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TierZoo is a YouTube channel about Biology. Specifically, treating nature like an MMO known as Outside. The channel is a mix of animals and gaming culture rolled into one; most videos follow a format of ranking Classes (Different animals) in a Guild (Genus/Family) against one another. The other type of video will usually either focus on a specific Class or characteristic.

Check them out here. Also check out the Reddit community here.


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TierZoo provides examples of:

  • Achilles' Heel:
    • In the Ice Age Tier List, the Mammoth was placed in A-Tier but not S-Tier because it was extremely powerful and had great matchups against everything… except early humans which it had an abysmal matchup against, even moreso than other animals due to the humans' ranged weaponry, faster speed, and the fact that its huge size and thus experience points in the form of meat made it a prime target for humans.
    • Ankylosaurs were considered A-Tier dinosaurs but not S-tier because of this. They had insane amounts of defence thanks to their armor and also had respectable attack thanks to their tail club. However, they had a glaring weakness to being flipped over, which exposed their vulnerable neck and underside while making them unable to fight back. They would be considered S-Tier if they were reintroduced in the modern day, mainly because most modern-day predators were not strong enough to flip them over.
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  • Acrofatic: Hippopotamuses have a fat, bulky physique but also have enough muscle to move fast. Thanks to their density, they sink underwater and this allows them to run on the riverbed at fast speed.
  • Animal Is the New Man: Discussed in the "What if humans were nerfed?" video. It's speculated that should humans lose their viability in the meta, parrots and elephants would be the most likely non-simian candidates to unlock a society playstyle. This is due to their long lifespans, high intelligence, ability to grasp objects, and having diets that would benefit from adopting agriculture. In "Pigs used to be Overpowered", TierZoo also mentions that pigs would dominate many servers thanks to their high intelligence, fat armor, and their ability to find underground food easily. In "The Dinosaur Tier List," the A-tier Troodon was speculated to have specced into enough intelligence to become a human-like top tier had it not been banned int he K-T balance patch.
  • Anti-Structure: The Rodent Tier List mentions that rodents have a bite attack that is especially effective at wearing down structures.
  • April Fools' Day:
    • The creator released an entire video about Cryptid tier listing as an April Fool's joke. Mind you, this one was actually very well thought out and with detailed reasonings for the tiering of cryptids.
    • For the following April Fools, the creator did a goat (and other Caprines) tier list that was again, surprisingly well-thought out for an April Fool's joke.
  • Art Evolution: Starting from the Deep Sea Meta, TierZoo has made new animations in the analysis segments of the animals.
  • The Artifact: The general tier list still shown routinely in the videos has several aspects which later videos or Word of God have retconned, including swans being listed as low-tier and whales as mid-tier.
  • Artistic License – Biology:
  • Artistic License – Paleontology:
    • "The Time Earth Glitched" states that griffin flies quit the game at the end of the Carboniferous expansion, when they actually went extinct at the end of the Permian. Also, TierZoo suggests that if they were still playable today, they'd be able to hunt domestic dogs and cats, which is unlikely given they were actually smaller than modern-day crows.
    • In the Rodent Tier List, rodents are described as one of the builds that survived the K-T extinction patch, when in fact they didn't evolve until later.
    • In the Ice Age Tier List, chalicotheres are said to be a D-tier mimic of the giant ground sloths, despite their time disparity, with the chalicotheres first appearing in the Oligocene era and the sloths in the Pleistocene.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • The tardigrade build has resistance to just about everything… except for predators in the environment, who are the main threat to it, and which it has no defence against whatsoever.
    • Poison dart frogs, and poisonous animals in general—see Crippling Overspecialization. Averted by venomous animals, however, since unlike poisonous animals, they don't need to take damage for their abilities to become useful.
    • Most lizards (except monitor lizards and Komodo dragons) fall under this, due to the risky gamble of focusing on special abilities while having weak base stats across the board. The horned lizard, for instance, can squirt blood from its eyes to demoralize an attacker, which sounds cool, but requires giving up some of your own blood in order to use it, making it not an optimal strategy. Basilisk lizards can walk on water, but this ability is only useful if you stay near the water, and being on the surface of the water means exposing yourself to attacks from all directions by both aerial and aquatic predators. Chameleons have the ability to change colour, which is theoretically one of the best abilities in the game, but it's determined by their emotional state rather than being a deliberate stealth strategy, making it pretty useless if not situational.
    • Snakes also tend to fall under this, as the benefits of any abilities they have are usually mitigated by the disadvantages of not having legs. Only constrictors, pit vipers, and cobras have good enough abilities to qualify as viable builds in spite of this limitation.
    • In his April Fools Cryptid tier list, he notes how, if the Loch Ness Monster were a Plesiosaur, it would just eat or scare away all the fish in its lake, and eventually die due to starvation.
    • Polar bears, at least relative to other, smaller bear species. Like all bears, they have very high base stats that make them near-unparalleled in combat, and Polar Bears have the highest base stat amongst all of them. However, compared to other bears, they have low versatility due to not being omnivorous, and they don't hibernate, which means they're stuck hunting during Polar Night, one of the most difficult challenges in the game. They also have no special abilities, low stealth in an area where cover is hard to find, meaning they largely have to rely on traps or picking high-risk fights.
    • Tyrannosaurus rex, in a hypothetical scenario where it was unbanned and brought back into the current day meta. Its high attack was useful against the high-HP dinosaurs that it specialized in killing back then, but this would only be reliable against elephants in the modern day and thus overspecialized. Furthermore, their large size came with a lack of speed compared to most modern-day animals that would outrun it. As such, it would only be considered a C-rank animal in the current meta, while smaller tyrannosaurs like Albertasaurus/Daspletosaurus would be more viable thanks to their higher speed.
    • Parrots were considered one of the worst support classes for humans mainly because of the amount of cost needed for their upkeep. While being able to provide a huge morale boost if trained well, they require enormous amounts of support and attention from their owners thanks to having an extremely high intelligence stat (around that of a young child) while being extremely social.
    • The Megaloceros was considered an F-tier Ice Age animal because its enormous horns were downright impractical. They were only good for mating display… and nothing else, while having several downsides such as being a huge weight on the head (meaning that if they lost one horn, their head balance would be screwed over) and also making it extremely hard to maneuver through forests.
    • Rhinos, as briefly noted in the Ice Age tier list, boast formidable offense and defense as well as deceptive speed, but are restricted to D-tier by their low intelligence and poor vision, which makes it hard to distinguish friend from foe. Combine this with a Hair-Trigger Temper, and you get a highly unstable offensive tank that can easily incite friendly fire or even charge uselessly at terrain obstacles they mistake for threats. The woolly rhinoceros got around these limitations by exploiting Bigger Is Better in both general size and its impressive horn, earning them a spot in B-tier.
    • In "Top 5 worst animal designs", TierZoo discusses 5 common pitfalls that can be seen in the metagame that make an animal far less efficient that they would have been without them, despite said animals otherwise having awesome abilities at first glance.
      • Having fast but unsustainable mobility is a bane since the stamina drain will mean that the animal requires huge amounts of food while also generating loads of body heat. Hummingbirds, shrews and cheetahs suffer from this.
      • While intelligence is the One Stat to Rule Them All, this is undermined if the intelligent animal has low dexterity since they will be unable to effectively maneuver items and craft tools. Dogs, Pigs and Dolphins all suffer from this.
      • Likewise, having high intelligence and a low lifespan is a waste as it means that it's difficult to gain the experience and wisdom required to perfect high-intelligence techniques before the animal dies of old age. Octopi and Crows suffer from this. In the same vein, having low intelligence but long lifespan is also a waste of potential.
      • Nocturnal Builds. While this seems like an easy mode, day lasts longer than night on most servers meaning that daytime players can get more experience, and a nocturnal build requires several evolution points being wasted on night-based abilities. He later redacted this statement in the comment section, realizing that day length is dependent on the season, and is only longer than the night during the summer.
      • Tooth Regeneration for non-DPS builds. For builds that use teeth in combat, tooth regeneration is essential as their teeth will often be damaged or lost. For non-DPS builds, this is a bane as their teeth can overgrow and cause self-damage if not worn down fast enough. Rodents, Lagomorphs and Babirusa suffer from this.
  • Badass Decay: Invoked and Discussed on several occasions.
    • The Opabinia build, a B-tier Cambrian build in Outside's beta game, received this treatment as the meta continued to progress in complexity. While equipped with 360-degree compound vision, a trunk for tether grabs, and fins enabling advanced propulsion, they were quite lacking in the defense department; Opabinia mains gradually exchanged these traits for very advanced, if completely unnecessary defensive abilities, becoming the F-tier tardigrade build.
