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Tier Induced Scrappy / Both

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Examples that qualify for both variants of Tier-Induced Scrappy depending on the circumstances, usually because their success rate varies very wildly depending on the luck and/or the skill of the user. This also tends to happen to characters with awkward or badly-designed skillsets when they get buffed or nerfed; when strong, it's not because they're actually good, just obnoxiously overtuned, and when weak, the natural weaknesses of their skillset are amplified and demonstrate just how bad their designs truly are.

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Skill Gate Characters can qualify for these, due to being overpowered at low-level play but easily trashed by a more skilled player. Conversely, Difficult, but Awesome can be these, being cannon fodder when used poorly but terrifyingly unstoppable if mastered.


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    Fighting Games 
  • In Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Phoenix (of the X-Men, not the lawyer) is an example of both a High- and Low-Tier Scrappy, due to her Glass Cannon traits. Her vitality is the lowest out of anyone's in the game, so a handful of hits and she's down for the count. Unless, she has 5 full bars on her Hyper Combo meter. Then she becomes Dark Phoenix... and then the fight is pretty well decided.
    • Then you have Phoenix (yes, the lawyer). He's low because his attacks have pitiful range, and the fact that he has to gather evidence before being able to do anything noteworthy. But if he gathers enough evidence and lands his OBJECTION!, then he enters Turnabout mode, which is every bit as overpowered as Dark Phoenix. This mode also gains access to his level 3 hyper combo, which is not only incredibly powerful, but it's impossible to avoid!
  • In games where he's low tier, such as Street Fighter Alpha 2, Zangief is this. His priority may be terrible, and he may be slow, but his damage output and throw range can still strike fear into the hearts of players.
  • Street Fighter V: Rainbow Mika is feared and despised by a significant number of players due to her massive mix-up potential, heavy damage, and having a V-Trigger which brings in an Assist Character out of nowhere. People call her "random" and "dumb" due to the fact that once she gets momentum, it's easy to for her to win a match she was losing only moments ago. The problems players have with Mika extend somewhat to other grapple-characters like Laura, Zangief and Birdie, but R. Mika is the most feared by far.
  • Iron Tager of BlazBlue is similar. He isn't usually a high tier character (and in his earlier appearances is on the lower tiers) due to his overall slow speed and the fact that he's a big target, but he can still give players nightmares with his Gigantic Tager Driver, his excellent range, and his insane damage output. And God help you if you get magnetized.
    • His Genesic Emerald Tager Buster is so infamous the move is a scrappy of it's own. It's difficult to pull off but when timed right and the opponent is magnetized, Tager can suck them in across the stage. On the lower-health characters this is usually guaranteed to finish them off if they're close to half at their health so players usually opt to go for this instead of Tager's Astral Heat.
    • Makoto Nanaya has had quite the wild ride. At first, when she was a DLC character in Continuum Shift, she was a reviled goddess of war who basically had plenty of damage and plenty of ways to get in. Continuum Shift Extend happened, however, and the programmers took the nerf bat to her hard; her options were weakened significantly, making rushdown much harder with her and reducing the damage on her combos. Chrono Phantasma made her an even worse character to the point of absolute uselessness. People who still played her on a competitive level had to put in twice the work as those who mained stronger characters (Kokonoe, Azrael, Hazama, etc.) She eventually recovered in Chronophantasma Extend, and while she is technically good in Central Fiction, she's not as busted as she was starting out. And then Cross Tag Battle came and nerfed her kit back into the ground, on top of removing Space-Counter, which could have made opponents wary of approaching her. Give Ragna and Jin credit; their bad luck didn't extend to gameplay.
    • While Arakune has been generally floating on the higher tiers, Chronophantasma (especially Chronophantasma Extend) have dropped him low enough to qualify as this. His base mode makes him a Master of None, which makes it very difficult for him to pull off anything due to his okay-to-terrible everything. However, once he gets three (four in Continuum Shift and CP Extend) hits with a few certain moves, he becomes a Master of All for a brief period, allowing him to make up for his lack of everything. The main problem people is that the mode he can enter is so dangerous (except, again, in Chronophantasma Extend, due to it being nerfed to the point of near uselessness) that he's extremely likely to get a damaging combo in on the opponent and get the edge when they're knocked down, allowing a skilled user to control the match during that time. High tier or low, nobody likes fighting Arakune.
  • Elizabeth in Persona 4: Arena Ultimax. At lower skill levels, she's generally considered overpowered because of her very effective zoning game, automatic meter gain, and above average amount of Persona cards, meaning she's less likely to become helpless. Though once you get to higher skill levels, everything she has is either easy to dodge, leaves her in a disadvantageous situation and relies on conditioning you to respond a certain way, or both. Her low health and utter lack of defensive options hurts her a lot because of the massive amounts of damage everyone in the game deals, while her near complete lack of useful moves that don't require Thanatos leaves her completely vulnerable to the opponent's pressure once her cards are all broken. All of this has her considered to be the second worst in tier lists.
  • Robo Fortune in Skullgirls. When she's by herself or on point, she's decisively the weakest character in the game, having numerous issues like her combos having an absurd number of hits for the same damage other characters get (which means significantly more meter gain for the opponent) and being the only member of the cast who needs to spend meter to convert off a throw, that don't make up for her positives. As an assist, however, she has hands down the best one in the game, with it being a screen-wide, multi-hitting, high projectile priority beam that puts the three contenders for second best to shame. Simply by having Robo on your team, it's miles better, regardless of your composition...until she's forced in.
  • Dragon Ball Fighter Z:
    • In a very similar fashion to Robo Fortune above, we have SS Vegeta. In the initial version of the game, his assist was indisputably the best in the game. It's a ki blast barrage that has a long duration, long reach, puts Vegeta high in the air (making it near impossible to get a "Happy Birthday"note  with him), and was impossible to reflect. It was a Swiss army knife assist good for just about everything you'd want in an assist, and even after getting a major nerf reducing its blockstun and making it reflectable, it's still a top assist. However, SS Vegeta as a fighter is unremarkable at best, due to low damage combos, mediocre supers, and limited mix-ups. His only saving grace on this front is having a meterless invincible reversal in a game notoriously lacking in defensive options. So, any team will benefit from having his assist, but SS Vegeta players will be hard pressed to pull a comeback with him.
    • Teen Gohan has some of the highest damage output in the game, allowing a good player to defeat an opponent's character with just two combos in most situations. However, the short range on his normals make it very hard to score the necessary hits to do so and often force a risky playstyle to maximize his effectiveness. His assist is also not very good, only having much use as a situational recombo tool.

