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Badass Army

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Leonidas, 300

This is where the Badass Crew is taken to the next logical step and turned into an entire army. The Badass Army is made of 100% badasses and there is absolutely nothing that can stop them short of overwhelming numbers or an even more badass Badass Army. There is not a single soldier who can not hold their own in a fight. They are likely to be super soldiers and have a high likelihood to have been raised in The Spartan Way. They will not use Hollywood Tactics, like amateurs.

Count on them to boast many a Colonel Badass, and many more Sergeant Rocks. Almost always commanded by one or several Four Star Badasses.

The polar opposite of Red Shirt Army. A sub-trope of this, where an especially Badass Army is sealed in the can, is the Sealed Army in a Can. Proud Warrior Race is another variant where the members come from a culture that makes an unusually big deal about trying to be this. When the villain has a special unit of these, expect them to be Elite Mooks. Usually an Elite Army. Compare Humans Are Warriors, where having a Badass Army is humanity's hat, and with Men of Sherwood, a smaller scale support crew. Semper Fi is similar, but they are quick to inform you that they are not an army, regardless of the infantry, tanks, artillery, and attack helicopters that they use.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • Experienced soldiers in the Survey Corps in Attack on Titan are this. Combined with their ability to dual wield swords and swing from building to building, many are already killed dozens of Titans. Contrast the Garrison and Military Police troops who die like flies once the real fighting starts since they have no real experience fighting Titans.
    • Ironically, only the top 10 students of the Training Corps can join the Military Police, but it is the weakest army when facing Titans.
      • Zig-Zagged later on. While most of the Military Police Brigade are corrupt louts, it turns out the "Top 10" rule served to make the Military Police into a recruiting ground for the Anti-Personnel Control Group — a secret unit of highly skilled fighters/assassins equipped with a specialized variant of the 3D maneuver gear and were officially formed as a counter to the Survey Corps.
  • Berserk:
    • Judeau says that even though the individual soldiers in the Band of the Hawk are no different than the mercenaries you would find in other armies, Griffith's inspirational leadership has made them into a force that's more than the sum of its parts. There's no one in the Band of the Hawk who didn't join of their own will or who isn't willing to endure suffering, and their superior morale and tactics have enabled them to defeat armies that were much stronger than them on paper.
    • In later arcs Griffith's new Band of the Hawk is even more so because in addition to disciplined and motivated humans, its ranks include champions and monsters with superhuman powers.
  • Balalaika in Black Lagoon commands one of these. Justified as they are all former Russian Special Forces. To highlight their level of awesome, they carried out a highly organized campaign that crippled and took control of the Japanese Underworld. Even Rock essentially said "These guys aren't just ordinary Mooks" when he first saw them.
    • There's also the US Army Special Forces Unit, Gray Fox. Led by Major Shane Caxton. In addition to their military careers before the events of "El Baile de la Muerte", they've survived a few dozen hired mercenaries, contact with elite FARC soldiers, Revy and Shenhua (who they disarmed rather easily), as well as close contact and a gunfight with Roberta. Thrice. Especially considering they were funnelled into several situations that should have killed them. Eda warns Chang that if he pursues them into the jungle, he and his men are as good as dead. Their established badassery only shows further how dangerous Roberta is when she kills several of them. And even then, they're under orders not to kill her by that point.
      • In the anime adaptation, the battle is less one-sided, as Gray Fox cripple Roberta for life as she tries killing them. By the time Garcia manages to put his plan into action, it's ambiguous whether he's saving Gray Fox from Roberta, or Roberta from Gray Fox.
  • Bleach:
    • The Gotei 13 is an elite army unit split into 13 divisions. They only take the best students from the Academy into their ranks. Once the best students join, they discover to their shock that their abilities are only average... and that's just the rank and file. It takes truly exceptional shinigami to become seated officers, never mind lieutenants or captains. The Gotei 13 can handle most threats that exist, but the top threats have to be dealt with by the higher ranks.
    • The Arrancar Army was Aizen's attempt to create an army that could rival the strength of the Gotei 13. Several of the highest-ranking Espada couldn't be fought by individual captains and the shinigami had to team up to take them on.
    • The Vandenreich, which invaded and conquered Hueco Mundo (which was being run by a Vasto Lorde level Arrancar at the time) and then proceeded to lay siege to Soul Society. Among their number are the Sternritter (Star Knights), which seem to be their answer to the Espada and Gotei 13 Captains, and the Soldaten (Soldiers), which are obviously their grunts but are noticeably more powerful than counterpart Shinigami or Arrancar.
  • Digimon Fusion: Xros Heart certainly qualifies. They may start out as only a few members, but they sure gain lots of powerful allies fast, and aside from that, they are all badass. They definitely prove this shortly before Beelzemon joins them, when the entire army is willing to risk their lives to protect their enemy, who also holds a grudge against the Bagura Army. And even after Ba'almon's death, he is reincarnated as Beelzemon, and is a dozen times more badass after that, and joins Xros Heart.
    • And it was just the beginning. It becomes even more badass when Nene, Blue Flare and then Yuu join them.
    • In the sequel series, they are helped by an even more Badass Army composed of the heroes of all previous Digimon series.
  • Both the Saiyajin and Freeza's army in Dragon Ball Z. To put this in perspective, these are groups that only consider a small handful of fighters enough to wipe out the populace of civilized planet. Raditz, who is only considered a common soldier, curb-stomped Goku and Piccolo, who were both persons of mass destruction at that point in the series.
  • Fate/Zero introduces this trope in the form of Iskandar's Noble Phantasm. As he was Alexander the Great in life, his Noble Phantasm consists of that army, which was full of all manner of warriors that have now been upgraded to Servant status. While none of them are individually all that impressive by Servant standards, they are still superhuman warriors and could defeat any mortal soldier with ease, and as a massed army, very little can stop them.
    Iskander: "BEHOLD MY PEERLESS ARMY! Their bodies may return to ash, but their spirits still hear my call! These men are my legendary heroes — my loyal followers! They're my true friends -- breaking the rules of space and time to fight once more at my side! They are my treasure within treasures; they're my right to rule! They make up Iskander's mightiest Noble Phantasm — Ionian Hetairoi!!"
  • First Easter Mirage Corps, commonly called Mirage Knights or just simply Mirages, from The Five Star Stories. An elite knightly order of Kingdom of Grees, which serves as bodyguards and personal army to Emperor Amaterasu, Mirage.A.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: The whole Briggs Division. According to Major General Olivier Armstrong, each one of her Briggs men can take down a grizzly bear in hand to hand combat.
  • A modern military like the JSDF in Gate faces off against a Medieval European Fantasy army in the other, and annihilates them.
  • The Parsian army, especially their cavalry, in The Heroic Legend of Arslan. There is a good reason why they were well known and widely feared by other countries. During the disastrous Battle of Atropene, despite being overwhelmed, badly injured, and abandoned by the main army, the cavalry continued their charge till the very end.
