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A mini-series of Cross Over fanfics by Polish Valsionnote otherwise known as SonicTheHedgehog17 that combines My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic with the Ace Combat video game series.In the first story, Ace Combat: The Equestrian War, the griffins prepare an invasion on Equestria and a team of brave pegasus ponies (Firefly, Rainbow Dash, Lightning Bolt, Cloud Kicker, Fluttershy, Derpy and Medley), known as "Mirage" squadron, is attempting to protect their land and mount a comeback.While not a direct adaptation of any Ace Combat game, the story uses a lot of references to the Playstation2titles, as well as Ace Combat 6 and the latest Assault Horizon.The complete story is here.In the sequel, titled Ace Combat: Wings of Unity, a group of ponies, descendants of those who were exiled from Equestria by Princess Celestia long ago for their dangerous behaviour and experiments, seeks to return and exact revenge on the princess. The story is currently being written and can be read here.There is also a spin-off story, Ace Combat: Gryphon Wings, which deals with events that happen between the two conflicts from the perspective of Black Star, as he struggles with his own problems and tries to fight a major threat to the Griffin Kingdom. This story can be read here.Character sheet can be found here.
Common tropes featured in the stories:
A Friend in Need: Rainbow Dash helps Firefly adjust to a new situation in the first few chapters of The Equestrian War. She also goes on a solo mission to rescue Applejack in chapter 6.
Ace Fliers: On the pony side, there is Mirage squadron and the Wonderbolts. The griffins have the Aquilla squadron in the spin-off Gryphon Wings.
Adaptational Badass: Several ponies, especially the ones flying in Mirage squadron. From characters who had little screen time and next to no words spoken in the show, they're given distinct personalities and traits.
Adult Fear: Derpy is constantly fearing for Dinky's safety in both The Equestrian War and Wings of Unity.
All Your Base Are Belong to Us: In The Equestrian War, the griffins besiege Canterlot from chapter 15 to 17. Earlier, in chapter 8, they take over Cloudsdale. It remains theirs until it's recaptured in chapter 14.
Canterlot is actually taken over by the Exiles in Wings of Unity.
Downplayed with enemy forces: In The Equestrian War, Gilda (and a one-off mention of female Mooks in a late chapter) were the only female enemies the Allies faced.
Wings of Unity has a mare Big Bad in the form of Aurora Starlight, but Reaper Squadron are all stallions.
Anachronism Stew: Regular weaponry, such as artillery and anti-air guns, are coupled with laser weaponry, especially on the griffon side.
Justified somewhat in Gryphon Wings, with the narration mentioning non-magical races (like the titular griffons) developing advanced technology to make up for a lack of arcane abilities...and semi-divine rulers.
Big Damn Heroes: Ever since chapter 2 of The Equestrian War, where Firefly helps Rainbow Dash out against Talon squadron, it had almost became a tradition.
Curb-Stomp Battle: In several chapters of both The Equestrian War and Wings of Unity, the Mirage squadron (sometimes with the help of their allies) manages to easily overcome their opponents, be it the grifins or the Exiles.
Disney Villain Death: If not disposed of by Neck Snap or other methods, most Mooks taken out by the heroes are knocked from the sky and fall to their dooms, their injuries leaving them unable to recover flight.
Death from Above: Anytime bombing raids come into the picture or when fliers from either side perform diving attacks from a high altitude.
Evil Virtues: Mirage's foes for all their villainy tend to be tight-knit units loyal to their cause, commanded by intelligent (if sometimes questionably sane) leaders.
Fusion Fic: The entire story takes place in Equestria, and there is no mention of Strangereal. However, the story is told in the style of the Ace Combat series, and there are numerous Shout Outs to Ace Combat, as well as some characters from the series.
The author recently confirmed that the stories are placed in Strangereal timeline and occur between 2018 and 2021.
Meaningful Callsign: Lightning Bolt, Cloud Kicker, Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash have their callsigns named after their cutie marks.