    First-Person Shooters 
  • Every class in Team Fortress 2 gets this one way or another, but three stand out:
    • Pyro, because that Pyro is overpowered in casual play, but underpowered in competitive play - sadly, the very definition of a Scrub class. Later updates have turned Pyro into less of a close-range beast and given it more of a support role. This went about as well as can be expected.
      • It doesn’t help when the Pyro does get something useful for competitive play it's hated by a portion of the community for being overpowered (Degreaser, Axtinguisher, Reserve Shooter, Phlogistinator) but when it's nerfed they then complain that the class is useless. This has made the Pyro class a roller coaster in terms of balancing for years.
    • The Spy gets it for being the very definition of Difficult, but Awesome: Either he's one of the 1% of players who can play a spy well (and he's on the other side, terrorizing your team) or the player is one of the other 99% who should have the class disabled from their character select screen. Naturally, this sort will always be on your team.
    • The Sniper probably gets it even worse than the Spy, because he's the long-range class in a game where the vast majority of combat occurs at low-mid range. This means that your interactions with a Sniper on the enemy team will consist of either him seeing you and shooting you, or you seeing him, you firing a few futile shots from your Short-Range Shotgun, and him shooting you. Worse, since Snipers usually stay a good distance from the frontlines (bar things like Huntsman/Jarate Snipers), the time you'll most likely notice the Snipers on your team is when you check the class count and realize that your team has five Snipers on it. This leads to Snipers being stereotyped as lone-wolf, aimbotting, KDR-checking children birthed from the deepest recesses of Modern Warfare... which is, ironically, pretty much the opposite of his canon characterization.
  • Rainbow Six Siege has a few:
    • Blitz was once, like all shield users, a challenge only at lower teirs where players might be unfamiliar with dealing with shield users. This was due to having a gadget focused on rushing while being a Three Armor. Then he got a buff to being merely a Two Armor and suddenly he was actually capable of a reasonable fascimilie of rushing. Couple this with an instant flashbang and a dodgy headshot hitbox while aiming and now Blitz is generally regarded as an operator to play when you must win.
    • Rook's gadget offers additional damage resistance in a game where a headshot is instant death. Thus at mid-level play he's basically useless, since everyone's hitting headhsots. At high level and low level play, however, he's a godsend, since people either lack the skill or the time to go for a headshot and one bullet can be the difference between victory and defeat.
    • Rook's compatriot Doc similarly fits her, because originally all he offered was a way to revive team mates that had been downed from afar...and he couldn't include himself. Now, however, his revive picks allies up faster, and with more health, than a standard revive, he can self-revive, and he can use his stim pistol to heal allies and himself even above their normal maximum.
    • Lesion interestingly does this within a match. Initially his gadget is basically useless, a single invisible mine which deals 10% of an operator's health every few seconds unless they pull the needle out (which they can do nearly instantly). However, he uniquely produces more of mines over time, meaning that the longer a match goes, the more invisible mines he has around the map, and the more that 10% health damage matters. A lesion that dies as the roun begins is basically worthless, while a lesion that dies second to last, or is even the last man standing, is the most dangerous defender in the game. Especially since he can see precisely which mine of his you just triggered, even though walls, floors and ceilings

