. It's a general rule of fiction. Sometimes, though, you want the hero to lose a few battles. As a result, you have an occasional instance of The Bad Guy Wins
. This also shows another generally good consequence: the importance of the struggle, the need to make an effort, and the necessity of Character Development
. Often, the challenge is tied to a singular villain (generally a Big Bad
) to build up a reasonable threat. This is usually good
, as it simplifies the cast, has a standard deuteragonist, etc.
However, just because a hero can't win all the time, that doesn't mean they can't win ever
. And just because villains can win, that doesn't mean a villain can win all the time. Both of these are problems. And they share an extreme. This is the Invincible Villain. This character is basically a walking personification of Victory Is Boring
, for the audience.
Any "losses" that occur either help the villain more than outright victory
or are ambiguous if he lost or won, or The Cavalry
shows the hero can't win on their own. Plus, it's expected in the short term; You Can't Thwart Stage One
! Doesn't matter how hard The Determinator
trains, the villain is always two steps ahead
. That head start, of course, is a given when Villains Act, Heroes React
. Even if there is a complete defeat, they'll still be subject to Joker Immunity
or Cardboard Prison
. This of course tends to rob a given episode or movie franchise of dramatic punch when the viewer's reaction to a hero's actual win
is "Like You Would Really Do It
The Invincible Villain is the guy who makes the audience react in one of two ways.
- "Oh my GOD, would somebody beat this guy already?"
- They want to see the villain get beaten, but not for a "good" reason. Ideally, what a writer wants is for his villain to be a threat and make the audience wonder and anticipate how he's going to be beaten. In this case, the audience are simply bored to see the villains winning without effort.
- "Only the Author Can Save Them Now"
- This is a problem for all of the reason it says on that trope page. You've made your villain such a credible threat that now, there doesn't seem to be any plausible way to beat him. Anything that wins against him now will be accused of being all part of the plan, or people will question why did THIS attack work when all the other ones didn't? All of his limits and weaknesses have been so thoroughly discredited that the only discernible reason why he'd lose is because the author wants him to right now.
A poorly executed Outside-Context Villain
can become this, but after a while, the hero may get used to the villain, and without the element of surprise, may be overcome. Failure Hero
is a possible result of this trope. Deliberate Villain Decay
is one way to counteract this by consciously making the villain less menacing, but can easily end up going too far in the other direction and reduce the villain to a joke if not handled carefully.
If taken to extremes, when a villain can't do anything other than win by some contrived reason, this trope turns into Villain Sue
. The Villain Protagonist
is especially at risk to this.
Contrast Invincible Hero
, their Good Counterpart
, and Harmless Villain
, their exact opposite in terms of threat level.
Compare Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain
, the generally interesting, vincible
See also Generic Doomsday Villain
, which is treated more like an obstacle for the hero to overcome rather than a true character.
As this trope frequently involves the conclusion of the story, beware of spoilers.
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Anime and Manga
- Emperor Gene in Zoids Genesis is clearly trying to be a Magnificent Bastard. However, his constant A God Am I speeches while his BioTyranno effortlessly no-sells everything that comes their way get really old really fast, causing him to fall to this trope instead. Exacerbating the problem is the way that the heroes fight like idiots whenever he's around, attacking him one at a time and leaving themselves wide open in the process.
- Super Robot Wars K drives the point home by having a scene (probably the longest in the game) where just about every playable character in Genesis tries to defeat Emperor Gene and gets crushed by their efforts, until Ruuji finally does the trick in his second try. Note the scene plays after you just kicked Gene's ass.
- Naraku from InuYasha until the last battle. The Big Bad for a manga series spawning 558 chapters, the handful of other villains that appeared were almost universally working for or with him with the exception of a few like the Thunder Brothers, the first enemies Inuyasha faces, etc . The very few times he was defeated or killed was part of his plans and he eventually came back, and despite the heroes repeatedly finding new powers and new weapons, every time they fought Naraku he escaped and lived to fight another day. In the end, he did win, in that he got all the jewel shards and formed the completed Shikon Jewel, and if not for Inuyasha's Big Damn Heroes moment with Kagome, he would have yet again successfully executed a plan that hinged on him dying or feigning death.
- It gets so bad that Kagome literally has to ERASE him from existence.
