Difficult but Awesome

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

You have a character or faction in a game that occupies the top tier of competitive play. So why do they move slowly, use attacks that fail to impress, and have skills that look more appropriate for a Joke Character? Trying to get any decent use out of these characters is like trying to memorize the unabridged Encyclopedia Britannica.

But! With enough practice and experience, it turns out they really are awesome as advertised; it's just that these characters have a high bar to entry, and their steep learning curve scares most players away from using them. Most commonly seen in fighting games, strategy games, and in general multiplayer.

Difficult but Awesome characters tend to avoid becoming the Tier-Induced Scrappy, due to an unspoken respect for the amount of effort it takes to play one of these characters well. Counter Attack-centric characters lend themselves easily to this definition because of the need to master the precise timing of their counters, as do Mighty Glaciers in games that favor the relentless pressure of Fragile Speedsters or Jacks of All Stats.

Opposite of Skill Gate Characters, who are easy to learn but easily defeated by skilled opponents. Compare Magikarp Power, which is about the character gaining additional power rather than the player getting better at using them. Compare and contrast Lethal Joke Character, who requires a specific trick or exploit to be awesome, rather than requiring the player to master the character over time. Also compare and contrast Awesome but Impractical, where Awesome turns out to be a bit too Difficult.

Examples of Difficult but Awesome include:

Video game examples

Action Game

  • Starting from Devil May Cry 3, you can play Dante with the Royal Guard style. To get the most out of this style, you need to time Dante's blocks and releases near-perfectly. If you take the time to master it, however, you can do a lot of damage. A real lot. Plus blocking everything your enemy/ies can throw at Dante and retaliating like the unstoppable badass Dante is meant to be looks really awesome.
    • 3 also has two types of Lag Cancel for its big guns Spiral and Kalina Ann. The easier one is switch-cancelling, where you switch to Ebony&Ivory, fire them and switch back. Little finesse is needed and anyone can do it. The harder one is to use Royal Guard to cancel. If you slip up on the rhythm, the cancel will fail and the refire rate will be as slow as if you never tried. If you get the rhythm correct, though, you can fire faster than what switch-cancelling offers.
  • The Slylandro Probe in Star Control 2. Its controls are very different from other ships' controls - it always moves at top speed at the direction it is facing (so turning it makes it automatically move that in direction, without the need to accelerate and ignoring any inertia) and the thruster key is used for reversing the ship's direction instead of acceleration. It is insanely difficult to control, but once mastered it becomes highly maneuverable and a very deadly ship.
    • Also applies to the Druuge Mauler. The ship has no defensive mechanism, eats up a massive amount of energy with each shot, and has to kill off its own crew to replenish it at any reasonable rate. It also flies backwards whenever a shot is fired. This makes it very unappealing to novice players. An experienced player however will basically snipe at his opponent from across the map, causing massive damage with each hit. Experts will sometimes propel themselves to top speed and snipe their enemies while zooming across the view.
    • The Umgah Drone and Pkunk Fury have elements of this as well, especially the Drone.
  • Castlevania Dawn of Sorrow has the Succubus soul. It has a very specific range it works at; half a pixel off, and Soma will just swipe at empty air, and most likely get hit by whatever he was trying to grab. If you can get the range down, however, you have an extremely powerful attack that also heals Soma greatly.
  • Honkai Impact 3rd:
    • The Elysian Realm mode has the Signets of Vicissitude, which build up to 40 stacks of buffs over time but lose 10 stacks every time you get hit. The buffs are big, though, like extra 1.0% total damage per stack for a whopping 40% when maxed out, and its Enhanced Signets can raise the buffs even further. Anything else that comes close has another Necessary Drawback like only lasting for a short period of time. Good players who can avoid getting hit ride on those big buffs to do well; poor players who get hit often suffer and would have done better choosing Signet sets that aren't so skill-demanding.
    • The Elysian Realm also has the Signets of Infinity. In addition to Magikarp Power, getting them to the Purposefully Overpowered heights they can achieve that surpass even the Signets of Vicissitude requires the player to carefully manage the cooldowns of summoned units on top of everything else already demanded by normal gameplay.

Beat Em Up

  • God Hand has some of its apparently Awesome but Impractical moves turn out to be this. For example, Yes Man Kablaam has an awful startup time, a period immediately after it connects where Gene smiles at an imaginary crowd and none-too-stellar damage, but if you know how to use it properly - on a dizzied target, preferably with no one around to interfere, then dodge-cancel the delay - it fills up the Tension Gauge much faster. Granny Smacker has similar drawbacks, but helps dizzy an enemy much faster than most other moves would.

Driving Game

  • Forza Motorsport has the Hummer H1, and many other SUV's. Heavy and slow around corners, but with far more power than any car in their class and so large as to make overtaking tricky. In the right hands, on the right track, they can be devastating.
  • Hydro Thunder Hurricane brings the Rad Hazard. The absolute best acceleration and air control in the game but also the absolute worst handling. Mastering the boat however has brought many players massive online success.
  • The Jet Vermilion in F-Zero Maximum Velocity. For being the coveted best car, it is incredibly awkward to use at first. But if you're insane enough to persist long enough to have gotten it (that is, without using the cheat code), you're probably disciplined enough to master using it.
    • In F-Zero X, the Blood Falcon has a horrible grip rating, but mastery of the physics system (such as grinding the wall for massive bursts of speed) makes his vehicle one of the best ones for setting world records. In fact, most of the machines with an E in Grip aren't nearly as bad as the parameters would imply, as they're able to exploit the same mechanics and access several shortcuts.
    • GX's revamped physics system allowed the player to snake. It's a very difficult technique to properly pull off (not to mention that your fingers will be extremely sore afterward), but mastering it turns the game into an utter cakewalk by propelling your vehicle at insane speeds without even having to sacrifice your energy meter for a boost. The technique (in modified form) would also find life in Mario Kart DS. However, whether or not such tactics qualify as cheating remains a source of heated contention. Word of God states that those techniques were deliberately implemented into the games, so make of that as you will.
  • Happy Wheels now has the pogo stick guy. His controls are very hard to deal with, and getting him to go where you want him to is a bit of a chore sometimes. However, he is one of only two characters that can actually jump with no outside influence, and he is fairly durable while on the pogo stick.