Firefly picks her callsign ("Flash") to emphasize on her agility, while Medley, being the youngest Pegasus among the seven heroines, is called "Kid".
Mythology Gag: Quite a few lines of dialogue from Ace Combat games are incorporated into the stories.
Neck Snap: A non-stealthy variant of this (necks being broken from punches and kicks) claims several characters, mostly Mooks.
No Name Given: No parent (except for Derpy) is named in the stories.
Occasionally Say Die: Unnamed enemy fliers taken out by the heroes are sometimes referred to as being "defeated", rather than explicitly "killed". Justified when one considers that even if they weren't killed, they were knocked clean out of the sky and taken out of the fight. (Perhaps crash-landing, being rescued by a medic, or returning to battle off-screen.)
However, it is often made clear that an enemy was, indeed, killed. This is indicated either by the use of words such as "eliminated", or the injuries inflicted by the heroes. (The narration sometimes describes attacks as breaking necks, or being aimed at a foe's head, both obviously lethal injuries). Named antagonists (so far, only the griffons) who fall in battle are largely acknowledged as being killed.
Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Of the "blink and you'll miss it" variety: battle scenes sometimes have quick, subtle descriptions of clever tricks and kills by the heroes alongside the more detailed action.
The Wonderbolts' reaction when the turrets open fire at them in the first chapter.
It's probably the best way to summarize the expressions of Lightning Bolt, Derpy, Medley and Soarin' when The Burning Talon's laser smashes the Cloudsdale gates to pieces in chapter 8.
The griffins have the same reaction when they see The Burning Talon being destroyed in chapter 10. May count as an Ironic Echo.
Firefly's reaction when she notices that Scythe attempts a Suicide Attack to bomb Stalliongrad in chapter 13.
Red Cyclone gets a glorious one in chapter 19 when Firefly comes to help Rainbow Dash.
In Wings of Unity:
When the main heroines notice smoke coming from New Saddle, which have just been attacked.
Two in chapter 3, both happen when Scinfaxi prepares a missile attack.
Two more in chapter 4, one from an Exile Mook when Sunburst throws his own bomb back at him after stopping his bombing run; the next comes from the heroes when The Exiles call in a dragon wearing magic-resistant Power Armor as back-up.
Original Character: All Pegasi team leaders. Firebolt and Gale may also count. Same for the griffins (besides "G" aka Gilda) and the foreign aces.
POW Camp: Highly Downplayed. There's little mention of prisoners being taken in large enough numbers to require these by either side. Somewhat Justified when one considers that defeated enemy fliers are unlikely to survive their falls to surrender and/or be taken captive in the first place (and that's only if they weren't already killed in mid-air). Moreover, Word of God has implied that injured troops, on both sides, are largely rescued by their own medics off-screen.
Ramming Always Works: Fliers on both sides will sometimes forego punches and kicks and simply slam into an enemy in an aerial tackle. Lightning Bolt's Shining Spark is essentially a ramming attack, boosted by her own skill and some Pegasus magic.
Total Party Kill: Entire squadrons of fliers, on either side, are sometimes wiped out to the last in all three stories. Also done by implication; i.e., no mention of lifeboats when an Exile battleship is destroyed in Wings of Unity.
Try Not to Die: Said word-for-word by Firefly to Rainbow Dash in chapter 6 of The Equestrian War. Similar pleas happen in other parts of all three stories.
Wings of Unity introduces strap-on machine guns for pegasi, used frequently by both sides.
Would Not Shoot a Civilian: The EAF forces have, so far, never attacked non-military targets beyond liberating their own turf from enemy occupiers. Given the series' White and Grey Morality, this is unlikely to change unless things become truly drastic.
Bittersweet Ending: The ponies manage to win the war and end Red Cyclone's plans. They even reconcile with the griffins. But at the same time many ponies and griffins had died during the conflict, many others were traumatized and majority of Equestria was ravaged by the conflict.
However, the epilogue gives a happy ending to several characters. See below.
