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That One Attack

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Not even your shield can protect you from Galactus' Beam Spam, Cap.

"The thing that I really hate about Junko's fight is the final spell; it's [briefly pauses] so unbearable. I-It's total RNG and you cannot detect, or you cannot predict, where those bullets gonna [sic] come to you,..."

A particular attack in an enemy's arsenal which is significantly more dangerous than most of its attacks.

If you have a party, it will almost always target all party members, and it often takes off the majority of your hit points, if not worse. It's a staple for That One Boss to have one of these, possibly more. Occasionally though, even Mooks have this, making them Demonic Spiders. Instakill Mooks have these attacks practically by definition.

This attack showing up even once is always bad news; if the A.I. Roulette gives you two in a row, expect to see the Game Over screen. Whether or not you can beat That One Boss that uses this attack usually depends entirely on whether or not you can avoid/endure/recover from it.

Skill Gate Characters may also derive their harmful-to-newbies nature from having one of these, and thus falter when the opponent learns to counter it. If these are available to players without suffering Redemption Demotion, they usually become Game Breakers.

Example subpages:



Other examples:

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    Beat 'Em Up 
  • Battle Circuit: The Master Program has several powerful and hard to avoid attacks, but one stands out. Once his health goes below halfway, he will disappear and massive cubes will fall over the entire arena before landing and making a cross. These do very good damage and, unless you know your desperation attack makes you invincible if you don't hit an enemy, you have no way to avoid it, because they have no pattern.
  • Knights Of Valour: Cao Cao has an attack that really stands out. He creates clones that surround you, and they all spin their blades at once. Get hit and you die.

    Collectible Card Game 
  • Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft:
    • Priest's Mind Control. A big finisher spell, it steals one of your opponent's minions, effectively destroying it and summoning a big minion for you in return. It was originally priced at 8 mana, but was bumped to 10 during the beta almost entirely because of how frustrating the thing was. The game even lampshades it:
    • Yogg-Saron, Hope's End was this to both players. Initially passed off as an impractical joke card, this card is what christened Yogg-Saron as a memetic Random Number God. He casts a completely random spell for each spell you've cast the battle, meaning with enough spells anything can happen. He was often used as a last-ditch effort to hope he can swing the game in your favor, and he can wipe out the board and summon token minions for you, refill your hand, over-refill your hand to the point of taking massive fatigue damage, do nothing, blast your opponent or yourself to death, or anything combination in between. He was very controversial for enabling the most RNG-based elements of the game, and because relying on random shenanigans was deemed "unsportsmanlike", he was nerfed to have his effect end when he dies, making his high rolls much less likely (until he was eventually un-nerfed years later, when Power Creep managed to keep him down).
    • Ultimate Infestation, the boogeyman from the Druid class for almost two years. It's another 10 mana spell, which deals 5 damage, draws 5 cards, grants 5 Armor, and summons a 5/5 Ghoul. The most notable part of that is the card draw - it provides monstrous fuel and all the extra effects mean the Druid barely loses any tempo to do so (despite the card costing all of their mana). The card almost single-handily created Druidstone throughout 2017 and 2018 because of this.
  • Magic: The Gathering has a whole "restricted list" in Vintage and a "banned list" in other formats. Every last one of those could be That One Attack. Three cards even annoy the judges so much that they're banned in Vintage: Shahrazadnote , Chaos Orb, and Falling Star. There are other Vintage-banned cards, but they use ante, a mechanic involving changing ownership, something never done in tournaments.
  • Shadowverse: Because the game heavily revolves around decks that use a single card as their primary win condition, dozens of cards end up becoming this once you figure out what deck they're playing. A few notable cards that need barely any support:
    • Bahamut, a 10-pp Neutral legendary follow that destroys the entire board and has big stats to boot. While it has a downside where he can't attack the leader directly if they have at least 2 followers on their side, this usually ends up not being an issue if they have removal, and getting two minions that can stick long enough to block Bahamut is rather hard if your board just got wiped. This thing used to be a 13/13, which is more than half the max leader health.
    • Heavenly Aegis is Nigh-Invulnerable to literally everything. You can't damage it, you can't hard remove it, you can't disable it, nothing. The only thing you can do is change its stats, but its tech card is so inefficient that it doesn't matter. Its only real downside is his very high cost and lack of immediate effect, but as long as you're decently ahead or have an Evolve saved up so it can at least remove one follower and make up for the tempo loss, the Aegis completely invalidates your ability to retake the board short of back-to-back Zerg Rushes.
    • Shadowcraft has a bad habit of constantly receiving bloated general-purpose cards. Some of them include Underworld Watchman Khawy, a Ward minion with a hard removal Last Word that also heals the leader, Demonlord Eachtar who gives you a 2/2 Zombie for every 3 Shadow then gives everyone else +2/+0 and Rush regardless to wrestle control back to the board or just make everything hit harder, and Cerberus, Hound of Hades, who for just 1 Evolve point adds 8/8 worth of stats to the board for 5pp while creating a 4-health lead between your leader and the opponent's.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • The effect of Chaos Emperor Dragon -- Envoy of the End takes the cake. For 1000 Life Points, the player can send every card on both sides of the field and in both players' hands to the Graveyard, inflicting 300 points of damage per card! You can see why the Chaos Dragon was quickly banned from competitive play, and only came back after a very harsh Nerf note . It was apparently so broken that an episode of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX actually mentioned in-universe that it was banned.
    • Yata-Garasu taught players from very early on to not judge the power levels of monsters purely by their ATK/DEF stats. If this thing deals damage to you, you lose your next draw - and if you have no monsters to defend yourself with, there is nothing stopping the opponent from constantly using Yata to lock you out of playing the game. Making matters worse is that Yata also returns to the owner's hand at the end of the turn, making it very hard to destroy since it simply isn't there during your turn. It bears the distinction of being the only monster in the game that's been banned for the entire history of the Forbidden List, ever since it was possible for Konami to ban cards from the game.
    • Lyrilusc - Independent Nightingale has an effect where it can inflict damage to your opponent equal to its Level times 500. This isn't that bad on its own, but it lead to the banning of two cards completely unrelated to it. Supreme King Dragon Starving Venom, a Level 8 Fusion monster, could copy its name and effect from the field or Graveyard and burn the opponent for 4000 damage, and The Tyrant Neptune, a Level 10 Effect monster, could use Nightingale as a tribute and then copy its name and effect for 5000 damage. Bringing both of these monsters out in one turn wasn't impossible, either, leading to games where the opponent lost before getting a chance to do anything if it happened on the first turn. Independent Nightingale is still playable, but Starving Venomnote  and Neptune were both banned shortly after this combo was figured out.

