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So Last Season

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Paragus: Wha-!? What did [Vegeta] just do!?
Frieza: Hang on, can Broly not turn into a Super Saiyan? [dejected] That is such a mere disappointment.
Paragus: What? A... Super Saiyan!? Like the legend? That's a myth!

It's the second season of your show, and a new group of evildoers has shown up to challenge your heroes. Despite spending all last season training and defeating the legions of evil, they get creamed—uh oh, they forgot to account for the Sorting Algorithm of Evil. Using those same old moves again? That's So Last Season.

This phenomenon ensures that by the second episode of the second season, somebody's bound to get a power-up, and that any attacks learned before that power-up are worthless. This is a necessary consequence of the Sorting Algorithm of Evil, but an awfully predictable one. Of course, if the whole team doesn't get the upgrade, there's always the danger that stragglers Can't Catch Up.

There's a good chance the Non-Serial Movie will ignore this and just make their abilities more powerful to avoid the problems of Continuity Snarl and Comic-Book Time, but some fans are just as liable to complain that the characters are using the same old abilities.

Extremely common in magical girl shows, as their attacks seem to be much more rigidly defined than other genres. Magical girls' new season powerups are often accompanied by new outfits—almost always nearly identical to their old ones, save with a Frilly Upgrade.

A variant occurs in video games, where early weapons like pistols become less useful as heavier firepower like machine guns and explosive devices are made available to counter the increasing protection offered to opponents. And when this happens on a series wide scale, with the last game or version's content being inferior to the ones following, you have a Power Creep. On the other hand, when this doesn't happen all the way from the very start, you have Starter Gear Staying Power.

A similar phenomenon is the Serial Escalation, which ensures that the narrative stakes keep increasing as the plot progresses. It sometimes goes hand-in-hand with this trope if said increased stakes come from the characters growing too powerful, inevitably leading to even bigger narrative threats showing up in order to keep the tension high.

Compare Costume Evolution, The Worf Barrage, Uniqueness Decay, It Only Works Once, Kung Fu-Proof Mook. Contrast Bag of Spilling. Compare and contrast Back to Base Form. When applied to a Post-Script Season, results in Plot Leveling.

Not to be confused with a recap of what happened last season.


