In Sapphire Stone, just the fact that Daring clears every trap and obstacle - physical and intellectual - in the temple and escapes unscathed, beyond the broken wing she had to begin with, and with no aid from her later allies once she entered the jungle.
In Griffon's Goblet, Daring escapes Copperbeak's top assassins in a high-speed chase through a raging Everfree storm with maneuvers that can only be described as superpony.
After the whole book of Ambassador Hawkwings being a useless, obnoxious ass while hiding behind his position, Storm Talon smacks him in the face and gives him an epic "The Reason You Suck" Speech. Telling him he's an ungracious coward hiding behind empty threats of blacklisting against Platinius and political fallout against the Equestrians to avoid giving credit where it's due, and how ponies like the Dos and those killed in the war did more for the Griffon people than his useless rump ever would. Then he punctuates it by threatening to pluck him bare and use his feathers for a pillow if he ever hears him badmouthing them again. All with his signature talkingstyle.
Apparently it stuck, because when Mareton nearly chokes him to death for being a fat, lazy, incompetent, racist jackass, the first thing he does after Platinius saves him was to give him a pay raise.
Curse of the Yeti has a retroactive one for Ghoul Dachshund: If the claims he makes in his book The Cider Diary are true, he and several other reporters once toppled a drug cartel operating out of the Gallopagos by publishing several articles about the ponies involved.
"We nailed those jerks to their own front doors."
Daring's father gets thrown into a wall by the Yeti. His response? Getting up calmly and actually send the creature tumbling into its shrine.
The University staff's invocation There Is No Kill Like Overkill against the University break room's filthy refrigerator that Ahuizotl stuffed Daring into: drag it out to the University quad, have Ghoul drench it in cheap, flammable cider, and lock it with a combination of chains and magical locks conjured by Tabula. Storm then orders Rayback to "let 'er rip'', and Daring and Herpy proceed to roast marshmallows over the ensuing inferno. Finally, the ashes are scattered to the four winds.
During the Yeti attack on the University, Masra calmly stares one down as it roars in her face, then promptly turns and bucks it in the gut.
Masra(As the yeti is gasping for beath) Welcome to Canterlot.
Despite having been established as a Shrinking Violet only pages earlier in Wooden Mask, Desert Rose holds her own in an argument with OutbackJack, calling her out on her seeming cruelty to animals - specifically, her hat decorated with crocodile teeth, most of which come from Jack's own pet Billabong. Rose doesn't resort to the Eyes of Fatima, but she sure doesn't let Jack's behaviour slide.
Darrin: I understand why you wouldn't want to have to raise us. You had dreams. You had your own life to live. Fair enough. But did you have to take it out on us? It wasn't like we were thrilled with the situation, either! Do you think having to be cared for by a moody, cocky spoiled brat because our father ran out on us was our first choice? Do you?! Because it wasn't! And you were so horrible about accepting it, too! You just complained and treated us like we wanted you to be held back! We didn't want that! We're siblings, Derring! Siblings are supposed to want the best for one another! And they are not supposed to just skip out on their younger siblings the second one of them turns eighteen! Would it have killed you to say goodbye?! Leave a note?! Call us every now and then?! And when we finally run into you—after seven years, I may add!—you don't even bother to say, "Hey, how's your life been since I ditched you with no explanation?" Derring, you're my older sister, and I love you, but I have one thing to say to you: GROW UP.
Miss Starlight has her moment in Cove Of Candles when she picks up a rapier and swashbuckles mooks like a pro. Up until this point, Starlight was a useless Distressed Damsel being kidnapped again. Her line after one mook manages to take a swipe of her hair is the icing on the cake.
Ironically, this grants Daring some insight into Mareton, and she later manages to really needle him in Temple of Nightmare Moon, as she gives Mareton a brief but epic "The Reason You Suck" Speech in which she explains how Nagridge, the sadistic, racist Strawmare Political, was an objectively better pony..
Laurentia of the Red Mane taking on a mob of Diamond Dogs endowed with super magic powers in Temple of Nightmare Moon.
Four words. Then where is Herpy? And, of course, the ensuing ass-kicking.
The epic plot-kicking Okpono gives Ahuizotl in Temple of Nightmare Moon. Holy clopping horseapples, does Ahuizotl ever get pwned!
Daring's badass line from ''Legacy of Nightmare Moon."
Daring: INTI! Prepare to meet Nightmare Moon! IN TARTARUS!
Gotta admit, it was pretty awesome when Nightmare Moon manifests, steals her power back from Inti, gives her speech on why she is not to be bucked with, then shackles him to the night sky. Apparently, their precious Equestrian moon can help you now.