  • From Modern Warfare 2, players using knife-rushing builds (Marathon, Lightweight, and Commando perks, SMG and a pistol with a Tactical Knife attachment) are almost universally reviled for being fast-moving Demonic Spiders with the ability to One-Hit Kill at close range without needing to aim. The whole playstyle essentially revolves around running up to another player and hitting the knife attack command from over ten feet away. While incompetent players will die at least as often (if not more than) they manage to kill, competent players can be exceedingly good with this, depending on the map in question.
  • Tribes: Ascend has the Sentinel class. With the game putting most of its focus on speed and splash damage weapons, a sniping class is easily the hardest class to play especially considering sniper weapons have very little zoom. Once players manage to land more shots than they miss, expect accusations of aimbot use. The playerbase can't seem to decide whether or not the Sentinel needs a buff or a nerf.
  • In Battlefield, the sniper class is considered either overpowered or underpowered depending on the "time-to-kill" (TTK) in each entry. In games with low TTK like Battlefield 3 and Battlefield 4, snipers are near useless given how they can be quickly outgunned by the other classes while lacking the versatility to adapt to any new scenarios. In games with high TTK like Battlefield 1 and the Battlefield: Bad Company spinoffs, the sniper class is considered to be the strongest class since the rate of fire difference isn't so large that they are less likely to be outgunned. Battlefield 1 in particular allows snipers to kill enemies without needing a headshot depending on the "sweet spot" range of their bolt-action rifle while also increasing the sniper bullet velocity such that they become Hitscan weapons. Oh, in BF1, the sniper can also bayonet charge for close-quarters combat.
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    MMORPGs 
  • In World of Warcraft:
    • Retribution Paladins, Enhancement Shamans, Beast Mastery Hunters (as previously mentioned), and Fire Mages (among others) have all been Tier Induced Scrappies at some point or another.
    • Speaking of Fire Mages, the Fire spec typically suffers from this more than the other two Mage specs. Fire is often quite weak in terms of damage for a long time, but once you get geared and started building up critical strike on your gear, Fire becomes extremely powerful and often outperforms Frost and Arcane.
    • Then you've got Warlocks, who've been violently seesawing between the two types of Tier-Induced Scrappy ever since the game was released. In Vanilla they were extremely weak and generally considered free kills in PvP. Later on itemization (warlocks had an easier time getting gear with lots of stamina and damage due to their PvE gear also having stamina) and buffs to the class made them extremely powerful, allowing them to "drain tank" most other players. The primary reason for this change of power is simply due to the class mechanics, which make it very difficult for the developers to find a good balance for the class. For this reason, in pretty much every single expansion, warlocks have been either god-tier powerful (Burning Crusade, Mists of Pandaria) or utterly terrible (Vanilla, Cataclysm, Warlords of Draenor) with nearly zero middle ground. Only in Wrath of the Lich King did they have any form of real class balance... and even then, they leaned on the weak side if you weren't in the very best gear, in which case they became the most powerful class in the game.
    • Druids went from being not all that good at anything at all in Classic (raids brought them for combat ressing and innervate and because they were okay healers) to being monster tanks that would shift into respectable DPS in the blink of an eye in Burning Crusade. This generated a lot of community hate from warriors and rogues who resented the competition, and the whole business was about as proportionate as one can expect from the WoW community.
  • In EverQuest II, every expansion is almost guaranteed to make at least one high tier scrappy and a couple low tier ones.
    • When it comes to Shamans, as of Sentinel's Fate, Defilers were often preferred over Mystics because Defilers have stronger base heals and can regenerate their own power. But when Destiny of Velious came out, a combination of new alternate advancement lines and rearranging stats made Mystics a very good damage per second (DPS) class in the hands of a skilled player without losing any of their healing ability, which reversed their Tier-Induced Scrappy state from low tier to high tier. And then mudflation gradually brought Mystic and Defiler DPS back in line with each other, leading to Defilers again being highly favored over Mystics.
    • In The Shadow Odyssey, Shadowknights were overpowered, allegedly because one of the developers played a shadowknight. As of Destiny of Velious, Shadowknights were nerfed and are the squishiest of the four plate tank classes.
  • Star Trek Online:
    • Many players have dumped the Dyson Science Destroyer ships into this category... only if you're a Federation player, though. As Klingon and Romulan players lack dedicated science ships, many have welcomed this ship. For the Federation, however, many call it inferior to the Vesta line of ships due to the fact that its gimmick concerning the extra Proton Dual Heavy Cannons forces players to adapt a weaker attack build or ignore it completely. This also hurts the Klingon and Romulan players, but it's usually ignored for the fact that, again, they don't have dedicated science ships. On the other hand, the Warp Core that completes its four-piece space set makes the space set wonderful and all four pieces are usually tossed onto other ships.
    • Phasers. Save for the retrofit Phasers and the Andorian Phasers, many players tend to ignore Phasers altogether, preferring more powerful yet expensive antiproton weaponry (which doesn't get a proc, just a boost to critical damage, making it one of the top two choices for DPS builds). On the other hand, spec into flow capacitors to boost their subsystem-disabling effect and they can be pretty damn annoying to face.
    • The Scimitar-class dreadnought warbird. A very small percentage (call it 10% for the sake of argument) of Scimitar jocks can make it a near-indestructible juggernaut. Thus the ship got a reputation for being absurdly overpowered, and is thus attractive to players who think that just owning the ship will make them invincible. Hence the Fan Nickname "Scimitard".