Fighting Game

  • Before anything else, fightsticks in general. Compared to regular controllers, they take quite a bit of getting used to. That said, the general consensus is that it's generally easier to get good at a fighter using a fightstick.
  • In fighting games where they are available, infinite combos demand highly accurate positioning and timing, but for those who can master them they are Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
  • Rachel from BlazBlue. Unlike Jin, she is not a Tier-Induced Scrappy. This has changed in Continuum Shift.
    • Hakumen has become this in Continuum Shift, although he showed shades of it in Calamity Trigger. His sloth, lack of invincibility frames and need to burn super meter to use most of his moves serve to make him difficult to use; however, an expert will know how to use his BFS' reach to play keep-away while using his Counter Attacks to punish attempts at retaliation.
    • Iron Tager. A starting Tager is a slow piece of junk many rushdown-centric characters can take apart easily. A master Tager player like Mike Z, on the other hand, turns him into a monster that few can dismiss out of hand by recognizing the openings in others' combos, bringing out his powerful grabs as necessary and making smart use of his magnetism.
    • And, to a lesser degree, Litchi. Combos that exercise crazy muscle memory are the main problem, with her movesets (with or without her staff) being easier to recognize, but can be hard to understand, nonetheless.
    • Carl Clover started out as a low tier character due to his incredibly steep learning curve, poor mobility, and low defense. However, after players discovered that he had the game's only infinite combo, he was shown to be incredibly powerful in the hands of a skilled player.
  • Testament from Guilty Gear is a Gradual Grinder that will spend his time laying traps willy-nilly. Novices will place traps randomly then get overrun by fighters using rushdown tactics like Sol. Good Testament players will lay traps in strategic locations but are unable to really deal enough damage. Great Testament players know what to do when you're caught in a trap and also know when to pull out their surprise attacks and screen-filling blasts to catch you unaware and blast you into yet another trap while filling their supers again so they can blast you into another trap.
    • Also Johnny, Baiken, Axl, I-no, Dizzy and to a lesser extent Anji and Venom.
    • Bridget has long inputs and a requirement to plan ahead as to where your yo-yo and Roger are.
  • Arguably 3 of the top 4 characters in Marvel vs. Capcom 2 count (Sentinel, Storm and Magneto). All 3 require intimate knowledge of glitches to get the most out of them.
    • Magneto wasn't even considered top tier until people discovered that he had an infinite that he could combo into from multiple setups, provided the player had the dexterity to pull it off.
    • Sentinel is this, taken to a higher level. Every character has an infinite combo that's unique to Sentinel. However, it makes up for it by the sheer number of setups, glitches and options that can be used at high level play provided one takes the time to master them all.
    • While not as strong as the top, the team of [Strider] and Dr. Doom (also known as Clockw0rk, for Daniel Maniago, the player who developed the team). When played right, the team can pretty much keep their opponent from doing anything but blocking, all while taking chip damage the entire round.
  • Doctor Doom of Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is arguably this. He has some of the best assists in the game, multiple beam specials for keepaway, and great combo and zoning options by canceling his foot dive into his air dash, but his limited maneuverability and relatively slow normal moves means that time needs to be spent learning all of his options to be effective
    • As of Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom 3, Phoenix Wright joins Doom. Basically, he starts off in Investigation Mode as rather weak and with low mobility (a Fragile Speedster without the speedster part essentially). When he gets three pieces of good evidence, he becomes a pretty okay zoner in Courtroom Mode. When he uses those pieces of evidence to get into Turnabout Mode, however, he takes about a million levels in badass, becoming more powerful, gaining an extremely powerful Kamehame Hadoken rendition of his signature finger point as a heavy attack, gains his level 3 hyper (which is instant with limitless range), and arguably becomes one of the best characters in the game.
    • C.Viper, Strider, Jill, Doctor Strange, and Rocket Raccoon all require a high level of execution to use effectively. They're also all high or mid tier at minimum.
    • Being such an oddball type of character, MODOK fits this trope to a tee. With a 'pseudo' flight mode instead of a jump, normals that possess strange hitboxes, his unique 'Intelligence' mechanic that enhances his projectile and barrier moves, there's a reason why he's rarely selected in the character select screen...besides other reasons.
  • Snake from Super Smash Bros.. Brawl. Contrast with Meta Knight.
    • Amusingly enough, as the metagame advances, this seems to be reversing itself due to Meta Knight requiring a very sophisticated understanding of spacing and zoning in current top level play due to having hitboxes with very short duration while Snake's metagame has stagnated to a degree.
    • The Ice Grabbers, with insane amounts of practice, can chaingrab virtually any character to death. You can count the number of people who can do it consistently in tournament on one hand.
    • Olimar. You need to manage your army of Pikmin to be effective, (it has a brick-wall learning curve) but all of his Pikmin-based attacks look exactly the same to your opponent, and they all have quite good range.
    • Pokémon trainer also counts, as you need to manage the Stamina system but have access to three vastly different characters and NINE special moves.
    • In Melee, Jigglypuff takes a lot of time to master, but if you do, you will become a force to be feared. Your opponents will not take you seriously, giving you an advantage. Many people will also be shocked to find that Jigglypuff is further up on the tier lists than fan favorite characters like Mario and Samus.
    • Ike in Brawl seems easy to win with (many people used him when the game came out because he hit like a train) but is a Mighty Glacier whose attacks are slow and easy to dodge. However, a skilled Ike user will only need to land a few solid hits to win. One of his special attacks can send anybody flying of the screen if you manage to get a full charge off and the victim has anywhere from 15% to 30% damage. Its actually quite hilarious seeing how fast someone can fly off the screen at high damage levels.
    • Bowser in Brawl. In Melee, he was essentially a big target: easy to hit, heavy, and slow. In Brawl, not so much. He's still big and strong, but also slightly faster, with a few quicker moves that can catch unaware opponents off guard. Good Bowser players will alternate those quick attacks with his insanely powerful smashes... Cue Rage Quit when Bowser wins.
    • Yoshi in really everything he appears in. Controlling the Egg Throw's direction and speed is not easy, but if you can do it, it is dangerous. In certain situations, you can even keep a fairly skilled player from doing anything until you're ready to knock him off stage.
    • And as of Brawl (based on Smash community members' opinions), joining Yoshi are Samus in her Zero Suit, Sheik (a major shift, as she was easily picked up in Melee) and Sonic the Hedgehog.
    • Fox and Falco from Melee are probably some of the best examples of this trope ever made. Just watch. Yes, at 0:47 they are doing their Down-Bs, jumping out of it, then Down-Bing again so quickly (and repeating) that the full reflector animation doesn't come out and you just see the flash when the hitbox first comes out.
    • Pikachu in Brawl has over 100 advanced techniques (many are pretty useless other than being really cool).
    • Marth's Final Smash in Brawl allows him to dash across the map and OHKO any opponents in range upon colliding with at least one player. While easily dodged and capable of killing the player using it, the awesome part comes in as skilled players can force all three of their opponents into one spot and knock all three out of the map at once.
    • There are several "advanced techniques" (many of which are exploits of the game's engine or glitches) in Melee such as Wavedashing and SHFFLing that give a significant boost to mobility. However, these require considerable practice and messing them up can get you surely KO'd by more experienced players.
  • Soul Calibur's Ivy is very difficult to learn, but virtually unbeatable when mastered. Contrast with Talim or Kilik. Just don't expect those hours you spent learning Ivy's moves to carry over from game to game, unlike other characters. Every move list for Ivy from Soulcalibur to Soulcalibur IV are ALL DIFFERENT.
    • Word of God is that they want to avert this for Ivy in Soul Calibur V.
    • Voldo as well, with his bizarre stances that can leave an inexperienced player desperately trying to figure out how to actually fight from a prone position on the floor. Made even worse by the fact that Namco routinely changes his move set inputs, meaning that if you spent years learning how to play him in one game, that doesn't mean you can play him in all of them. Made especially Egregious by the fact this input changing is pointless.
    • Setsuka is also a character beginners shouldn't touch unless they are possessed in terms of execution. With the most amount of Just Frame moves, she is frustrating for newbies, but frustrating to fight against when used right.
      • Alpha Patroklos of V is on the same boat as Setsuka, as his gameplay also revolves around near-pixel perfect Just Frame inputs. The similarities between both characters, from their style of play to their fighting discipline to even their stances, are so apparent that the community has given him the affectionate nickname of Patsuka.
    • Mitsurugi is deceptively like this. While rather easy to pick up, a true master user of Mitsurugi can utilize his middle-of-the-road speed, power, and various stances to utterly eviscerate the competition.
    • Taki is generally considered to be the fastest character. If you've got quick enough reflexes, you can simply dominate by blocking anything and retaliating.
    • Astaroth is in a similar boat to Ivy; at first blush, his attacks seem way too slow and clunky for Astaroth Newbies to compete with characters like Nightmare, who has a very easy to pick up aggro game that can hit nearly as hard. When one takes the time to optimize Astaroth's range and some of his more complicated throws and heavy attacks, however, he becomes an absolute horror to fight against and can cover a deceptively long distance to deliver a lot of hard-to-block pain.
    • V also introduced Viola. Her moves do very little damage and her claw attacks have terrible range, but she can keep an opponent almost constantly off-balance with her crystal ball.
      • Viola's now considered a little less difficult thanks to her damage being improved somewhat (although she's still a very technical character), but her companion Z.W.E.I. also arguably qualifies. While considered absolute garbage on a number of competitive forums, Z.W.E.I can actually pull off some very impressively damaging combos if one has the patience to get very good with his E.I.N summon, which can eat the enemy lifebar or ring them out surprisingly fast with the pleasant side effect of looking fricking awesome.
  • In Tekken, Lei Wulong. Five Stances means more moves to memorize that require the intelligence of a supercomputer.
    • Yoshimitsu is hard to master, but fun. Not only can you use your sword as a makeshift helicopter to fly behind your opponent and backstab him, he has the only health restoring move in the game.
    • The entire Mishima clan is this as well. Dark Resurrection was praised as being as close to a perfect game as possible, and the three Mishimas (Heihachi, Devil Jin, and Kazuya) very comfortably occupied the three top spots. However, because of the necessity of pulling off their signature move consistently to create "a wall of EWGF" while mixing it up with mid-range moves to prevent random ducking, as well as getting mid-range vs. low-range options out of their "wavedash" special movement, they were considered fairly balanced, even though an expert Heihachi would pretty much always win against anyone not named Devil Jin.
      • Jin himself was this in the fourth game. Due to storyline purposes (mostly dealing with betrayal by Heihachi), Jin's moveset was almost completely revamped, with few of his signature moves and bread-and-butter combos from his 3 debut (only two games beforehand) left intact. However, his new tools more than made up for this. If properly timed, his Laser Scraper combo could set up some nasty, nigh-inescapable traps for opponents to deal with. The fact that his recovery time was faster in most situations that most of the cast also helped to keep the pressure on. At high levels of Tournament Play, Jin was the sole occupant of the top tier, to the point that most matches were simply Jin vs. Jin. He still retains shades of this in subsequent games.
    • Ling Xiaoyu has semblances of complexity, with moves that leave her vulnerable if used incorrectly, several of which are from her Rain Dance (back towards) and Phoenix stances.
