Lethal Joke Character

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[In Magic: The Gathering,] there are four simple qualities for bad cards. If you have any one of these qualities, you are bad. If you have all four then Conley Woods will win a GP with you.

You've just unlocked an absolutely useless Joke Character. Weak attack, laughable specials, etc. And yet, the player next door uses him every time... and always kicks your ass.

Is he Cherry Tapping? Nope; the last time you won was when you put it on "random." He's discovered how to use the Lethal Joke Character.

The designers, looking for balance, have sneaked in one obscure, impossible-to-master, but incredibly rewarding technique for this character, and using it, you'll win every time... if you can get it down. But doing so requires skill, practice, and the ability to see the potential in the seemingly-useless. It's a sort of Obfuscating Stupidity applied to the game mechanics.

Compare Elite Tweak. See also Difficult but Awesome, whose deadly potential is more obvious, but still requires effort to unleash. Unlike a Magikarp Power, the Lethal Joke Character always had this ability to kick ass; it just requires a lot of skill to use him. Take a look at Lethal Joke Item for useless inventory and skills that eventually become overpowered. Heart Is an Awesome Power is the non-gameplay version. Not to be confused with Fighting Clown which is a silly character whose advantages are obvious while here they aren't.

As with Joke Character, this is a Game Trope. For non-game examples, see Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass.

Has absolutely nothing to do with Alan Moore.

Examples of Lethal Joke Character include:
  • The Naruto Clash of Ninja games had Akamaru the puppy who, unlike all the other human characters, was very tiny. Even though he only had a few attacks that don't do much damage, all the other character's attacks were designed to attack regular characters so a vast majority of them would fly over you. It came to the point that all of a character's intricate combos would be useless and they'd have to focus on aiming kunai or carefully timing sweep kicks to hope to survive.
  • In Collectible Card Games, cards that look useless, but subtle rules interaction (or later releases) makes them killer.
    • High Tide in Magic: The Gathering. Initially easy to overlook (Fallen Empires was not a particularly popular set), later expansions brought assorted super powerful cards which this card would then fuel. Combined with several similar cards, it led to the ubiquitous "Combo Winter" era in the game's history.
    • An even bigger Magic example is Necropotence. It famously got one star out of five from In Quest magazine. The very existence of this card taught players two very good lessons: one card is worth more than one life, and the only life point that matters is the last.
    • Yet another example: The card Donate. Who knew that giving away your own cards could be so effective?
      • Donate is at its best when paired with yet another Lethal Joke Card, Illusions of Grandeur, which gives you a temporary massive life boost (equal to your starting life) as long as you pay its ever-increasing upkeep cost. This is accomplished by having you gain the life when it is played and lose the life when it leaves play. But the person who loses the life is the one who controls it at the time. So if you Donate it to your opponent, you get to keep the life boost permanently and they have to keep paying or be one hit killed. This particular combo is the basis of the "Trix" decktype.
    • Ornithopter looks mostly harmless: A flying 0/2 is pretty useless. The 'thopter's real value for combos is that it has zero cost - and you won't be using it for attacking. Hint: Enduring Renewal. It has also fueled cards like Arcbound Ravager and other components of the ravager affinity deck, including Cranial Plating, which made it into a lethal evasive attacker.
      • Or it can be used to sneak in stuff using ninjutsu.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh: The Ojama Brothers are a trio low-level Normal Monsters with goofy looks and zero attack points, which, naturally, makes them useless. That was, until Konami released a number of Support Cards for them, starting with a Spell Card that wipes your opponent's field for free if you have all three out, and also including a pair of fusions that lock down your opponent's ability to summon their own monsters, a couple of "Cousins" that can help search and bring them out, and a number of spells which boost their attack (Including their own field) as well as search and summon them.
    • There's also four cards based off of Parodius, resembling four plastic men riding paper airplanes. Two of them are Normal Monsters with almost no attack or defense, but the other two are Union Monsters (monsters that can turn themselves into Equip cards) and when unioned to the others, make them impressively powerful.
    • Skull Servants. These are well known as being the weakest monsters in the game with no effect, low points, and no support. Until the release of King of the Skull Servants, a creature that gains 1000 attack points for every Skull Servant in your grave, as well as every King of the SS. After that there was Lady in Wight and Wightmare, who both are treated as SS while in the grave. This means that with all of these cards in the grave, King can easily become a monster with 11000 attack points.
  • In the Suikoden series:
    • Sheena. He's a lecherous Upper Class Twit with not-so-special stats. Basically, a character that most casual players would never use. However, long-time players of Suikoden swear by him, because he has something casual players tend to overlook. Sheena comes with three free Rune Slots, giving him insane twinking potential. With very little effort, one could very easily turn him into a Game Breaker.
    • An even worse case is Hai Yo, who could also acquire three free rune slots... and is a cook.
    • In the third game, the dogs, which are normally just pathetic, can preform a unite attack that can do over 4,000 damage to an enemy.
    • There's also the beavers: Cute talking critters and elite waterborne soldiers. Correctly used, they will turn most army battles into sick jokes and to add insult to injury, they don't even have a Gameplay and Story Segregation: storywise, it's when they join the heroes that their army start to get the upper hand in the war.
    • An interesting addition is Viki; up until 5, she was an above average mage but always fell short to other more powerful spellcasters. However, in this edition, she is a definite Game Breaker, as her unique skill 'Chain Magic', when fully upgraded, can clear entire battlefields due to her ability to cast very powerful spells a second time at no additional cost about 60%-80% of the time! Equip her with a Fire, Lightning, or Pale Gate Rune and watch the destruction!!
    • In Suikoden III you have Augustine Nabor. This member of the Narcissist archetype (most of which are fairly useless characters) is androgynous and foppish, and has the added drawback of requiring you to purchase a rare and fairly expensive accessory to recruit. He also has the ability to raise his Parry stat up to an S rank naturally and can raise his Swing stat up to an S with a few pieces of equipment (one of which is the one you need to recruit him so you have to have it anyway). This allows him to fend off nearly any nonmagical attack against him with ease and can multi-hit enemies when he attacks. If he is properly leveled, he can defend Budehuc castle during Thomas chapter 2's military battles pretty much by himself and he can go toe to toe with Yuber, the game's resident villainous annihilation machine.
  • Naru from Battle Arena Toshinden 3 is one of these, by virtue of being the last unlockable character in the game. She's very small and carries a comparatively big sword, making her attacks slow, but also making her harder to hit. Her fighting style is close to that of her adopted father Kayin, so characters who know how to master him should be able to fight as Naru no problem.
  • Although it's not a fighting game, the Skeleton form in Castlevania: Circle of the Moon is clumsy, can be destroyed in one hit (0 Defense, which in that game means any attack deals infinite damage), and throws not-very-effective little bones as its attack... except for the instances where the standard, not-very-effective little bone is replaced by a comically huge, 9999-damage one. It's tricky to use, but highly effective if done properly, most notably against bosses.
    • The same is true of Aria of Sorrow and Dawn of Sorrow: the Skeleton soul is almost useless, as the thrown bone only does respectable damage at the beginning of the game, but every once in a while, that huge bone comes out and all your problems are solved.
    • In Portrait of Ruin, the paper airplane tool for Jonathon is a joke: a dipsy-doodle flight path makes it hard to aim, and hitting with it does a pathetic amount of damage...until it reaches max level (which admittedly takes quite a while), at which point it becomes absolutely devastating.
  • The Chairperson in Rival Schools is pathetic in battle, as she trained in Saikyo, the martial arts style of the Joke Character par excellence Dan Hibiki. But her Team-Up Attack is one of the most powerful in the game, as it is the only one that recovers both health and super meter (all other healing Team-Ups only restore one of those two). She's useless as a player character, but invaluable as a teammate.
  • Speaking of Dan Hibiki:
    • Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter and Marvel vs. Capcom 2 turned his near useless Otoko Michi super from an amusing way to kill yourself into the single most damaging move in the game. It still reduces Dan to exactly a pixel of health when it hits, but losing Dan to take out one member of the opposing team is very much a victory for Dan's team. More amusingly, it has priority over Akuma's Shun Goku Satsu (The move which Otoko Michi is a parody of); if Akuma and Dan both use their respective supers at each other, Dan will come out on top. His Punch and Launch throw was especially nasty in this game leading to nasty loops and mind games when used well, he had good pokes, with the right partners he could actually be very effective, and most people either dismissed him or didn't know how to handle him, making him viable for once in his existence.