    MOBAS 
  • In Dota 2, Meepo's effectiveness depends incredibly on the skill of the player using him. Unskilled players will be unable to effectively manage his clones, leading to them not doing much and/or dying repeatedly. Skilled Meepos, however, are forces to be reckoned with, as he'll often feel more like five heroes than one. Whenever Meepo is picked, the game will generally revolve around him, for better or worse.
    • Techies are also notorious for being as much of a help as they are a hindrance. Their ability to place invisible mines and bombs on vital portions of the map, for instance, is very useful. They also have an ability that allows them to blow up, committing suicide while simultaneously dealing the sort of instant damage no other hero can dream of. Unfortunately, this can give the enemy team gold.
    • Naga Siren gets a massive amount of flak from both ends of the spectrum. Her ultimate ability, Song of the Siren, puts nearby enemies to sleep but also makes them invulnerable for the duration; as such, it is a notoriously easy ability to misuse. She's also heavily dependent on micromanaging her illusions, meaning that less skilled players often can't use Naga to her fullest. Good Naga players, on the other hand, are nigh-impossible to play against, as her illusions make her both an efficient farmer and a terrifyingly powerful split-pusher; leaving her unchecked allows her to quickly reach critical mass and start pushing all three lanes at once without having to be in any of them. Even if she is caught, she can use Song of the Siren as a "Get Out of Jail Free" card. When Naga Siren shows up in a game, someone will be complaining by the end of it.
  • In League of Legends Supports and Junglers are usually this. The game has 3 lanes, 4 sources of gold and 5 characters. Junglers try to apply pressure on the lanes to assist in kills or force the other team to return to base (losing gold and experience). Supports lock down the enemies from attacking or retaliating while keeping their ADC safe. Having an incompetent one can doom a lane or the whole game. Certain champions have also been on both ends of the spectrum due to badly-designed kits that either aged poorly or were a mess to begin with; Urgot, Xin Zhao, and Yorick have all been particularly infamous examples, and it generally goes that if a champion's viability changes like the tides whenever buffs/nerfs or meta shifts roll around (especially when being good means that they're oppressive or incredibly frustrating to fight against and being balanced means that they're useless against competent players), they will be in line for a rework.

    Puzzle 
  • Puyo itself is this in Puyo Puyo Tetris, managing to simultaneously be both flavors of this trope. On lower skill levels, it's stronger due to the lack of ways Tetris can stop the strong disruptions Puyo can make and the ease of clearing disruptions by merely making a match next to garbage. On higher skill levels, it's far weaker because of its incredibly slow speed preventing it from getting massive chains because of the level of disruption Tetris can cause with quick successions of Tetrises and T-spins, forcing it to play on the defensive most of the time and having any disruptions it does get off being easier to clear or just work around by the time Puyo can get another chain off. Tetris' breakneck pace is also miles faster than even the quickest Puyo pace, meaning that even if the latter manages to get a huge chain off, the former could neutralize it before it even hits. And heaven help you if you get bad RNG, as not getting the colour you need is far more debilitating than not getting the Tetris pieces you need, and Puyo has no "good" disruptions like Tetris does, so you can't be given a free chain like they can be given a free Tetris instead of a disruption.

    Real-Time Strategy 
  • Naval in Planetary Annihilation. Because so few maps have any useful amount of water, there are very few situations that allow for ship use, but if you get a waterlogged planet, you'll find that they are very, very powerful.

    Roguelikes 
  • The Binding of Isaac has Azazel, who is disliked sometimes for how much power he starts off with. He can fly over obstacles, has a short-range version of the powerful Brimstone attack, and has three of a type of heart that attacks all enemies on screen if depleted. However, the farther you go in the game, the more his short range will become a crippling hindrance, as many of the late game bosses are not bosses you want to get close to. In fact, against bosses like Hush or especially Delirium, he's one of the worst characters you can have.

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    Role-Playing Games 
  • The volus characters in Mass Effect 3 are regarded as this by some, but the advanced players know that they're really the definition of Difficult, but Awesome. Being the Mass Effect universe's designated Butt-Monkey is bad enough. Then they become playable in multiplayer and are incapable of pressing against a wall for the defence bonus, have a very weak heavy melee attack, and are far and away the most fragile race in the game, with their maximum shields/barriers equal to a baseline human, and health being slightly less than a baseline geth's!
  • In Chrono Trigger, Marle is considered low tier by some and high tier by some - and some consider her high tier for most of the game but low tier at the end. Her issue is that she has no solo tech multi-target heals, and late in the game, her offensive capability is by far the game's worst - whereas literally everyone else gets a level 8 tech that does massive damage, she gets Arise/Life2. Many players prefer to farm for Magic Capsules and pump Frog and/or Robo (both of whom have a weak multi-target heal) full of them so they have the magic power to heal effectively. There's no corresponding way to raise Marle's offense, as her damage is tied to her accuracy. She's also slow, having the naturally second-worst speed in the game.

    However, Marle has Haste and Arise, casts half of Antipode Bomb III, one of the best dual techs in the game, has tremendous natural Magic Defense and can wear the Prismatic Dress, which casts Auto Shell, bumping her magical defense so high she can take a Dreamless to the face and keep smiling. Farm for Speed Capsules, and with Haste she can cast healing spells faster than anything can damage the party. Basically, you're going to be putting work into compensating for her weaknesses, or putting work into buffing another character so they can do her job for her.