    • Sloth builds - back during the Ice Age, sloths had powerful builds like the S-tier Giant Sloth, which had monstrous stats and were virtually unassailable by predators due to their incredible strength, defense, HP, and natural weapons. However, early Humans, being even more overpowered, destroyed the high-tier Ground Sloth builds, leaving only the pathetic F-tier Tree Sloths.
    • Downplayed by bears - while modern bears remain incredibly badass, the Ice Age saw the appearance of the Cave Bear, a colossal S-tier monster that outmatched any modern bear in raw stats. Unlike Mammoths and Ground Sloths, whose demise is easily explained by the rising dominance of Humans in the meta, the decline of the giant Cave Bear in favor of the smaller modern bears is not currently explained and is not believed to be a result of Human actions.
    • Pigs play with this. The Entelodonts, aka "Hell Pigs" were boar-like Miocene omnnivores that were S-ranked beasts that could easily kill prey thanks to having higher mobility and attack power than normal pigs, and were subsequently nerfed by the devs. However, Entelodonts were actually more closely related to the hippopotamus than actual pigs. Domesticated pigs that are used as livestock are actually the same species as wild boars, and pigs that do escape can revert to a feral self similar to a wild boar.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Played straight or subverted depending on the type of bear.
    • Played very straight by powerful generalist bears like Brown Bears, Kodiaks, and Black Bears.
    • Exaggerated by the Ice Age Cave Bear, which was even bigger and stronger than modern bears - while Black Bears make S-tier on versatility and intelligence, the Cave Bear made S-tier on overwhelming power, defense, and hitpoints - and datamining suggests that unlike other large Ice Age builds, their decline was not a result of Humans arriving on the scene.
    • Subverted by most specialized bears, with only the very strong Polar Bear making it outside of the very low tiers, and even it is hampered by lacking the useful Hibernate ability and having to contend with the unforgiving Arctic server, including months-long Arctic nights. In the worst place is the Panda Bear, which has specialized extremely heavily into eating bamboo even though it provides them almost no energy or XP.
  • Bee Afraid:
    • The weakness of the in-universe Game-Breaker humans is flight-capable eusocial stinging insects such as bees, wasps, and hornets. Thanks to having no fur, humans have terrible defense if not wearing the proper equipment, and the bees' mobility and fast speed via flight plus Zerg Rush tactics allows them to give several painful stings to the human which will destroy the human's resolve causing them to flee—or even worse, cause anaphylactic shock that can kill the human.
    • Yellow jackets in particular are mentioned in the video "Are Insects Getting Banned?" as one of the best generalists for its weight class, with powerful stats relative to its size, making it effective against other builds alone or in swarms. In addition, yellow jackets would benefit from the increasing level of trash in the overworld due to their ability to make bases pretty much anywhere.
  • Beware My Stinger Tail: The thagomizers and tail clubs of armored dinosaurs like Stegosaurus and Ankylosaurus would be Game-Breaker weapons in a modern day context, as most mammalian predators rely on attacking from behind which would put a tail weapon right in their faces. This along with their armor placed these dinosaurs at a hypothetical S-tier in the "Should Dinosaurs Be Unbanned?" video.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: Comes up when discussing the Carboniferous period. According to the video, the devs had the possible idea of buffing vertebrate builds, and hence decided to add high amounts of vegetation. This had an unintended "glitch"/side-effect—due to the increased vegetation, there was increased oxygen. Thanks to their Hemolyph ability that allows them to take in oxygen through breathing holes, the increased oxygen allowed arthropods to grow to huge sizes and dominate the Carboniferous meta.
  • Bigger Is Better:
    • The larger an animal is, the higher its HP stat, and the animals with the highest HP stat are Baleen whales which include the largest animal ever in the Blue Whale.
    • Sauropods were considered the only S-Tier dinosaur for their time periods, as their massive size gave them the highest HP of all land animals, give them a Tail Slap with massive range, allowed them to use the most powerful attack in the game via their stomp thanks to their sheer weight, and finally their height made them great at detecting and avoiding stealth attacks.
  • Bilingual Bonus: "Tier" is German for "animal", which makes Tier Zoo a Multiple Reference Pun.
  • Bioluminescence Is Cool: Only if used as defensive, mate attraction or luring measures in the Abyssal server. Otherwise, you're just painting yourself as a highly visible target.
  • Blessed with Suck: The Chupacabra and the Jacakalope are considered to be low-tier cryptids because they're animals whose condition is brought about by a life-threatening disease. For the former, it's mange that makes them appear intimidating, but also causes them to go insane. For the latter, it's the Shope Papilloma Virus that essentially causes tumours on their face and therefore cutting their lifespan by a lot.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • The Cane Toad. Instead of putting too many points into poison and aesthetics, it foregoes aesthetics and puts points into more practical capabilities—just enough toxins to kill a cat, larger size, gobbling, hunting, thick skin for far better defence, and fast maturity. This allows it to be S-ranked while most other amphibians are F-ranked, and contributes to its invasiveness all over the Australia server.
    • In Lizard Moveset Guide, the highest ranked lizard was the Monitor Lizard, eschewing special abilities (i.e. color change, eye blood squirt, walking on water, walking on walls and ceilings) for having high stats. The end result was something more efficient in power, speed, and durability than the other lizards. Subverted with the Komodo Dragon discussed in the video on dinosaurs—while it has even greater power, speed and durability, it also comes with special abilities too like a deadly bite, anti-bacterial blood, and pack hunting.
    • Builds like the Great White Shark, Kodiak Bear, and Gorilla which get into S tier by just taking their base class, and raising the stats as high as they can go without incurring some form of penalty.
    • The Baleen whale build, which can be summed up as replace teeth with Baleen only good for farming krill, then put every point you can into health. Effective, safe, and has a crazy KDA, but very boring to play.
    • Sponges take this to the extreme. They have the simplest game plan of any animal, having no brain, no ability to move on their own, no camouflage, and no attacks of any kind. However, they are still fairly effective B-tier builds because any player who tries to eat them would get injured by their spicules and, in some cases, by their poisons.
  • Broke the Rating Scale: The Abyssal server is so weird that Tier Zoo can't even make a traditional tier list for it. This is because much of it is unexplored and as such, nobody really has good information of what it's like down there.
    "But nothing comes close to how different the Abyssal server is. It's so different that I actually can't even make a traditional tier list for us. Why? Well, because nobody knows what the Meta really looks like down there."
  • The Bully: The Baleen Whale is considered this for going after krill.
    Tierzoo: "There's something about the largest builds in the game having a game plan centered entirely around winning against the smallest players in the game that doesn't sit right with me."
  • Cats Are Mean: The Cats vs. Dogs episode explains that cats are actually more an assassin and not exactly a support class (the support ability comes from Toxoplasma), and outside cat builds in particular have an absurdly high kill rate as well as being known to grief smaller classes such as birds and mice—up to 3.7 billion birds and 20 billion mice a year, in fact.
  • Character Tiers: invoked The central premise of the channel is placing animals in tier lists.
  • Child Eater:
    • Despite the Dimetrodon's use of parental care in its playstyle, the strategy was not nuanced enough for the hatched young to avoid aggroing their own contemporaries, who team kill them as a result.
    • Despite its delayed starvation and dehydration rate, the D-tier Coelophysis build was forced to team kill the weaker players once sources of XP became scarce.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: Acidifying the Ocean is described as being a "classic prank".
  • Complacent Gaming Syndrome: invoked Neanderthals fell into a complacent strategy of relying on their superior stats to engage in melee combat with large creatures using their spears and other crafted items, while the Sapiens branch of humanity wasn't able to do so and instead further advanced the meta by inventing better tools like the atl-atl spear thrower and working in larger groups, which meant that when they met each other again, Sapiens wiped the floor with Neanderthals despite being completely outmatched on paper.
  • Composite Character: The "cave bear" described in "The Ice Age Tier List" was actually given traits of both its real-life counterpart and another giant bear species, the short-faced bear, combining the former's herbivory with the latter's scavenging and fighting prowess.
  • Counter Attack:
    • Poison tends to act this way, as the user needs to take a sufficiently powerful hit/bite in order for it to take effect. Since many poisonous animals tend to be flimsy, this becomes Awesome, but Impractical.
    • The Porcupine's Quills ability causes those who use melee attacks on it to get spikes lodged in them.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: More often than not, this is one reason why an animal ends up low on the tier list.
    • Tardigrades are extremely resistant to several types of damage in their hibernation state… which regular physical damage like crushing is not one of. Physical damage tends to be used by almost every player in the server, which means this supposedly Nigh Invulnerable state doesn't help much at all and contributes to them being a Joke Character.
    • The Cheetah, despite being very fast, lacks in strength and defence. As such their kills supposedly get stolen often, and they have extremely high infant mortality rates. Also, they have very low endurance, which isn't unusual for a predator their size, but is a more significant problem than it would be in a build focused on strength or intelligence rather than speed.