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  • Bleach featured this frequently. For Ichigo, his Shikai is useless as soon as he learns Bankai, and said Bankai is practically useless on its own after the arc where he first learns it as well.
    • Lampshaded in the Espada arc:
      Grimmjow: You use your Bankai and all it gives you is average speed?
    • His Signature Move, Getsuga Tensho, which Urahara says would have taken his arm off if he hadn't put up his shield and is used to completely blow away Byakuya's Shikai and makes a crater in the ground, turns from a Finishing Move to a spam move after the Soul Society Arc, often needing two of them sandwiching the opponent just to mildly injure him. This is even after the fact Zangetsu stated knowing the name of the move would strengthen it. This case is actually a Subverted Trope, however; Ichigo rarely, if ever learns new offensive moves. Instead he usually just pours more energy into his Getsuga Tenshos when he needs it to deal some REAL damage.
    • Lampshaded in 270 and 271 of the manga; Ichigo manages to surprise Ulquiorra with his Hollow Powers and nearly blows up the room using his Getsuga Tensho. Ulquiorra can't even block it and gets caught in the smoke it makes. Cut to Nel celebrating that everything's okay... and Ulquiorra comes out of the smoke, only slightly battered and missing a bit of his sleeves. As the English dub puts it:
      Ulquiorra: I'm quite surprised. Was that it? Finished, Ichigo?
      Ichigo: It... can't...
      Ulquiorra: (patting dust off his sleeve nonchalantly) Hmph. Yes, it would appear it was.
    • However, unlike most protagonists subjected to this trope, Ichigo doesn't immediately learn newer, more powerful moves to replace the Getsuga Tensho, or even (except in one special case) learn improved versions of it. He simply gets stronger and makes it effective again... until the next, even more powerful enemy shows up, which results in the cycle repeating. One thing he does (way too infrequently) to improve its effectiveness is, instead of firing the Getsuga right away is leave it surrounding his blade and slice his opponent, then fire off the attack while his sword is already inside their body. This guarantees a hit and bypasses their defenses... but it's still the same attack.
    • In the last arc, he finally learns a new technique... which is simply two of them at once.
  • Code Geass is one of the best examples of this. Every ten or so episodes someone makes a new generation of Knightmare Frame (mecha), which are completely capable of wiping the floor with the last generation, to the point where even the top-tier of the previous generation is woefully obsolete against the next-gen stuff.
  • Cyberpunk: Edgerunners uses this for tragedy in the final episode. David has relied on his Sandevistan for much of the series. When he triggers it against Adam Smasher, Smasher triggers his own, then refers to it as a "rudimentary implant". To David, the Sandevistan meant everything; to major players like Smasher, it's barely worth mentioning. David never had a chance.
  • Early on in Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, one single Lower Moon of the Twelve Kizuki is a serious threat to Tanjiro and his friends, though not so much to the higher ranking Hashira slayers. In the Infinity Castle arc, the nameless fodder demons are said to be as powerful as any Lower Moon was; said fodder were being effortlessly stomped on in droves by every main character at that point.
  • Don't expect to have a chance against any later villains if the highest state you can evolve to in Digimon is Ultimate/Perfect, or have some new kind of evolution like DNA or Matrix evolving. And if under any circumstance you're not a main character and actually can evolve to the Mega/Ultimate level, expect to require Burst Mode to stand a chance against a villain of any importance later on. Oh well... at least you can be able to take on a few Mooks, because there will be plenty you can take on, just don't expect to be able to face off against the Big Bad by yourself.
    • It should be noted that most Digimon seasons, especially the earlier ones, put limitations over the use of more powerful forms (that is, returning to the In Training/Baby 2 stage, requiring time to re-evolve) so that the previous, less powerful forms still get some use. Even Frontier, early on, would show characters varying between Human-form Digimon and Beast-form ones. Data Squad played it completely straight, though - if a Digimon reaches a new level, don't expect to see the previous levels again.
      • On the plus side, in Savers, pretty much every "main" digimon was able to hit Mega/Ultimate and eventually Burst Mode - whereas prior seasons only had a few characters able to do this, resulting in the rest of the cast being reduced to Can't Catch Up status. Frontier, Adventures, and Tamers were particularly bad (with up to three quarters of the cast unable to do anything in the later arcs.)
      • Somewhat justified with Tamers, as half the cast got their Digimon in the second half (And one in the final quarter) of the series, getting Digivices only a few episodes prior to Takato managing to Biomerge, making it less Can't Catch Up and just the secondary casts' partners appearing too late.
      • Although largely played straight in Frontier, where Takuya and Koji take the center stage with Fusion Evolution; the rest of the gang do make the effort to avoid being left behind and remain largely effective for a long while into the series, even if the higher evolutions have to step in to land the final blow. Once Unified Spirit Evolution becomes a thing however, they end up experiencing this the hardest of any Digimon group, as getting Takuya and Koji into their highest levels involves leaving the rest of the gang literally defenseless without their spirits.
      • Ghost Game manages to get around this trope due to Ultimate and above forms putting much more strain on the groups Digivices, giving their partners a case of Hour of Power. This often mean they only bring them out when it's absolutely necessary. A few times the group has been forced to think on their toes due to the forms giving out at the worst possible time.
  • Dinosaur King: Max/Ryuta's Thunder Bazooka and Lightning Assault/Lightning Spear cards no longer work as finishers and are soon dropped, replaced by Plasma Anchor and then Thunder Driver. Assault/Spear gets it particularly bad, used in conjunction with the season's elemental armor, and yet fails to defeat a dinosaur that lacks the season's newly-introduced armor.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • One of the first things to go in the original Dragon Ball are the special melee attacks used at the very beginning of the series like Goku's Rock-Paper-Scissors or Yamcha's Wolf Fang Fist. While effective when it was all they had, they're quickly made obsolete by even the basic ki attacks and are quickly forgotten about. This is best shown when Yamcha trains to improve the Wolf Fang Fist for the second tournament and the upgraded version fails in its very first and only use. Past around the midpoint of Dragon Ball, they are flat out never used again, not even for an occasional comeback like obsolete ki attacks.
    • Subverted with the Flying Nimbus. Even though they can fly at breakneck speeds and don't really need it anymore, Goku and his family continue to use it, since it's still a great way to travel fast without expending any energy.
    • Interestingly, the Kamehameha only gets stronger as the show goes on despite being the first energy technique used. It gets stronger as Goku's ki grows, and although eventually it gets so high he's able to just toss raw energy around without needing to perform the specific focus and release technique, doing it anyway still creates a stronger blast than if he didn't, and it's still a lot faster than even more powerful techniques like the Spirit Bomb, letting it remain as Goku's go-to energy attack. The same goes for other attacks like the Destructo Disk, Special Beam Cannon and the Neo Tri-Beam as, while they're not one-hit murderers, they can be used to clear the room of mooks or keep an enemy on their toes.
    • Tenshinhan's ability to fly is treated as a big deal when he breaks it out during the 22nd World Martial Arts Competition. Prior to this, only Not Quite Flight was considered possible, and extended air travel was otherwise only done via the Flying Nimbus or normal aircraft. Part of the impact comes from the fact that the tournament rules include a ring-out as one of the main ways to lose a match, so Ten's flight ability makes him all the more formidable for Goku to face. However, every martial artist character introduced after this arc is given the ability to fly by default, to the point Gohan ends up teaching Badass Normal Videl how to early in the last arc.
    • One major exception is Ten's Solar Flare. Even the most powerful opponents can't defend themselves from a sudden burst of blinding light.
    • Another major exception is the ability to sense ki. This is first taught to Goku by Kami during a Time Skip, then is taught the rest of the Earthling fighters during the preparation for the Saiyan invasion in Dragon Ball Z. Vegeta somehow develops the ability to sense ki while fighting Goku, merely by knowing that it's possible, after which every Earth-dwelling character is assumed to have the ability. However, it remains a rare ability throughout the rest of the universe, and occasionally provides an advantage to the fighters as late as Dragon Ball Super.
    • The Destructo Disk averts this trope because there is nothing in canon that it can't cut through, so it remains useful even into Dragon Ball Super, with its only detriment being Krillin's insistence on loudly announcing to his target that he's about to use it, even when he's trying to surprise them with it (or the one time where he tries to be stealthy and Yajirobe blows his cover).
    • Goku's Kaio-Ken technique is almost never seen used by him after the Frieza Saga, and his transformation into a Super Saiyan had all but obsoleted Kaio-Ken. Word of God said that a combination of the two would have deadly consequences for the user: the Super Saiyan transformation is already stressful on the body, and Kaio-Ken is significantly moreso, enough that so the combination of both would quickly burn out the body; Goku only manages to successfully combine the two in a filler arc where he's already dead and immune to the negative effects. However, he later learns to combine the Kaio-Ken with his Super Saiyan Blue form (i.e. going Super Saiyan as a Super Saiyan God), since that transformation is calm and requires a calm mind to use. Even then, it's still a work in progress, initially having a 90% failure rate and throwing Goku's ability to control his ki out of whack after extended use of the combination. But eventually he gets the hang of it and it becomes a regular power-up.
    • The Super Saiyan transformation itself goes from legendary and exclusive to being shared by a handful of individuals at once, and nearly all of them have access to ascended stages beyond the standard grade. By the time Dragon Ball Super rolls around, there's only two living characters with Saiyan blood that haven't learned to transform into a Super Saiyan: Pan and Bra, and both are infants. Late in the series, Vegeta's young son Trunks is merely struggling a bit in the Gravity Room with him, and just suddenly decides to go Super Saiyan to run around more easily, shocking his father. Vegeta then becomes irritated when he learns that Goten, Goku's youngest son, can also transform, openly wondering when the transformation was "reduced to a child's plaything". Super later justifies the lack of uniqueness when Cabba, a Saiyan from Universe 6, is teaching Caulifla how to transform into a Super Saiyan by revealing that transforming into a Super Saiyan isn't some odd requirement of having a pure heart and righteous rage, but by condensing all of your ki into a spot on your back where the heart and lungs are. This may only apply to the more evolved Universe 6 Saiyans, however. And how useful the Super Saiyan transformation is tends to vary depending on the person using it, which causes this trope to be played straight, subverted or zigzagged all together. Still, it's notable when in Dragon Ball Super: Broly Frieza, who once feared the prophecy of the Super Saiyan to the point of enacting his Saiyan genocide, was disappointed when he learned Broly initially doesn't have the transformation.
    • Despite all of the above, the base Super Saiyan form suberts this trope and never truly loses its usefulness even to the very end of the manga. In the Cell Arc, Goku and Gohan decide that the best way to reach Super Saiyan 2 is to... master the base Super Saiyan like it's second nature. Unlike the advanced forms, the base Super Saiyan is a quick way to multiply one's base power without too much effort, so as long as your base power is up to speed, it's enough to handle most opponents, and makes Super Saiyan 2 that much easier to reach. Super Saiyan 2 is useful in a bind but is more of a strain, while Super Saiyan 3 is Too Awesome to Use unless another factor is in play, like Fusion or the user being dead. It would take until Battle of Gods to reset the starting point with Super Saiyan God, and even then the base Super Saiyan is what's used on top of that to reach Super Saiyan Blue.
    • Most notably played straight with Gohan's final upgrade in the series: once he attains that, he doesn't need to transform into a Super Saiyan anymore - and, in fact, supposedly can't (though he is seen in Super Saiyan form in works set after Z, due to not keeping up his training and needing the transformation to access his full potential).
    • Like the Kaio-Ken, Goku and Vegeta zigzag this in Super. After ascending to godhood, they perfect their basic Super Saiyan forms and no longer need Super Saiyan 2 or 3. They can also merge their Super Saiyan forms with their god powers, creating a Super Saiyan Blue, which is basically a more powerful and stable version of Super Saiyan God. However, their Super Saiyan Blue forms still tend to get overpowered which forces them to use higher transformation forms to compensate.
    • The rebooted canon Broly written by Akira Toriyama in Dragon Ball Super: Broly completely subverts in not only the Super Saiyan transformation, but also the power of the Oozaru form. First, Broly, as a result of his mutant biology, can use the power of the Oozaru in his human form which makes him stronger than Super Saiyan God Goku and Vegeta, while his Super Saiyan form is stronger than their Blue form, and that is before he goes Full Power/"Legendary".
    • Even training methods experience this. Goku and Krillin initially train with Master Roshi, and are as a result made so powerful that very few people in the tournament can even stand up to them, to the point Master Roshi himself has to step up in disguise to keep them from easily winning and getting too full of themselves. Later on, Goku trains with Master Korin which allows him to surpass Mercenary Tao, while Krillin and Yamcha train with Master Roshi. Despite training for even longer and more intensely than Goku did at the time, both Korin's training and Goku's own in the interim still far surpass either of them. This continues on for a quite a while, with Goku getting better training from Kami, then King Kai, then the Gravity Chamber, and so on; while everybody elseuses the training method Goku was using last time and ending up trailing far behind him. Only the Gravity Chamber really remains in use as an effective training method throughout the franchise, and the amount of Gravity it can generate simply increases.
    • Weighted clothing, which first appears near the end of Dragon Ball as an effective means of showing I Am Not Left-Handed, all but disappears by the Cell Saga. The idea of training in weighted clothing was replaced by training in artificial gravity chambers. Vegeta, for example, likes to train in 500 times Earth's gravity, which adds far more weight to him than any amount of clothing could. Although, Piccolo still trains with weighted clothes and takes them off when he's serious. Also, in Super, one of Whis' training sessions for Goku and Vegeta involved sumo-like suits that Vegeta described as far more heavy than the gravity chamber's highest setting... and when thrown on the ground, they easily sink at least a dozen feet into the ground.
  • Duel Masters was guilty of this. Being a Merchandise-Driven anime made to advertise a card game, it was inevitable that the game's Power Creep would bleed into the anime itself.
  • There is a downplayed example in Frieren: Beyond Journey's End. Qual, the Elder Sage of Corruption, had what was considered one of the most terrifying spells out there as his signature. In the decades since his sealing, humanity has studied, reverse engineered, and expanded upon the spell to the point that the spell as he used it is considered rather unimpressive by the current generation of mages. However, the minute he was unsealed and began a fight with our heroes, he immediately figured out how to counter the spells that were tailor-made to defeat him and worked on dismantling Fern's defenses before Frieren ended him.
  • Zig-zagged in Futari wa Pretty Cure. Once the Pretty Cure Rainbow Bracelets are introduced, it seems like the old Pretty Cure Marble Screw has been rendered obsolete (especially since it was already ineffective against last season's Ilkubo). However, Pretty Cure still fight without the bracelets sometimes, and are able to defeat Zakenna and eventually even the Seeds of Evil with the Marble Screw.
    • Futari wa Pretty Cure MaX Heart starts out with the girls receiving their upgrades even before the "initial defeat" scenario could take place. Black, White and Luminous also got another upgrade in each of the movies.
    • This was repeated in Yes! Precure 5 Go Go! and in the attached movies as well.
    • Characters in the Pretty Cure franchise reliably get a similar powerup at the halfway point of the season. This is always associated with some new piece of equipment which is summoned into existence when the better attack is needed, and which incidentally is available in toy form.
  • In Future GPX Cyber Formula, the Asurada car series suffers from this so that there can be mid-season upgrades. The Super Asurada 01 model is the most advanced and powerful racing car in the end of the TV series, but at the beginning of the Double One OVA, it can't catch up because Sugo Corp. doesn't have money to do a proper upgrade. A similar thing happens in SAGA, at which this point Hayato's skill is nowhere to be blamed for his losses.
  • GaoGaiGar plays around with this a bit.
    • Following the acquisition of the Goldion Hammer, Guy's original finishing technique (Hell and Heaven) universally fails to get the job done if he has to fall back on it (ee the 31 Primevals or Zonuda). The reasoning they gave for Hell and Heaven's failing was because Guy's cyborg body couldn't take the strain of repeated usage. He still used Goldion Hammer after he got GaoFighGar and his Evoludar body, but once the Hammer's lost, his new body is more than enough for the attack.
    • Averted when the StealthGao II is introduced: the space-capable replacement for StealthGao also upgrades his Broken Magnum to Broken Phantom and the Protect Shade to Protect Wall. Both are shown to be ridiculously more powerful then the original versions (able to pierce armor and in one case punch a moon to bits). Regardless, GaoGaiGar still uses the original StealthGao when not in space, until FINAL, which gives a two-fold explanation for why this is - for one, StealthGao II actually makes GGG's attacks too powerful (Guy expresses shock when Repli-Mamoru summons it in the middle of a city, because of how much collateral damage it could cause, and he only uses it on Earth for the final battle of the original series where he needs as much power as possible). Even without that issue, there's also the use of physical Phantom Rings to boost GaoGaiGar's abilities, which makes Broken Phantom take much longer to execute, and can also be destroyed to render them unusable (as happens in said final battle). GaoFighGar upgrades to using non-physical Program Rings that boost its abilities without affecting the time taken to actually use them or giving the opponent any more opening to deny their use.
  • In the Gundam franchise, the main character will often get an upgraded Gundam about halfway through the show; this occurs more often in full TV series than OVAs and movies.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam is an anomaly in that there was only one Gundam throughout, albeit one that does need an upgrade partway through the series to keep up with Amuro's growing ability, but was built on a versatile weapons platform. As the villains upgrade their arsenal to try and match the Gundam, it was always ready to deploy new weapons and tactics with each battle, preventing any one tactic from being the go-to.
    • Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam started with the Gundam Mk. II, which was fielding some new technology but was otherwise identical to the original Gundam in terms of specs. After seven years of mobile suit development, the Mk. II was above the standard grunt suits but not as dominant against the Ace Custom suits being fielded. The titular Zeta Gundam started the Mid-Season Upgrade tradition, but the first of a new generation of designs.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ played with this. Despite starting up immediately after Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, the Gundam Mk. II and the Hyaku Shiki are still decent machines. It's just that their current pilots are nowhere near as good as the first pilots of those machines were.
    • Averted in Mobile Suit Crossbone Gundam. The Crossbone Vanguard is confronted by an army of Gundam F-91s. Despite being 10 years old and lacking many of the features that Seabook made popular, the suits gave the Crossbone X-1 a run for its money with an Ace Custom almost matching it blow for blow.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam Wing places a focus on the mook enemies, since the Gundams are so overpowered they're always at a massive disadvantage but do marginally better with each new model. First it's the 15-year-old Leos, then they move on to the just-developed Tauruses, and finally to computer-operated Virgos. Despite maybe one or two episodes of the Gundam pilots struggling against the new mooks, they'll have managed to turn them into cannon fodder pretty quickly. The poor anonymous nobodies can never catch a break, can they?
    • Averted in Mobile Suit Gundam Seed Destiny with the Freedom Gundam (the protagonist's 2nd unit from the original Gundam SEED), which is still many times more powerful than the newer mobile suits created between shows because its special nuclear-powered engine was declared illegal, and newer ones were built without it. It is eventually destroyed, but only due to ZAFT going all out and sending an entire fleet — and a raging ace pilot — to destroy it.
      • The same series also played it straight: When Kira was forced to sortie in the Strike Rouge, a suit nearly identical to the Super Prototype he started with, he nearly gets his ass kicked by a group of top-of-the-line Grunt Suits.
    • Highlighted in Mobile Suit Gundam 00's second season as to why Nena Trinity died. While almost everybody that survived the first season was bestowed new Gundams, improved GN-X machines, or new prototypes, she was the only character that was stuck having to use her outdated machine, the Throne Drei. This ultimately was used in sealing her fate when Louise Halevy, whose entire family was killed by Nena in the first season, brought her brand new Regnant to utterly crush Nena's Drei. But in Nena's defense, she couldn't get a new one as she was more concerned with actually surviving for four years, and she almost got a new mecha, the Arche Drei. Unfortunately for her, she didn't get it in time.
      • Downplayed in the case of Celestial Being. Despite building state of the art Gundams that are usually a step or two ahead of everyone else, they make sure all of their old units are constantly upgraded just in case they're needed, which is shown to be the case at various times. Notably the final battle has Setsuna and Ribbons facing off in the upgraded Exia and 0 Gundam after their main suits are rendered inoperable. In part this is due to Celestial Being losing access to much of their funding and resources post season 1, causing them to keep their older units in play.
    • A similar downplayed version also happens in Mobile Suit Gundam AGE. Despite the AGE-1 Flat (the AGE-1 Normal without the super computer to build awesome equipment) being decades old in the second arc, it still holds its own quite well. It's only in the third arc where it needs to be upgraded.
    • Mikazuki upgrades to the Gundam Barbatos Lupus in the second season of Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans, and after seeing Mika push the boundaries of the existing Barbatos, they made a more refined customization catering to his fighting style. With Mika discovering the Gundam's Limit Break in the first season finale, while also recognizing the physical toll it takes on him, the only way to actually challenge him involves revealing why the limit break exists, AI-driven Mobile Armors with beam weapons and reaction times well outside the standard technology of the setting. This results in the most intense fight of the series.
  • For the first two seasons or so of High School D×D, Issei's Balance Breaker is considered a major trump card and only brought out at clutch moments with a major cost. Not long after that, it becomes his standard-issue battle form and the basis for later upgrades. Played with in that Boosted Gear Scale Mail was always supposed to be the bog-standard form of the powerup, Issei's just a rather mediocre Devil and needed various crutches to use it properly for a while.
  • In the early parts of Hunter × Hunter, Gon used a fishing pole as a signature weapon, Killua used special assassin skills such as a slow-paced Doppelgänger Spin, and Kurapica wielded sword-chucks. Once they learned to use nen, their old gimmicks were quickly phased out.
  • Inazuma Eleven: The power of special techniques in the games is partly calculated by the player's stat, so they are always useful. In contrast, in the anime, old shooting techniques don't work in the long run, and defensive skills are even more of the offenders, especially in the third season, where The Hero's uber saving techs can't save anything even a Sling Shot unless it's a newly debuted or upgraded skill, or his Hot Blood Gauge has just hit the roof. The exception is Endou's initial God Hand during a match with Dark Emperor, it's being used to stop shots inside the penalty area. Somehow, it's more effective than the two-tier-above Mugen the Hand G4.
  • Inuyasha:
    • Inuyasha began the series fighting only with his claws. Then he gets his sword, Tessaiga, and starts fighting primarily with that. Next he learns to use the Wind Scar, a powerful destructive wave attack, under certain circumstances. Then he simultaneously learns to use the Wind Scar completely at will (after which its use becomes at the same time much more common and much less effective) and learns the Backlash Wave. Eventually, his sword is upgraded to gain forms that can cut through any barriers (except those that the plot demands be impenetrable), launch a barrage of diamond shards, destroy/absorb an opponent's demonic energy, and open a portal to the underworld to send enemies directly to hell. Although none of Tessaiga's attacks ever become completely obsolete, this trope is still in effect, with each new upgrade or technique decreasing in actual combat effectiveness shortly after it is obtained (except the underworld portal, obtained near the end). This is most evident for the Wind Scar, which, when it is first learned, is talked about as Tessaiga's true potential to slay 100 demons in a single swing, but which, by the end of the series, is essentially Inuyasha's most basic attack. It's so bad that it's even lampshaded at one point by Byakuya and Sesshoumaru who are discussing Inuyasha as he fights.
      Sesshoumaru: Huh. Seems like he put another peculiar power in Tessaiga.
      Byakuya: But it's as if he won't use it. Meaning for now, his best weapon is Kongousouha.
    • Also somewhat present with upgrades Kagome, Sango, and Miroku get near the end of the series (A new bow, an upgraded boomerang, and poison, respectively... yeah, Miroku kind of got the short end of the stick there); these allow them to be effective in the final portions of the story, when their prior abilities were declining in effectiveness (for Sango in particular).
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • The newly-vampiric Straizo in Part II can easily be read as a stand-in for Dio Brando of Part I, and the new JoJo, Joseph, outwits and defeats him easily. Then when the Pillar Man, Santana, is introduced, he escalates this further by consuming a vampire while also putting Joseph's Hamon abilities to the test. Then three more Pillar Men are introduced, all of whom have special elemental abilities, view humans as so insignificant that they don't even notice when they consume one, and, in Kars's words, make Santana look like "a loyal guard dog."