Princess Luna herself aided the filming of that scene.
Much of the action in The Staff of Star Swirl the Bearded. Up until this book, we'd only heard stories of Bravado's accomplishments from the stallion himself. In this story, he and Daring both have some impressive moments, including engaging in a mid-air fight on the roof of the Explorer.
The climactic scene is pretty intense. Ahuizotl has the Staff, and Daring and Bravado are at his mercy. He moves to blast them out of existence, but instead meets defeat at the hooves of the pony no-one saw coming: Star Swirl the Bearded himself! The wizard explains how he long ago anticipated that others would eventually look for a way to gain his power, and so with the last of his strength, he sealed a portion of his mind within the jewel atop the Staff, so that he could judge for himself if the finder was worthy to inherit his power. Needless to say, considering who managed to summon him, a pretty epic Curb-Stomp Battle ensued.
The ending of The Trials of Unity is a CMOA for both Do sisters. Upon finally reconciling with each other after years of bitter rivalry, Daring and Derring both tackle the final and most intimidating challenge of Unity together, in complete synchronicity. They complete it and retrieve the treasure almost effortlessly.
Whenever anypony manages to take Ahuizotl down a peg in his Let's Get Dangerous mode. Darrin plowing through his minions and bucking him, or Commandant Rex taking him by the neck.
Particularly of note is when he smashes the chair over Mareton's head when he was choking Hawkwings then drives him off. First time that bastard gets taken down a peg. If it wasn't for Earth Pony endurance, Mareton would have been down for good right there. And even Hawkwings manages to be Bad Ass in that scene, if only for delivering his "Facing the Bullets" One-Liner just before the chair hit.
Spear of the Windigos has Interrobang forced to take on the Windigo Possessed Snazzy Shades by himself, in a tiny ice cavern. This requires him to eventually let the Windigo start gnawing his shoulder just so he can be close enough to take the necklace off.
How Herpy gets through the Death Course in Ring of the Marengeti. He simply examines the hall for a few minutes, then simply WALKS through it, perfectly timed so that the dart guns, spinning blades, Spikes of Doom AND Smashing Hallway Traps of Doom all either go off too early or too late to hit him.
Ghoul Dachshund setting a Hoofstapo goon ablaze using the Booze Flamethrower with his 90% proof hard cider…then shrugging and gulping down a few mouthfuls. The dog has an iron constituency.
From Shrine of the Silver Monkey: In this corner, you have Ahuizotl. In this corner, King Scorpan of the apes. Ahuizotl threatens to place the King back under the old enchantment. The ensuing combat is covered by a Gilligan Cut in the books, but the movie shows the showdown.
In The Ring of Destiny, Daring, with the aid of Ascended Fanfilly tag-along Rainbow Dash, pulls off a magnificent I Surrender, SuckersBatmare Gambit on Ahuizotl, culminating in the utter destruction of the Fortress of Talicon. Heck, the entire book itself could be considered to be a Crowning Moment of Awesome just for the appearance of one of the Elements of Harmony!
The only reason anypony this tropony knows still reads Buffalo Burial Ground is for Landing Grouse's fight with Noteworthy Smith. That scene was worthy of a far better book than BBG.
In Ruby Of The Blank Village, Daring's Big Damn Heroes moment when she flies in and saves the injured Sun Set from Nightmare Starlet and her pack of Bone Fiends.
Daring Do rescuing Short Stuff from Prism Rush, then taking down Applesack and Charity in short order.
The Coronet of Chaos may be one of the more contested Expanded Universe works, but Stan's Big Damn Heroes moment near the end deserves mention. Followed immediately by a Crowning Moment of Funnywhen he tosses a muffin at Daring's head after the ritual is completed, as revenge for Daring eating his muffin at the very beginning of the book.
Also, the fan-made song The World Famous Swindell Sisters, which has become the unofficial theme song for the duo among fans. This has progressed to the point where it will be featured in the upcoming comedic Swinn-And-Dell-centric spinoff film, the verbosely titled The World-Famous Swindell Sisters' Amazing Shenanigan-Filled Odyssey Across Equestria.
For all of his rather abrasive behavior, the Steelclad Sorcerer shows that his title is well earned, and that seriously messing with him is a very bad idea.
"Ye may be strong, ye may be smart, but yer still a bloody halfwit".
Speaking of that same villain, his description of the battle, although he severely downplays his heroics, is still quite awesome.