Broken Tears: Every main heroine sheds those at least once in the story, with the exception of Lightning Bolt. To elaborate: Firefly in chapters 7, 8 (in the flashback) and 16, Fluttershy in chapter 10, Rainbow Dash and Medley in chapter 11 (Rainbow carries them to chapter 12), Derpy and Cloud Kicker in chapter 15. Each ofthemhasa justifiedand validreasonto cry.
Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Said word-for-word by Rarity in chapter 3, when she introduces the vests for Firefly's team, each being colored to match a pony's coat. These vests are used by both ponies and griffins in order to distinguish their alignment and to which unit they belong.
Cooldown Hug: Lightning Bolt gives one to Cloud Kicker when she breaks down into tears in chapter 15, assuring her that no matter what will happen, they will remain best friends.
Curb Stomp Cushion: The second battle of Cloudsdale in chapter 14. Thanks to the support of Mirage squadron, the Wonderbolts and the three foreign aces, the Pegasi managed to beat a griffin group army roughly twice their numbers, losing no more than ten fliers.
Darkest Hour: Chapter 15. Canterlot is seized by the Griffin Army, with the castle being the only save area; many ponies are injured, several died and things generally look bleak for the heroes.
Disc One Final Boss: The mission to destroy The Burning Talon in chapter 10. It is a great success for the EAF, but the story is only halfway there...
Downer Beginning: The Wonderbolts are taken down by the griffins, leaving Equestrian skies almost completely defenseless. Good thing Firefly returns to Equestria on the same day.
Dude, Where's My Respect??: Beautifully averted, as in the Ace Combat games. Before the Burning Talon was destroyed by Firefly's team, they were just another squadron of Pegasi. Aftermath, they are revered as great heroines. And it seems other ponies are aware of the Elements of Harmony and those who bear them.
Dying Moment of Awesome: As reported by Flare Star in chapter 15, Blueberry fought against four griffins all by herself and even managed to kill one before Night Raven killed her.
Earn Your Happy Ending: Equestria is slowly recovering from the ravages of war, Rainbow Dash becomes a honorary member of the Wonderbolts, Derpy adopts Pipsqueak and Firefly stays in Equestria, becoming Rainbow Dash's older twin sister (even though they are actually cousins).
Twilight Sparkle gets to see her whole family at the celebration, this includes Shining Armor and Princess Cadance.
Easily Forgiven: The ponies are quick to forgive each other for mistakes. They are also willing to forgive the griffins after the war is over.
Rainbow Dash: There is another face of pride... it's called forgiving.
The Empire: This is the direction The Griffin Kingdom is headed under Red Cyclone's leadership.
Falling into the Cockpit: Or as close as one can get without any aircraft. The first time Rainbow Dash and company tangle with the griffons in chapter 3, they haven't even been properly inducted into the military yet. They even put up a great fight, and judging by Cloud Kicker's confusion at Fluttershy not finishing a falling griffon off, they're prepared to use lethal force despite being civilians.
Family-Unfriendly Death: Greyback gets fried by the Burning Talon's laser. Also, Blueberry's death, as described by Flare Star and Wind Whistler.
For the Evulz: Apparently, the only reason Gilda breaks Medley's wings after exposing her to a great pain beforehand.
Forced to Watch: Rainbow Dash had to witness the moment mentioned above on her own eyes. Had she moved, Medley would end up wingless…
Freak Out: A temporal one for Firefly in chapter 16, when she hears that Black Star actually feels remorse for killing her parents. She bursts into hysterical laughter before unsuccessfully trying not to scream, tearful. Thankfully, Rainbow Dash manages to calm her down.
Heroic BSOD: Fluttershy experiences one in chapter 10 when she thinks her attack killed Razor. Upon until this point, she never took any real offensive actions against the griffins. Doubles as My God, What Have I Done?.
Hold the Line: The Battle of Stalliongrad certainly seems like that kind of mission.
The plan to liberate Canterlot presented in chapter 16 may count as well, at least for the main defense force.
Hope Spot: In chapter 14, the Pegasi manage to retake Cloudsdale. Then Canterlot is attacked and besieged by the griffins.