  • DOTA 2:
    • Death Ward, the main reason alot of players play Witch Doctor, spawns a single ward which proceeds to do a highly convincing imitation of the Fountain's "Instant Death" Radius. This actually chains, which means that Death Ward actually hits harder than the Fountain. The fact that he also has a chain-stun spell and one that does more damage the more damage he already took doesn't really help matters either.
    • Doom's DOOM Ability does two things: one, it adds a powerful but not too unique Damage Over Time effect to the target; two, it shuts down everything short of autoattacks and moving. For fifteen seconds. In a game where the entire team can be killed in around 5 seconds of combat, that's a massive amount of time you're stuck just sitting there. This skill did get nerfed: Without a specific item it will no longer disable passive abilities. A specific item that was pretty good on Doom even if there aren't important passives to disable... until they nerfed it again. It still qualifies big time though.
    • A decent chunk of heroes have extremely powerful area-of-effect ultimates with gigantic cooldowns, which are commonly referred to as "big teamfight ultimates". Some examples are Tidehunter's "Ravage", Sand King's "Epicenter" and Enigma's "Black Hole". If two or more heroes get caught in one of these, odds are you're going to lose the teamfight and should just minimise losses by running. Assuming, of course, that your entire team didn't die to the ability.
  • League of Legends:
    • "Requiem", Karthus's ultimate. It's a straight damage spell that hits the entire enemy team, no matter where they are on the map. And he can cast it while he's dead. Just barely escaped a fight with Karthus alive? Not for long, you didn't...
    • Malzahar's ultimate "Nether Grasp" is an unavoidable 2.5 second DoT nuke that also suppresses the target. Coupled with his other abilities, it can melt most tanks, which means that unless you buy a specific item to counter it, it WILL kill you.
    • Fiddlesticks' ultimate. The seriously startling CAWCAWCAWCAWCAWCAWCAW is your only warning you just entered a world of pain, as those damnable crows have enormous DPS. Even moreso after the VGU, where the constant paranoia from his passive could make you think he's ready to pop-off his ultimate, only to reveal itself to be a no mere vision ward, then you take a closer look...
    • Blitzcrank's Rocket Grab. It's a very long-range skillshot that pulls any target it hits next to Blitzcrank, and most likely their entire team, which is a great way to get squishy champions dead very quickly.
    • Projectile-removal skills are most often the bane of many players, especially since the game has slowly become skillshot-centric that being able to deflect one could easily ruin any combos. They often balanced by long cooldown or small protection radius, but even the smallest one can get really annoying to go up against. Skills like Yasuo's "Windwall" and Samira's "Blade Whirl" are notable examples.
    • Malphite's ultimate, the "Unstoppable Force" is an instant point-and-click dash that ends in a powerful magic damage burst and a long knockup, which mind you, has a high travel speed and can catch you off guard. Players realized that he has 100% AP scaling on his ult, ensuring that a full AP or hybrid build will be more powerful than full tank build he was intended to. The rework on his kit nerfed the AP scaling and encourages him to build tanky again, but you can still players would pull-off this strat every now and then even in high ranks because of just how effective it is.
    • Camille's first skill, "Precision Protocol" is just your milquetoast auto-attack empowering skill that also reset the auto-attack counter like many others before her like with Jax's W and Wukong's Q, only it can be activated twice. Its second activation is the reason why this skill deserves this title; it not only deal bonus damage based on your AD scaling, but it also partially converts that next auto attack proc into true damage, no, not bonus true damage on next auto attack, full-on true damage conversion on your next attack, which increases based on skill rank, peaking at full 100% conversion at rank 5. Combined with the generous cooldown, the fact that players is more likely to full level it by level 9, as well as syncing really well with Sheen-derived items that boost the next auto attack damage by percentage amount, it's giving her the equivalent of Cho'gath's ultimate on a basic ability in lenient cooldown. It's the reason why Camille managed to stay relevant in the metagame even when bruiser itemization is nerfed to the ground.
  • Smite: "Valkyrie's Discretion", the ulti used by Freya. She flies into the air, making her invincible as she deals massive splash damage that has a very long reach, doubled with her high speed and ability power. This spell has been known to wipe out entire teams when used right. It will make you dread those three words:
    "To The Skies!"

