levels her lack of defense and low HP become very apparent. Most of the rest of the cast can also out damage her with actual link combos. She gets better at expert levels once her knockdown game is learned however.
  • Super Smash Bros.:
    • In Melee:
      • Link was a very easy character to use at low-level play, with multiple killers that are easy to hit on slower-moving opponents and a powerful shield grab. Once players learn how to better exploit the speed and mobility of the better characters, his value drops dramatically due to his slow speed and attacks. Young Link, who appears to be a mostly worse version of Link at first glance, is marginally better than his adult form as he trades off reach for speed.
      • Also in Melee, in an odd twist, Princess Peach was evidently intended to be this; official guides and the in game Trophies made much ado about how she is "good for beginners" due to her fabulous recovery skills, but was theoretically held back by her "weak moves." In practice, however, she's a powerhouse in the air and has an all around versatile moveset (on top of aforementioned recovery skills). She's been sitting pretty in the tier lists basically since release, and performs well both in low- and high-level play.
      • Kirby is considered practically unusable in high-level play, but his gimmicky, fun moveset appeals to and is generally easy to break down for new players. In particular, inhaling an opponent and then spitting them out under the stage before floating to safety is a pretty classic newbie strategy - but for more advanced players, it's predictable as all get out, and being able to maneuver back onto the stage after something like that is pretty much the first thing you learn to do.
      • Part of the reason Roy became something of an anti-Character Tiers icon in the early days of the game was that he was this. Among other things, his sweetspot is closer-in and larger than Marth's, making it easier to figure out, his Flare Blade and Blazer specials and forward-smash are some of the hardest-hitting moves in the game, and he has the same great grab game as Marth. Unfortunately for him, his weaknesses (extremely easy to combo, has few good combos of his own, needs to be really close in to do good damage, godawful air game) become incredibly obvious in high-level play, and that's on top of Marth being basically him but without those weaknesses.
    • In Brawl:
      • Pit, who is neither a Glass Cannon nor a Mighty Glacier. Being based on Cupid, Pit is annoying because he uses speedy arrows that cause interruption to make the lives of decent players miserable, and touching him, let alone gimping him, can be made bothersome what with him being able to fly. Aside from that, however, Pit has no glaring strengths and slightly sub-par melee (although said melee has multiple multi-hit attacks so it can't be all bad).
      • Another example is Zelda, who has an amazing projectile, kills at ridiculously low percents, and outprioritizes everything... until you realize that her projectile can be spotdodged/powershielded/whatever on reaction. Then you realize her grab is slower than reaction time meaning she has no real answers to a shielding opponent, and suddenly her approach game becomes awful. Then you realize that her slow grab combined with slow moves out of shield means bad punishment and you get the idea. Furthermore, multi-hit moves are becoming less effective. This in turn makes characters that depended on them Skill Gate Characters.
      • Some players consider Ike this as well. He's slow and cannot take as much punishment as the other Mighty Glaciers but he hits like a freight train, his moves are hard to interrupt, and his attacks have a wide reach. Again, he is a case of: stomps newbies, walked all over by more skilled opponents, DEADLY in skilled hands. Of special note is that Ike is the character best able to take advantage of the button delay present in online battling due to lag, as that makes it harder to react to and evade Ike's attacks. Hence, Ike is a common sight among players with slow or unstable Internet connections.
    • Wii U / 3DS:
      • Little Mac, seen almost constantly online because of his speed, power, and KO Uppercut. However, if he gets hit into the air even once, which is one of the first things starting competitive players learn how to do, he's finished, because he has the worst aerial attacks and recovery in the game. Using him at a high level is still possible, but it requires great precision, using all the tools at his disposal (including the Super Armor he gets only for a few frames during his Smash Attacks) to avoid getting hit at all and keep the upper hand pretty much all the time, since if he gets hit off the stage he's pretty done for.
      • Lucina, a Moveset Clone of Marth, has attacks that deal consistent damage, as she lacks a sweetspot. She deals more damage than Marth's non-sweetspot attacks, but less damage than his sweet-spot attacks. Therefore, Lucina is used to learn the gist of Marth, and players can then learn Marth's mechanics. She performs better with lower-level players due to her consistency, but at higher skill-levels, Marth is favored because with proper spacing he gets greater rewards from the same playstyle.
      • Charizard is another example. Its Flare Blitz attack is a strong, fast and damaging flaming tackle that covers a lot of distance. The move on its own is devastating against inexperienced players, but as the move is telegraphed and deals damage and recoil to Charizard itself, better players can easily see it coming and avoid it (by shielding or dodging).
      • Bowser. He's always been one of the hardest-hitting characters in the series and the single heaviest and most durable character. In addition, while he was a Mighty Glacier with poor range in previous games, 3DS/Wii U buffs his speed and range and makes him into a genuine Lightning Bruiser. As such, Bowser is quite easy to use and can defeat inexperienced players with ease, but can't keep up at higher levels, where many of the faster characters can keep him at bay with lengthy combos (one of his biggest weaknesses due to his size and weight, no pun intended). However, he's more viable than in previous games, and similar to the Brawl version of Ike, he can be used quite effectively by a skilled player.
    • Ultimate:
      • King K. Rool fits into the general mold of many Mighty Glacier characters of this trope. He's powerful, has access to some nasty projectiles and a burying move, his recovery is pretty good, he has some nasty edgeguarding tricks (courtesy of the "Succ 'n Cucc"), and he has a special mechanic that makes him mostly Immune to Flinching. However, like Bowser in 4, he tends to struggle against anyone who can exploit his weaknesses - his armor can be broken with some effort, he's a big combo magnet, and his attacks are laggy to the point that a missed hit will leave him wide open for a punish. If an opponent can turn the tables on him, he crumbles fast, making him a powerhouse in casual play but fairly clunky in tournaments. In later patches, he received some buffs to several of his unsafe moves, his Belly Armor was strengthened, and his Blunderbuss vaccum hitbox was extended a little bit. This has given him some much-needed tools in higher-level play that sent him out of bottom-tier, but it also made his most glaring weaknesses harder to punish for low-levek players.
      • Simon and Richter Belmont have fantastic range and disjointed hitboxes on most of their normals, a versatile array of zoning tools that can clutter up a screen like nothing and destroy any hope of recovery, and monstrously powerful and long-ranged Smashes that can reliably KO at well below 100%. However, they are sluggish and have poor recovery frames on most of their attacks, are highly vulnerable to close-range pressure, have projectiles that are all very easy to reflect if timed poorly and are generally useless against shields, are easy to combo thanks to their size, poor aerial mobility, and slow falling speed, rely heavily on sweetspots for their famed early-percentage KOs, and have garbage recoveries that are extremely easy to gimp. While their strengths are meaningful enough to allow them to generally be effective in spite of their numerous weaknesses, most lower-level players have difficulty getting in their faces and staying there (which is where they typically crumble), and, like K. Rool, they have earned something of a rep as the scourge of casual online players.
      • Ganondorf is by far the biggest and infamous example of this. His Forward Smash became notorious for its kill power and good range since he uses the sword from Melee and the Spaceworld 2000 demo. And that's not getting into his other attacks as well such as his Neutral Air which isn't as bad as Palutena or Ike's but its his best attack for its safety, oddly disjointed range and the the faster gameplay of the landing lag makes it more harrowing to punish him. While all that makes him very dangerous (Especially Online) and he can destroy new players, but against a high skill player taking exploits of his big flaws of being a Mighty Glacier and having the 3rd worst Air Speed with a lackluster Up Special recovery makes him prone to get gimped off or worse baited into getting countered. This in general makes Ganondorf a double edge sword where he can obliterate people or gets crumpled up in bad situations makes him a very common scrub pick.
    • Pikachu has slowly diminished into this as the games progressed. He was widely considered a Game-Breaker in 64, in part because there was no way to avoid his aerial and anti-air attacks like Thunder, which covers a huge column of space above Pikachu's head and does plenty of damage and knockback. This was toned down when air dodging was introduced in Melee, and even more so when air dodging was improved in Brawl, but against opponents who haven't quite mastered that mechanic yet, even a slightly-skilled Pikachu can be brutal. Later games have completely inverted this trope for Pikachu, however - in Ultimate, for example, he is a straight case of Difficult, but Awesome as he requires quick and precise inputs to use his movement and combos consistently, but they are so devastating when mastered that most professionals will tell you he's one of, if not the best character in the game.
  • Tekken
    • Eddy Gordo got this reputation in Tekken 3. Novice players would enjoy Button Mashing and the flips and spins he'd do, stymieing most others... except those who figured out his patterns. Or just picked Kuma and smashed him to bits before he could even get in range.
      • Eddy is an interesting case, because of two reasons. One is that until mastered, most players will do better with him if they just employ Button Mashing and joystick waggling. The other is that it takes a disproportionately high degree of skill to beat button mashing Eddy players consistently. Even experts that are below master caliber lose to button mashing Eddy players on occasion. This tends to start a lot of Trash Talking. The Tekken trash talking FAQ even mentions one of the prime reasons to trash talk is "You just lost to some psychotic crack-addicted button-mashing Eddy player and you feel it is your duty to comment on that particular playstyle."
    • Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection has Lili Rochefort, a relatively straightforward character that players can mash with to the same degree as Christie and Eddy for similar results, only with twice the damage output. However, her moveset is more limited than most other characters, and players who actually know how to play as her make frequent use of her amazing movement and the crushing capabilities in her moves. As of Tag 2, her damage output and properties have been weakened (her db+4 sweep, for example, now only launches on Counter Hit, much like it used to do in her debut), making winning with her more of an uphill battle.
    • Alisa Bosconovitch from Tekken 6. You will find no shortage of new players who are aggravated by her Destroy Form's chainsaw attacks. Of course, that is until they figure that majority of these moves are telegraphed.
    • Bryan Fury is another example of this trope, especially in the online modes for 6 and Tag 2. His Snake Edge sweep and Orbital Heel spin kick are launchers that inexperienced players will have a hard time over, and the juggles they lead to are twice as painful. But a seasoned player will take advantage of these moves' glaring weaknesses-the sweep is very unsafe when blocked, and the spin kick is easily sidestepped-leaving the Bryan player to properly use his repertoire of slower-than-average moves.
    • The Kazama family (Jun and her niece Asuka). Their strings can go on for an indefinite amount of time, and can overwhelm all but those who can find the gaps in them.
  • In the Touhou Project spin-off fighting game Touhou Hisoutensoku ~ Choudokyuu Ginyoru no Nazo o Oe, Utsuho Reiuji will tear newbies apart due to her high-priority normal projectiles, full-screen lasers that do big damage, her Mighty Glacier traits being partially negated by her long dashes and a basic dial-A combo which takes out 1/4 of your health. Pros will be able to interrupt the long startup of every single move she attempts with any other character, stop her easily predictable approaches, spot all the holes in her blockstrings (none of them are airtight, relying on mixups to succeed) and take her offense apart with well timed attacks. Similarly, Yuyuko Saigyouji can utterly overwhelm newbies with her spam of butterflies and ghosts, but tactically, she has Glass Cannon characteristics similar to Utsuho, having rather slow movement and punishable abilities. And Aya Shameimaru's very fast movement, specials and and bullets can seem terrifying, but her bullets have terribly low density, and with some concentration it's possible to predict and counterhit her moves.
  • From Virtua Fighter, we have Jacky Bryant. He has high/low attack strings, 360 Hurricane Kick sweeps out the ass, god damned "Lightning Legs," and, worst of all, a super-prioritized and super-damaging Deathflip. The drawback? A lot of those moves have a lot of recovery. So, for the player who stays hot on their toes, they can very easily punish these attacks, either with a string of your own, or a guaranteed throw. On a different note, he's also in the same weight class as characters like Akira, Wolf, and Jeffrey, so some of your combos may not fully connect on him.
  • Dragon Ball Fighter Z:
    • The Auto-Combo system takes this concept and applies it to the gameplay as a whole. It lets players button mash to throw impressive-looking combos that are usually finished off with an iconic move of some sort. Expert players (and AI) however are able to easily counter this approach, because auto-combos are always the same and thus are incredibly predictable. Auto-combo players are also unlikely to know how to do things such as special moves, blocking, parrying, high and low punches and kicks, and dynamic move combinations, which severely limits their moveset.
    • Shenron is particularly notable as a new-player crutch, since he's summoned by making seven autocombos of varying length and then spending a full seven bars of super meter. Relying on autocombo and spending too much time charging your super meter and not making use of it are both exceptionally common habits among less skilled players. This is somewhat intentional, as Shenron is meant to be extremely difficult to call on in a serious match.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Heritage for the Future:
    • Khan. In a game full of weird, esoteric movesets, detailed combos, and a built-in Stance System that vastly changes up some characters, Khan's moves are mostly just mild variations of "hit with sword." This makes him pretty easy to pick up and learn to use, since all his attacks are pretty straightforward and you don't need to keep a lot of options in mind, meaning he can easily stomp opponents who are still learning the basics. If he's going up against a more unusual and versatile character being played even somewhat proficiently, then he has almost no answers to what they can do to him, and they'll take him apart like abstract art.
    • Hol Horse seems like one of the deadliest characters in the game to a newcomer, but is considered only mid-tier by experienced players. This is because most of Hol Horse's tools come together to encourage okizeme (pressuring an opponent who's already been knocked down), with his most infamous being a touch-of-death combo that can loop infinitely if he hits it on a knocked-down opponent, while also having multiple moves capable of knocking his opponent down or wallbouncing them to force them into that state. What's his weakness? About 2/3 of the cast can enter Stand On mode at will, which negates knockdowns entirely while active. The only way for Hol Horse to get around this is to do enough damage to force a Stand Crash and knock them out of it, which isn't damage he can easily access. New players tend to gravitate to passive-Stand characters who can't use Stand On, due to their simpler movesets, which further allows Hol Horse to prey on them, but experienced players tend to regard active-Stand characters as the best, and they leave Hol Horse massively on the back foot just by existing.