- Sosuke Aizen of Bleach. Introduced as a charismatic good guy, to being a Magnificent Bastard, subsequent appearances played up his power, smugness, Gambit Roulette planning skills, and NUKE the dog tendencies to nearly ridiculous levels. He declared his entire army of underlings weaker than him, and beat nearly all of the remaining good guys alone. Unfortunately, he never got to fight any of the characters capable of killing him until he had already gone through several transformations in power via a mysterious MacGuffin that made him effectively immune to everything thrown at him. He was eventually defeated by Ichigo but was by then immune to death so could only be imprisoned.
- One of the main complaints about Digimon Frontier (season 4) was the Royal Knights, a Quirky Miniboss Squad who show up and do nothing but beat the tar out of the heroes for nine straight episodes because... something had to eat up the time before the Big Bad got out of his can, right?
- Hao from Shaman King is literally totally unbeatable (but not invincible). He's had quite a head start, and by the time the story ends, is stronger than the next six characters combined, including the one who trained her entire life to beat him, but only reached half his strength. Even without fighting, he has a strange ability to gather totally unrelated people to his side to help him destroy humanity. He is a human but is treated as more of a force of nature in the series. He even wins in the final battle of the series, and shows everyone else that all of their efforts were meaningless in the grand scheme of things. He was so overpowered the author couldn't think of a satisfying ending for a while. When he finally did come out with one, Hao is ultimately defeated simply by being convinced that he's wrong, as overpowering him wasn't even a possibility anymore.
- Yujiro Hanma from Baki the Grappler. In the one anime fight where someone even lands a worthwhile attack (Doppo counters with several chest crushing punches), Yujiro simply stands up smiling as if he had an itch. To date, nothing has even given him cause to pause. Though several characters have evolved based on his almost unachievable status. Yujiro is so powerful, even at the very end of the series he still hasn't been defeated. Baki, now the second strongest man alive, attempts to fight Yujiro for the final time. At first it seems Baki is winning, even causing Yujiro to bleed, but Yujiro gets serious and begins no selling all of Bakis attacks, eventually beating him. Well, he is not beaten, but he is humbled enough to hand over the title "World's Strongest Creature" to Baki
- This trope is one of several reasons why the Huckebein of Nanoha Force are so hated.
- Though technically not villains, pretty much any one of Ash's arc rivals in Pokémon will never be beaten before his league battle with them, and even then it'll usually be with Ash just barely coming out on top with his last Pokemon barely able to stand. Before then, at best, he'll tie with them. At worst, it'll be a complete Curb-Stomp Battle. There's also the trainers brought in specifically to beat Ash in the league, the most infamous case being Tobias, who not only had a Darkrai, but also had a Latios!
- Dragon Ball Z:
- Broly from the 8th movie doesn't have much going for him as a villain, with little in the way of characterization and a flimsy motivation. He's basically what Goku would be without a sense of morals or sanity. What he does have is a level of power that is much higher than the others to which he uses to negate the attempts of the heroes and give them a thorough No-Holds-Barred Beatdown until an Ass Pull is needed to defeat him twice; the second time killing him by vaporizing him into the sun. And even that doesn't stop him as a clone of his, albeit much weaker causes a lot of trouble for Goten and Trunks.
- Majin Buu can regenerate From a Single Cell, and whenever the heroes seem to be getting an upper hand on him, he simply absorbs them, becoming even more powerful. Gotenks blows him up, blows all of the pieces of him up, and disintegrates every single cell. Buu regenerates from the smoke. When the fusion of Gotenks runs out Buu's power is halved, so Gohan is now more than powerful enough to win... so Buu simply absorbs him. It makes you wonder why he doesn't just do that always, since it always works and can instantly defeat opponents far more powerful than him. It got so bad that The Hero and The Rival had to fuse into the most powerful character in the series in order to remove those absorbed in order to weaken him. This is subverted as this form had more than enough power to kill him anytime he wished. Even then the one person who has a chance against him gets exhausted from fighting him non-stop, and when the Finishing Move comes, Buu simply pushes it back, necessitating all the powers of the human race to power it up enough to finally kill him.