    • In SNK vs. Capcom SVC Chaos he's got even more buffs. Suffice it to say that if you approach him with the same mentality as in the Marvel series, you're going to get trampled. Possibly literally. Let's see: Gadoshokoken that piffles out after a few feet, but covers the same area as a Haohshokoken, which means that it'll catch you in a jump every time, and it's a special. Stupid showy power punch that has a hideous recovery time if it connects, but does a LOT of damage, and also sends you flying across the screen, meaning that unless you land in the corner you can't punish it... and it's also a special. Same 'ol dumb Dankukyaku that hits high, it's a lot faster than before and can easily punish fireballs. And of course, the Otoko Michi, his Exceed, takes off about half your life and does NO damage to him.
    • In Street Fighter Alpha, Dan also has this potential. His normals are some of the hardest-hitting in the game, and the Koryu Ken becomes invincible after a certain amount of attacks/taunts. If you're good at keeping count, this can lead to a humiliating defeat for your opponent when you hit them out of a super.
    • Dan is at the height of his power in Street Fighter IV making him downright decent. His Shisso Buraiken Ultra Combo has priority over Akuma's Shin Shun Goku Satsu Ultra. This is hilarious in actual matches, because as soon as Akuma's move activates, he can't escape. Also, his Super attack is a hilariously long autocombo that is easily punishable if you miss. However, if you manage to land it then it actually out-powers his Ultra attack by a good amount.
    • Super Street Fighter IV buffed Dan even more. His Koryuken and Gadouken moves now deal more damage than their counterparts, his command taunts can now stop attacks, and his Shisso Buraiken Ultra Combo deals the same amount of damage as in SF4, while everyone else's deals significantly less. He feels less like a joke character and more of a regular low-to-mid tier.
  • Many people thought M.O.D.O.K from Marvel vs. Capcom 3 had evolved beyond the joys of being a good character. They were wrong. His mixup and trap laying potential puts even Sentinel and Wesker to shame. And using his analyse cube system gives him the most damaging Level 1 hyper attack in the whole game. To those who say he's a Mental Organism Designed Only for Trolling, you will call him God Tier after facing a decent player.
    • In the same game, we have Phoenix Wright. His attacks may seem useless and stupid, but when you collect all three pieces of evidence, you can bring him into turn about mode. He can shoot lasers and his opponent with his FINGER and the evidence, and his damage output is increased exponentially. Basically, if you're a good player you'll have no problem beating someone with Phoenix Wright.
  • Street Fighter III: Sean probably qualifies; he's Ken's young student and attacks with basketballs, but he's actually quite good. He also strives to be everything Dan wasn't. They nerfed his balls off in 3S, though. The only character worse is Twelve, although the joke there might be how terrible Capcom was (is?) at balancing games. Also notable in Sean's case is that he's actually worse than Dan in the storyline.
    • Also, Q. He has a 9:1 matchup VS. Makoto (her karakusa beats EVERYTHING HE HAS), some very telegraphed attacks and bad-to-average normals that leave him very vulnerable on block—yet he also has the best kara-throw (tied with Chun Li), a command-throw which can be made throw-invincible, a glitch which makes him throw-invincible for a split second, very good supers, and if you taunt 3 times his stamina increases from 1200 (good) to 2050 (stupidly good).
  • In Street Fighter IV, El Fuerte also qualifies for this trope. Soon after the game was released, a near-infinite Fierce punch loop was discovered that would allow him to stun enemies in seconds. Capcom decided not to patch this, with the justification that the loop was extremely difficult to perform, and that El Fuerte had little else going for him as a character.
    • On the "joke" side, he's got ludicrous premises, hammy voice actors, comical-looking attacks with silly food-themed names—it's difficult to take him seriously. On the lethal side, he's got a level of mobility second only to Vega, an unpredictable array of attacks, rapid aerial defense, and high comboability. In the right hands, he's got quite a lot going for him.
  • Speaking of Capcom Vs. games, Roll in Tatsunoko vs. Capcom has been improved upon. She still has a low stamina (with Karas being the lowest), but she is tiny, has a disjointed hitbox thanks to her broom, and has a fast air-dash. Her ground combos can lead to her Roll Sweep-Sweep special move, which can hit a grounded foe and CANNOT BE ESCAPED! She has a LEVEL 1 hyper move that recovers her health decently too! Her attacks also deal good amount of damage! It was also somewhat recently discovered that if she sweeps up the puddles she can produce with a special move with hers with another special move, she becomes even stronger, nearing some of the strongest characters strength-wise with a maximum of 5 swept-up puddles (or just a single one if she uses the super version of the sweep-up attack).
  • In Gundam Battle Assault 2, the player can unlock such powerful cheese machines like the Big Zam, Epyon, deceptively-ridiculous Zeong, the f***ing Dark Gundam, the more under-the-radar Hydra Gundam, the Missile spam crazy Heavyarms Custom, and the custom Psycho Gundam Mk. III. Sharing the spotlight with these titans of argh is...a Ball, piloted by barely-above-no-name Shiro Amada. Not to denigrate his status as a pilot or a protagonist, but Shiro isn't exactly on a par with Newtypes like Char or zombie-cyborgs like Major Ulube or even prettyboy aces like Treize Kushrenada. Still, people fear the Ball, all for one reason: sheer speed. Ball is the second-fastest character in the game, and has a trick by which it can stop its vernier boost and rapidly descend with an attack. This lightning-fast cross-up could then be canceled into his damaging jackhammer attack or his even-more-damaging 120mm cannon shot. Even without any mega-specials and pitiful defense, the trusty Ball managed to crush almost anyone in its path.
    • Likewise, the Ball of Mobile Suit Gundam: Federation vs Zeon has the lowest armor and most limited weaponry of any suit, while being slow and having rather limited boost power. A Rick Dom or most Mobile Armors can blow it up in a single shot. It's mostly in-game for plot purposes. It can still be ridiculously lethal in the right hands, though, since where you'd only get a couple Rick Doms, players using the Ball get at least six, and often many more, all of which are small targets devoted to long-range attacks. They can only take down real mobile suits by nibbling them to death, but they can nibble things to death.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam : Encounters In Space has traditional Joke Characters in the Ball and Core Fighters, but a number of other suits can be dangerous. Perhaps the best example would be the Japanese-only MS-06SHAKU Zaku II Shaku Yumiko Custom. Custom Zaku? Uh oh. Custom bright pink Zaku? A little odd, but after Char and Johnny Ridden, it'll frighten most dedicated players. Custom bright pink Zaku decorated with bright pink hearts? Not so scary, especially since its damage and speed is the same as normal Zaku IIs and it can be carved up by an experienced GM pilot with a bullpup machinegun. Its distinguishing feature? An i-field powerful enough that it can sit down in front of a Big Zam and smile smugly, because with said I-field it takes minimal damage from beam weapons, and thus can tear apart beam-only/beam-dominant mobile suits like the Gundam Blue Destiny units or Gundam Physalis.
  • Gundam Extreme Vs has the old fan favorite joke MS, the Acguy, as a playable suit. However, while in most games the Acguy appears in it's weak and pathetic, here it is fairly fast and has three different Support MS's it can call up, meaning you can easily find yourself Zerg Rushed by Acguy variants.
  • In the MMORPG Ragnarok Online, a class called the Super Novice can be obtained if one creates a regular Novice and keeps it from obtaining a class until base lv 45. The Super Novice at first seems to have a great deal of potential, being allowed to acquire almost all the skills the 1st class Jobs can use, and having a collective pool of 99 points (instead of the usual 50 1st class Jobs usually have) to allocate them to. However, Super Novices can only use the same crappy gear novices have, and along with their abysmally low HP/SP gains from leveling up, can easily be killed in one or two hits. Their real strength shines if built like a Mage class, as, since casting time for spells is determined by the game's DEX stat, using the right gear, maxing their base DEX stat, and using all the DEX skill buffs available to them, the Super Novice can nearly be able to instantly cast spells. If coupled with a Bard skill that even further lowers casting time and after-cast delay, players can effectively make efficiently-leveled Super Novices into living, Fire Bolt-spewing maching guns...as long as their puny SP holds out, anyway. Or if built for AGI they get the highest flee in the game and if their XP is kept between 99 and 100% they will get up if killed with a host of buffs making them a strange little tank so long as they're not being mobbed.
  • In SNK's Gals Fighter (a.k.a. Queen of Fighters) for the Neo-Geo Pocket, you can unlock Kyo Kusanagi's non-martial artist girlfriend, Yuki. She looks like a harmless schoolgirl, and she's often surprised whenever she wins, but her attacks can be deadly. She can fight by swinging her school bag around, advancing from one end of the screen to the other. She screams out a Big No to stop air attacks cold. And best (or worst, depending on your point of view) of all, she has a 12-hit slap move that is dangerous all by itself, but can be easily chained to her scrambling super attack for up to 33 hits, the highest in the game!!