    • The Poison Dart Frog is considered low-tier despite having one of the deadliest toxins, since it specced almost all of its points into poison and coloration while still having the weaknesses of the low-tier amphibians. Poison ability also requires that it actually take a hit from an attacker, and due to its tiny size it would get killed very easily too.
    • Most "Specialist" bears like the Panda, Sun, Sloth and Polar bear are lower on the tier list than "Generalist" bears such as the Brown and Black bear precisely for this reason. This makes the former four unable to have good matchups against other threats in their environment, while the latter two can easily adapt to most situations and have generally good matchups overall.
    • Subverted by the crocodile. Its only method of attack is by biting, but its bite attack is so powerful that it doesn't really need anything else.
    • The Tyrannosaurus rex was considered a B-Tier dinosaur partly because of this. It specced a huge amount into bite damage, allowing it to One-Hit Kill most dinosaurs and giving it the unique ability to crush open bones for marrow. However, this came at a sacrifice to its other offensive abilities, giving it useless tiny arms, and it also was not particularly fast compared to other large therapods. This trope would hit T. Rex even harder if it was brought back from extinction into the current meta, putting it at only C-Tier. Its insanely high attack was important for large, durable prey during the Cretaceous, but in the modern day it would only be useful against a single prey in the elephant as most other present-day builds outran its slow speed.
    • Subverted by the porcupine. Its design is entirely oriented around blocking attacks with its quills, at the expense of having low attack power, speed, and stealth, and mediocre intelligence. However, its quills are such a hilariously effective defence that it still manages to rank in S tier.
    • Downplayed with the narwhal and beluga whale. They are considered the worst cetacean builds in the current meta because of their inability to survive outside of the Arctic, yet are still above-average among animal builds in general.
    • Baleen Whales in general are a subversion. They can only farm krill with their baleen, which is useless against anything bigger. However, this one strategy is so effective against their very abundant prey that they don't need any other strategy to gain experience, and since they're too big to be threatened by anything other than humans, they rank in A tier.
    • Specialist insects are mentioned as getting nerfed in the unannounced "Insect-pocalypse" balance patch, particularly the Monarch Butterfly due to its reliance on declining milkweed for access to the Poison perk.
    • Downplayed by tortoises. They are considered B-tier due to having incredible defence but at the cost of extremely low mobility and intelligence. This makes them extremely well-protected from predators that rely on power, but intelligence-based builds can easily outplay them.
    • Snails are considered bottom-tier due to putting all their points into a defensive shell, at the cost of abysmal mobility and power. Since they can neither flee an attacker nor launch an effective counter-attack, any predator bigger than the snail can just keep attacking with no penalty until they find a way to break through the shell. Cone snails avert this and rank in A-tier due to having an extremely potent venomous sting that allows them to actually fight back.
    • Subverted by the electric eel. It put almost all its points into discharging electric shocks, giving up intelligence, mobility, and aesthetics in the process. However, since this discharge is highly effective both on offence and defence and is almost impossible to counter, the eel is still quite an effective build and ranks in high A-tier.
  • Critical Hit Class:
    • Animals that go for the neck to bleed their prey to death are considered this.
    • Dromaeosaurs had a sickle claw that allowed them to deal massive slash and pierce damage, potentially one-shotting prey via Slashed Throat. If they were reintroduced in the modern day they would hold a similar niche to foxes and coyotes, but unlike canines that would wear prey down via flanking, dromaeosaurs would kill much more quickly thanks to their huge critical damage.
  • Cryptid Episode: On 2018's April Fools' Day, a Cryptid Tier List video was released. It was actually pretty well done for an April Fool's joke, explaining reasons as to why certain cryptid builds were unviable due to being diseased animals (Chupacabra and Jackalope) and others being high-ranked due to essentially being living prehistoric reptiles (Loch Ness Monster and Mokèlé-mbèmbé)
  • Damage Over Time:
    • Attacks that cause bleeding naturally cause this via a "Bleeding" status, which will wear a victim down fast.
    • Most forms of poison and venom cause a status effect that deals heavy damage over time.
    • The Bombardier Beetle's "Spray" causes this as the hot, caustic fluid it fires gets onto its opponent and burns them.
    • Porcupines have the Quills ability which causes animals that attack them to get the "Quilled" status effect, this not only deals damage over time but also increases in intensity should the attacker unwisely continue their assault.
  • Dark Horse Victory:
    • The secretary bird was outright stated to be a 'dark horse' when it was placed as S-tier in the Raptor Tier List, not because of sheer power but because its ability to hard-counter some high-tier builds like cobras, as well as the fact that it hasn't given up its flight ability and can avoid competition more easily, allows it to survive the brutally competitive environment of the African savanna metagame.
    • Besides the domestic dog, the other S-tier in the Dog Tier List was the African Painted Hound, not the Wolf which was considered an A-Rank Skill Gate Character. Like the Secretary Bird, it was capable of surviving the African Savannah thanks to higher stealth, attack and speed than wolves, while also having a better hunting strategy based around propping the weaker members than giving the best loot to the best members.
    • The Shark Tier List placed the great white in S-tier, for obvious reasons, but also listed the hammerhead build in the same tier, not because they match the great white in terms of power, but their head shape and eye positioning gives them Super Senses in the form of panoramic and binocular vision and unparalleled electro-reception, giving them incredible prey-scouting abilities and almost unavoidable strike accuracy. It certainly doesn't hurt, though, that the great hammerhead is around the same size as the great white with a Power stat to match.
    • The "Are Honey Badgers OP?" episode was essentially a Mustelid Tier List, and the S-ranked mustelid was neither the Honey Badger nor the Wolverine, but the Otter. Thanks to their high intelligence, tool use and group hunting, they were able to take on challenges they couldn't do alone while being able to use rocks to break open clams for an alternate food source.
    • The Ice Age Tier List had two S-tiers. One was the giant ground sloth which many people expected, the other of which was the less-expected cave bear, due to its extremely high stats across the board, varied diet, excellent PVP capabilities, and being one of the few builds humans did not pose a serious threat to.
    • In "Top 3 Underrated animals", the Robber Fly was considered this as compared to other aerial insect predators. It was stated to be outright "overshadowed by other more charismatic builds despite being able to beat any of them one-on-one", and was deemed S-rank for being able to take down similar-sized adversaries in mid-air with extreme accuracy and precision, due to its long grab range and insanely good air control.
    • In the Dinosaur Tier list, the only S-ranked dinosaur class was neither the more famous carnivores like Tyrannosaurus Rex and Dromeosaurs nor the herbivores with Natural Weapons like Stegosaurus, Triceratops and Ankylosaurs, but the 'weapon'-less Sauropods. Thanks to their massive size and weight being a great weapon and lookout tool and their herd tactics allowing much greater survival, Sauropods were deemed as kings of the meta over any of those.
    • In the Cat Tier List, the S-ranked cat was neither the Lion nor the Tiger, but the smaller and comparatively weaker Jaguar. This was due to its being the only cat able to One-Hit Kill any other animal on its server (lions and tigers are both hard-countered by elephants and some other large herbivores), and being able to dominate on land, in water, and in the trees, while other cats can only hunt in at most two of the three.
    • Pufferfish in the Spongebob tier list, with excellent defenses and armor piercing capabilities despite being an unassuming species and a relatively low-key character in the show being used to pick species.
  • David vs. Goliath: The Ice Age split of humanity into the Sapiens and Neanderthals "guilds" set this up as Neanderthals were bigger and stronger than Sapiens while being as smart or close to it, but lost out to the smaller and weaker Sapiens. Much like in the biblical story, the smaller Sapiens, the David, had specialized into ranged weapons like the atlatl to compensate for their weakness in close combat and were able to defeat Neanderthals from further than either Sapiens or Neanderthals could throw spears with their unaided arms. On the other hand, the tougher Neanderthals, the Goliath, didn't bother inventing atlatls, because while they had the mental capability to invent such tools, their superior strength and durability meant they didn't really need to and engaging in melee combat with other animals worked out just fine for them. This advantage in ranged combat, combined with Sapiens's tendence to form larger groups, meant that they were able to beat Neanderthals in combat, eat Neanderthals' prey and turn their larger, more loot-hungry bodies against them, or force them to join the Sapiens, eventually wiping out the Neanderthal guild and establishing the Sapiens guild of humanity as the dominant force in Outside.
  • Deadly Euphemism: Dying is often referred to as a Game Over. Species going extinct is often referred to as them being nerfed into non-viability, or in the case of dinosaurs, banned. Similarly, the Permian Extinction is described as a mass Rage Quit over balance changes. In the same vein, cannibalism is referred to as team killing.