    • Hamon is rendered totally obsolete by Stands in Part III. In the manga, DIO even mocks Joseph for surrounding his body with Hamon, claiming that it may have caused trouble for him a century ago, but it's useless against The World. Dio also ditches his ability to freeze people's bodies and shoot vitreous humor from his eyes at bullet speeds from Part 1 once he gets The World, and while you can handwave the former to the fact that he's using Jonathan's (still human) body from the neck down rather than his own vampiric one (yet he can still feed on blood through his fingers and make zombies), the latter is rather inexcusable since he used it as just a head and it was the very ability that let him fatally injure Jonathan enough to steal his body.
    • Stands in general were meant to avert this, according to Araki. He was aware of having invoked this with Straizo, felt he had done all he could do with Hamon, and (especially after Kars ends his Part by becoming the series' first example of Story-Breaker Power) didn't want to make Part 3's villains one-up the Pillar Men in terms of raw power. Enemy Stand users tend to be puzzle bosses that the heroes (usually) beat through developing their problem-solving skills, not through becoming more powerful or gaining new abilities, though that's not to say they still don't happen, such as in Part 3 with Jotaro learning during the climax of the fight with DIO that Star Platinum can not only move briefly in the frozen time, but also stop time itself just like The World, or Part 5 where Giorno stabs Golden Experience with the Stand Arrow to power it up against Diavolo's King Crimson. As a Part continues, its Stand fights tend to have more at stake and require more creativity, but the Stands are usually so different that the same winning strategy is never repeated.
    • The World's time-stop seemingly becomes less mysterious and powerful in the hands of Jotaro's Star Platinum in Part 4. Part of this is justified by Jotaro's time-stop being weaker due to being a normal human, but figuring out the Stand's secret also seems to become less of a big deal. Compare the heroes only figuring it out thanks to Kakyoin leaving a Dying Clue in Part 3 to a rat (albeit a relatively smart one) figuring out and learning to counter the ability in Part 4, especially since Jotaro needed a time-stop of his own to beat DIO.
    • In Part 7, after all that build up and that intense final showdown with Funny Valentine, Johnny's new Tusk Act 4 is immediately rendered useless against alternate-universe Diego. As he was made aware of his abilities prior to the confrontation, with this information Diego starts using the ability against him and ultimately defeats him. However in an interesting twist, the same could be said about Diego's Stand, THE WORLD, because while the original World in Part 3 was such a juggernaut it had the heroes on the defensive during the entire fight, Diego on the other hand was forced to run away from Tusk Act 4 since it was pretty much the worst match-up against THE WORLD because Johnny is a long ranged fighter and Tusk can move in stopped time.
  • The relationship-driven Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's stretches the downtime after the initial defeat to a full two episodes, so that the (quite literal) upgrade only makes its appearance in the third, and isn't seen until even later, but it still follows the pattern: new season, new villain, defeat, upgrade.
    • In StrikerS, Nanoha breaks out the Blaster Mode for the final confrontation, which increases the power of all her attacks and provides Attack Drones that can cast spells remotely or allow her to cast the same spell multiple times, but causes damage to both Nanoha and her device. Fate also has an improved version of her Sonic Form and a more powerful Laser Blade.
    • As part of the author's plans to take the "Magical Girl" out of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, Force takes this to an extreme by making magic itself completely useless against the new villains, forcing the good characters to completely abandon their entire powersets in favor of previously tightly regulated mass-based weapons as well as questionably reliable new weapons that convert magic energy into non-magical energy blasts.
    • This is strangely inverted in regards to unaided flight. In the first two seasons it's a very common ability and every mage is capable of doing it. Then in Strikers it suddenly became a much rarer skill and about half of the cast is ground-bound.
  • Mega Man:
    • In the Mega Man Battle Network manga, Megaman.EXE has to upgrade and change power types so often to defeat the latest Big Bad that it becomes ridiculous. If you were to consider each upgrade as a multiplier, he ends up about 100x more powerful than he was at the very beginning. Add his training to that, and in the epilogue story, he is so powerful that his Megabuster shoots bullets the size of small trashcans!
    • In the anime, Megaman NT Warrior, this trope is mixed with Discard and Draw. Megaman unlocks Style Change at the end of season 1 and uses it for the majority of season 2. However, after using his second strongest Style Change, Aqua Custom Style ( Bug Style was his strongest, which defeated the Grave Beast and restored everything to normal) to defeat Savage Man in the first episode of Axess, Savage Man uses a Dimensional Area to attack in the real world, Lan and Megaman have to use Cross Fusion to fuse in the real world. They defeat him, but according to Lan's father, Cross Fusion stopped Megaman from being able to use Style Change. In exchange, though, he later gains access to Double Souls which are compatible with Cross Fusion.
    • MegaMan NT Warrior (2001): Despite the dramatic MegaMan Hub Style vs. Bass Hub Style fight, Hub Style is quickly brushed aside by opponents who use Dark Power, which negates it. Outside of a single Call-Back where the style change is used to force MegaMan's way into the world of the Darkloids, it's never brought up again.
  • Naruto:
    • The characters often fall to this. The Sharingan is nothing short of badass when introduced, and Kekkei-Genkai in general are extremely powerful. By Shippuden, pretty much every major opponent had some kind of Kekkei-Genkai that made them hot stuff and it would take combined efforts to beat a villain.
    • It's almost impossible to not mention the Sharingan in particular. It started as a fairly simple technique that allowed the user to copy the movements of the enemy, but then Kishimoto started writing in new abilities for it every arc or so, including a stronger variation that could utilize all sorts of ridiculous jutsu.
    • Somewhat zig-zagged with Shikamaru, whose one trick was shadow jutsu. What he lacks in power, he makes up for with cunning - as all of his fights, even against Hidan (an Akatsuki member - the new standard for badass in Shippuden) revolve around him using his shadow jutsu in new and clever ways to beat opponents.
    • Naruto's reliance on Shadow Clone Jutsu never wavers, but his finishing move changed several times. Originally Uzumaki Barrage was his signature move, but this changed upon learning Rasengan.
    • In general, fights, which were once highly tactical and reliant on misdirection and anticipation, became flashier and more straightforward and destructive, as the strength of new jutsu kept increasing throughout the story and clever planning around troublesome abilities was rendered nearly useless due to their sheer scale.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi specifically invokes this once everybody gets to the magic world. Negi immediately runs into several opponents who totally outclass him, forcing him to go through another round of Training from Hell as well as start using Black Magic. It's sort of justified by the fact that at least one of the fights he loses was a setup by Jack Rakan with the intent of forcing him to become stronger. If he won with his old tricks, then he obviously didn't need new ones.
  • One Piece:
    • The main characters fall victim to this at times. Chopper gets hit hard by this once he starts fighting enemies he can't polish off in three minutes. And it's a rule that Luffy will always finish off a Big Bad with a new attack that usually becomes a regular part of his arsenal in later arcs.
    • Gear Second and Gear Third used to have drastic side effects for Luffy (wearing him out and temporarily shrinking him, respectively). After a Time Skip worth of training, these both have become non-issues. However, even they aren't enough against Doflamingo, so Luffy has to follow up with Gear Fourth, and even that needs different varieties for him to apply later on to keep up with the rising threats.
    • Pacifistas were practically unstoppable before the Time Skip, with it taking the entirety of the main cast everything they had just to bring down one, and only the strongest characters in the series yet to be shown faring much better. After the Time Skip, however, Luffy, Zoro, and Sanji each demonstrate the ability to one-shot them. Justified in that the original Pacifistas (being cyborgs, cannot become stronger unless if modified) they faced were outdated, and new, more powerful versions existed, them being the Pacifistas Mk. III Sentomaru deploys in Egghead to stop the Marine squad. And even these are toys compared to the Pacifistas envisioned as Vegapunk's invention to replace the Seven Warlords of the Sea: the Seraphims, modeled after both the Warlords and the Lunarian tribe and capable to fight the Kuja tribe and the Blackbeard pirates to a standstill.
    • Haki has thus far gone the opposite way, being more of a So This Season after the Time Skip. Before the skip, Haki was fairly mysterious, and only received occasional, vague hints regarding who could use it, when someone was using it, and it was actually doing. Just before the Time Skip, however, it finally received a full explanation, and it started to be regularly used afterwards, and Armament Haki even suddenly gained the effect of making anything it's covering look black and shiny to show the audience when it was being used.
      • Haki starts playing this straight once Luffy meets enemies that can utilize advanced applications of the ability. Observation Haki, for example, is normally only useful for foreseeing incoming attacks as it relies on detecting violent intent from an enemy to work. Then we are introduced to Charlotte Katakuri, who can just outright look into the nearby future, enemy intent or not, allowing him to not only anticipate attacks, but also unexpected actions and even spoken sentences from whoever he is interacting with.
      • Armament Haki is a zigzagged example, as the small bits of it we see before the time skip is the actual advanced application, involving the user creating an invisible aura that acts as armor. The black and shiny Hardening Luffy learns through the time skip is in fact just one of the basics. He eventually learns how to perform an even more advanced application that involves essentially imploding the target through the barest contact, which was also shown pre-time skip, albeit in a one-time, ambiguous instance.
    • Logia Devil Fruit powers, following the Time Skip, have become this. In the first half of the series and Grand Line, being a Logia meant being Made of Air, as the power-user could turn their body into that element and let attacks pass through their body, the exception being Blackbeard's gravity-based Dark-Dark Fruit. The only way to fight a Logia without using Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors was to use Haki, something that wasn't well-known at the time in-universe. In the Grand Line's second half, the New World, Haki-usage is widespread, so, to quote another Haki-user...
      Pekoms: Logias convinced of their invincibility have short lives.
    • Devil Fruits themselves started becoming far more complex and powerful as the series progressed. Even ignoring the aforementioned Logias, people with Story Breaker Powers became more common and rampant. At the beginning of the series, you had Buggy, whose Devil Fruit allowed him to employ basic Detachment Combat. Later on, you have Devil Fruits that can manipulate anything as they seem fit within a determined space, turn victims into subservient toys that have their previous human identity promptly erased from the memories of those that knew them, or control vibrations to the point of creating world-shattering earthquakes and so on. Zoan Devil Fruits, which provide Animorphism abilities, were revealed to include subcategories like Ancient (dinosaurs and other extinct species) and Mythical (mythological creatures like dragons and the phoenix), both noted to be superior to regular Zoans, especially the latter, which are supposedly even rarer and stronger than Logia Devil Fruits.
    • The concept of Awakening, while still relatively unexplored, is yet another case of this, as it allows certain Devil Fruit users to utilize their usual abilities in a far bigger scope. Doflamingo, who is able to create Razor Floss from his body for a variety of techniques, can use Awakening to just turn the whole environment into threads and manipulate them remotely, surpassing the whole "Razor Floss from his body" limit of his Devil Fruit.
  • Pokémon: The Series:
    • Bulbasaur was one of Ash's most used Pokémon, and managed to defeat many mons which would have an advantage over him. When Ash battles a Chikorita (Bulbasaur's successor as a Grass starter) with him... he gets promptly beaten. Chikorita also manages to hold up against Charizard, which not only is fully evolved but has a tremendous advantage in the Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors. That is not to say Bulbasaur did not have later badass moments, of course, nor Charizard, just that Chikorita, later Bayleef, is a tough cookie.
    • Somewhere between Sinnoh League Victors and Best Wishes, the Team Rocket trio decided their old Butt-Monkey status was So Last Season and returned in the new series having taken several levels in Badass to become so strong Jessie on her own beat the ever-loving crap out of Ash and his new partner's Pokémon using her newly obtained Woobat. They didn't blast off throughout much of Best Wishes, but this didn't last into XY.
    • Olympus Mons often get to shine for one Non-Serial Movie and/or series arc, before being marginalized for newer ones. The poster boy of this is Lugia; first introduced as a singular awe-inspiring, intelligent Physical God (and one of the first brand new Pokémon revealed), a Johto arc later diminished its significance by introducing more Lugia specimens, none of which had the power or intellect of the original. And a movie chock-full of past Legendaries quickly and unceremoniously boots it out early on to focus on the then-new Mega Evolutions and Primal Reversions.
    • Mythical Pokemon, in particular, got brought down to earth in the Sun and Moon series, which broke the taboo against protagonists capturing them. Ash's Meltan and Mallow's Shaymin, in particular, are treated more like standard Kid Appeal Characters, their elusiveness and power only fleetingly brought up whenever the plot gives them importance. In their earlier appearances, they both had to be protected by Com Mons of the group like Pikachu and Rowlet. Ash's Melmetal, after evolving, still managed to be a powerhouse but held back by inexperience.
    • Pikachu's signature finishing move routinely changes every few years for this reason. It was once Thunder but then it became Volt Tackle. Volt Tackle was replaced with Electro Ball. While Electro Ball would then be replaced by Electroweb, at that point Pikachu would use its more consistent moves in Thunderbolt or Iron Tail as his finishing attacks, with Electroweb acting as a support move.
    • Mega Evolution gets this treatment in Sun & Moon, with the exception of Brock's Mega Steelix; Misty's Mega Gyarados, Gozu's Mega Aggron, and Ilima's Mega Kangaskhan all suffer The Worf Effect against Ash's Pikachu, Kukui's Incineroar, and Guzma's Scizor. The former two being defeated with Z-Moves, the new power-up of the generation, and the latter with a simple strategy. Mega Evolution would regain some prominence in Journeys, being treated as roughly equal to the new Dynamax mechanic.
  • At the beginning of the Varia arc of Reborn! (2004), Tsuna, in regular Dying Will Mode, got thrashed by the new arc's Dragon. Dying Will Bullets are then used only for training for a bit, before they are fazed out completely in favor of Rebuke Shots and Hyper Dying Will Mode.
  • Sailor Moon did this a few times, and spent an episode on each of the girls' power-ups. Generally speaking, you could predict when someone would get an upgrade when they were in an episode of a new season and had to fight alone despite already having their butts kicked in a team effort.
    • In general, Sailor Moon would be faced with a monster near the start of every new season that would basically be completely invulnerable to her attacks, so she'd have to quickly upgrade to a new tier to be able to destroy it. These same attacks were once decimating monsters and often doing severe damage to the leaders of the previous season, meaning that when you really think about it, a random mook from the final Sailor Stars season is in all likelihood much more powerful than someone like Kunzite from the first season, which shows how far Usagi and the rest have come.
      • Somewhat justified in some cases due to Usagi losing her weapons aside from her basic Moon Tiara in the previous season's finale and needing to obtain new ones in order to be able to fight effectively. Though to be fair, she oftentimes forgets about the tiara as well.
      • In the original anime, Usagi is hit with this along with Bag of Spilling for the second and third seasons. In the second season Filler Arc, she discovers that she lost the Crescent Wand along with the Silver Crystal after the events of the first season finale and her powers slowly weaken before giving out completely, making an upgrade necessary. In the beginning of season three, the first Monster of the Week dodges Sailor Moon's Moon Princess Hailation, slaps away the Cutie Moon Rod and chomps down on the Crystal Star Brooch, damaging it and causing her to lose her powers.
    • The major exception was, unsurprisingly, a post-first-season mini arc where each girl got a semi-new attack that managed to take out a Monster of the Week by themselves. How two lonely teenagers growing a magic tree in their basement managed to make stronger monsters than the first season's demon queen sorceress is a moot point, given it never comes up again.
    • Some of the characters did actually use their new attacks multiple times, later on. This was used to great effect at the end of the season when the two Big Bad characters were able to negate all of the characters' upgraded attacks with virtually no effort during the season finale, even interrupting(!) Sailor Moon when she tries to use her teammates' attempt as cover for charging her attack. It knocks her out of her stock footage, for crying out loud.
    • The manga did this a few times as well. In particular, the first four chapters of the Dead Moon arc feature each of the four Guardian Senshi being targeted by the Dead Moon Circus and, though their encounter, getting strong enough to break Nehellenia's seal on their powers and upgrading to their Super forms.
      • The manga also inverted this trope with Sailor Moon herself, at least with the first two storylines, as Sailor Moon would push herself to the point where her brooch of the season would explode, only to get a shiny new one before the next major storyline.
    • That said, in the 90s anime Sailor Mercury's Sabao Spray and Sailor Venus' Venus Love Me Chain are aversions that are used well into the anime's final season – the former for the tactical advantage that a covering mist provides, the latter as a useful prehensile rope.
  • Spelled right out in Saint Seiya, as several characters point out that the same technique won't work on a Saint twice.
  • Kazuma, the main character of Yakitate!! Japan wins the first season bread baking tournament in part by baking a loaf of bread so good that biting into it literally sends the judges' souls to heaven (which is populated by scantily dressed bunny-women). By the end of the second season, this bread is dismissed as being woefully below the level of the current tournament. Fortunately, he quickly crafts a bread so perfect that a single bite re-writes history and brings the Judge's long lost parents back to life (allowing him to win - narrowly).
  • Rarely will the characters on Yu-Gi-Oh! series use their old cards throughout the progression of each season after upgrading their decks. In later series, it’d be easier to list off the number of characters who don’t unveil a new ace monster every time they duel.
    • Happens within the in-show card game in terms of what cards do as well. It's pretty funny looking at the earliest episodes and seeing everyone lauding a card that had 3000 attack points or five cards that instantly end a game compared to what later villains could and would pull out to keep their opponents from effectively battling at all, destroying their monsters instantly, negating their enemy's ability to deal damage, and so on.
    • Being based on an actual card game, new versions of old cards are created almost every other set. However, since most of the originals were insanely overpowered to the point of disrupting the game, the new ones are markedly less useful.
    • There have been a few times that an old power-up was used, even when they have a new one:
    • Judai would still keep playing Flame Wingman all the way to the final episodes, despite being completely overshadowed by Neos (though it doesn't get used as a finisher as much as it used to). Manjoume would also use a deck consisting of the various archetypes he’s used over the series, with the most consistent being his Armed Dragons and Ojamas.
    • Majestic Star Dragon would still see some use by Yusei through its final appearance, though it does eventually get eclipsed by Shooting Star Dragon.
    • Astral once used Utopia Ray, even after getting Utopia Ray V when the situation was more suited to Ray.
    • A pretty textbook case of this happened in ZEXAL II. Heraldry Crest and Heart-eartH Dragon were the ace cards of Tron and Doctor Faker, the Big Bad Ensemble of the first season, and both required a lot of work to bring down. About halfway through II, Black Mist summons upgraded versions of both of them, along with his own ace, just to put up a challenge.
    • Yugi generally avoided this during his run: even after he got all of the God Cards, situations and rules generally kept them from making Dark Magician this trope.
    • Notably, in the manga normal Yugi actually brings up this trope in-universe after beating Joey several times during their stay at the hospital after the Dungeon Dice Monster arc. At the end of the story, he basically become a living embodiment of this trope. In particular, the Ceremonial duel is a long string of this trope coming into play for both side, as it consists of Obelisk, the longest lasting of the God cards being destroyed in 2 turns and marks the first time an Egyptian God Card being destroyed in battle against a non-God card, Dark Magician and Dark Magician Girl combination attack that beats Marik not being enough to destroy Silent Magician, and the Monster Reborn God card strategy that is abused against Dark Yugi by Marik and plays a pivotal role for Dark Yugi's victory the previous season failing to work at all. Conversely, Dark Yugi also manage to protect Dark Magician from Yugi's Gandora. To date, the ceremonial duel is the only time Gandora failed to destroy its target for the remainder of the series.
  • Happens in YuYu Hakusho. The Spirit Gun used to be like the ultimate Spirit Detective move, and Spirit Sword was pretty much the badass incarnate. Hiei's extreme speed and skilled swordsmanship were really something to be afraid of, and Kurama's cunning mind, Rose Whip, and ability to summon plants from the demon world were just as fearsome. But then later, Spirit Shotguns, Double Spirit Swords, reverting to your demonic form and pulling plants out of nowhere and Dragon of the Darkness flames are the standard to beat... and who honestly doesn't have a sixth sense and some kind of Spirit Gun-like combat move or able to break the sound barrier by now? Averted by the end, when Yusuke's best attack was a really big Spirit Gun.
  • Zatch Bell!:
    • Mamodo spells seem to have tiers of power associated with them, and as the series progresses and contenders are eliminated from the battle to be king the strength of a spell needed to damage an enemy increases. Zatch's Zaker spell defeats many enemies in the first few arcs but by the time of the Millenium Mamodo is largely useless as an attack. This is then averted in the Faudo arc, where Zatch receives a power-up and all of his spells become more effective.
    • Brago's status as The Dreaded means he inverts this, showcasing spells one level higher than everyone else's. In his introduction he uses a Gigano class spell; when mamodo with spells on that level started becoming commonplace in the Millenium Mamodo arc, Brago has already unlocked higher level Dioga class spells.
    • Papi remains an Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain because he's a victim of this trope. His spells are consistently a tier below the other mamodo. He even unlocks a high powered Dioga spell... right after there's no one weak enough for it to work on left.
  • Zoids:
    • Done almost literally in Zoids: Guardian Force, when the former Dragon is shown fighting off three Genosaurers, the same kind of Zoid he used earlier in the series (and, naturally, in the previous season).
    • And done again in Zoids: New Century, possibly using the same Genosaurers.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman: The Designer's backstory in the Batman (James Tynion IV) storyline "His Dark Designs". Many years ago, the Designer was the archenemy of a detective named Cassander Baker. He would come up with a scheme, Baker would defeat him, he would come up with another scheme that Baker couldn't stop the same way, Baker would defeat him in a new way, and so on. And then he created a scheme, and instead of acting on it, he asked himself what Baker would do. Then he came up with a new scheme building on that, and asked the same question, and so on, for a whole year. And by the time he emerged, everything Baker knew was So Twenty Seasons Ago.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Done in Season 8. In her first fight against the Big Bad Twilight, Buffy uses the same scythe move she used to slice Caleb in half in Season 7, only for Twilight to block it and says that he knows that move. However, it is not simply because Twilight is stronger than every other Big Bad, but because he is Angel, and thus was actually there when she sliced Caleb. He's familiar with the technique.
    • See Willow, probably the most powerful witch in the world, singlehandedly responsible for activating all the potential Slayers, a feat more impressive than the creation of the original Slayer to begin with. Then in Season 8 other magic users and monsters show up that can throw around equally impressive and powerful magic right back at her, including the formerly much-less talented witch, Amy. Even Buffy's Slayer abilities become pretty obsolete in the face of a giant army of full Slayers and Willow's magic.
  • Green Lantern: In the mid 90s, when Kyle Rayner became the Green Lantern, villains would regularly attempt to exploit the ring's legendary vulnerability to yellow, only to find that his ring had no such flaw.
  • Nova: In Nova (2007) #2, Nova returns to Earth for a day, and is attacked by Diamondhead, formerly his main bad guy. However, Rich has taken several levels in badass, so the fight doesn't last very long, and ends with Diamondhead being dumped in bags for the police.
  • Superman: At the start of the Bronze Age, all Kryptonite on Earth was turned to iron in Kryptonite Nevermore. A bad guy gloated about how he had something that could kill Superman—Kryptonite. Superman promptly took the piece from him and ate it.
  • Transformers has had this happen a lot in its various comic book incarnations since, due to being Merchandise-Driven, it's always needed to promote the latest toys. In the original Marvel run, there came the Combiners, then the Headmasters, then the Powermasters, then the Pretenders, each group getting their shot in the spotlight only to be bumped out when the newer guys showed up. In IDW's run of the comics, characters are frequently reformatted to have their appearance match the latest toy of that character, even if it doesn't make sense (such as a character on Cybertron with a Cybertron vehicle mode suddenly getting an Earth vehicle mode instead). This is occasionally lampshaded.