  • At first glance, Yachiru in Bleach: Blade of Fate seems worthless. She has two moves, a dash attack and her Battle Aura, and one super that's a stronger version of the aura. If you use her personal Spirit Card deck, however, you'll see it's all Stability (which prevents her attacks from being stopped if she gets hit) and Spirit Pressure Increase. That's the trick - use her dash to corner her opponent, then bust out her super, and the opponent can't escape taking every hit. If you have three super bars, that's most of their health. No wonder she's a Cute Bruiser.
    • Sadly, Dark Souls hit her with a Nerf. Personal Spirit Card decks were removed, her attacks have much more wind-up, and she randomly trips, regulating her to normal Joke Character status. Amusingly, Hanataro can make a claim to this status - unlike Shattered Blade, he only has two attacks that heal the enemy, and one of his special attacks inflicts paralysis, which is like a "Free Air Combo" ticket.
    • Even in Shattered Blade, Hanataro can make this claim. If used correctly, he can be one of the most powerful characters in the game. His special attack can inflict over half a health bar's worth of damage. This is only beaten out by Byakuya's bankai attack, which is really saying something.
  • Pokémon has a few characters that work like this:
    • The most famous of these is Wobbuffet. When it was first introduced in Pokémon Gold and Silver, its gimmick of only being able to counterattack and a tiny movepool of only 4 moves left it quite difficult to use without prediction. However, with the advent of its ability Shadow Tag, which prevents the opponent from switching out against it, and expanding its movepool ever so slightly (by 3, but only one of them is really needed), it made the jump from never-used tier to actually being fairly powerful so unbelievably broken that no competitive player will agree to play against one, a designation it shares only with the most powerful Olympus Mons.
    • Another Pokemon that could qualify is Pikachu itself. Equip it with a Light Ball and it gains incredible attack power, but it's still a Glass Cannon. In addition, in Pokémon Emerald and later, breeding a Pikachu equipped with a Light Ball would result in the offspring knowing the super-powerful "Volt Tackle" attack. Its evolved form is tougher but is unable to use the item.
    • Then there's Dunsparce, notable in that it has a special ability, Serene Grace, that was originally exclusive to the event-only pokemon Jirachi. In GSC it was completely useless, but with this ability Dunsparce has a high chance of causing status effects, meaning you could completely immobilize the enemy opponent if you taught it moves that caused confusion, paralysis, freezing, attraction, and others much more easily than any other "annoyer" pokemon.
    • Smeargle has astoundingly horrible stats, but it's still popular due to the fact that it can use almost any move in the game. This leads to a very effective moveset where Smeargle can Baton Pass the Ingrain effect, making the next Pokemon immune to Whirlwind and Roar (switching out without Baton Pass forfeits all stat boosts and other similar temporary statuses) and being able to recover an additional 1/16th of max HP each turn. There's also the Endure/Spore/Endeavor/Dragon Rage w/Salac berry combo. Speed is the only decent stat Smeargle gets, and it's the only stat it needs. Since Smeargle now comes with "Own Tempo" (a passive ability that prevents confusion), a Smeargle with Outrage and a bunch of Proteins becomes one hell of a Dragonslayer.
    • FEAR. Which stands for Focus Sash, Endeavor, Quick Attack, Rattata. (Which is the clean version, some prefer "Fuckin' Evil Annoying Rodent" as the meaning.) Basically, the strategy of using a ridiculously low-leveled Rattata equipped with Focus Sash (that saves the Pokemon from death once, leaving it with one last HP), use Endeavor (that lowers the opponent's HP to the same value as yours) and then finalizing it with Quick Attack (which will always attack first). There are several ways of counter-attacking this plan, but it's still an ingenious way of defeating an Olympus Mons with a Com Mons. A much more useful version of the strategy involves combining Focus Sash and Endeavor with the Hail weather effect, which deals damage to non-Ice types after every turn and can be induced permanently by Abomasnow unless another weather-changing move or Pokemon is used, and the "Magic Guard" ability exclusive to the Clefairy line, which blocks residual damage such as Hail (Sandstorm works as well, though not as effectively as more things resist it). After Endeavor is used, the Hail will finish off most Pokemon, resulting in a one-turn KO. If your opponent doesn't have a Ghost-type (which is immune to Endeavor) or Ice-type on their team, Cleffa, Clefairy, or Clefable is guaranteed to take down at least one Pokemon each, and the fact that each count as a separate species means you can have all three on one team.
    • Along the same vein as FEAR, a similar technique can be used to turn Magikarp into something capable of sweeping entire teams of ubers and legendaries. Really.
    • Gen V gives us the SABER strategy. This time it stands for Sturdy Aron (shell) Bell Endeavor Recovery. Essentially Pokemon with Sturdy will now allow a Pokemon at full health to surivive any attack with one HP similar to the effect of Focus Sash. Endeavor works the same way but Endeavor also triggers Shell Bell which will restore all of a low level's Pokemon's HP. Notably it was part of the strategy (when applied to Nosepass) that allowed this player to beat Cynthia with an entire team full of level one Pokemon. Though most trainers will be able to catch on quickly and put them to sleep. If they don't though, know that Swinub also can run this strategy. Piloswine and Mamoswine can only be gained at levels 33 and 34 respectively. But it tends to mean little difference in a Level 100 battle...
    • Shedinja is another pokemon that may fit this trope. With a max HP of 1, most people would think this is a joke character, but the fact that it is only affected by attacks that are super effective means that it is immune to 12 out of 17 types of attack, making it invincible when used against the right enemies, most notably Kyogre.
      • In Gen V, a new move (Soak) changes the pokémon type to water. If you use it in a double battle, Shedinja will only be affected by Electric and Grass attacks. On top of that, if you put a partner with Lighting Rod, Shedinja will only be affected by Grass attacks.
    • In HeartGold and SoulSilver, contests are replaced by the Pokéthlon, a sport variety of Minigames. Each Pokémon has different stats in a category for how well they do in the competitions. The officially weakest Pokémon, Sunkern, has Pokéthlon stats comparable to Olympus Mons; the likes of Mew, Giratina's Origin Forme, and the Olympus Mon itself, Arceus. And Ditto. On top of that, its slightly-better evolved form, Sunflora, doesn't have these stats. However, it's maximum stats are full, but its base stats are 1. And there is no way to get them all to full.
    • Rotom was an Awesome but Impractical levitating Electric/Ghost type with an awesome movepool/typing but no stats introduced in Diamond and Pearl... which, in Platinum, gained the ability to transform into a handful of ridiculous yet incredibly badass alternate forms, such as a toaster oven or lawnmower. Now, these frankly ridiculous variants? They have excellent defensive stats, special moves that give them great coverage, and very nice Special Attack. One of the best Pokemon in the game... ...is a toaster oven. Of course, anyone who actually looks at the STATS of the Pokemon will notice right away that Rotom-A in no joke, but if you just have this kinda useless Pokemon that suddenly transforms into an appliance...
    • And as of the fifth generation, Ditto has joined the ranks with its new Dream World ability, Imposter. Ditto's biggest disadvantage was that since it wasted its first turn transforming, which combined with its automatically low health meant it usually got killed before it could do anything. But Imposter makes it automatically transform upon switching in. And since Transform copies stat boosts, making it hit just as hard as its opponent, and giving Ditto a Choice Scarf now means that it will always attack before its opponent does. All of this means that Ditto is now the perfect counter for any sweeper, and also means that "setting up" by boosting a sweeper's stats to the moon—formerly a staple strategy—is no longer as viable. That single ability has caused Ditto to potentially move up several tiers in the metagame, from Never-Used to Over-Used, or possibly even to Uber.
    • There's also Spinda, a Pokemon usually lambasted for its TERRIBLE stats. However, with the introduction of the Dream World, it gained access to the ability Contrary, which turns its stat drops into stat boosts. The Dream World also gave it the move Superpower, which would normally cut its Attack and Defense, but now RAISES them instead.
    • Breloom may not look like much. After all, what could a goofy-looking mushroom-dinosaur do, right? Well, for one thing, he can use Spore, which is a one hundred percent accurate Sleep-inducing move, and if he's low on hit points, he can hit hard with Drain Punch. Oh, and his double Flying-type weakness? He just Sky Uppercuts them to death. Did we mention he also has an incredible attack stat?
  • Bloody Roar: Primal Fury manages to do this with the normal final boss. In a tournament filled with individuals that turn into man-tiger or man-wolf forms, his basic beast form is a penguin. Not a human-sized penguin, or a superfast penguin, or a one that hits supernaturally hard. It's about two feet tall and squeaky. It attacks with wingslaps. His normal human form is a bit bishie, too, and not particularly strong with fairly short combos. He seems like a joke. Except a two foot tall penguin coincidentally happens to be far too short for most attacks, even many special powers, to hit. It can't be grabbed, and thus is very easy to turtle with, can be hard to predict, and can end up slapping enemy combos apart. In some cases, you can force enemies to turn around while continuing their combo, leaving them very, very open. His hypermode is a short-lived human-sized phoenix form with a one-hit kill that acts more on the level of normal beast forms, and it's still a downgrade from the penguin.