  • Dumb Dinos: Zig-Zagged. Most dinosaurs had average animal intelligence with some like dromaeosaurs and Troodon having intelligence on the higher end, but certain dinosaurs such as Stegosaurus and Triceratops were noted to have low intelligence.
  • Edutainment Show: A lot of very legitimate information about animals is given under the pretense of discussing the traits of characters in a massive online game called Outside.
  • Elemental Powers: The "Elemental Type Moves" video showcases three animals that use elemental attacks: fire for the bombardier beetle's spray, water for the archerfish's water gun, and lightning for the electric eel's shock.
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs:
    • The "Should Dinosaurs Be Unbanned?" episode highlights how well dinosaurs would survive in the current meta if they were brought back from extinction.
    • The Dinosaur Tier List was all about dinosaurs and how well they fared in their respective time periods.
    • Subverted by the terror bird build in "The Ice Age Tier List," which are dinosaurs themselves, taxonomically speaking, and were decent attempts at recreating the large non-avian theropod dinosaur build after the K-T balance patch. That said, they ended up being demoted to C-tier later in the Cenozoic because, in spite of their strong peck attack and their former OP status in the South American servers, they were outclassed by mammal players with high attack, and unlike large Cretaceous theropods they lacked the ability to bypass armor note , and their lack of grasping forelimbs in substitution of relatively less useful wings.
  • Fire, Ice, Lightning: Well, Fire, Water, and Lightning. These three elemental attacks are shown in the "Elemental Type Moves" video—the "Fire Blast" used by the Bombardier Beetle, the "Water Gun" used by the Archerfish, and "Discharge" used by the Electric Eel.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: In "Should Dinosaurs Be Unbanned?", TierZoo rated dinosaurs on how well they would perform in the hypothetical scenario where they were brought back from extinction into the modern day. While some dinosaurs such as sauropods, ceratopsians and Tyrannosaurus Rex would be unable to cope as well with the change in meta, others such as ankylosaurs, stegosaurs and dromaeosaurs would fare even better.
  • Flight: A trait discussed in the "Are Flying Builds OP?" episode. Flight was concluded to be an in-universe Game-Breaker as it gave several advantages in offense, defense, and utility, with a few disadvantages.
  • Flipping Helpless: The weakness of the Ankylosaurs. Despite having very high defensive stats and a club tail for crippling attackers, Ankylosaurs were completely helpless if they were flipped over, and this Achilles' Heel was a glaring counterplay that prevented it from being S-Tier.
  • Follow the Leader: An In-Universe example. The glyptodont build was a B-tier Ice Age build mimicking the Ankylosaurus, although nowhere near as powerful or effective at area denial; they do have the similar moves Skull Bash and Club Smash going for them. Likewise, the chalicothere was seen as a lower-tier imitation of the giant ground sloth, although in reality the latter appeared later than the former. In general, any instance of convergent evolution can be taken as an example of this trope.
  • Fragile Speedster:
    • Cheetahs are considered this. They're one of the fastest land animals but they lack strength, endurance, and stamina. This meant that they have bad matchups against a lot of the other animals in the server, and the low stamina is also a big problem for a build based on speed.
    • Horses. They are very fast with great amounts of stamina, making them near-perfect mounts for humans. However, while their Defence stat is average, their HP stat is surprisingly low because it is very hard for them to heal from a broken leg, and it's mentioned that it's pretty much Game Over if that happens.
    • The A-tier Haikouichthys build from the Cambrian beta game. A highly mobile fish build (and the first fish build released in the game) it lacked in many other stats, including health, but it was swift enough to dodge attacks from other builds like the top-tier Anomalocaris. In addition, it had the first "lens"-type eyes, which made detecting other players more effective than with their arthropod competitors' compound eyes.
  • Full-Boar Action: Discussed in "Pigs Used to be Overpowered" - boars and warthogs are powerful and versatile tanks with remarkable strength and intelligence, making them a solid A-tier. However, it is subverted by the highest-ranking "hog", the pre-Ice Age "hell pig", which was not actually a true pig, but rather, a relative of the hippo.
  • Game-Breaker: In-Universe, there are a few:
    • Pack hunting. Since Conservation of Ninjutsu does not apply here, it means that a pack hunter can overwhelm bigger classes and thus get a lot more Exp. It also opens up several effective tactics that cannot be used otherwise.
    • Eusocialism for insects. Like pack hunting, it allows effective communication techniques and tactics as well as the ability to overwhelm bigger classes and thus get a lot more Exp.
    • Long lifespans with high intellect. As a class' wisdom increases based on both intelligence and lifespan, having both means that they'll end up extremely wise and be capable of learning several skills.
    • Flight. It carries several perks and advantages. For offense, flight makes a build tough for ground-bound builds to defend against, and can add extra attack power via Meteor Move or if used with a grapple drop targets from above for massive damage. For defense, flight gives huge amounts of mobility and evasion and access to hard-to-reach safe places. For utility, it gives access to other servers and hard-to-reach food sources such as fruit and easy scouting of terrain. The weakness is that it requires a light body which sacrifices defense and HP, can make one Too Fast to Stop which causes crashing into obstacles to be deadly, and is countered by stealth builds as most eyes from above are useless at spotting stealth builds, unless those eyes are highly specialized.
    • Orcas have been repeatedly referred to as "Overpowered" across various videos. In the Cetacean Tier List, they're considered the second-most powerful build right under Humans thanks to high intelligence (slightly below a Dolphin's) allowing them to bait enemies or work together to generate a wave. They're even smart enough to avoid attacking humans. However, they cannot get close to a human's level of overpoweredness because they lack opposing thumbs to manipulate and craft objects, and even if they did they would be unable to create fire that is necessary for advancement due to living in an aquatic environment.
    • All of the above however pale in comparison to Humans. Their extremely high intelligence allows them to build inventions that massively raise all their other stats except base health. Of note is that, if you could take away all of a human's inventions and nerfed their intelligence, they'd still be overpowered thanks to rapid stamina gain, superb throwing distance and accuracy, and ability to get more experience from eating food thanks to gut flora. Their lack of thick fur gives weaknesses in low defence and vulnerability to flying eusocial stinging insects, but their inventiveness, equipment and capability of teaching even remedies that.
    • In the "Pick Two Animal Groups. They will defend you. The rest are coming to kill you." scenario, it's not the lone human that is this, but the Swarm of Rats. TierZoo even outright says that it's an instant loss if you do not pick them since their numbers will overrun you, while if you do pick them they can make short work of all the other animals on the list that aren't the eagles (which isn't an issue since the eagles are the other top choice).
  • Giant Foot of Stomping: Saurpods were noted to have the most powerful attack in the entire game via their stomp thanks to their massive size and weight, knocking the target down and dealing lethal damage
  • Glass Cannon:
    • Pit vipers and Sydney funnel-web spiders have very low defence, but one of the strongest venom-type attacks in the game.
    • Dromaeosaurs. Their health is low thanks to their small size but they can output very powerful burst damage from Critical Hit via Slashed Throat, and they also hunt in packs. They were considered an A-tier dinosaur precisely for this — while they could take down prey in groups with their high DPS, one hit was all it took to body them.
    • Again, humans—pathetic defense, below average hit points, but even with primitive technology have amazing match-ups against many animals despite that.
      • Humans can even be a Glass Cannon Gradual Grinder; by persistence hunting, which basically means using their superior stamina to chase an animal until it's too exhausted to escape, then killing it, humans can prolong an engagement until their prey just drops, then spear it to death.
    • Squid have high attack power owing to their piercing beak, but at the cost of low defence and HP, meaning that if a predator manages to land a hit on them, it's almost always Game Over.
  • Goal-Oriented Evolution: Animals are commonly described as having "used their evolution points toward" or "opted for" various traits, which reinforces the misconception that evolution is goal based. Justified as, in the context of the videos, evolution is the process of creating builds for the game.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong:
    • The devs attempted to buff vertebrates in the Carboniferous period by increasing vegetation, so that they would have more food to eat and reproduce. This also increased oxygen levels, causing arthropods to grow to large sizes and dominate the meta instead.
    • The same can be said of the attempt to nerf the archosaur faction (consisting of dinosaurs, pterosaurs, and crocodilians) at the end of the Triassic period, with levels of volcanism that were not as intense as The Great Dying patch to avoid losing the majority of the playerbase. Rather than making the meta more diverse, though, it only gave the archosaurs a stronger hold on the high-tier positions, which they maintained until the end of Patch 1.2.3 (the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction).
  • Gradual Grinder: The A-tier Carcharodontosaurus build, discussed in "The Dinosaur Tier List," functioned as this in the Mesozoic expansion. Although its size was comparable to T. rex, Carcharodontosaurus did not spec into the same bone-crunching bite attack, instead opting for serrated teeth suited to dealing bleed damage, similarly to the modern-day Komodo dragon build.