    Her lack of end game offense was addressed in the remake where she was given the Venus Bow, a weapon that always deals exactly 777 damage, which isn't much in most circumstances, but does give her some utility against enemies with unusually high defenses.
  • Fighters in Dragon Quest III. They're fairly powerful, have a higher chance of critical hits, and are speedy—the fastest class in the original, making a solid choice for both early- and late-game. Their useful gets nerfed hard in the remakes for two reasons: the addition of multi-hit weapons, which are far more efficient than single-target attacks even if they can't critical (Fighters can only wield the last multi-hit weapon, which negates their critical potential anyway); and the addition of the Thief class, which gets better Agility than the Fighter, gets decent MP growth, plus can use almost all multi-hit weapons. While Fighters' critical potential can be worthwhile for the Bonus Bosses, other classes are far more versatile.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles:
    • Melia suffers from severe Artificial Stupidity. She's a Squishy Wizard type character with a melee weapon (Meaning her AI will often send her where she shouldn't be.) and will use some of her abilities within range when she honestly should not be. However, putting her with Reyn can mitigate some of her uselessness (as Reyn is fairly good at holding aggro) and if she is controlled by the player she is an utter Game-Breaker.
    • Shulk suffers from the exact same problem. As long as the player controls him, he is nigh unstoppable, with a versatile art set that allows him to deal great damage and protect everyone with Monado Shield and Monado Armor, making him an absolute Game-Breaker for the most part of the game. If he is not being controlled, however, he abuses of a skill that consumes half of his life to use the Monado in situations that absolutely do not call for it (and he doesn't have a lot of HP to begin with), and due to the use of Monado and his quickly replenished arts, he becomes a major aggro magnet, sometimes even more than characters that are build to attract aggro like Reyn and Dunban, being prone to be quickly killed if not kept in check.
  • Legend of Dragoon gives us Shana and Miranda, the wielders of the Silver Dragoon spirit. Most people consider them and Kongol to be the most worthless characters in the game, despite that they actually have a lot more going for them than Kongol. High magic attack (highest in the game) meaning they can waste enemies with magic items and the Psych Bomb X, the objectively best dragon attack in the game (They can also get it easily later on), can be in Dragoon form almost perpetually because of their SP generation being very high later on, and can keep the party alive through anything. The problem? It takes a lot of time and effort to get to this point - and even then, you're wasting a lot of potential damage. They do not have any additions due to firing arrows, hence the SP generation. Unfortunately, no additions means no damage multipliers and that means poor attack damage. Their magic also doesn't provide much in the way of offence (due to it being almost entirely healing magic). It's generally agreed that while Shana and Miranda do pay off later on, Meru is the better choice for magic because of the sheer amounts of flexibility she offers. If anything, they suffer from Crippling Overspecialization, and if the Arbitrary Headcount Limit were four or five, would see more use.
  • Tales of the World Radiant Mythology inevitably features both, due to the large cast of Tales characters and Descender classes.
    • On the low-tier Tales side, Chat is one of the worst characters to have in your party, as she only has a total of four artes and none of them are particularly strong. The only upside to her, is that one can spam her attacks in Radiant Drive in RM3. For the Tales of the Abyss characters, there is Asch. He uses both physical attacks and spells, but since Luke has those physical attacks and is stronger, Jade is a better spellcaster in general and Van has better spells, Asch is generally ignored in favor of either of those characters. Judith's fighting style and artes link together very clunkily in this game and, finally, Annie's usages of seals and buffs that circle around her are very difficult, down to pointless to add in a 3D battlefield.
    • Contrasting the high-tier Tales characters, practically any of the mages when using Radiant Drive. As Radiant Drive allows spells to be cast in succession, with no casting time and no MP-usage, mages like Rita or Shirley can abuse BLAH BLAH BLAH TIDAL WAVE/SHOOTING STAR and kill even the final boss easily. On a non-game breaker side, the aforementioned Van is one of the best MagicKnights in the third game, because he has strong physical attacks and some of the strongest spells, like Judgement and Frigid Coffin, despite being a Glass Cannon. There's also Iria, whose two guns are very fast, can easily keep an enemy juggled indefinitely and couples as a healer.
