->''"It's been a long journey and no one is coming out without scars. But it all comes down to this moment. We win or lose it all in the next few minutes. Make me proud. Make ''yourselves'' proud."''
-->-- '''Commander Shepard''', ''VideoGame/MassEffect2''

There are tons of dark prophecies of doomsdays and master plans that take a long time to put into action. The Day of Reckoning is the day that all the prophecies speak of... the day that the EvilOverlord wins, goodness and mercy are overthrown, and a new Dark Age arises on Earth...

At least, until the hero shows up, defeats the villain, saves the day, and returns everything to normal (usually with one or two characters sacrificing themselves to do it). This trope is about the final confrontation between the heroes and the coming evil. The long-awaited and foretold apocalypse. When the heroes finally get out from under the DarkestHour and put a stop to the villain's plan for world domination.

A specific type of story [[TheClimax Climax]]. See also DarkestHour.

And nope, this trope has nothing to do with ''Film/UniversalSoldierDayOfReckoning'' despite its title.

'''As an EndingTrope, expect massive unmarked spoilers ahead.'''
----
!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica'': The Walpurgisnacht. [[spoiler:[[GroundhogDayLoop And Homura has faced it too many times to count. And losing, every single time.]]]]
* ''Anime/DigimonAdventure'' had the arrival of Myotismon be "The Hour of the Beast" or [[GettingCrapPastTheRadar 6 seconds past 6:06 PM]].
* At the end of ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist'', this pretty much happens when Father takes the lives of everyone in Amestris, only to have Ed and everyone else foil his plans, and he was eventually defeated.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* StarWars: The day Emperor Palpatine takes over the Republic, beginning with the murder of all the Jedi, at the end of ''Revenge of the Sith''.
%%* The Frabjous Day in ''Film/AliceInWonderland''.
* In the 2009 ''Film/StarTrek'' film, Nero describes his attacks on Vulcan and Earth as the Federation's "Day of Reckoning".
* Gozer's arrival on Earth in ''Film/{{Ghostbusters}}'' would almost certainly have been this. Judgment Day is even referred to by name and place in the Bible.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* The Battle of the Five Armies at the end of ''Literature/TheHobbit''.
* The Battle of the Black Gate near the end of ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings,'' used to divert Sauron's attention so that Frodo can do his job.
* The Battle of Hogwarts, in ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheDeathlyHallows''.
* The poem ''Literature/DreamOfTheRood'' briefly speaks glowingly of the Second Coming of Christ.
* The Dark Forest invasion in ''Literature/WarriorCats'', which is spoken of in several prophecies, and had been built up for most of the series.
* The battle in the Literature/GauntsGhosts novel ''Sabbat Martyr'' is a DoubleSubversion. The stage is clearly set, we are told, for a dramatic, winner-take-all battle between [[ChurchMilitant Imperial Crusade forces]] and [[TheLegionsOfHell the hosts of Chaos]] at the fortress-world of Morlond, and the eponymous long-dead Imperial Saint has returned [[HopeBringer to spur the Imperials on to final victory]]. But instead of going to Morlond, Sabbat takes a detour to an obscure, worthless planet on the Crusade's second front called Herodor, and neither Gaunt nor anyone else can explain why. A massive Chaos army, led by [[TheDragon Magister Enok Innokenti]], attacks Herodor, and only then does Sabbat explain her plan: [[BatmanGambit she deliberately lured Innokenti to Herodor]], using herself as bait, to prevent him from attacking the Crusade's vulnerable flank, and the prophesied victory is an Imperial counter-attack that slays Innokenti and throws his army into rout.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''{{Series/Dollhouse}}'' is notable in that its day of reckoning goes ahead despite ([[NiceJobBreakingItHero or possibly because of]]) the heroes intervention. Other than that, it plays this trope to a T.
* When Series/{{Angel}} and his team finally attack the Circle of the Black Thorn and try to avert THE apocalypse.
* The new ''Series/DoctorWho'' series had a Day of Reckoning at the end of every season. The Doctor refers to them as "Volcano Days". Of particular note are the episodes "The Sound of Drums"/"The Last of the Time Lords", "The Stolen Earth"/"Journey's End", and "The End of Time".
* Any of the Apocalypses from ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer''.