  • In Elemental Story, these skills are very dangerous in the Battle Arena:
    • Any skills that leads other monsters to attack together, especially Arthur's. It guarantees to down at least one member if it activates. Some of them, such as Hel's and Sekmet's , allows downed monsters to join in as well.
    • Any multi-hit skills. This is because they render revival abilities useless and any damage multipliers applies to each of them.
    • Any skills which leaves poison pieces. Unless the party uses monsters with 0 poison damage ability, poison pieces inflict stacked damage when matched and will down monsters with ease, especially if more than one such piece is matched.
    • Nut's 3rd skill attacks all enemies twice, which coupled with awakening ability of first attack power increase, will leave you vulnerable against other monsters if not an outright total party kill. It is so potent that even wood monsters, the element Nut is weak against, can at least down one member with it.
    • Ultimate Artemis's 3rd skill is even worse: Despite being wood elemental, its firepower can down entire team of fire monsters, the element Artemis is weak against with ease.
    • Athena's 3rd skill deals heavy damage on her target on top of putting powerful barriers on surviving monsters. Woe betide parties whose piece switch monsters got hit with it as it is one hit kill on such monsters.
    • Ultimate Athena has the above skill delegated to 2nd skill with damage output reduced while getting another skill which attacks the entire party instead with attack power and defense increase intact, in theory that is. In practice, due to increased stats both skills are powered up.
    • Alamis's 3rd skill weakens all enemy attacks. What makes it this trope is that it overrides attack boost effects instead of mutually cancelling them.

  • Though several items and weapons in the Mario Kart series can be jarring and chaotic, both the Spiny Shell and the Thunder have gained notoriety for toughening the races for the players, especially the former for the first-place rider. It's for this same reason why they're considered a Scrappy Mechanic, though the introduction of the Super Horn in the eighth installment has the ability to nullify the former.
  • Wipeout:
    • The Quake, a super-fast wave that can travel the length of any given circuit. And getting hit with it makes you lose control and slow to a crawl.
    • EG-R's super weapon in Fusion, a set of drones that circle a car and fire constantly until either they run out of ammo or you die. Which one comes first depends entirely on whether or not you are at or close to full shield energy.
    • In Wipeout Pure, the Disruption Bolt. It does no damage, but it causes one of many negative effects, ranging from the camera shooting in and out to your airbrakes being disabled. The one good thing about it is that it has a small chance of instead activating the autopilot.
  • Level 3 spike strips in Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2010 are absolute hell. Not only are they difficult to avoid, but two of them are ejected at the same time. Hitting them deals a significant chunk of damage and has you spin out in the process.
  • Jak X: Combat Racing:
    • The game gives us the series' staple, Peacemaker. Like the Blue Shell from Mario Kart, it locks flawlessly on the leading player and is guaranteed to destroy him/her unless (s)he happens to have a Red Eco shield. It is impossible to get rid of it by using any other red pickup (the standard way of dealing with the missiles), it cannot be outrun, and if it is fired when you're on a split path or shortcut and somehow it gets ahead of you, it just turns around and hits you anyway. You can, since the targeting crosshair is specific to Peacemaker, slow down and hope someone gets ahead of you and gets destroyed by it anyway, but that isn't guaranteed to work, especially since its Dark Eco powered-up version strikes everyone ahead of the one who pulled the trigger.
    • Supernova destroys everyone in front of you and delays them for three or five seconds before respawning them. Thankfully it is not available to AI players, but in multiplayer mode it's another matter entirely.