    Fan Works 
  • From the Calvinverse: in Calvin and Hobbes III: Double Trouble, the Shadowfax were easily defeated with any kind of light. The ones in Retro Chill, however, are much bigger than the last ones, and are immune to light. This throws Hobbes for a loop, and it takes him a while to figure out that ice is the new brand's weakness.
  • Discussed by the author in Imaginary Seas. He's aware that Gilgamesh originally held the title of being the strongest character in the Nasuverse courtesy of owning Ea and having enough Noble Phantasms to take down even Arcueid Brunestud. This has made Gil the de facto measuring stick for power in the Nasuverse, but even he has been eclipsed by the Servants shown in Fate/Grand Order, namely gods like Lostbelt Zeus, Arjuna Over Gods, and other top gods like Quetzalcoatl and Ishtar at their full strength.
  • In Inheritance, Turles shows up to help King Cold and his army conquer Earth, though for his own reasons. However, while Turles was a formidable villain in Tree of Might, he's showing up after the Namek Saga, which means even the weakest Z Fighters have power levels over 100,000. Notably, it's Gohan who defeats him and wins easily even after Turles ate the fruit from the Tree of Might and grew several times stronger.
  • In Mega Man Reawakened, every game adaptation sees Mega Man getting new, better armor.
  • Equestria Girls: Friendship Souls:
    • Despite being a Bleach crossover, a conscious effort is being made by the author to defy this, at least going so far as to let the major characters know they have mountains to climb to reach the levels they need to stand up to their foes and that their powers have evolutions to go through (for Sunset it's to awaken her zanpakuto's true power, for the Fullbringers it's that their powers need to awaken and reach a "complete" state, for Human Twilight it's to master both magic and Quincy abilities in order to become a Sternritter and receive a Schrift, and for Adagio it's to climb the Hollow food-chain to Arrancar and then to the rank of Espada). Plus, even when they do learn new techniques they never actually stop using their older ones (now just ramped up in power and scale to match their growing strength).
    • Unlike Ichigo, Sunset makes a noticeable effort to not only expand her skillset as a Soul Reaper by learning Kido, but also always improving the base abilities of her Shikai and Bankai to learn new techniques. Notably, despite having achieved Bankai at the end of the Soul Society Arc and using it in her climatic showdown with Captain Platinum, she still focuses on improving her mastery of Shikai and using it for most battles and only uses Bankai on-screen by the end of the Everfree Arc twice: once during her post-Soul Society Arc training with Discord, and the second during her fight with the reborn former Second Espada Gaia Everfree, preserving the transformation's sense of awe-inspiring power that by the roughly equal point in Bleach canon (Arrancar Arc) was reduced to just a stepping-stone for Ichigo's Hollow powers.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Subverted in Crackerjack. Jack Simpson's reluctant Lawn Bowls mentor Stan tells him to stop using his novelty "flipper" bowl (lifted from a different sport) because it's ineffective and undignified and sadly Simpson has potential despite his utter lack of respect for the game. Simpson phases it out as he improves his game. However, against every advice not to do so, he breaks it out again for the final play of the movie.
  • Ghostbusters II: The Proton Packs are still effective against smaller ghosts, but are next to useless against the pink slime, especially after Vigo supercharges it. The guys positively charge the slime in response and charge in with Slime Blowers.
  • In the MonsterVerse's first two films, Godzilla and Kong only need a group of humans to give them some backup which amounts to distracting the villain monsters, then they get up and finish the creatures off. In Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019), that isn't the case when the new villain is King Ghidorah. At the movie's climax, Godzilla, Mothra, Monarch, and all four of the U.S. military's branches have to assault Ghidorah and Rodan together in order to stand a chance at beating them, and even then, Ghidorah still almost comes through and wins.
  • Exploited in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. When Kevin booby-traps the renovation-in-progress house of his relatives, he specifically avoids using the exact same tricks he did in the first film, but a couple of times he does use setups that at least partly rely on the Bandits' remembering what he did in the previous film, so that Kevin can turn that expectation against them.
  • Used in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, in which Indy is pitted against two swordsmen in a reprise of the iconic scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark. This time, Indy doesn't have his gun, and laughs sheepishly. Considering that Temple Of Doom is supposed to be a prequel, though, this is rather odd.
  • In Ip Man 2, we see three instances of this:
  • The "no can defense" Crane Technique that propelled a wounded Daniel-san to victory in the climax of The Karate Kid is easily deflected in The Karate Kid Part II by Chozen in the climatic fight (partly because Chozen is stronger and has a lot more experience than Daniel), requiring him to use the newly learned Miyagi Drum Technique to barely win his battle.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Iron Man 2: At the end, Tony tries to use the "aimbot" that had taken out the Gulmira Ten Rings terrorists against Ivan Vanko's exposed head, complete with HUD showing the lock-ons, only for Vanko to re-equip his helmet and negate it.
    • Avengers: Infinity War: Spider-Man's high-tech suit, which helped him out a lot in previous films, ends up proving less than helpful when Spidey ends up on the side of a spaceship and finding it difficult to breathe as they leave the atmosphere, culminating when he reflexively pulls off the suit's mask. Tony Stark saves him by deploying the Iron Spider suit, which not only has a life support system but also a ton of nanomachine-based functions, and Spidey uses this suit throughout the rest of the film.
    • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3: While single Abilisk gave the Guardians a lot of trouble in the opening of Vol 2, Mantis (who wasn't part of the team at the time) easily calms down three using her powers.
  • The Matrix Reloaded: At the end of the first film, Neo had become the One and transcended the code of the Matrix. He was able to defeat Smith's physical attacks without even trying, then tore his code apart. In the sequel, the Agents have "upgrades," which for some reason requires Neo to fight them in hand-to-hand combat again.
  • The Mighty Ducks:
    • In the third film. The new coach went as far as to comment on how their "their little duck tricks" (the knuckle-puck, the flying V, etc.) won't work anymore. It's especially sad considering how cherished these "little tricks" were for the trilogy's legacy. Strangely, this lesson was learned immediately following a game in which the Ducks' tricks DID work — giving them an absurd offensive output (nine goals in a hockey game?) — until the other team caught on and rendered them ineffective, then took advantage of the Ducks' lackluster defense to score nine goals themselves, ending the game in a tie. So their new coach was fully justified in telling them they can't rely on the tricks.
    • Used, then later subverted, in the second film with Fulton's power shot. When Fulton employs the shot against Team Iceland's goalkeeper the first time, the goalkeeper catches the puck to the shock of everyone. In catching it, however, the goalkeeper suffered a hand injury, and when Fulton faces him later in the shootout at the film's finale, the goalkeeper can't stop the power shot a second time.
  • In Sharknado, the 'nados are taken out by detonating improvised bombs in them to neutralize the winds. Fin tries this again in Sharknado 2: The Second One, but it doesn't work because the extreme cold of this storm apparently negates the effects of the explosions' heat.
  • In Star Trek: Nemesis, Geordi tries using tachyon detection grids to track down the Scimitar, Shinzon's cloaked ship, but it's no good. It takes Troi using her telepathy to track them down.
  • Zoolander 2 employs it, which is fitting since the films revolve around fashion. Derek's Magnum was irresistible in the first movie, but can't stop Mugatu's bomb in this one.