* In ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'', we have the episodes ''All Hell Breaks Loose'' where the brothers finally take out Azazel, the demon that killed their parents... but are too late to stop him unleashing his demonic army into the world; ''No Rest For The Wicked'' where the brothers attempt to take out the demon's new leader, Lilith, before she can claim Dean's soul and drag him to hell... and they fail, with Dean suffering a particularly nasty death; ''Lucifer Rising'', where the brothers attempt to stop Lilith from freeing Lucifer... and it ends badly, with Sam accidentally freeing Lucifer himself. Then there's the big one, ''Swan Song'', where the brothers have to re-imprison Lucifer before he can fight Micheal, ending the world... they succeed! (Although Sam is sealed in Hell along with a very pissed-off Lucifer and Michael)...
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Pinball]]
* In ''VideoGame/LastGladiator'', the "Warlock" table is a magical battle on Judgment Day.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Religion and Mythology]]
* Judgment Day, as described in the [[Literature/TheBible Book of Revelation]]. This makes this trope OlderThanFeudalism.
** While the judgment before the great white throne is literally a day of reckoning (since "reckoning" in this sense is synonymous with "judgment"), the battle of Armageddon corresponds more closely to the trope meaning. The good guys have already won by the time Judgment Day comes around.
* Ragnarok, the prophesied final battle between the gods and Jotun in NorseMythology.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/CallOfCthulhu'' campaigns
** ''Shadows of Yog-Sothoth'' - The rise of R'lyeh and release of Cthulhu. 'Nuff said.
** ''Masks of Nyarlathotep'' - The opening of a Gate that will allow CthulhuMythos entities to enter our world.
** ''The Fungi From Yuggoth''. Dholes will be summoned worldwide, the Sphinx will be changed into an avatar of Nyarlathotep and terrorists will overthrow national governments, allowing the Mythos to take over the world.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* The Final Day from ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaMajorasMask''.
* The ''VideoGame/{{Warcraft}}'' series had this with the invasion of the Burning Legion, though they've tried and failed three times already. Rumor has it, though, that they're at it again.
** In ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'', the climaxes of both ''Wrath of the Lich King'' and ''Cataclysm'' in the Icecrown Citadel and Dragon Soul raids respectively. It isn't so much that the villains are planning anything specific at that particular time, but with so many of the allied forces on the line, they'll be home free if the heroes fail.
* The ''Franchise/MassEffect'' series has one of these at the end of each game: in the first game, it is the defense of the Citadel and in the second, quite predictably, the Suicide Mission (see the opening quote). The entire third game is more or less an extended one of these, and the assault on Reaper-held Earth serves as an internal example within that.
* The Day of Lavos from ''VideoGame/ChronoTrigger''.
* In ''VideoGame/GodOfWar III'' Kratos at last brings fourth the destruction of Mount Olympus, and the gods upon it, as all was foretold.
* In ''VideoGame/ShadowTheHedgehog'' the ''first'' thing villain Black Doom says upon [[AlienInvasion the arrival of himself and his forces]] is the promise of such a day:
--> '''Black Doom:''' Shadow... As you can see, the day of reckoning will soon be here. Find the seven Chaos Emeralds and bring them to me as promised.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Trigon's invasion of Earth in ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans''.
* Sozin's Comet triggers this in ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender''
** Also the Day Of Black Sun, in a sense -- it was supposed to be the allies' day to strike at the Fire Nation, but Azula discovered their plan beforehand and they were resoundingly crushed (except in Omashu).
* In ''TransformersTheMovie'', the coming of Unicron.
* The two-parter Second Season finale of ''WesternAnimation/XMenEvolution'' is actually titled "Day of Reckoning." It involves the iconic Franchise/{{X-Men}} figure of a Sentinel being let loose in the city and attacking all mutants and them having to defend themselves, leading to their existence being revealed on national television.
** The two-parter series finale "Ascension" probably also counts, as the titular heroes fight against and defeat their ultimate enemy Apocalypse, who had been prepping up for the last two seasons to turn all of humanity into mutants.
[[/folder]]

----

->''"I suddenly find myself needing to know the plural of apocalypse."''\\
--'''Riley Finn''', ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer''

----