  • Lyrical Nanoha has the Time-Space Administration Bureau (TSAB), which includes Air Armaments Service, Ground Armaments Service, and the Dimensional Navy among different other services. The heroes were/are members of two subdivisions, the Riot Force 6 and the Special Duty Section 6, respectively. When the former was active, it was criticized by other branches for being founded by a former criminal, having ex-criminal as their members, and being overpowered. And of course, the Special Duty Section 6 is even more powerful, not only it has almost every member of the Riot Force 6, it has even additional powerful members, and most of the old members are stronger than ever.
  • The Maganac Corps from Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, a group of 40 Arabian rebel pilots who are Quatre's personal squadron, True Companions, and occasional father figures. And they kick ass in machines that are outdated and underpowered because they're all ace pilots and they have exceptional teamwork.
  • In Naruto, the Fourth Ninja World War leads to the five great villages pooling their resources to form a Badass Army. They are up against Kabuto's Badass Army of zombies. Both armies consist of individuals who can single-handedly destroy whole military units or level entire cities.
    • One-Man Army Naruto makes the entire Allied Shinobi Forces take a level in badass by transferring his mixed Kurama chakra to everyone in the surviving army. It's enough to overwhelm Juubi, Obito, and Madara and sever the latter two's control over the former... on top of two tails of the former.
  • One Piece:
    • The Whitebeard Pirates and their allies consist of about forty-two Badass Crews joined into a single force to take on the World Government, itself sporting its own Badass Army of Marine officers and privateer pirates, and cyborg Pacifcas.
    • Following the Dressrosa arc, the Straw Hat Pirates themselves have upgraded from a small (if powerful) Ragtag Bunch of Misfits to an entire pirate fleet full of notorious figures.
  • In Saint Seiya it's stated that the titular Saints can move faster than the speed of sound. And that's just the lowly ones, the Gold Saints can move at the speed of light. Gold Saint Leo Aioria can punch you one billion times at that speed, his attack resembling a gold web of doom. And there are 88 of them. Not to mention the 108 spectres under command of two undead gods serving Hades.
  • Sengoku Basara has Date Masamune's army of badass Delinquents. ARE YOU READY GAIZ??!!
  • Near the end of the first half of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, Team Dai-Gurren is joined by an entire army of humans in stolen Gunmen. Naturally, they're all Badass. Especially the scene where the entire force rallies around the Dai-Gurren and they take off into a huge melee.
  • The Jomsvikings from Vinland Saga. Though their actual historic existence is unclear, they appear in stories from the 12th century (most prominently, Saga of the Jomsvikings) which quite match the way they appear in the manga. Fox's face pretty much sums up what you would look like if you had to meet them on the battlefield.

    Comic Books 
  • The Avengers: The Universal Avengers from The Avengers (Jason Aaron). The Universal Avengers aren't an Avengers team. What they are is a full army of Captain Americas, Thors, and Carol Danvers that are joined by the current Avengers and the Prehistoric Avengers as well as various heroes from alternate timelines such as Star Panther, Thor's granddaughters and Old Man Phoenix. Their numbers are further bolstered by a man-made Celestial, Galactus and a Sorcerer Supreme Loki who accidentally killed everyone in his universe. Facing them are the Multiversal Masters of Evil and an army of Mephistos and Dr. Dooms, but as strong as these evil-doers are they can't handle the sheer number and raw power of the Universal Avengers.
  • Democracy: The Persians. As Leander states, they have never been beaten by a Greek army before. Well, until, as everyone knows, they faced the Athenians at the battle of Marathon...
  • Earth 2: The World Army fought off the parademon invasion with the help of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman at the start of the series. After the parademon invasion, they start creating their own Wonders to combat future threats.
  • Ghost Rider: In the Ghost Rider: Heaven's On Fire miniseries, when Johnny Blaze needs to take down a rebel angel who's usurped Heaven, he gets the help of every Ghost Rider who ever existed. And over the course of history, there's been a Spirit of Vengeance for every culture in every era. This is what the resulting army of Ghost Riders looks like.
  • G.I. Joe: The G.I. Joes would be a non-superhuman example, at least in the comics where a rifle pointed at you was at least vaguely threatening.
  • Green Lantern: Pretty much every Lantern Corps qualifies. And the Green Lantern Corps is the longest standing one of them all as far as the real-world acknowledgement goes (we didn't start hearing stories about Sinestro Corps, etc, until much later). For that matter, against foes other than Green Lanterns, the Thunderers of Qward would count. The Green Lantern Corps divides the galaxy into 3600 sectors. There are about 400 billion stars in the galaxy, so assuming things are divided evenly, each GL is responsible for patrolling an area containing about 11 million stars... and in The DCU, most star systems are host to intelligent life. It takes a really big threat for the Corps to consider sending more than one or two Lanterns to handle it, and something literally universe-shattering to mobilize the entire Corps.
  • Human Defense Corps: The underused Human Defense Corps once invaded Hell. They won.
  • Judge Dredd: The Judges have had to become this on occasion. Two notable occasions are after the Great Atomic War of 2070 when the Judges brought down Robert L. Booth and during the Apocalypse War against the Sov Block.
    • Hell, they have their own defence division comprised of judges who are seen to be too dangerous for use on the streets but have been found useful in wars around the galaxy as well as in defence of the city. Also, Mega City One has a space corps, a regular military that fights offworld.
  • The Punisher: The entirety of Frank Castle's Vietnam era Force Recon Marine unit. Whose various exploits during the Vietnam war would go on to become the stuff of legend/nightmares.
  • Rom: Spaceknight: The Space Knights of Galador. First, two hundred of them in nuthin' but Powered Armor fought off the entire Wraith starfleet to defend their homeworld. Then they fanned out across the entire galaxy hunting down and killing every Wraith they could lay their hands on. Eventually, the last of their kind annihilated the entire species by sending their planet into Limbo. Bad. Ass.
  • Wonder Woman: While the Amazons are traditionally Technical Pacifists they're also a bunch of women who have been training in and perfecting their usage of the fighting arts for several millenniums, are faster and stronger than a normal human, several of them are superheroes in their own right, quite a few have studied magic, and they've been modifying and updating their armor for millenniums as well.

    Fan Works 
  • Weaver Nine: The PRT and the Protectorate consider an Endbringer attack equivalent to a malicious natural disaster. An event they cannot hope to truly stop, just to drive it off and minimize the damage. To The Society? It's time for weapons testing. Two instances of Society forces engaging Leviathan resulted in zero casualties for the Society. The force defending Monrovia? Who repelled Leviathan without any casualties? Numbered twelve people... and five missiles. Contrast to the Protectorate, who lose one in four capes to every endbringer fight, due to their Zerg Rush stratagem.