  • In Angband, Ancient Multi-Hued Dragons and Drolems, and more specifically their poison breath, are notorious for killing players who descend to 2500' without poison resistance. Players without it will take no less than 800 HP of damage from a single breath, which can come from off-screen.
  • The Binding of Isaac:
    • There are many attacks that are incredibly difficult to dodge, especially if you're playing as a slower character. However, one that stands out is the attack used by the Leapers. They hop around the room like their lesser cousins, Hoppers, until they leap so high they fly off the screen and crash down near your character, sending out a fast blood shot in each cardinal direction. This gets very deadly when there are multiple Leapers in a room. However, far more devastating is the version of the attack used by Peep, where twelve urine shots are fired very quickly in a radial pattern, then eight more are fired right after.
    • Rebirth has The Adversary, with a brimstone attack that, at medium to long range, will actively curve to hit you. It's not too hard to dodge this attack against a single Adversary by getting in close, but the final floors may feature two in the same room, making it nigh-impossible to avoid damage if you can't instantly destroy one. Another new boss, The Cage, possesses a leaping attack with completely random and fast moving shockwaves that will hit you if they feel like it.
    • The boss of Cathedral, Issac, has an attack in his third form that summons a wave of Crack The Sky beams that sweep diagonally across the room. The only reliable way to dodge it is to snuggle into the corner and let it pass, but there is a chance the final beam will land right in the corner and land an unavoidable hit. Utterly devastating if you're playing as The Lost, as it turns this guy into a Luck-Based Mission where every single one of these attacks, and they are used often, could kill you at random and there's absolutely nothing you can do about it but hope they don't.
  • In Crying Suns, every chapter boss has a special ability which goes off at regular intervals. Some of these can royally screw you over:
    • Pope Zenon's Cryo-Wave freezes your active squadrons for a few seconds, leaving them at the mercy of his guns and squadrons (which get a damage bonus when attacking debuffed units). You can avoid this by ordering your squadrons back to your battleship, but they might not make it in time if they get bogged down in dogfights.
    • Tetsuo's EMP Deluge hits your battleship with tremendous heat buildup. The resulting Subsystem Damage will cripple your battleship if you didn't invest a ton of Scrap into your Heat Capacitors, and may cause temporary system shutdowns even if you did.
    • Admiral Okonkwo's Golden Veil makes his squadrons and battleship temporarily invincible. When this happens, all you can do is try to hold his forces at bay until the effect wears off.
  • In FTL: Faster Than Light, boarding drones are one of the most dangerous things you can encounter. They bypass all shields except Zoltan Shields, never miss, and punch a hull breach into whatever room they enter - and that's all before they start attacking. They have as much health as a Rockman and an immunity to suffocation, so killing them is a major pain. And if you kill one while the enemy's drone control is online, they'll just fire another, which will punch another hole in your ship. Even if you can take the drone control offline, you still have to destroy the drone itself and repair the hull breach. The only good thing is that a Defense Drone can shoot them down, but they tend to fire so rapidly that they'll get by a drone fairly easily.
    • Missiles are already bad enough as they already pierce all shields except Zoltan Shields. The Rebel Flagship's Triple Missile Launcher fires three in succession. At best, a defense drone of any make can take down two missiles, and while you can cloak to dodge them, this only works every other time due to the longer cloak recharge. These missiles are what usually start "damage cascades" - each missile in the salvo targets a different room on your ship, and they have decent fire and breach chances along with them.
    • The Rebel Flagship's Drone Swarm. When it happens (and you do, thankfully, get warned well in advance), the Flagship launches a mixture of six anti-ship and beam drones in addition to the two already attacking your ship. If your shields drop for even a second, the beams will slice your ship to ribbons, and if your evasion or shields are already damaged or occupied, say, because your pilot is busy fighting off a boarding drone, your hull will get shredded.
  • Nuclear Throne:
    • Big Dog explodes in spectacular fashion when it dies, which deals an immense amount of damage and may One-Hit Kill you if you don't have the Boiling Veins mutation. It's a much larger explosion than you may expect, and if there are any cars in the area you were fighting it in, those also get blown up.
    • Li'l Hunter also has a Taking You with Me type attack; when he is defeated, his jetpack malfunctions and he goes rocketing in a random direction. Pray he isn't aiming towards you because the resulting explosion hurts as much as Big Dog's.
      • Li'l Hunter has an even worse attack where he just fires shots as you. It's barely telegraphed, the shots travel fast and cover a wide area. This used to be the only attack he would use at close range before he got a move that summons IDP troopers, and before he had barely any time where he was left open.
  • Darkest Dungeon':
    • "Arterial Pinch" of Uca enemies. Deals minuscule damage but inflicts heavy bleeding. Unless you are ready to cure it immediately, it will drop the character to 0 HP in two to three turns, and probably outdo any healers you might have in damage per turn. And heaven help you if it hits the same character more than once before it wears off. Not helped at all by Ucas having high HP and a Protection rating. Made less scary if you always take the Plague Doctor to the Cove, who has a skill that cures bleeding for any character.
    • "Treebranch Smackdown" of the giants. It's the attack they're actually least likely to use, despite always carrying a uprooted tree with them. You'll be thankful for that, because when they get around to swinging it, one hit will do so much damage that an average non-buffed non-tanky character will be instantly dropped to 0 HP. And stunned for good measure. And they may be already poisoned by another of the giant's attacks (which targets multiple characters), meaning they could die before you get a chance to do something about that. And unlike the Uca, nobody has an antidote to being hit in the face with a tree branch except praying for a critical heal.
    • The Final Boss has one that he'll only use twice in the battle. Which is good, because it essentially amounts to "One of your party dies, no questions asked. You choose 'em."
    • The Miller in the Color of Madness DLC has the Reaping, an attack that hits your entire party for high damage and has a high critical hit rate. He can use it twice in a round. Mildred's Locket makes its wearer immune to it, but there's only one of them.
    • The Crocodilians have Apex Predator. Nothing fancy about it, just unimaginably high damage from an enemy you can be seeing as early as the fourth mission.