- Bills/Beersu from the 14th movie, who dishes out MASSIVE CurbStompBattles to Super Saiyan 3 Goku, Super Saiyan 2 Vegeta, Super, Ultimate Gohan, Saiyan Gotenks, Good Buu, and the rest of the Z-Fighters. It's so bad that even when Goku gains acess to the Super Saiyan God Form (which is said to be the strongest form a Saiyan can attain), Beers is still stronger than him, even when not using his full power. To point it out, he's the only antagonist in the Dragon Ball Z series to never be defeated. Justified since he is a Physical God.
- Madara Uchiha in Naruto. The Big Bad, Tobi, was using his identity because Madara was feared so much. But even though he's supposedly been dead for awhile, he comes back as an immortal, regenerating being with unlimited chakra, a massive Susanoo that causes a high degree of damage by swinging its sword, and capable of creating clones indistinguishable from himself and as powerful as him. Five of the strongest characters in the series have barely inconvenienced him, even the main character has failed to significantly hinder him. Edo Tensei, the technique that revived him, was negated, and every person who was revived by it returned to being dead... with the sole exception of him, as he can apparently use that same technique on himself without sacrificing anyone. Word of God states he has no weaknesses. Of course, you have to get to him first, and he's currently riding an Eldritch Abomination large enough to hold the head of a bijuu in its mouth and can fire blasts that wipe out massive areas of land in a single shot.
- YuYu Hakusho's Sensui Shinobu is occasionally criticized as this, given that after all of Yusuke's efforts to defeat him he's still a Hopeless Boss Fight that requires the intervention of Yusuke's heretofore-unmentioned demon ancestor to finally bring down. Granted, this did turn out to be Foreshadowing for the next arc.
- Younger Toguro to a lesser extent as literally no one was able to even force him to go all out even Genkai, so he was free to annihilate everyone. He only was killed because he intentionally kills Kuwabara, Yusuke's best friend in order to even force the strength needed to do so, as the latter, even with a significant power boost was unable to scratch him at full power prior to this
- In Berserk Griffith as Femto is a Physical God in a mostly Low Fantasy setting (and most of the non-Low Fantasy elements are his direct minions). He can No Sell cannonballs, magic lightning and even a Reality Warper sword forged over hundreds of years specifically to kill him. Did we mention he's a Villain with Good Publicity to the point where most of the world believes he's the second coming of Crystal Dragon Jesus?
- And that's without counting the other members of the God Hand.
- Even worse, is the Idea of Evil, the god of the Berserk universe.
- So far, though, it doesn't seem to be interested in intervening, at least not directly.
- NEO from Digimon Next is probably the second- or third-closest thing to omnipotence the Digimon franchise has come, capable of erasing the entire Gondor Calls for Aid army assembled to fight him from existence with a single thought. As with Hao above, the only reason he loses in the end is because the heroes talk him into a Heel Realization and he puts everything back to normal.
- Bagramon from Digimon Xros Wars gets in the act as well, as ever with his weaker left arm he can No Sell just about everything thrown at him and when he Get's stabbed and forcibly fused with his brother Dark Knightmon, he just takes over after a while and becomes even more powerful. It takes the Digixros of Shoutmon and EVERY SINGLE DIGIMON in the whole series in order to kill him. Even then, it's revealed in the sequel season that he came back as the clockman and it's the power of the Brave Snatcher (his disembodied right arm) that saves the day in the end.
- Yu-Gi-Oh! has Filler Villain Dartz, unquestionably the most powerful non-Eldritch Abomination villain in the franchise. He's a 10,000-year-old expert shapeshifter and magician who knew the secrets of the Pharaoh before anyone else, and over the millennia has become the single wealthiest man in the world, rich enough to effortlessly buy out even KaibaCorp. Then there's his deck, which features such winners as a monster that, whenever it's destroyed, revives even stronger, and another one that absorbs any Life Point damage he would have taken and is nigh-indestructible besides. If you can somehow get rid of that, he can summon another monster whose attack value is equal to all the Life Point damage he would've taken had the first one not been there (over 20,000 in the final duel with him), and if you can get rid of that, it turns into a monster that instantly wins the game if it attacks for damage; that's in addition to the ever-present Seal of Orichalcos (which he has two more levels to). Using this deck, he keeps the heroes occupied for an unheard-of six straight episodes (the longest duel in any Yu-Gi-Oh! series), and it takes a Heroic Sacrifice from Kaiba and some serious liberal application of the rules on Yugi's part to defeat. After going through all that, you'd think the Evil Plan would be good and foiled, right? Nope; Dartz reveals the he alone is equal to the tens of thousands of souls he intended to sacrifice to his Eldritch Abomination master, so he goes ahead and summons it anyway. It takes the God Cards in their purest forms and an Ass Pull from Yami in order to even weaken him and his master.