    First-Person Shooter 
  • Borderlands 2: Gaige has an extremely frontloaded skill tree that provides the overwhelming majority of its good skills immediately. Her Anarchy and Close Enough skills cause her to do large amounts of damage and often hit even when she misses, making her easy for even novice players to be effective with, her Action Skill is a pet type like Mordecai's, and her entire "Best Friends Forever" skill tree was specifically designed with ease of use in mind. Lead designer John Hemingway referred to it as "the girlfriend skill tree," i.e. the mode that your newbie girlfriend can play without being overwhelmed. This skill tree structure makes Gaige an unusual example of this trope: while the sheer power of Anarchy ensures Gaige's performance remains excellent through all difficulties, she's one of the most boring characters to level up past 30 because nothing waiting further up her skill tree is as good as what she receives at the beginning.
  • PlanetSide 2's Mini Chaingun - a handheld Gatling gun - has unmatched damage-per-second among light machine guns, can be fitted with an absolutely massive magazine, and has a terrifying firing noise (chuga ChuGA CHUGA BRRRRRrrrrr). However, it has a fixed cone-of-firenote  and a poor Boom, Headshot! damage multiplier, meaning that an aware and accurate enemy can peg you in the head with his LMG or assault rifle while you're spewing away at his chest. The signature firing noise (coupled to a fast but not unnoticeable spinup time for maximum fire rate) is also one of the weapons weaknesses. The weapon is very useful for newbie players, and more of an entertaining but not terribly effective weapon for pros.
  • Overwatch:
    • Bastion. Press one button, and he transforms into a Turret Mode with a blistering rate of fire, decent accuracy and the ability to shred through heroes like butter. New players tend to deploy Bastion at a chokepoint, sit there and fire at any enemy they see, stopping most noobs in their tracks. Skilled players will simply isolate Bastion's location and flank it, focus fire from behind Reinhardt's shield, snipe it, or even use Genji's Reflect ability to reflect bullets back at Bastion for a fast kill. Team support and changing locations regularly are essential for Bastion to remain viable at higher level play.
    • Mei is another example of this. At lower levels, she is an extremely effective ambush character who can easily eliminate lone or closely grouped players, and thus is seen as extremely annoying to fight against. However, at higher levels, her weaknesses become more apparent, namely her short range main attack, low damage per second, and ambush tactics being less effective against a closely coordinated team. Having said that, a veteran Mei who masters aiming with her icicles is still a menace.
    • Torbjörn: New Torbjörn players can at least rely on his level 2 turret to harass the enemy team (which can now be constructed more quickly due to his faster hammer swing as of the Sombra patch) and throw armor packs on the floor due to him being able to passively generate scrap (added in the same patch). However, new players are often fixated on keeping the turret up at all costs (allowing an enemy team to pick off Torbjörn easily), do not know maps well enough to position the turret to get the maximum effect, rarely ever fight with Torbjörn himself and use Molten Core only to save themselves or the turret. A veteran Torbjörn will know where to place the turret and when to repair/redeploy it, will master Torbjörn's rivet gun to increase his damage output and will know when to activate Molten Core to wipe or repel an entire enemy team.
    • Soldier: 76 can be this for players used to more traditional FPS games, with his no-frills but easy to use special moves, comfortably strong long-range gun and an alt fire that shoots missiles. Early on, he was outright one of the best characters in the game, but nerfs to his damage weakened him significantly. Now seasoned players know he falls apart close-range and his missiles and healing move both have long cooldown times, allowing them to fight back against a lone 76. A smart 76 player operates with the team, uses his heal whenever he can, and gets around the enemy team to use his Ultimate from behind.
    • Roadhog has 600 HP, can self heal, takes half damage while healing, and can instantly eliminate most of the cast while highly damaging those that survive his hook chain combo. What makes him rather nasty is that most heroes that bypass the need for accuracy such as Winston and Moira do low DPS and can't get headshot bonuses. Then players learn that all of Roadhog's actions can be interrupted, how weak he is to stunning, and how to aim for his head with hitscan characters. Roadhog being a self-heal focused tank also means that a poorly played one against a team of good players can net that team a lot more Ultimate charge than normal, which could be a game-losing mistake due to how ultimate-centric the game is.
    • Winston at lower levels is a Lightning Bruiser that can win pretty much any 1v1 against a non-tank opponent due to not needing to aim with his weapon while still being able to kill relatively quickly, having a surprising amount of fairly unrestricted mobility for the class, allowing him to leave a situation he's losing, on top of getting a bubble shield he can deploy at any time, and an ultimate that completely restores his health along with making him go into a beserk mode that can knock people away, with a massively reduced jump cooldown, to boot. Higher levels will often eat a poorly-played Winston for lunch, as enemies gain more awareness/communication, will focus targets better, and will utilize Winston's primary counters more to their advantage to either kill him outright or force him out before he can make a game-changing impact on their team. This forces the Winston player to be more careful about how and when they make the space for their team, or risk being a liability.
    • Not a character but a tactic in the Pharah-Mercy combo. Similar to Roadhog in lower levels many will choose less aim dependent heroes and those that do use hitscan such as Mcree and Widowmaker won't have the accuracy needed to consistently aim and out damage Mercy's healing. In higher levels however not only are hitscan DPS more common but also some healers such as Baptiste, Zenyata, and Pharah's on mother Anna could make the tactic less effective.
  • Team Fortress 2:
    • Pyros end up as these in higher levels of gameplay. Pyros can seem overpowered to new players but at higher levels of gameplay, they lack any form of advanced movement (which is very important in this game) and are near useless outside of close range. Their only decent competitive tactic is reliant on the enemy to attack them with specific weapons they can deflect and is easily countered. However, it should be noted that expert Pyros may retain their usefulness by taking advantage of ambush tactics and the aforementioned deflector, as well as presenting constant threats to Spies and making enemies temporarily retreat. Only the W+M1 strategy is what makes newbies a bit dangerous.
      • A sub-example for this class is the Phlogistonator. It chews up anything at close range and has a "Mmmph" function that restores health and guarantees 8 seconds of Critical Hit firestorms, as well as hefty damage resistance while activating "Mmmph." The biggest thing about it? It can't use the deflector at all, and it can easily be countered by staying away and pelting the offending Pyro with explosives. Against players who are caught unaware or don't know how to deal with it? Fiery death. Against those who know how to keep away from the Pyro? Not a chance.
    • The Engineer gets to be this way. On pub servers, a single Engineer camped on a Sentry gun with a Dispenser can be an obstacle insurmountable to the whole team because the sentry's aim is perfect and they tend to fight it one at a time. However, players can improve their effective damage by learning to aim better while the sentry's power is static, and players also learn how to either kill the Engineer or destroy the sentry fast enough that it can't be repaired in time. You'll be lucky if your fully upgraded sentry stops the enemy for more than a few seconds in a higher level of play. That said, the Engineer himself remains useful, though his role switches from an immovable object to a support role.
    • The Heavy's attack plan boils down to revving up the Minigun, point at an enemy, and watch them die. He has large enough health that even if the enemy shoots first, there's good chance he'll survive to shred them with his tremendous damage output, and the fact Medics naturally flock towards him will greatly extend his durability. He also lacks advanced mobility tricks such as explosive jumping, forcing him to remain grounded and predictable. That being said, a Heavy's presence in a battlefield simply cannot be ignored, and he's often the lynchpin of many engagements.
    • Though the Medic himself is considered useful in any level of play, a specific case of this is the Quick-Fix medigun. It has a significantly buffed heal and charge rate over the standard medigun, at the cost of an Ubercharge that provides further-enhanced healing rather than invincibility, and lessened overheal. In casual play, you're likely to be the only Medic on your team, so you'll probably be focusing on keeping everyone on their feet rather than buffing up specific players, meaning that the overheal isn't a big deal, and your survivability is pretty low, so a frequent but weak Uber is a better option than a powerful one that you'll die before you can ever pull off. In a coordinated team, though, there'll probably be at least two medics and the team itself is probably better at staying alive rather than charging to their deaths, so the workload is a lot lower and they can afford to pocket, and they can rely on their team or their own skills to protect themselves, meaning the game-changing Ubercharge becomes quite feasible. This makes the stock Medigun preferable. (Ironically, the Quick-Fix is banned in competitive 6v6 play, because with the very small team compositions and Medic limited to one, that buffed heal rate really does come in handy.)
    • Spies also fall victim to this trope, as it's tough to use their one-hit kill Back Stab when the enemy is competent enough to check behind them regularly. This is especially true in Highlander matches, where each team has one of each unit: while most units are at least somewhat useful within their niche, the Spy not only has to deal with the near-impossibility of backstabs, but the fact that there's always an enemy Pyro on the field. Spy is an odd example of this trope mixed with Difficult, but Awesome, as his effectiveness depends less on the player's own skill, and more on the skill gap between them and the opposing team.
      • Spy is an interesting example because he's such a skill gate character that after a certain point he becomes more effective the higher the general skill level is. At low levels Spies are an accepted part of life, at mid levels they're almost non-existent because everybody is used to them - but high-level players are so unused to Spies that they never consider them, meaning every match is guaranteed to have one major Spy play.
    • That being said, all of the classes can very easily fulfill its designated role in the Competitive Balance, even when taking player skill into account. For example, in high-level play such as the aforementioned Highlander format, it is extremely unlikely to see Pyros and Spies racking up lots of points, since their deathmatch capabilities are extremely low and they tend to be eaten alive by the other classes in a straight-up one-on-one fight. However, they can still contribute vastly to their teams in their own way; Pyros can airblast players away from key objectives as well as force a (however temporary) retreat by setting enemies alight. Spies will not generally outlive their victims in any well-organised and communicating team, since a kill will typically follow-up with the enemy team turning around and massacring the Spy, but who and when the Spy kills can be absolutely game-changing. Killing an enemy Medic with a full Ubercharge, for instance, can result in that Spy's team emerging victorious, even if the Spy had to die to make the kill.
    • A lot of weapons fall into this in general, trading off having to handle a tricky mechanic of the base class in exchange for reduced power somewhere else. A good example is the Loch-n-Load, a Demoman grenade-launcher substitute with shots that travel significantly faster than the standard launcher and do more damage to those pesky Sentries. As the Demoman's grenades are tricky to aim, this makes the Loch-n-Load a lot more attractive to someone new to the class - but once you have mastered the art of landing those shots, the Loch-n-Load's downsides (small blast radius, grenades fizzle out if they miss, less clip size) become a lot more obvious, and it's relegated from an upgrade to a purpose-built Sentry-killer. (On top of that, the Loch-n-Load's different physics mean that if you want to try out a more generally effective launcher, it can require a bit of work to unlearn it.)
    • All in all, practically every class in Team Fortress 2 has some level of Skill Gate attached to them, primarily because all the classes have a surprising amount of depth to them which can only be fully utilised via experience. For beginners (or players who have no intention of improving), each class seems to have a very simple role which can be fulfilled quite simply. However, in the more competitive circles, playing in this style is utterly predictable and makes newcomers easy pickings for veterans. Mastering advanced mechanics (or even learning to utilise simple ones in less predictable ways) such as the Rocket Jump and Double Jump, as well as learning the effectiveness and weaknesses of different loadouts, is essential in order to even have a chance at competing.
  • In Paladins, each class has one permanently unlocked champion that is easy for beginners to use and learn how to play that class. There's Fernando for Front Line, Pip for Support, Viktor and Cassie for Damage, and Skye for Flank.
    • Fernando has very high health and a strong forward-facing shield to protect himself and allies from damage. His default legendary card Aegis gives his shield infinite duration and significantly reduces its cooldown, encouraging players to shield as much as possible. While his flamethrower has a short range, he can fire long-range fireballs and has a quick dash to move quickly. To top it all off, his ultimate briefly makes him and nearby allies unkillable, protecting them from certain death.
    • Pip is a jack-of-all-trades that leans towards healing and support. His potion launcher does good damage and can slow enemies, his healing potion does moderate ranged healing, and his jump-dash ability gives him enough mobility to flank. His default legendary card Mega Potion doubles his healing, encouraging players to favor healing allies. Pip can turn a fight around with his ultimate, which turns enemies into weak, harmless chickens.
    • Viktor plays like a traditional FPS character, with an assault rifle, grenades, and a running sprint. His default legendary card Gunnery grants bonus damage while aiming down the sights, encouraging players to focus and aim. If he needs more power, his ultimate calls down an artillery barrage. He's very good for beginners of the FPS genre, though his basic skills can remain potent as one advances further into the game.
    • Cassie is a precision champion whose semi-automatic crossbow and abilities reward precise shots. She's quite agile with her dodge roll and her legendary card Exaction gives next shot bonus damage after a roll. Using her ultimate, she can reveal enemy positions to her team, making her good for scouting.
    • Skye is a stealthy champion who can turn invisible and burst down foes with her rapid fire wrist crossbow and poison bolts. She can blind foes and hide herself and her allies with her smoke bomb and her ultimate throws a big bomb that can kill all but the most durable of foes. Her legendary Debilitate gives her bonus damage to poisoned enemies, aiding her in quickly wiping out targets. She is very strong at low-level and casual matches but loses her effectiveness at high-level and competitive matches, where teammates are more responsive to each other and are more aware of their surroundings.