  • High School Dx D:
    • Balance Breaker, the Super Mode for Sacred Gears. Initially presented as rare and powerful, with the name coming from the fact that it breaks the world's Balance of Power. Then the methods to achieve Balance Breaker are spread around in later volumes, resulting in practically every Sacred Gear user having a Balance Breaker.
    • The various forms beyond Balance Breaker apply as well. Issei gains the Triaina in Volume 9, then gets Cardinal Crimson Promotion in the very next volume when that proves insufficient, and Diabolos Dragon God after that. Vali shows a similar progression, starting off able to use Juggernaut Drive under his own power, then Empireo Juggernaut Overdrive and Diabolos Dragon Lucifer after that.
  • The first BIONICLE Legends book, Island of Doom, sees the return of the Toa Nuva to the forefront after they were put on the sidelines for a two year prequel arc — unfortunately for them, the franchise introduced so many powers in the meantime that their latest foes are several orders of magnitude more dangerous than their last batch of enemies. Despite being the most powerful Toa of all time, they are brutally beaten and nearly killed by the Piraka, a group of thugs who don't play by any rules. Later, it is explained that the Toa were simply not organized and adaptable enough, and that it was their fate to lose this fight so newer Toa could temporarily take their place.
    Lewa: Why don’t you make things ever-easy and surrender? We are Toa Nuva, after all. We quick-defeated the Rahkshi, so —
    Reidak: Rahkshi, huh?I pick my teeth with Rahkshi.
  • We see this in action over the course of the Honor Harrington series. The People's Republic of Haven is so much larger than the Star Kingdom of Manticore that the fight would be no contest if not for Manticore's superior technology. Of course, once the fight is actually on Manticore must keep coming up with new innovations as the PRH steals or adapts to the last one. Every time this happens, their entire pre-existing navies are rendered virtually obsolete and they must build up again from scratch. This happens ten or twenty times over the course of the series, but the biggest leaps in innovation are:
    • FTL communication technology in the form of grav pulses, which allows Manticore unprecedented visibility into enemy formations.
    • Missile pods, which allow ships of the wall to completely saturate the field with a rate of fire never before seen in space battles. Although the pods predate the start of the series, it's only after Technology Marches On that they become practical to use en masse.
    • Ghost Rider project, which featured numerous advances into missile technology, such as ultracompact fusion reactors (which allowed unprecedented energy balances and thus a whole new classes of mobile decoys, penetrators and recon drones, as well as installing the FTL comms on them), multistage drives, improved stealth, advanced new missiles and drones, etc. In fact, the Ghost Rider was arguably even more of a game changer than the pod combat.
    • Super-advanced LACs which serve as eggshells carrying cannons that allow a multitude of small craft to deal out damage each equal to a big craft, and finally,
    • And then came Operation Buttercup, a Manticoran offensive that combined the new pod-oriented warship designs, new Super-LACs and their carriers, and armed this fleet to the teeth with the new Ghost Rider-based weaponry. Moreover, Manticorans managed to keep Havenites almost completely in the dark about all these developments, so when they were hit by the finally assembled new force, they were completely curb-stomped.
    • Missile pods controlled by FTL transmissions that allow the missiles to be controlled by their mother ships in nearly real-time and avoid defenses with contemptuous ease.
    • In more recent books the Solarian League, having become complacent in the 500-odd years that no one could even imagine fighting it, sailed headlong into the results of the two decades of the Lensman Arms Race described above. As of Storm From The Shadows they are largely still in denial about it, despite losing a couple of dozen fleets of various sizes with almost no losses to the Grand Alliance forces.
  • Subverted in G. K. Chesterton's The Return of Don Quixote. Medieval recreationists go out to arrest some people, with halberds rather than guns, and are scorned as foolish. They succeed... because the arrested people never thought they would need guns.
    The man says he won't go on wearing a sword because it is no longer any good against a gun. Then he throws away all the guns as relics of barbarism; and then he is surprised when a barbarian sticks him through with a sword. You say that pikes and halberds are not weapons against modern conditions. I say pikes are excellent weapons against no pikes.
  • Vince from Super Powereds does this to Michael. In their first fight, Vince gives a decent account of himself despite having almost no energy reserves and a power that can't counter ice. Later they face off again but with Vince keeping a reserve large enough to shrug off ice blasts and new techniques that let him penetrate Michael's armor easily. It doesn't help that Michael has just put Vince into a state of Tranquil Fury by hurting one of his friends and threatening to hurt another.
  • Undefeated Bahamut Chronicle:
    • Each of Lux's special techniques is used to curb-stomp the enemy in one book and becomes insufficient in the very next book. Reload on Fire is used to defeat the rebel army but is stolen by the next villain Barzeride, requiring Lux to use Recoil Burst. Then he needs to use Linker Burst and End Action to beat Poseidon. And then none of the above works on Yggdrasil, requiring him to use Over Limit (which breaks the trend by actually remaining useful, though Lux forgets how to activate it afterwards).
    • Baptism is originally introduced as a dangerous surgical procedure that confers unique abilities. Even a partial Baptism, applied to only one eye, has an eighty percent mortality rate. People who'd undergone this were particularly dangerous. In a later volume, three characters undergo the procedure and all three of them survive. Not only that, but one person (without Baptism) manages to defeat them all singlehandedly.
    • The Ragnarok are seven enormous monsters of legendary power. When one was unleashed prior to the start of the series, it took the combined armies of several countries to defeat it (and even they could only force it into hibernation). Midway through the series, small groups of elite Drag-Knights can permanently kill Ragnarok. Later on, there are characters who can solo them. This is lampshaded by one character, who points out that the Drag-Knights of today are not like those of the distant past, when Ragnarok were considered unstoppable.