- Subverted with Marik Ishtar who developded a strategy which would make him invincible. Slifer the Sky Dragon got 1000 ATK and DEF for every card in Marik's hand, and Revival Jam protected Slifer from every attack, thanks to the Trap Card Jam Defender and the Jam revived itself after every destruction. And two Spell Cards allowed him to ignore the limit of having six hand cards in the end of every turn, and drawing three card by every revival. However, Yami Yugi used this strategy against him and he brainwashed Revival Jam, so Slifer's effect forced it to attack Revival Jam automatically and destroying it immediately. But since Revival Jam always revived itself after every destruction, Slifer's effect cannot be stopped, and Marik was forced to draw three new cards whenever Revival Jam was revived due to his own Spell Card. And when Marik draw every card from his deck, he lost automatically.
- Averted with Yami Marik. He's a very skilled duelist, but he's not that overpowered, despite having the most powerful God Card in his deck. It was Mai's fault that he got the opportunity to control The Winged Dragon of Ra. Yami Bakura has no clue as to how the god card works. Yami Marik was the first to lose in the Battle Royal. Jonouchi nearly won in their duel, but he lost consciousness due to Yami Marik's torture. And Yami Marik's Ra strategy wasn't enough to win against Yami Yugi.
- Zorc can No Sell the Egyptian Gods, the Master of Dragon Knight, Exodia (only because of his feeble old man of a container) and everyone else, it takes a Serial Escalation of a summon of the most powerful monster involving the sacrifice of the three mentioned god monsters to even defeat him.
- Yubel and Saotorius from Yu-Gi-Oh! GX are ridiculously overpowered; with the former having control of not only an evil version of the three gods including their overpowered fusion, but a monster that reflects all damage back to the enemy. He/she defeats everyone she/he meets including a user of an even stronger version of Exodia and the main character had to merge with him/her in order to stop his/her mad rampage. With the latter, he predicts everything, and his charisma made it so no one would oppose him, as of course it took an Ass Pull, involving a student becoming a T-Rex in order to destroy his satellite, not to mention his overpowered deck.
- Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds escalates the invincibility of its Big Bad villains, with Z-One, a literal Physical God who controls the space time continuum who could and does erase anything in existence that threatens his plan. His deck is an entirely different matter, as every last monster in his deck has incredibly overpowered effects, and if you manage to defeat of all of them, he has an even more overpowered one that has the combined attack of all of his monsters (for bonus points, not only does it have the combined attack of them all, another of its effects actually raises the attack power of the others to 4000) with a very powerful effect as well.
- Professor Desty Nova in Gunnm / Battle Angel Alita has his hands on the controls to the Laser-Guided Karma machinery, almost literally. He walks away from series 1 without paying for any of the thousands of lives he consumes - including the protagonist's adoptive father - and series 2 seems set to make him even more sadistic, more amoral, more manipulative, more powerful and much more immortal than before.
- Under a bad writer, the Teen Titans' archnemesis Slade Wilson/Deathstroke can be this. His most infamous showing was in Identity Crisis, in which he demonstrated faster reflexes than Wally West and enough willpower to convince a Green Lantern ring to not attack him. The encounter ends with the entire Justice League on the floor spitting up blood, and Slade quipping that this League, made up mostly of new faces (in Comic Book Time terms, anyway) to superheroing, is so much weaker than the old one... despite the fact that many of them (Wally in particular) are far more powerful than their predecessors. You'd think that an arrow to the eye would have done something more than force him to retreat, but he just fine afterwards.
- Prometheus was an acceptably threatening Justice League level supervillain in his first appearances, but gradually went through Villain Decay as the story went on later. Come Justice League: Cry for Justice, the writers retconned his decay and tried to make him a threat again... by turning him into a total Villain Sue who pull out a ridiculously large Gambit Roulette and makes the whole League and Titans look like morons, to the point it no longer became believable. Made even more ridiculous when he actually is defeated... by Green Arrow infiltrating his conveniently unprotected headquarters and shooting him through the head with an arrow. That's right, the guy who could anticipate anything, including his own capture, the heroes calling for a guy he was stated to not be able to identify and many other things, couldn't ensure something as simple as protecting his headquarters against infiltration.