    • On the same boat as Xiao is Hwoarang. Mash-friendly, yes. But his core strengths lie in his surprisingly powerful kicks that need to be carefully planned out before being used, and need to be defended against if used properly. The major contributing factor to his steep learning curve however is his best and most difficult launcher to perform: the Just Frame Talon Sky Rocket.
  • Darkstalkers has two of these, Donovan and Anakaris.
  • Goh Hinogami and Akira Yuki from Virtua Fighter.
    • Akira's case is very strange, as the main protagonist normally is the one newbies pick up. His moveset was completely unlike any of the other characters, he required much more pinpoint timing and in the hands of a skilled operator he was an unbeatable wall of force. The Attract Mode for Virtua Fighter 2 showcased Akira pulling off a ridiculously difficult to pull off sequence of moves that would completely obliterate any opponent, 100-0%, without any hope of retaliation OR resorting to a ring-out. This was the single most devastating combo in the game, and they showed it move-for move in the Attract Mode. And yet you NEVER EVER EVER SAW ANYONE USING IT due wholly to the sheer difficulty and computer-like timing required to actually pull it off.
  • Chizuru Kagura, May Lee and Geese Howard in The King of Fighters.
    • Angel too, as her Unchain Circle moves are complex and confusing to both parties.
  • Gen in Street Fighter IV, and, by extension, Street Fighter Alpha. He has access to two different substandard fighting styles, but he can switch between them anytime he wants. Great Gen players are rare, but you'll notice how they basically fly around everywhere, crush your defense and pull insanely high damaging combos out of their ass whenever they want.
    • While we're on the topic of SFIV, let's not forget the newcomer, Crimson Viper. Not only does she have the ability of (and virtually rely on) mind-fucking her opponent with tricky cancels and block strings, but players will most likely drop their controllers to the ground once they realize that she is easily punished and she DOESN'T TAKE HITS VERY WELL.
    • Q in Street Fighter III: Third Strike. Slow, awkward attacks and highly defensive. Get his armor up and have a good handling on his moves and he becomes a force to be reckoned with.
      • Street Fighter III in general, actually. Contrasting to every other came in the series, even the most basic tenets of this game take computer-esque precision and/or muscle memory to execute, and you're expected to be able to do so perfectly on command in every situation. Near every character requires heavy memorization of moves, and which ones chain into combos to be effective (again, especially in contrast to other games in the series), and the game is, in general, fairly difficult for a fighter, leading to the metagame and higher levels of play being frankly insane for the levels of skill they require. Cue fans of the games generally complaining that subsequent games in the genre are too easy in comparison.
    • Hugo is your typical slow grappler that towers in his part of the stage. Now if you play fighters often you know that being big equals having more ass to be kicked into. Of his 3 supers the two grabs are naturally the most damaging but quite hard to pull of... until you realize his Megaton Press is ridiculously easy to combo into with one of his other grabs. Using Gigas Breaker on the other hand requires quite some skill to pull of efficiently. Incorporating the parry system makes it EASIER while making it HARDER. But if you successfully pull it of your enemy can kiss of his life while you can gleefully call out EINS, ZWEI, DREI, END!
    • Necro suffers from the same problems Dhalsim has: He has long reach but relatively low damage and he increases his vulnerability with his long limbs. But if you learn to use his cornering mindgames and his low damaging but really annoying combos you get disastrous results.
    • Remy is quite a defensive character with his only really damaging moves being backwards and downwards charging ones and everything else can be seen from a mile away. But with enough effort you can spam his up and down projectiles so fast Remy earns himself the nickname "The Machinegun".
    • Dhalsim is another prominent example of this.
    • And Zangief during his SFII days. That is, until he emerged into a behemoth many players hate fighting against in SFIV.
  • The game Wu-Tang Shaolin Style practically runs on this trope.
  • Shikamaru in Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm.
  • Exdeath is this in Dissidia Final Fantasy. Insanely slow, but lethal if you get his blocks down. Even the developers have admitted that he's practically indestructible if you're able to master his incredibly steep learning curve.
    • Jecht is the game's Bare-Fisted Monk. When most players start off with Jecht, they most likely don't know when or how to enter the well timed button presses. Once the player masters basic timing with Jecht, well... if a bravery attack connects, consider enemy bravery busted (under normal circumstances anyway). What the game doesn't tell the player, is that Jecht's combos can also link into his HP attacks if certain combos are put in. Finally, his Jecht Block can serve as well as Exdeath's Omni Guard (so long as the attack in question doesn't hit directly above or below him, although he will stagger if he's hit with an HP attack). After he's properly mastered, the only problem a Jecht player tends to face is his absence of long range attacks.
    • Ultimecia is the long-range specialist.
    • New players can also find it difficult to play as Firion or Cecil's Dark Knight form as they are heavily ground based but combat will often gravitate towards the air. Cecil also requires mastering his two different forms which are only usable either in the air or on the ground and knowing when and how to switch.
    • Squall can be rather difficult to grasp early on because unlike most other characters, most of Squall's most damaging attacks are effectively at zero range. To put it into perspective, most characters have attacks that allow them to attack while moving. Squall stops immediately and his attack range is about 1 game meter in length. This makes him very frustrating because most beginning players do not know the importance of guarding yet. However, once they do, Squall becomes one of the most dangerous characters in the game. He can literally take a character at 9999 and drop them down to 0 with only a few combos, even faster if you invested in the brave rape skills. The other learning curve is that a lot of his HP attacks are hard to connect with, but once you are able to master their timing, you can essentially rip through your opponent's arsenal.
    • Kefka has very... odd spells that, with the exception of Havoc Wing, rarely strike directly. However, given time to level up his spellset, Kefka essentially becomes a combo god who can drain bravery just as fast as Squall can (and from a safe distance to boot!). In addition, the constant flow of his spells to Kefka Experts would easily qualify him for more of a "trap-style" player than The Emperor would.
    • Onion Knight starts with weak attacks that can be hard to connect with, though he later becomes a chaining machine. It gets to the point that the only time a skilled player will use Onion Knight's basic HP attacks is to destroy a weaksauce opponent: if you get hit with a bravery attack from Onion Knight at high levels, you're either in Break status, or taking an HP attack. Sometimes both.
    • Golbez is probably second to Jecht in terms of this trope. Golbez's Brave Attacks have really odd quirks, being two-part Full-Contact Magic attacks. Depending on whether or not his foe is hit by his hand or by his magical burst of energy, the second component of his assault will change. In order to get the hang of these mixups, a Golbez player needs to be able to properly gauge distance for each and every attack. In addition, he's able to chain most of these Braves together (or alternatively, chain them into his HP attacks), and when coupled with EX Cancel, he can keep these strings going for quite some time, giving Golbez a combo ability on par with that of Jecht and Zidane. In the proper hands, there will be very few safe havens when Golbez is on the warpath.
    • Most of Team Chaos actually functions like this, being unwieldy at first because of how different they are from the characters you start off with and then when you figure out how to set them up, they become deadly awesome. As mentioned, the notable steep learning curves are Exdeath, Jecht, The Emperor, Ultimecia, Kefka and Golbez. Their bonus character, Judge Gabranth probably has it the worst, seeing as his entire play style relies heavily on reaching his Super Mode before his opponent can.
    • The prequel Duodecim gives us a few more examples:
      • Lightning, who (as a nod to her game's Paradigm Shift system) has three different movesets she can switch between on the fly (Commando is mostly physical attacks, Ravager is primarily magic-based, and Medic uses Cure spells to restore Light's BP without the need to attack), giving her great versatility.
      • Laguna brings guns to the table. Lots and lots of guns. He has little in the way of close-range ability and thus has to be played strategically, much like The Emperor and Kefka. Compare this to Gilgamesh, who has the markings of a Lethal Joke Character due to the sheer unpredictability of his moveset and abilities.
  • The Touhou series includes a number of fighting games, that, unsurprisingly, bring examples of this trope:
    • Alice in Immaterial and Missing Power. Alice doesn't use ranged attacks the same way the others do; rather, she deploys her doll familiars out, where they'll attack the enemy after a short time. The stagger delay takes some getting used to, but skilled Alice players can use their dolls to trap the enemy in the corner, where they're at her mercy with her skills and spells. Scarlet Weather Rhapsody/Hisoutensoku changed things so that Alice now relies on traps and has weird ranges. She's very hard to use well, but capable of utterly destroying opponents if the player knows what they're doing.
    • Suwako in Touhou Hisoutensoku. Everything about her, most notably her movement (she hops around the stage like a frog). Many of her attacks can only be used at specific times, and require impeccable positioning and timing to pull off correctly. She's also the possessor of the most powerful combo in the game (which takes off half a life bar), and is only beaten in terms of damage by Utsuho.
  • Virtual On Oratorio Tangram, while is practically made of Difficult But Awesome, have a few standout fighters:
    • The 10/80 Special does not have any thrust-vectoring dash (meaning it will only to one direction in a dash, unlike other VRs that can change direction mid-dash), has weak weapons easily deflectible by V-Armor, and cannot dash in the air. On the upside, it is quite fast, and able to slice between a Raiden's twin beam cannons with its special move.
    • The Bal (not that one). It has more moves than all the other VRs combined, and using Bal is an exercise of patience and skill. Master Bal, and it becomes More Dakka and Frickin' Laser Beams in one convenient package.
    • Ajim. Its Mine Orbs has more or less a random factor to it that can heal opponents, all of its weapons recharge slowly, and you have to level the weapons up to gain maximum effectiveness. It's armor is paper-thin (it is, in-universe, basically a stack of rogue pixels), and on your hands Ajim's energy leaks at a constant rate (meaning, your life decreases as the passage of time). But if you are disciplined with the weapons and is good at aiming, then Ajim hits unbelievably hard, is hardly affected by V-Armor, and is capable of finishing off any of the upper-tier VRs in no time at all.
  • Toribash uses a similar system to QWOP, and is as hard to use. But when you do master it, the results are awe-inspiring.
  • Guile in Street Fighter II. He only has two moves (Sonic Boom and Flash Kick), but in the hands of expert player, those two moves as well his normals makes him a potent force enough to be one of the top tiers of the game.
  • Roll Canceling in Capcom vs SNK2 is definitely one of the hardest. Canceling moves within a few frames which gives you an invincibility buffer. Unfortunately most players will never do it, and only top level players will. Throw in things like Custom Combos and spacing and it becomes one of the most technical fighters ever.
  • Shinnok in Mortal Kombat IV has the ability to steal the movelist of every other character in the game, except Goro, who isn't playable to begin with. He is literally as good as every other playable character combined. The problem? First, you need to enter the command to actually take on another character's movelist. Then, you need to have that character's movelist memorized. And since there's no point to picking Shinnok if you're only copying one character (since then you may as well just pick that character), you'll need to memorize multiple movelists, making for a metric fuckton of memorization. On top of that, there is a time limit on how long Shinnok can copy another character; it is almost unheard of for one battle to be over within this time limit. While nothing is stopping Shinnok from copying the same character multiple times, the sudden timeout often translates to a broken combo since a character special failed to work by virtue of Shinnok not having the special at the moment. The short of it is that Shinnok is portrayed as the best fighter in the game, and he certainly is...provided you're one of the very, very few players with the patience to actually use him.