In chapter 17, Canterlot is liberated and the griffins are driven out of Equestria. But by the end of the chapter Derpy reveals that Axe told her about Red Cyclone's new super-weapon, Fortress Intimidation.
In chapter 19, Fortress Intimidation is destroyed, Red Cyclone died and it seems the war is over. But as ponies and griffins alike celebrate, Firefly is struck down.
Rainbow Dash: You’re the one who can’t let go, Gilda! You refuse to leave the past behind, you live in your own world! And that’s why you can’t beat me in this fight!
Gilda: Shut up! I don’t need lectures, especially from you!
Knight of Cerebus: Gilda in chapter 11, at least as far as Rainbow Dash is concerned. Earlier, Black Star in chapter 7, as he fights Firefly on equal ground and openly states that only she is capable of defeating him.
Fluttershy: My name is Fluttershy! I’m a member of the Mirage squadron! And I've sworn to protect Equestria and my friends! I’m a pony that represents the Element of Kindness! But, to you…I will show no mercy!
The Reveal: Chapter 16 (and, by extension, chapter 19) reveals that the entire conflict was orchestrated by Red Cyclone.
Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Firefly does this as a filly (combined with Berserker Tears) against Black Star when he shrugs off the fact he killed her parents. Rainbow Dash attempts one at the end of chapter 14. Both fail.
Twilight Sparkle: We have to stand together once more, but this time, not as Earth Ponies. Not as Unicorns. Or Pegasi. We must stand together as the ponies of Equestria! It’s true that, on the outside, each of us is different. We live in different parts of Equestria, we have different names, we look differently. But…we have fought, suffered and died together! Deep inside, in our hearts and souls, we are all children of this land! We cannot ignore the time when our land is in danger. We must fight! We must have courage! I don’t know if you will decide to follow me or not, but I want to live in Equestria with my friends! That’s why Iwill keep fighting! To the bitter end, if it must be! […] Everypony, we’re gonna take back Canterlot today! Let us make haste! The sun and the moon will lead our way to victory! Know that this is not the day we will surrender! This is not the day we fall! This day we fight! FOR EQUESTRIA!!!
Rule of Three: Both griffin super-weapons have three generators that power up their systems. Mobius helps the Mirage squadron three times. And as mentioned above, Firefly delivers threePrecision F Strikes.
Sacrificial Lamb: Blueberry. She is properly introduced in chapter 13. Her death is reported two chapters later.
Sadistic Choice: In chapter 11, Rainbow Dash faces one: either she could try and stop Gilda which would most likely end in Medley's death or abandon her friends and Equestria to join forces with Gilda. Being the Element of Loyalty, she chooses the former and Medley survives, albeit with temporarily broken wings.
In chapter 13, Lightning Bolt is torn between saving Cloud Kicker from being killed by two griffins and trying to stop another griffon from bombing the Eastern Sector of Stalliongrad. Though she chose the latter at first, the Garuda team's Big Damn Heroes moment made her go and help Cloud Kicker.
Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Defied with the rookie griffon Slip: he almost deserts, but decides to keep fighting because he knows he'll be executed for deserting. Not to say he's really brave, though, or a good fighter, as he's killed in battle with very little effort. Night Ravendid him in.
Also defined with a griffon Mook in chapter 13: When he spots Derpy diving on him, he drops his bomb and tries to bug out. Derpy catches up with him anyway, and, while the ponies are passing the bomb between them and later throw it back at him, Derpy knocks the griffon out of the sky and he gets caught in the blast of his own bomb as he crashes onto it.
She's Back: Firefly returns to Equestria after five years of absence. Rainbow Dash comes back into action in chapter 12 after experiencing a Heroic BSOD.
Shrine to the Fallen: Seen in the epilogue. It was build in the Canterlot Gardens, to honor all fallen ponies.
Ship Tease: A mild one, being Fluttershy and Shamrock.
Skyward Scream: Rainbow Dash makes a chilling one by the end of chapter 11.