- On the Marvel Universe side, Thanos can be this mostly under Jim Starlin, especially when he has the Infinity Gauntlet: when he had it, he easily took down and killed practically every hero that oppose him, plus Doctor Doom, Galactus, Mephisto and several cosmic beings, either killing or defeating them and taking everything they threw at him. He even went as far as defeating the incarnation of the universe. The only way he was defeated was because of his own error, and it's implied he partially did it on purpose. In fact, virtually all the times he acquires ultimate power he fails to win is implied to due his subconscious desire to lose. Or a clone did it.
- Red Hulk was this in his initial run, defeating easily Hulk and the Avengers initially, with the worst case being when he was able to raise Mjolnir, something only people worthy to use it (Thor, Captain America, Beta Ray Bill and a few others, namely) should be able to do. This was fortunately corrected in later issues, making it, ironically, one of the few case where Villain Decay was considered a good change by fans.
- The Marvel Universe's Ultimate version of Loki was this at first. He was a reality warper who could rewrite history, summon armies of monsters, and make himself immune to physical attack including Thor's hammer. During the final battle, Thor mentions his powers have conveniently weakened allowing Thor to beat him. Suffered Villain Decay in later appearences where he was reduced to the traditional illusions and feats of sorcery.
- In the Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog], we have the Dark Mobius storyline's version of Enerjak, who the story points out immediately is Chaos Knuckles turn evil, so he's this inevitably. In his timeline, despite having a 0% Approval Rating, he singlehandedly took over the world and the only heroes left to fight him, he only left alive because he was bored and could have killed them at any point he wished. During his fight with Silver, he No Sells everything thrown at him. About the only thing that can hurt him are his own attacks. Thankfully, he was only around for one four issue storyline that ended with his powers being drained.
- We cant forget Superboy Prime, the Face-Heel Turn to end all Face Heel Turns, who not only went from good to bad, but also from a sympathetic hero who lost his universe to a whiny Villain Sue who had all of the Silver Age Supermans power level, with none of his weaknesses, as his universes Krypton had been swallowed by its Sun, and thus there was no Kryptonite that could harm him, and magic seemed to have little effect either. The result was a superpowered, adolescent jerk on a cosmic tantrum who could effortlessly destroy entire universes and tear through countless heroes without getting a scratch, and any setback was at most temporary.
- Ironically the one time karma finally gets him is when he finally gets what he wants-to return home. Since his world is our own, the fan backlash has trapped Prime in his own Ironic Hell.
- Harvest from the New 52. His introductory story The Culling spends its whole second half on scene after scene of him effortlessly beating back every attack the heroes make and insisting literally every single thing that all the many heroes involved in the story have done was part of his master plan, before getting away at the end. It also doesn't help that he claims to be a Well-Intentioned Extremist with no evidence to back it up. The Atop the Fourth Wall review says he's actually worse than the above-mentioned Prometheus.
- In John Carpenter's Ghosts of Mars, the eponymous ghosts are just that - intangible ghosts, who possess humans to interact with them. The spirits can't be killed by any known means (they even tried a nuclear detonation, which did nothing), which means that if their host is destroyed they'll just move on to the next body. The movie dances around this issue by setting up the all-out battle to occur after the story's events, but it's impossible to maintain any hope for the surviving characters because victory is ultimately impossible.
- The Final Destination movies teeter back and forth as to whether the heroes can actually win, but this theme consistently shows up in every entry. They're explicitly fighting Death, a presumably eternal force of nature. The fourth movie even indicates that Death gave them the visions in the first place, which means that every death happened according to his design, including the fates of the survivors - it just wasn't their time yet.
- Boris from GoldenEye thinks he is one. He's not.
- In the Mouth of Madness is solidly in this territory. The villain Sutter Cane is the author figure of the entire movie, and just makes any changes he wants to the story no matter how implausible or crushing to the protagonist's goals. Trent never stood a chance of defeating him; he's just words in Cane's imagination. The meanest part is that not even Only the Author Can Save Them Now applies here (except out-of-universe). Cane is both the villain and the author, and won't save Trent from ceasing to exist when the story ends.