First Person Shooter

  • The Baur in Battlefield 2142, high recoil, low magazine count, but dealt out high damage, and if you could pop off quick headshots, and stay out of most close quarters combat, you could drop enemies with ease.
    • To a lesser extent, the Scar-11, which was a watered down Baur (which makes sense, as the in-game description says that the Baur is a bulked-up edition of it.) It had higher recoil compared to the Krylov and the Voss, but dealt out more damaged and preformed better at range.
  • The Scout in Team Fortress 2. Normal Scouts are cannon fodder, and easily dispatched by just about anything. Skilled Scouts are nightmarish, appearing from nowhere to kill you and are as easy to hit as smoke. Any player's absolute worst nightmare is a competent Scout that knows how to dodge, flank, ambush, and pursue.
    • The Spy (and to a lesser extent the Sniper) are also good examples for Team Fortress 2. They're really hard to play right but because of their potential lethality, a lot of people try to play them. Most such players are easy prey, but the ones that are good can absolutely terrorize any team.
    • Pyro players are usually derided as noobs by a lot of TF2 players... then you meet 'W+M2' Pyros, also affectionately known as Pyromancers. These players don't merely charge into battle flaming the entire time but instead use the compression blast ability and ingenuity to overcome enemies. This playstyle is by no means easy. Pyros are short ranged, a bit fragile, and aren't all that powerful... until you see guys who do things like this. 1:15 is even considered a sort of rite of passage for W+M2 Pyros thanks the unpleasantly narrow window of opportunity and the amount of damage you'll take if you fail. And in the hands of a skilled competitive player... Also, keep in mind that this video is of competitive play, where Pyros are normally eschewed due to their vulnerability against the cookie-cutter classes (Scouts and Soldiers), not to mention where the average level of skill is somewhat higher than what you'd find in a normal server. One of the Pyro's unlockable weapons, the Degreaser, is especially deadly in the right hands since it essentially raises the skill cap of the class. You thought a W+M2 Pyro was bad enough? What about one that can do this? Or perhaps this?
    • The Demoman also requires a significant amount of predictive ability to play effectively. If you don't want to just spam grenades everywhere, you will have to become damn good at predicting where your opponent is going to be in a second (with a grenade launcher), two seconds (airbursting stickiebombs) or thirty seconds (with the stickybomb Launcher).
    • The Kritzkrieg. It is an alternate Medigun that grants 100% of critical hits for a few seconds. However, both the Medic and patient are not invulnerable while the charge is being used. As such it requires some timing cooperation to fully utilize the potential, and when done correctly a big portion of the enemy team will be dead in seconds.
  • Marines in Alien vs. Predator. All three factions had their own unique style of play, but the Marine mode was the most fun considering it basically turned the game into a Survival Horror First-Person Shooter.
    • The Aliens in the 2010 game. You will either rack up the kills against people who don't know how to play them properly, or be Persecuted ad nauseum by a player who has mastered the unique play style.
  • Emperor Palpatine in Star Wars Battlefront 2 is situational, somewhat tricky, and can't handle mobs of enemies well, but careful application of Force Choke by a skilled player allows him to win games by slaughtering the enemy a few at a time.
  • Riot Shield classes for multiplayer in Modern Warfare 2 are generally easy to kill when you spot them. However, in the hands of a skilled player, they're nigh-unkillable without either a teammate helping you, or a high explosives class.
    • For most part, the Throwing Knife is incredibly hard to use, especially on the consoles. However, if you manage to get the hang of it, it is extremely rewarding to kill players with it at close to medium range before they can manage to hose you down with bullets.
  • Not a character per se, but the Shock Rifle in the Unreal series definitely counts. It shoots a weak laser beam, and a powerful-but-painfully-slow-moving energy ball. However, if you zap the energy ball with the laser, it causes out a huge explosion that pretty much instant-kills everyone in the vicinity. To make it even more difficult, the explosion costs about 5 shots. At absolute maximum (very rare unless you stay alive for a few minutes), the gun can hold 40 shots max. And the Shock Rifle's basic laser beam gives massive knockback, and can be used to push people off cliffs to their doom. The laser-plus-ball "Shock Combo" does the same thing. Plus the primary fire is an instant hit over any range with pinpoint accuracy, meaning that if anyone is trying to snipe you, it only requires a good eye to hit that person silhouetted against the sky and not only take a third of their life and throw out their aim, but possibly send them plummeting to their doom. The secondary can be spammed while running backwards to make a corridor of death to pursuers, and the combo is a wide area death sentence (especially in the original Unreal Tournament, where it had the biggest splash damage and was almost certainly a one hit kill).
    • The GES Bio-Rifle belongs here too. It shoots... balls of glowing green spooge. That arc to the floor. Almost useless in a gun duel. In the right hands, a devastating rear-guard and ambush/assassination weapon, dealing 255 damage on a full charge in a game where default health is 100.
    • The Impact Hammer/Shield Gun qualify as well. To get an idea, set up a bot to favour the hammer and make it insanely aggressive. Suddenly it goes from 'idiot bot' to 'crazed lunatic who kills you on contact' and it becomes a #1 priority to kill it.
  • Jones from Clive Barker's Jericho is this. Of the entire playable cast, his ability to possess enemies is the hardest to use in a fight, since he's left vulnerable while using it, and aiming it correctly can be difficult at long distances. However, once he's possessed an enemy, he can cast a variation of Church's Blood Ward, which freezes enemies in place, and can do so using the enemies health. This makes fighting some of the tougher enemies, like Machinegunners less daunting.
  • All of the combat in Mirror's Edge. Faith's combat maneuvers are mostly not spelled out and difficult to master. Once you get her in hand, however, she becomes a grand-master ninja practitioner of Waif Fu, literally running circles around the enemy.


  • Many 4X games have a faction like this. Alpha Centauri has a borderline example with the Morganites. To expound, the Morganites have a natural +1 to Economy, giving them +1 energy production per base for free. While that's certainly nice to have(energy giving you money and research), it's pretty underwhelming compared to other Civs. Add on a painful limitation on population limits(their bases can only reach size 4 without a pop-limit boosting facility, compared to 7 for the other Civs), and you have a faction that's profoundly weak in the early game on paper. Until you realize that their +1 Economy lets them run Wealth to get them up to +2, which increases their energy bonus to +1 per square, sending your research and income through the roof. Most Civs have to run Free Market to get that, which comes with prohibitive Police and Planet penalties. Add in the fact that the pop-limit boosting facility is learned from the same tech as Wealth, and you get a faction that revels in Magikarp Power, and uses their hordes of cash to mind-control your units out from under you and sabotage your hard-built bases.
  • In Sword of the Stars the Morrigi have below-average population growth, terraforming ability and industrial capacity. Their ships are fast tactically but sluggish strategically, fragile, prohibitively expensive and barely above those of the Liir in turret placement. Their tech-tree, while one of the most inclusive in the game, favours 'trickery' tech like cloaking, shielding, mines, drones, AI, and short-ranged beam weapons, and they have one of the poorest natural research rates in the game. However, they have a 50% bonus income from trading compared to all other species; moreso when conducting foreign trade, and their fleets get faster the bigger they are. Mastering the Morrigi requires hefty use of trade, diplomacy and planning on a strategic level, and dedicated large-sized fleets using alternate ship sections instead of all-purpose battlefleets. A player who masters these aspects will turn the Morrigi into an economic powerhouse that can out-buy, out-tech and outwit most opponents by the end of the Fusion era.
    • The Zuul appear to be a Crutch Character at first glance; see that page for a rundown of their apparent advantages. However, they are closer to this, if taking a different approach to Morrigi Magikarp Power. Zuul players must subscribe to the blitzkrieg way of war, always on the Attack! Attack! Attack!, keeping enemies on the defensive and pushing ever forward. Being unable to avoid overharvesting means their planets "burn out" comparatively fast, and taking slaves is something of a compensation for not being able to use trade or having civilians to bolster their income. Their strategic speed comes at the cost of having a limited number of connections to each system. Their research speed is also the worst. All this forces the Zuul player to aim for quick victory, for he who loses momentum and lets the enemies build up to antimatter and/or dreadnoughts is Doing It Wrong and defeat will come soon. However, if you know how to carry out this aggressive playstyle, you can win games comparatively quickly.


