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Evil Counterpart Race
Pictured: The general Drow (Dark Elf) greeting reserved for Surface Elves in The Forgotten Realms.
Two races, one Always Lawful Good and one Always Chaotic Evil, which are specifically counterparts of each other. Essentially an Evil Counterpart on a species wide scale, and related to Cain and Abel and other sibling rivalry tropes.

While Elves VS Dwarves is about Harmony Versus Discipline, this is about good and evil, at least from the elves' point of view. Often subverted by a Defector from Decadence or deconstructed when it's discovered that the 'good' race is not so harmless, or the evil one has a case of My Species Doth Protest Too Much (or is merely dark and not evil).


Examples

Comic Books
  • Green Martians like the Martian Manhunter J'onn J'onnz are wise, peaceful, and obscenely powerful (with one exception: Omnicidal Maniac and Evil Cripple Malefic). White Martians have all the powers of their green cousins, but are monstrously evil (also with, to date, a single exception). No, the respective exceptions are not in any meaningful way counterparts.
  • Daxamites are descended from Kryptonian colonists, and gain the same powers at the same levels when exposed to the light of a yellow sun (though they're vulnerable to lead instead of kryptonite). Unlike Superman, Supergirl, Power Girl and other Kryptonian heroes, though, Daxamites are rabidly xenophobic, to the point of murdering an alien who accidentally crashed on their planet. When a Korugarian Green Lantern helped liberate them from an alien conqueror, they merely demanded she leave the planet rather than killing her, as a show of gratitude. This really bites them in ass when the Sinestro Corps invaded.

Film

Literature
  • In H.G. Wells' The Time Machine, the pilot of a prototype time machine discovers himself in AD 802,701, where humans have apparently evolved into two species, the Eloi and the Morlocks. The Eloi are childlike, harmless people preyed upon by the Morlocks.
    • In the original novel this was depicted as necessary symbiosis, since the Eloi can't live without the Morlocks running the machinery that keeps their home so idyllic. It's a major Take That at the late Victorian society where few aristocrats could enjoy luxuries of "natural" lifestyle at the cost of thousands of workers living in squalid, artifical conditions for all their lives. Today, similar comparisons could be drawn between the developed countries and the Third World.
    • The Eloi incidentally aren't "good", but useless and childish, beautiful but meaningless. This has been heavily flanderized in the subsequent adaptions that omit the Downer Ending.
  • In The Lord of the Rings, because 'the Enemy cannot make, he can only mock', some villainous races are literally bad counterfeits of good ones, such as Orcs of Elves and Trolls of Ents. There does not appear to be a set for Dwarves and Men, presumably because the Enemy was able to corrupt some of them directly, though some characters speculate that Saruman's 'goblin-men' Uruk-hai represent a blending of the races of Orcs and Men.
  • Not a race but rather a religion, the Honor Harrington series has the two worlds which follow "The Church of Humanity Unchained:" Grayson, which is mostly just "heavily conservative", and Masada, which is violently misogynistic. It was an ugly schism.
  • In the Firebird Trilogy, the Shuhr are originally presented as the evil counterpart to the Sentinels. Brennen Caldwell, a high level Sentinel, even remarks once that the Shuhr provide a prime example of what the Sentinels would be like if not for the Sentinel's strictly enforced self-imposed moral and ethical codes. However, the trope is played with in the earlier books, as we see both Face Heel Turns and a Heel-Face Turn, and ultimately subverted in Wind and Shadow, where it is shown that only the upper level of the Shuhr were despicable, with the rest of the people being normal.
  • Mortal Instruments: The Dark Shadowhunters that Jonathan Morgenstern creates using the Infernal Cup and Lilith's blood. They are stronger and faster than regular Shadowhunters, but cannot use their Runes or angelically aligned weapons. Whether they will develop demonic equivalents remains to be seen.

Live-Action TV
  • The Star Trek episode "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield" is an extreme case where Bele acts as if Lokai is a member of an Always Chaotic Evil race, despite it clearly being a case of Grey and Gray Morality from the crew's point of view.
    • Also in Star Trek, the Romulans to the Vulcans.
    • In the Original Series, the Klingons to Humans.
    • Within The Federation's Evil Counterpart, The Dominion.
      • The Changelings to The Prophets
      • The Vorta to Bajorans
      • The Jem'hadar to the Klingons.
      • The Dominion arc also introduced two profit driven races, the Dosi, evil counterparts to the ferengi, and the Karemma, who are good counterparts!
    • Not forgetting the Pah-wraiths to the Prophets.
  • Stargate SG-1 had the Goa'uld vs. Tok'ra and the Ori vs. Ancients. In both cases the good race operated behind the scenes (the Tok'ra worked as spies and saboteurs since they lacked the numbers and the means to replenish them, and only a couple Ancients even tried to circumvent their self-imposed non-interference laws) while the bad race went around shouting "Worship me!"