Sole Survivor: Tornado Swirl and Overdrive are the only original members of their teams who survive the assault on Canterlot. Before her death, Blueberry.
So Proud of You: Firefly got this treatment from her parents when she was younger.
Talking to the Dead: Derpy does it halfway through chapter 15 in a really heartbreaking manner.
Derpy: Carrot Top…you were smiling until the end…I…I will never forget you. I will always remember the moments we shared together…Goodbye…I hope you will have beautiful dreams…Rest easy…I will avenge you!
These Hooves Have Killed: Fluttershy behaves this way in the second part of chapter 10 before she is comforted by her friends.
Averted with the rest of Mirage, who are prepared to use lethal force from the get-go, despite being civilians. Cloud Kicker is even confused why Fluttershy doesn't finish an injured griffon off in Chapter 3.
The War Has Just Begun: At the end of chapter 10, as Firefly addresses the ponies gathered on the castle grounds in this fashion, even quoting the trope's name.
Title Drop: "The conflict that would eventually be known as 'The Equestrian War' was set to begin soon…" in the first chapter.
Also, several chapters have characters say its title in one way or another; though it's usually in a way that fits naturally as dialogue without sounding shoehorned in.
Trauma Conga Line: Derpy, once again. Her daughter gets kidnapped early in the story (though she is rescued) and she loses her two best friends. First she learns of Raindrop's death, and then Carrot Top dies in her arms...
Trying Not to Cry: In chapter 15, Cloud Kicker confesses to her friends that she tried to cover her worries with cheerfulness. Carrot Top's death was the straw that finally caused her to cry, big time.
Unfriendly Fire: A particularly cruel instance. Night Raven kills Slip for desertion…even though Slip had changed his mind and decided to keep fighting.
Also, Gilda goes gradually more ballistic during her second confrontation with Rainbow Dash, as the blue pegasus slowly gains advantage over her.
Wave Motion Gun: The Burning Talon's laser is capable of firing at a long range and dealing considerable damage to Cloudsdale. Any contact with the beam will result in the victim being burned to death, as Greyback found out.
We Have Reserves: Red Cyclone has no problems with killing a few griffins if it means defeating the ponies.
Chapter 19. Equestria has won. Red Cyclone is dead and even the griffins want peace. But at the last moment, Gilda suddenly appears and strikes Firefly down (she survives), forcing a final confrontation between her and Rainbow Dash.
From chapter 7, when Firefly meets Black Star and is clearly upset about it. There's a good reason for that:
Firefly: Because…he…he…! He killed my parents!
From chapter 16, when Edge tells Firefly that Black Star has a message for her:
Black Star: I feel regret for killing her parents. Let her know that.
At the end of chapter 19:
Gilda: "So, have you found your reason to fight yet? Dash…"
What the Hell, Hero?: In chapter 3, Firefly smacks Fluttershy for refusing to fight the griffins and calls her a moron. Lightning Bolt calls Firefly out in chapter 12 after she yells at Rainbow Dash.
White and Grey Morality: There's no question that the Equestrians are the good guys, but aside from Red Cyclone the griffons are, at worst, doing their jobs and hold no animosity towards ponies beyond that of being enemy soldiers.
Rainbow Dash: I hate to break it to you, G, but you've lost this battle the moment you attacked Firefly. No…actually, even back when you hurt Medley. But I've got to thank you for one thing. For challenging me! Thanks to you, I still have one more reason to fight and live! We may not be so different after all, but I can clearly see who is who. And you’re not yourself! But since there is nopony else in the sky besides us, now you’ll get a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see just how fast I really am!
You Killed My Parents: Firefly holds bitter grudge against Black Star for killing her mom and dad when she was younger.
Not helped by the fact that Red Cyclone falsely accused them of trying to stage a mutiny against the Griffin Kingdom, which was the reason Black Star was sent to kill them.
Ace Combat: Wings of Unity provides examples of:
A Hoofful For An Eye: In chapter 8, Derpy tosses a snowball in an Exile flier's face, blinding him and throwing off his attack. Seconds later, he's shot full of holes by an AA gun controlled by the Equestrians.