  • A Crown of Stars: The army of Empire of Avalon is vast, comprised of well-trained and highly competent Super Soldiers, many of them with Psychic Powers, and equipped with all sci-fi imaginable weaponry. They are so badass that they make known where their main bases are located in case any of their enemies want to pick a fight.
  • Legionnaire has several, including the Khan Army, the Equestrian armed forces, and the infamous, titular Equestrian Legion.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic / S.T.A.L.K.E.R. crossover, See the Zone and Survive has one: Dawn faction, created by Strider, Celestia and their friends/allies. Not only they have a large number of really good soldiers and mercenaries, assload of firearms, shitload of ammo but also a freaking tanks (two T-80B and one T-64BM), APC's (two BTR-70K), IFV's (four BMP-2M), helicopters (three Mi-24D and two Mi-26S), some bikes plus workshop and maintenance bay for them. And some of these vehicles have been upgraded by them. And they have their own R&D section. Holy crap!
  • The Originals in The Legend of Link: Lucky Number 13 take this trope Up to Eleven by being a two-hundred thousand strong swarm of gods. Furious and primitive, they are well-known in-universe for being impossible to defeat — even by their own creators, the supreme gods Fate and Destiny.
  • The God Empress of Ponykind has the Twenty Legions of Equestria. Each one is comprised of one thousand ponies clad in heavy armor (based off the armor Imperial Space Marines wear), led by a Four-Star Badass, and capable of taking on an army three times its size.
  • Fate: Zero Sanity has two such armies in the form of Noble Phantasms. The first is the familiar "Ionian Hetairoi" belonging to Rider. The second belongs to Avenger, "Vampire King: Army of the Dead". And yes, the biggest battle in the war involves the two of them, with the other six Servants aiding the former, duking it out in a winner-take-all battle. And it is glorious.
  • The Hell Knights/Nephilim in Sonic X: Dark Chaos are essentially the Hell Knights from Doom crossed with Chaos Space Marines from Warhammer 40,000. A small group of them led by their leader Astorath nearly defeats the entire Metarex armada and the Blue Typhoon during the final battle. Sonic and his friends pretty much fit this trope too, as they manage to beat back said Hell Knights and severely damage the Demon fleet.
  • Just about any human military in Worldfall, as they have had six years to prepare for the invaders. Chinese tank crews maintain a 6:1 kill/death ratio against Race landcruisers.
  • Prince Iroh has the Army of the Granite Mountains. An Earth Kingdom unit under the command of the heroic General Nifong. These guys have been causing the Fire Nation much heartache over the last twenty years. Over three hundred thousand sons of fire have perished at their hands. Within the events related in-story itself, the Army of the Granite Mountains also defeat the Fire Nation at the Battle of Lake Myojin. Despite being at an extreme disadvantage technology-wise, they manage to win an impressive victory due to exploiting a weakness in the Fire Nation tank; a weakness that many of its men sacrificed their lives to learn in an earlier battle. Special mention goes to the Army of the Great Divide, a Fire Nation unit. These guys despite suffering a catastrophic defeat at the hands of Nifong, still manage to get their act together and join Prince Iroh in his journey across the Dune Sea.
  • Shattered Empire has the Galactic Empire or what's left of it using Battle Droids left over from the Clone Wars and Orcs of all things.
  • Four of them (five if you count Atlas) in the RWBY/The Hobbit/The Lord of the Ringsnote  Fusion Fic Rise of a Star Knight, and its sequel Knights of Remnant: The Ring of Darkness. Each Kingdom has a Star Knight, whose powers are passed from father to eldest son (or brother to brother), and each Star Knight has their own army, that answers to the Star Knight or their Generalnote , though it is still loyal to that kingdom, refusing any orders that would harm it. They are made up of the best their kingdom has to offer, with all members being chosen by the Star Knight or the General, and also get the best equipmentnote , including Powered Armor and Mini-Mecha.
  • A Diplomatic Visit: The fourth story, The Diplomat's Life, features the release of the Umbrum Forces, which could possibly engulf the entire world in darkness (figuratively and literally).
  • Chasing Dragons has the Iron Legion, a Romanesque infantry created by the Kingdom of Myr, consisting of former slaves and some Ironborn. Their competence on the battlefield is only exceeded by their hatred of slavers.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 300: The Spartans. Xerxes' Immortals (being dual-wielding masked undead ninjas) are also this trope; according to the narrator, they had never been defeated before meeting the Spartans. It's merely one Badass Army meeting an even more Badass Army.
  • Non-human example. Destroy All Monsters features an army of monsters that are mind-controlled by aliens to destroy the major cities of the world. They help destroy the evil aliens after being freed from their mind control. This army consists of Godzilla, Rodan, Mothra, Kumonga (Spiega), Gorosaurus, Anguirus, Manda, Baragon, Varan, and Minya. Oh, and the monster army has a truly epic Moment of Awesome where they fight and ultimately kill pre-Badass Decay King Ghidorah.
  • Avengers: Endgame: In the climax, every single Badass Army in the MCU turns up for the final battle against Thanos: Wakandans, Asgardians, Sorcerers, and Ravagers show up to stand together with the Avengers.
  • Cloud Atlas: The Kona, who ride warhorses, carry primitive crossbows and scimitars and use scary-awesome warpaint. Later in the movie, they begin to split between this and Red Shirt Army.
  • The Leafmen from Epic (2013), being incredibly structured and full of competent warriors.
  • The Joes from G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. Cobra's Neo-Vipers would be this if they had the numbers (only 26 were made at the time of the movie, though there appear to be more). The "More than 26" part was because the Vipers (normal soldiers) and the Neo-Vipers look the same (Neo-Vipers have metal color chest armour while Vipers are all black, and in the game blue, like they should be).
  • In Gladiator Maximus starts out as the General of the Badass Felix Legions. When he becomes a gladiator he fashions a Badass Army of his very own in the space of a few minutes to win a badly mismatched fight in the Colosseum. They remain loyal to him until the end.
  • The Last Samurai has the samurai rebels who take on western civil-war era weapons with swords and bows, giving quite a good accounting of themselves until the Gatling guns appear in the final battle
  • The Lord of the Rings:
    • The elven army is implied as being this trope, especially at the battle on the slopes of Mount Doom. They are also played this way at Helm's Deep when they arrive to great triumph and stand-to in perfect unison. Of course, being immortal and a few thousand years old does tend to give you a bit of extra training time. Their badassery is and Informed Attribute as — Besides Legolas — they mostly seem to be letting the Uruk Hai kill them.
    • The ghost army in The Return of the King, being immortal and all.
    • The Rohirrim, at Minas Tirith, where the full might of their cavalry is able to perform some great deeds, even against oliphaunts twenty times the size of their horses.
  • The titular Megaforce-an elite multinational "phantom army" equipped with the most advanced firepower devised by man (by 1982 standards).
  • The live-action Transformers series are very big on portraying the US military this way, having normal, trained soldiers hold off or even kill gigantic, alien robots. Made even more badass by the fact that the US soldiers appear to be more effective against the Decepticons than the Autobots do.
  • Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back gives us Death Squadron, Darth Vader's personal fleet of Star Destroyers, complete with the Star Dreadnought Executor. The Alliance are no slouches, but upon them showing up around Hoth, they're scrambling to evacuate in time. The only reason the rebels managed to get away was -– aside from Plot Armor -– that the then-tactical commander was an idiot. Vader in turn replaces the fool with the next ranking officer, who isn't too sure if he should be happy or worried. His ground forces counterpart then proceeds to curb-stomp the hastily put-up defences with minimal losses, chasing them out.
  • Shocking Dark has Megaforce, a multi-national mercenary organization hired by the Tubular Corporation to protect the research team and investigate the cause of the pollution that is slowly killing Venice.
  • The Woman King depicts the Dahomey Agojie as a mighty host of fierce female warriors who endure truly gruelling training to outfight anybody they might meet in battle and have expertise in all manner of weapons ranging from swords and spears to muskets, immense agility and physical prowess, and an iron discipline and commitment to their king and nation. On several occasions in the film, they make hay of much larger and better-armed forces just by being that good at fighting.

  • In some Fighting Fantasy books notably Armies of Death and Knights of Doom, your character ends up recruiting a mighty fighting force of whatever Ragtag Band of Misfits comes your way - these ranging from cannonfodder recruits and mercenary scum to professional warriors and finally into the realms of elite champions and supernatural beings.
  • In Blood Sword, the 2nd book Kingdom of Wyrd - there's a climatic battle where the Witch King has his demonic forces after you. But in your travels through dreams and mythscapes, you'll find items that allow you to summon troops. These include a legendary regiment, berserkers, hydra-headed warriors, warriors with shadowy flesh, etc. Get enough of these items and you'll easily trash the Witch King's army.
  • In Way of the Tiger, you face one in the 5th book Overlord. Honoric, the Grand-Marshal of the Legion of the Sword of Doom, wants payback and he brings the land's mightiest army especially with their Bringer of Doom cavalry who are armed with fear-generating swords. Additionally he brings legions from allied cities, Scarlet Mantis Monks, some cannon-fodder levies and a man-hating Amazon Brigade cult. To make matters worse, he's trying to meet with the Spawn of the Rift - an army of Dark Elves, Orcs and Cave Trolls.
    • Your starting forces sadly include feckless levies and a traitorous army of Orcs and men leftover from an evil usurper to your throne. But you have your own Church Militant Amazon Brigade and a solid force of mercenaries (too bad if you had a friendly regiment of samurai from earlier, they left a while back to attend a funeral). You can then recruit other Church Militant heroes and troops from other cities (but avoid one cult of Beast Men who are treacherous by nature) - friends of yours will come bringing Rangers, Elves and Paladins to top up your forces making them strong enough to rival the Sword of Doom legions.
  • Downplayed in Wizards, Warriors and You, after the sheer awesomeness of the titular Wizard and Warrior, the rest of King Henry's knights are really mediocre and are best at light police duties around the realm.

  • In Acacia, the Mein, who are expies of the Germanic Tribes within the Roman Empire, are an exiled Proud Warrior Race people from the Grim Up North which is bad enough for the complacent Acacian empire especially after a Mein thane assassinated the Acacian king. But worse yet, they have an alliance with the Numrek, a race of near-immortal giants who are masters of alchemy and crafting siege weapons. Against this force, the Acacian empire is conquered and the Mein hadn't even released the Tunishvere, their indestructible and superstrong undead ancestors who were locked away in another dimensional prison.
    • The Auldek from the Other Lands are the people from which the Numrek are exiles from and have brought along all the Magitek and other things the Numrek couldn't bring over. Heck the Numrek even get accepted back into the fold which adds even more to the Auldek forces.
    • The mightiest army is the Santoth, this was the personal army/human artillery of the first king of the Acacian empire. When Elenet still lived among his creations, the king recorded Elenet's words in the Song of Elenet which became the first source of magic for humanity and the king became a Sorcerous Overlord. He then taught the Santoth, Black Magic to be a Super-Soldier army that he made immortal and bound to him with a curse. Besides carving out what would be the thousand year old Acacian empire, the Santoth were the ones who cursed the ancient Mein with undeath and banishment.
  • In Ambergris, the final story has detective and ex-Rebel, Finch open the dimensional portal where his old comrades escaped through. Those remaining Rebel forces had been holed up on different worlds in different eras. And in their respective safe places, they had been gathering resources and building up their troop strength with what's available locally for ages. So when they return to Ambergris, it's the end of the Gray Cap rule as an almost unlimited force of warriors and war-machines swarm the city-state.
  • The Grantville Militia in 1632 which not only had More Dakka but could defy Croats with schoolboys with baseball bats.
  • The Orc/Goblin infantry in the Arcia Chronicles is effectively indestructible on the battlefield, which is why they are inherently peaceful beings.
  • Several factions in The Arts of Dark and Light field very impressive militaries:
    • The Amorran army is based on the Roman legions, with a well-developed officer corps and chain of command, as well as a strong cadre of professional soldiers.
    • Savondir has a particularly strong heavy cavalry, as well as their State Sec of wizards, which also deploys military units in the field.
    • The elves have the best army in the setting man for man. Since they are so long-lived, almost all their soldiers are veterans, or if not that then still far better trained and equipped than those of any other nation. Many of them are also magic-users on a tactically useful scale (and some on the strategic scale), and they have the setting's only regularly constituted air corps.
  • In The Beginning After the End:
    • The Wraiths, they are Agrona Vritra's secret Army as they are the result of fine tunning of Vritra Magic and Human Magic for a hundred generation. The Wraiths are half Vritra blood warriors because they are the children of the Vritra clan Basilisks and the Vritra Blooded Alacryans. Agrona Vritra Created them to be his trump card and to scare the other Asura clans as the Wraiths are trained from birth to fight. According to Seris a strong squad is capable of taking down an accomplished asuran warrior thanks to their training, flawless teamwork and magical runes thanks to Agrona's experiments that helped him gain insight on the workings of mana also the wraiths take their name from an Asuran legend.
    • There is also the Alacryan army but to a lesser extent as they are very discplined, highly equipped and well trained. There are main four specilizations (Caster, Striker, Shield, Sentry) in every unit of the Alacryan army consists of these four specilizations each one complement each other skills and teamwork making an averted case of Crippling Overspecialization and they are equipped with mana runes created by Agrona and the Vritra clan thanks to gaining insight on the workings of mana. The gape between Alacryan and Dicathin army are wide because the Alacryan army were are built by Physical Gods. In a matter of months the alacryan army make a short work of the Dicathen army when they arrive at Etstintin bay making it a onesided massacare.
  • In The Belgariad by David Eddings:
    • The legions of the Tolnedran Empire, who are considered by more or less the entire cast to be the best-trained fighting force in the world.