    • For the Descender classes, the Thief and Archer classes became less amazing, after the first game. Especially the Archer class was horribly nerfed, lowering their overall damage output, removing the healing artes from the first game and making them on-par with the Tales archers. In contrast, the Gunman class in the third game is very similar to Iria above, making it one of the best, and most-used, classes in the game.
  • Mobius Final Fantasy's SOLDIER 1st Class Job is extremely cheap to master, really strong, relatively common to win in the Summon feature and was introduced along with an influx of new players who were willing to savescum to get it. The trouble is that the SOLDIER is built around using its varied pool of skills and massive Crit bonuses (when using the Buster Sword) to deal big damage, meaning not having Break Damage Limit makes it nearly useless for multiplayer. Players began tearing their hair out in chunks when the Multiplayer mode was descended upon by legions of "Clouds" with 8x Job levels, damage capped decks, and who were 'not interested' in cooperating with other party members even when this cost them valuable drops. Many players even drop Sicarius hunts when a SOLDIER joins the team, as SOLDIER 1st Class players have a similar stigma to the "Hanzo main" stereotype - a strong but tricky character played by teenagers to sate a fetish for cool brooding samurai rather than to actually help teams.
  • Final Fantasy IX, while it has no bad characters per se, a lot can be easily written off by players because a lot require either specific party compositions to use or a lot of work before they start to payoff - but they really payoff well:
    • Steiner and Freya, who will be starved of levels after disc 2, during which the other party members (Zidane, Garnet, Vivi, even Eiko and Quina) have been developing their utility and offensive abilities. But if you put some time into bringing them back up to speed, they will pay off.
    • Amarant, who is the last party member to join. Unfortunately, despite not being behind in levels, he is behind in abilities. Despite Freya and Steiner being out of the loop for a good portion of the game, it's entirely possible for the player to have learned a lot of support abilities for them to make up for it. But that said, he is the most versatile character in the game, barring a Quina that has all of their blue mage spells.
    • Even Eiko, despite being considered by many to be a low tier example, can still be good for the sole purpose of her Status Buff abilities, as well as the fact that she can easily heal the entire party to full health. She also has Phoenix, which is a party-wide Life spell and may automatically activate on a party wipe, and Carbuncle, which can provide a variety of useful buffs depending on your Add-on slot. All this together makes her the ideal fourth party member for level one runs of the game, as any other characters you could use lack fixed damage skills and pale in comparison to her in utility.
      • Quina, who might be, depending on what you did in disc one, your penultimate character you recruit. How useful s/he is in the long run depends entirely on two things: How much you take time into obtaining their Blue Magic and catching frogs (which requires you to go out of your way to do so.) S/he is a Master of None who learns mostly utility spells - an ideal fourth party member, disregarding their slow and useless Trance. However, if you did not recruit Quina on disc one (Which is surprisingly easy to do without prior knowledge), then s/he will be around on disc two for only a few dungeons, and on disc three is the last character to join permanently.
  • In The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky the 3rd, Tita surprisingly becomes one of these. In chapter 4, once Agate rejoins the party, she can enter the exclusive part 2 of her Moon Door. Finishing this sequence gives her access to the Orbal Gear Craft. Once activated, her max HP, Strength, and Defense double, making her extremely tanky and able to dish out damage in numbers other characters can only exceed with max S-Crafts. But wait, there's more! While the description states that accessories become unusable, this isn't actually true. Any piece of equipment and Quartz that increases HP, STR, or DEF gets added to her doubled stats, anything else is nullified. What makes her qualify is that when not in the Gear, she has the second-lowest HP and Defense of the large playable cast, making her incredibly vulnerable until her turn comes up. Many players who'd overlooked Tita up to this point have likely invested in a party already and would be quick to pin the Gear as a gimmick. While those in the know buff her to become the most powerful character in the Sky series who can survive Anima Mundi's strongest attack.