Religion
  • Angels and fallen angels/demons in a lot of works, though in the The Bible they're the same species, just on different sides.
  • Subverted in Islam. The Devil (called 'Iblis') and humankind are fated to be enemies, but the descendants of the Devil —the Djinns— have free will just like humans, they can choose to be good or to be evil, thus they aren't human's Evil Counterpart Race. Of note is that they aren't counterpart to angels either, because Iblis was never an angel to begin with.

Tabletop Games
  • Dungeons & Dragons has a habit of doing this for everyone, creating evil (and occasionally good) counterpart races for just about everything:
    • Elves vs. Drow.
    • Dwarves vs. Derro and Duergar.
    • Aasimar and Tieflings from Planescape onwards.
    • The Githzerai and Githyanki - though that's more like "paranoid neutral isolationists" and their evil counterpart.
    • Chromatic (evil) and metallic (good) dragons in many D&D settings — especially Dragonlance, where the chromatic dragons were corrupted versions of the original good dragons.
    • Subverted with the Svirfneblin, the Deep Gnomes from the Underdark, the home of the drow. They aren't evil (generally neutral, actually), but certainly can be considered 'dark gnomes'.
      • But played straight with the Gnomes and Kobolds due to the fact that their gods hate each other.
    • "The Book of Vile Darkness" gives us Jerren for Halflings and Vashar, who are a race of purely evil humans.
  • Warhammer Fantasy has both High Elves vs. Dark Elves (with both being highly magical naval oriented empires who hate each others guts...) Oh, and incidentally humans usually can't tell them apart... And the dwarfish counterpart Chaos Dwarves (who are even more greedy than the regular variant) arguably the Vampire Counts also serve as a twisted reflection of Empire society, and the Beastmen serve a similar role for the Wood Elves.
    • The bit about humans' difficulty in telling High and Dark Elves apart is odd, because their visual designs pretty much scream good guys and bad guys respectively.
    • In Elfslayer, a particularly naive High Elf couldn't tell a Dark Elf was a Dark Elf (and was severely reprimanded by his bodyguard for that). Then again, Dark Elf cultists frequently infiltrate High Elf society, so it's not just naive High Elves who can't tell them apart.
  • Dark Eldar in Warhammer 40,000. Although the Craftworld Eldar aren't exactly nice guys either.
    • The Eldar and the Necrons.

Toys
  • LEGO's Mixels has the titular characters opposed by the Nixels, who represent conformity juxtaposed to the Mixels representing creativity. This is apparent in their black and white blocky appearance and their base looking completely blank inside.

Video Games
  • In the Warcraft games, night elves are not especially fond of high elves, and are downright hostile to blood elves. In addition, gnomes vs. goblins, and humans vs. orcs. The gnomes vs. goblins is more of a rivalry than outright hostility, though.
    • There are also specific subraces like the Dark Iron dwarves (generally same look but black skin) or the several kinds of trolls opposing the Darkspear tribe that belongs to the Horde. And in Northrend there are several races heavily implied or outright stated to be the original of the player races, which developed on their own over time.
    • Way back in Warcraft II trolls served as the Evil Counterpart Race for the elves (before the eigh elf/blood elf split and before we knew of the night elves), both races providing the main ranged unit and light naval craft for their respective factions.
  • The Warlords games, as well as having High Elves and Dark Elves, has Dwarves and Dark Dwarves, the former being the typical ale-swilling axe-bearers, the latter being industrial Mad Scientists.
  • In Dragon Age, The Darkspawn are created when a female of a race -Human, Elf, Qunari or Dwarf- is captured and turned into a Broodmother and spawns them. Each race has a Darkspawn equivalent that is born of the Broodmother of that race- Human Broodmothers produce Hurlocks, Dwarves produce Genlocks, Elves produce Shrieks, and Qunari produce Ogres. Darkspawn, indeed.
  • A lot of Digimon species are Evil Counterparts to other species:
    • Devimon to Angemon.
    • Deathmon and Demon to Seraphimon
    • Lilithmon to Ophanimon
    • Kuwagamon to Kabuterimon
    • Tsukaimon to Patamon
    • And, of course, the innumerable examples of cases where the evil counterpart's name is the good version's name plus the word 'black' (and coloring alterations to match), such as BlackAgumon, BlackTailmon, BlackToyAgumon, BlackWarGreymon, etc. Justified in that they are intended according to the fluff to literally have originally been of the resepective good race, but were transformed by computer viruses.
  • Goombas to Toads in Super Mario Bros.

Webcomics
  • Played with in Drowtales, as explained in the no-longer-canon guide here.

Western Animation


Loads and Loads of RacesFantastic Sapient Species TropesMassive Race Selection
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