- The Tall Man from the Phantasm films. No matter what our heroes do, he will always come back for them, often pulling a new power out of his ass in the process. The series is designed to feel like a nightmare, and every nightmare needs a guy whom you can never hope to defeat and can only stay ahead of for a bit.
- John "Jigsaw" Kramer from the Saw franchise. He always wins, and gets away with his crimes. Even when he gets killed, he still wins.
- Blake's 7: Servalan almost always ran circles around Blake and his Rebels. Most of the time, she left them holding the bag after playing them too. She also survives the series finale. The alleged heroes don't.
- Leverage: Sterling. Never. Loses. The best the con artist team can manage is misdirection.
- The X-Files: The Cigarette Smoking Man survived things no human being ought to have survived, and repeatedly came out on top with Mulder and Scully once again discredited and humiliated.
- Even though he ultimately dies definitively in an airstrike, he still has the last laugh when he gets to tell Mulder and Scully that the alien invasion is scheduled for 2012.
- Sylar from Heroes. He kills numerous people, usually minor characters, over multiple seasons; and despite being mortally stabbed (twice), getting completely incinerated, having his entire brain overwritten, etc. he still keeps coming back, usually with even more powers, to terrorize the rest of the cast.
- Arthur Petrelli takes this Up to Eleven. While he's around, he's able to overpower Sylar effortlessly, as well as killing off nearly every major baddie the show had cultivated up to that point. Realizing their mistake, the writers deemed him Too Powerful to Live and had the three most powerful non-Arthur characters come together to kill him for good. Embodies this trope to a much greater degree than Sylar, because Sylar's rise to godhood occurred over the course of the series and stemmed from his own determinator persistence and cleverness, Arthur's ascent occurred off-screen and before the main storyline and comes without any real emotional baggage, so there's no sense that he was ever particularly vulnerable.
- Anna on V-2009. This is even lampshaded by Erica. No matter what the Fifth Column does, Anna always comes out on top. Either through Diabolus Ex Machina or just good PR, every supposed win they've had is thrown right back in their faces. Manages to go Up to Eleven in the season 2 finale. The Fifth Column decides to take out Anna. Result? Anna uses Bliss on pretty much all of humanity; the Fifth Column is basically defeated; Diana, Tyler, and Ryan are dead; and the queen egg hatches to replace Lisa. This was all the writers got to before the show was Cut Short.
- Nukus from Big Bad Beetle Borgs started out as the Outside-Context Villain varian of this; as soon as he brought to life, he proves Dangerously Genre Savvy enough to destroy the Beetle Borgs' weaponry, leaving them gradually losing. When they finally defeated the invincible monster he created to fight them, it turns out he let them do it so he could get rid of the actual villains and take over as the new Big Bad. He then proceeds to deliver a Curb-Stomp Battle to the protagonists, obliterating their powers, and transforms the one who gave them power into ice. Of course, once the protagonists got new powers and he became the new Big Bad, he lost his Villain Sue status and ended up defeated on regular basis.
- Pelant from Bones is turning into this. He can pretty much hack any system he wants, change whatever records he wants, stop traffic, fake video footage, block cell phone signals, and kill anyone he wants at any time. With these abilities from a computer, it seems the writers have made his character so powerful of a threat, the team simply cannot defeat him and any defeat would come at Pelant's own mistake, which according to his character, seems impossible.
- The Undertaker is currently riding a 21-0 streak at Wrestlemania that's been hyped up for about the last 6 years, despite no one really believing he'll lose. Memes have been made about him being beaten by the least likely person. Of course, the "villain" part only applies due to his angle and whenever he's a Heel.
- For a couple years after being recognized both in-story and out as Vince McMahon's son-in-law, HHH could never lose a major match. Thanks to being part of Vince's family, "Trips" is pretty squarely heel, though occasionally a lesser of two evils.
- The New World Order faction in WCW was a notable example of an entire group of invincible villains. This was especially evident in the group's early days, where the nWo would frequently run roughshod over their WCW foes and episodes of WCW Nitro would end with the nWo triumphant more often than not.
- In 2012, John Launinitus (who was Senior Vice President of Talent Relations in the WWE) became the GM of Raw and Smack Down, and before the interim GM of Raw. What befell his character wasn't that it was not done well by John (it was), but that, as a heel GM, he seemed to never be able to be outsmarted by anyone and his character nearly took over the show, getting more air time than some of the wrestlers combined. It got so bad that Vince's "firing" of John at No Way Out was welcome because someone FINALLY was able to outsmart him, despite their like for how well done John played the actual role.