    Live Action TV 
  • In Beetleborgs, after defeating the previous monsters, a new monster named Nukus literally blows up their old powers, requiring them to become the stronger Beetleborgs Metallix. In a slight inversion, Nukus is still too powerful for them at first.
  • In the later seasons of Charmed, once Piper receives her Molecular Combustion power which makes enemies explode, she barely uses her original Molecular Immobilization power to freeze them in place anymore. Also, when all-purpose exploding potions become a thing, the Charmed Ones start mostly relying on them, with spellcasting and complex rituals in particular slowly phasing out of the show.
  • Shows up in multiple Kamen Rider series in the same vein as the below mentioned Super Sentai. Most of the time a new villain appears that happens to be much too strong for the Kamen Riders' current arsenal, so they'll need to get a new Super Mode. In some seasons the rider even stops using his basic form, knowing it will be useless. It's made egregiously so if the Rider in question begins their show with a Debut Queue of base forms, as you can be guaranteed that three quarters of them will never see the light of day after Christmas.
    • In Kamen Rider BLACK RX, Black from the previous series ends up being transformed into the far stronger Kamen Rider Black RX. However, in this situation, it wasn't his idea, the villain decided to throw a solar powered Rider into the void of space, where he's directly exposed to the sun, causing him to evolve into Black RX
    • Kamen Rider Agito: The police-made G3 battlesuit was made to fight the Grongi who battled Unidentified Lifeform #4, but finds itself outmatched against the Overlords (who, according to the backstory, are the Grongis' arch-enemies). Later on the series it gets upgraded into the G3-X and does better against the Overlords.
    • Kamen Rider Kiva almost immediately has this happen to all of Kiva's other forms after he acquires Emperor Form, which he does about a third of the way into the show. This is an unusual case of Real Life Writes the Plot, as the Kiva costumes aside from Emperor Form suffered from a disastrous design flawnote  that risked the health of the suit actor if they weren't replaced with Emperor, which doesn't have the design flaw, as soon as possible.
    • Kamen Rider Gaim introduces the concept of a two-stage upgrade, where one upgrade's trinket can be combined with a second trinket to produce a more powerful upgrade. Although this doesn't happen in Gaim itself, if the upgrades are placed insufficiently far apart, the lesser version may only appear for one or two episodes before being rendered obsolete.
    • Kamen Rider Zi-O applies this to Kamen Rider Decade, once he becomes a recurring cast member. Tsukasa is given an upgraded Transformation Trinket that allows him to turn into the Kamen Riders who came after him (Double through Build) as well as those who came before. However, it also boosted the power of Decade's base form so much that it greatly outstrips most of the other Riders, meaning the only time he uses their forms is as a disguise or when he needs access to their unique abilities, like Wizard's spellcasting. This even applies to his Super Mode Decade Complete Form, which is now weaker than his base form and thus never appears in Zi-Onote .
    • Kamen Rider Zero-One has his Shining Hopper power up, part of a two-stage upgrade, get obsoleted by the second stage, Shining Assault Hopper, only three episodes after its introduction. Shining Assault itself gets replaced by Metal Cluster Hopper six episodes after that, causing Shining Hopper to never be used again save for a single fight near the end of the show. This ends up stinging a whole lot more due to how it needed the sacrifice of Izu's surrogate big brother to complete its data, making it seem like a Senseless Sacrifice.
    • Kamen Rider Geats: Boost Mark II is another two-stage upgrade, only appearing for a mere two episodes before being obsoleted by LaserBoost. This time the writers took care to make it a plot point that Boost Mark II on its own has crippling side effects despite its awesome costume and powers, with LaserBoost adding the necessary Power Crutch to make it safe. It's also not entirely made obsolete as LaserBoost requires the donation of Ziin's Transformation Trinket which means if Ziin wants to get in on the action and takes it back, or Geats just wants to have an ally in the mix then Boost Mark II will be the best he can get to on his own.
  • Early episodes of Knight Rider really played up how awesome KITT the talking, gleaming black Trans Am was. By the 4th season premiere a pair of car thieves debate if KITT is worth stealing, and ultimately decide that an old sports car isn't worth the effort. After KITT loses to the Monster of the Week he is rebuilt with a new Pursuit Mode
  • Loki (2021), which spins off from Avengers: Endgame, does this to the Infinity Stones. For the Marvel Cinematic Universe's first ten years, the Stones were the most powerful objects in the universe, and possessing all six (and the Infinity Gauntlet) could give someone enough power to kill half the universe with a Badass Finger Snap, or even possibly erase the universe entirely to build a new one. As Loki, along with other post-Endgame projects, branches out into The Multiverse, the Infinity Stones are considered so far beneath the Time Variance Authority that their bureaucrats use confiscated copies of the Stones as paperweights note .
  • Luke Cage (2016): season 1 introduces the Judas Bullets, the one thing capable of bypassing Luke's bulletproof skin. A single of these bullets was enough to lethally wound him, to the point they needed a painful acid bath just to remove it. Right in the first episode of season 2, a villain does the obvious thing and shoots him with one once again... only to find out the aforementioned acid bath actually reinforced Cage's skin further, thus making him immune even to Judas Bullets.
  • All Metal Heroes, especially the Space Sheriffs, have one weapon that kills every villain in the show, up to and including the Big Bad, and a handful of mecha that they start with and never upgrade.
    • This happened in season 2 of VR Troopers — Grimlord captures Tyler Steele and drains his mind of virtual reality knowledge, enabling him to create a new base and set of villains (blowing most of the old ones up with his old base), with an upgraded appearance for himself as well (corresponding with Grimlord moving from being in Japanese footage only to American-created footage). To respond, Ryan has to upgrade to a new set of powers (his old powers having been lost while attempting to rescue his father from Grimlord's custody). This was to explain the switch from using footage of Chōjinki Metalder for Ryan and most of Grimlord's forces, to Space Sheriff Shaider (the footage for JB and Kaitlin, taken from Jikuu Senshi Spielban, continued usage and they were given a power boost to bring them onto the level of Grimlord's new forces).
  • In the first episode of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 Netflix revival, Kinga Forrester reveals her intentions on using the experiment to garner huge ratings so she can sell it to Disney for a billion dollars. Her sidekick, Max, has to remind her that Netflix doesn't work that way as they don't use traditional ratings. The very next season has Kinga sweep away the plot point of her trying to marry Jonah by invoking this trope.
  • Power Rangers often did this to introduce the new mecha in the first few seasons. When there was no more footage for the old zords, they had to justify their absence and introduce the mecha from the newer Sentai footage, often by showing that the previous mecha wasn't able to keep up with the new enemies anymore.
    • Specifically, at the start of season 2, the Tyrannosaurus and Dragonzord were captured by the monster of the week, and the other four Dinozords frozen. While they were able to free them, new villain Lord Zedd immediately sent the main five Dinozords to their doom. Dragonzord survived initially, but the other five were replaced by the new Thunderzords. Dragonzord disappeared when the Green Ranger powers were destroyed, but he came back as the more powerful White Ranger with his new Tigerzord. The Thunderzords were destroyed at the start of season 3 by new villain Rito Revolto, and a few episodes later, they got the new Ninja Zords. The Ninja and Shogun Zords were simply rendered unusable when the Mighty Morphin powers were finally destroyed near the end of season 3. The Zeo Zord fleet was also never destroyed, but the Turbo powers and zords were described as more powerful, effectively making the Zeo stuff obsolete.
    • Power Rangers S.P.D. accidentally did a "So Last Episode" concerning the SPD Battlizer. The device was introduced with great fanfare in the two-parter "Reflection"... then promptly dumped in favor of the all-team S.W.A.T. Mode.
    • Power Rangers Megaforce returns to this trope in the conversion to Super Megaforce, though in an odd way: when the Armada attacks, the X-Borg mooks are actually much stronger than their current powers, thus Gosei gives them the Legendary Morphers, which allows them to not only draw on new powers and machines, but also draw on the powers of the previous teams. However, they don't lose their old powers, but certain fights show that the old Megaforce powers are just too weak against the Armada.
    • Super Sentai and other Rangers seasons do this on occasion, introducing new giant robots mid season that are much stronger then the ones they started with. Sometimes this causes the old robot(s) to not be used anymore, or only to be used as backup in really hard fights.
    • In one episode of Zeo, a misfired effort by the exiled Zedd and Rita to turn one object into a monster results in a purse being made into a monster instead. Since using objects like this had been a frequent villain tactic during MMPR, Prince Sprocket is heard to comment 'A Purse Monster? That's SO last season!'
  • In Supergirl (2015) episode "Crisis on Earth-X Part 1", Kara's first scene has her give a Curb-Stomp Battle to a Dominator, one of the villains of the previous four-way crossover, even calling it "so last year."
  • Tomica Hero Rescue Fire is a direct sequel to Tomica Hero Rescue Force. To show the audience the new villains appearing in Rescue Fire are much stronger than the ones in Rescue Force, the team first gets to use the mecha from the previous series, only for it to be destroyed in an early episode.
  • The Vampire Diaries has shades of this. Notably, Bonnie tries her magic aneurysm — which worked great against Damon, who was turned during the American Civil War — against the 500-year-old Katherine, and gets a No Sale.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • The power bomb has been considered an outdated move ever since the retirement of its creator, Lou Thesz. A kneeling, sit down, sit out, falling, turning, sideswipe, running, double, triple, turnbuckle, popup or whatever other variation you can think of is just fine but a regular old gut kick-grab-lift-drop power bomb is rare even with a Name of Power and usually restricted to use by only exceptionally large wrestlers.
  • In Japanese pro wrestling, or "puroresu", the German suplex (through its association with Lou Thesz and Karl Gotch) is the designated finishing move of everyone who doesn't actually have a finishing move. A common angle is for the German suplex to stop working for any given wrestler, prompting them to train overseas and pickup/develop a more distinct finisher.
  • The reverse Indian death lock remains a fairly popular move but the regular Indian death lock was all but replaced by the figure four leg lock popularized by Buddy Rogers, Indian and Amerindian wrestlers being the only ones still doing the regular version with any regularity.
  • The lotus stretch/knee spreader due to an arm proximity weakness that made it fall out of favor for the double toed leg lock. Its inverse, lotus lock/leg nelson, enjoyed a much longer shelf life among wrestlers with both the flexibility and leg strength to pull it off.
  • The DDT, whose "creation" is widely credited to Jake Roberts and less often to Rick Rude, was once one of the most popular finishers and considered one of the most devastating after the former used it to legitimately knock Ricky Steamboat unconscious. As Robert's career wound down though, it became the new power bomb.
  • This was one of the chief criticisms of 1990s All Japan Pro Wrestling. While it was among their most successful periods ever, finishing moves once thought spectacular were often brushed off by the top star, necessitating in an increasingly amount of head drops. Dragon Gate can be considered their spiritual successor in this regard.
  • The infamous WCW Halloween Havoc match between Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior turned fireballs into a discredited trope in pro wrestling. Several attempts to bring them back have been made, such as Raven in TNA and Homicide in Ring of Honor getting the idea to throw them in the dark, but nothing has managed to stick except maybe Mesias in Latin America and the Caribbean. And even then, he helped to further kill fireballs in the USA when his use of them put Wrestling Society X off of television.
  • In 2009, Chris Hero abandoned nearly his entire arsenal in favor of throwing elbows and cheating enhancing them with a weighted golden pad given to him by Mitsuharu Misawa. This was later subverted after his elbows failed to knockout Bryan Danielson in Pro Wrestling Guerilla, causing Hero to readopt his old moves.
  • Mike Bennett liked to use the moves CM Punk used to use while Punk was in Ring of Honor, but Bennett didn't achieve nearly as much success with them and was derided by the crowds for doing so in the first place.
  • This is very common in Professional Wrestling, to the point that moves such as the dropkick that were once regularly employed as finishers no longer garner a two count. This results in a number of examples of the Grandfather Clause where an older wrestler is allowed to use a finisher that no younger wrestler could get away with because the older wrestler has been using it since it was still an acceptable finisher. Other examples include the spinebuster, atomic drop, powerslam, sleeper hold, and bearhug. The biggest example is possibly the piledriver, a move that was often used in hospitalization angles, but now rarely even gets a three count in modern wrestling unless a variation is utilized instead.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Dungeons & Dragons there is a huge rift between magic and non-magic weapons, due to damage reduction. If you don't have a magic weapon by a certain point, sucks to be you. Then later the same thing happens between Epic and magic weapons.
  • Exalted used to have this deliberately built into the system; Charm trees would contain "speed bumps", Charms that would have a certain effect that a later Charm did better, meaning you never used the original again (except maybe when you needed a really cheap alternative). This system was later phased out in favour of Charms that permanently upgrade others, with the few occasions where one Charm renders another completely obsolete giving an XP refund for that Charm.