    • The prior - and again, somewhat jokey - character Uriko, first made an appearance as the first game's final boss (against her will) and subsequent appearances unable to complete her transformation, so she looks like a catgirl instead of a weretiger, and acts like the former as well, and many of her techniques involve her losing balance or dizzying whether or not she's succesful. Why a lethal joke? Her basic and beast combos are infinitely chainable at the right tempo, and can keep all but the perfectly timed opponent juggled 'til their lifebar is done.
  • The mecha combat action game Another Century's Episode 3 allows the player to unlock the Gotchko, a small, relatively basic unit from Overman King Gainer. It would seems like a bit of a joke character, or maybe just an affectionate inclusion to play to the fans of King Gainer... until you actually use it. The unit, with few or no upgrades, is one of the most powerful units in the game simply because of the ridiculous range and accuracy it has for its two weapons. It is restricted to ground stages, and cannot actually fly, but it doesn't need to.
    • The RX-78-2 Gundam. The white devil of the One Year War will beat your ass.
    • Seeing that Gotchko is Gain's unit of choice, this shouldn't be very surprising.
  • In Mace: The Dark Age, you can play as Pojo: The magic chicken with a code. Pojo is weak and has very few attacks, but is so small that most attacks miss entirely, including everything the final boss does.
  • If you're confused about why you went through so much effort to unlock the seemingly useless Onion Knight in the DS remake of Final Fantasy III, then you obviously didn't know that in the original, the Onion Knight's stat growth exploded at levels 90-99. The same deal applies in the DS version.
    • In addition, they have access to all types and levels of magic from level 1, so they can be used to cast non-stat based spells (such as status cures) at lower levels then usual.
  • Cut from the US version of Streets of Rage 3 is Ash, a Manly Gay character who runs and screams like a girl and has a limited move set (no air attacks). However, his main attack, a weak looking slap, can tear even bosses apart in seconds.
    • It does have Sheeva as a hidden character. Although tough as a boss, Sheeva lacks the variety of moves other characters have (such as a back attack or a directional super) to be as useful. Unless you realize that his default move (the one that replaces any move he doesn't have) is a short elbow jab that can infinite chain anybody.
  • In Tekken 3, we got Gon... which despite being a bit slow and short (or due to being short), cannot be attacked by high attacks, cannot be thrown, and has unblockable projectiles.
    • Not to mention Doctor B, who spends most of his time on his back, but provides quite a challenge as the end boss of an optional minigame, and can be lethal in the hands of an expert player.
      • Hell, he's got an unblockable paralyzing attack, can do a sudden ground-stomping-kaboom after mindlessly evading your attacks, is practically unpredictable, etc. And he's got a killer 20-hit combo, while the rest of the characters have only 10-hit combos. The downside is that it can be hard to learn how to control him properly.
    • Tekken 6 has Bob and Roger Jr, both utterly ridiculous and thought by many to be top tier characters.
  • Most of the games in the DBZ Budokai series have at least one of these. Ginyu could qualify in the first four games - simply let the opponent beat him up, use Body Change (which switches the characters' respective health bars), and finish what your opponent started. This was heavily nerfed in Tenkaichi 2, however, to the point where the move is practically useless. That game's example of this trope is Videl, whom most players quickly dismiss due to the fact that she has no long-range offense whatsoever, has a very small health bar, and has a weak short-range offense. However, she's fast. VERY fast. I'm talking "can string together 30-hit combos with minimal effort and finish them with a 75-hit combo" fast. Those hits may be weak, but they add up. Against a competent Videl, most opponents aren't even given a chance to breathe during their Death of a Thousand Cuts, much less mount any form of offense themselves.
    • Hercule. Unlike every other character in the game, his standard combo has no knockback whatsoever (on top of doing next to no damage). His Ultimate Blast can be either pathetic... or do only 1 damage. At first glance it seems his only saving grace is Present For You, a Blast 2 that can counter any close-range attack with a powerful bomb. Problem with that is, Hercule has a Blast 1 called False Courage that makes him immune to knockback. At long range, he can simply dodge everything and not care about what does manage to hit. At medium range, he can use a rush Blast 2 that has a tremendous amount of knockback (and in the meantime, he's charging energy to re-use it). At close range, Present For You. Game, set, match.
  • If you ever play the PvP racing game in Sonic Adventure 2: Battle, see Amy. She's easily the slowest of the available characters, however, she only needs to collect half as many rings to earn a special attack as Sonic or Shadow. In many levels Amy can spam special moves so quickly that her opponent may not even be able to move for minutes at a time. What's more, while Sonic and Shadow's time-freezing ability stops the opponent completely, Amy's only locks the player out of his controls; if they happen to be in the middle of some death-defying stunt (as they often are, given the nature of the game), they'll likely careen off into a pit, be sent back to the last checkpoint, and still have to wait out the remainder of the freeze. Meanwhile, Amy's collected enough rings to attack again...
    • Also, Amy has an unusually fast grinding speed.
  • There are two such characters in Final Fantasy VI:
    • Gau, easily the most misunderstood character in the game. Not quite as scrappy as Umaro (who is always, totally uncontrollable), but close second simply because his entire mechanic involves losing control over him. Oh, and to learn his spells, you have to grind the Veldt to learn monster abilities...and it's random. But pick up the right ones, and know how to deploy them, and he becomes the strongest character until the very end of the game. To really get the lethal joke character flavor though, it's worth noting that some of his strongest attacks come from monsters that are ridiculously weak. Who knew a little mouse met in the first half hour of the game would teach you to instantly kill someone?
      • In the original SNES game, he could use the Merit Award, which gives you access to any equipment whether or not it's normally something the character can equip. For most characters, it's an amusing and somewhat useful ability. Gau can't use any weapons, though, and his physical attack power is boosted to make up for it. Add a powerful weapon, and he has some of the highest physical power available... which is still not terribly impressive, because magic overpowers regular physicals anyway. So instead put on a Tempest katana, which randomly turns physical attacks into a hit-all wind attack, and use the Stray Cat Rage, which has a 4x damage physical skill. Now Gau will often hit every enemy for 4x damage on top of his boosted attack strength, at no cost. Add an Offering, which makes you attack 4 times in a row, and suddenly Gau sweeps everything. This setup was called "Wind God Gau", and was so powerful that the re-releases generally take away the ability for Gau to use the Merit Award at all.
    • Additionally, Relm starts off pretty useless; her physical attacks suck, and even when Sketch works, it's not very useful. However, take a look at her stat screen, and you realize that she has the highest natural Magic in the game, and though she doesn't start off with any spells, the nature of the Esper system allows the player to customize her magic any way they like. In the second half of the game, you can get some very useful magic-boosting equipment for her, giving her a Glass Cannon flavor due to not being quite as durable as most of the other characters (but the Esper system can help this too).
    • Mog isn't quite as underrated as the above two, but he can still be surprisingly powerful with the right equipment.
  • Another Super Robot Wars example is Boss Borot. Ooooh... Boss Borot. He is Magikarp Power incarnate, especially once you could start upgrading attack damage. In Super Robot Wars Advance, the upgrade mechanics meant you could buff him up more than Shin Getter Freaking Robo. Super Robot Wars J also gives him the ability to heal units along with the long-running staple of him resupplying him, and you get experience every time you heal someone. Not to mention a particular doujin puts Jiron Amos from Xabungle at the controls, and... just [dead link]... take [dead link] a [dead link] look [dead link] at [dead link] its [dead link] power [dead link].
    • Think that's all the Borot can do? In Alpha Gaiden, once his will was high, just plant him in water and have him fight beam using enemies. They do 10 damage, HE kicks their ass. Also, if you buff his defense and HP, you can actually turn the Borot into a highly viable meat shield in J and W.
    • Alpha 2 takes it a step further, with Boss getting his copilots Nuke and Mucha. Unlike in J, they start out with a pair of decent-ish seishin each, until they hit level 80. At which point Nuke starts throwing Exhaust for 10 SP and Alert for 5.
    • Not only that, but in J and W, he can use a Self Destruct attack when you think he may be of no more use if he takes too much damage. Crank up the Spirit commands to max and watch the fireworks. And it only costs a measly 10 in cash to repair. Not only that, there is often a meme of him being the true hero of whatever game he is in with the Self Destruct attack his mech has.