- This is because usually, a heel boss only works if some wrestlers are able to outsmart them, such as Stone Cold Steve Austin finding a way around Vince's stacking the deck at many points during their feud in 99. Vince seemed to have things work, but Austin found a way around it. This hasn't been the case in some of the more recent heel G Ms that the WWE has put out there, where it might take months for any heel GM to get their comeuppance due to them either being way too smart, have way too many allies, or just being on TV way too long during a show. However, heel GM's (Launinitus, especially), as well as some other heels, when they finally get beat, might draw some Fan Dumb from fans who insist that a character has been ruined, or that the WWE did something awful because they lost a battle if they like something about the character to a fault.
- Before the end of the Detroit territory, the original Sheik was this to anyone who was not rooting for the empire.
- BIONICLE's very own Big Bad, Makuta Teridax was this. Even after his body got destroyed, he still kept coming back as the Man Behind the Man for years. It took LEGO to pull the plug on the toyline to get him finally offed.
- In Dragonfable, Sepulchure is one of these when he isn't being Orcus on His Throne. His incompetent minions frequently fail at their tasks, but whenever Sepulchure gets directly involved, he wins every battle with ease and makes the Hero of Dragonfable look like a total Failure Hero. Sepulchure never loses until his Villainous Breakdown, which is triggered by Drakath betraying him and stabbing him in the back with his own Doom weapon.
- Caius Ballad from Final Fantasy XIII-2 possesses the Heart of Chaos, which makes him immortal and also connects him to the goddess Etro. If he dies, so does she. This actually happens at the end of the game.. Due to him being the overseer of the world's timeline, he has gained vast knowledge of every possible scenario and uses it to his advantage.
- Fortunately, a third game's been announced, which will hopefully allow one to fix the Downer Ending the bastard caused and give him a few good karmic smacks to the head.
- Both of the known villains in BlazBlue have carried out their plans with few flaws as of the end of Continuum Shift.
- Relius Clover has remained enigmatic in his ability to plan ahead and outfit Ignis accordingly, and while he has little direct impact on the story, it's safe to say that a large portion of the Evil Plan is of his creation. note Further, while Relius avoids conflict most of the time, almost any time someone fights him, they either get subdued and/or apprehended, or it's time for a Bad Ending. The exception is Valkenhayn, who thrashes him enough to force him to withdraw, but not enough to derail the plan. But even then, in Chronophantasma, Relius returns the favor and thoroughly thrashed Valkenhayn, only stopped because of time reset.
- Yuuki Terumi is even more broken, and is nearly completely overwhelming in terms of combat ability, and is unafraid to rub it in the protagonists' faces whenever he can. Further rubbing salt in the wound, every time he has lost in combat it is beneficial to the Evil Plan. Jin on the verge of owning him? He dives into a cauldron to force a reset. Ragna rocks his face in the True Ending? Relius kills Terumi soon after so he can infiltrate Takamagahara. Kokonoe keeps a loaded nuke silo for this? With the Imperator observing him, a number of lifelinks, and Phantom as his exit bus, all that will do is annihilate millions of innocents. The only time something went wrong with no backup plan is when Makoto fell into the Wheel of Fortune timeline, eluded Relius' pursuit of her, and obliterated Terumi's plans as collateral damage.
- However, Chronophantasma subverts this. While Relius is pretty invincible in combat, his plans aren't the most fool-proof and Bang Shishigami completely wrecked it, as a result, Relius suffers a gigantic Villainous Breakdown and gets himself beaten to near death by Valkenhayn and lost his will to go on, only living under the leash of Carl and Litchi, two people he recently manipulated with 'promises' of aid for their beloved, and that's just because Carl needs his brain, after that he looks forward of being offed. Terumi got himself caught in a series of 'trolling' by Hakumen and Trinity to the point that he's 'separate' from his Hazama form, and even if he managed to kill Trinity, Hakumen slays him with 'Time Killer', erasing him from all traces of time so we can be sure that it's his last hurrah. And even Imperator Saya abandons them to their fate... but that's because turns out she became another Invincible Villain with good justifications so far: She's Izanami, the friggin' Goddess of Death!