  • Atlas Reactor has a few, but the game's focus on bluffing also means a very good player can partially overcome these difficulties if dedicated. Still, their lack of presence in tournament play indicates that most players do not bother.
    • Nix has extremely long range, deals very good (and consistent) damage and can go invisible to escape enemy pressure or sneak around the side to assassinate enemy supports. He is extremely deadly to new players who do not know the maps well enough to know his favoured sniping spots or the 'logical' routes an invisible character will escape. In high-level play, Nix is almost never picked because he's completely useless at drawing aggro in a setting where forcing the enemy team to divide its attentions between your entire team is extremely important. Nix is too fragile to draw aggro competently, and if he stays still and snipes the enemy team can easily draw the battle to somewhere where he can't set up without exposing himself.
    • Juno has a straight-forward combat style based around More Dakka from her giant Arm Cannons and a very potent shield instead of a dash move. She's able to deal fantastic area-of-effect damage and her ultimate can wipe entire teams if set up in a proper firing lane, and taking her on head-on is suicide for most characters. Unfortunately, while she pulls aggro much better than Nix can she has enormous problems with firing lanes, corners and the fact that proper use of positioning by the enemy team rarely lets her hit more than one enemy at a time, with her single-target damage being nothing special.
    • Rampart lacks a dash move outside of his ultimate, instead using a giant portable wall that sets up a No-Sell barrier in a single cardinal direction that protects both him and anyone behind him. He also ties for the highest HP in the game and his melee damage and You Will Not Evade Me move are both very potent for a frontliner, which makes him very very hard to kill and capable of defeating almost any other character in a 1v1 melee battle (this also gives him the lowest deaths-per-game rate in the game, at any level of play). Again, like Nix, he suffers from the fact that an experienced team can simply play around him, targeting his softer team-mates instead, and without a dash he can't close the gap or chase enemies like every other frontliner can and almost never sees high-level or tournament play as a result. He is also hard-countered by several characters who are popular in tournaments (most notably Blackburn, but also Phaedra and Gremolitions, inc.).
  • Awesomenauts has its fair share.
    • Ayla has access to a powerful nuking skill that grows in strength based on how injured she is as well as a Cast from Hit Points Rage mode that deals heavy DPS and grants flight and a shield. Low league players have a hard time dealing with her mobility and high DPS, letting her make easy kill-and-run plays with little punishment. However, she needs to be right in the enemy's face to use any of her skills, and she's very squishy, susceptible to CC effects, and actually quite slow out of Rage. Better players can abuse this to scare her away with area control, knock her back, surround her, or simply juke her once she engages due to her terrible vertical momentum.
    • Gnaw is a very easy character to be useful as, and is very annoying to fight. This leads to a lot of lowbies playing as him and succeeding. He's a master of area denial thanks to his spit and Weedlings. He can apply constant pressure using spit and his auto attack, and can force people out of lane prematurely and make them waste health packs because of the poison he applies. However, his poison can be counteracted with any form of healing (even passive regeneration), his Weedlings are very low health, and like Ayla, he's squishy melee 'Naut, although without Ayla's crazy DPS. Needless to say, he tends to under-perform in higher play.
    • Although usually considered a very skill-based 'Naut, Genji can be this thanks to The Last Pieridae Transformae, one of his Cocoonnote  upgrades. It makes so that every time he Cocoons an enemy droid, it's transformed into a friendly butterfly, which attacks enemies and pushes the lane. He can have an unlimited number of these butterflies as well. In low leagues, a Genji left to his own devices can amass a massive army and push lanes quickly. The issue is that Genji has to blow his Cocoon on summoning a butterfly, and Cocoon is easily the most powerful initiation and escape skill in the game. Wasting it causes him to be less useful to the team. Also, it doesn't do anything at all if Genji's team is losing, or if Genji is being pressured in lane, as the butterflies have extremely low health and can be killed before they become a threat.
  • In Defense of the Ancients and Dota 2, quite a few heroes are inherently imbalanced in the lower brackets where people tends to pick carries instead of disablers or supports, and things like warding, anti-invisibility and team coordination are largely non-existent, but because of their Weaksauce Weaknesses they are much more situational in high-level games:
    • Riki, the most hated hero in pubs. His Cloak and Dagger passive ability turns him invisible if he spends a few seconds without attacking, allowing him to run around the map with impunity in low-level games where anti-invisibility Sentry Wards are often ignored, allowing him to disrupt enemies' laning with ease. Cloak and Dagger also grants him bonus Back Stab damage, which synergizes with his Smoke Screen ability, since enemies will often panic due to the slowing, blinding, silencing, and accuracy-reducing effect of the smoke cloud, and try to run away with reduced movement speed while taking many empowered attacks; more experienced foes would know to use items such as the Force Staff to rapidly push themselves or allies out of the cloud. With his Smoke Cloud, backstabbing, and invisibility being counterable with a bit of knowledge, Riki has weak attacks and durability, being left with only his ultimate ability Tricks of the Trade to deal damage and buy himself a bit more time, and Blink Strike to escape.
    • Drow Ranger, whose damage comes entirely from autoattacks, has a good early laning presence which gives good farm and thus really good scaling, combined with her ultimate Marksmanship which gives her massive amounts of Agility. If she gets an early advantage she easily snowballs to a point where you can't even approach her because of Frost Arrows and Gust, which slows enemies and knocks them back, respectively. The execution basically consists of popping Shadow Blade, using Gust then right-clicking enemies (who tend to run away yet can't after being slowed by Frost Arrows) to death, making her extremely easy to use. However, she has no escape mechanism, is vulnerable to ganks early game, and Marksmanship is completely nullified when an enemy hero is near her, so an enemy who walks towards her when she ambushes them can probably scare her off.
    • Sniper, who much like Drow has amazing attack power in the late game and the longest attack range in the game on top of that, but lacks disables and escapes and is incredibly vulnerable.
    • Combine Riki and Drow Ranger... and you got Clinkz, and he works pretty much similarly. His skill sets allow him to go invisible and eventually gank another person, and shoot down damaging fire arrows in godly speed that tears down the enemy HP so fast they may not have the time to run away, and his Ultimate also gives him boost on attack, toss him an Orchid of Malevolence and he can pick up Drow's silencing ability. Not only Clinkz can be countered easily with wards or any other anti-stealth items, he's also extremely fragile that he goes down easily when detected and stunlocked, and pro players can use his strength to cause his downfall: The item Blademail, which deflects every autoattacks, and seeing that Clinkz depends on his high damage auto attacks while having a fragile body... having him attack someone activating Blademail may as well spell out the death of Clinkz. And bonus points if said target is a tanky hero, and even activates Mask of Madness, which increases damage taken by 30%... including those returned by Blademail.
    • Viper is yet another hero who is similar to Drow Ranger. His Poison Attack is similar to Drow's Frost Arrows in that it's an auto-cast ability that slows, with the added benefit of dealing damage over time which increases in power based on how much health the target is missing. He is also quite tanky thanks to his Corrosive Skin, which further slows and damages enemies who damage him and increases his magic resistance. The cherry on top is his ultimate ability, Viper Strike, which, you guessed it, inflicts even more slow and damage over time to a target. Thanks to this, Viper can easily rack up massive amounts of kills in the early game, as his slows make it nearly impossible to run away from him. However, unlike other carries, none of his abilities grow in power significantly over time, meaning that unless he snowballs out of control and ends the game quickly, other heroes will eventually catch up to him in terms of power and shut him down.
    • Ursa, one of the most terrifying heroes to fight in close combat, lacks a gap closer and thus is very vulnerable to being kited and can't reliably kill heroes with escape mechanisms. In higher skilled games he always needs heavy team support to be truly effective.
    • Spirit Breaker, a very powerful ganker when the opposing team has no ward vision and doesn't know how to counter his charges. He's capable of solo-killing most other heroes in the game, especially if he catches them far from their teammates. Yet if anyone places any wards around the middle of the map, it becomes easy to see when he's charging, and thus call a teammate to TP in or retreat to within tower range, or even put a player or two in his path to disable him as he charges, rendering him helpless and in a location with no backup. His reliance on magic damage for his bash and his ultimate also makes him little more than a melee-range disabler against anyone with magic immunity such as Omniknight, and he has little to no attack speed without a Mask of Madness, which greatly increases his vulnerability to all types of damage.
    • Bloodseeker, whose whose ultimate Rupture deals damage to the target whenever it moves. Whenever hit by Rupture, new players will often run away in panic, often killing themselves in the process, because of this Bloodseeker can easily become over-fed and carry the game. In contrast, competitive players will simply use a TP scroll, which Bloodseeker cannot interrupt with his lack of stuns, or stay stationary and call the assistance of a teammate. On top of this, his passive ability "Thirst" makes him stronger and faster for each enemy who isn't at max health, so a kill from Bloodseeker could be prevented just by keeping tabs on your HP.
    • The basic idea with Huskar is that with Berserker's Blood he gets stronger attacking power as his HP pool decreases, and both Burning Spears and Life Break give him convenient ways to lower his HP. However, having increased damage when hurt is rarely worth it when there are plenty of damage sources that don't involve deliberately crippling oneself, and are always active. Huskar is reputed as a pubstomper because against poorly organised players he has no problem hanging around a dangerous level of HP. In fact, it's practically an invitation for his opponents to wander in one at a time and be slaughtered. But players who can plan ahead have no issue with waiting for Huskar to give them the perfect opening to dump all of their burst damage into, and by the end of the game a hero with real DPS skills can easily outcarry Huskar while also being able to fight at full HP. In addition to this, he also can't do anything but what he's designed to do (single-target DPS), with little teamfight presence and no utility whatsoever. Because of this, he is extraordinarily rare in competitive Dota, even compared to other pubstars like Ursa or Riki. Even in his competitive heyday he was rarely seen, because as unstoppable as he can be against the right enemy heroes, he is extraordinarily vulnerable to heroes that counter him, much more so than other heroes.
    • Necrophos is notorious for his high win rate in pubs, but that's because pubs often like to team fight early, which Necrophos excels at. Players often do not have the coordination to focus him down. But not only did he require a lot of farm, he also scales very poor into the late game, which is why he does not get picked that often and even if he is picked, his win rate is extremely low due to his poor scaling.
    • Zeus is well known for his massive damage output and being as simple as a type on the leopard, why is his pub win rate high while he is not seen as much competitively? Its because pubs like to team fight very often and rarely communicates to kill Zeus first or hell, just pick him off in the early stages since he is squishy and has no escape mechanisms. Due to how magic damage usually works in Dota, a couple of early kills on Zeus will be enough to keep him check, as he'll only be able to get the farm a hero of his position should have later on, by which time he will be much less effective even with that farm.
  • League of Legends has a few champions known as "bronzestompers" or "gods of low Elo", so called for being very strong against unskilled ("bronze" or "low Elo") players but easily countered by skilled ("diamond" or "high Elo") players:
    • Evelynn used to be an assassin type with invisibility and a stun attack. Against newbies she tends to get about 30 kills and carry the game. Anyone clever enough to figure out you need to buy an anti-invisibility potion will own her.