  • During the BC expansion in World of Warcraft, affliction warlocks were generally seen like this in PvE. On top of the normal shadowbolt spam, you also had to keep up five different dots, most of which had different lengths and cast times and generally required at least a dot timer for maximum efficiency. Many warlocks complained it was too complicated and went for the easier and almost as effective (until late BT where destro just outscaled affliction and was probably overpowered) destruction tree. If you could play it right, topping damage was incredibly simple even in mediocre gear.
    • In Wrath, they were simplified by merging two of these and making another one more powerful but exclusive with a 4th one, effectively cutting the spec down to three over time spells, one of which is refreshed by other spells. They are still one of the more demanding specs in that regard (on par with shadow priests and subtlety rogues), but in fact most specs are now fairly difficult to play at their maximum potential. The main difference is that these examples have a terrible output if played wrongly. By contrast, Beastmaster hunters deal most of their damage automatically and many of their management inputs have fairly little impact on it (apart from keeping their pet alive).
    • Subtlety Rogues have taken that role recently. Although their basic combat style is rather simple, they have a lot of cooldowns and other factors to manage. One of their most defining traits is the ability to generate combo points based on critical strikes performed by other groupmembers, which is every bit as random as it sounds. And even under best circumstances, they don't deal a lot of damage themselves but increase the damage other melee combatants deal. In general, they are still considered to be weaker than their easier alternatives.
    • The true kings of this, at the moment, are Feral (cat) Druids: while people who haven't mastered it do mediocre damage compared to other characters or builds, in the hands of a master they theoretically have the highest damage potential, to the point where the developers have come right out and said that Feral is the one class they are afraid to make any real changes to. Any nerfs to their ability would make anyone who hasn't mastered the class useless in terms of performance, while any buffs for the lower skilled people (to make the class less difficult) would turn those who have already mastered it into potential Game Breakers.
    • Death Knight DPS'ers have some of the hardest spell/ability rotations in the game, so much so that blizzard is having to change the classes resource mechanics work in Cataclysm just to make them easier and require less precision button mashing. To clarify, D Ks have to manage 6 runes (3kinds, 2 of each) that regenerate ever 10sec, their runic power meter that increases when you use abilities and needs to be emptied or you will be losing DPS, 2 damage over time effects that need to be refreshed because they increase the damage of your strikes. In addition their attacks have a global cooldown that prevents them from using any attack for a second and a half giving you a small (less than a second) window to use what ever attack is in your incredibly complex rotation or you will lose DPS and get messed up.
      • Although many have complained of the new method. It relies heavily on Runic Empowerment, which gives a 45% chance for some of your runic power abilities to activate at depleted rune at random. Which means that you unexpectedly gain the ability to use one of your resources, which depending on what runes you have active already might be combined with another rune to cast a different spell, or might not, and just makes their rotation even more chaotic. However at least part of this might simply be because people aren't used to the system.
    • Enhancement Shaman have a rather interesting dilemma when compared to other classes. They are a class with low defence, aggro dropping and status-impairment breaking effects that do most of their damage with a combination of melee and spells. In other words they are a Glass Cannon that can beat out most non-tanks in terms of the aggro they get. While they do have sub-par DPS even in the hands of an expert player, they are one of the greatest support classes there is. Of course, when the Spirit Wolves are off cooldown it isn't so much "support" as "TEAR ITS FUCKING HEAD OFF"...
      • Given how many cooldowns the average Enhancement shaman has to take care of, it's damn near literally impossible to play the class effectively without some mod to keep track of all them. And THAT is on top of how many raw button presses the class has to do because you'll be hitting a button every 1.5 seconds no matter what is on or off cooldown. If you like getting carpal tunnel, Enhancement Shaman is the class for you!
  • In Ace Online, three of four classes seem attractive from the get-go. The B-Gear is a bomber; using the right type of advanced weapon, it can blow most opponents apart in one shot. The A-Gear is the literal tank; it uses its unrollable cannons to do massive DPS. The I-Gear is the fighter; aim, fire, do acrobats and survive. The M-Gear, however, is... a healer. Unlike the rest of the class, the M-Gear has the innate disability of having a low stat growth for attack which makes leveling it very difficult. However, with the right skills (M-Gear is the most micromanagement intensive class in the game), stats and equipments, the M-Gear can wreak absolute havoc by the virtue of its naturally high defense that can hold its own against literally an entire nation, sapping them of firepower trying to kill a virtually unkillable character while others move in for the kill. Of course, there are less strenuous ways to play the M-Gear such as being a buffslave or healbot, but it's the players who can master its intricacies who gain a lot of respect.
    • In some ways, the I-Gear as well. The B-Gear's an undisputed Lightning Bruiser, the A-Gear possesses pure DPS-dishing and while the M-Gear is still the hardest to master, it is still possess an unparalleled maneuverability at point-blank ranges coupled with nifty healing powers. Unlike the others, the I-Gear has no flashy gimmicks and while it does make it easy to get used to, it gets harder and harder to keep up at higher levels, much less master it. The choice is either make it an offensive class and risk dying lots due to its low defense (innate) and low evasion (due to build), or make it survival evasion build by trading its ability to kill, which are neither cost-effective nor foolproof. However the recent episode 3-2 update gives a major boon to I-Gears which somewhat alleviates this problem.
  • Mesmers in Guild Wars, particularly in PvP. Few of their skills deal direct damage to enemies; instead they punish the enemy for using their own skills, and thus require the mesmer to predict enemy behaviour and have godly timing. Completely useless in the hands of an unskilled player, but utterly devastating in the hands of a skilled one, mesmers take kill priority over even the healers—because they can and will shut down your own healers without even hurting them, forcing them to watch helplessly as their team gets ripped to shreds by the mesmer's allies.

Platform Games

  • The Jet, Ninja, and Suplex abilities in Kirby Super Star. Jet's abilities revolve around an awkward charge up time, Suplex requires you to grab an enemy first, and Ninja has a bunch of close range attacks. However, all three have throwing moves. Due to the mechanics of a Kirby game, a boss might take several dozen hits from a normal ability, but only need a couple from the stock inhale-spit out combo that you default to without an ability. Throws use this damage formula while being massively easier to hit with, and in the cast of these three abilities, each one can hit multiple times in one move. Jet, especially, where its fully charged throw will cover the entire screen, is capable of one and two hit killing most things in the game. Suplex and Ninja aren't far behind. But damn the deaths you will take from screwing up the motions for the moves before you master it.
  • The later Metal Slug games have Clark and his special move, the Super Argentine Backbreaker. It's a risky move, requiring you to get up close to foot soldiers and risk gunfire to the face in a game where one hit equals death. However, it has three very beneficial effects: It's a One-Hit Kill to soldiers, throwing an enemy with the Backbreaker has a base value of 1,000 points (and climbs up with successive throws), and most importantly for survival-based players, it grants a few seconds of invincibility. Used proficiently, the Backbreaker turns hoardes of mooks into opportunities for much-needed invincibility and buttloads of points.
  • Super Mario Bros.' Luigi is this when he is the Lightning Bruiser to Mario's Jack of All Stats. He has the same strength, the same power-ups, but runs faster and jumps higher. However, his traction is lacking so stopping him is a bit like stopping on ice. Mastering Luigi and his traction makes him Awesome Yet Practical for many though.
  • The frequently-mocked Top Spin in Mega Man 3 is regarded by many players as a joke weapon. Most will try it out once or twice before dismissing it as useless. A player who knows how the Top Spin works and what enemies are vulnerable to it however, can twirl and spin through good bits of the game, taking out most enemies in one hit.

Puzzle Game

  • Classic Rule in Tetris the Grand Master 3. Its "firm drop"[1] has a bit of a learning curve, and you can't climb over pieces like in World Rule, but once mastered it's actually less annoying to use than World Rule due to its far simpler piece kicks, and the firm drop lets you take care of overhangs like they're nothing.

Real Time Strategy

  • The same applies in Dawn of War. The Eldar and Dark Eldar require micro management and specific match ups. The Imperial Guard can easily crush all enemies with a properly built army, but you can't just build a crap tonne of regular troops and steam roll the map like the Space Marines and Necrons.
  • Cyrus in Dawn of War 2 is a very micro intensive character, but with proper tactics and war gear can make most boss fights (even the Avatar) a joke.
    • With proper wargear and skill allocation, Cyrus can clear entire maps single-handedly!
  • Many of the micromanagement-requiring units in StarCraft series (especially spellcasters) fall for this category.
  • Many heroes in Defense of the Ancients are like this. Perhaps the strongest example is the Invoker, the hero with the most spells by far, but also the one who has to memorise come combos to "invoke" the spell he needs. To top it off, his skills don't even look particularly impressive written down, but in the hands of an expert, an Invoker can completely turn the tides of a battle.
  • Anivia in League of Legends has historically always been this. Most obviously a burst caster, Anivia suffered in comparison to other burst mages. Due to her comboriffic nature and her reliance on aiming and timing she was very unpopular due to her difficulty, when for a fraction of the effort required you could easily achieve the same damage on, say, Annie. Then recently she was picked in the finals of a high-profile game tournament, by one of the best players in the game. Wreckage ensued.
    • Orianna is a newer example of this trope. Not only do you have to control Orianna herself, but her magnetic ball as well, which gets flung all around the battlefield by her abilities. If you can learn to position not only yourself, but your ball, know when to hit enemies with what abilities, when to autoattack to use her passive, and how to build her, then you can master one of the most useful and versatile casters out there.
  • In Company of Heroes, the British and Panzer Elite factions are sometimes considered this.
    • The British are very slow to get going, with very expensive starting units which move extremely slowly outside their own territory. They also have a bizarre tech-tree that is unlike that of any other faction (not to mention their veterancy system). However, once a player learns to fight their urge to expand rapidly and instead build a solid defensive line quickly, the British can become nigh-invincible - vulnerable only to heavy artillery.
    • The Panzer Elite have a wide variety of light, fast vehicles which will not survive long in any fight. Many are completely unarmed! Even experienced players can end up producing and losing a lot of vehicles by the time they get a grip on the situation. On the other hand, expert Panzer Elite players can win the game extremely early on with rapid and relentless assaults all over the battlefield.

Rhythm Game

  • Not a character, but a skill in Guitar Hero and Rock Band guitar: tapping. You have to take your right hand off the strum bar and bring it up to the fret buttons, hitting the buttons with your strumming hand. It seems like a stupid move, since if you miss, it breaks your combo and you have to strum to get it going again (except in certain sections in some Guitar Hero games), but it is one of the most important skills for a top player to learn. Why? Adding in another hand allows for much faster fretting and makes complicated sections easier to hit. It's probably also the hardest skill in the game to master, due to the low margin of error between hitting a section and almost failing out of it.
    • This is how people actually pass the intro to Through the Fire and Flames.
    • Tapping is easier to pull off on a Rock Band guitar (due to the second set of frets lower down the neck), and much easier in Rock Band solos (tapping on the smaller frets during solos does not require strumming). The two sets of frets can be also operated simultaneously, which is occasionally useful (some "solos" are actually duets, with two guitars playing in harmony reduced to one track within the game) but always awesome.
    • Squeezing is also Difficult but Awesome. To "squeeze" means to deploy Star Power/Overdrive right at the edge of a note's viable hit box and then hitting the note, allowing you to sneak an extra note in under your score-doubling power. This is challenging because if you're too slow with the subsequent hit, you flubbed your full combo but if you activate too soon, then the tail end of your score double-up will be lost, nullifying the effect of the squeeze. It must be perfect, but doing so will net you the necessary points to climb to the tippy-top of the scoreboards.
  • Dance Dance Revolution in the higher difficulty levels requires pattern recognition for two deceptively easy moves: the crossover and spinning. A crossover is a pattern of left, up/down, right, up/down, left (or vice versa). A spin is a clockwise/counter-clockwise pattern of the arrows. Crossovers are easy to pull off, since you can always face the screen. Spinning however, unless you know the note setup, will require you to do a full 360, and is the harder of the two to do. These are very easy to do in a slow, easy to medium level song, but pick up the pace and it gets very hard.
    • For example, Candy requires knowing when to spin. Candy's difficulty ramps up a notch unless you can spin, and trying to do them without spinning is awkward to the note setup.
    • Under the Sky will deplete the life bar of any player who isn't even familiar with the crossover move. It's rated at 6 feet, which most intermediate players should pass, but the last third of the song is a barrage of crossover steps (it does do Foreshadowing in the middle).
  • If one wants to remotely pass the level 7+ songs in Beatmania, manipulation of the turntable without using an entire hand is needed. Normally two methods are employed: using the pinky or the wrist.
    • On a similar note, using individual fingers to hit pop'n music's large, colorful buttons. Not the most comfortable thing in the world, but you can hit more buttons this way.
  • Frequency and Amplitude both provide two alternate control sets, one using L1-R1-R2, and the other using Square-Triangle-Circle. Most players pick one or the other (or a hybrid of the two, such as L1-R1-Circle). At higher levels, however, it becomes useful and eventually necessary to start using both sets at once.