  • Green Aesop: "Earth's Next Balance Patch" talks about climate change and how it affects various species. Of course, this is Tierzoo, so it's presented in the style of a Super Smash Bros. announcement video.
  • Griefer: Several classes are capable of griefing and trolling other classes with greater ease.
    • Bull Sharks are capable of moving to freshwater areas, allowing them to easily grief the freshwater fish players that aren't adapted against sharks.
    • House Cats, due to easy camping options with little to no competition, get away with far more kills on defenseless small characters than they need to, as noted under Cats Are Mean.
    • The episode on the Watering Hole "map" puts both crocodiles and hippos there, being able to camp, tank, and kill/intimidate other classes easily.
    • Squirrels have a uniquely strong matchup against humans thanks to being capable of chewing wires to cut them, as well as entering power plants with ease via burrowing. Put two and two together and you get a build that is capable of griefing even man.
  • Hitbox Dissonance: The "Spacing" builds take advantage of this to do damage with horns and/or an Epic Flail of a tail while the player remains (relatively) safe. Grappler builds get around this by actually grabbing onto the head or tail, preventing them from moving said heavy parts around effectively.
  • Humanity Is Superior: Humans are by far the most powerful build in the game, thanks to their superior intelligence allowing them to build inventions to bypass any shortcomings, while having one of the best social structures—and even without said intelligence or inventions, they'd still be considered an in-universe Game-Breaker thanks to having one of the best stamina regeneration of animals, the best throwing ability in the animal kingdom, and the ability to obtain more exp from various food thanks to the right gut flora. That said, their weakness is their low defence and hence vulnerability to flying eusocial stinging insects, but their inventiveness and capability of teaching does remedy that.
  • "Instant Death" Radius: Herbivorous dinosaurs with a tail-based defence often had one, due to their mid-ranged Beware My Stinger Tail Slap attack being capable of inflicting lethal wounds. Sauropods in particular had a massive range with their very long and heavy tails, which, while less damaging than ankylosaur or stegosaur tails was enough to cause knockdown, and getting even closer to their front was an even bigger death sentence as they could use their Giant Foot of Stomping for a One-Hit Kill.
  • Instant-Win Condition: The "Pick Two Animal Groups. They will defend you. The rest are coming to kill you." scenario has two examples. For the enemy side, they win if they manage to kill the VIP. This is a problem if the human with the rifle is not picked as he only needs to shoot the VIP and not the defending animals, and if the VIP doesn't pick the rats they will be overrun. For the player's side, picking the rats ensures a Foregone Victory against almost all the other animals with the exception of the human shooting the VIP—but even that is covered by the other top choice in the eagles.
  • Irony: The Cookie-cutter shark build is stated to be the least orthodox shark build, in other words, it's the least cookie-cutter build of sharks.
  • Item Crafting: An ability of a handful of high intelligence builds, most prominently humans. Even at low levels, it is considered extremely powerful, and at the advanced levels humans have in it, it's a complete invoked Game-Breaker.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: Pigs are noted to be quite balanced statwise (bordering Lightning Bruiser) for a tank build, with Intelligence as their highest stat, and their durability comes from an ability in their thickened skin and layer of fat. This along with other abilities give the two prominent ones (Boars and Warthogs) a solid high A-tier in the meta.
  • Jack-of-All-Trades:
    • Rats are described as "the ultimate jack-of-all trades for the lightweight meta".
    • Orang-utans are this in comparison to the other apes. They're fast, but not as fast as chimpanzees. They're strong, but not as strong as gorillas. And they're highly intelligent, but nowhere near as intelligent as humans.
  • Joke Character:
    • Surprisingly, the supposedly Nigh Invulnerable Water Bear is considered this. It's stated that it sacrificed all its stats for speccing huge amounts of points in heat, cold, vacuum, radiation and pressure resistances… without taking the extremophile trait, meaning that it has to go into "hibernation mode" if in extreme conditions. All this, and the fact that it doesn't have resistance to physical damage which most players use makes it considered a bottom-tier character.
    • Modern-day Sloths are considered the worst build in the game. Any hostile encounter is practically a death sentence since they are extremely slow and have almost no attacking power. Their stealth ability is poor and only works when they're stationary in tree foliage. They need to descend to the ground in order to defecate, which makes them vulnerable to predators. Finally, they specced into gut bacteria to allow them a nutrient-poor diet of leaves, and said bacteria die if temperatures drop low, causing the sloth to starve to death. Harpy eagles even intentionally leave sloths alive so that their fledglings can use them as target practice. However, being a Joke Character did give them an advantage against humans as compared to the huge prehistoric sloths—since humans took no interest to smaller arboreal animals, they didn't bother to hunt these low-tier sloths while the huge prehistoric sloths were hunted to extinction.
    • Domestic sheep. Their intelligence stat is abysmal to the point where they can be defeated by bramble bushes.
      "If you're a herbivore player and you get beat by your prey, you should probably choose a new main."
    • Fainting goats, a goat class that traded the usual goat defensive moves for the ability to faint when in danger. As you can imagine, this isn't very effective.
    • Underwater squirrels in his Spongebob species review. Specializing in razor sharp ever growing teeth and spending most of your time with a glass dome between your face and the world around you are not useful combination.
  • Kevlard:
    • Almost literally with pigs, who have a layer of skin and a layer of lard fat that are thick enough to provide protection from snake fangs, giving them a good matchup against snakes.
    • Subverted by Hippopotamuses. They are fat, but their durability comes from having a 2 inch layer of skin that protects them from most biting and slashing attacks. This makes attacks from things like lions and crocodiles hilariously ineffective.
  • Killer Rabbit:
    • Several of the species in the S-tier qualify, such as house cats, bees, dogs, etc., though in many cases this is less because of sheer power in comparison with other S-listers like humans, but more akin to adaptability and the ability to remain viable in comparison to other player builds native to the servers they inhabit.
    • The Robber fly was considered an underrated S-tier insect thanks to being able to catch its prey mid-flight with superior accuracy and precision and long grab range.
    • Humans, the in-universe Game-Breaker can take on many animals, but the animal type they have the worst matchup with is flight-capable stinging eusocial insects thanks to the human's extremely low defense due to not having any fur, and the insects' superior mobility and tendency to Zerg Rush.
  • Last Note Nightmare: At the end of the Cat Tier List video, the narrator thinks he forgot a type of cat. A picture of a house cat with a tag saying "Hello, I am a: SUPPORT" appears. the image quickly flashes to the negative, with the cat getting blank white eyes, and their tag now saying "Hello, I am a: SERIAL KILLER". The Narrator says he'll talk about that in a later video.note 
  • Lethal Harmless Powers: Most flies use their modified vestigal wings called halteres to give themselves balance, positioning and precise control in the air, allowing them to easily escape attacks or land on hard-to-reach places. The Robber Fly instead uses this offensively allowing it to catch and take down prey in mid-air with high accuracy and precision. This landed it a spot in S-tier as one of the best, if not the best solo insect class.
  • Lightning Bruiser: The Allosaurus build was a C-tier dinosaur that was relatively balanced stat-wise, with its bite attack dealing damage comparable to a modern lion. In spite of this, Allosaurus proved to be a dangerous opponent due to its high mobility, devastating head swipe attack, and tendency to hunt in packs.
    • Bears. Lots of bulk and power, surprisingly high mobility, and a very deadly weapon in the form of claws. Unless you can fly or are/are aided by a tool-using human, pray one never sees you as prey.
    • Hippos. They are extremely tanky due to high HP and thick skin, have very high attacking power with their bites, and also have surprisingly high mobility in and out of the water. Tier Zoo considered them S-Tier thanks to this and their abilities.
  • Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards: Humans are a prime example of the "wizard" class—they have a good lifespan combined with the best intelligence of all animals, allowing them to overcome their stat shortcomings and make them better than even the other S-tier animals via the inventions they build.
  • Living Dinosaurs: In the Cryptid Episode, the Loch Ness Monster and Mokèlé-mbèmbé are speculated to be these, the former being a Plesiosaur, and the latter being a sauropod with dwarfism (which allowed it to survive the dinosaur extinction). Both were considered high-tier Cryptids due to being able to survive in their environment thanks to their size and easy access to food.note 
  • Long-Range Fighter: Not many animals in the "game" have ranged attacks, with the exception of the Electric Eel, Archerfish, Bombardier Beetle, Spitting Cobra, Spitting Spider, Velvet Worm, and primates, most notably Humans.
