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This is often particularly true when button combos are required. By the time the new moveset is unlocked, the enemies are too powerful to take lightly by practicing your new attack on, and your own damage output is high enough that failing to activate your new ability will simply kill a mook outright with a mere jab.
In the Super Smash Bros. series of games, each character has several special moves (three in the first game, four in later games) that use their unique abilities, and the third game provides each character with an impressive Final Smash, some of which cross the line into Game Breaker territory, but the most overwhelmingly useful moves in any mode are the weak but varied standard attacks.
Capcom vs. SNK 2 has 48 characters, all with a variety of special moves. Their best attacks? For the most part, a crouching fierce (hard) punch. Out of the top 3 characters (Cammy, Sagat, Blanka), two have ball-busting low fierces and there is almost no time where it is a bad move (Cammy's standing fierce punches and roundhouse (again, hard) kicks generally serve the same purpose).
Let's not forget Iori's crouching fierce. It has massive range.
David Sirlin, designer for Street Fighter 2 HD Turbo Remix, won a tournament by choosing one character and just spamming crouching strong for a minute straight. He writes about all sorts of boring yet effective techniques to beat people who waste time using slow but awesome looking attacks.
Street Fighter and The King of Fighters games are all but shallow - the main difference between just "good" and genuinely great players is their ability to effectively use and mix up the basic light and medium attacks into a chain of heavy attacks and showy specials. In some ways, this is an excellent parallel of real world Boxing and MMA.
Similarly, in the Samurai Shodown games few things are better for punishing an opponent's mistake than a simple fierce slash; given the high damage levels used in the series, this often becomes an extreme case of the use of this trope. Oh, and while it's true that landing a disarming desperation attack tends to make the fight easier, there are still several cases when merely causing a good amount of raw damage is much better.
In Street Fighter III, you must choose a super special move out of a selection of three. The "best" (to the extent that one could be considered the best) one out of these three tends to be (though is not always) the one that lets you use the meter the most often, either through having a lot of capacity through EX moves (which tend to be like supers but less flashy) or through having a very short meter bar to charge (allowing you to use supers almost willy-nilly, though some of these supers are also not very flashy). An example of the former case is Ryu's Shinkuu Hadou Ken (a super that isn't all that great, but gives you a ton of meter to work with to hound your opponent with plenty of EX moves) Examples of the latter case include Ken’s Shippū Jinrai Kyaku (which is fast, has invincibility frames, has good range, and you get three of them) and Yun’s Gen'ei Jin (which allows for some nice extended combos served up very, very often).
The "Man with Two Moves", Guile, has a moveset considered to be this in pretty much every Street Fighter game. He's been using the same two specials, Sonic Boom and Flash Kick (along with super versions of each) since his debut. And it's still a pain to get past them.
As of this writing, tiers are still in the air for Marvel vs. Capcom 3, however, current thought is that one character absolutely dominates the game as the absolute best. Who is this character? Dante, with a billion and one moves? Amaterasu, the Physical God who can switch fighting styles on the fly and is said to have no weaknesses? Or Phoenix, who can die and be resurrected as the God Mode SueSuper-Powered Evil Side Dark Phoenix? None of the above. For now, the single best character in the game is . . . Wolverine, who possesses enough raw speed AND power to turn one confirmed attack into an instant death combo against 90% of the entire cast! He has no fireballs, no grapples, and no devastating assists. He simply beats your ass until you can't get up.
Many such moves in Dissidia Final Fantasy, and its sequel, Duodecim, from Jecht and Cloud Of Darkness's few brave attacks to Zidane's starting HP move, Free Energy—but the one that takes the cake is Sephiroth's Shadow Flare. It is practical—weak, but ranged, little end lag, good assist charge, quick, virtually unpunishable; people who play competitively consider it the very best move he has—but man alive is it dull: Sephiroth raises his sword in the air, four little darkness-thingies appear by the opponent and move in on them. Making matters worse, a whole lot of matches with Sephiroth consist of persistent, constant, and ceaseless use of this move. Considering how much style the character has in his other appearances, it's very ironic.
Most fighting games have a "damage scaling" system, which lessens the amount of damage each successive hit of a combo does in order to prevent combos from killing characters outright. In particularly egregious cases, this can mean that adding more hits to a combo can make it end up doing less damage! So you're sometimes better off doing that 2-hit combo into a Limit Break instead of that super-stylish 50-hit combo that has 2 Limit Breaks in it.
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