As You Know: The Ulyssess Disaster and its catastrophic effects are still remembered by the ponies and pretty much everyone in the world. However, it happened 20 years prior to the story, at the time when most of the main heroines were not even born yet. It's mostly for this reason that Spitfire explains major facts about it to Rainbow in chapter 8.
Deathwing: We are the servants of Lady Aurora. We are the Reapers. We will be your death.
Blood Knight: The as-yet-unnamed pegasus—heavily implied to be a ponified Demon Lord/Cipher—from the end of Chapter 8, and in spades. He savagely kills the four Exile survivors; even laughing as he kills the last one via Neck Snap (whose last words were terrified pleas for mercy).
When Mirage hear about the corpses of said Exiles being found by an intercept squad, they're rather put off by how brutally they were killed. Considering that they're all veterans who've killed their own fair share of enemies, that's really saying something.
Bond Villain Stupidity: Aurora is clearly the winning side after the first few chapters. She has several chances to annihilate the EAF soldiers (including members of the Mane Six), but ultimately decides to let them retreat, because she doesn't consider them to be a threat and believes that fear will eventually make them incapable of fighting.
She's shown it in previous chapters as well: The Exiles' victories so far have largely been due to Aurora springing an unexpected asset into the fray, and catching the heroes off-guard. And even then, it's only after her forces have taken considerable casualties. This is most clear in Chapter 3, when Reaper Squadron isn't deployed until late in the battle...by which point, an entire wave of landing ships has been sunk (undoubtedly killing hundreds of troops), followed shortly by a good chunk of the invasion fleet's warships being destroyed.
The Crystal Empire, as well as the events that happened in it during and after Sombra's reign are referenced in chapter 6.
Darker and Edgier: The body count is definitely higher than in The Equestrian War and the ponies don't hold bad with saying "damn" anymore, though Griffon Wings is still the darkest entry in the Chronicles so far.
It Will Never Catch On / Doesn't Like Guns: Rainbow Dash is skeptical when Lightning Bolt (and later, Tornado Swirl) shows her some strap-on machine guns she can use in flight, preferring to just use her hooves...even though they give her a long-range attack that's been unheard of In-Universe so far, and have the potential to revolutionize warfare.
Later subverted, when she puts the guns on and uses them to shoot down a cruise missile launched at Fillydelphia. She has yet to use them again, though.
Kamehame Hadoken: Princess Celestia uses her own magic to launch a devastating beam of energy at the Exiles, which threaten her subjects in chapter 8. Princess Luna finishes the job.
No Transponyism Allowed: To put it lightly, Aurora's attempts at earning alicorn wings were not met with Princess Celestia's approval.
Though that might have had more to do with Aurora's experiments requiring the deaths of several ponies than her science-granted ascension in of itself.
Magitek: The gems which power up the armors that the Drake Generals are wearing allow them to use various powerful attacks. Interestingly, similiar amplifying gems appear in the spin-off, Gryphon Wings, where they are called Zaubenschaft.
Mass "Oh, Crap!": Gleipnir's appearance produces this reaction from both the Mirage squadron and, later, the ponies who are defending Ponyville.
The Exiles get one in Chapter 8, courtesy of the Princesses themselves. (See Mook Horror Show below for the details).
Mook Horror Show: The end of chapter 8. The story (thankfully) doesn't go into excessive detail on what the Princesses' attack does to the Exiles, but we do know that most died screaming in agony and burned to ashes. And that the few survivors were smashed against mountains as they tried to run away. Yikes.
It's also telling that no order to comb the area for any survivors or take prisoners is given.
A briefer example happened in Chapter 3, when Derpy bombed the Exile battleship. Right after the bomb drop, there's a brief depiction of the terrified crew desperately trying to escape and get to lifeboats...and then things cut back to Mirage as they watch said battleship explode, and lifeboats are nowhere to be seen. Like Chapter 8, it's a quick scene, but captures the Exiles' Oh, Crap moment very well.