  • Gradius III's lava stage boss explodes into pieces upon dying. Pieces that will kill you if they collide with you.
  • In the Hunt's Final Boss has two phases where it only uses ONE attack. Unfortunately, said attack resembles something from a Bullet Hell: it generates a minefield of indestructible red mines that absorb your shots. Made worse is the fact that you have a large collision box.
  • The House of the Dead:
    • III has The Fool's final attack pattern, in which he jumps from one side of the cage to your side, swiping you in the process. To prevent his swipe from hitting you, you must hit his remaining claw 6 times in what little time you have. Now, your gun has 6 shells. If you miss even ONE of those shots, you will fail because it takes too much time to reload. Oh, and did you bring a second player with you? Well, now you must hit him 12 times, or 6 shots from each player. Which means if the other player is not very good, or is some dumb kid who is fooling around, you are royally fucked. Even if all of your shots are spot-on.
    • The Magician from the first and second games switches from fireballs to hard to counter melee attacks in the second and fourth phases of the battle. It's hard enough to shoot his weak spots, but it's worse when he attacks so quickly.
    • The Typing of the Dead's version of the Magician, like other bosses in the game, has a gimmick. His gimmick is particularly brutal: Type out phrases before he attacks you as usual, but if you so much as make a single typo against his melee attacks, he will damage you. (This mimics the difficulty of tracking his blurringly fast circle-strafing preceding them.) Hope you can touch-type without letting your fingers slip!
  • From Hellsinker we have Perpetual Calendars "Lunatic Phantom". It's a blue flame that flies around the stage in a semi-random pattern at high speed. It also cannot be suppressed meaning that if it catches up to you, you will either lose a life or burn an auto reject.
    • In the Shrine of Farewell we have Million Lives' "Innocent Clockwork", which spews out cogs that block non-piercing attacks.
  • The Final Boss of Chimera Beast has a move where it uses its horns to fire electric balls offscreen. Seconds later, the screen gets filled with damaging, hard-to-avoid pillars of lightning, which strikes a number of times depending on how many electric balls got fired off. If all the boss' horns are still alive, it becomes extremely hard to avoid.
  • From Battle Garegga, Black Heart's signature machinegun spread. If it doesn't rotate, you live. If it does, prepare for some very precise moves, as the sweep may change direction up to two times. Black Heart mk2 also boasts this and makes even more back-and-forth sweeps that will kill any player who is not fully focused.
  • DoDonPachi Dai-ou-jou: True Final Boss Hibachi's infamous "Washing Machine" attack: a pattern in which the bullets fly out in a dense spiral pattern. Even players who can dodge the rest of Hibachi's attacks without difficulty have extreme problems with this attack.
  • Aliens Armageddon has the penultimate attack used by the giant winged Xenomorph Final Boss once it takes to the air. You need to shoot 5-7 weak points that are spread out on its head and wings in a very limited amount of time. If you fail to do so, it will fly into and destroy the escape craft, which causes you to fail the mission (aka you have to go through the entire level and boss again). There is no indication that failing to prevent this causes a mission failure, as another similar-looking attack pattern simply damages you if not prevented. Tellingly, the game even takes pity on you if you failed to prevent the attack and reached this point again, since you only have to shoot down 3 rather closely-spaced weakpoints on its head and wings instead of 5-7 that are spread out.
  • Dark Mantle's lightning attack in Pocky & Rocky for the SNES. It's not difficult to avoid, but it chases you around the arena for a very long time and you can't effectively attack until it's over. It's the video game equivalent to a Youtube advert in that it effectively just halts the battle for a period of time and there's nothing you can really do about it until it's over. To make matters worse, he uses it regularly.
  • Mandler's lightning attack in Sol Cresta. For the attack, it fires four lightning-like laser beams which can be very unpredictable and quite hard to dodge. The problem is, in its final phase, Mandler will sometimes do it constantly.