    • The Mimbrate knights are a truly fearsome force if you can just get them to stop dueling each other over real or imagined slights (and to understand that it's not good for the cavalry to ride down their own infantry just because they're in the way of where the best fighting is). The motto of Arends in general might as well be "Honor Before Everything, including Common Sense."
  • Everybody except the Malwans in the Belisarius Series, and even they have their tough-as-nails Kushan infantry and Rajput cavalry. The Romans are more Consummate Professionals while the others are more like Proud Warrior Race Guys. Everyone has their unique specialty: the Romans have infantry who all double as engineers, the Persians are famous for their heavy cavalry, and the Axumites, as a naval power, are all marines who excel at boarding operations.
  • The Black Company: The entire Black Company. They were the only force to survive the Battle of Charm. They fought powerful, godlike wizards and won. Who do you call when you need to take out an Eldritch Abomination? And who did you need to take out the avatar of death itself? The Black company.
  • The Dinochrome Brigade in the Bolo universe, created by Keith Laumer. When your individual "soldiers" are self-aware artificially intelligent super-tanks the size of a WWII battleship, with individual firepower measured in megatons per second, yeah, you've got an army of badasses.
  • In Gordon R. Dickson's Childe Cycle, the Dorsai offshoot of humans have this as a hat. Five enemy officers willfully (practically) committed suicide by attacking one Dorsai officer.
  • The Xeteskian Protectors in Chronicles of the Raven. They are individually highly skilled warriors, and partially psychic, so each knows exactly what all the others are doing and feeling. A few dozen have been known to hold off (or even defeat) massive armies of normal soldiers.
  • The Bloodguard in the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, filled with immortal warriors who don't sleep and fight with their fists.
    • The Bloodguard philosophy towards weapons can basically be summed up as "Weapons can break, or get lost, or be used against you."
  • Codex Alera:
    • The Aleran Legions in general. They're Roman legions souped up with a wide range of elemental superpowers, including archers who can snipe targets from hundreds of yards, soldiers who can launch fireballs, and flying support units. All of this is in addition to a baseline level of powers in all legionnaires, including a low level of super strength and endurance and the ability to march far faster than normal humans. The Legions have allowed Alera to carve out a stable and powerful nation in the face of hostile Wolfmen, Yetis, and animal-bonding barbarian tribes.
    • The First Aleran Legion becomes this, primarily due to their Captain's influence. This is particularly impressive given that they were originally formed as a political statement from the people none of the High Lords wanted in their personal legions. And with people from every city-state in the realm in it, no place need fear of the legion attacking them. Guess after you beat off an army of 8-foot-tall wolfmen outnumbering you ten-to-one, only the badasses are left.
    • By the end of the sixth book, the Hero's army now includes the 8ft tall wolfmen they beat back, and a group of barbarian hordes who bond with an animal and gain some of the beast's strengths.
  • Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle: the Sauron Supermen and the Motie Warrior class in the CoDominium universe.
  • The Culture: Special Circumstances: its members are either Sociopathic Heroes before they joined, or they are formed to become this. Some advanced civilizations which are on good terms with the Culture simply refuse to let TWO members of SC travel together within their sphere of influence: too much foreign badassitude in the same place being apparently dangerous even to powerful space-traveling civilizations.
  • Legions of Shinsan from the Dread Empire definitely fit the trope, being described as the best army that has ever fought. Led by tervola, powerful warrior-mages, Shinsan legionaries fight and die in absolute silence. Lack of Battle Cry and fanatical obedience to tervola are two of plenty reasons why Shinsan is called a Dread Empire by the West.
  • Frank Herbert's Dune series:
  • In The Elenium by David Eddings, the four orders of Church Knights. Not only do they generally tear equivalent secular armies apart in hand to hand combat, but (in an interesting shift from the Dungeons & Dragons cliché of warrior =/= wizard) can totally use magic as well. One of the Orders has such a fearsome reputation for what they do to prisoners that just about anyone they capture immediately spills the beans. Think about that for a minute. Of course, they spread that reputation themselves, specifically so they don't have to do anything.
    • The Atans are another example. There is only a single one in The Elenium and her role is fairly minor, but they get showcased more in the sequel series, The Tamuli, making clear that not only are the Atans a culture that has focused on combat training and breeding for size and physical ability for many generations (not as a matter of policy, their beauty standards just ended up that way), but they also train to act in co-ordination with other Atans, and as such generally act with discipline and coordination while part of an army. Their main flaw is that they are exclusively infantry and have a strong bias towards melee combat (while the Church Knights are about as specialized in their individual Orders when it comes to the point of them deploying as armies they generally act in co-ordination with either other Elene forces, or with Church Knights of other Orders). This generally isn't a significant flaw against human forces.
  • The Exile's Violin: Leblanc's air fleet wins the battle against the Big Bad's dreadnaughts, follows him to his secret base, and then steadily plows through his defenses to reach him personally. Jacquie and Clay do nothing but watch them work. Then Max activates the Exile's Violin and they all die like so many Red Shirts.
  • J. R. R. Tolkien's The Fall of Númenor: When Ar-Pharazôn the Golden showed up on Sauron's doorstep with the forces of Númenor, Sauron surrendered immediately, his own armies checking out when they saw the Númenoreans coming. Over thousand years before, the forces of Númenor also destroyed Sauron's army completely.
  • This is Rider's strongest Noble Phantasm in Fate/Zero. His shared Reality Marble is something like a reminder of the world from when he was basically king of the known world. It summons his entire army as low class Heroic Spirits, even his horse. This basically terrifies all the other Heroes when they find out about it, as it's EX ranked and, well, it's an army made of total badasses. It's also used to prove a point: Namely, Saber made a shitty king since she never inspired true loyalty no matter how good of a person or warrior she was.
  • British and Americans whenever portrayed by C S Forester. To some degree, he was writing propaganda.
  • Any army in Gaunt's Ghosts, but notably the Ghosts, who can be best summed up as Scottish-influenced-ninja-army-with-laser-guns.
  • The orc marines of Grunts!. They're only stopped in the beginning because the modern weaponry from our world isn't shielded against weaponfail spells. Once they get magic nullifying talismans, they're pretty unstoppable. Until the sci-fi bug army shows up. Then they develop biological warfare. This army doesn't get defeated, only experiences mild setbacks.
  • John Maddox Roberts's Alternate History Hannibal's Children has the Roman Republic exiled north of the Alps. One hundred years later — one hundred years of constantly fighting and assimilating the Germans — it comes back. These new Romans don't swagger or bully; they're too badass for that. In one battle, an "inexperienced" Roman army under a "second-rate" general faces a veteran mercenary force twice their size and led by Carthage's best general. The Romans are wiped out — but the Carthaginian army is wrecked, with two-thirds of its troops killed outright, and most of the rest badly battered.