    Shoot-em-ups 
  • Crimzon Clover has Type-I, the Spread Shot ship with Homing Lasers, and Type-Z, which is just Type-I with more firepower. Either Type-I is a low-tier Scrappy due to Type-Z being straight up better in every way, or Type-Z is a high-tier Scrappy for being redundant.

    Simulation Games 
  • Terran and ATF ships in the X-Universe series get it from both sides. On the one hand, they're Lightning Bruisers with some of the best equipment in the game, especially where missiles are concerned. On the other hand, their economy is horribly broken in Terran Conflict to the point where equipping anything other than their fighters in large numbers takes absolutely forever (though this is fixed in the expansion pack Albion Prelude). Even worse, their fighters are completely lacking in fast hitting weapons to fend off the ever annoyingly quick M5 scout ships, which makes them practically helpless in fighting them unless the scouts start flying towards them in a predictably straight line. Their frigates also inexplicably lack a frigate-class weapon, forcing them to rely on the far weaker corvette-mounted Matter-Antimatter Launchers, unless they're equipped with the Wraith missile (which is essentially a watered down version of the Shadow missile, although it can still destroy the larger capital ships in a few or so volleys).

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Warhammer 40,000 the Imperial Guard. Compared to the rest of the playable armies, rank-and-file Imperial Guardsmen are usually random guys in t-shirts with flashlights. Some game-types were even considered unwinnable for Guard players. However if you put them, for example, into the underlevels of a Hive City, then the guardsman will be one of the strongest, if not THE strongest thing around. And as of the new Guard Codex (2010), the Imperial Guard are now considered one of the strongest armies in the 40K metagame. People still love them though.
    • Most armies zig-zag all over the tiers on a long enough timeline. When Fifth Edition was released, it was feared vanilla Codex Space Marines would be this due to their spammed Missile Launchers. Throughout 2012, Codex Marines were an "average" army. The Grey Knights went from barely-played low-tier army to overused insanely powerful army with their 2011 codex. Dark Eldar couldn't get an update for twelve years, making them incredibly hard to play as they were woefully underpowered, but as their 2011 codex they are at least respectable. The Orkz got an insanely powerful codex stomped down just months later by the changing metagame with the new Imperial Guard codex mentioned above, though ask any fan about the damned Nob Bikerz. Necrons have been rescued from the low tier scrappy heap by their new 2012 codex, but before that were something of a laughing stock of the game. The 2011 White Dwarf Codex for the Sisters of Battle took them from low tier to downright horrible; the 2013 update didn't help at all; but the changing metagame for Imperial forces shifted them from "a bad standalone army" to "a decent supplemental army for Inquisitors and Grey Knights".
  • Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 has pretty much the entirety of "Tier 2", classes which possess Story-Breaker Power, but lack the sheer options and versatility of the Tier 1 classes. The Sorcerer is the most infamous member of Tier 2, carrying 9th-level spells and drawing them from the largest list in the game, which means that a properly-built Sorcerer can break the campaign in half. The problem is that the Wizard, a Tier 1 class and the most powerful class in the game, can do virtually everything the Sorcerer can do better. Consequently, the Sorcerer is broken in low-tier play, but a Poor Man's Substitute in high-tier play.
    • Though not Tier 2, the archivist has a similar problem. Their gimmick is that they cast spells like a wizard (only able to use what's been added to or copied down in their spellbook), but though the spells automatically added to their spellbook on level-ups must be cleric spells, the spells they can copy down can be from any divine magic scroll - including druid spells, domain spells, ranger and paladin spells, Prestige Class spells, and theoretically even spells from divinely-based variants of wizards and sorcerers, basically giving you access to every spell out there. This can even be used for Sequence Breaking, gaining spells at a much lower level than you should be able to cast them. All told, it means an archivist with free access to these scrolls becomes the most powerful casting class in the game... And therefore, that any sane DM will never give you the ability to buy whatever scrolls you want, and keep a close eye on the scrolls you do find. Furthermore, to balance out this free scribing, the archivist has several weaknesses - needing two mental stats, limited armor, low hitpoints, lackluster other abilities, needing the spellbook and being limited to it - that put it well behind other divine casters. Therefore, the archivist's power is entirely at the mercy of the DM - if the DM hasn't noticed the archivist's potential, they're a nascent demigod, but if the DM has, they're most likely a second-rate cleric.

    Third-Person Shooter 
  • Rhino from Warframe. In lower-level content, his Iron Skin makes him practically invincible, giving less-experienced players an easy way to cheese through just about any mission. However, Iron Skin drops off sharply in high-level content, and while his other skills aren't bad, they're not good enough to justify bringing him along. Of course, this doesn't stop some players from trying anyways, to the point where Rhino Prime with the Boltor Prime is considered to be the stereotypical try-hard loadout by much of the fanbase.