      • "Used to be", because people have began using her to jungle (kill neutral creeps instead of laning where the enemy can harass them). Meaning she can now get gold and levels, which she needs, without dealing with enemies who easily beat her up early game... And also to follow the enemy jungler around while invisible, steal his kills, organise a gank on the jungler or simply wait for the jungler to get heavily damaged by jungle creeps and then appear and kick his ass. She's so massively effective, frustrating and rage-inducing to play against that Evelynn was intentionally overnerfed just to make people stop doing that.
      • Just to give an idea of how bad it was, her mechanics have to be completely overhauled, and said overhaul completely changed the way she is played (her stealth becomes more of a Wallpaper Camouflage visible to opponents if close enough, rather than her old Invisibility Cloak)
    • Tryndamere is a melee warrior with the highest sustained damage output of any champion in the game, an additional damage bonus when low on life, the ability to pass through walls for an easy escape, a taunt that slows you if your back is towards him (aka you're running away from him), and an ultimate ability that makes him immortal for a short time. Many a lowbie has uninstalled the game after confronting this character and getting their ass kicked, only to watch Tryndamere escape through a wall once reinforcements arrived. It takes some experience with the game to figure out his weaknesses: he requires very large amounts of gold to afford his damage items and become useful, his slow might be terrible but a Quicksilver Sash will delete it entirely, and critically his ultimate does not make him immune to disabling effects or damage over time. Add his awkward rune requirements (which are only relevant at higher levels) and low health and it is clear why Tryndamere is considered bottom tier.
      • Note the other reason why Tryndamere is a skillgate character: amateur team gameplay usually consist of fighting to the death, trying to mash QWER as fast as possible, and caring more about their personal kills over the wellbeing of their teammates. This is fatal when the entire team's Crowd Control gets blown 5 seconds into the team fight attacking that "low health" bait thus leaving everyone vulnerable, especially the carries, to get chomped to pieces one by one simply because they can't stop Tryndamere from approaching and attacking them, they can't kill Tryndamere once his ultimate is used, they can't take Tryndamere's high damage output and when they panic and run they most certainly can't outrun Tryndamere after getting taunted. But once a team gets their act together and learn how to act in an engagement it is a whole different story.
      • Roaming Glass Cannons such as Fiora and Master Yi will get you out of the low-ranking leagues, but not beyond. Their stats and ability kits are built in a way that allows them to deliver so much damage they can single-handedly slaughter the entire team with a bit of luck — but the moment they get hit with a complete motion impairment, all they have is their paper-thin defenses.
    • Other pubstompers are Karthus (ultimate that hits everyone on the map; stays alive for a short time after death, often getting free kills in a chaotic teamfight; solution - magic resist or a Zhonya's Hourglass and don't stand in his damage radius after he dies) and Katarina (offensive teleport and an immensely damaging channelled ultimate that can kill nearby champions in about two seconds; solution - almost all of her damage comes from said ultimate and any stun/bump/knockup/silence/fear/taunt ability interrupts it). Neither is viable against good players, but both will single-handedly win the game at low skill levels.
    • Teemo can be a major pain in the ass at low levels. His invisibility means you won't even see him in a bush until it's too late, his Blinding Dart can render a basic attack-based champion useless, his Move Quick will make him unchaseable, his Toxic Shot makes you slowly lose health after getting hit and thus allows him to play hit-and-run, and his invisible mushrooms can quickly hurt you until you die if you wander into a minefield. Solution? Drop pink wards on key spots, get an upgraded red trinket, smite the Razorbeak if you're the jungler to see his mushrooms before you step on them, get stuff that grants magic resistance (his poison and mushrooms deal magical damage), and if you're playing a long-range champion, stay away from him. More skilled players also aren't as likely to fall for his 'global taunt' (he's so frustrating to play against that less-disciplined players go Leeroy Jenkins to get a chance to kill him, which is memetically considered to be a second passive ability he has).
    • Veigar is a great choice as your first mage assassin, with a non-skillshot poke that grants a permanent AP bonus after scoring kills, a simple yet incredibly powerful combo and an ultimate attack that is a non-skillshot poke which scales in proportion to his ability power and his target's ability power. Solution? Prevent him from farming enemy creeps, build debuff resistance (usually Mercury's Treads), build magic penetration instead of ability power, and pay attention to when he casts his stun circle or bait him into throwing it (it has a very long cooldown).
      • As of a rework, Veigar increases his AP from HITTING champions with his abilities, his Q is now a skillshot, and the ultimate now scales on the enemy's missing health, making it a very good finisher for his combo and turning what was otherwise a mage instant-killer into an all-around instant-killer. The solution nowadays is to counter-pick with champions that can teleport, most popularly Zed.
    • Mordekaiser is statistically the best champion in the game. His high damage spells and incredible health give him a significant edge in a brawling match, and his regenerating shield makes it nearly impossible to scratch him in the lane. His weaknesses? Melee range, zero gap closers, zero crowd control and zero escape abilities. Eventually opponents learn how to kite, disable priority targets and generally not walk in a disorganised cluster towards the enemy. If he cannot reach you, he cannot regenerate his shield and dies like a useless potato sack.
      • His ultimate ability is a curse that damages an enemy player and creates a powerful ghost under his control if that player dies while cursed. Low level players tend to fight to the death rather than escaping at the last moment, meaning as soon as someone dies in a teamfight Mordekaiser gets a free ghost and the 5v5 battle just became 4v6.
    • Annie is an inversion, to very inexperienced players: to the rookie, she's a fragile caster with a difficult-to-work gimmick. Once you have the basics like counting your spells and ability combos, her high burst damage and stunning passive make her a terror. These tricks become less godlike in the higher levels, but someone who's an expert with the Dark Child can make her extremely viable.
      • This trope is also what turns her training bot into an absolute nightmare against newbie players. Superhuman combo timing, perfect cooldown management and the ability to always land her stun perfectly are wonderful advantages for an AI to have when the character's effectiveness depends largely on those three things.
      • There's also the fact that learning newbies will have a hard time dealing with her early phase, as her stun can give her a distinct early game advantage if set up. This makes it easier for her to farm new players who don't know how to approach her without incurring the wrath of her stun shots, and as a result lead her to killing the player or keeping them from framing early game.
    • Darius' natural damage and crowd-control make him terrifying and a likely curbstomp to most opponents within his abilities' ranges. Outside of his abilities' ranges, which is lower than all the ranged-carry champions' autoattacks and the majority of ranged abilities, he is essentially helpless, and slowing effects are abundant amongst the game's champions to make it easy for him to remain so.
    • Tristana isn't actually a bronzestomper (as of April 2015 she was top gamer Doublelift's main), but she teaches you how to play an ADC properly. Good last-hitting capacity with her E passive? Check. Two tower-destroying abilities (Q and E)? Check. Two self-peeling abilities? Check. A passive that gradually increases her autoattack range? Check. One of the best late game hypecarries? Checkmate. She's considered to be the easiest ADCs to learn and play properly. Solution? Take advantage of her very long cooldowns and her weak mid-game due to abilties that scale in AP instead of AD, play an ADC that specializes in early-game bullying note , play an ADC that has a better late game note , or play an ADC that have better teamfight presence note , and take advantage of her natural lane pushing abilities that make perfect opportunities for the jungler to gank and kill her.
      • And with the discussion of ADCs, Ashe and Caitlyn as well. Both have reasonable poking capacity and skillsets that teaches newcomers how to play adc properly.
      • In fact, Ashe is the champion that the player is given for the tutorial.
    • Some junglers can qualify. Shen note , Nunu note , Volibear, and Rammus note . Many lower skill players in Bronze or Silver who see them as a jungler would rage when someone like Nunu using their ultimate and destroying your entire team, Rammus taunting your adc and end up killing him/herself because Rammus has Thornmail, Shen popping out of nowhere with his ultimate and making a 2v2 fight into a 3v2 fight, or Volibear running up to your adc and fling the said adc behind him where the entire team destroys the said adc. More experienced players will counter them by knowing some of their clear weaknesses. For example, Shen's ultimate is very predictable and his clearing speed in the jungle is known to be the worst.
      • Of particular note among junglers is Amumu. Amumu tends to have one of, if not the highest win rate among jungle champions at bronze and silver MMR. However, due to his weak early game, aggressive players who invade his jungle can often set him so far behind early he doesn't get a chance to recover.
  • Heroes of the Storm reconstructs this. There's a slew of very cheap heroes, at only 2000 gold each, who are straightforward to play and effective enough that newcomers can just grab them and start playing. But the same heroes are also potent enough in the hand of veterans, due to their lack of weaknesses, and utterly gamechanging Heroics. For instance, Raynor is all about basic attack, but good luck finishing him off with his knockback and Emergency Energy Tank. Malfurion has a non-Heroic areal root that can disable entire team caught in it. And nothing quite tops ETC's Heroic which can disable entire enemy team for a very unhealthy 4 seconds.
    • As the game continues to add more heroes, a couple straight examples of this trope have popped up.
      • Despite being a Support, Kharazim is actually a really good introduction to Melee Assassins. Kills typically require three ingredients: an enemy out of position (either by allied crowd control or misplay), someone to whittle down most of that enemy's HP, and someone to finish off the last bit, confirming the kill. Melee Assassins are designed to provide the last part, featuring gap closers and good damage but lacking self-sustain and/or escape options. Kharazim can confirm kills and keep himself alive if you overextend, making him a forgiving hero to make mistakes on. By the time you get impatient with his restricted damage output, you'll already have a good sense of when his replacement Melee Assassin should or should not go in, something you may not learn if you just plunge straight in on, say, The Butcher.
      • Jaina is a great introduction to burst Mages. All of her skills apply Frostbite, which increases her ability damage on the target and slows their movement. This gives the player a lot of versatility in choosing how they open an engagement, and allows for powerful but open-ended ability sequencing. The slow also creates more leeway to hit abilities. By the time players have Jaina mastered, they'll be ready for safer, longer-ranged, more technical mages like Li-Ming or Kel'Thuzad.
      • The Butcher is a serious bully in low leagues, who uses his all-in dive and burst to rip apart poorly positioned players. Each kill he makes nets him Fresh Meat, which boosts his attack damage. Once the player learns better positioning however, it becomes easy to kite The Butcher and kill him instead, as he lacks any form of disengaging whatsoever. In the highest leagues, The Butcher is only taken by skilled players in very specific situations where they can capitalize with their team to farm meat and snowball.
  • In Smite, Loki is the biggest example of a Skill Gate Character, due to 2 of its main abilities working as extremely effective crutches for newer players (his Vanish ability, which not only makes him completely invisible until he attacks but also faster and stronger, and Decoy, an extremely effective and safe farming tool). In early stages of the game, he dominates against uncoordinated teams and one-shots squishies with impunity. Later on, wiser players will stick to their team so that Loki players that attempt to strike will also be quickly locked down and dispatched, and squishier players will counter-build, as even a single Physical Defense item makes his only strong suit in combat - his quick burst damage to single targets - completely useless.