  • The Royal Manticorean Navy in Honor Harrington has held its own against the navies of far larger star nations, with setbacks, for a long time, one of them over the span of several decades.
  • In Dan Simmons's Hyperion Cantos, the Hegemony's military force, simply called the FORCE, is a small but elite army using advanced weapons and gear (including spaceships able to devastate planets, power armors, One-Hit Kill "death wands", cybernetic implants, personal cloaking, etc.), trained using virtual reality, and depicted as able to face any threat in the known universe. Some of their officers, most notably Colonel Kassad, one of the main characters of the first book, qualify as Colonel Badass. They only have trouble with really powerful and unexpected threats like cybernetic monsters sent from the distant future or nearly-omniscient treacherous A.I.s.
    • Most of this still holds true for the PAX from Hyperion's sequel Endymion, and especially their elite unit, the Swiss Guard.
  • Various Icelandic sagas feature the Jomsvikings, supposedly an elite warrior band that only accepted first-rate fighters and which was based in a fortress called Jomsborg at the southern shore of the Baltic. They are the heroes (or are they?) of Saga of the Jomsvikings and also figure in Heimskringla and the "Tale of Styrbjörn". Unsurprisingly, they also appear in modern Historical Fiction literature, such as Frans G. Bengtsson's The Long Ships.
  • William C. Dietz wrote Legion Of The Damned and sequels, about the French Foreign Legion IN SPACE!. Among them are 8-foot tall cyborgs with laser cannons, machine guns, and rockets. Then there's the immense quadrupedal cyborgs who act as both troop transports and tanks. The ordinary flesh and blood troops need the cyborgs only because they operate in places where wheeled or tracked combat vehicles just don't work. Before the first book ends, they've defeated the invasion of genocidal aliens and crushed the corrupt regime of the ruler of human space.
    • The opening of the first book involves a (not entirely accurate) description of the Battle of Camerone, which is referred to later in the book as well. The Battle is explicitly stated to have been for absolutely nothing, and this is presented as being "both the beauty and the horror of it". In reality, the Battle was an incredibly clever way for the officer in command to complete his objective. The mission was to protect a supply convoy, and the (vastly larger) force they engaged was tasked with stopping the convoy. The Legionaries kept their opponents completely occupied all day, and the convoy was able to escape as a result. Linking up with the convoy and attempting to protect it directly could never have worked against such numbers.
  • The eponymous Lensmen may be SF's ur-example. The Galactic Patrol is a pretty Badass Army in its own right. The Lensmen are its elite forces. The Grey Lensmen are the elite of those.
  • The Alliance Navy under Four-Star Badass "Black Jack Geary" of The Lost Fleet fame. Granted, his subordinates were more of a Proud Warrior Race variety at first, but he drilled them into epic hardcases, kicking Syndic ass all the way to Varandal. And he's not the only example — merely the first in a long line that has girls like Captain Desjani and Colonel Carabali in it.
  • The Malazan Book of the Fallen has this in spades. Bridgeburners, Malaz 7th Army, Crimson Guard, and later Bonehunters. There is also the 'Punitive Army of the Seguleh' in Memories of Ice, because Seguleh are just so good at fighting, that they only need to send three people when they want to crush an entire empire of cannibals.
  • Prince Roger: The Mardukans, once they get their hands on plasma cannons, are able to take on much larger armies, and do good even against Powered Armor foes while lacking such equipment for themselves (being only humanoid, and not human, with four arms each).
  • In The Queen's Thief, the country of Eddis is acknowledged to have the best army on Hephestia's Peninsula. Attolia and Sounis' armies may be bigger, or better-equipped, but Eddisians have successfully defended their mountain country from all invaders—their neighbors and outside powers both—and for years kept the peace between Attolia and Sounis just by being between them and being so damn hard to beat that no one could fight without their say-so. As the queen of Attolia puts it, Eddisians don't have anything to do in the winter except get better at making war.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • The eunuch slave soldiers called Unsullied are considered the best fighting force in the world. They are raised The Spartan Way and conditioned with drugs and brainwashing techniques to make them robotically fearless and literally immune to pain. They somewhat subvert this trope by the fact that they are substantially less effective individually. Their castration limits their physical strength, and their combat skills specialize in phalanx tactics designed for large-scale battlefields. One character notes that they are soldiers, not warriors.
    • The Night's Watch consists of badass rangers who have to hunt down and kill groups of barbarians, zombies, giants, and terrifying supernatural beings of legend. However, by the time the series begins, their numbers have dwindled to a virtual skeleton crew, most of them convicted criminals.
    • The Golden Company, the most illustrious sellsword company in the world. They are 10,000 strong and have a reputation for never breaking a contract. They were formed by generals banished from Westeros during a civil war, giving them a stricter sense of pride and purpose than other mercenary bands. Most importantly they are the equivalent of a modern "combined arms" unit — with infantry, archers, engineers, and mounted elements all trained to fight as a single force. This avoids the Crippling Overspecialization of the Unsullied.
  • Starship Troopers: The Mobile Infantry. Johnny states that a single M.I. private in powered armor could defeat a whole squadron of tanks, if anyone were stupid enough to send tanks against them.
  • Jedi and Sith armies in some of the Star Wars Expanded Universe material, when they aren't being a Redshirt Army after graduating from the Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy. Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy is completely averted in any Timothy Zahn work; he writes his stormtroopers to remind people everyone exactly why the galaxy was so scared of them.
  • The Traitor Son Cycle:
    • The Red Company. With the exception of three or four sorcerers, they're all Badass Normals who, armed in medieval technology, routinely fight and slay beasts and monsters bigger, tougher, nastier, and more numerous than them. They're so good at it that when they're tasked with fighting other humans, they complain that they're bored. The company (who're like a cross between The Black Company and the Band of the Hawk) only grows stronger as they get access to gunpowder technology and their captain becomes a Duke then later, an Emperor and makes use of the various alliances and friendships he's made over the course of the series.
    • The Order of Saint Thomas. They're both the best knights and some of the best sorcerers Alba has, and they're so good at fighting, people accompanying them sometimes don't even realize that a battle has just taken place.
  • Ian Irvine's View From the Mirror quartet has the Whelm, a race of human-like creatures who — when finding a master they deem to be 'strong', will become the fearsome Garshard — an almost unstoppable force.
  • Both sides of The Trojan War as portrayed by Homer and other epic poets were a Badass Army, filled to bursting with epic heroes.
  • Maria's newborn army in The Twilight Saga certainly fits this trope. By using an idea pioneered by another Southern nomad, Benito, Maria began creating newborn vampires to create a virtually unstoppable army. With Jasper Whitlock and her sisters, Nettie and Lucy, she was able to take over many Mexican territories previously owned by other vampire clans.
  • Victoria: The Victorians' hypermasculine militia troops completely crush everybody they go up against, even though they consist entirely of light infantry with obsolete equipment, due primarily to outside-the-box guerilla tactics and an absolutely ruthless disregard for such silly things as the laws and customs of war. But mostly because of Plot Armor — the book is a Christian libertarian Author Tract and an extremely bad one at that.