    • The Super Robot Wars Compact series usually feature Leina Ashta of Gundam ZZ, Annoying Younger Sibling to Judou and Only Sane Man of the Shangri-La bunch, as a playable character. Lacking the abilities many MS pilots usually have, she's not a good pick for a Mobile Suit, but despite her low SP count and her tendency to draw critical hits (maybe a Shout-Out to her terrible luck in the series?), she is lethal in the right hands, as her stats are definitely not too shabby, and she has a pretty solid set of seishins. Put her in the Elmeth or the Alpha Aziel, and she will surprise you...
  • From the online card collection strategy game Pox Nora there is a Champion called the "Magma Bunny" that had stats well below average for the Mana Cost. However, it had the ability to split off a copy (splitting its HP), and if you upgraded a useless ability you could pump its Mana Cost to huge levels. Senseless? Perhaps, except for two spells, one that sacrificed a champion to refund the full Mana Cost, and another spell that sacrifices a champion and deals damage equal to the Mana Cost to the nearest enemy champion. And each copy cloned off of the original had the same mana cost as the original. Then there also happened to be another (in most circumstances crappy) spell that allowed you to keep redeploying your Magma Bunny after Sacrificing it, over and over again. That Deck became known as the "Bunnies of DOOM!" Finally the mechanics were nerfed.
  • Neko-Arc in Melty Blood - despite being completely unplayable (literally) for half of the versions, Neko-Arc is ridiculously overpowered: very small height, good speed, and powerful ranged and throwing attacks. A safe strategy leans towards crouching in a corner continually tripping her until she runs out of health. Luckily, she doesn't do too much damage overall, and has about the worst defense in the game, but if a skilled player hits enough times...
    • Neko-Arc suffers from one problem - her only attack that's likely to land a hit on the opponent is her True Ancestor Beam, which requires magic circuit to use. Neko-Arc Chaos, on the other hand, combines all of Neko-Arc's advantages with some of Nrvnqsr Chaos' far-reaching attacks... * shudder*
    • Both Neko-Arcs (in modes retaining their unique paper air-dash) can actually stay out of an attacker's reach for a ridiculous period of time. If they gain a life advantage during a match, then get hit in mid air near the peak of their high jumps, they can air-recover (resetting their actions) and air-dash slowly across the screen... TWICE.
  • In Dynasty Warriors 5, one of the (MANY) characters is Zuo Ci, an old man whose weapon is a deck of cards. At first glance, especially compared to massive pike-wielding badasses, this seems exceptionally lame. And yet his attacks, while not especially powerful, tend to hit EVERYONE even remotely close to him. In a game where it's quite common to be surrounded by 30-40 Mooks, this is invaluable.
    • Actually, Zuo Ci only looks like a joke. In reality, he had the best stats of any character in the game- all of his stats were on par with the highest of any other character, and he had epic combo abilities. If you knew what you were doing with him, it was possible to defeat even "invicinble" bosses you were supposed to avoid.
    • The Qiao sisters and their twin fans are rather weak, in damage dealing terms. Still, if they're played correctly, they can defeat dificult enemies in levels where the rest of characters would have to run for their lives.
    • Further mention goes to Xiao Qiao, whose ultimate weapon in DW 3 had the instant death element imbued onto her final charge attack string. Use it on an enemy officer and watch his/her life bar deplete instantly.
    • Also, in the online version, Zuo Ci's weapon seems to be the weakest out of all of them, inversely having one of the WORST stat averages of the game, the average high of the weapon is actually poor quality if compared to other weapons, and having a mostly gimmicky moveset. Unless you get the right combination of first and 6th charge attack. If done right, you can have a perfect assist weapon, second only to none. You could have the ability to naturally stun, freeze, or burn any opponent without using items, and if you do then you can stack up the advantage by using a combination of 2-3 elements depending on your luck with the weapon attacks. Being able to inflict status effects stacks well with the activation skill, you get a debuff and slowly lose health, one of the weapon's higher stats, and give a bonus in attack and defense to all friends, as well as heal them. You don't play this weapon for it's stats.
      • Talking about online, a less straight out joke weapon is the Feather fan, not to be confused with the strategist's fan of the same game that is also a feather fan but uses black feathers, because you can ask anybody online about Zhuge Liang, the character that this weapon moveset is based off of, and they will tell you it sucks. However, those who do know how to use it are in for a treat. It has very high defense, life, and attack upgrades, comparable the weapon based off The Dragon from the dynasty warrior games, and a deadly Musou attack is hard to aim, being a spamming of beams forward, but if you manage to connect you get a very effective stunlock that is impossible to get out of once hit unless the attacker stop or misses. Along with that it has only one really good normal attack, a moving wall attack, and it makes it confusing if somebody starts using other parts of the combo, you aren't likely to see the Charge 4 in combat, making it confusing when it's suddenly used to knock you and anybody near you away after you trap a user.
  • In Tales of Symphonia, we have The Chosen One, Colette. She appears to be a frail girl, that, well, needs protecting—barely capable of holding her own in a fight. With only mediocre stats, low speed, an odd fighting style and Idiot AI, one would think she's not worth keeping in the party—even her magic is bad (q simple, low damage light spell, a status buff that takes forever to cast, an Awesome but Impractical spell that kills her, and lastly a flashy spell that hardly hits anything) so why is she called a Game Breaker? She gets the game's strongest Physical Special Attacks—including one that only uses 14 TP, deals massive (x4.6) damage (and it's Lightning Elemental—a LOT of the game's enemies are weak to it...), another that can do x10 damage—and that stacks with another hidden ability: Her seemingly weak Pow Hammer attack can become Toss Hammer, a poisoning attack that NOTHING IN THE GAME (not even That One Bonus Boss) is resistant to, and anything afflicted by it drops it's HP down to 1 in a minute (this in action). She also has an easy to use Hi-Ougi. In the hands of any skilled player she's a force to be reckoned with and NOT someone to be underestimated.
    • Even in the hands of an unskilled player, combinining her Hammer Rain with Lloyd's level 2 Sword Rain arts in an Unison Attack provides the devastating Stardust Rain combination, which can connect for 100+ hits on its own against a sufficiently large opponent.
  • The Tales fangame, A.C.S., gives you the Kakashi Scarecrow (the training dummy from Tales of the Abyss. Its one attack shaves off about a quarter of the opponent's health bar... Much Hilarity Ensues.
  • In TOME you can switch on or off "silly" enemies; ones from different series that don't quite fit the series' "Lord of the Rings meets Dragonriders of Pern with the numbers filed off" theme. One of these enemies early on is a "floating mine." If you have enough skill in the Symbiote ability, you can fuse this to yourself and fire rockets. These work very well against Nazgul.
  • Shingo Yabuki of The King of Fighters '97, who is less effective in terms of technique but still has lots of damage potential in him, thanks to his ability to do random critical hits. Basically, it's a bit hard to have him hit you, but when he does hit, he'll break your defenses more than once. Yeowch.
    • Also in King of Fighters are Chang and Choi. Both characters look and act goofy and are part of the "joke" team, but are absolutely lethal in the right hands. The AI also tends to play them very well, making them lethal joke characters in normal play.
    • The USA Team of Lucky, Brian and Heavy D! is meant as a joke team, but the characters can be nasty in the right hands. The winner of a recent major Japanese KOF tournament had Heavy D! in his team.
      • "Meant" being the key word there. The only real joke out of the three is Lucky. Heavy D! is extremely fast and powerful, and Brian has surprisingly extensive combo ability.
  • In the Sega Saturn classic Guardian Heroes, there are several joke characters including Nando the bunny. However, if one were to go into 6-player versus mode with a team of at least three Nandos, that player will DOMINATE everyone else. Nando is incredibly tiny and has virtually no delay time between punches. Three or more at time can hit any character so many times that they won't be able move and it's inescapable. This even includes the couple of gods the player can use.
  • Albion features a scientist called Rainer Hofstedt, who is easily the weakest character in the game, and is only in the party for story reasons. He's also one of the only two characters who can use one of the best weapons in the game (a gun, in a mostly medieval setting).
    • The demo came with an edited savegame, where he gets a magic ring, that allows him to hurl fireballs. Not too powerful, but it does a decent amount of damage, and doesn't require any attack skill to successfully hit the target.
  • The Toy Cars in Burnout Paradise. They're miniaturized Power Wheels-style versions of some of the regular cars. They're quite a bit slower than their normal-sized counterparts... but they are much easier to weave through traffic and extremely durable (some of the tougher ones can ram a bus head-on and not wreck.) Their maneuverability and light weight makes them great for Stunt Runs as well (the Toy P12 88 Special in particular gets an obscene amount of hang time.)
  • The Flatmobile of Flat Out 2 is so comically fast that any typical player simply cannot control it. However, said acceleration is equally reciprocated in its brakes, and at sane speeds it can out-handle any vehicle in the game. In the hands of a truly skilled gamer, no other vehicle can possibly compete, even in the infamous destruction derbies.