One-Hit Kill: Chapter 3 has Fluttershy (in the midst of a Freak Out) take out an Exile flyer with one punch, screaming in rage. Firefly remarks on how she'll avoid making her angry at all costs.
Happens later when Derpy bombs the Exile battleship, the bomb implied to have detonated the ammo storage.
One-Hit Polykill: Downplayed in Chapter 3, when Mirage arrive at Fillydelphia. Rainbow Dash pulls a Sonic Rainboom right as she zooms through a flight of Exiles, knocking all of them out of the air with the shockwave. It's implied she did get a few kills with this, but most of her targets rejoin the fight and have to be dealt with hoof-to-hoof.
Played straight with Flare Star and Tornado Swirl in Chapter 6. They each manage to blow up a nice cluster of Exile AA guns in a chain reaction, both using one bomb each time.
Pietà Plagiarism: Firebolt's death in chapter 6, as evidenced by her Last Wordsnote Although it is unclear if she is actually referring to Spitfire or her biological mother:
Pony On Fire: When Sunburst kills an Exile pegasus with his own bomb in Chapter 4, the unfortunate Mook is caught in the explosion, and all that hits the ground is a smoking pony-shaped crisp.
Power Armor: Aigaion and his Drake Generals wear these.
Gleipnir's armor allows him to absorb unicorns' magic attacks and make him stronger, while the one wore by Aigaion lets him perform two devastating fire-basedattacks..
Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Derpy, Sunburst and Flare Star all get great ones, in Chapters 3, 4 and 6, respectively. All three of them involve killing Exiles by way of a bomb.
Start of Darkness: Aurora was a curious unicorn filly at first until she learned about the alicorns. When her desires and methods of obtaining wings were met with Celestia's disaproval, she was banished from Equestria for life, because her experiments were perceived as dangerous. For the next 50 years, she was planning revenge against the princess she used to adore.
Stealthy Colossus: Aigaion and Gleipnir are able to use optical camouflage system that is provided by the armors they're wearing.
Story Branching: The author confirms that a couple of chapters will be divided into two parts and shown from perspectives of different characters.
That Mare Is Dead: When Celestia addresses Aurora with her original name in chapter 2, the renegade alicorn quickly corrects her and then interrupts her when she says it again.
Princess Celestia: Your experiments were dangerous to both you and other ponies, Starlight. I had no choice, but to prevent you-
Aurora: My name is Aurora!
Villains Want Mercy: Chapter 8 ends with the only four survivors from the Exile army group easily disposed of by an unknown gray pegasus. The last Exile begs for his life, clearly surrendering...only for the unnamed Pegasus to snap his neck. And it wasn't via impact of a punch or kick, like most Neck Snaps in the series. He just wrenches the guy's head and snaps his spine. Yikes.
Chapter 10a has an Exile pegasus named Pearl Eyes (who's portrayed somewhat sympathetically, along with her lover Bolt Burst) tearfully beg Flare Star to spare her life after getting thoroughly battered by the former.
We Have Reserves: Aurora has shown willingness to press attacks despite taking heavy causalities (usually courtesy of Mirage squadron), seemingly regarding the deaths of her troops as mere setbacks... even when they're taken out by the hundreds (such as losing a wave of troop transports during the attack on Fillydelphia.)
Wham Episode: Chapter 6. Canterlot is taken over by the Exiles, despite the EAF valiant attempts to defend it. Also, Firebolt dies after she saves Spitfire's life.
Chapter 8. Princess Celestia and Princess Luna use their powers to aid their subjects for the first time, in a very effective way no less.
You Will Not Evade Me: When the Exiles go into retreat in Chapter 6 after their initial attack falters, the EAF forces briefly chase down straggling Exiles for some easy kills, none of whom manage to escape. Thunderlane in particular gets style points for casually finishing off an enemy pegasus with a quick kick to the neck as he tries to flee, summing it up with a calm "Eh, just doing my job."
The mysterious gray pegasus at the end of Chapter 8 follows this trope to a T.