"The idiot just happen'd ta learn some fancy magic that messed wit' souls, and when he tried it on me, it didn't work. Hay, th' bloody moron was too busy freakin' out ta notice I was about ta drop th' roof on 'im. I dunnae understand why ya like that darn story so much, HE DIDN'T EVEN TRY TA GIT OUTTA THE WAY!"
It's mostly nightmarish, but you can't deny Steam Whistle pulled off one of these: He went from being a backwater town blacksmith to a Mad Scientist who almost single-hoofedly created one of most terrifying threats to ever show up in Equestrian lore, along with several other artifacts and golems that we've yet to see. A completely unremarkable pony (until then) managed to throw off the power balance for the entire world and leave a mark on history that won't be forgotten anytime soon. Inspiring, yet terrifying at the same time.
His magnum opus, the Assembler, gets one of these before the story. Read its description of the "bipedal demon" it battled to a standstill. That's right, it could fight Krastos on equal footing.
The unnamed Colt of Smooze member who managed to fight off the Assembler deserves a place on this list. It's implied to have been the Colt Leader.
Not to mention when she actually gets serious and shoots the Assembler in the eye. Sure, it didn't do much to it, and it didn't actually intend to collect anypony (it was reasonable enough to forgive her, considering the thing's reputation), but still.
When Ghoul very nearly pulls a Heroic Sacrifice to let Storm and Rayback (who had stowed away in their luggage) escape the Blank village…by threatening the zomponies with alcohol. The three do get out alive, but it's a very close call.
Ghoul:(Brandishing a torch and a very large jug of hard cider, and speaking dead seriously) Storm, take the kid and fly out of here.
Storm: Ghoul, what in Tartarus are you doing?
Ghoul: Storm, you shut that beak and get the kid out of here. (Addressing the zomponies) You maggot-infested string beans see what I've got here? This is fire, and this is a jug of 470-proof Hard Apple Cider. The hardest cider I've ever found. Bought from a pony I met in the Gallopagos. Cost me several thousand bits. You take one more step towards these two, I smash this jug and drop the torch. We all go up together.
Grey Hoof: Your bluff is most obvious. There's no such thing as 470-proof Cider.
Ghoul: Yeah, that's exactly what I said. Care to test that theory?
Desert Rose backtalking The Assembler for its brutal murders of the Colt of Smooze. As bad as they were, she's had first hoof experience of Smooze corruption. She knows how hard it is to fight, and only really managed to break free because of her friends and family, something either the Colt members lost, or were why they'd become a Colt member in the first place.
The best part? The thing actually listens.
The Assembler: "I agree that such an approach was not correct. I already paid for that mistake, and will not repeat it again."
Also during Tinker's Seal, when Mareton shoots Herpy with the Hoof-Held Cannon…and Herpy lives. If surviving something specifically mentioned to be capable of instantly killing anything isn't a CMOA, I don't know what is.
Krastos gets a hold of Ahuizotl's unicorn serum and feeds it to his army of demons, then marches onto Manehatten. Stalwart Shield and the Equestrian army is dispatched and manages to hold Krastos' attack for three days while they try to evacuate the city.
Then, when it looks like they're going to be overrun, Storm Talon captaining his old dreadnought and heading up the fifth griffon air fleet swoops in…with the bulk of The Assembler's very peeved army chasing them.
Three-quarters of the way through, in a masterful gambit, Ahuizotl manages to trick the heroes and steals all of the Mad Tinker's works that they managed to gather up to that point, forcing them to have to deal with The Assembler's and Krastos' armies conventionally until they could take them back. His ultimate goal is to blackmail the world into giving him what he wants, and is willing to sacrifice the whole of Equestria to make his point.
Daring manages to take down Krastos and the Assembler simultaneously as they were fighting each other, by luring them both to a Leyline, seeding it with the Chaos Magic from the remnants of the Eye of Discord and the Scepter of the Chaos Beast, then detonating the now unstable Leyline with several of Steam Whistle's artifacts.
Remember, this is after the Colt Leader casually put down a 12-foot-tall walking tank of a demon as a means to scare the other demons in line, and has successfully killed over a dozen dragons as well as previously fought The Assembler to a standstill.
Storm Talon, under huge amounts of painkillers and with two broken wings, still has the nerve to tell off Claddie at his very worst.
In Universal Cracks Gypsy Bard grabs one of The Mad Tinker's exo-skeletons and uses it to save her kids (or possibly reincarnated parents) from the Colt Leader.