  • The Need for Speed Underground 2 Toyota Corolla. This car looks hilariously outdated, being a box-shaped mid-'80s car in a game about flashy modern ricers, and it is one of the starter cars alongside the unimpressive Peugeot 106 and Opel Corsa. Oh, and it is also by far the best car in the game, beating Skylines and Supras left and right thanks to its very accurate handling. Still laughing?
    • This car is often amazingly good also in other NFS games. In Carbon, it is considered a BONUS alongide concept cars, and his handling makes the skilled player even able to stay behind a Murcielago in canyon races. In Pro Street this car is able to beat even the Drift King (and it is a tier one, the weakest of the game), and if fully tuned with Stage 4 parts (very much time consuming since they can be only won) can win in each game mode except the most difficult drag races.
      • In Real World drift races it is still a popular car. There must be a reason.
    • Similarly, when tuned to the max with Junkman parts, the starter cars in Most Wanted are among the best cars in the game. Try owning multiplayer races with a Fiat Punto. Ah, the humiliation.
    • Or tuning a Volkswagen Golf to be faster than a Bugatti Veyron.
  • In the Japanese version of Marvel Super Heroes a hidden character was Anita, Donovan's companion from Darkstalkers. Anita was small so many attacks flew right over her. Her super-move "Love For You" is the most devastating attack in the game: she throws a torrent of doll heads at you which hit for 99 hits, and even if you block you'll still lose half your life bar.
  • Gracia from Samurai Warriors 2 is pathetically weak if played like a traditional character... but her special skills are absurdly more potent than anyone else in the game, to the point of bordering on Game Breaker. She can boost her stats at will, restore health, and blast with obscenely powerful attacks, all at the cost of a bit of Musou Meter—and she quickly gets skills that cause it to constantly regenerate or accelerate its normal regeneration.
    • She's ridiculously effective on a horse, also. While her normal attacks are essentially her flailing her tiny fists at people (little damage, no range), her mounted attack is lobbing fireballs of doom. Gracia + Matsukaze = apocalyptic destruction.
  • The Monkey of Time Splitters 2 and its sequel, Future Perfect. With character attributes off, the monkey still retains its MUCH smaller hitbox, making him VERY hard to hit. Worse yet, his hitbox is BELOW the neutral position viewline, meaning opponents need to deliberately aim downwards to make their shots count, adding to the inaccuracy. With attribs on, his speed combines with the already almost gamebreaking hitbox, making him literally impossible to damage with non-hitscan weapons if played right.
    • Monkey is only a Joke Character at the select screen. As soon as you face him you realize he's a Game Breaker. There is even a stat that which keeps track of how many times you've played as him and he's overall seen as a cheat character. Modes like Monkey Assistant is a nightmare: The last player gets a team of monkies wielding rocket launchers after them. One should also not forget Robofish, who is probably an even more Lethal Joke Character. First he is really hard to unlock in all the games. Secondly he is a robot with a fish bowl for its head. After that he's equally fast and short as monkey, but since his body is as thin as it gets, he has a smaller hitbox. Even the head is hard to hit. The Shoal is also worth fitting up here. He's a floating whale with a top hat. The reason he's good is that when you realize he lacks legs he's harder to hit. He's got a fairly large torso, but the head is not part of the whale, but a fish on top. It's pretty small and unassuming and not very different from all the other fishes floating around him, thus it's very rarely anybody ever does a headshot on him.
      • On the subject of Robofish, let's not forget this; since he's a robot, he's completely immune to fire damage. Meaning quite a few attacks, like the Flamethrower and the Grenade Launchers secondary fire, are utterly worthless against him.
  • Mortal Kombat's Nightwolf was originally a parody of Thunder Hawk from Street Fighter. Except that he could run faster than a character was being thrown, and he had a fast recovery time, so you could set up a throw combo. He's still pretty good even in subsequent games, but no unblockable 100% combos.
    • Speaking of T.Hawk and throwing, he almost epitomizes this trope in Super Street Fighter II Turbo. He's laughably bad and has nearly unwinnable matchups against half the cast, and at a disadvantage against another quarter. However, if at any time, he achieves a knockdown in the corner, he can start a loop of safe-jumping (attacking with his jumping weak punch, which strikes on a blocking opponent, but whiffs and allows him to land against somebody attempting to reverse him), and following this with a negative-edge (button-released) Typhoon throw. This pattern allows him to do a completely unbreakable sequence of throwing somebody over and over again in the corner until they die, making him the only character in any iteration of Street Fighter II with an instant-win tactic, provided he can set it up.
    • Many characters in SSF 2 T have variations on this tactic, but are escapable in some way or another. Also, some characters can use a reversal move to counter this trap, but T.Hawk will simply block the reversal if his Typhoon did not work. This usually leads to more pain.
  • Kurumi of Vanguard Princess. Unlike the super-beings that are the rest of the cast, she is just a schoolgirl, and has only one move, but is the only character who can chain combo (deadly in this game as combos tend to be low in number and hit at near full power to compensate,) and as of the latest revision her supers are basically a One-Hit Kill.
  • Someone made a version of Mario for MUGEN called "NES Mario". NES Mario is just like what you think, the version of Mario from Mario 1, and he's tiny at that. He can only attack by jumping on enemies and he dies in two hits (if you don't press the button to turn into Super Mario again at the expense of some of the lifebar, a merciful addition). However, there's something that makes him lethal: Fighting game characters flinch when hit, Mario does not. If you get a window of opportunity, you can just keep on stomping your foe and finish them off in less than a minute.
    • Ironically, he can't survive his own stage, and you have to wait a long time after he dies for the game to progress.
    • There's also the Metool from Mega Man X. It takes twice the damage from any attack, hence dying twice as fast as a regular character. However, it's tiny and very hard to normally damage, it can juggle opponents with its Spread Shot, has access to its signature helmet guard which makes it invulnerable to ANYTHING, an unblockable super where a bunch of metools rush the enemy for a third of their health, and finally, it's ultimate attack drops the Metool Daddy from Mega Man 4 on the enemy for a One-Hit Kill (0WN3D)!
  • Arguably, Zappa from Guilty Gear. Due to the random nature of his ghost summons, he's just as unpredictable to the person playing him as he is to his opponent, and his really powerful ghost takes a long time to set up...but once Raoh appears, the fight is more or less over. Plus he's good for just plain freaking opponents out with his constant babbling and impossible contortions.
    • There is actually a method of consistently selecting a summon for Zappa based on the 2nd digit of the game timer. This makes him considerably more dangerous.
  • The Fire Emblem games are practically designed around allowing joke characters to turn into total badasses, provided that you can stand to level them up. Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn are especially guilty, including the infamous Makalov, who has pink clown hair, orange armor, and is best described as an all-around doofus. Oh, and he also enters the game badly under-leveled. With some TLC, though, Makalov's great growths can make him into one of your best Paladins. Other notables are Rolf and Mist, the annoying younger siblings of the Ike and Boyd, who also enter the game badly underleveled and dressed like they belong in middle school (Mist is wearing what can only be described as a sailor suit, in what is supposed to be a western fantasy setting). In latter levels Rolf is a serious contender for best bow user in the game (he beats Shinon in strength, speed and defense, to name a few important stats) and Mist evolves into the only Valkyrie in the game, a valuable unit that has the movement of a rider combined with the ability to use a staff.
    • Even more on Mist. She is notable in the game for having the among the lowest strength growths and stat caps in the game while also having amazing magic growth and stat cap. Unfortunately she uses swords as a weapon of choice, which makes her mediocre in battle at best. Until you give her one of the magic swords available in the game, which uses her magic stat for attacking and behaves pretty much like a magic tome. All of the sudden, you have a beastly unit capable of destroying hundreds... at least until her magic sword breaks.
      • This is only possible in Path of Radiance, however. In Radiant Dawn, magic swords do physical damage now. This makes Mist far less usable as an attacker, but allows for more than three sword users (one of whom isn't even in Radiant Dawn) to be able to effectively attack from afar, since every other sword user relies a lot more on the strength stat than the magic stat.
      • In the DS remake of the first game, thieves are noted for only their ability to open chests and doors without keys and on first glance are useless in actual combat. Jules, the first thief you get in your army, has a completely hidden yet amazing stat progression. His combat stats level to the point where he can practically tank like a heavily armored Knight, plus getting two blows every single combat exchange and having an amazing chance to critical hit.
    • In Radiant Dawn, one of the starting characters is Meg, low leveled and rather weak. She seems worthless...until you level her up a bit and realize he stats skyrocket. She can become one of the fastest heavy characters in the game, not to mention the luckiest, and gains tons of HP. Combined with her personal skill Fortune, she can't be critical thus making her a mighty tank. By the end of the game and trained right, she's one of the single most useful characters in the entire series!