    Turn-Based Strategy 
  • Sonja from Advance Wars falls on both sides due to, in short, being bad against the AI but good in PvP. Not helping is that the in-game info doesn't do a good job of explaining how most of her abilities work.
    • She's widely disliked in the single-player Campaigns and War Room due to the majority of her strengths being useless against the AI. Her gimmick of increased vision in Fog of War doesn't mean much when the AI isn't affected by FoW at all, and hiding her units' HP from the enemy also has no effect against The All-Seeing A.I.. All she's left with is slightly stronger counterattacks... and "bad luck" that causes her units to inflict less damage roughly 50% of the time. She's generally avoided unless you're forced to use her, and it doesn't help that her first forced mission in the second game is the infamously hard "Show Stopper".
    • In PvP play, especially with Fog of War on, Sonja is generally regarded as being only a step below the game's outright Game Breakers. Being able to see units hidden in woods and reefs renders typical FoW strategies useless, and her ? HP display allows for Confusion Fu tactics. (That 1 HP Medium Tank could be a 10 HP Medium Tank) Her Counter Break Super Power is also extremely good, if you've looked up online how it really works. (The game only says it makes counterattacks stronger, when it actually makes your units strike first when counterattacking, something no other CO can do)
  • Blue Mages in Final Fantasy Tactics Advance. Their stats and equipment are average or below average so leveling up as a Blue Mage won't get you far, but the abilities they can learn from monsters can be borderline Game Breaking. Though, you can learn blue mage abilities without actually being a blue mage so there's nothing stopping you from mastering "Learning" (the ability that lets you gain more blue magic) then swapping to a job with good stats and equipment.
  • Flying units from the Shining Force series are either overwhelmingly strong (Bleu and Peter), or lackluster Fragile Speedsters that eventually make way for the former (the majority of birdmen). An exception to this is Claude from Shining Force CD: despite being nerfed from his broken Game Gear counterpart, he is still a powerful flier who can hold his weight throughout the entire game.
  • Two examples in Codename STEAM:
    • Tom Sawyer. He has a very nice overwatch that scatters mines all around a small area (which are great for bottlenecks), but is without a doubt the squishiest character in the game. But, when you give him the Scout boiler, he can send his weapon off more than five times a round - most characters get around three. He is able to stun enemies with ease, and even send them into landmines if you know how to control the enemy's bouncing. He was listed as a Game-Breaker on the YMMV page, but some fans mention that after the map you get him on they've never found a map where he could be potentially useful short of foresight.
    • Dorothy. Her gimmick is that her weapon spreadfires and deals a lot of damage at close range - however, Dorothy is also quite fragile, and you normally do not want to be sending a character who can't take hits in where they can get overwatched, (Especially since the game is very unforgiving) But others point out that she plays very well with people like Randolph Carter who can distract enemies and allow her to get in. In addition, she can send eyestalkers out pretty far with her weapon dealing multiple hits - very useful. She also is a light unit, which makes her able to have the ninja boiler.
  • Civilization:
    • Civilization V
      • Spain is the definition of what it means to take "no-skill", with extremely situational but game breaking abilities. Spain gets gold for each wonder they find, with a bonus large enough to buy a settler if they're the first to find it, meaning Spain gets a free city just for finding a natural wonder first. As if that wasn't bad enough, they get double the bonus from wonders, meaning they not only get a free city to plant on the wonder they find, they'll get the power of TWO wonders to 'bout, enough to decide the game right there. On the other end of the spectrum, if they're not able to find a wonder first or settle on one, they become a pretty lackluster Civ with only two unique units to compensate. Needless to say, Spain is highly inconsistent, either winning instantly because of luck, or falling behind for the rest of the game.
      • Venice is a game break in single player while a complete joke in multiplayer. It has a completely unique play style, acting like a playable city-state, being unable to found cities or annex conquered ones. In exchange they receive double the number of trade routes, and can purchase city-states. This allows Venice to build up a massive amount of trade income, allying and purchasing city states through gold, getting all the ally bonuses, bonuses from puppet cities, and an unbeatable edge in the world congress. Multiplayer is a far different story. Because everyone knows how powerful Venice can be, they'll go out of their way to prevent them from snowballing, crippling them by declaring war and pillaging their trade routes, while making sure to ally or conquer city-states so Venice can't buy them. Venice is also a sitting duck, since they only have one real city. Because of how unplayable Venice is in multiplayer, anyone who gets stuck with them is usually allowed to ask for a re-roll.
      • Japan is considered to be low-mid-tier at best in the hands of a player, and one of the worst nations to face in singleplayer, and for exactly the same reason: their Bushido ability lets their units keep fighting at full strength, regardless of how badly-damaged they are. In the hands of a player, this sounds good on paper but falls apart in practice, because if a unit is low enough on health for Bushido to really come into play, then you should probably move it off the frontlines to fight another day, not keep it in combat and risk losing a valuable unit to Scratch Damage. But in the hands of the Spiteful A.I., especially on higher difficulties, which generates units whenever it feels like it and already has no problem with throwing them away on suicide missions, this turns the soldiers of Japan into Demonic Spiders that will almost always take a unit or two with them before going down.
      • The Huns, similar to Spain, get a fair bit of hate for being heavily lopsided in their use. Their signature deal is early-game siege warfare, getting free Production boosts and a free tech, the Horse Archer, a fast, hard-hitting ranged unit that isn't bogged down by hills, and the Battering Ram, which can knock down city walls in just a few blows. With their ability to raze at double speed, they can also burn everyone else's cities in just a few turns, meaning unrest isn't a problem either and they can start another conquest right after the first. Start next to Attila, and you'll have to throw everything into fighting him off or perish. But if the Huns don't conquer anybody by the Medieval Era, or, worse, if they don't start close to anyone, then their units get old very, very fast. And by that point, other Domination-focused civs like Mongolia, Japan, and the Zulus are hitting their stride, while everyone else has allied up and declared the Huns to be warmongers.
  • Typically in Super Robot Wars Original Generation, if players manage to achieve 50 kills with an allied character, that individual gains an "Ace Bonus", a character-exclusive passive ability or stat increase. Despite Sanger Zonvolt being one of the top characters in the Second Original Generation installment, players can't seem to figure out what benefits his Ace Bonus providesnote  because of the following reasons:
    • The "Tornado Blade" attack with Ratsel Feinshmecker's Aussenseiter already ignores barriers/defenses by default (as do all Combination Attacks in Super Robot Wars).
    • Players normally cast "Fury" when they want to apply debuffs to enemies using specific weapons that deal debuffs, as most enemy barriers/defenses can negate these attacks. The problem arises when all three Humongous Mecha Sanger can use in this game (Dygenguard, Grungust Custom, and Grungust Type-0) do not carry the "Armor Breaker" weapon to deal the debuffnote , which makes having "Fury" pointless.
    • "Fury" would likely be used half the time in conjunction with the new "Maximum Break" mechanic, which also ignores barriers/defenses by default, except it isn't possible for Sanger to trigger it because he doesn't have the mandatory pilot skill "Leadership" in the game that allows Maximum Break.

    Fan Works 
  • Smash King, or more specifically the prequel series Racconto, is set in the world of Super Smash Bros. Melee. The Tiers in game are very serious and are treated like social status, with higher tiers praised and lower tiers discriminated. It was considered such an undisputed fact of life that when Mewtwo (the worst) beat Fox (the best) in a fair exhibition match, to say it was controversial would be an understatement.


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