Sweetie Bottle's Big Damn Heroes moment, along with the events immediately after: Using the Wandering Whistle, she summons the ghosts of Charity and Applesack from beyond the grave, who begin to force themselves into the Colt Leader's head, causing her to lose concentration at a crucial moment of her attempt to consume the Multiverse. With the Colt Leader distracted, Daring kicks the Universal Chisel from the Colt Leader's hoof, and Zapapple throws it into the Multiversal Vortex. Losing the chisel causes the Colt Leader to completely lose control of the Multiverse, and she dies from My Skull Runneth Over.
Claddie: HA-HA! Well done, Sweetie, wee lass! Well done!
In the Daren Do Adventures book Hurricane's Spear, Daren uses the eponymous spear to kill a Windigo.
In Shūbidū and the Vault of Posteidon, Shūbidū makes her foalnappers' lives chaos and ultimately kills the ringleader in a fair fight (though first blood was his, producing the scar we see in Trident of the Seaponies).
Young!Greyhoof. For all the horrors he grow up to do, for all he mistakes he would make, for all the times he would attempt to dodge his responsibility, he got further than most anypony in his position would. A young child, not even old enough to have his Cutie Mark, manages to step up, gather the survivors, find a refuge, figure out how to protect it, and get it to be something that resembled a functioning society. He would not lay down and die, nor did he let any of the others.
Swinn attempting to strangle Mareton in Trial. Not even Dell could call her off! (Not to mention, it took Rex, Earth Song and Hawkwings to finally pull her off.)
Also, Herpy took pictures.
Daring snapping Okpono out of his trance in Witch's Circus.
Also, Okpono remembering how far he had gotten with his theorem when he thought he was in the ultimate mathematician's office, reconstructing the calculations from memory, and working the theorem out. The epilogue alludes to mathematicians using "Okpono's Theorem".
Twice in the book, Silver has Masra cornered, and is ready to kill her. Both times, she stands tall and respectfully looks him in the eye. Made even better the second time, when has a very deep wound that has been slowly killing her, yet she still hauls herself to her feet.
In Breathing Weapons, Taube has regained enough of her memory to fight against Krahe's control, as she doesn't want to hurt Daring and Arzt. Even as Krahe continues to electrocute her, trying to regain control, she fights through the pain and tackles him out a window, sending them both plummeting to the ground below.
The battle itself is worth of an entry too. Taube has enhanced agility, strength, and enough razor weapons to quite literally cut her foes to pieces. Daring and Arzt are armed with nothing but their fists and wits, and while they don't technically "win", they hold their own pretty damn well.
The scene in Iron Grinder, where Shudder attempts to fight off Greyhound Grave after he wounds Daring. Of course, she stands absolutely no chance, but it's sweet to watch her try.
The fact that Greyhound Grave does all his hunts with nothing but a single sword (no traps, no magic, no nothing), is pretty awesome in it's own right.
This troper cheered when Jackhammer, after years of mistreating Shudder, finally gets his comeuppance through some delicious irony.
Jackhammer: (pinned under a boulder after a cave-in) Shudder! Shudder, help! I-I can't get it off!
Shudder: I dunno, Big Brother. That rock looks pretty heavy...
Jackhammer: Y-you can't leave me here! I-I'm your brother!!!
Shudder: I know. (kneels down and kisses his forehead) Which is why I'll come back next year and leave some flowers. Love you. (smirks and leaves him).
In later books, we eventually learn that Gristle in-fact didn't hold a grudge, and came back to free him. The fact that he strives to be such a good person, even to the diamond dog that nearly killed him, is pretty awesome in it's own right.
Of course, he reported him to the authorities not long after. So even with his sometimes too-good heart, he still has a sense of justice.
Can we give it up for Black Bloom? In Crimson, Black, and Blue, he manages to break into his king's castle, steal a heavily guarded artifact, turn three full grown dragons into children, and overthrow his own king. All this and he's not even teenager.
The duel during the book's climax, where Black Bloom siphons some of King Bursik's magic turns the entire castle into an arena suspended in the sky, and summons the entire kingdom there to watch.
During the aformentioned duel, Scarlecache, Inke, and Glacial offer what little of their own magic they have to Daring to help her win, but she turns them down. Bloom laughs at this, but subsequently loses the duel. How? Daring knew that no amount of extra strength or speed would help her achieve victory, rather, using her superior wit and cunning would.
After losing the duel to Daring, an infuriated Black Bloom siphons the magic of every dragon in the kingdom, and manages to summon a freakin' meteor to come and crush Daring (and unfortunately, the rest of the kingdom).