  • In Final Fantasy, the Bard is usually thought of as a joke class, mainly due to the fact that most people outside of Japan were first exposed to it by Edward in Final Fantasy IV, then called II in North America, and he sucked. In the DS Enhanced Remake of IV, Edward gains "Life's Anthem" one level after you meet him, which is nearly a Game Breaker: It lets the entire team regenerate a set amount of HP every second for the duration. Thus, the best use for him is to make him go first, set up Life's Anthem to fully refill HP, then destroy the enemies. At higher levels, he gets "Hastemarch", a full-party haste, and "Hero's Rhyme", a full-party 10% boost to all stats.
    • Edward actually could qualify as this in the original too. Since you lost him early in the game, the developers gave him the best stat increases in the game at the higher levels.
    • In the GBA remake, Edward is actually capable of soloing the Big Bad at level 60. It's very hard, but possible, making him qualify as an even more lethal joke character. Of course, he has the worst possible stats in the beginning, only beaten by Tellah, who actually becomes weaker by leveling up. At least his unnecessary Strength-stat drops by 1 point frequently when he levels up. His Intelligence doesn't ever increase either, nor does his MP.
  • Ridge Racer 4 has the Age Solo Ecureuil, a mini car that has one gear but can go from 0 to 180 in three seconds. And you have to race against it in the Extra Trial to unlock it. The car would then appear twice with an extra gear in Ridge Racer(s) 2 for the PSP: once as the Angelus Kid and again as the Crinale Kid.
    • In Ridge Racer V we would meet with the Soldat Rumeur, a car that looks like the Volkswagen Beetle and can't drift, but can successfully round almost any corner at full speed. The only other car that can do this is the Kamata Angelus, albeit the Angelus takes much more practice to use properly.
  • Arc the Lad gives us Poco, the first sidekick of The Hero, who happens to be a cowardly klutz who ended in the army drum corps. Once correctly leveled, he starts Dual-Wielding cymbals, shooting laser beams from his drum and can do a Doppelganger Spin where an orchestra of Pocos bring destruction throught very loud sounds.
  • Whether by design or accident, the characters that are treated as joke characters in Touhou Soccer tend to actually be really good. Meiling as a forward is excellent as a character (especially considering her price); Cirno has the best interception in the game that can stop just about anything; and Kaguya (in either position) are amazing for her cost.
  • The portly Duane in Kingdom Under Fire: Circle of Doom is the only character who has no achievement for beating the game, has no real story quests to speak of, has comical dream sequences and foppish costumery, and tends to fall over when Dashing. His ranged attacks, though, are some of the strongest.
  • Death Vegas has two lethal joke characters: Duff, a fat guy wearing a Hawaiian shirt and a crown, and Lourdes, a plunger-wielding cleaning lady. Both of them have nasty counterattacks and are capable of holding their own against a roster that includes a karate expert, an martial artist assassin, a tazer-wielding FBI agent, and a roided-up boxer.
  • Over the course of its run, arcade game series Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune gives us two which are particularly Lethal Joke Characters: the absolutely diminutive Subaru R2 and the hulking Toyota Hi Ace. To clarify, the former is a dinky Kei Car and the latter is a huge minivan in a game series which is about tuners getting outputs of 600 horsepower and way up. The R2 is low-power but very lightweight, making it one of the most agile and surefooted cars in the game and the Hi Ace is a huge brick of automobile that needs to hit trucks to take the hint that it might want to get out of its lane.
    • The Toyota Celsior and Aristo (Lexus LS and GS, respectively) are cars that, while high-powered, are more designed for luxury than performance. As such their racing ability is questionable, and their in-game performance reflects it...unless you play VS mode. As the heaviest cars in the game, they are the hardest to push around, making it easy to knock away higher-tier cars into traffic or even walls.
  • In the video game Biker Mice From Mars, the player who chooses Vinnie is often mocked mericlessly - even with great acceleration and grip, the White Wonder is chastised for being pitifully slow and having an awful special attack (he just jumps in the air). However, a player who knows how to use Vinnie to his best potential will shut everyone up. Using his special attack many times in a row on a straight stretch will vault a player to the head of the pack... FAST! Slap a few engine upgrade on Vinnie and he will be on par with everyone else... AND still have the best acceleration and grip in the game! Every other player ALWAYS has a "WTF?!" reaction when seeing what Vinnie is truly capable of.
  • Hidden character and in-game shop-owner Mel, from Power Stone 2. She has three special attacks; of these, two do low damage and are difficult to connect with. The third also does low damage; unlike any other special attack however, it can be used up to four times in a row. Combine with Mel's special ability to triple-jump out of range, and suddenly the opposition is being crushed by a never-ending rain of unavoidable moneybags spawned by an untouchable foe.
  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • Commoners is pretty much the useless class in 3.x, with horrendous Base Attack Bonus, Hit Dice, and skills, as well as no class features. However, they're also the only class capable of taking "Chicken-Infested", a joke "flaw" from Dragon which gives flat 50% chance that time the character draws an item will instead produce a chicken. Aside of the obvious uses, it allows some exploits, leading to ridiculously nasty "poultrymancer" builds.
      • Dropping an item is a free action, and sometimes drawing an item is a free action, meaning the character can produce unlimited amount of chickens in one round. It's still somewhat useless, but astute players can use the chickens to suffocate dungeons, fill canyons, swamp invading armies, provide an infinite food source, and make DMs rip their hair out.
      • Cautious building can net a character capable of creating swarms of angry, zombie chickens that explode for 1d6 negative energy damage.
      • Even more poultrymancy upon exporting this trait to Pathfinder - more ridiculous option than just "Burning Skeleton Chicken Swarm".
    • Commoners can also qualify for the Survivor prestige class at level 1. Its only non-role play prerequisite is that you have to have your highest base save lower than your level (usually you start with at least one of the three base saves at two) and has exceedingly high defensive abilities. In the same list as the 'Chicken Infested' flaw you can find a flaw that causes enemies to arbitrarily attack the person with that flaw, which is also exclusive to commoners. Combining the two can potentially be quite potent... Assuming you can survive that first level.
    • The other two NPC classes, Expert and Adept, are not to be underestimated either. Expert can have any 10 skills, which is potentially very useful when source books contain ways to make skill use lethal. Adepts, despite their intent, actually have some useful spells on their list, and often at a low level, puting them quite high on the class tier lists.
    • A good way to spot the difference between beginners/noobs and experienced players is how they view the bard class. Anyone who's in the former will dismiss bards as spoony, the latter will point out Dragonfire Inspiration = +9D6 damage to attacks made by your party members at Level 6. To put that in perspective, the other major things at Level 6 are druids getting the ability to buff while in bear form and the melee classes finally getting a second attack (which always misses) and the mandatory Shock Trooper feat, none of these are as helpful to the party as an average +30 damage to each attack.
      • Perhaps even more impressive (in the hands of a skilled player) are the noncombat abilities of the bard. As the only Core base class capable of using both spells and skills, a properly played bard can do with a few rolls what would otherwise be difficult even with a large number of encounters.
    • Kobolds are tiny lizard creatures with a base challenge rating of 1/4, and about that many hit points. Tucker's Kobolds became famous in D&D fandom for being able to wipe fully-prepared Level 10 parties with nothing but clever tactics and items.

... our party scrambled down a side passage, only to be ambushed by more kobolds firing with light crossbows through murder holes in the walls and ceilings. Kobolds with metal armor and shields flung Molotov cocktails at us from the other sides of huge piles of flaming debris, which other kobolds pushed ahead of their formation using long metal poles like broomsticks. There was no mistake about it. These kobolds were bad.

      • Any creature can become a heck of a lot more dangerous than their base challenge rating would seem to indicate with the help of clever tactics and items. What makes kobolds special is that they combine statistics and fluff that make it perfectly in-character to come up with and implement clever tactics with an extremely low challenge rating. Add to that a racial bonus to making traps...
  • Pet Shop from Jo Jo's Bizarre Adventure is a bird whose Stand, Horus is an ice elemental who only allows him to fire tiny icicles and stalagmites at his enemies which do little damage, as well as having the lowest health in the game. However, being a bird, he's the only character in the game who can fly seamlessly around the battlefield, meaning he's able to dodge just about any attack by simply flying over it, and has some of the most spammable moves in the game, one of which is incredibly powerful.
    • The tourneys for the game actually consider him to be the highest tiered character. Some even have him banned from use in competitive play.