  • New Super Luigi U has Nabbit, who is immune to all enemy damage but can't utilize power-ups (though he can still take them). The official website explicitly bills him as this.
  • Super Mario Bros. 2's Princess Toadstool/Peach has the ability to hover for a good distance, which allows her to straight-up skip annoying sections. However, she compensates for this by having lackluster jumping and groundspeed, and taking the longest to pick things up. Because of this, she's popular among casual players, but rarely used by speedrunners, being picked only when she's needed for a skip.

    Puzzle Games 
  • In Meteos:
    • Low-gravity planets, like Oleana and Starrii, are good for novices because their slow movements give them time to think. At higher levels of play, however, they start falling behind against higher-gravity planets that can score and attack faster than they can. Most low-gravity planets can still win matches through flawless or near-flawless play (even in high-level play, low-gravity planets still have the advantage of a greater margin of error because of their slower pace) and, in Meteos Wars, well-timed Planet Impacts.
    • Lumious can come off this way as well, due to its unusual Speeder mechanic, which increases the rate and speed that blocks fall. Someone new to Meteos will probably not use the Speeder much; they'll have a tough enough time keeping up without increasing the blocks' fall rate. However, using the Speeder on Lumious increases ignition speed and fall speed out of proportion with everything else and renders Lumious near-unplayable without learning to turn off the Speeder at critical moments, making Lumious both a Skill Gate Character and Difficult, but Awesome.
    • Hevendor completely bypasses the gravity and stack comboing elements of the game by teleporting stacks instead of launching them. It manages to be both ridiculously overpowered at lower levels, as it can put lots of pressure on the opponent quickly, and next to useless at very high levels of play, as the total lack of strategic depth makes its weaknesses easily exploitable — notably, if the match runs out of time, Hevendor will almost certainly lose, as it cannot benefit from the score multipliers obtained through multi-stage ignitions. The CPU on the other hand gets completely annihilated by any halfway decent Hevendor player every time.

    Racing Games 
  • High acceleration characters/karts in Mario Kart Wii, in contrast to the earlier games (especially Mario Kart 64) where they were arguably the most useful overall. This is because they have high handling and acceleration stats, and hence can initially do well due to recovering from item hits and are easier to handle for newer players. But in higher level play (anything above about 100%), they just get overtaken by all the high speed karts and can't do as well as far as world records/time trial goes.
    • It helps that Time Trial racers don't have to contend with other players attacking them, and therefore can maintain their top speed for the entire race so long as they don't make any mistakes of their own.
  • Similarly, the aptly-named "Beginner" class in Crash Team Racing, consisting of Pura, Polar, Ripper Roo, and (depending on the version) Penta Penguin, all have great handling but poor speed. They're very easy to play as, but can't be used to much effect as their great handling actually makes it harder to get power slide turbos, which are the way to win races. In other words, the other characters who are already inherently faster than the Beginner class also get more opportunities to get turbo boosts than they do. Even a master of the game will struggle during the Citadel City races and the Gem Cups when playing a Beginner character.
  • In Sonic Robo Blast 2 Kart, you have a similar situation to the above, except now high handling and low weight racers can either come in slow and fast flavors. The faster they are, the worse their acceleration and Drift Spark Rate (the which in which they charge up boosts following a drift) gets. This makes them easy to pick up for newcomers to the game as the high handling stat helps them steer around the track- but they will be easily topped and destroyed by heavier racers that know the tracks well and can go fast, bump off racers with lower weight, and have superior Drift Spark Rates to charge boosts faster while keeping the same top speed as their lighter counterparts.
  • SUVs end up as this in Forza Horizon, since their poor handling makes little difference when most thundercats are piling into the walls on every corner whilst their large size and high weight work great for ramming, commonly used at low level as well as being the best vehicles off road. However, at higher or average levels, most people in smaller thundercats than an SUV can duck through their inside around a corner whilst the SUV driver is incapable of doing anything about it.

    Real-Time Strategy 
  • Age of Empires II
    • The Britons (British) are considered to be one of the easiest civilizations to play and learn, due to their powerful Longbowmen and having strong foot archers with longer range and having a reasonable siege line where their Trebuchets deal splash damage, making them an ideal civilization for defending chokepoints (i.e. narrow pathways in Black Forest) and one of the best siege civilizations. More experienced players will often counter the Britons by sending waves of heavy cavalry units into their faces since their Longbowmen, Trebuchets, and archers are powerful, but very fragile and Britons are very vulnerable in more open maps like Arabia (which is the map often played by the most experienced players). That being said, the Britons is considered to be viable pick in higher ELOs. While newer players can get away spamming large number of Longbowmen and win (despite the Longbowmen ability to outrange most defensive structures, using them to take down the buildings will take a hell of long time.), more experienced Britons players will know that sending fragile Longbowmen and Trebuchets into the battlefield without a reliable frontline support is a very bad idea. In the case with heavy cavalry units as the main counter to Longbowmen, more experienced Britons players will often back their Longbowmen with Halberdiers to dissuade cavalry units from engaging the Longbowmen and the Longbowmen long range is good enough to flatten any onagers before they enter range (since the Briton cavalry isn't reliable due to the lack of Bloodlines, Paladin, and Hussar upgrades). In turn, the Britons are a one-trick pony archer civilization that is easily abused by newer players, but more experienced players know how to reasonably use the Britons with full effect and know their inherent strengths and weaknesses.
    • The Byzantines are more straightforward example, since they have a versatile tech tree with little to no inherent strengths and weaknesses, open to different strategies, and teaches players how to diversify their army.
    • The Celts also fit this bill since they have a well-rounded and reasonable tech tree with archers and defense being their weak point. They are even the civilization in the official tutorial.
  • The Russians in Age of Empires III can field an army of strelets (a weak but cheap infantry unit that trains in groups of eight) as soon as they build a barracks. Combined with an outpost, which comes with the barracks' for the Russians, and the Oprichniks in later ages, one can wipe out an entire town in less than a minute leaving no way to retaliate. New players will resign at the sight of the Russian army; veterans will tear it apart with a few walls to hold them back long enough to get the cannons in position.
  • Age of Empires IV uses the English as the beginner-friendly civilization choice. They lack any complex faction-specific gimmicks, and their various bonuses (Longbowmen as their signature unit, their fortifications having the ability to spot enemy movements and give buffs to allied units upon doing so, Villagers being armed with bows) encourage a slower paced and defensive style of play that is encouraging to players just starting out.
  • The Age of Mythology Titans Expansion introduces the Titan-worshiping Atlanteans. On paper, they seem like a massive Game-Breaker faction, with extremely efficient (albeit expensive) villagers, multi-use god powers (where the other three factions only get one of each), and the ability to instantly promote human soldiers into anti-"myth unit" heroes for a price. (Beginning players will appreciate how easy their economy is to manage, in particular.) However, they've got a few less desirable traits (slow-building Town Centers, limited siege options, vulnerability to rushing) that leaves them about even with other civilizations at the high levels of play.
  • StarCraft':
    • There was a time when the (mostly average skilled) playerbase was complaining about how overpowered Zerg were (particularly Mutalisks). However, against a skilled player, this is still a viable tactic but it's a stalling move rather than game-winning one as it's meant to keep the opponent at home while the Zerg expands and/or advances their tech tree. Terrans also have one the most straightforward units to counter Mutalisks in the form of massed Marines, while their Irridate spell causes havoc to a swarm of Mutas. Protoss players can defend with Archons and some Photon Cannons, among other ways. Near the end of the Starcraft era however, "Fast Mutas" were considered to be the best Zerg opening, and most Terran and Protoss builds were judged against this build. Said Terran and Protoss builds were only considered viable if they were fast enough to outproduce or counter the initial Zerg Rush of Mutalisks. Certainly an example of the "bell curve" Skill Gate.
    • Another example is stealth units: Against a good player, it's extremely difficult to pull off Dark Templars or nukes, but against a player who isn't good at detection management either can be an instant win. In higher levels of play, rushing out a cloaked unit is still viable but not usually game-ending, and typically used to stall a Terran or even Protoss player in a similar manner to Mutalisks.
    • Most beginners and intermediate players gravitate to the Protoss because their playstyle is based around having fewer, stronger units without too many special abilities to make them 'work'. In armies of equal cost, it's typically easier to control 10 beefy units rather than 30 units that die instantly if you make a mistake. Add to this that building 30 units takes more work than building 10 and you'll see why most new players like the toss: easier micro and easier macro. Of course, once you get good none of that matters in any meaningful way anymore and player skill becomes increasingly important.
      • Especially noticeably, Protoss has the lowest Tournament Wins of the three factions by a fair margin, in contrast to the supposed 50/50 win average. There are notoriously few professional Protoss Players in relation to both Terran and Zerg. The Protoss are a good example of "easy to learn, difficult to master". They have a grand total of four spell casters that each have their own research costs, and a potent Reaver artillery that is often used with air-transport for surgical strikes. Using the right combination of supporting casters & robotic artillery is key to covering for the basic troops' damage-rate deficiency, due to their focus on durability first and foremost. Mastering the Protoss arsenal of spells goes a long way, and don't forget to upgrade weapons, armor, or even shields. One of their signature compositions consists of some variation of Carriers supported by Corsairs and Shuttles loaded with spell casters (depending on if you're playing SCI or SCII). It takes considerable time to build up and dexterity to micromanage, but can wreak havok against beginners and even professional players if played well.
  • The Starcraft II metagame is a constantly evolving version of this trope. A pro player will come up with a build that is considered "nigh unbeatable" in a particular matchup, until another player develops a build to counter it. Much more prevalent in a Mirror Match, where often pro players will go the exact same build, and it falls to execution.
    • An example from the Wings of Liberty era is the infamous "bio ballnote ". Albeit there were plenty of units that could quickly dispatch the bio ball, they were higher on the techtree and inaccessible in the early game.
    • The Protoss Photon Cannon is surprisingly this too. In the beginner leagues, the Cannon Rush can be considered a cheap tactic, but an experienced player will be aware of this tactic and scout the perimeter of their base to prevent a Probe scout from warping in a Pylon and Cannons by their mineral line. That being said, even an experienced player might have a Probe slip by and be blindsided by a Cannon rush, but they'll usually counter attack the opponent's relatively exposed main base and start an expansion elsewhere to stay in the game.
  • In Rise of Nations, the Russians were mildly overpowered in matches between casual players but were considered one of the worst factions by expert players. The developers didn't think this was a problem because there were nearly 20 factions to choose from. The main reason for this is that the Russian national trait is that their territory causes additional attrition, as an implementation of "Never get involved in a land war in Asia"/"Never invade Russia in the winter". Seems awesome, because who doesn't want to watch invading horses shrivel and die without having to do anything?... but basic attrition is significant enough that strategists quickly learn not to invade anyone without accompanying supply vehicles to protect them, which eliminates any advantage the Russians have and forces them to confront armies whose national traits may allow them to field better units or more of them faster.