Which is promptly stopped by Scarlecache, Ink, Glacial, and Bursik after Daring swipes the magic artifact from Bloom and returns them to their original ages. How do they stop it? By uniting and shooting a combined blast of fire through the center and shattering it into millions of harmless bits, of course.
The climax of Oathkeepers. After years of abuse and mistreatment, Eichelhaher finally ends Papagei with a point-blank blast of magic, pushed over the edge by his endless taunts. The Buckzi troops catch wind of this quickly and begin racing upstairs to apprehend them. Daring and Arzt head for the exit, prepared to fly off and escape, but Eichelhaher doesn't move, knowing that the troops will kill them. She urges the two to go while she stays behind to slow them down. Arzt begins his descent, but Daring tries to bring her with them, to no avail.
Eichelhaher: Daring, go...Arzt won't go without you. I'll be fine, I promise.
Daring: (smiles) You never were a good liar. (heads off)
The moment Daring makes her exit, the elevator doors open and the troops pour in, immediately opening fire on Eichelhaher. As the blasts fly right through her, she removes her helmet, her claws and paws glowing with brilliant light.
Eichelhaher: I want to be strong just this once...for you guys...
With one last memory of them in her head, Eichelhaher unleashes the full force of her magic, blowing up the entire building and sending all the troops to their doom as she herself is blown to pieces.
The best part? She survives the blast. Her head, still completely intact, is left dangling by the hair on a girder for Daring and Arzt to find.
Eichelhaher:...think we can stay and look for a few fingers?
The beginning of Always Faithful, where Daring accidentally awakens Mars, is challenged to a duel, and wins. To put that in context; Mars is a thousand year old griffon who was considered strong enough to guard the gates of Elysium itself, and had the power to take the duel into another dimension so there would be no interruptions, while Daring is merely a pegasus with a lot of physical prowess, a whip, and a quick wit.
The flashback in which the readers learn how much Mars lived up to her title. Equestria is about to be turned into a smoking crater by a gigantic magic-bomb, courtesy of the griffon mage, Artes. Celestia and Mars have been valiantly fighting along side each other, having finally defeated the last wave of griffon troops, only to realize it's too late to stop Artes' attack. Without a second thought, Mars shoves Celestia away and flies towards Artes, pushing him through the the center of the magic-bomb, causing it to absorb into both their bodies. She turns to Celestia and gives one final salute, before she and Artes explode into nothingness. That's right, Mars sacrificed herself against her own army to save her friend and all of Equestria.
IN MEMORY OF A WARRIOR WHO SAVED EQUESTRIA. ONCE A LOYAL SOLDIER, FOREVER A DEAR FRIEND.
Storm Bravers. Daring and the gang band together to destroy the Timberwolf Emperor before he flattens Ponyville into a pancake. How do four pegasi and a manticore stop a sixty foot monster without flight? They use their natural-born gifts as lightning-makers to create a massive storm cloud that strikes the Emperor with such intensity, he burns to ash without laying a single claw on the town.
Their collective "high-wing" right after.
The Future is Mine. After several books and episodes of the show being portrayed as a coward with some competence, Arzt manages to be brave and fight his fate, even if it threatens to kill him.
The climactic battle. Arzt's parents have taken over the University, prepared to drag him back to Germaneigh and provide swift punishment for defecting. Though Daring and Eichelhaher step in to fight with him, he turns them down, choosing to do so on his own. What follows is undeniable proof that, while Arzt may not want to be a legendary soldier like his parents, he certainly has the potential to be one. He holds his own in a battle against both his parents, showing off his seldom-seen combat skills and self-surgical abilities.
Wider: Give it up, son. You are coming home, even if we must turn you into a battered, bloody mess first.
In Time is the Healer, Aeterna tries to force Eichelhaher to give in and accept going back to the past, but the griffon is able to keep fighting by keeping the good memories of Daring and Arzt in her head. The more she thinks about them, the weaker Aeterna becomes, until Eichelhaher realizes that despite the many hardships she was put through in the past, her life is now better than it has ever been, all because she was lucky enough to meet them. As Eichelhaher screams her joy, Aeterna fades away into a blinding light, defeated.
The two climactic battles of To The Pressure, both set to some amazing music.
Seeing Mars in action on-screen for first time was quite a sight too. Pretty much every review of the episode gave praise to the beautiful animation seen when Mars stands with an ocean of flame at her command, ready for a rematch with Daring.
When Daring manages to actually blow away one of Mars' flames with a powerful gust from her wings.
Haystack Leaves as Mareton. No one thought it would work, and yet, now that the movie's been released, there is no denying that he. Is. Sebastius Mareton.