  • Dwarf Fortress is practically built out of this trope. The entire game has a steep learning curve, but oh the things you can pull off when you get the hang of it...
  • Mindcrafters in ADOM are very difficult to keep alive, as all but two of their offensive Psychic Powers don't work on undead or golems. However, since this is a Roguelike game that rewards lateral thinking in battles, you can, with caution and a bit of luck, take on just about anything else with their Confusion Blast and Mind Blast. Said attacks do not miss and ignore armor. Reaching lvl. 15 grants Telekinetic Blast, which works on everything.
  • The roguelike Nethack has a several classes, a few of which qualify.
    • The Discworld Shout-Out class Tourist is a challenge due to the fact they start only skilled with darts that do low damage, have weak starting stats and are overcharged at all shops to contrast with their copious starting money. Once they finish their quest they get an item that can recharge any chargeable item in the game, including instant-death wands, as many times as the wand can take it. They also can become skilled with any weapon available and their alignment of Neutral means they have the best choice of powerful artifacts to wish for.
    • The Indiana Jones-style Archaeologist, possibly the most difficult class to play in the game, is the only class that can achieve master-level skill with a sword that does double damage to everything it hits. It takes practice to get yourself capable enough to get to the point where you can wield it.

Role Playing Game

  • Colette in Tales of Symphonia is considered very powerful, but unless you know how to use her (Basic attack only with a neutral control stick and only 2 attacks at a time, spam Paraball) she is awkward to control and slow to attack.
    • She also gets two extremely powerful attacks to chain off of it - Triple Ray Satellite and Hammer Rain, and one less powerful, but more practical - Whirlwind Rush. Triple Ray Satellite requires a wide target, while Hammer Rain just needs a huge target to get their hits in (however, they're the strongest non-Hi Ougi attacks in the game). Whirlwind Rush is much less damaging (it's weaker than Paraball), but very consistent, working on just about anything.
    • Regal. His unique play style can be very hard to learn, but his damage output if you can fully master his fighting game style mechanics is awesome, not to mention really stylish. Not as powerful as Collete though.
  • Tales of Vesperia's Judith is another example. Her aerial combos are quite difficult to figure out without using guides, and demand more dexterity than Tales games tend to require, but make her one of the greatest melee threats in the game. And by far the most stylish. She's Vesperia's Regal.
  • Cheria Barnes of Tales of Graces. Her Physical and Cryas attack stats are low, as well as her physical defense. She's also quite awkward to use at first if you don't get use to the battle system in this game, but once you get the hang with her and the battle system. She becomes a beast. She has high evasion and accuracy which the game heavily favours, as it allows her to easily stagger enemies and avoid being staggered that much and she can sidestep very quickly after casting a spell. She also has a high crit rate which can boost her maximum CC much faster. She also has the highest Cryas defense as well which lessens the pain of magic casted against her. Did I mention she's the games Combat Medic?
  • Peco of Breath of Fire III as a Magikarp Power based example.
  • Whips in Secret of Mana. Hard to use right, but when mastered they become your most effective way to fight bosses when your MP runs out.
  • Gau in Final Fantasy VI. Rage is hard to use properly, but in the hands of a smart player, it becomes one of the most useful characters. During the first half of the game, he has access to tier 2 spells before most characters can use magic at all, and the Stray Cat rage quadruples his already high attack. Later on, there are many, many ways to turn him into a Game Breaker—for example, he is the only character who can inflict a special confusion-like special effect that works on everything, including the Final Boss. And that's not even going into Wind God Gau, who was specifically removed in later versions of the game. However, to use Gau properly, you need to understand the game mechanics very well and be willing to endure lots of grinding.
    • Final Fantasy VI has several characters of this trope. There is Mog who joins the party with no spells or any of his dances and his dances make him uncontrollable and often fail wasting a turn. But Mog gets the best armor in the game and easily maxes out his defense taking zero damage from even bosses and if given dragoon equipment he can multi jump and break the damage limit long before you get the game's ultimate weapons. There is also Relm who has the buggy and more often than not useless sketch ability. But Relm has the highest magic attack in the game surpassing both Terra and Celes and easily hits the damage cap with ultima. And finally there is Gogo who has lousy equipment and bellow average stats for every category. But Gogo can pull off impossible combinations of skill sets, you can have someone with Blitz (one of the strongest movesets) and Mighty Guard(one of the best buffs) in one character while making room for others.
  • The non-Soldier classes in Mass Effect are all this to some degree. Playing as a Adepts means awesome crowd control skills and a shield power but little to do while your powers recharge. Engineers can easily nerf the opponents but have similar problems. Vanguards are high risk high reward as they mix a few offensive Biotic powers with close range weaponry. Infiltrators are especially tough as their powers aren't as effective at crowd control as Biotics and they have to rely on weak pistols or the sniper rifle which starts off very difficult to aim with until you get stabilizers and accuracy upgrades as well as not being useful at close ranges. A hybrid of Biotics and Tech means you have no weapons or armour training, making you incredibly fragile. It is the most versatile character at later levels though.
    • Not really as much the case as it might seem. Pistols are actually quite good in the game, but most people never bother to level the relevant skills and worry about equipping and upgrading the pistol. Pistols are the only weapon that never has any real range limitation. Assault rifles need to be leveled before being effective beyond a fairly short range, and shotguns and sniper rifles never really completely lose their limitations. The damage pistols do is, shot for shot, not much less than the other weapons (and given you should be landing almost every shot, means there is reasonable DPS), and is fairly slow to over heat. It is probably the easiest weapon to use, since it really doesn't require that much more aiming ability than the more basic assault rifle.
    • Basically, this trope is only invoked if the troper builds their character a certain way. All the characters could, to some extent, be played like a Soldier, albeit in a few cases needing Barrier or Electronics to help with defenses.
    • A special shout-out does need to go to Vanguard in Mass Effect 2, however. For the most part, every other class can be played as a very cautious class, staying in cover and picking off enemies from long range. It's a slow way to play, but it's possible. Vanguards, however, can't do this if you're going to play at all like the class is meant to be played. Their regular class skills give them very few ranged powers, and their primary weapon is a short-range shotgun with a small clip and a long reload time. Unlike all the other classes, a Vanguard's primary ability, Charge, puts them directly into the thick of combat, and is a death sentence if used wrong. But if a vanguard player can manage to master the art of charging... well, that's when you get stuff like this.
      • Mass Effect 3‍'‍s weight system means a Vanguard can zip around the battlefield with nothing but a pistol, hitting foes with Charge or Nova with almost no recharge. Nova does sacrifice some of the user's shields, but after one uses it, everyone nearby is usually dead anyway. A well-played Vanguard, in both co-op and campaign, can win battles without firing a shot.
    • Several classes in 3's multiplayer are difficult to get a handle on, but the crown has to go to the Drell Vanguard. Drell are the most physically fragile race, offering incredible mobility and speed in exchange for very low barriers. A well-played drell vanguard zips around the map too fast for anything to get a bead on; an inexperienced one needs to be revived frequently.
  • Slaking from Pokémon is this. It has an extremely high Attack stat in addition to very high HP, decent Defense, and high Speed, and is capable of OHKOing all but the sturdiest Mons in the game, but only moves every other turn. However, if your prediction of your opponents moves and timing of when you switch in and out is good, it can end up taking out half the opponent's team.
    • Another example from Pokémon are the psuedo-legendaries. They are rare, take forever to level-up and can only be found late in the game at a pathetically low level. However this is probably justified to prevent the player from dominating the game early.
    • Another example, unconventional as it may be, is the move Substitute. With this move, the user places their Hit Points into a decoy that takes attacks for them. Most people try it, note that their opponent just shattered it in one hit, wonder why they even bothered obtaining the Substitute TM at all if all it does is spend a quarter of the user's life to act like Protect, and replace it with an attack. Only with practice do they learn to create free turns with which to use Substitute (scaring the opponent into switching Pokemon by means of an Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors advantage, for example; Sub while they switch), and only after experimenting with the move (or just looking it up) do they figure out that it blocks status ailments, provides a margin of error against unexpected threats or critical hits (even a one-hit KO will merely break the Substitute and leave the user very much intact), and buys time for the user to use other setup moves or whittle away at the enemy's health. The Substitute remains on the field until it's destroyed or the user switches out (and even then, the move Baton Pass lets you switch to another Pokemon and hand the Substitute to them), and you can pretty much act with impunity in the meantime. Again, though, it takes a lot of practice and prediction to know which Mons can benefit from Substitute the most, and when to even use the move.
      • Special mention must be made to a very particular Substitute strategy, SubSeed. SubSeeding involves combining Substitute with the move Leech Seed. Leech Seed causes the opponent to lose a small amount of HP (1/8 its maximum) every turn, and then for the Pokemon on your side of the field to absorb that HP. This absorbed HP is given to the Pokemon itself, not to its Substitute, so after a couple turns of Leech Seed recovery, all the HP used to create the Substitute is recovered. Adding to its potential is the fact that almost every Grass-type can learn it Leech Seed and use this tactic. However, Leech Seed recovery ends if the afflicted Pokemon switches out, opposing Grass-types are immune to being seeded, and since every user is Grass-typed themselves, they have to deal with the myriad weaknesses that type brings to the table. That said, those Pokemon that can do this strategy really well are quite possibly the most annoying Pokemon in the game, and if you can master playing SubSeed, you might find yourself winning by Rage Quit. Bonus points for the best user of the strategy in OU (standard) play being Breloom, which is itself Difficult But Awesome for an entirely different set of reasons.
  • Monster Hunter is an entire game about this. If you think you can just hack 'n slash the titular monsters to death, you will die. Many, many times. Once you learn the monsters patterns and your weapon's limitations, it becomes an awesome duel as you, a relatively normal human, fight and kill monsters anywhere from triple your weight to weighing in the neighborhood of several tons. Some weapons are trickier to use than others against certain monsters but, once your learn the timing, will absolutely annihilate them.
  • Baten Kaitos Origins' combat system is made around this trope. As the game goes on, it focuses more and more on combo building and less on blindly attacking. Inexperienced players will get knocked around by basic enemies and struggle with bosses, but experienced players can kill the True Final Boss in one turn with a bit of luck.
  • This is the modus operandi of Demon's Souls and Dark Souls. The games are very unforgiving, and expect you to learn and understand the various enemy tells. Still, the games are extremely well crafted and most importantly, fair.