    Role-Playing Games 
  • Undead Hunters, a kit of the Paladin class, in Baldur's Gate II: the game throws at you tons of powerful undead creatures such as vampires, liches, shades, bone golems. The undead hunter has innate abilities, such as immunity to level drain, immunity to hold, +3 damage and thac0 bonuses against undead, that play wonderfully and allow rookie players to take breath in some of the hardest dungeons of the game without worrying too much of many annoying statuses. However, the game also offers plenty of spells, potions, weapons and items that do the same effects or even better. Experienced players prefer other kits, such as the cavalier or the inquisitor, that have more all-around bonuses or strengths against different powerful foes, while effectively using any available tool to deal with the undead.
  • Summoners in Blade & Soul: for PvP. In PvE, it's one of the easier classes to control with slow but hard-hitting attacks, healing skills, and a cat that can tank for them if necessary. But in Pv P, more experienced players can easily counter their attacks, their healing skill deliberately only heals a fraction of their health, and the cat's limited AI is easily exploitable by classes who rely on counters. It's telling that in official tournaments, it's extremely rare for a summoner to be in the finals.
  • The "Giantdad" of Dark Souls is a notable example from a genre where "characters" have to be built level-by-level and piece-by-piece. The Giantdad is a notoriously Min-Maxed build that foregoes weapon scaling to stuff more points into Endurance and Vitality, and wearing gear that allows them to fast-roll despite wearing ridiculously heavy armor. Scary on paper, but their attacks are rather predictable and easy to parry or avoid for those who get the timing down, and the dreaded stunlock from their trademark zweihander can be toggle-canceled out of. Memetic Mutation has since dubbed the Giantdad the Slayer of new players Casuls, constantly challenging his victims to "git gud."
  • Guild Wars 2 has the Warrior. Capable of pumping out some of the highest DPS in the game, especially when armed with a greatsword, and access to good defensive skills and traits. In PvE, they're much sought-after for dungeon runs, and their entire strategy can often be boiled down to "run in, hit 1-5, watch things die". However, as most players will tell you, they're one of the least desired classes for PvP. Their entire skill set just ends up translating much better to killing trash mobs and AI bosses than it does to taking on real players.
  • Pokémon:
    • The "FEAR"note  strategy and its many variants are based on using a very low-level Pokémon with something to let it survive an attack with 1 HP, a move like Endeavor or Pain Split that knocks the opponent down to the same level, then using a priority move or residual damage to finish them off through Scratch Damage. A clueless newbie will probably just spam attacking moves all day and get blindsided, but an actual good player will instantly recognize the gimmick for what it is and will likely have many different countermeasures, such as using hazards, weather, or multi-hit moves to break the Focus Sash or Sturdy, switching in a Ghost-type or using Substitute or one of Protect's variants to block Endeavor, or answering a priority move with one of their own.
    • In earlier generations, Kingdra has this reputation. Kingdra has a lot of traits that make it attractive to new players: it's a Jack of All Stats, its typing of Water/Dragon gives it only one weakness in its era, which isn't very easy to exploit, and it learns a very strong boosting move in Dragon Dance in the third generation. However, Kingdra also doesn't really have the ability to do much with its good traits: it doesn't have the offenses to sweep, Dragon Dance doesn't help its attacking power much when both its types are special, and its ability boosting its Speed in rain helps relatively little when the sand-spreading Tyranitar is at the peak of its power. Things got considerably better for Kingdra in future generations, though, due to the physical/special split making Dragon Dance far more useful, the proliferation of Drizzle giving it reliable rain, and the Sniper ability giving it an alternative when rain is unavailable.
    • In the first generation's competitive scene, Machamp is a common sight in lower brackets due to it being the hardest-hitting Fighting-type in the game in a generation where nearly all teams run three Normal-types. Despite being slow, it's relatively bulky, even tanks like Snorlax and Chansey don't like switching into its STAB moves, and even Tauros (a common candidate for the best Pokémon outside of Ubers) is hard-pressed to take on Machamp if it's been paralyzed. However, Machamp is incredibly vulnerable to paralysis itself, its typing gives it no useful resistances and a positively crippling weakness to Psychic (which is only slightly less common than Normal), making it far less bulky than it looks, and its strongest STAB move, Submission, is downright terrible, being inaccurate and doing recoil to Machamp. Add in the fact that Rhydon does its job as a Mighty Glacier much better, and you have a Pokémon that is almost entirely unseen outside of those lower brackets.
    • In fourth-generation competitive play, Electivire was considered one such example. It has a good movepool, awesome offensive stats, decent speed, and an alright defensive typing, which makes it dominate in the in-game and casual departments... But in the advanced metagame it starts to really fall apart. In a metagame where something with that kind of power is essentially required to be quick enough to be a Lightning Bruiser (no pun intended) or very strong defenses, its "decent" base speed of 95 is questionable in competitive playnote . Combined with the ubiquity of Earthquake, its Glass Cannon nature, and the fact that "super-effective" does not equal "One-Hit Kill" as is often sought for in the metagame, it doesn't fare well competitively. It also doesn’t help that in generation 4, its main physical STAB,note  Thunder Punch, wasn’t strong enough to punch holes in the enemy team, as it's best used as a coverage move due to its meager base 75 power, a move run by Pokémon to hit targets that resist its main STAB for super effective damage. While it could learn Thunderbolt, its special attack was the same mediocre special attack as Electabuzz's, and running it would force it to divy up its effort values between its attack stats, leaving it subpar on both the physical and special sides despite seeming versatile on paper. A core strategy for teams using it was to pair it up with Gyarados, which could bait in Electric attacks to speed up Electivire with its Motor Drive ability, but experienced players could easily counter it. Later generations just forced it into this status even more; generation 5 gave it a base 90 power physical Electric attack in Wild Charge, which sounds good… until it was revealed at have recoil, meaning using it made Electivire even MORE frail, and the attack wasn't nearly strong enough to warrant recoil (more useful recoil moves typically have base 120 power, but the slot of 120 base power physical electric move was taken up by Volt-Tackle, the Raichu line's Secret Art), meaning that gaining Wild Charge did practically nothing to help Electivire.
    • Talonflame, in Generation VI of Pokémon. This Pokémon comes with the ability Gale Wings, which gives it priority to all of its flying type moves.note  That, coupled with a very high Speed stat and a decent Attack stat, means it can get one hit KOs against the majority of Pokémon in the game, without even giving them the chance to strike back. Less experienced players have a lot of trouble dealing with it. But veteran players, after the initial shock, have learned to deal with it, and the metagame has adapted to it by having people use Pokémon with better defenses to counter its mediocre attack and limited coverage. Nowadays it's still a usable Pokémon, but it's only flawless against new players.
    • Ambipom in RU is a particularly extreme example, having the highest usage of all Pokémon legal in RU play... until those usage stats are weighted according to skill, and then its usage falls low enough as to drop out of the tier entirely. Its Fake Out move is, in theory, a completely free and powerful hit on something, allowing Ambipom to easily break through users of Focus Sash (a common item among newbies) or simply KO the mon it's facing with a second hit. In practice against experts, though, it's an easy switch in to a mon that resists both Ambipom's Fake Out and its most powerful moves at the same time - and there are many examples of such mons, due to Ambipom's heavily limited coverage. It doesn't help at all that Fake Out is literally the only thing it has over competition such as Cinccino, or even better yet, Tauros, which can do everything else Ambipom can conceivably do and better. Nowadays experts consider it the single worst legal Pokémon in RU play, which baffles many beginners who still lose to it frequently.
    • Maushold seems absurdly broken at first glance, thanks to a combination of Technician, a decent movepool that includes coverage options such as Bite, a powerful boosting move in Tidy Up, and its other Secret Art Population Bomb. In addition to being boosted by Technician, the move can hit up to an absurd ten times and while the amount of hits is dependent on Accuracy, more hits can be guaranteed via the Wide Lens item, which boosts its Accuracy. However, Maushold's stats outside of Speed are extremely mediocre, including a 75 base Attack (which is pitiful by Overused standards), and Population Bomb's nature as a contact move leaves it easily exploited by contact based abilities and items, most notoriously Rough Skin and/or Rocky Helmet (it will literally kill itself if it uses Population Bomb against a mon with at least one of those two traits). What's more, its coverage isn't quite strong enough to muscle through Pokémon that check it, namely the Ghost- and Steel-types that run amok in the higher tiers. While it's usable in Overused, you'd be hard-pressed to find a high-level player finding success with it. However, Maushold shines in Rarelyused due to these traits (even though it is quite linear and easily checked), and in Doubles it's a lot less predictable since it can take on an offensive or defensive role thanks to Friend Guard and its surprisingly wide support movepool.
  • Hunters from World of Warcraft until halfway through Burning Crusade. High damage output by mashing three buttons, a pet to push back castbars, and plenty of ways to escape an opponent. Also had a 3-yard yellow zone between their melee and range radii wherein they couldn't do anything but watch their pet attack if you managed to root them in the appropriate place.
    • Warriors also have a 'donut of safety' where you're out of their melee range, but not far enough to get charged... Except Tauren Warriors, whose hitbox is 8 yards instead of 5, the minimum Charge range.
    • Hunters and Paladins have a version of this. Both are very good solo classes for new players that are easy to level in PvE, but that means a lot of them are suddenly and utterly stomped by the end-game content as they lack the relevant skills.

    Shoot Em Ups 
  • Shotia from DoDonPachi dai ou jou. Powerful regular shot, starts off with 3 bombs and maxes out at 6 (most of any character in the game)...but she also moves very slowly when she's firing her laser, and if she dies she loses all laser power, which is a horrible thing to have happen to you against a boss or midboss.

In War Thunder, new players roughly approach air combat by turning and trying to get on the enemy tail. Therefore, nimble aircraft that favour turnfighting, such as the Japanese A6M Zero or the Italian Re.2001, are considered noob-friendly. However, veteran players know that you should never enter a turnfight with dedicated turnfighters, and they will prefer airplanes that are less agile but faster, in order to control engagements with boom & zoom tactics.

    Sports Games 
  • In Arc Style: Baseball!! 3D, Teams Rhinos and Crystal are pretty good overall and you won't have a hard time winning with them. But just the same, an experienced player will have an easy time taking them down by observing their pitching patterns and knowing their batting lineup.
  • One team tends to take on this role every season in Madden NFL, depending on whichever play or group of plays are considered Game Breakers that year.