  • Magikarp Power: Sauropods benefited greatly from having the highest base-stat total of any land build once they reached later levels, but they were also extraordinarily outclassed in the early-to-mid game. Their low mobility, lack of adequate defense, and extremely vulnerable neck meant they had almost no favorable match-ups to start off with. As such, very few were able to actually reach their class's full potential; but their eventual size made them practically unstoppable once they did.
  • Mama Bear: Protective parenting is a team strategy that greatly helps survival. Players are vulnerable at the start of the game, and having a very protective mother can greatly enhance the survival of new players. Dimetrodon was considered a top-tier Permian build because of its protective mothers, since much of the meta involved raiding nests. Mammals became a dominant species because of having protective mothers, a behaviour passed down from the Synapsid builds like Dimetrodon. It's also noted that mammals get a "rage" powerup when defending their young, and that challenging an enraged mother is a very bad idea.
  • Master of All:
    • Humans. Sure, they may lack strength, durability, speed or stealth compared to other animals, but thanks to having the best intelligence in the "game" bar none, they can invent and build things that give them far greater stats in those areas (with the exception of health).
    • While they don't compare to humans, bears tend to be this due to their high base stats in everything, being omnivores, and possessing solid abilities.
    • Hippopotamuses have high stats across the board with their lowest stats being average intelligence and stealth (which in the latter case is very high for such a large build), have very powerful abilities with little to no drawbacks. Tier Zoo considers them S-Rank.
    • Orcas are another example, possessing extremely high power, intelligence, defence and HP while also having solid mobility and stealth. They are considered the second best build in the game because of this, surpassed only by humans.
    • Most of the big cats qualify. Tigers, despite not having any unique special abilities, rank in high A-tier due to being this, having very high stats across the board. Lions are even more so, possessing similar stats to the tiger plus being able to hunt in packs. The best of all is the Jaguar, which not only has very high stats across the board, but also has great eyesight allowing it to see through almost all forms of camouflage, and is just as capable of hunting in the trees or the water as on the ground.
    • Gorillas, the second highest-ranked primate after humans, have very high stats across the board (aside from stealth) along with a strong social structure, making them basically untouchable so long as they stay with the group.
  • Master of None:
    • No seal or sea lion build ranks above B-tier, as splitting their evolution points between aquatic and land-based survival abilities has prevented them from mastering either environment. They are completely dominated by sharks and orcas in water, and are cripplingly vulnerable when on land. The only pinniped build to overcome this and rise to top tier is the walrus, due to being so massive that no land predator can pose a serious threat while actually having a strong weapon in their tusks.
    • The Spinosaurus, a D-tier dinosaur build, faces a similar problem as its investment into aquatic abilities like swimming and electroreception cost it the necessary stats to hold its own on land, resulting in it getting bodied against other land carnivore builds in the area, and outran by most herbivores.
    • Generally, most Jack-of-All-Trades tend to be this. While being a jack theoretically allows you to fill any niche, most of those niches can't be filled by the jack due to better, more specialized species doing it far better, leaving them only one or two things they can generally do. By that point, you'd have been better off speccing into that role.
  • Messy Pig: Pigs use their nose to dig up mud and wallow in it in order to gain a heat resistance buff, making them less susceptible to overheating in the sun.
  • Mighty Glacier: Most animals of this classes are solid A-tier. However, they are vulnerable against Intelligence-based builds and herd tactics.
    • Naturally, turtles are this, with tough shells and strong bites. Those who fail in these criteria are low-tier.
    • Constrictor snakes can win a 1-on-1 fight with pretty much anything, but at the cost of severely reduced mobility.
    • Walruses are exemplary examples of this, being sluggish, but so durable they can tank Polar Bears, and their tusks can ward off the same. They're less sluggish in water, but that still doesn't help them in matchups against the in-universe Game-Breaker Orcas.
    • Tyrannosaurus rex was considered this. It was noted to be not particularly fast outside short bursts of speed. If it was re-introduced in the current-day meta, it would have extremely high attack damage, but its large size made it slower than several modern-day animals. As such, the only animals it could reliably kill would be elephants.
    • Most snails are placed in F-Tier thanks to only having good defence (for their size), the worst speed in the meta, and nothing else. The Cone Snail however has an extremely high attack stat to go with it thanks to a very lethal venom harpoon that can even pierce human protection, and is a solid A-Tier because of it.
  • Mighty Roar: An ability that's used by big cats and other larger species for Victory Through Intimidation and thus doing a huge number on enemy resolve.
  • Moveset Clone: In "The Rodent Tier List", a number of the rodents have an Echo Fighter counterpart, such as the mouse to the Rat.
  • Necessary Drawback: Sails. These helped reptiles appear larger and hence more intimidating, prevented the owner from being grabbed from the back, and also collected heat faster in the day which was vital for their stamina thanks to their cold-blooded nature. However, it did come with the price of a huge stealth decrease as well as giving them a larger hitbox, which is why sails weren't seen as often in the Mesozoic era.
  • Noble Bird of Prey: Almost every single bird of prey is at least B-tier, with the Eagles, Hawks and Falcons all in A. Surprisingly, the secretary bird was listed as an S-rank for being able to counter high-tier builds like cobras and generally perform excellently in the difficult server that is the African Savannah. The "Best Support Class" video also highlighted birds of prey as the best battle summon, with the sport of falconry being specifically tailored to taking down fast and evasive bird players. Combining this with an ally dog player's acute smell ability only adds to the potential of the team as a whole, flushing out prey so the raptor can better intercept it.
  • The Nose Knows: Pigs have an excellent sense of smell which helps them detect underground food. This is paired up with a shovel-like nose that helps them dig said food up easily.
  • Not the Intended Use: The episode "Abusing the Game's Physics Engine" is all about this—usage of skills in a creative way that the developers didn't intend certain builds to, causing ways to "exploit the physics engine":
    • The Trap Jaw ant's bite is a powerful weapon, but it doesn't have much in terms of mobility as it lacks powerful legs or wings (for most of the time). However, by using its trap jaw bite on the ground, it's capable of propelling itself a great distance.
    • Many beetles have a headbutt ability, but the Click Beetle's headbutt ability can be used without a target, the force of which can propel it into the air.
    • The Cuttlefish's color changing ability can not only be used for its primary purpose in camouflage, but it can also be used as hypnosis via undulating its color rapidly, causing other players to "crash" via "messing with their graphics engine".
    • Most Crustacean builds have a powerful pincer grab, but their abysmal intelligence means that most of them would be unable to develop ranged combat. Unless it's the Pistol Shrimp, who specced so much into grab speed that it can create a shockwave by targeting the water in front of it.
  • One-Hit Kill:
    • The Crocodile's Death Roll ability is aptly described as an instant kill.
    • The Sauropod build's Giant Foot of Stomping was also mentioned to deal lethal damage.
  • One Stat to Rule Them All: Intelligence, which allows for both group tactics and wisdom accumulation. Humans in particular, abuse their maxed-out intelligence to simply craft items that give them extremely high stats in everything except Health.
  • Open Secret: Everyone knows that Outside is just Real Life, but everyone from the uploader to the comments section will always talk about it as if it's a real video game because it's more fun that way.
  • Outside-Context Problem:
    • One of the advantages of the Australia server is the matchup inexperience that non-native server players will have. While most players in other servers would be able to roughly distinguish the designs of predators and "harmless" animals, Australia contains many weird and Confusion Fu creatures like the platypus that would be a headache for outside-server players to understand.
      "The relative abundance of jank makes Australia a really unforgiving place for newbies."
    • The Deep Sea Meta is also considered as one for any outsider trying to join it. Most build types tend to be marginally similar among different servers, with the exception of the deep sea where everything is… weird, and more importantly, unexplored/not well-analyzed. It's so different that TierZoo cannot make a conventional Tier List for it!
  • Painful Pointy Pufferfish: One reason why Puffer Fish were deemed to be S-tier inhabitants of the Coral Reef meta is due to being able to inflate and hurt attackers with spines, plus their round size when inflated makes it hard to get a bite on them.
  • Panthera Awesome: All big cats are B-tier or higher, with the jaguar being S-tier. Averted by the cougar, lynx, and cheetah, however, all of whom are mid-to-low tier and are technically small cats despite their size. Played straight with the A-tier sabertooth in "The Ice Age Tier List," which had a high power stat that was surprisingly more due to its muscular forelimbs than its brittle fangs.
  • Personal Space Invader: Dromaeosaurs had a sickle claw which not only functioned as a Critical Hit weapon, but also allowed them to hook onto bigger dinosaurs by using their pounce attack.
  • Playing with Fire:
    • The bombardier beetle's chemical spray is called "Fire Blast" in the "Elemental Type Moves" video, since it actually heats up to near the boiling point of water when its constituent chemicals are mixed and ejected.
    • At the end of the Raptor Tier List video, TierZoo notes that some Australian raptor players have actually adopted the strategy of dropping firebrands into scrubland, starting fires that can burn cover and flush out prey.