  • In Crush, Crumble, and Chomp!, a single shot from the Mad Scientist will cause the monster to gradually slow down (simulated by giving the player fewer opportunities to enter commands). This eventually proves fatal as the humans' attacks gradually overwhelm the monster.

    Third Person Shooter 
  • Splatoon:
    • The first game has a few of its specials act as this, depending on the multiplayer mode: the Ink Strike in Splat Zones can be launched from anywhere on the map and clears the zone out quite easily; there is zero ways to counter the Killer Wail in Tower Control (either you jump off to avoid the attack or get splatted); and the Kraken's invincibility and mobility mean that the player holding the Rainmaker in its eponymous mode has no way of countering it.
    • Splatoon 2 has the Sting Ray and Tenta Missiles following their respective buffs. Once seen as the worse specials in the game, subsquent updates turned them into weapons that can make ranked battles hell for the other team. Sting Ray can easily take out anyone on the tower in Tower Control, or whoever is holding the Rainmaker, from clear across the stage. Tenta Missiles are arguably worse, as even if they don't splat anyone, they force the entire enemy team to run for the hills to avoid being hit no matter what gameplay mode it is, and can be done from anywhere on the map. When Tenta Missiles were revealed to be returning in Splatoon 3, many players howled in fear.
  • The Edged Weapons Experts in Spec Ops: The Line sprint towards the player (often haphazardly running between cover elements) with very little warning to come in with a powerful stab attack (which gets upgraded to a One-Hit Kill on the hardest difficulty). There is actually an achievement for killing one that is extremely close to you.
  • Jet Force Gemini's second fight with Mizar has the infamous "electric jump rope", which does extremely high damage and the speed at which it moves is random; it'll be incredibly quick in one case and then move at a snail's pace in the next. The awkward camera angles depending on where Mizar is make things even trickier. Worse, since Mizar has no set pattern to his attacks, it's entirely possible to encounter this move multiple times in a row. It's probably 80% of the reason the Mizar rematch is hair-pullingly tough to fight.
  • Warframe has a few.
    • Grineer Bombards' primary means of attack is a homing rocket that never. Stops. Chasing you. The only ways to avoid getting hit are to shoot it down or trick it into colliding with an obstacle, but you'll have to notice the rocket in all the mayhem first, and you can still get hurt by the explosion if you're close enough.
    • Grineer Manics are frustrating to fight in the first place, but woe betide you if one manages to tackle you from behind. You'll be pinned to the floor helplessly while it dishes out heavy damage. Unless one of your teammates is nearby to shoot it off, you're almost certainly going to die. Fortunately, Manics are fairly rare in the first place, and they don't often use this attack.
    • Grineer Commanders (sensing a theme here?) have their own version of Loki's Switch Teleport power, swapping places with a clueless player. The teleport leaves its victim stunned for a couple seconds, during which time enemies (including the Commander itself) are free to attack with no repercussions. Unfortunately, Commanders tend to blend in with other Grineer troops, and the teleport is incredibly difficult to interrupt; it's entirely possible to kill the Commander during the animation, only for the teleport to go off anyways.
    • Sapping Ospreys drop small mines that project a large damaging field. If you're foolish enough to step into the field, your health will be drained rapidly, ensuring death if you stick around for very long. There are just a couple issues. First, while the visual effects appear to be a flat circle, the field is actually spherical, so trying to leap over them doesn't help. Second, you almost never have a single Sapping Osprey to worry about, and each Osprey fires off mines fairly often, which means they can turn entire rooms into uninhabitable death zones. And Sapping Ospreys can be incredibly difficult to tell apart from their relatively-harmless Shield Osprey cousins.
    • Ancient Disruptors have a chance to inflict Magnetic procs with each melee attack, scrambling your HUD and draining your shields and energy while preventing you from regaining either for a short while. They also project an aura that lets their allies drain your energy with each attack, making them high-priority targets.
    • The Infested Juggernaut and its big brother, the Juggernaut Behemoth, have a nasty attack that launches a shotgun-style blast of spines at their foes. The spines are fast, invisible, and more than capable of shredding any Warframe without special damage mitigation, so you'll rarely have time to react before you get mysteriously one-shot. Technically speaking, the attack is telegraphed, but the Juggernauts' animations are so ambiguous that you might not realize what's happening, and the telegraph in question happens to be revealing one of the only spots where the Juggernaut can be damaged, so you'll probably be more focused on trying to bring the thing down instead.