Shoot'em Up

  • The Touhou Project games have several, particularly in terms of high scores:
    • Perfect Cherry Blossom has SakuyaB, whose knives swing around depending on where you move, and whose bomb only clears very specific areas of the field. It takes some getting used to the aiming process, but when used right, she's by far the best in terms of scoring (the current SakuyaB world record is half a billion points higher than all other records).
    • Youmu solo in Imperishable Night is difficult to use well, with an option that swings around depending on how she moves, but she has an easier time swinging the phantom gauge around for better time orb collection. Her margin of advantage over other teams is much smaller than SakuyaB in PCB, but it's noticable.
    • Mountain of Faith brings us MarisaC, who attacks using four "frostthrowers" that are locked in place when Marisa focuses. While this requires a player to time when to focus, unfocus, and pulse between the two, as well as manipulating boss movements, strategic placement of the frostthrowers is the reason why MarisaC is consistently the highest-scoring character, and it helps that she's effectively the strongest character in the game. Behind only Reimu C Close and MarisaBroken).
    • Youmu is Ten Desires has access to the strongest spread and concentrated attacks... but she's a reverse shot-type, meaning that unless you're very good you won't be able to make full use of her strong unfocused shots. And the charged nature of her focused shots can be a problem if you don't get it's rhythm down, while the unfocused shots have trailing options that punish you for moving wildly.
    • SanaeA in the fangame Marine Benefit also qualifies for this, as her unfocused shot by itself is fairly weak and her bomb only clears the area to her sides; however, she has Kanako's virtue spheres hovering around her and spinning around the field, killing most non-boss enemies they touch almost instantly (and doing good damage to bosses). While it takes a lot of getting used to aiming the virtues, knowing when to unfocus to activate them, and learning to see through them so they don't distract you from the bullets, using them wisely helps tremendously in killing off enemies in places other shot types would almost require a bomb to kill, and thus reducing a lot of the difficulty of some sections. And it helps that SanaeA's focused shot, while it lacks the virtues, has plenty of forward power for boss killing.
  • Mushihime-sama Futari versions 1.01 and 1.5 have Reco-Abnormal, who at first seems like a horribly counter-intuitive character; she inverts the trend that focused shot = slower speed, and her focused shot at first feels pathetically weak. However, proper utilization of her focus shot's lock-on option ability allows her to rapidly decimate bosses and midbosses.
  • DoDonPachi: DaiOuJou has Exy, who is the most difficult character to survive with due to having only 1 initial bomb and 2 max bombs (vs. Leinyan's 2 initial and 4 max, and Shotia's 3 initial and 6 max). However, a skilled player can make Exy into an ass kicker: she has Shotia's powerful shot and Leinyan's piercing laser, and her lower bomb capacity means she gets the max bomb bonus sooner. Moreover, unlike Shotia, who loses all of her laser power on dying, and Leinyan, who loses all of her shot power, Exy only loses one level of each upon death.
  • From Hellsinker we have Kagura with "No Chaser".
  • Guns of Icarus: The cannon (and the super cannon) take some practice to aim correctly because of their slow-moving shots, but if you can master Leading The Target, they deal twice as much damage as the standard gatling, and they have massive range.

Stealth Based Game

  • The games of the Thief series in general, particularly if you choose to play them in a Stealth Run style as much as possible (to the extent of not even knocking out enemies even if you would have the opportunity).
  • In Assassin's Creed games, the Hidden Blade Counter Attacks are very difficult to pull off consistently, but once mastered even Brutes will be One Hit Killed by them.
    • This is doubly true in the first game, where the Hidden Blade didn't even block, meaning you had to get it right or take damage. However, get it right and even the final boss is vulnerable.
    • A better example is using stealth, even when it isn't a mandatory part of your current mission. You can reach a point where the only enemies that will ever attack you are the ones actually scripted to do so, which is a very small subset of the guards. You one hit kill virtually every unaware enemy, even the rare ones that might be able to avoid being counter killed.

Survival Horror

  • In Dead Rising, the regular chainsaw is like this, especially in Infinity Mode before you get the Small Chainsaw. The standard swing is awkward as hell and leaves you vulnerable to attack after each swing, and you drop the weapon if you take a single hit from anything (forcing you to pick it up and rev it up again). However, the running attack absolutely scythes through zombies and bosses as long as you make absolutely sure never to stop moving.

Third Person Shooter

  • Transformers: War for Cybertron features four classes:
    • The Soldier is fairly easy to get a handle on, as it's your standard shooter archetype and quite tough. However, skilled selection of special abilities and perks allows them to become devastating, particularly in close combat, and their heavy weapons can shred almost anyone in a matter of seconds.
    • The Leader is very Soldier-like, with the added bonus of having an ability that not only gives you bonus armor and damage but all allies within a radius. Skill and timing in the use of this ability can make any Leader into a monster.
    • The Scout is the first class where you really need to work to be dangerous, though—it has little enough health that a single shot from a Soldier's tank mode can kill. On the other hand, with the proper use of abilities, weapons, timing, and even the angle of attack, a Scout can often one-shot a Soldier when they're at normal maximum health.
    • The true demons, though, are Scientists. Incredibly fragile, they are also the most mobile class, and their default weapon selection allows for both sniping and brutal close-combat damage. A Scientist player who masters the hit and run or snipe and run aspect of the class will demolish all comers—and this is to say nothing of if they deciding to perform their standard function of The Medic to heal up other characters on top of it.
  • Global Agenda has the Recon class, which functions like this to at least some degree: there's a glut of players who have absolutely no business taking on the stealth-based mantle, but those who have practiced to a reasonable point are absolute nightmares to deal with. Certain varieties of Medic are similar, if less pronounced.

Turn Based Strategy

  • Several weapons in Worms, but perhaps the poster child for this is the Super Sheep.
    • The Bazooka deserves special mention. A high damage explosive starting weapon with a ludicrously long ballistic trajectory. Newbies may have a hard time hitting anything not on the same screen but Scorched Earth veterans can knock an enemy worm into the water from across the map in turn 1.

Non-video game examples

Collectible Card Game

  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, there are some cards that require you to jump through a number of inefficient hoops to summon, but are nigh-unstoppable when you do. But one example: Vennominaga The Deity of Poisonous Snakes requires a specific trap card to be activated, and then only in response to the destruction of its predecessor, Vennominion the King of Poisonous Snakes. Both cards have zero attack, but are boosted by the number of Reptiles in your graveyard (fortunately, there's specifically a card for sending Reptiles to the grave from the deck), but once it actually gets summoned, Vennominaga is all but invincible, since it cannot be affected at all by other card effects and if it attacks the opponent three times, it's an automatic win.
    • There's also Shooting Quasar Dragon, which requires 1 Tuner Synchro Monster + 2 or more Non-Tuner Synchro Monsters, a somewhat hard to fulfill condition. However, when you manage to summon it, you get a 4000 ATK beatstick that gets a minimal of 2 attacks per turn(Yes a minimun, as in, it can get more than 2 attacks depending of how many non-tuner monsters you used for its synchro summoning)and that can negate a card effect once per turn. Add to that the fact that it brings a "Shooting Star Dragon" to the field when it gets removed from the field and you get one hell of a Game Breaker.
    • The Koa'ki Meiru Archetype. Unlike any other Archetype in the game, Koa'ki Meirus require constant maintenance and resource management. Sure, you'll need monsters on the field to beat your opponent, but you also need to use the Iron Core of Koa'ki Meiru or another specific monster in hand to keep your monsters alive. Then, almost every single Spell and Trap also need the Iron Core to work - except sometimes, those need the Core in the Graveyard - meaning you won't be able to use them all unless you keep recycling the Core which will cost you resources. There's more - the Koa'ki Meirus also have powerful effects that can stop your opponent's moves, but to do so you will have to correctly predict what your opponent's going to do. And of course, your opponent is still trying to kill you. But damn it certainly pays off: Koa'ki Meiru monsters are absurdly strong, both ATK-wise and effect-wise, and their Spell and Trap Cards are free and unlimited versions of some of the strongest Spells and Traps in the game (like this, which is basically this, one of the most popular Limited cards ever).
    • Fableds. They have effects that activate upon being discarded, and effects that allow you to discard.[2] But the gimmick is deceptively simple. Fabled users tend to have their turns go on for a while, partly because they're able to do an insane amount of things in one turn, partly because they have to spend so much time thinking their move through because of that. They can do so much crap, but unless you do the right crap, you'll be left with nothing but crap and your opponent will crap all over you.
    • Sophia the Creator is considered this for having harsh summoning requirement of banishing one Fusion, one Ritual, one Synchro and one Xyz on the field. However, once it hits the field, all other cards on the field, graveyard and hand are banished except itself. Not to mention its summon and effect cannot be negated.
  • In Magic: The Gathering, this can summarize combo decks. They're difficult to make work all the time, but when they do, expect a first- or second-turn win. The creation of these decks are similarly difficult, as they require significant knowledge of the rules and it's loopholes along with a comprehensive list of all the cards in the format in question (which can number several thousands). Managing to pull off one of these combos, especially if it's devised by yourself, will result in a big moment of awesome, especially if it later becomes a tournament-winning one.