  • The Imperial Service in the Vorkosigan Saga is renowned in-universe both for their discipline, and their brutality. The latter improves over time, but their reputation does not.
  • General Woundwort's Owsla in Watership Down. Apparently even The Thousand Enemies preferred to stay away from them.
  • The Wayfarer Redemption has its army of retribution made against the foul creations of the Timekeeper Demons such as the people of Tencedor mutated by those Eldritch Abominations. This army consisted of giant trees possessed by the souls of dead Avar mothers and the untiring ghosts of Icarii archers who have quivers of unlimited arrows, this army is The Juggernaut that completely slaughters the altered population of Tencedor purifying the country in the process.
  • The Wheel of Time:
    • The Band of the Red Hand, not the most dramatic example on this page but they have more than earned the title of Badass. Led by Four-Star Badass Mat Cauthon, under his leadership they have never lost a battle, fought to a standstill some of the greatest armies in the world and pulled off marches of 50 miles then at the end of it dug trenches around their camp and set up barricades so that they would not be surprised in the night. And they have their own theme song, too. Like everything else he does, Mat formed the Band by accident.
    • The Fists of Heaven are a rapid-strike airborne infantry force that is used to attack targets thousands of miles away from friendly territory. Soldiers are transported in boxes that are delivered by the dragon-like To'raken.
    • The Aiel, a large culture of wasteland warriors who are each worth a dozen or more standard soldiers.
    • The Asha'man, an entire army of battle wizards. They are trained exhaustively in all the ways that the Power can be used to kill. Even though they can rip other armies apart just by looking at them, they are still trained in swordsmanship so that they can kill you the old fashioned way as well.
  • Words of Radiance (second book of The Stormlight Archive): Bridge Four (and the rest of the bridgemen) are now guards in Dalinar's employ, under Kaladin's command. They also insist on being referred to as Bridge Four, rather than by the name of Dalinar's previous (now deceased) honor guard.
    • The Knights Radiant were also this historically. Each member had a set of special powers given by their spren, including enhanced speed and durability given by Stormlight, a Soul-Cutting Blade that was actually their spren manifesting physically, and two types of "surges", special powers that allowed them to manipulate things like gravity, light or growth.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Andromeda: All Nietzscheans are individually fairly capable, but their belief in their genetic superiority, fear that training may be construed as an admission of inferior genes, and the Chronic Backstabbing Disorder any Nietzschean command structure suffers from as a matter of course mean that only small groups of Nietzscheans with highly capable and charismatic leaders ever reach the true status this trope implies.
  • Babylon 5:
    • The Rangers aka the Anla'Shok are more scouts and commandos than a rank-and-file kind of army, but they are still very badass. They can be summed up as being part Jedi, part Ace Pilot.
    • In the later seasons, the White Star fleet is about as badass as it gets. There are only two ways to beat a White Star force: either a) hit them with overwhelming numbers, or b) have some First Ones (like the Shadows) on your side.
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer: the Class of '99 becomes one to fight Big Bad Mayor Wilkins and his horde of vampire Mooks. The new Slayer Army during the Battle of the Hellmouth also counts.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Sontarans appear to have one of these until UNIT figures out how their weapons are being disabled and rolls over them. Even without that (like with most of the new series), their prowess is very much an Informed Ability, marching in close formation through enemy-held buildings, etc — though it's stated that they could easily vaporise the Earth from orbit and that they critically underestimated UNIT's capabilities on the ground.
    • The Daleks' entire species is one. There is a reason anyone who is not the Doctor (and sometimes even him) craps their pants at the mere mention of them. So badass they were a match for the Time Lords, pushing them all the way back to besieging Gallifrey itself at the conclusion of the Time War. To put their power in perspective, when the Doctor encountered one on Earth in 2012, he declared that the entire combined military might of Earth would be incapable of stopping one Dalek foot soldier. A few years later (or, technically, before, thanks to time travel), a Dalek army invades Earth and completely crushes all opposition worldwide within 15 minutes.
    • Classic Cybermen. In their original appearance, they were immune to all weaponry and were only stopped due to an allergy to gold causing gold dust to muck up their system (which got Flanderized into gold being kryptonite to them). In the revival series, the Mondasian Cybermen are shown to be at war with a far-future human empire, a war spanning multiple galaxies in which the first response to a Cyberman on a planet is to annihilate the planet because the Cybermen will "upgrade" themselves within minutes to adapt to anything used against them.
    • The Daleks and Cybermen did once get into a battle with each other. The Daleks won overwhelmingly, with the Cybermen unable to get even a single kill against them.
    • UNIT, when they know what they're doing and have the equipment to shut the Doctor up. (Duct Tape?)
    • A few other human or mostly human Badass Armies show up through the series, such as the recurring Church of the Papal Mainframe and the Combined Galactic Resistance, who respectively protect all of human space for several centuries and fight effectively against Dalek oppression.
    • "A Good Man Goes to War" blows all of them away. The army assembled by the Doctor to take Demon's Run wins overwhelmingly without a single shot fired.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Khal Drogo leads a massive horde of fierce Dothraki horsemen. Westerosi nobles consider them unbeatable in the field.
    • Daenerys acquires an army of Unsullied spearman. Conditioned to be immune to fear and pain, they are considered to be the finest soldiers in the world. Their intense training and fierce devotion to their master makes them one of the qualitatively strongest armies in the world. According to a History and Lore segment, the Free City of Qohor once bought an army of three thousand Unsullied to protect the city from a horde of fifty thousand Dothraki led by one Khal Temmo. Only six hundred Unsullied were left alive after the battle, but Khal Temmo, all his sons, and his bloodriders were dead, and the remaining Dothraki all cut their braids and retreated in shame.
    • Tyrion had his own personal force of mountain clansmen, who had proven to be the Lannisters' most effective front-line offense and defense.
  • Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger begins with 34 Sentai teams united against an Alien Invasion.
  • Stargate: When push comes to shove, every single SG Team will take off their red shirts and pull out all the stops just to rescue their own. SG Teams only tend to be redshirts when on joint missions with SG-1, or when subject to The Worf Effect offscreen. When they're on their own, they're almost always this trope.
  • Star Trek:
    • Starfleet is one of these. Minus the occasional curb stomping by foes like the Borg or the Narada from the new movie, Starfleet regularly goes toe to toe with the biggest and baddest and usually wins or forces a draw, even against foes with better tech. Starfleet even has certain ships that take whole fleets by themselves; these ships tend to be named Enterprise, though Defiant certainly earned her way into the ranks, and Voyager counts for those who admit it exists. Despite showings of Hollywood Tactics, their land forces are nothing to shake a stick at either, as these scenes demonstrate. Even more formidable is their engineering corps, known across the galaxy as masters of technology who can take a technological edge an enemy may have then learn its secrets, adopt it and use it against them.