    Tower Defense 
  • Plants vs. Zombies:
    • The first game has Dr- Zomboss' desperation attack, in which he drops a caravan onto six of your plants, instantly squashing them. Unlike most of his other moves, this one cannot be avoided. Thankfully, it is predictable (he only uses it once he is below half health, immediately after he gets back up from attacking). It gets used much more frequently in the "Revenge of Dr. Zomboss" minigame, where it becomes exponentially more aggravating.
    • The sequel introduces the Gargantuar Prime, who acts like a Gargantuar with an extra attack — sweeping Eye Beams that deal huge damage to up to two plants in your back rows, usually frying the plants unfortunate enough to be hit. They can easily devastate a garden if they get to use it one too many times, and God help you if they randomly targeted an expensive, powerful plant like Winter Melon.
    • If laser eye beam tech was bad enough, the Wizard Zombie's magic is worse. While these guys can eat (rarely seen, only used if Infi-nut's barrier is in the way) their main ability zaps a plant in front of them (or on other lanes) with a ray, turning the affected plant into a completely useless sheep that can't even be removed. And they can do it multiple times if not killed in time, turning your whole field into sheep. The only way to turn them back is to kill the wizard that did it.
    • Similarly to the Wizard Zombie, we also have the Octo Zombie. While they will attempt to eat lily pads, their other attack is even worse than the Wizard's transformation ray — they throw an octopus which binds your plant up to make them useless, and can bind up all your plants in octopi if not killed in time. Unlike the sheep ray, the octopus must be killed to restore the plant, and said octopus is pretty tough to remove without instants.
    • MC Zom-B's microphone Spin Attack that he only uses during the Rap Jam. It deals an incredible amount of damage in a 3x3 area around him by spinning his mic, enough to one-shot any non-defensive plant and two-shot wall-nuts. Even worse, he shares a favoured Jam with the Breakdancer Zombie, whose Rap Jam ability kicks other zombies forwards. This includes MC Zom-B, who then proceeds to wipe your plants out with his mic.
    • Hair Metal Gargantuar's sonic blast, available while his Metal Jam plays, will destroy plants in the same row and travels the whole length of the lawn. The only defenses are Infi-Nuts, where the projector will survive the effect and block it indefinitely, and Primal Wall-Nuts, which can survive three blasts.
  • The Destroyer from Mini Robot Wars merges two of Dr Zomboss' attacks. Its deadliest move has it open its mouth and fire out a Wave-Motion Gun at two of your rows. Sure, you can move a few of your minirobots out of the way, but this attack will most likely destroy any non-defensive unit in the area of effect. Worst of all, this attack comes out without warning, unlike Dr Zomboss' caravan!

    Wide-Open Sandbox 
  • Terraria:
    • The Moon Lord's Phantasmal Deathray, where his middle-eye will open up and fire a beam that sweeps from left to right. The beam deals insane amounts of damage (150 on the default difficulty, and in this game the absolute maximum health one can have is 600), has good reach, and because the Moon Lord aggressively follows the player around, getting over or away from the attack is easier said than done. This must also be dealt with while he's firing other attacks at the same time. In 1.3, the Deathray could be guarded against by a ceiling of solid blocks, but 1.4 buffed him so that his laser pierces through any blocks between it and the player. Dodging it can be done much more easily with the Rod of Discord, but it takes a great amount of patience and/or luck to get that thing in the first place.
    • The Eye of Cthulhu's Expert and Master-exclusive dash attack. Once its health gets low enough, it will start dashing five times in quick succession while making a higher-pitched version of its roar, likely ramming unsuspecting players. The lower its health gets, the more often it does this, until it's doing it almost all the time when it's nearly dead. Since the Eye of Cthulhu is generally the "first" or "second" boss of the game, it also doubles as an early clue that bosses do not play around on Expert.