  • Fighting game Eternal Champions 2 (Also known as Eternal Champions: Challenge from the Dark Side) had, as an unlockable character, Crispy, a chicken with no special moves and not many regular moves to speak of either. But he was also so small that the majority of the other characters' moves couldn't hit him, and opponents could only block his attacks while crouching (except his jumping attacks). The character was supposed to be just a cute novelty character, but he was ridiculously hard to beat, even when played by an inexperienced player. He was practically invincible in the hands of someone who knew what they were doing. (The fact that the game introduced a "juggling" mechanic that the bugs hadn't exactly been worked out of, and that Crispy was too small for other characters to juggle but fast enough to easily juggle anyone else didn't help.)
  • Kuma in Tekken 1, 2 and 6. Kuma is a bear with a big hit box and crappy range (though less of a problem in Tekken 2), he moves slow and his moves are predictable. On the plus side in Tekken 2 and 6 he attacks at a decent speed. For some reason from Tekken 3 they decided to nerf him into a crappy Joke Characther , then Tekken 6 undid a lot of the damage, and gave him a whole bunch of new moves, including the fact he can now juggle! He still moves slow, he still has crap range, a big hitbox and can be very predictable if not played properly..... but he attacks at a decent pace and he still has his high power meaning he can put on alot very quickly. Yay rebalancing!
    • Not to mention the "Bear Fart". It's hard to connect, but it's one of the most powerful moves in any Tekken game and practically a OHKO if it connects.
  • Appropriately enough, The Joker fills this role in the Play Station 3-exclusive Joker mode for Batman: Arkham Asylum. He's a scrawny-looking guy with a clown motif, and he can't take hits like Batman can, but his clowning about is literally lethal.
  • Super Smash Bros. has had Jigglypuff since the start. Low weight, weak moves on several of her buttons, and rather close range attacks, virtually everything about Jigglypuff screams low-mid tier or lower. She also has Rest, which can guarantee a kill pretty much once one figures out its hit box location.
    • Her many flaws and her one plus got balanced out in Brawl. She became much more effective at recovery, and she's a monster in air combat, but her rest is far from dangerous.
    • Chain her down-a drill kick with down-b rest and it becomes nigh unstoppable. The first attack immobilizes anyone underneath and lines up the hitbox for rest 95% of the time. Considering how far Jiggly can fly, it's pretty easy to repeatedly spam the combo to kill anyone who isn't expecting it. The only effective counter is using Captain Falcon to FALCOOOOOON PUUUUNCH! while she's sleeping.
    • In Super Smash Bros. Melee, Jigglypuff is actually one of the best characters in the game, even in the hands of an amateur, and is even in the highest tier in the current metagame. She has an amazing recover with her multiple jumps and pound, unbeatable air maneuverability, amazing gimping ability, disjointed hitboxes, strong priority on most of her moves, and strong or easily combo-able attacks overall. It's true that she is a joke character, but nothing about her abilities and stats makes her a joke.
    • Super Smash Bros. Brawl did this to Toon Link. Essentially, he is faster than Link, but only about half as powerful. In the hands of someone who really knows how to use him, however, he can become a one-man army.
    • And speaking of Toon Link, Young Link from Melee. Not powerful in the slightest, and his strategy seems to rely solely on spamming of bombs. Didn't stop Armada as Young Lin from taking down HungryBox as Jigglypuff 2-0 intournament play.
  • Exit Fate likes this trope. A talking cat that can't wear armor has surprisingly good offense and healing, a senile old man can spam spells faster than any other character in the game, and even a lawyer with no combat training can eventually function as a decent mage.
  • Robopon's first game has Teabot. Teabot is a little robot whose entire purpose is serving tea. You get one from your grandpa for completing your tower, and it's implied he bought it from a TV shopping channel. Its Monster Compendium data outright calls it "useless." Tell that to its high-powered software, and the fact that its basic attack can scrap enemies in one hit.
  • In Breath of Fire II, by combining your characters with Shaman spirits, they can become powered up in various ways. The more noteworthy combinations can actually change what your character looks like; most characters have one such morph, but Spar has three of them. You'd think the badass grass dragon transformation would be the best one, right? Nope. It's not the Cute Monster Girl morph, either. It's the tiny seed that walks by hopping. By casting Atk-Up on Spar in seed form and using the Bud attack, Spar can do absolutely ludicrous damage. Nothing quite beats the hilarity of overkilling evil demons by crashing a tiny hopping seed into them.
  • Banjo-Tooie allows Banjo to transform into a washing machine. While the one attack available here (firing underpants) isn't exactly lethal, it's arguably the most useful transformation in the game thanks to its other abilities.
  • The very first air unit in Advanced Strategic Command, Zeppelin. It has basic bombs and machinegun, but fairly low ammo on all weapons and the third worst Armor after unarmed AWACS plane and light helicopter. It also has good View, so it can avoid being spotted too early by most units and use its advantages to the fullest. At High altitude it can fly with impunity over almost anyone, including SAM trooper. It carries 6 infantry units and lands almost anywhere, so no need to use light Paratroopers, anything from mine-laying variety to snipers can be brought right to the target. 6x infantry of the right type can quickly destroy almost anything, especially supported by the same zeppelin that delivered them, and by breaking ammo and fuel supply may doom much more than they can kill directly. Also, Zeppelins are affordable (more expensive than most land vehicles, but cheaper than most aircraft), and infantry is cheap to build.
    • A helicopter equivalent, trooper hunter Terror, is slightly cheaper and faster but has about 1/3 of Zeppelin's maximum range (smaller fuel tank and greater consumption), no High altitude capability, lesser view range and armed only with machineguns, effective mainly against infantry, making it somewhat better for rush or transportation as such, but worse for a "surprise foothold" invasion overall.
  • Cielo from Digital Devil Saga. His weakness is to status effects, which means that with Cielo in your party, not only might you have multiple characters fall asleep but the enemy will get an extra turn. He's also introduced relatively late, when the player has already sorted the other characters into various roles, so players often ignore him and fail to level him and learn his skills. While using Argilla as the healer, despite the fact her stats make her the best Black Mage. Late second playthrough, this becomes a fatal mistake.
    • While other characters can't do anything about their weaknesses until the lategame, and even then they can only resist those elements by taking up a skill slot, Cielo in the hands of a player who sees his potential can begin to null individual ailments as soon as he's introduced, equipping whatever nulls are best for the boss or dungeon. Nulling an enemy's attack causes them to lose a turn. In addition to that, Cielo's seemingly odd and useless stat distribution means that he's got an incredibly high dodge rate & good MP. Dodging an enemy's attack also causes them to lose a turn. It's very common to lose one or more characters to attacks that Cielo dodges without a scratch. Eating the enemy's turn icons make Cielo a defense character, and in addition to that his odds of survival mean that he's able heal and revive the party after a devastating blow, in addition to the fact that learning to null aliments also means Cielo can block and cure those ailments. Shoot the Medic First is impossible when the enemy can't hit the medic.
    • Like the skill Null Sleep, Cielo is also designed for the second playthough Bonus Boss, one of the hardest in JRPG history. Cielo's increased risk of getting hit by ailments plus invulnerability while asleep makes him the most likely to survive the otherwise unavoidable Gaea Rage, on top of the benefits of having no elemental weaknesses & dodging physical attacks.
    • Since so many players failed to see Cielo's potential in the first game, Atlus responded by making him an outright Game Breaker in the second. His odds of being affected by ailments are lower & his dodge rate compared to the other characters, especially on hard mode, is even more noticable. Since for a lot of this game, including a few bonus bosses, the player will only have three party members Cielo is an absolute lifesaver, since unfortunatly Gale, one of the better characters in the first game, has become The Load due to his weakness to electricity & high odds of being frozen by ice attacks and allowing the enemy to get extra turns by critical-hitting him.
  • The Harasser hovercraft in Mechwarrior Living Legends has laughable armor, crap weapons, gets outran by some mechs that carry 3 times the weapons, and is prone to spontaneously flipping over from touching small rocks. The Harasser Delta "Toast 'n' Go" variant, better know as the Flamasser, carries a loadout of 6 flamethrowers. Like the other Harassers, it is hilariously top heavy and the addition of the flamethrowers makes the hovercraft melt when you fire. However, when carefully used, those 6 flamethrowers also cause enemy mechs to melt so much their arms fall off, instantly causes the fusion reactors on aerospace fighters to explode, and melts battlearmor in their suits. A newbie in one of these things is a free kill, while a pro driving one is an unstoppable boiling engine of fire and death spinning across the level at 160kph.
  • Hunk from Resident Evil 4's Mercenaries mode has no knife and a TMP that burns through ammo in seconds. Careful aim and good use of his one-hit-kill neck breaker special move can allow you to take out packs of enemies while gaining far more ammo from drops than you used, while the TMP's fast rate of fire allows you to lock down larger groups and even some minibosses. Not to mention you also spawn with 3 frag grenades. The only problem is if you run out of ammo, you don't have a backup weapon and can't even break open containers to look for more.