    Survival Horror 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dwarf teams in Blood Bowl are extremely durable and begin with the Block skill; newbie players playing low-value games (who will probably favour the straight-forward blocking and running game) will be hard-pressed to find a team that's easier to learn how to use or harder to run up against. In high-level play Dwarves suffer from being incredibly inflexible: They can do one thing (blocking) incredibly well but elven teams run circles around them and well-leveled chaos and underworld teams (with easy access to claw) will tear them apart, and once they lose the initiative they will never regain it. Orc teams have similar tendencies to a lesser degree, being slightly more flexible at the cost of losing some immediate power.
  • A slightly different example is the four-move checkmate (also known as Scholar's Mate) in Chess. White moves a pawn to free the bishop and the queen, moves the bishop and queen to attack the weak f7 pawn, then captures it - it's only defended by the king, but he can't recapture as the queen is protected, which means mate. The problem is that any player who sees this coming can easily protect against it, essentially putting the player who tried it in a bad starting position. Against a beginner, it's an easy win. Against an expert, it's easily snubbed, forcing you into a longer game and at a disadvantage.
    • Also the Giuoco Pianissimo (Very Quiet Game) opening. Its simple developing moves ensure that a weak player won't make any of the typical beginner mistakes, and it also allows some tricks by pinning one of Black's knights so it can't move. Playing as an experienced player is simply boring and also allows the character of the game to be decided entirely by the opponent, so few masters play it.
  • In Dungeons & Dragons and Pathfinder, spontaneous spellcasters such as the sorcerer tend to be this. Though they have more raw power than their prepared spellcaster counterparts such as the wizard and they don't have to prepare their spells beforehand, so can't be caught off-guard as easily, they are severely limited in the number of spells that they can know (arcane prepared spellcasters typically need to store their spells in a spellbook with limited capacity, but the capacity is far less limited often overlooked), they can only learn new spells when they gain levels, and casting spells with metamagic takes longer since they have to apply the metamagic on the spot instead of having applied it when they prepared the spell.
    • In 3.x, the "chain tripper" fighter. By making use of the Improved Trip feat and attack of opportunity rules, you could make a character capable of turning your attacks into trips that knocked the enemy down and also gave you a free shot every time you succeeded, let you whale on the prone enemy, and if they spent a turn getting to their feet, you got another free shot that would trip them again. Add in the long reach of the spiked chain, and this created an "Instant Death" Radius where an enemy getting within ten feet of you would get Stun Locked and beaten to death as they tried to stand up. The problem? It's designed for situations where the opponent is within your reach, not much bigger than you, and fighting you solo. Flying or ranged-based enemies can simply stay out of reach, large, strong, and quadrupedal monsters get massive bonuses to resist the trip, and your limited number of AOOs per round mean that a Zerg Rush puts your "Instant Death" Radius to a major test. The damage of a chain tripper is also nowhere near as impressive as more optimized damage builds, such as a charger. It's still considered one of the better routes for a fighter to take, but that's not saying much.
    • The druid is a downplayed example. It's considered to be by far the easiest of the "Tier 1" classes to use, to the point of usually being described as idiot-proof, thanks to its mixture of full prepared casting that can be converted into Summon Magic, Voluntary Shapeshifting, and animal companion. It also has two of these at 1st-level, making it solidly powerful from the beginning, and the only feat it truly needs is in core. However, due to its nature focus, it is far more specialized than the wizard or cleric, and especially at high levels, lacks their sheer punch and Story-Breaker Power. The vast variety and strength of the cleric and wizard spell lists make them more exploitable by experienced players, and they have a considerable number of available builds, while the druid is mostly limited to nature-based effects, buffs, and summons - still very powerful, but a distant third.
    • Also from Pathfinder's first edition is the Arcanist, which on paper fused the verstile spell list size of the wizard with the more Spontaneous casting power of a Sorcerer. To newer players who hadn't really mastered the system, Arcanist was regaded as a Master of All. But, as one of the designers for the Second edition has said on Twitter, experienced players had the exact opposite perception, Arcanist as a Master of None that just took worse aspects of both without their biggest strengths a pure Wizard or pure Sorcerer held.
  • Magic: The Gathering:
    • The "4 of every Circle of Protection" deck. It can beat any deck that can only win by damage, has no enchantment removal or bounce, kills slowly enough that you can somehow win even while sinking mana into Circle activations every turn... in other words, only terrible decks. In fitting with the trope, Circle of Protection can be very useful depending on the opponent's deck, which is why they're most commonly "sideboarded" (they start the game in the out-of-play 15-card side deck and can be swapped into the deck during subsequent rounds to neuter a specific threat). Stopping that giant creature with trample and lifelink from ever doing damage is worth one mana a turn.
    • The pre-packaged starter decks Wizards of the Coast sells are generally skill gates in themselves: Competitive against each other, but will get crushed against tournament-level decks. But they are useful in teaching newer players how to modify their decks to win more (first tip: Buy two of the same pre-packaged decks and smoosh 'em together.)
    • Event Decks are designed so you can enter competitive play extremely easily, as well as contain a proportionally high number of valuable and powerful cards (as opposed to starter decks or other types of preconstructed decks, which usually contain no more than a handful of valuable cards, if any). In most kitchen table games and low-tier competitive scene, they're exceedingly powerful straight out of the box. In higher levels, you would likely need 4 copies of the same event deck just to get four copies of the powerful cards you would want to consistently show up, and that's not including the Mythic Rare cards you might need. Even then, professional level decks can still easily destroy them.
    • Most beginner decks focus on a handful (sometimes just one or two) big, scary creatures that frequently have sky-high casting costs - while these could, in theory, be game-winners if they ever got on the table, speed is everything in Magic and more skilled players will frequently build their decks around weaker, but faster-to-cast cards that will ensure the game is over long before they have to worry about that Progenitus or Emrakul. While it is possible to build a deck around strong, high-cost creatures, it's generally regarded as one of the more difficult ways to win a high-level game as creatures are one of the most easy threats to defend against.
  • Pokémon TCG's Mulligan Mewtwo deck. Chances of defeating an expert player with a good deck? Near zero. Chances of defeating a new player who doesn't understand what it's trying to do? Near 100%. Naturally, it stopped showing up in tournaments rather quickly as people figured it out.
  • Res Arcana: In games without Perlae Imperii (whose Pearl mechanic actually makes it a viable choice even at higher levels), Windup Man is good at low levels because it automatically generates a lot of resources at the start of every round, which you can cash out later. However, it's terrible against good players for multiple reasons: The first is that good players can end the game sooner, which leaves Windup Man unable to produce as much as you'd want to. This is extra bad considering how many resources it ties up (not only is it expensive to play, but you have to put a type of resource on it to make it generate that resource), and the fact that you're unable to cash out earlier without losing value. The second is that it telegraphs what you're planning to do, which gives your opponent time to respond (for instance by grabbing some good Monuments if they see you using it to make gold).
  • In Terraforming Mars, the helpfully named Beginner Corporation lets you keep all 10 research cards that you draw at the start of the game without paying their costs. This is very useful for simplifying the early portion of the game if you're learning to play, but the Beginner Corporation's lack of a special ability beyond that, or any tags that can speed up research, makes it less useful for a player who better understands how to manage their resources.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • Competitive circles tend to describe these as "rogue decks" (along with Anti Metagame Characters) —decks that tend to be good enough to stomp casual decks and sucker-punch some tournament decks if the user isn't paying attention, but lack the consistency or power to go anywhere in a competitive setting. Chaos Max Turbo is a fairly famous example: not only is it very easy to play, but any degree of luck results in you sitting on at least one 4000-attacker with immunity to targeting and destruction and the ability to murder even harder through defense. However, a high-level-focused Ritual setup makes it very reliant on searches to avoid bricking entirely, Chaos Max's summon is very easy to stop or waylay, and making the summon eats up enough of your resources that if Chaos Max goes down (which isn't as hard as it sounds), then you're probably going to lose.
    • The "Boss Duel" format of, where up to three players duel against a single duelist playing a Purposely Overpowered deck, based on the decks used by some of the franchise's Invincible Villains, which infinitely recycles its cards and always draws the same opening hand. Against beginner players, the boss is an absolute stomp, but diligent or experienced players will find the boss incredibly predictable due to having a deck of less than ten cards, and quite easy to counter into oblivion.
  • Warhammer 40,000 has several:
    • A standard beginner tactic is to load up an army with lots of powerful, elite, high-cost units. While this strategy occasionally works at a tournament level ("Nidzilla" armies were built around taking a small number of incredibly scary monsters and using them to shred the opponent, and were an extremely potent list for a few years), more frequently this will result in a tiny army that simply doesn't have enough guns/close combat attacks to deal with a numerically superior force.
    • Vanilla terminators were this for years. On the surface, they look like a fantastic unit - better guns than their tactical squad brethren, two S8 attacks in close combat that ignore armour saves, and a 2+/5++ armour save made them seem like a Jack of All Trades unit that could do well anywhere on the board. Unfortunately, they cost a bomb (at 40 points per model, they were nearly 3x as expensive as a basic tactical marine, and a fully upgraded squad cost an eye-popping 500 points) and while their armour was great, they had the same T4/W1 defence as any other marine, so they were not nearly as invulnerable as they appeared on first blush. Add into this a lack of a dedicated transport (unless you spent ANOTHER 250+ points on a Land Raider variant) and you had a super-expensive unit that had trouble making its point costs back before an opponent could justifiably direct a significant amount of firepower at them. While Terminators were not impossible to use, their uses are significantly more limited than most beginners understood.
    • Likewise, the Space Marine Dreadnought was basically a Terminator on steroids. Packing a Dreadnought close combat weapon (three S10 attacks in close combat that struck at initiative and ignored armour saves) and a (usually twin-linked) heavy weapon, the Dreadnought looked like a threat at range or in close. Unfortunately, their rate of fire was actually fairly unimpressive and they were horribly vulnerable to being tarpitted (three S10 attacks means that, statistically, you're probably only killing two enemies a turn - not particularly impressive if the enemy is tying you up with a unit where models are 6 points apiece). Like the Terminators they did have their uses, but few tournament-level Space Marine lists bothered with them as the points were generally more effectively spent elsewhere.
    • Two words; Distraction Carnifex. While made famous by Tyranid players (where the name originated) this tactic can be used by any faction so long as they have a unit that can fit the bill. Basically, the player puts a big scary looking model on the table specifically to trick the opponent into shooting it while their real threats move into range. While this can be devastating, this only works if the opponent doesn't recognize the unit as a distraction. If they do, then they can just direct their fire at something else.
    • Space Marines were designed with this in mind; the individual space marine is fairly inexpensive but can reasonably survive even heavy firepower and come out with little to no casualties. They also have a wide variety of weapons to deal with any situation. Their Jack of All Trades nature however meant that other armies can simply dance circles around them if they knew what they were doing. This was intentional as Space Marines were always the entry-level army for new players; they were incredibly forgiving to people who are just learning the concept of armor saves, cover and close combat, while their stats means that the occasional lucky roll allowed them to turn the tide of battle even against a superior opponent. Until the introduction of special leaders that buffed their abilities, Space Marines often found it hard to compete at higher levels as their basic troops were often forced to pay for things that other factions could trim; the base marine costs anywhere from 13-16 points while the gun it will be toting will cost almost double that compared to half (or even quarter) the cost of other units because they lack the space marine's armor or stats. But in a firefight, one (or in some cases three) more gun/warm body is always more useful than a slight increase in survivability.
    • Chaos and Imperial Knights fall into this category in tournament play. Tough, fast and capable of extremely high damage output both at range and in close combat, Knights at first seem very intimidating. However, they often struggle to play the mission itself due to their low numbers and have several easily exploitable weaknesses (such as being charged in melee). They'll often end in the middle ranking at tournaments - some army lists can't deal with them, but any lists that can will surge past them in the placings.

    Third-Person Shooter 
  • The Gears of War series has the Gnasher Shotgun - and Gears of War 3 adds the Sawed-off variety. With the kinds of movement skill that are vital in Gears multiplayer, the only thing mitigating the point-and-shoot ease of shotguns is the fact that everyone else has them, too. But when you move up to tournament levels of play, teamwork and co-ordination with assault rifle fire and power weapon procurement will utterly destroy any teams that rely on wallbouncing into shotgun range to score kills.
  • Co-op example: big characters like krogan, turians (original flavor), and batarians in Mass Effect 3 multiplayer tend to exemplify this trope. They have more health and shielding than smaller characters (humans, asari, salarians, quarians, etc.), but in exchange lack a dodge command. On lower difficulties, a well-built krogan can shrug off nearly anything that isn't a One-Hit Kill, and enemies with instant kills (which are particularly nasty against slow characters) don't show up in any great number. On higher difficulties, dodging becomes much more important, since enemies with instant-kills show up earlier and more often, and damage increases mean that even a Mook or two can pose a credible threat. A player who's relied on the durability of their characters to stay alive will end up dying a lot on gold and platinum difficulties; conversely, a player skilled enough to win consistently on these levels will be good enough at avoiding enemy fire that extra health and shields won't be nearly as useful as they first appear.
  • In Splatoon:
    • The first game has the Special Weapon Inkstrike, which allows the user to shoot a missile that dumps a large pillar of ink of their team's color anywhere on the stage. Any opponents caught in the radius of the landing spot are instantly splatted as well. As the objective of Splatoon in its Turf War mode is to ink more ground than your opponents, the Inkstrike comes off as very attractive to newcomers, and indeed, they are effective against those who don't take advantage of its weaknesses: It has a very long startup time beforehand and a cooldown time afterwards that's almost as long, meaning anyone who uses an Inkstrike out in the open becomes a sitting duck to any opponents who can get in close. It also comes with a warning signal to opponents that shows exactly where it'll land about three seconds before it does, so experienced players will rarely get hit by one. The Inkstrike is by far the most common Special Weapon in the lower ranks and among people below Level 30, but it drops off sharply above Level 30 and in the A and S Ranks, becoming near-nonexistent towards the top, even after it got buffed later in the game's life. That being said, the Inkstrike is still valued at every level of play for being the only means of inking a lot of ground after time runs out — any Inkstrikes still in progress when time runs out will still explode ink with opponents unable to do anything about it, making it great for tipping the scales in an otherwise even match.
    • The Aerospray family is across every installment of the game. Their biggest claim to fame are their fantastic turf-inking ability, with these weapons having short range and large shot spread variance. This leads it to being a great weapon in Turf Wars and having easy access to Specials thanks to being able to generate points so quickly. In Ranked or Anarchy Battles, however, it is considered by many to be a low-tier weapon, as while inking turf is important, it's not as important as the ability to push the objective, and a shooter with both poor range and damage finds it difficult to carve a niche as anything other than a support or a Special spammer in higher ranked play. Despite this, there are players who side with the Aerosprays as off-meta picks, as depending on the kit and team composition, they can be fully functional in that aforementioned support role and can catch the opposition off-guard due to sheer surprise factor.
    • The Carbon Roller family became this in the series overtime due to balance patches throughout the first two games. The Carbon Rollers are oversized paint rollers, tracing a wide path of ink behind them as long as it's held to the ground, and they have the highest running speed among all traditional rollers. This means that, like the Aerospray, they are very good at inking a lot very quickly. However, they have a harder time eliminating enemies in their way than any other roller class weapon, as Carbon Rollers sacrificed most of the one-hit splat moves that all other rollers have in favor of that speedy movement. Unfortunately, any time spent rolling out ink is time spent exposed to enemies, so while it was popular at first, Carbon Rollers eventually fell to the wayside when they attracted the attention of snipers who could safely remove them from a secure location.
  • Warframe has the Rhino and Valkyr frames. Their respectable defenses and ability to convert Energy into a shield or invulnerability duration make them very attractive to new players. However, this often encourages players to eat enemy attacks in a game that quickly turns into Rocket-Tag Gameplay, which rapidly becomes suicidal as Bombards, Napalms, Combas, and Scrambus can tear even a well-armored warframe apart if not countered quickly. Valkyr can make up for this thanks for her innate Life Strike in Hysteria mode to recover Health, but this locks her into melee attacks that aren't adequate against other mobile players, when clearing larger rooms, or when trying to defend locations, some of the more common end-game situations.
    • Admittedly, one issue with Rhino is that his Iron Skin ability gives him effectively a third health bar, after a three-second invincibility window —- unfortunately, this goads players into using the skill before getting into an engagement with enemies. Turns out that during the aforementioned window, damage taken gets converted into more health, which means that careful use of the invincibility window can ensure Rhino is able to tank lethal shots and hold important points or revive downed players.