  • Poisonous Person: Both venom and poison are two different categories of toxins used against attackers or prey. In general, venom is far more useful than poison, since poison requires that the animal has to take a sufficiently strong hit in order for it to affect while venom is injected upon attack.
  • Power Creep:
    • During the 1.2 patch era (the Mesozoic Era), more and more powerful dinosaurs kept being added until it got completely out of hand, forcing the devs to issue a heavy-handed patch that banned nearly all terrestrial megafauna and all but a few dinosaurs, and gave mammals a chance in the meta.
    • In general, over the course of the game, and especially the 1.3 patch era (the Cenozoic), higher and higher intelligence builds have become possible, allowing for more and more sophisticated group strategies, tool use, and Item Crafting, leading to extremely powerful builds like Orcas, Wolves, Black Bears, Otters, Parrots, Octopi, Chimps, and Humans, which are have managed to hit levels of dominance exceeding even dinosaurs at their peak.
  • Prickly Porcupine: Porcupines were considered the only S-ranked rodent and one of the very rare cases where TierZoo considered a defensive build S-Rank. Thanks to their quills ability, they cause Damage Over Time to animals who attack them, and said damage increases the more a predator attacks them and pushes more spines into their face. It also helps their defensive ability that the quills are extremely difficult to remove without the help of a human.
  • Punny Name: An accidental one at that—"Tier" means "Animal" in German. Meaning that this could be seen as Animal Zoo in German.
  • Quantity Versus Quality: In general, quantity tends to win out, as real life averts the Conservation of Ninjutsu:
    • Pack hunting and eusocialism are traits that tend to make several animals higher tiers.
    • In "The Optimal Team Composition", the biggest threat/most useful ally is the Swarm of Rats. 10000 of them, which is enough to overrun all the other animals on the list. The 50 eagles are the other most useful pick as their numbers help them at playing support.
  • Redemption Demotion: In "The Optimal Team Composition", the human counts as this. When they're an ally, they're actually rather weak as their objective is to neutralize all the animals attacking the VIP. While their rifle is capable of one-shotting an animal, their ammunition is limited, their attack has a reload time, and thus the number of enemy animals will easily overrun them. When they're an enemy, they're the second-most dangerous threat after the rats since their objective is to kill the VIP, which they can easily do by sniping the VIP from afar while ignoring the animals protecting the VIP, making limited ammunition a non-issue. As such, if the human is not chosen, it is imperative that the VIP have an ally who can spot him quickly and hinder his shooting capability which the Eagles would be capable of doing.
  • Required Secondary Powers: High Intelligence is greatly undermined if the animal doesn't have high dexterity to actually move objects around properly, since dexterity and precision is needed to craft tools. Likewise, potential is wasted if an animal has high Intelligence but a short lifespan, since they would not be able to accumulate enough wisdom to learn skills effectively before they die of old age.
  • Rhino Rampage: As noted in Awesome, but Impractical, this is subverted with modern-day rhinos, which are listed in D-tier because of their poor intelligence and vision despite otherwise high stats, but was played much straighter by the extinct woolly rhino, which was big and strong enough to play as a serviceable tank in spite of these flaws.
  • Rocket-Tag Gameplay: Australia is described to have this, since there are several venomous species that can kill in a single strike and not many herbivorous tanks due to lack of abundant vegetation.
  • Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies: The extinction of the dinosaurs itself is not this trope, which is when the game master decides to Kill ’Em All, but several videos referencing it state that in the context of the Outside meta, that's exactly what happened. Specifically, the Serial Escalation of the dinosaurs' overall Game-Breaker status reached its peak during the Late Cretaceous, and the developers realized that there was only one way to restore balance to the metagame: implementing a balance patch that would render the top-tier dinosaur builds unviable.
  • RPG-Mechanics Verse: Applies this to Real Life.
  • Running Gag: The text "I've made a terrible mistake", "Mike I swear to god", "Swiggity swooty", and "Yeet" pop up as a joke repeatedly.
  • Sapient Cetaceans: Discussed and averted. Firstly, dolphins lack grasping digits to manipulate and craft objects, and even if they did they would be unable to create fire that is necessary for advancement due to living in an aquatic environment.
  • Seldom-Seen Species: Several more obscure species are shown and sometimes even highlighted in the episodes. Examples include the Secretary Bird, Mantis Shrimp, Pistol Shrimp, Tardigrade, and Komodo Dragon.
  • Shout-Out: TierZoo frequently makes references to competitive video games such as Pokémon, Super Smash Bros., Street Fighter, and Overwatch.
    • The "Elemental Type Moves" episode has several references to Pokémon, including the names of the elemental moves (Discharge, Water Gun, and Fire Blast).
    • Footage from Super Smash Bros. Melee and the Battlefield theme from Super Smash Bros. Brawl are used whenever PvP is being discussed. There's also references to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate in "Echo Fighters" such as the mouse to the rat.
    • The lifebars and damage numbers during PVP are from Runescape. In-game chat is also displayed Runescape-style, and much of the more generic background music is from its soundtrack.
    • The "rat mains" shown in the "Rodent Tier List" video are actually the main characters of Ratatouille and Stuart Little.
    • The Shark Tier List opens with "My Shiny Teeth and Me".
  • Skill Gate Characters: Both birds of prey and wolves are explicitly mentioned as gatekeepers to the higher tiers, and most are solidly placed in A-tier for the most part. They're easy to play as and can perform very well, but there are holes in their build and/or strategy that can be exploited by top-tier builds. Wolves for example need to intimidate a target into fleeing, and if the target consistently stands its ground or counterattacks instead the pack typically has to abort the attack. Being able to counter them reliably will often put a build in a high to top tier.
    TierZoo: Even though wolves have a pretty solid offensive strategy, players with good fundamentals and matchup experience will be able to thwart their plans most of the time, and wolves, much like birds of prey, function as the gatekeepers to the higher tiers and are placed solidly in A-tier.
  • Smarter Than You Look: Despite having a rather messy nature of digging up dirt and wallowing in the mud, pigs are a lot more intelligent than they appear, with Intelligence as their highest stat in an otherwise Jack-of-All-Stats build.
  • So Last Season:
    • In "Should Dinosaurs be Unbanned?", TierZoo discusses how well dinosaurs would fare in the current meta. Many of them would suffer this trope and be considered C-F tier thanks to the difference in animals between the Mesozoic and modern day doing no favours for them.
      • Hadrosaurs were considered bottom tier since their main ability was to signal other dinosaurs of incoming danger, as most Mesozoic predators were big and lacked stealth. Several animals in the current day use stealth capability to hunt meaning that the hadrosaurs would not get a chance to signal for help.
      • During the Cretaceous, Triceratops and other herbivores with front-facing defences were useful at defending against predators that mainly tried to take them head-on. This would not be effective in the modern-day since several predators use pack-hunting and flanking tactics to bypass this.
      • Sauropods have an extremely powerful late-game stage that many animals would not even dare to bother attacking. However, their early-game stage was especially vulnerable to getting killed, and in the current meta there are several animals that would be able to take a young sauropod down. TierZoo ranks them at either S—or F—tier depending on whether any could survive to the late-game.
      • Dinosaurs with a tail-based defence such as Stegosaurus and Ankylosaurus subvert this. They're considered S-rank for the current day meta as a tail defence was a very powerful and effective mid-range deterrent against flanking predators. Furthermore, the armor on their backs would protect against assassin builds trying to get an attack via the top.
      • Tyrannosaurus rex was only considered a C-tier because of this. In the Cretaceous, its high attack build was necessary at taking down other dinosaurs. In the modern day, it would only be useful against elephants since most other modern-day animals were fast enough to outspeed it.
      • Dromaeosaurs subvert this and because of that were considered S-rank predator choices. They wouldn't need to adjust their playstyle much as several of their prey types still exist (such as small mammals). Dromaeosaurs would fill a similar pack hunter niche to foxes and coyotes, but fare better since most canines have to grind down an opponent they hold onto while raptors could deal a fast, deadly Critical Hit to the prey's neck. In fact, they would be even more effective than in the Cretaceous where they were A-Tier, due to more smaller animals they could quickly kill and fewer larger animals that could kill them.
    • Among builds in the actual current game, rhinos and jellyfish qualify. The woolly rhino was B-tier during the Ice Age patch when the meta was centred around combat stats due to their massive, powerful horns and great defence. However, with the shifts in the meta that have been caused by the spread of humans leading to a meta centred more around intelligence- and mobility-based builds, the rhinos have dropped to D-tier due to their low intelligence and poor eyesight leading them to frequently pick completely unnecessary fights and put themselves in danger in the process.