- Diablo takes this trope and run with it Up to Eleven: for the first two games and most of the third game, all you character does by trying to defeat the Great Evils usually only ends up helping them in some way, to the point that the first game actually ends with Diablo winning anyway despite his death at the hands of the hero.
- The Templars from Assassin's Creed are really starting to feel like this. For starters, Abstergo (the Templars' front company) already holds a large monopoly on the world's economy and technology. Their archenemies, the Assassins, are on the brink of extinction. By the time the games take place, the Templars' plan for world domination is largely unoppossed, save for the last Assassins, who seek out the Pieces of Eden to stop them. In Assassin's Creed III, Desmond kills Warren Vidic and Daniel Cross, two very important Templar members, and even then William Miles says that their deaths will not affect the Templars in the long run.
- Rorke from Call of Duty: Ghosts comes across quite heavily as this. Despite the hero's best efforts, and his many losses and injuries, he still manages to come out on top on nearly every possible angle. The most egregious example comes at the end, when despite being shot point blank in the chest with a .44 round and being left to drown in a sinking train, he survives with only minor injuries and kidnaps the main protagonist to brainwash against his brother.
- SCP-682 of the SCP Foundation. Every attempt to kill him so far has only made him stronger. How invincible is he? They made a creature that's sole attribute was that it was capable of killing 682, and 682 killed it. In this case, it's justified since he actually is invincible.
- Being invincible is pretty much SCP-682's main shtick. The monster's concept is not particularly novel, it's the various ways it keeps surviving that which make it one of the most popular SC Ps.
- David Xanatos of Gargoyles lets you know it's all in The Plan - his plan. Though he's far from boring.
- Aggregor in Ben 10: Ultimate Alien was pretty much this for the first half of season 1, and only got defeated at the end of his story arc; all the previous episodes, he ended up somehow winning, usually by using the heroes to do his job. Tropes Are Not Bad however: after the previous light-hearted season 3 of Alien Force with a Vilgax suffering Villain Decay, an actually threatening villain was rather welcomed by the fans.
- Amon in The Legend of Korra; seriously, the guy goes as far as preventing a Big Bad Ensemble by defeating his rival in one fight after displaying immunity to said Rival's powers. And he did nothing but win until the finale, even succeeding in de-powering two major characters (though temporary). Fortunately, this was balanced by a good Character Development in the finale and a notable charisma. It also helps that they explain why he was so invincible. Although exactly how bloodbending can take away a person's bending isn't clearly explained, though the guy is an expert Chi Blocker.
- The Light from Young Justice takes this trope Up to Eleven; the group consist in a group of various villains from the DCU working together to oppose the Justice League. Though they hardly get any development themselves, they constantly pull out a combination of Xanatos Gambit and The Man Behind the Man that would put the Trope Namer to shame. The previous examples listed at least didn't last more than one season before being defeated or having a Heel-Face Turn; The Light, on the other hand, end a whole season with Karma Houdini, and their Evil Plan is still going on. The heroes' "victories" to date have tended to be little more than minor inconveniences for The Light (and often not even that). No matter how successful the team seems to have been, the episode will usually end with The Light revealing that either the heroes played into their hands, or that they have a backup plan that makes the heroes' victory irrelevant.
- Finally Subverted in the second-to-last episode of season 2, where the team out wits the Light, derailing their plans and capturing two of them while the others flee. Vandal Savage even states that no one else has ever managed to disrupt his plans so much before.
- But even then The Light is not defeated. Most of the members go scot free and Savage is able to salvage some of his plan, by using the Warworld to threaten the rest of the the galaxy to stay away from Earth. At the very end, he steps onto Apokolips itself and is revealed to have a working relationship with Darkseid.
- Chase Young from Xiaolin Showdown is basically an immortal, powerful, intelligent, handsome, highly skilled warrior who outclasses every other villain on the show as well as most of the heroes, and almost never suffers major setbacks. In the first two episodes of the revival have him get a spy amongst the Xiaolin warriors, who manages to steal all the Shen Gong Wu, and then he attacks the temple, defeats Master Fung with ease, and destroys the temple in a matter of minutes.
- Megatron from Beast Machines operates on an intellectual level far above and beyond the main characters and commands an army so vast that despite chipping away at it for two seasons, the heroes can't even dent his forces. He also commands a body far more powerful than anyone else in the show.