    Turn-Based Strategy 
  • Advance Wars:
    • Black Hole Rising and Dual Strike have Max. His firepower bonus to direct combat units, which includes strong units like Neotanks and Bombers, allow him to easily sweep aside inexperienced players, especially while his CO Powers are in effect. But in high-level play, Indirect units like Artillery are extremely important (Grit, who specializes in Indirects, is considered a Game-Breaker), and Max's indirect are not only weak, but have 1 less range. This essentially renders Artillery useless for him, which makes him very easy to out-manoeuvre. While he remains useful in Black Hole Rising, his weaker CO Powers make him a difficult choice in Dual Strike. Note that this is not the case in the first game, where his 50% firepower bonus to direct units made him a Game-Breaker.
    • Hawke's 10% firepower bonus to all units for no apparent drawback often gets him labelled as overpowered by inexperienced players. In reality this isn't as much of an advantage as you'd think; while powerful, his very expensive CO Powers are a significant weakness (especially in longer matches). Not helping is that the Campaign missions against him tend to have him start with an overwhelming advantage, to hype him up as a Knight of Cerebus. With so many expensive pre-deployed units, players will be hit by his CO Powers far more than they'll be in a regular match.
    • Lash is a fine example, being a CO who is seen as one of the best non-broken COs in the game by new players but discounted as trash by veterans and pros at the game. The reason being is at first glance she has a strong power, +10% attack for every terrain defense star, no weaknesses whatsoever, and apparently strong CO powers (no movement costs from her regular, and no movement costs AND doubled terrain stars for her super). However what cripples her is how lackluster her regular and super CO powers actually are and a hidden mechanic regarding terrain stars. The cost of her powers (4 for her regular and 7 for her Super) are rather high for what they do, costing the same as Kanbei, Olaf, and Drake's utterly devastating super powers and actually costing more than Andy, Sonja, and Rachael's downright savage super powers — Lash's meanwhile will only significantly affect a small percentage of her units, those in forests, on properties, or infantry units on mountains — any unit on roads, shoals, rivers, all air units, and most naval units, that is the vast majority her army, won't get a boost at all. Furthermore, terrain stars scale with the HP of the unit: a unit at 5 HP will get only half the terrain stars it would normally get, meaning that while most boosts to attack and defense still make a difference — even a 5 HP Max tank is notably more powerful, and a 5 HP Kanbei tank nigh-invulnerable, as they still enjoy full power boosts, while Lash's power boosts quickly melt away as her units suffer damage. At the end of the day, while she has a decent day-to-day power, her CO and Super CO powers are so comparably weak that she effectively loses all momentum the moment her opponent gets one good Super, and this will happen before she even gets her's: she is officially listed as Tier 3 on the competive league, and seen as one who is too weak for Tier 3 but too strong for Tier 4, for a reason. Ironically, despite this, they still saw fit to savagely nerf her in Dual Strike, reducing her attack from +10% to +5% per star and designing Sonja to hard-counter her by reducing enemy defense stars by 1 and having stronger counter-attacks, which ironically makes her one of the worst COs in that game.
    • Mechs are a unit example. A lot of new players decry Mech spamming is cheap and broken, given how cost-effective Mechs are against most units. While the cost-effectiveness part is true, the abysmal movement of Mechs means most vehicles won't get hit by them unless they're played very effectively, and the low price of Mechs is offset by how much they rely on investment in other units to be useful (either more Mechs or transports), and spamming them will cut down on your force's Infantry and Tanks considerably, which will quickly get you dominated in map control by more experienced players. Sure Mech spam is scary on small maps with dense terrain and a lot of Bases... but only on those maps.
    • Days of Ruin has Tabitha, who ties with the final boss for highest attack and defense bonus to allied units, but also has the smallest area of effect (initially just one unit.) She can annihilate lone units, but she has no good response to concentrated fire, especially from artillery and other indirect-attack units.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • Newer fans tend to make a lot of use of Magikarp Power characters and dismiss the Crutch Characters as a waste of XP. People looking to chase top ranks do the opposite. Creating an unkillable super-unit with a bit of Level Grinding has obvious appeal to the inexperienced, but veterans believe that the time spent grinding a weak character into an overpowered one could be spent using the characters who are already effective to just win. It certainly doesn't help that casual players tend to favor lower difficulties, which means lots of weak enemies and faster XP gain to help train up the novices—something that, on higher difficulties, will probably just get them killed.
    • In the early years of Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance, fans tended to swear by Ike, the main character, lauding him for his extremely high maxed stats, useful promotion, strong signature weapon and abilities, good growth rates, and excellent performance in challenge maps. He was also a pretty popular character and a Can't Drop the Hero recipient, so most people used him anyway. As the metagame evolved to focus more on the higher difficulties and getting a good end-of-game ranking, Ike's shortcomings became much more obvious; he's a sword-user in a game where most of the enemies use spears, he doesn't have the speed of a mounted unit, and most of the above advantages kick in late-game in a game where Early Game Hell is very worrisome.
    • "Navarre" characters—early-joining former-enemy myrmidons—tend to get a lot of love in casual circles and tend to be seen as pretty subpar by the hardcores. This is for a very unusual reason: these characters tend to start with a Killing Edge in their inventory, which is a powerful sword with an unusually high crit rate. Novice players tend to treat Killing Edge like something only they can use—consequently, the myrmidon will then abuse it to get in ridiculous kills and show off their crit animation constantly, leading the player to abuse them even more, and by the time the sword breaks, they've gotten enough of a level lead to stay dominant. Efficiency-minded players realize that a lot of characters can use a Killing Edge, and instead pass it around to anyone who has a good sword rank and needs to get a kill. Without their Cool Sword in hand, their weaknesses (fragile, poor damage whenever they aren't critting, lackluster weapon selection and mobility) become a lot more apparent, and they need a lot more to stay ahead.
    • Armor knights are very commonly this, as their sheer Mighty Glacier bulk is extremely helpful for players who are bad at minding hits. On lower difficulties, they can often border on invincibility, able to No-Sell attacks left and right from weak starting enemies, and making them an excellent fallback option. Once a player gets better at keeping track of enemy damage, the tankiness of an armor knight becomes less necessary, and their signature poor mobility gives them little to do outside of soaking up damage. This often changes by the game, however, especially in the more recent games where the player's turn tends to mean more than the enemy's turn, where storms of incredibly weak cannon fodder have given way to small batches of strong singular units that practically require a tank to deal with. Fire Emblem Engage makes armored units more viable by making them immune to Break- units hit by an enemy with a Weapon Triangle advantage will be unable to counterattack until after the next combat- thus making it more feasible to use them to bait out enemy units, as well as making them about as mobile as infantry units.
    • In Fire Emblem Heroes, Fallen Edelgard functions this way. Her kit is extremely min-maxed to allow her to hard counter the vast majority of units released before her and she can steamroll an unprepared team single-handedly. However, units who do have the combination of skills necessary to counter her can typically do so without breaking a sweat. It's very common for new or returning players to ask frustratedly how on earth they're meant to kill her with their non-meta favourite units, while high-level players dismiss her as a wasted slot unless she's supported heavily.
  • Civilization V has Venice, which in single player games is a godly civilization thanks to its double trade route, allowing players to quickly earn lots of gold to either pay money for city state alliances, quickly purchase desired buildings in puppeted cities, or convince a leader to declare war on someone, thus allowing Venetian players to quickly score an easy diplomatic victory even at deity level difficulty. Plus, at low levels of play, the large amounts of money, mostly passive victory condition, and lack of need to manage more than one city can be very appealing to new players. However, in multiplayer, such tactics are easily and completely countered as most good players know better than to let Venice snowball to death, thus not only can they simply declare war on them and plunder all of their hard earned trade routes but also embargo Venice as well as the city states to prevent trade routes, completely shutting down their entire ability. Another downside is that neighbouring players will be able to get twice the land they can get due to Venice's inability to expand, allowing opposing players to just wipe Venice out of the game. Because of all the downsides, whenever a player has randomed Venice, they are allowed to reshuffle their leader of choice for free.
    • Ironically, Venice as a civilization is also considered to be Difficult, but Awesome due the civilization's Mechanically Unusual Fighter of being Land of One City playstyle. This is especially true when facing against AI in harder difficulties when they cheat a lot and bully the player due to the limited size of their civilization of being limited to one city (especially AI that tends to declare war a lot like Montezuma and Attila the Hun).
  • Disgaea: Hour of Darkness has an unusual example in Laharl. Laharl is easy to use and, at first, extremely powerful. If you just give him the strongest sword you can get, healing items, and do some Level Grinding, Laharl can effectively steamroll the game proper and carry you all the way to the ending. However, the storyline is just the beginning of the actual game, and the bonus content, you're going to hit a brick wall if you keep relying on Laharl. To win there, you'll need to learn party composition, mentoring, transmigration, and other Min-Maxing tactics that Laharl alone won't teach you.
  • Mordheim: City of the Damned has the Sisters of Sigmar, widely considered the easiest faction to pick up and play for a new player. They have high HP, widespread access to armour, excellent morale and plenty of magical support to be a Stone Wall faction forgiving of tactical mistakes and unfavourable combat rolls. Their complete lack of shooting outside of a DLC-only Hired Sword unit and limited mobility however risks encouraging a rather one-dimensional "run at the enemy and club them to death" playstyle that would get flimsier factions like the Skaven and Mercenaries beaten soundly.

    Non Video Game Examples 
  • Zigzagged in the Cardfight!! Vanguard franchise with the Royal Paladin clan. In the 2011 anime Royal Paladin seems to be extremely popular among beginners, but rarely used by more experienced players. Several characters are shown to have used it in flashbacks to years ago instead of the clans they would primarily become known for. Aichi Sendou who has his first game of Vanguard ever in the first episode uses Royal Paladin for most of the first season. In Season 2, circumstances force him to switch to the new Gold Paladin clan for the duration of the season but he ultimately decides to make it his primary clan in Season 3. In the first half of Season 4, the normally hyper-skilled Toshiki Kai, who is one of the aforementioned characters to have used Royal Paladin when he was younger, decides to start using the clan again and proceeds to get his ass handed to him by literally everyone before switching back to his signature Kagero in the second half and starts going to town on everyone like he usually does. In the direct sequel G however the aspect of Royal Paladin as being this trope seems to have been forgotten. New character Shion Kiba uses the clan throughout the show to great effect. Also, even though Aichi was a Gold Paladin main for almost exactly half of the original show and was only really a Royal Paladin main in Season 1, Royal Paladin has become his signature clan by the time of G.
  • In Dominion, Big Money — just buying money and basic victory cards — is a skill gate strategy. It's easy to play and will beat most beginners' attempts to put together Action cards. However, a well-put-together deck will beat Big Money. Even in kingdoms where you want to go for money-focused strategies, you usually want some Action cards in there too.
  • Extra Credits talks about this in their "Balancing for Skill" video. Essentially, these strategies (which can be character selects or something else) provide a lot of power for very little skill, allowing new players to easily conquer the early part of a single-player game or allow some level of competition against veterans in multiplayer (such as Call of Duty's grenade launcher, or "noob tube"). These are necessary to get new players interested and help them feel some sense of accomplishment, but they run the risk of either becoming a Game-Breaker, or of players getting frustrated and quitting when they run up against the limits of the strategy. The video recommends some form of Wake-Up Call Boss as an antidote, preferably early in the game once the player has gotten their feet under them, to force them to learn more tactics and develop their skills.
  • One Piece shows that this is the case for Logia users. This variety of Devil Fruit often gives the user some form of Nigh-Invulnerability that's good enough to beat most foes they'll be fighting, particularly in the four seas. But in the New World, the second half of the Grand Line, the forces of the Four Emperors have people who are trained to use Haki, which allows them to fight against Logia users. If a Logia user challenges the New World without having learned how their ability works and how to use it effectively in high-level combat, they're not likely to survive.
  • In RWBY, Taiyang explains that Yang has been turning herself into this by fighting as The Berserker and relying on her Semblance to win fights, rather than learning to defend herself properly. This tactic is good enough against most adversaries (including other students at Beacon) because Yang has phenomenal raw power, but against an experienced fighter like Adam Taurus who could account for it and make a counterstrategy, all it did was get her arm lopped off. He then proceeds to teach her to defend herself properly and overcome this trait.
  • TierZoo, which puts animals into Character Tiers depending on how well they survive, explicitly mentions both birds of prey and wolves as "gatekeepers" to the higher tiers. They are solidly placed in A- tier for the most part, are easy to play as and can perform very well against lower tiers thanks to their stats and skills such as flight for the former and pack hunting for the latter. However, there are holes in their build and/or strategy that can be exploited by top-tier builds. Wolves for example need to surprise and intimidate a larger, stronger animal into fleeing so the pack can wear it down, but if it avoids being surprised and/or stands its ground instead the pack tends to abort the attack. Being able to counter the strategy of and survive birds of prey and wolves reliably will often put an animal build in the A- to S- tiers.
    TierZoo: Even though wolves have a pretty solid offensive strategy, players with good fundamentals and matchup experience will be able to thwart their plans most of the time, and wolves, much like birds of prey, function as the gatekeepers to the higher tiers and are placed solidly in A-tier.

Alternative Title(s): Skill Gate Character