  • Spiders Are Scary: The reason why spiders were considered a poor choice for a human support class. Arachnophobia is a very real thing, and having a spider as a companion would cause a charisma debuff towards other humans.
  • The Spiny:
    • Porcupines. Their Quill ability deals damage to players who make contact with them. The quills also embed into the attacker, causing them to deal higher and higher damage as the opponent keeps attacking the quills.
    • To a lesser extent, the Hallucigenia build from the game's early beta stage. A C-tier Cambrian build, it foregoes opting for a tough exoskeleton in favor of defensive spikes. Unfortunately, the Hallucigenia is not nearly mobile or large enough to be considered a serious threat by other players.
  • Squishy Wizard: Humans are considered these thanks to having high intelligence, tool use, teaching, learning and inventive skills, but they sacrifice their defence by not having thick fur and as such have one of the lowest defenses among all animals.
  • Stealth Expert: Several animals with a high Stealth stat are capable of being these. The animal with the highest Stealth ability is appropriately enough the cuttlefish as it's capable of changing its color to blend in very well.
  • Stone Wall:
    • Geese have a build like this, having abysmal offensive capability but surprisingly good health and mobility which makes them annoying to take down. They pair this with an intimidation build to troll their opponents.
    • Porcupines. Their build has an abysmally low attack stat, low HP, poor stealth and slow mobility. However, their defense stat is sky-high thanks to their Quills ability that hurts melee attackers and causes damage over time.
    • Baleen whales have the highest HP stat in the game thanks to their massive size, but their main weapon in their baleen is only good at killing krill and is ineffective against anything larger. That said, they do have a decent attack stat since a Tail Slap from a whale is still very painful.
  • Support Party Member: In "The Optimal Team Composition" note , the 50 eagles are noted to be this and are a top choice for picking. They may not have high attacking power compared to the other animals, but they have great eyesight and mobility for seeking out the threats such as the rifle-armed human, and can use their talons to blind the other animals so they can't effectively attack the VIP while making them easy pickings for the Swarm of Rats.
  • Swans A-Swimming: Near the end of the "Are Geese OP" video, Tier Zoo outright states that swans are essentially geese but with everything that makes geese scary turned Up to Eleven, with similar territorial aggressiveness, intimidation factor and a strong attack stat alongside good defence and speed. They also have one of the best aesthetics values of all animals.
  • Swarm of Rats: In "The Optimal Team Composition", which discusses this meme, one of the choices is 10000 rats. They're pretty much the top choice to pick, since the VIP will be overrun if they aren't picked, while the entire Zerg Rush is very capable of taking down all the other animals on the list via Death of a Thousand Cuts with the possible exception of the flying eagles—not that it matters since the eagles are the other top choice. Of note, picking the rats and eagles means that you have 200+ rats against every other animal—which is considered overkill, even against a bear or crocodile.
  • Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors: In "The 4 Animal Combat Styles", TierZoo discusses which styles beat each other.
    • Grappler builds beat Spacing (zoner) builds because the Mighty Glacier Spacer builds rely on using their horns or tail to attack for heavy damage, and once they're caught in a grab, it becomes hard to move those heavy parts around.
    • Spacing builds beat Rushdown builds as many Rushdown builds tend to be Glass Cannon or Fragile Speedster types, which means one powerful hit from a Mighty Glacier Spacing build will usually spell the end of a Rushdown build.
    • Rushdown builds beat Projectile builds as they can often get in close quickly and attack the Long-Range Fighter Projectile build before the projectile can take good effect.
    • Projectile builds beat Grappler builds as the Grappler build needs to get close and find the right opportunity to perform their Grapple Move—and a ranged attack can hit the Grappler as they're attempting to do so.
  • Tail Slap: Sauropods are noted to have a very long-range tail slap attack due to naturally long tails. This among other factors made them hard to attack, contributing to their S-tier status.
  • Takes One to Kill One: One of the biggest dangers to the hippopotamus is another hippopotamus, as their sharp teeth deal stabbing damage which bypasses their thick skin.
  • Tall Poppy Syndrome: Comes up when discussing why the extremely powerful Giant Ground Sloth build went extinct whereas the modern-day sloths (which are the lowest-tier animal) did not. Giant Ground Sloths were hunted to extinction by humans thanks to their huge size, low stealth and vulnerability to projectiles, whereas humans didn't bother to hunt the arboreal sloths since these sloths didn't give much exp and humans were not adept in arboreal zones.
    "Sometimes it pays to be low-tier, since being a powerhouse kind of puts a target on your head."
  • That One Level: In-Universe, there a a few examples:
    • The African Savannah is consistently referred to as one of the most brutally competitive and dangerous servers—to the point that both the Secretary Bird and the African Wild Dog are S-Tier mainly because they excel at thriving in it.
    • The Arctic Server, which constantly deals cold damage to everyone in it, and has the Polar Night world event that removes sunlight for photosynthesis and solar heating entirely for months at a time.
    • The Deep Sea Meta on the Abyssal Server is stated to have "by far, the most unorthodox, unintuitive, and unforgiving meta in the entire game".
    • Downplayed by Australia. It's got a reputation as one of the most difficult servers due to the abundance of deadly reptiles and highly venomous creatures, as well as the many builds that have no equivalent anywhere else, but this is softened by the lack of tanks and powerful mammals.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • The F-tier Irish elk is one of the few builds that actually got buffed after the Ice Age ended, due to their much smaller antlers enabling them to more easily hide in dense forests, decreasing the energy cost for running, and reducing the risk of serious injury if one of the antlers breaks off during a fight.
    • Domestic pigs are mentioned to be able to revert back to a feral state similar to a wild boar if they manage to escape into the wild.
  • Troll:
    • Cougars. They can't roar, but they try. This sounds like a screaming human female, which is good if a cougar player wants to mess with humans. It's not limited to cougars as the trolls and humans as the victims, either.
    • Geese. Their build has poor attack damage, but they resist intimidation from larger creatures while also having strong intimidation ability to chase others away. By having both HP and mobility as their best stat—should their trolling intimidation attempt fail, they can easily take a hit and fly away.
  • Unstable Equilibrium: Averting this trope is one of the reasons why the African Painted Hound is in S-Tier. Unlike A-Tier wolves who play it straight and give the strongest members the best share of loot, African Painted Hounds prop up the weaker members of the pack first.
  • Unusual Euphemism: Archaeology and paleontology are "datamining".
  • Up to Eleven: Swans are stated to be "basically everything scary about geese but shifted to Maximum Overdrive". This is reflected in their stats—while Geese are a Speedy Stone Wall, Swans are faster, more durable, and actually have good attack damage to boot.
  • Use Your Head: Caprines are noted to have the "Cranial Cushion" ability which greatly reduces blunt force trauma to the head, making it a very useful ability in a literal head-on fight.
  • Weak, but Skilled:
    • Black Bears are this in comparison to Brown Bears. Most of their stats are slightly scaled back versions of the brown bear's, which has more power. However, their smaller size and thus higher mobility allow them to climb trees easily and therefore have access to more food options. As such, Brown Bears are mainly A-tier, while Black Bears are S-tier.
    • Humans, the biggest in-universe Game-Breaker, have mediocre stats for their weight class aside from Intelligence. Average power, terrible defense, below average HP, terrible stealth, and only slightly above-average mobility. Intelligence however is the One Stat to Rule Them All and humans have the highest in the entire game, allowing them to invent things that can easily offset their shortcomings aside from their low HP. Even without the intelligence, they'd still be considered this thanks to lack of fur allowing sweating and high stamina, while gut flora allows them to eat various foods without risk for more exp options.
    • When it came to early humans, Homo sapiens were considered this compared to Neanderthals. While Neanderthals were stronger, tougher and faster, Homo sapiens had bigger party sizes when it came to cooperation, and also developed ranged weaponry which could take out prey from afar in contrast to the Neanderthals' close-range strategy. This allowed H. sapiens to out-compete the Neanderthals for food, and ultimately become the dominant species.
  • Zerg Rush: Several animals that are capable of doing this tend to be high tier, especially if they have offense-based ability.
    • Eusocial insects in general use this as their combat strategy. Bees, Wasps and Hornets in particular are even stated to be effective against the in-universe Game-Breaker humans.
    • In "The Optimal Team Composition", Tier Zoo discusses the popular question on Reddit. "Pick Two Animal Groups. They will defend you. The rest are coming to kill you." where the choices are 1 human with a rifle, 3 bears, 4 lions, 5 gorillas, 7 bulls, 10 crocodiles, 15 wolves, 50 eagles… and 10000 rats. Naturally Tier Zoo outright states that if you don't pick the rats, they'll overrun you, and if you do pick them their sheer numbers mean that you've pretty much won (with the exception of the human shooting you, but that's when the eagles come into play).

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