    Non-Video Games 
  • The 7-10 split in bowling, which is when pins #7 and #10 are left standing for the second ball of a frame, resulting in the furthest possible lateral distance between two pins and which relies practically on luck and possibly even the design of the lane to convert into a spare. The U.S. Bowling Congress used to give out an award for any confirmed 7-10 conversion in an amateur league.
  • The 'Greek Church', leaving the 4, 6, 7, 10, and either the 8 or the 9 pins up. The 7-10 is more notorious because it's the furthest distance laterally between any two pins, and one of the two appears to need to be knocked over sideways to get to the other, note  and thus is perceived as the most difficult.
  • In Homestuck, the bearer of the queens' rings or the kings' scepters are granted a number of powers:
    • The most commonly dangerous one is Red Miles, which is the Black Queen's signature attack. When used, the Miles will hunt down anyone or everyone on a planet and stab them through with a One-Hit Kill. If this is done to a Genesis Frog from outside the universe it embodies by an especially powerfully prototyped ring, it can kill off that universe after impaling everyone and everything in it. The only way to escape is to either flee the universe or to be travelling so fast that the miles can't track you. This attack is why it is imperative not to allow the Black Queen's ring to fall into the hands of any of her agents.
    • In the Trolls' session, Feferi prototypes her sprite (and thus all the monarchs) with a city-sized Eldritch Abomination whose psychic scream can kill off every member of her species in the galaxy except for her and the Empress she's in line to replace. Unfortunately, the Black King of their session gains this ability, requiring a truly stupendous number of alternate timeline clones of her group's strongest psychic to nullify.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • If you're not prepared for it, the spell Harm can qualify. A successful shot will reduce you to 1d4 HP regardless of how many you have. (Granted, it can be resisted, saved against, interrupted, countered, etc.) And there's the arguably-more-annoying reverse spell, Heal, that can restore a boss to full health from whatever it happens to be at. This is precisely why Harm and Heal were capped to 150 points of damage or healing in 3.5 Edition.
    • The developers of 3.5 consider any attack which results in level loss to be A Fate Worse Than Death because losing one level is literally the worst that can happen as a result of a character dying due to the resurrection spells, and grounds for immediately rolling a new character.
    • The Adamantine Horror gets Mordenkainen's Disjunction as a spell-like ability, to destroy all your buffs and magic stuff, many levels below when anything else does.
  • Sentinels of the Multiverse:
    • The Chairman's Prison Break card can undo multiple turns of effort by getting all his underbosses back from the discard pile, allowing the underbosses to bring minions back from the same pile.
    • Grand Warlord Voss's Forced Deployment also brings back his minions, which can mean he wins the game at the start of his turn if it brings back too many. Additionally, if you destroy it, that just means it triggers early; this lets you whittle down his horde before it triggers his instant-win, but it's still a pain in the neck.
    • Omnitron's Technological Singularity, which destroys all equipment and deals damage to its users for every item destroyed, can devastate equipment-heavy parties. For bonus points, there are turns where both versions of Omnitron can play two cards in a turn, meaning that you can have Technological Singularity and Sedative Flechettes (which deals damage to all heroes and destroys their ongoings) come out on the same turn and completely reset your field.
    • Citizen Dawn doesn't even need to play two cards to reset your field; Devastating Aurora will erase your entire board presence except for targets immediately.
    • Kaargra Warfang's Fickle Fans card can shift the Favour balance in her fight from a close engagement to a doomed failure instantly.
    • Wager Master's Ongoing "What Do You Really Know?", which shuffles hero cards into his deck and deals damage to a hero when their cards show up on top, has a high damage output, screws with the heroes by shuffling away potentially useful cards, shuts down another win condition where you have to empty Wager Master's deck to win, and just as the cherry on top cannot even be removed by any means.
    • An early Strength of the Grave or relic can make Gloomweaver obnoxiously harmful by either enhancing his zombies or just plain trashing your hand, field or health.
    • OblivAeon has Tear Through Reality and Global Devastation. In his first form, OblivAeon gets a large damage bonus, which combines with both of those cards' multiple stages of damage to wreak utter havoc, and since Tear Through Reality moves Obliv Aeon to the largest group of heroes and Global Devastation hits everyone everywhere, you can't even avoid them by running away like you could with some of his other attacks. For bonus points, these will destroy Aeon Men, meaning that if there's an Aeon Locus out (and there are six in the Aeon Deck) he gets another play.


Video Example(s):


TLB Bullet Hell

Aki's final phase in Ultra Mode is a bullet pattern so incredibly dense that it was widely believed to be impossible to beat without dying or bombing until fairly recently.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / ThatOneAttack

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