    Video Games 
Because almost every game with a combat system, from shooters to RPGs, "suffers" from this, it's better to list the especially egregious cases (starter weapons are almost useless even for the first few mooks) or exceptions (starter weapons are as, or even more, useful as later ones):
  • Zig Zagged with regards to Ace Combat starter plane(s). Air Combat includes an outdated F-4 amongst 4th-generation fighters like the MiG-29 and F-14. In Ace Combat 2 the starting planes are now the F-4 and A-4, with 4th-gen planes coming later. Ace Combat 3: Electrosphere gives 4th-gen fighters like the Eurofighter from the start (though it's arguably just a twist on the conceit as 4th-gen birds in 2045 would be around as outdated as 3rd-gen ones in 2009), but Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies brings us back to the F-4 as a starter, as does Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception and Ace Combat: Joint Assault, Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War gives the F-5 and Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War gives the F-1, F-5, and J35J. Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation then makes the F-16 the starter plane, which is carried over into Ace Combat: Assault Horizon while giving you more starter options (Mig-21bis and Mirage 2000-5). In short, Ace Combat can't make up its mind as to the statistical quality of its starter plane(s).
    • Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown plays with the trope. The starter plane, an F-16C, is functional but unspectacular (the classic F-4 was relegated to DLC). It's only at the start of the 5th mission that you're handed two complete junkers, including the Fishbed. This is thematic, as it coincides with Trigger's reassignment to Spare Squadron when he would be working with surplus crap, but the player is free to ignore this.
  • In the Age of Empires series, nearly every unit has some upgraded version, ranging from just 1 to having 3. However, the upgrades aren't always worth it, because they cost resources and the upgraded unit doesn't always gain much from it.
    • The upgrades that are really worth it are civilizations' unique Guard upgrades, for instance the British upgrade to Life Guard Hussars or the Dutch upgrade to Nassau Halbardiers, because those provide additional benefits on top of the standard upgrade bonuses.
  • Averted in Age of Wonders: Planetfall. Each faction only has about half a dozen unit bases, so while you might put some powerful augments onto its archetype, that tier 1 infantry is going to get rebuilt well into the game.
  • While the first two Ape Escape game play this trope straight with the Magic Punch, Ape Escape 3 averts it. Everything in Ape Escape 3 has to be used sooner or later, especially in the final 2 levels. Of course, the aversion mainly exists because the Magic Punch was taken out of that game.
  • ARMA III has a form of this in regards to 5.56mm weapons. In real life those are what most modern militaries use, and they're still useful and effective. In-game, however, the two major modern powers (NATO and CSAT) have upgraded to better body armor that makes 5.56mm weapons - which indigenous forces like the Altis Armed Forces or FIA guerrillas are stuck with - as effective as peashooters, while they've moved on to bigger and better 6.5mm and 7.62mm weapons. This is particularly pronounced with the Apex DLC, which added new special forces to both sides, NATO's CTRG-15 and CSAT's Viper - the latter uses Chinese guns in 5.8mm with equivalent power to what their main forces use, while the former has downgraded to 5.56mm weapons again (albeit in part because the storyline of the expansion doesn't have them actually hanging around to fight CSAT, but rather a local crime syndicate against whom 5.56 would be more than acceptable).
  • Armory & Machine 2: For the first four areas of the game, the player's primary methods of high damage are Bomb, Bunker Buster, and Detonate, which deal Explosive-typed damage. Detonate in particular deals a whopping 150 damage at maximum level, one-shotting everything except Big Glitch, and it has a very short cast and recharge time. The fifth area in the Wilderness throws a huge curveball to players who rely on Bomb, Bunker Buster and Detonate, as several enemies there take a measly 10% of Explosive damage. In order to survive well, the player has to switch to either elemental or untyped moves to fight said enemies — even a humble knife or simply punching the enemy hard will deal more damage than a superpowered explosive.
  • Banjo-Tooie starts the player off with all the abilities that could be learned in Banjo-Kazooie, some of which remain vital for progressing through the entire game, yet several of them immediately prove to be pointless in the new game world. For example, the first game requires the heroes to learn a move called the Beak Buster in order to pound in the many large buttons set in the ground, whereas the sequel allows those same buttons to be activated by simply stepping onto them, and later it becomes necessary to learn a more devastating ground-pounding move, the Bill Drill. Many of the new egg-based moves revolve around the newly-implemented first-person shooting too, and many of the new puzzles and enemies (particularly bosses) are designed in a way that makes the first game's third-person straight-shot ineffective.
  • The Magical Girl version is invoked by Arcueid in Battle Moon Wars. When Kaleido Ruby appears, she immediately designs a new outfit (specifically designed for Panty Shots), and steals Caster's staff.
  • In BioShock, one of the best plasmids, the Electro Bolt is also the first one you receive. Shock a splicer and they're immobilized while you wrench them to death. If they're standing in water, shock the water and they die instantly. Hit a machine and it will be disabled long enough to run up and hack it. And you can activate broken door controls with it too. It's the most versatile plasmid in the game; never leave home without it. Also played straight in that it's less effective on later enemies and an upgraded "Electro Shock 2" plasmid becomes available.
    • If it's not Electro Bolt, then it's the Telekinesis plasmid. It costs almost no Eve to use, and it can work on pretty much anything you can pick up. Since the picked-up object gets flung, it can be used as a projectile weapon. Flinging the dead body of a splicer as a weapon toward another splicer is usually an OHKO, giving you "ammo" for the next splicer. Or just use that dead splicer as protection. Either way, you're good to go.
    • It's interesting to note that both BioShock and BioShock 2 give you Electro Bolt as the first plasmid, but "Minerva's Den", the add-on to 2, saves it as a later one. It's probably because the developers were getting annoyed that they were making all these nifty powers and players were sticking with the first one. Similarly, Bioshock Infinite has Shock Jockey, the Columbian equivalent to Electro Bolt, as the fifth vigor obtained in the game (though it's still universally handy).
    • Played straight with Security Bullseye, which is basically useless immediately. That fourth plasmid slot is better invested in the likes of Enrage, Hypnotize Big Daddy, or Winter Blast. However, Bioshock 2 redeems it as "Security Command", where upgraded versions directly summon security bots.
    • Likewise the first few weapons in BioShock - given strength upgrades your handy wrench is useful all the way through (especially for stealth kills) and the revolver remains an effective weapon - and a cheap and effective way to set off environmental kills.
  • Blaster Master Zero III: Jason drives the G-Sophia SV, a heavily personalized spacefaring tank that can adsorb energy from the environment to power an intimidating arsenal of weapons. Other characters also have highly-personalized and very advanced tanks to their name. Kane is still piloting the Mk-1 Metal Attacker, limited ammo and all, with the only upgrade from his NES adventures being improved tracking for the homing missiles. Kane never loses a fight, not even against SOPHIA-J1. It's not that the Mk-1 is a Super Prototype or anything — Kane is just that good.
  • Castlevania:
    • Castlevania II: Simon's Quest has two special weapons which do not require hearts to use, holy water and the dagger. What's notable is that while the latter becomes completely useless after you get the morning star, the former, the very first special weapon you get, has uses throughout the entire game (especially for pinpointing fake blocks), and in fact is required to get to Dracula.
    • Jonathan in Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin can't use the Vampire Killer properly; therefore it's one of the worst weapons to use throughout the game, even outclassed by the very first short sword you pick up. However, there is an Optional Boss where you can upgrade it, and it becomes one of the best weapons in the game from then on. Annoyingly, many of the mobility upgrades do this. You get the ability to jump on your partner's shoulder, then the better double jump like half an hour laternote . And then you get the super jump after the owl morph which allows you to fly, making the owl obsolete after like three usesnote .
    • In Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2, a certain boss Victor Belmont uses similar moves as the protagonist of the first game Gabriel Belmont. His final moves is to summon the same demon Gabriel could summon that instantly kills any non-boss enemy. Dracula aka Gabriel Belmont simply summons the Void Sword and slices the demon to pieces before freezing and shattering it. The Black Knight also remarks that Victor and the Brotherhood aren't going to get far relying on antiques like Victor's Combat Cross.
  • Used literally in Chroma Squad. The player manages an independent Sentai studio, and your actors only unlock new abilities from their skill trees whenever a new season rolls around. Each actor gets a selection of skills from each season and can only bring one skill per season into battle. Luckily, you are not penalized by your audience for using skills from prior seasons.
  • City of Heroes tries to avert this. The player is expected to use ALL of their powers over the course of the game, and attack powers have damage that scales up as you gain levels so that level 1 attack is still very useful at level 50. Similarly handled in Champions Online. Since movesets are completely customizable, players are expected to make every power choice count. The conditions for unlocking some standard abilities, primarily passives, have even been lowered recently so that players will be less likely to have to choose powers they'll never use just to access higher-level ones.
  • In the Command & Conquer series, when a faction gains access to the Mammoth Tank or its equivalent, it tends to replace their basic tank because of how much stronger it is (a single Mammoth Tank in C&C3 can take on 3 of GDI's basic tanks and still win). Outside of the Mammoth Tanks, in more recent games, every faction has some advanced tank or Humongous Mecha that is stronger then their basic tank. However, using advanced tanks in place of the basic ones isn't something universally done, because they cost a lot more, and are noticeably slower. Some people actually prefer to stick with the basic tanks and make up for the quality difference with greater numbers.
  • The first round of a map in Counter-Strike consists of entirely pistols, as both sides begin with a meager $800 (usually). However, a skilled enough player can still use a pistol to great effect even in the later rounds when assault rifles and body armor shows up. The most powerful pistol, the Nighthawk"Deagle", can still kill an opponent with a single headshot except at very long range, and thus makes a great buy when you want to save money. Deagle, full armor, and some extra stuff? About two thousand dollars or so. AWP? Almost five thousand dollars by itself.
  • Like the above example, in Dead Space, properly upgraded, the plasma cutter can effectively remain a primary weapon (there's even an achievement for that) due to being highly precise, good rate of fire, and the ammo being extremely plentiful.
  • Demon's Crest, the third game in the Gargoyle's Quest series, let's you acquire all of the various power-up breaths from the second game as pieces of Firebrand's Fire Crest. However, only the Buster shot keeps its utilty — the Claw and Tornado breaths are completely supplanted by the Air Crest, and the Demon Fire is replaced by the Time Crest.
  • Averted in Descent: The starting "laser" - even without any upgrades - does more damage per shot than almost every other gun in the game. Other weapons have a better rate of fire (allowing you to kill things quicker) and/or faster/multiple projectiles (making it easier to hit things at long range), but against easy-to-hit opponents that aren't so dangerous you need to kill them now, the laser is still effective, and is the most efficient energy weapon in the game.
  • In Deus Ex the humble pistol and riot prod, which you get at the very beginning of the game, remain effective until the very last level, provided you upgrade your character skills appropriately.
  • Conversely, in Diablo II the player is expected to invest as little as possible in the starter skills and switch to using higher-tier skills as soon as possible. Unless the intention is to make a Lethal Joke Character, that is. Finishing the game also gives the player an option to start anew on a higher difficulty. On the Hell difficulty (the highest difficulty) most of the monsters will be guaranteed to have at least one type of immunity, and some will randomly have two at once. So, for instance, if previously you were doing just fine with your maxed-out long range Ice and Fire attacks, now you may suddenly find yourself with a character who’s almost entirely useless against a noticeable chunk of your opponents.
  • Dragon Age averts this by making some of the basic tier talents and spells (Shield Bash, Winter's Grasp, Heal, Stealth, Dirty Fighting, need I go on?) useful throughout the entire game, but plays it straight in the case of Shield Wall being unarguably better than Shield Defense and Shield Cover.
  • In Dragonica, the Anti-Air Shot is one of the earliest skills the Archer gets. Fast forward a great many levels and more than one Prestige Class and many of your PvP opponents will still deride it as a 'Win Button'.
  • The third Empire Earth had a singleplayer campaign in which you conquered a worldmap via individual skirmish battles, where advancing to the next era could only be done on the world map. Your AI opponents put a very low priority on advancing to the next era, however. Against units of one era higher, the old units could still compete in sufficient numbers. Against two era's higher, they barely served as speedbumps. At that point in the game, there was no longer a need to build a base and set up your Command & Conquer Economy: Your starting units could wipe out the enemy army and base easily. At the end of a game, your were fighting with sci-fi units that the medieval peasants that your opponents fielded ought to worship rather than futilely try to fight.
  • Ultimately sidestepped in the Fatal Fury series. In Fatal Fury 3, Terry loses his fairly useful Rising Tackle anti-air maneuver in exchange for gaining the arguably more useful Power Dunk. By the next game, Real Bout, however, he regains the Tackle and keeps the Dunk. (Notably, his The King of Fighters incarnation never lost the Tackle in the first place, simply gaining the Dunk.) Subverted in the Fatal Fury OVAs. In Fatal Fury: Legend of the Hungry Wolf, Joe's Hurricane Upper turns out to be his saving grace in the battle against Raiden. However, in Fatal Fury 2: The New Battle, the upgraded form, Screw Upper, doesn't even affect Krauser in any way.
  • Iron weapons in most Fire Emblem games may be weaker, but they're also cheaper, more durable, easier to hit with, and in many circumstances, enough to get the job done, even late in the game. Staffs are the same way; there are classy "mend" wands but the toy "heal" wands are almost as good in the hands of a skilled clergyman.
  • As soon as the Shivans show up in Freespace, all your past weapons become useless against their shields.
  • Averted to a degree by Front Mission 3, where the various Giant Robot parts could be upgraded, and were generally a trade-off between several qualities rather than a straight progression.
  • God Eater 3: The advent of the Ashlands rendered New Type God Eaters near-obsolete, as they have no resistance to the decay Ash particles cause, necessitating the creation of even stronger and more superhuman Advanced God Eaters. New Types can still fight in a pinch, but need a dose of modified Bias Factor first, which isn't exactly great for their health in the short term and will do god-knows-what over time. This is actually used as a plot point a couple of times; Claire (a New Type) has to be closely monitored and has a couple of health scares thanks to fighting so often, and remaining Old Types (such as Soma) have been forced out of the field completely.
  • Guild Wars, since the starting skills and spells are not particularly more powerful that the ones you learn later in the game. However it can be played straight in the case of other campaigns: If you choose to begin one with an existing character from another campaign you will encounter enemies with new unknown spells, since your character already has a set of spells learned on the original campaign and those spells were not specially designed to counter the new campaign's ones it encourages you to learn those new skills.
  • Guild Wars 2 has the player assemble the Pact, an alliance of the three powerful extra-national factions, to kill the Elder Dragon Zhaitan. The Heart of Thorns expansion starts with the Pact air fleet which accomplished this goal attempting to lay siege to the Elder Dragon Mordremoth only to be destroyed in its entirety within minutes.
  • In Half-Life, the often-overlooked secondary fire of the starting pistol gives it both a faster rate of fire and greater damage output per bullet than the SMG, at the cost of having to reload more often (the pistol's 17-bullet magazine as opposed to the monster 50-bullet mag that the SMG packs) and a decrease in accuracy. At close range, it can mow down marines and take out Alien Grunts with a single mag.
  • In the Halo series, almost every weapon you can get at the start is useful right to the end, though the rapid-fire bullet hose ones do usually end up being the least useful weapons. Even more unusually, the most useful weapon in the first game is commonly agreed to be the pistol that you get at the very beginning.
  • Heavy Metal: FAKK 2 presents a particularly strong version of this. After blasting your way through the first part of the game, act two sees you facing enemies far too powerful to be dealt with using your current weapons, the protagonist bluntly stating that she can't take them out, and it turns into stealth for the time being. Unusually for a game like this, you CAN kill them, but it takes far too much ammunition. Later levels turn these into pretty average opponents using later weapons, and turn earlier baddies into credible threats only in enormous numbers.
  • Id Software's early shooters are a great example of this, to the point where all bullet weapons in the original Wolfenstein 3-D and Doom are functionally identical, except for their maximum firing rate.
    • Brutal Doom manages to take care of the problem of the pistol in the original game quickly becoming useless by replacing it with an assault rifle with iron sights, who's precision compared to the spray-and-pray chaingun extends its usefulness for far longer.
  • In a story sense the Master Sword ends up being this in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. Despite being effective against Calamity Ganon in the prequel Breath of the Wild, it is no match for Ganondorf and the Gloom, and ends up broken, along with Link losing all the strength and upgrades he gained in the previous game. The Master Sword eventully ends up ten-thousand years in the past, where a time displaced Zelda realizes in order for Link to have a chance, the sword not only needs to be restored, but infused with sacred power for the next thousands of years in order to withstand Ganondorf.
  • In Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals, Tia's frying pan, well known as the weakest weapon in the game, can do significant damage if used on high level slimes.
  • In the Marathon series (by Halo creator Bungie), all of the weapons have their uses, and the pistols (especially when duel-wielded) were the best sharpshooting weapons in the game.
  • A story, rather than gameplay example in Mass Effect 2: the Cool Starship from the original game, Normandy, is replaced by Normandy SR-2, which is twice as big, packs a lot more punch, and comes with a ton of upgrades. Justified by the original Normandy being destroyed by the Collectors in the opening cutscene and Shepard really needing a much more powerful vessel against these new enemies.
    • Though Mass Effect 2 does play this straight in terms of your weapons. For instance, the base assault rifle (the M-8 Avenger) doesn't deal as much damage as the upgrade assault rifle (the M-15 Vindicator) and isn't as accurate, with the Revenant Light Machine Gun leaving both in the dust, especially after you increase its accuracy. The base submachinegun (M-4 Shuriken) has poor accuracy, low firing rate, and low damage compared to its upgrade (M-9 Tempest).
    • Mass Effect 3 inflicts this trope on most of the weapons from Mass Effect 2. Of them, only the Widow sniper rifle, Claymore shotgun, and Geth Plasma Shotgun are really considered to remain excellent weapons. The Carnifex gets overshadowed by the new Paladin and Talon pistols, while the Phalanx, Locust, and Revenant are all heavily nerfed into being no longer worth using. And all the guns that were bad in the second game become even worse.
  • Mega Man's trusty Mega Buster fails him in the opening to the Game Boy Mega Man V when Terra shows up. His charged shot simply bounces off him harmlessly, and after getting knocked out he gets the brand-new Mega Arm attack. But then, for some reason, regular shots, which also didn't work on Terra, work on him when you finally get to fight him. Go figure.
  • In Metal Gear, you can get through at least 90% of the game with the handgun, one of the first weapons you find. There is simply no better weapon for dispatching the numerous troops you encounter. The machine gun is at best occasionally useful, the remote missile runs out too quickly to be of much use (and is available in only one location) and every other weapon is good for taking out bosses and absolutely nothing else. Nearly every other game in the series continues this pattern.
    • Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance uses this as the game's Establishing Character Moment. The first boss, and essentially the first enemy that the player's required to give any attention to, is a Metal Gear RAY... which Raiden coolly dispatches with a run-of-the-mill HF blade and a low-performance body. The Hopeless Boss Fight after that with Jetstream Sam serves to establish cyborgs as much more threatening than any Metal Gear. Even its boss theme laments that Metal Gears and even newer Unmanned Gears like the Gekko are a dying breed, slowly being overshadowed by smaller yet faster and stronger cyborgs.
    • In the games after the first Metal Gear Solid, no-kill runs are possible and generally your only non-lethal weapon is a tranquilizer gun given to you early in the game. The tranquilizer gun almost always has an infinite-use silencer and enemy patrols don't raise the alarm just from finding sleeping soldiers (even if the soldier saw you before you put him to sleep, he won't remember it on waking up if you knocked him out with a tranquilizer, unlike if you'd punched his lights out), so it's also best for sneaking around and no alert runs as well.
  • Need for Speed: Underground 2 is a direct sequel to the first, and you have your powerful Skyline (best car of the previous game, and the one any player will be likely to own) smashed in the opening cutscene. With the insurance money you can only buy a not-so-fast compact. Subverted since some of the starter cars can be even better than the Skyline in the right hands. The worst offender is the Toyota Corolla GT-S: a humble hatchback famously known in Japan as the "Hachiroku/AE86" that is actually the best car of the game that can surprise supercars.
  • In Paper Mario, this happens with two fights that immediately follow each other. You use the seven MacGuffins that you spent most of the game collecting to deactivate Bowser's invulnerability that he gets from his super MacGuffin. You beat him, and he retreats to the roof. You go to fight him there, he activates his invulnerability again, you use the same move to deactivate it that worked a few minutes ago, and... Plink! "Ha ha, you moron! That weak move doesn't affect me anymore!" Fortunately, Princess Peach uses The Power of Love to boost your MacGuffins so that they can turn off Bowser's invulnerability again.
  • Persona 4 has this trope apply not only spells but to Yosuke and Chie's roles in combat. Yosuke starts out with good physical and wind attacks as well as healing, but his physical attacks are quickly outmatched by Chie's and his healing spells are soon outdone by Yukiko's. However, his wind attacks not only stay strong but soon prove to be the Infinity -1 Element and he also learns some of the best buffs and debuffs in the game around the time his healing spells turn completely obsolete. Chie goes through a similar cycle but at a slower pace, starting out with good physical and ice attacks as well as the ability to tank but her defensive capabilities and single target physical attacks start to lose their punch around the time Kanji shows up to pick up the slack and her ice magic loses almost all of its effectiveness around the time Teddy takes to the field with his much harder hitting ice spells. However, her multi-target physical attacks start to gain real use around that point and come to a head by the end game with Agneyastra.
  • Averted in Pokémon with the very first Mon you receive, which is fairly powerful and ultra-rare. The first one you catch, however, is most likely a horribly weak Com Mon. Except Magikarp.
    • Starly in the 4th gen games. It starts off looking like it'll just be like the earlier gen flying Mons (only to be used to fly around after a while), but it eventually evolves into Staraptor, a Pokemon that is very useful due to a powerful movepool.
    • To an extent, Gen 6 did this to Dragons. Before, only Dragon-type and Ice-type attacks are super effective against it while Steel-type resists Dragon-type attacks. Fairy-type, which is introduced in this generation, is not only super effective against Dragon-type but immune to it.
    • In general, while there are plenty of Pokemon who are useful at one point but aren't as the adventure goes on, there are plenty who you can get early and can be with you without much issue to the very end. Along with the aforementioned Starly and Magikarp, similar early season Pokemon that remain useful to the end of the adventure in various games include series mascot Pikachu, Ralts, Alolan Grimer, Shroomish, Riolu, and Abra.
  • Ratchet & Clank:
    • Ratchet & Clank (2002) manages to avert this trope for most of the game, until you get the R.Y.N.O, at which point all the other weapons become obsolete. The sequels also work to avert this: though later weapons are inherently more powerful than earlier ones, this can be counterbalanced by the earlier weapons accumulating more experience and upgrades that boost their usefulness. Of course, this doesn't apply to the New Game Plus Game Breakers.
    • Played depressingly straight with the Gadgetron weapons available in Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando, which are either an Old Save Bonus from the first game or available on a single planet not controlled by new weapons manufacturer Megacorp. They can't be appreciably upgraded beyond getting more ammo, their power is pathetic compared to the Megacorp weapons, and you can't install mods in them.
  • Red Faction is a particularly egregious example of this.
    • In the first game, the weapons you get in the first half of the game that worked so well against the regular Ultor Guards become absolutely useless against the Mercs that show up in the game's second half. Instead, you have to grab a Precision Rifle off of the first Merc you kill and use that as your standard weapon for the rest of the game.
    • In the second game, pistol-caliber weaponry (the pistol, machine pistol, and submachine gun) becomes pointless once you get access to assault rifles, and likewise the endgame weaponry (i.e. the precision rifle and nano-submachine gun) outclasses the mid-game assault rifles in every possible way. Similar to the first game, the game has a Hyperspace Arsenal but there's absolutely no reason to use 2/3rds of it once you get to the later levels.
    • Guerrilla zig-zags this. A lot of the weapons you start off with have their uses but are still mostly outperformed by later weapons, some remaining viable only for ammo counts (the demolition charges give way to a rocket launcher and then a rifle that shoots nanomachines to disintegrate whatever you hit, but the launcher and rifle only get a handful of reloads while you can carry a ton of charges), while others are simply completely outmatched (the normal assault rifle getting an upgraded version that fires homing bullets, with negligible differences in ammo count). The sledgehammer, however, remains very useful all throughout the game for its ease of use, no ammo limit, and being an instant kill on most enemies even to the end.
  • In Robopon, Legend1 rankings don't mean much in Majiko; the tournament there is for Legend1s exclusively.
  • Somewhat subverted with the Shofelds in the first two Serious Sam games. A pair of starter weapons and relatively weak, they're still hitscan weapons with unlimited ammo and decent for picking off individual enemies from a distance. While the Shofelds are technically superceded by the Tommy Gun and Sniper Rifle, the Shofelds are still good for mop-up duties if you're worried about conserving ammo for larger hordes of enemies (or huge, powerful enemies that the Sniper Rifle would be far more useful against).
  • In Sins of the Prophets, unlike the UNSC whose gameplay is built around leveraging the unique strengths of even the earliest-available combatant spacecraft, the Covenant tech tree is designed such that every new combat class available is a straight upgrade over the previous one, rendering the predecessor obsolete.
  • A story-wise example in StarCraft. In Brood War, the Psi Disruptor was introduced as a secret weapon and essentially the Zerg's Kryptonite Factor by blocking their Hive Mind, allowing the UED to take over most of the Swarm and leave Kerrigan considerably weakened until she managed to destroy it with help from her allies. As a result, in StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, when Kerrigan comes for him, Arcturus Mengsk has his scientists create a new variant, the Psi Destroyer, which uses their Hive Mind to destroy Zerg... only to find out Kerrigan has made the acquisition of the Primal Zerg, who lack a Hive Mind and as such are immune to the Psi Destroyer.
  • Particular averted in Super Robot Taisen Original Generation 2. While many of the prototypes from the first game like the Wildschwein and Wildraubtier had been put out of service and many custom mechs such as the Alteisen and Weissritter need an upgrade in the middle of the game, some units are still as powerful as in first game like the SRX units.
    • Even more averted with some of the mass produced mechas. Particular the Gespenst II M, a basic unit used by the main characters in the beginning of the first game. With some upgrades, parts and a good pilot they can still be extremely usefull later in the game. This comes particular from the build in jet Magnum, one of the rare chain attack capable weapons.
    • Irmgult Kazahara's Grungust. Given to him early on in OG 1, and maintains usefulness all the way through OG 2 simply by being a well-balanced robot and Irm's criminally-cheap Spirit commands. Provided one gets him his Ace bonus and lowers his Spirit Point consumption, his Love Command becomes a Game-Breaker. Increased movement range? Check. Assured to never miss a shot for the next turn? Check. Impossible to be hit the next time an opponent sends a swing at you? Check. A 30% increase in evading all attacks for the rest of the turn after that? Check. Take 1/4 damage for the rest of the turn? Check. Get a boost in Will so you can use better attacks sooner? Check. Have your next attack do twice as much damage along with all the above, while costing only 1 extra Spirit Point in comparison to simply doubling the strength of your next move? Priceless.
      • Generally in OG, with the exception of Alt and Weiss (and they didn't even need the upgrades that badly, they held their own throughout most of OG 2) once a character gets their signature mecha, it will be effective from then on. In OG Gaiden, nobody needed an upgrade from their OG 2 mecha, and the SRX team and Irm and Ring have been using the same machines since early OG 1. The only exception so far is Ibis, who's gone through 2 mecha and an upgrade throughout OG 2 and Gaiden, and still has yet to get her signature Altarion.
  • Terraria: Before the 1.3 update, one could get through the majority of Hardmode with the Vampire Knives or Spectre Armor, thanks to their Life Drain abilities. Then the 1.3 update came, and these weapons/equipment hit a brick wall against the Moon Lord, who gives the player a debuff that makes all Life Drain effects useless against it. Although there are a few ways to avoid its tentacle which blocks your Life Drain abilities if it touches you, so it isn't completely useless.
  • TimeShift has a particularly egregious example in the starting pistol. Between its low rate of fire, problematic accuracy, small magazine, and lack of regular enemies using it to drop ammo, most players will only use it to kill two mooks, probably through Pistol Whip rather than the less reliable bullets. Averted with the second weapon found, the assault rifle, which remains useful throughout most of the game thanks to its large ammo capacity, reasonable accuracy, better chance of knocking armor off a bad guy, and attached grenade launcher — it's actually a hard choice between it and the EMP cannon earned significantly later, mostly because the EMP cannon isn't as viable at long ranges. Inverted with the Thunderbolt crossbow, a sniper crossbow with explosive tips that will probably stay in your inventory when rocket launchers go flying around.
  • TimeSplitters is slightly odd as many times it inverts the trope, if one takes the various time periods as 'seasons.' Not only do the mechanical and futuristic enemies take a TON of punishment but future tech weapons aside from the homing launcher are somewhat over-specialised. As far as rapid weapons go, many death-matchers swear by the automatic pistol (fires as fast as you can mash, dual-wielded by a pro can fire FASTER than the Tommygun, shotgun (which is preferred to the automatic if one is refraining from the weapon swap trick), Tommygun, SB90, and AK-47 rather than the sci-fi autorifle (fires slow then ramps up, faster it fires lower the damage), lasergun (must be charged to really do damage and people will hoard explosives if available just to get around the shield), and sci-fi handgun (The reflecting bullets are deadly, especially in the first where it is VERY easy to headshot yourself in enclosed spaces as it travels a LOT faster.)
  • In Total Overdose: A Gunslinger's Tale in Mexico, the character begins with a pistol and upgrades to more powerful weapons at about the same rate that he finds enemies to shoot them at him. But between mission stunt challenges train abilities that make the pistol more and more valuable. By mid-game the weapons escalation has peaked; the player is still upgrading acrobatic gunslinging while the enemies bring out more of the same. In the end, baddies can't keep up with the two-gunned wall-bouncing slow-mo triple-spins no matter how many assault rifles, explosives or military vehicles they send. Trope subverted: Pistols now are the heaviest weapons in the game.
  • Very averted in Unreal. The Dispersion Pistol gets regular upgrades all through the game; by the final upgrade, it's as powerful as a weapon this side of a Game-Breaker can be expected to be... unless you use the (rare) power amplifier item. Then it'll chew through even the building-sized enemies in a few shots.
    • The Game-Breaker properties of the upgraded (and amplified) DP were nerfed in a patch, as it could kill even the final boss in a few hits originally. Most of the other weapons also retain their usefulness throughout the game.
  • In The Witcher, you can, at the end of it, have an ancestral armor that was reforged, a steel sword that does +100% damages and ignore armor and a silver sword that does + 60% damages and has a high chance to disarm or stun your opponent(s), but if you import a save into The Witcher 2, they suddenly become only slightly better than what you get in the tutorial.
    • Even more baffling when, in the third game you can get the silver sword back from the same person who gave in to you in the first game, and it proves hilariously overpowered.
  • World of Warcraft runs with this full-stop: whenever new ten man raid instances get introduced - a process which takes from 5 to 12 months - all loot obtained so far becomes inferior in comparison to newly introduced gear. Even the PvP gear vendors get updated with new tier of gear so it would keep up with PvE drops. All previously purchasable gear becomes obtainable for lesser, easier obtainable tokens, new 5-man instances often get introduced sporting the same quality of gear as previous 10 man ones, and the difficulty of said 10 man instances is drastically toned down to render them accessible to the more casual playerbase. This process occurs 2-3 times per expansion.
    • As of expansions themselves, they represent a colossal leap in gear quality - for example, even the best gear from Wrath of the Lich King expansion for level 80 players becomes outdated compared to level 83 gear from Cataclysm. Character damage and health pools rise by as much as 3-5 times during the course of reaching new maximum level compared to the limit of the previous expansion.
      • This is generally a good thing, since the gear high end from the last expansion tends to come from content with a heavy time investment, having better gear available through the storyline puts everyone back on the same playing field, preventing new players from feeling like they Can't Catch Up
      • The gear quality leap from Wrath of the Lich King to Cataclysm was one of the most egregious examples. The jump from Burning Crusade to Wrath of the Lich King, and Cataclysm to Mists of Pandaria, weren't so dramatic, as people could still use their high-level gear well into the midway point of levelling. In Mists, even some gear obtained from dungeons couldn't replace heroic-quality gear from Cataclym's last raid. Especially the case for Trinkets, which are hard to come by until max level.
    • Certain items manage to outlive their purported quality due to being exceptionally well balanced, having no worthy replacement, or having a unique on-use effect. The so called Legendary weapons are purposely designed to last for the remainder of the expansion, as each is notoriously difficult to obtain and frequently involves a lengthy questline combined with running raid instances many times over. However, they often scale too well - for example, the spellcaster staff Dragonwrath had a chance of instantly doubling any harmful spell cast by the wielder. As this spell fully scales with all the caster's attributes, Dragonwrath would probably remain the single best weapon of all time if it wasn't eventually toned down.
    • Skills and abilities, on the other hand, do not become outdated as they scale with characters' attributes (though before Cataclysm expansion, players needed to upgrade them manually at a trainer). The only exception are 'placeholder' skills such as Strike for warriors, which are baseline attacks designed to last until the character reaches level 10 and may select a proper specialization with unique abilities that replace it.
    • Gear quality discrepancies is lessened in Legion with the introduction of Mythic+ dungeons, meaning that drops from the same dungeon get better as the difficulty is increased, up to a point they are only 10 or 15 item levels below that of raid gear. Raids introduced in this expansion still suffer from this problem, though, as they lack the Mythic+ difficulty setting. Emerald Nightmare, the first raid released in Legion, gives comparatively worse gear than Mythic 5-man dungeons, which can give comparatively worse gear than world quests in Argus, as of Patch 7.3.
  • The Omnigears from Xenogears. They're first introduced as "god Gears," and the first one to be unearthed, Andvari, is the legendary Ancestral Weapon of the Fatima family and dramatically outclasses any other Gear encountered up to that point. But after Weltall is upgraded to Weltall-2, Omnigears lose a lot of their specialness. Weltall-2 is able to defeat the Vendetta Omnigear quite easily, Vierge is a match for an Omnigear despite being just an advanced mundane Gear, and Krelian's own nanomachines, Miang's Opiomorph, and the Seraphs of Deus have surpassed the Lost Technology used to make the Omnigears. While about half of the party keep their Omnigears to the end, they still need to be upgraded with their own nanotech to stand a chance against the Seraphs.
  • Zig-zagged in Minecraft with the progression of tools and armor. There is definitely an overwhelming jump in power between tiers and with the introduction of Netherite even the previous game-breaker of diamond gear has been demoted to merely being Infinity -1 now, but it's not uncommon for players to dump a bunch of disposable unenchanted iron picks or shovels into a quick project just to save their better stuff for more important things. Also there is the amusing case of Surprisingly Realistic Outcome regarding gold, its rarity would typically put it between iron and diamond but it has such terrible power and durability it's actually barely a step above the wood gear you start the game with (Albeit with extremely high speeds that can make it something of a Lethal Joke Item in the right circumstances). This definitely varies based on update version and player preference though, it was more common to use weaker expendable tools in pre-enchanting (and even in early pre-Mending enchantment patches) Minecraft since diamond gear was relatively more costly to use. With a full set of Mending gear and an experience farm it's much reasonable for players to just use their best equipment for every task and take breaks as needed to repair it.
    • Mostly averted however with other items in the game, including non-standard tools like fishing poles and shears. Whatever role they serve tends to be mechanically unique and if there is even an option to enchant them the power gap created is less extreme than the one between leather and diamond armor, for example. It also remains unrealistic to live entirely on a diet of golden apples, so even very "high-level" players will usually stick with the same Boring, but Practical food like steak and carrots that the early-game players are eating.