Tabletop Games

  • Eldar (4th edition) and Dark Eldar from Warhammer 40,000, though Eldar are better. Contrast with Orks, especially Nob Biker lists which require no form of skill besides abusing wound allocation rules.
    • The Land Speeder. Fragile and many people write them off as garbage due to that, but in the hands of a competent player, they are quite nasty. What doesn't help its case is that many veteran players are aware of this and kill the speeder first.
    • Generally, the trickier factions to play are Eldar, a Glass Cannon, the woefully out-of-date Dark Eldar, and the Tau Empire, a Ranger faction with no close combat ability in a game where every enemy will be in your face by turn 3. Imperial Guard, Space Marine, and Chaos Marine armies can be tricky or not based on build. Daemons, Orks, and Tyranid armies usually just Attack! Attack! Attack!, but can show some complexity in their builds. Inquisitional armies can be very difficult to play mostly due to out of date codices rather than mechanics, and so don't fit this trope.
      • Recently the Dark Eldar have had a reboot, with new rules and models and new lore to top it off. Although the developers claim that they are still an army that requires finesse to use, many players complain that the new Codex is quite powerful, and finesse is actually optional.
        • Dark Eldar can potentially work as a Skill Gate Character with less experienced players. They are very lethal against pretty much anything and the most generally useful options are pretty obvious. Basically, in that case a Dark Eldar player is going to win easily (due to the high lethality) or be crushed (Dark Eldar are fairly fragile, especially for their cost). When you get into higher skill levels, they tend to fit this trope better. Most of the more competitive armies can still crush Dark Eldar in a straight fight, so there is a substantial amount of finesse required. You can't just march across the battlefield against most opponents and expect to win.
      • After the Grey Knights were released, the jury came back on the 5th edition Dark Eldar. Compared to other armies released both before and after, and considering the amount of models from the DE range that haven't been released, Dark Eldar are still very much this trope. If anything, all that changed is that they're not "old" anymore.
    • Pure Sisters of Battle. If you haven't mastered Acts of Faith, they're a very poor force. If you have, your opponent will start to think Sisters are a little too powerful.
      • 5th edition ramped the hell out of this with the Tau. They went from steep learning curve to learning cliff over night. However, if you can master them they're easily one of the most powerful factions in the game.
    • Some variations of Space Marine lists fall under this trope. A Space Marine biker list can be hard as hell to use effectively but when it is they are getting damn near close to Game Breaker territory.
      • Related is the Ravenwing build of the Dark Angels army. Like normal Space Marine bikes, but a little more expensive and with a few more special rules, with the addition of a lot more Land Speeders.
    • Deathwing and Paladin armies. Sure, everyone in your force has a power fist and the best armor possible, but at 1,500 points you'll seldom have more than thirty models on the table (compare to an Imperial Guard army that could potentially run two good-sized infantry platoons and assorted tanks at that points level). If you can manage to bring the full brunt of your force to bear on a segment of the enemy army, however, you'll probably roll over anything in your way.
  • Most of the most powerful classes in Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 are like this (with the possible exception of the druid) due to having massive ranges of potential abilities which vary in strength from "deal less damage than a fighter" to "win instantly".
    • Special mention to the Artificer. While building one is not entirely complex (aside from needing to constantly reference a minimum of three books just to play), it takes hours of time and math to create one even at 2nd level (a 1st level Artificer is fairly straightforward). Leveling up is a nightmare, and it has the dubious honor of being one of the Big 6, meaning it takes serious skill to not screw up and become a liability during encounters.
      • The bright side? Even a novice player using an Artificer can turn random treasure into actually useful equipment, meaning even if the player screws up constantly during combat, they can at least make up for it out of combat.
      • On the brighter side, in the hands of an experienced player the Artificer technically belongs on his own special tier far above all the other puny mortals below thanks to his ability to take the wealth by level charts and snap them into tiny little pieces.
        • To clarify: the Artificer can create any magic item in the game, full-stop. They gain bonus Item Creation feats, they have a mechanic to use Use Magic Device instead of the usual spellcasting requirements, they get points to use towards the XP costs of items, etc. The vast majority of magic items are overpriced and not that useful. That still leaves hundreds, if not thousands, of legitimately useful items — figuring out which ones you're going to need next week is very challenging. The potential of *having* that item next week is devastating, if realized.
    • The other strongest classes in the game generally fit this because of the obnoxious and fiddly Vancian spell preparation mechanic. While spontaneous casting is easier to figure out, prepared casters can often pick up new spells whenever they want for a small expenditure of gold, making them ultimately much more versatile than spontaneous casters. A player just has to learn how and when to prepare what spells.
  • Controllers in D&D 4.0. A team without a Controller will notice that enemies coordinate and attack them very efficiently. Poorly-played, a Controller is a liability, and will die if enemies so much as look at him. A well-played Controller is a hideously effective mezzer who will have your DM tearing his hair out as he watches his monsters flail around under multiple Standard Status Effects.
  • In chess, if you get a pawn to the end of an eight-square board, the pawn can become a queen, the strongest piece in the game.[3] Because there are so many ways to prevent this, against a serious opponent, the odds that any one player pulls this off are slim-to -none. If it works, though, many people simply surrender, rather than draw out a fairly nasty defeat.
    • More generally, pawns are the least mobile piece in the game, as well as the only one that not only captures differently from it moves but also has no less than two special moves. Because they are so difficult to move, however, the way they become arranged (called the "pawn structure") becomes one of the most important aspects of the board. In modern games, many professional games revolve around trying to put your pawns in a favorable position while screwing up your opponent's formations, and if you go all the way to the endgame, the focus becomes using what's left of your more powerful pieces to escort one or more of your pawns so that it can be promoted. Pawn structure is subtle, however, and most casual players don't bother taking it into consideration.

Real Life

  • The vi text editor. It is very Nintendo Hard to learn, as you rely entirely on keyboard macros to do things that aren't typing. Once mastered, however, vi is a very efficient editor.
    • vi's "opponent", emacs, is similar: like vi, it uses key combinations for all editor control. It's practically impossible to learn, but capable of doing anything.
      • And anything actually means anything. Standard builds of EMACS (which includes a LISP dialect specific to EMACS built right in) have included web browsers, email clients, image viewers, and just about any other tool you might possible want to use. It can call the compiler, too, in case you happen to want to write a little code somewhere along the way. (Coders and sysadmins, pretty much the only people who bother with something like EMACS or vi, have been known to do all their work from inside EMACS with built-in tools.)
  • Interface example: Openbox. It looks like a very cut-down interface without many features most users have become accustomed with, such as icons on the desktop. However, once keyboard shortcuts have been properly set and memorized, it's faster to open apps and switch to them/move them around than with any mouseclick-interface - doubly so if the user is a touch-typist and accustomed to using keyboard macros.
  • Command Line Interfaces, particularly in Linux. If you don't know how to use them, you're pretty much stuck in a blank terminal. On the other hand, someone who knows how to use them well basically has total control over the computer.
    • Hell, learning to use Linux itself is this trope. At least for those switching from Windows.
    • Same thing applies for setting up routers - the GUI and factory settings are okay, but mastering the CLI's often-awkward syntax gives you much more control.
    • They're handy in Windows too. For example, using xcopy requires typing instead of the usual click-and-drag, but the files copy faster, don't stop copying when one file fails, and more options are available in the form of parameters, such as /f which forces the copy wherever possible, and /y which automatically answers all questions with "yes, overwrite the damn file" without further human intervention.
      • You CAN drag any file or folder to CLI.
        • Microsoft removed that feature some versions of Windows Server. Administrators around the world were not amused.
  • Blender is this for 3D design. Completely unintuitive and follows none of the layout, keystroke or workflow conventions of other 3D design software; the most enthusiastic proponents will agree the learning curve is vertical. Anyone who masters it will swear by it, and always come back to use it even if they own commercial software suites.
    • The interface and the ability to customize your UI lets a user get fairly close to an Autodesk layout.
  • Scoped rifles require learning how to properly sight and adjust your scope before you even get to the point where you have to keep your arms steady (often while trying to hold up a 10 pound rifle with little or no support) as you VERY slowly squeeze the trigger. After figuring out the range and wind and compensating for both of those, of course. When you've learned how to use it, you can hit targets hundreds of yards away regularly.
  • LaTeX, when compared to Microsoft Words, Open Office and other WYSIWYG text editors. You have special characters for things like line breaks, and you have to compile your text file first in order to get a useful output. The latter means that there is no fluid visual feedback of what you have just typed. Although there are GUI programs available which permit a near-WYSIWYG functionality when you press the "Compile" button over and over, but this means you have to install at least two programs before you can start your work. Installing the right packages you need for correct rendering and compilation of your document can sometimes be a pain as well. But the advantage: You can directly create a .pdf output file without having to worry much about compatibility. And your source file that you are editing? Is basically a simple text file, can be opened and edited with almost every text program if you are comfortable with the LaTex code. And there are free and open-source LaTeX programs available for all major operating systems.
  1. a type of hard drop in which the piece drops, but doesn't lock, allowing you to still move the piece. Standard hard drop locks the piece immediately.
  2. Similarly to the Dark World archetype, but with less of the game's trademark obscure rulings. Sort of a Ryu and Ken thing going on here.
  3. This is called "promoting". Technically, a pawn may be promoted to any piece except a king, but the queen, as the most powerful piece, is almost invariably chosen - unless that would cause stalemate, or a knight is needed for a checkmate.