    Web Original 
  • In Atop the Fourth Wall, when Mechakara returns, he prevents Linkara from repeating the morphing that allowed him to win the first time. His stronger forcefield does the rest (though it can't stop a Zeonized Linkara).
  • In Dimension Heroes, the Dimensional Guardians' powers are said to increase as the threats escalate in power.

    Western Animation 
  • In Code Lyoko, Jeremie manages to program everyone vehicles at the beginning of Season 2, and made a significant costume upgrade in Season 4. Also, Yumi gains a second tessen fan and Odd a deflector shield in Season 2. Finally, Aelita gets energy fields at the beginning of Season 3 and then angel wings in Season 4, turning her into an Action Girl.
    • For techniques that become obsolete and stop being used, there are Ulrich's Triplicate and Triangulate powers. He attempts once to Triplicate in order to fight William, but gets immediately struck down. He never tries again for the whole Season 4, probably believing William can instantly tell apart the clones from the real Ulrich.
  • Iron Man: Armored Adventures: In the opening of season 2, the Mark I armor is destroyed in a fight against Whiplash thanks to upgrades Mr. Fixx, now working for Justin Hammer, made for him to be better to prepared to fight Iron Man. Luckily, Tony survived and built the Mark II armor to replace it.
  • Jackie Chan Adventures had this occur at the beginning of the fourth season. Up until this point all major villains had been Chinese in origin and Uncle was able to deal with them through normal conventions. The fourth season's villain however was Japanese and Uncle, not being Japanese or even able to read Japanese, couldn't use his regular spells on them. Luckily for him, he had a Japanese apprentice.
  • In the third season of Legends of Chima, the tribes of Chima are no match for the Ice Hunters and their freezing abilities, even with their equipment and Chi that served them well in the last two seasons. It's only with the help of the Phoenix Tribe and their Fire Chi that they're able to fight back against them.
  • Mia and Me: The elves in Centopia run into this problem in both the second and third seasons, since their enemies in that season (besides Gargona from Season 1) aren't dark elves, meaning both water and the trumptus is ineffective against them. Both seasons also have the elves end up weaponizing Phuddle's failed attempts at cooking in order to fight off the villains, using a super spicy soup in the second season against Rixel and his dino-dragon, and a pink sticky substance that was supposed to be lemonade to fight off Dax and his bug men.
  • In Miraculous Ladybug, Hawkmoth sometimes akumatizes a former victim of his and gives them the exact same powers than on the previous occasion(s). Most of the time the heroes have far less trouble beating them than on the first episode where they appeared (though there are some exceptions), or are able to handle many of them at once. The best example is Mister Pigeon, who took a full episode to defeat in season 1, and who Hawkmoth apparently regularly re-akumatizes off-screen after that. Come season 3, and Ladybug and Cat Noir look utterly bored when fighting with him for the 25th time.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: In "Keep Calm and Flutter On", Fluttershy learns, to her chagrin, that her Stare, which up until Season 3 has worked on all previous critters she's fixed it on, is ineffective on Discord.
  • In the PAW Patrol episode, Mighty Pups Charged Up: Pups vs. the Copycat, the pups try to use their powers to defeat the Copycat, who has all of the main six pups' powers. They don't succeed, but when they touch each others' paws, they all gain new powers, which help them defeat the new villain.
  • In The Spectacular Spider-Man, Spidey gets his Venom suit mid-way through season 1, just in time for him to fight off the Sinister Six. In a subversion, he loses it soon after. In season 2 there's a notable lack of a mid-season powerup, despite the ever-increasing stakes; Spidey bemoans this.
  • A variation of this occurs in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003) where, beginning with the fifth season, the turtles would get new weapons and abilities, which would be discarded in the following season. Season five had the turtles gain the mystical Fangs of the Dragon and super-ninja abilities, Fast Forward had the turtles use futuristic variations on their trademark weapons, and Back to the Sewer gave them Cybernaut weapons and armors while in cyberspace.
  • Transformers: Beast Wars. The quantum surge turned some characters into Transmetals, granting them new weapons, new looks, and more power. Aside from the two Fuzors, new characters who showed up from that point on were also Transmetals... Until the Transmetal Driver was found and altered by Megatron, and the Transmetal 2s came into play, resulting in another round of upgrades and another look for new characters. Optimus went Transmetal, got an upgraded "Optimal" Transmetal form, and Megatron and Cheetor both went from normal to Transmetal, and then to Transmetal 2. Naturally, the final forms of all three were formidable presences on the battlefield, as was Blackarachnia, who skipped right to Transmetal 2... A full list of who was what when would be far too exhaustive for this wiki. Characters of either faction who never upgraded tended to seem slightly weaker as the Beast Wars raged on. Except Rhinox, one of about two characters who lived from the beginning to the end of the show without upgrading once, and remained awesome and invaluable right to the end. Arguably, everyone else upgraded up to his level.
    • Transformations in general. At first, beast modes served to protect Cybertronians from Energon buildup which would cause them to short-circuit in robot mode. Then Transmetals came around who didn't have this issue. To bring back relevance to beast modes, they were upgraded to include some mobility features such as thrusters or wheels, but this too became less and less relevant over the course of the series.
  • Winx Club takes it a bit further than just making previous power-ups worthless: they practically eradicated their existence without any real explanation. The season 2 endgame featured the girls earning their Charmix (even prompting a line of dolls based on this new power up). Season 3, except for a brief mention by Alfea's headmistress, has completely forgotten about Charmix, instead opting to change the Winx's fairy forms altogether with a whole new power up, the Enchantix (hello, more dolls). And this is despite the fact that none of the girls get their Enchantix until the end of the 6th episode of that season, and there are quite a few big battles, including one against the series' perennial Big Bads, between the start of the season and the first Enchantix's appearance; such battles should at the very least have brought up a mention of Charmix.
  • In the second season of the W.I.T.C.H. TV series, the Guardians get an upgrade after the Veil over Meridian is lowered; four of the girls receive power increases and Psychic Powers, while Will finally gets access to her elemental power, Quintessence. This led them to completely curb stomp season one's Big Bad Phobos when he was broken out of prison.
  • When WordGirl made the jump from shorts to a full TV series, she gained the power to make her costume appear and disappear at will.

    Real Life 
  • Happens fairly often in military history when one side adopts new methods, mass-produces sufficiently advanced equipment and/or weaponry. World War One probably has the most examples of any single conflict.
    • 1914: Machine Guns > Rifles
    • 1914: Artillery > Machine Guns > Rifles
    • 1915: Artillery-with-observervation-aircraft > Machine Guns > Rifles
    • 1915: Artillery-with-observervation-aircraft > Machine Guns > Grenades & Pistols > Rifles
    • 1916: Artillery-with-observervation-aircraft > (Trench/Stokes) Mortars > Machine Guns > Grenades & Pistols > Rifles
    • 1916: Artillery-with-observervation-aircraft > (Trench/Stokes) Mortars > Chars/Tanks > Machine Guns > Grenades & Pistols > Rifles
    • 1916: Artillery-with-observervation-aircraft-and-gas-shells > (Trench/Stokes) Mortars > Chars/Tanks > Machine Guns > Grenades & Pistols > Rifles
    • 1917: Heavy-Artillery-with-observervation-aircraft > Artillery-with-observervation-aircraft > (Trench/Stokes) Mortars > Chars/Tanks > Machine Guns > Grenades & Pistols > Rifles
    • 1917: Heavy-Artillery-with-observervation-aircraft > Artillery-with-observervation-aircraft > (Trench/Stokes) Mortars > Chars/Tanks > Machine Guns > 'Light' Machine Guns > Grenades & Pistols > Rifles
      • Things get a little simpler with Artillery techniques for the Franco-British forces:
      • 1914: accurate Direct Fire over open sights (high gunner losses)
      • 1915: inaccurate Indirect Fire at unseen targets (few enemy losses )
      • 1916: reasonably accurate Indirect Fire at unseen targets (some enemy losses)
      • 1917: heavy, inaccurate Indirect Fire at unseen targets (variable enemy losses) note 
      • 1918: very heavy, accurate Indirect Fire at unseen targets (devastating enemy losses)
    • It was around for thousands of years. The best way to counter the enemy heavy cavalry, the most expensive of all western European warriors, in the mid 1500s? Tercio pikeman, lad. By the time of the Italian Wars of 1494–1559, horses were just giant targets on western European battlefields. Of course, light cavalry (for more than just scouting purposes) hung around for much longer.
    • Greek Hoplite warfare was unchanged for centuries, then javelins were deployed against the phalanx, which required cavalry so as to fend of the skirmishers, which were best dealt with using the Hoplite's spears. Then things settled down for a few centuries before the Romans developed their Legions.
    • The atomic bomb is so horrific, its main use without going past the point of no return (what wasn't known when it actually was used) is as a weapon of fear. Modern aircraft carriers can carry payloads just as destructive, but spread out over the aircraft carried and the ships' own missile systems. Thus all that destruction can be a lot more precise without fallout and other horrific collateral damage. Thus making it actually usable, and a credible threat for many situations.
  • Happened to a comical level during the latter half of the Second World War as supplies began to run dry, older cannons were brought back... and found to be totally ineffective anywhere but the back on most newer tanks. And the same happened with tanks, somewhat, especially for Germany, in order to have 'complete' combined arms regiments. They uparmoured the Panzer II with the F variant heavily, yet it still carried a measly 30mm which merely plinked off most anything it came up against. And it was horrible as an infantry tank too due to its long slender chassis not having enough room for many 'grapeshot' rounds or bullets.
  • Speaking of the Katanas of the Rising Sun... the Arisaka Type 99 is a good candidate for the best bolt-action rifle ever built, and the design was in many ways revolutionary (among other things, it was the first rifle to have chromed internals). However, it was still a bolt-action rifle at a time when the opposition was increasingly (or exclusively) using semi-automatics (the M1 Garand and SVT-40, respectively). The Arisaka served well as a sniper rifle, but as a battle rifle its time was over before it began.
  • One of the major reasons for The American Civil War claiming so many lives was the massive dilution of talent caused by the fielding of such incredibly large armies relative to the pre-war pool of trained and experienced officers (just a couple of percent of the total!). The professional officer corps was well aware of how to make the best use of the available weapons and equipment, but the bulk of the men on both sides were commanded by bureaucrats, lawyers, and the like with little or no military experience or knowledge... initially. They learned, eventually - the hard way. Which is where this trope comes into play.
  • The submachine gun proved its battlefield worth in the 1940s during World War II, becoming the main fully-automatic small arm of almost every major country's militarynote . From the 1950s through the early 2000s, even as assault rifles like the AK-47 and M16 displaced its role in the military, the SMG continued to be the gold standard weapon for counter-terrorists the world over and was a staple issue for many special forces units as well. Standout examples include such legendary weapons like the Heckler & Koch MP5 and the Uzi, the craze in the 1990s for personal defense weapons like the FN P90 and HK MP7, and less well-known but still effective guns like the Smith & Wesson M76, the French MAT-49, and the Walther MPL. However, beginning in the mid-2000s, the SMG's & PDW's time in the spotlight began to fade as CT units and special forces groups moved toward compact assault rifles instead. A combination of the spread of global terrorism, close-in urban combat, advances in gun & ammo manufacturing, and further research into rifle cartridge ballistics have increased the popularity of carbines capable of firing much more powerful intermediate rifle cartridges like 5.56x45mm, 7.62x39mm, and .300 Blackout as opposed to submachine guns that are chambered for pistol calibers like 9mm and .45 ACP. In the American civilian firearms market, civilian-legal SMGs* have mostly been replaced by "pistol-caliber carbines" which are essentially rifles chambered in pistol calibers: this can largely be attributed to the resurgence of the 9mm cartridge, and more importantly, the massive increase in popularity of the AR-15 platform which can be converted to fire said cartridge in an easily controllable and customizable package.
    • With all the above, it is quite notable that the U.S. Army in April 2019 selected a submachine gun for its inventory: the Brügger & Thomet APC9K. This marks the first time it will have an SMG since the World War II-era M3 Grease Gun was retired in the early 2000s. It still illustrates how far the SMG has fallen from grace: once being a reliable go-to weapon for intense frontline combat fighting alongside riflemen and armored cavalry, but now only good for close bodyguard duty. The fact that the Army is placing a tiny order of only 350 guns (with a provision for an extra 1,000) further proves the point.
  • The unfortunate fate of the Airbus A380. Seeing Boeing's incredibly successful and iconic 747, Airbus went to the drawing board to one-up their competitor, resulting in a massive plane built from the ground up as a passenger liner*. The result was a monster of a plane that could carry over twice as many passengers as the 747, which utilized more modern technology for a number of secondary advantages over the aging 747. All of which meant next to nothing in the face of Boeing's 787, a much smaller plane that nontheless combined globetrotting range and vastly superior fuel economy and overall technology to Airbus's lumbering A380, and the resulting "point-to-point" flight model airlines are starting to adopt, using smaller long-range planes to get passengers directly to their destinations instead of relying on large "hub" airports to herd them onto longer-legged giants that were, until recently, the only planes that could make the trip. As a result, the A380 still hasn't paid off the initial R&D costs and is likely never going to.
  • Information technology moves quickly. Programming languages, software programs, operating systems, mobile platforms, etc., all cycle out of use and professionals have to constantly keep up with developments in the field.

    TV Tropes Wiki 


Video Example(s):


Humanity Learned Zoltraak

Frieren explains Qual's signature spell which took him hundreds of years to make was analyzed and learned by humans during the years Qual was sealed because humans can learn magic far quicker than demons. This makes Qual's trump card spell far less effective than before.

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5 (8 votes)

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Main / HumansAdvanceSwiftly

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