    • Technically, the Borg could be considered a Badass race.
    • The Klingons wish they were these, but Honor Before Reason hurts their strategy and tactics, and their equipment isn't the best, likely because a Proud Warrior Race Guy society doesn't exactly reward being an engineer.
      • Don't discount them though; they absolutely have their moments. For a brief time during the Dominion War, due to some ship-disabling technobabble, the Klingon Empire held the entire front against the Dominion while their Federation and Romulan allies found a way to get their ships functional again.
    • Jem'Hadar, on the other hand, are badass.
    • In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Hunted", a race called the Angosians forced their troops to undergo genetic engineering to become an entire force of One Man Armys. When the troops were no longer needed, they were sent to an orbiting penal colony. They manage to escape their prison and overwhelm the entire planet's defenses in a matter of hours.
  • The heavenly host in Supernatural contains many garrisons of powerful angels. Unfortunately, the angels are often fighting each other.

  • Destroy the Godmodder:
    • In general, any army that has a significant amount of charging put into its summon tends to be this. Notable examples from 2 include the Crockercorp Drones, Robomonkey Rebellion, Project Nexus, and the Army of Godmodders that assisted the Anti-Godmodders in Trial 6.
    • Project Nexus in particular was an example of this, as it lasted for hundreds of pages and was responsible for the deaths of numerous entities on both sides.
    • The Massive Battle of the Armies took this Up to Eleven, with every single player-summoned army being an example of this.
  • The Norman military in Lords Among the Ashes. It took sacrificing one-hundred elite soldiers for another kingdom to dispose of a Ghoul. It takes ten Norman soldiers to do the same and they would be expected to survive. They're also the only force to ever kill a Titan.It helps that they're led by Jaune Arc but there's a reason they are the only "Legendary" fighting force on Remnant.
  • Rise of the Believers:
    • The two main camps of these are the Guardians and Anti-Guardians. With the Guardians having the likes of The Lady of the Lake and The Moon Rabbit, while the other possessing beings like The Boogeyman and the Hydra of Lerna, you can be certain both sides are formidable.
    • Even neutral parties can have powerful armies. It's best not to invoke the fury of any fae court.
  • The Anheim Organization from Twilit Overture is somewhere between this trope and Badass Crew. There are only 26 "Letters," or officers, but a single Letter is a One-Man Army in the LEAST of situations.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Averted in TSR's Battlesystem Rules, in which a PC of very modest level, even if they were one of the squishier classes, was far more effective in combat than several squadrons of soldiers. By 10th level, a reasonably well-equipped fighter could take on literally hundreds of orcs with very little worry.
  • The Clans from BattleTech. Not that surprising considering that their entire society revolves around martial prowess. It's also subverted in that they will frequently fall victim to Honor Before Reason. The Inner Sphere armies have centuries of experience in war with one another, and some mercenary commands are famous and badass enough to be respected by the Inner Sphere and the Clans.
  • The nations in Iron Kingdoms field large well-armed and trained armies. The factions in WARMACHINE have large warjacks the form the very muscle of the forces, and they are backed up with dozens of well-armed infantry and lead by badass commanders. The factions in HORDE follow the same formation, except they have massive beasts in place of warjacks.
  • In Paranoia, the elite Vulture Warriors of Armed Forces easily outshine even the better Troubleshooters when it comes to direct combat, albeit at the expense of things like subtlety and cunning. The Troubleshooters are more known for being the Redshirt Army, but they can push into Badass Army territory as well. In general, they're described as the largest, best-armed group of psychopaths ever assembled; they're given combat training, lethal weapons, and permission to use them openly, and they were at least devious enough to rise above Infrared clearance (usually by fingering a buddy for treason as evidence of extreme loyalty). Faced with personal agendas and grudges, backfiring weapons, unreliable information, and actual competent enemies, good enough players can still (almost, sorta) succeed at the mission.
  • The Tech Infantry would be this, what with being an entire army of supernaturally strong and speedy Werewolves, Vampires, and Reality Warper Mages, all wearing Powered Armor and each one carrying enough heavy weaponry to level a medium-sized city. Unfortunately, they are usually incompetently led, spend half their time fighting each other instead of the alien enemy, spend the other half of the time trying to run away to avoid the draft, and their usual enemies are equally powerful fighters and far more numerous.
  • Traveller has a number of these. The best usually follow Terran traditions because Humans Are Warriors.
  • Exalted has the Realm's Dragon-Blooded military, a fighting force made up mostly of elementally-powered super soldiers. On the more mundane side, there's Lookshy's Seventh Legion, who are basically what happens when you take Spartans and give them giant robots.
    • One feels the need to mention that the commanding officers of Lookshy are still basically Dragon-Bloods, and raised from birth to be soldiers even more so than their counterparts in the Realm. If Lookshy's mortals are elite badasses in giant robots and power armor, Lookshy's leaders make you wonder how the mortals managed to make it through boot camp.
    • The point of learning War charms is so that you can have your own Badass Army. With the right combination of charms, you can have an army made of 'mere mortals' who can take on the Dragon-Blooded, will not be demoralized when fighting horde upon horde of undead, and even shake off supernatural influence that will shatter the mind of normal people.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • The Space Marines of this setting are an excellent example. This is an entire army of genetically enhanced 9-foot-tall super soldiers encased in 3-inch thick power armor carrying handheld grenade launchers as pistols and massive chainsaw-swords as close combat weapons. Did we mention that they are put through Training from Hell, where the survival rate is about 1 out of every thousand?
      • Up to Eleven with various elite Space Marines:
      • Terminators: Marines outfitted with special "tactical Dreadnought armor" with even heavier weapons that basically turn them into walking tanks. Commonly used to infiltrate Space Hulks infested with Daemons or Tyranids in search of lost artifacts.
      • Death Watch: Veteran Marines from various Chapters recruited for their unusual skills to act as a special task force for the Inquisition, operating in small groups.
      • Grey Knights: Marines that are so immune to chaos, they actually scare daemons by their very presence, and their Training from Hell puts regular Space Marine training to shame. They originate from Marines who resisted their Chapters turning traitors during the Horus Heresy.
    • The hilariously feral Orks. Orks are hulking green-skinned monsters made of fungus. They were engineered by Precursors as bioweapons. They're ridiculously tough and able to smash a human into paste with their strength, and their guns — I mean, shootas tend to be wildly inaccurate BFGs as powerful as the previously described handheld grenade launchers. They also have latent psychic power that allows any technology or plan to work as long as they believe it so, and they're stupid enough to believe a LOT of things, so they're mild Reality Warpers. Oh, and they have absolutely no sense of self-preservation or fear of death. And they come in droves. Have fun.
    • The Stoic and high-tech Aeldari. Don't let the bright colours, thin frames, and jewels fool you. Like the above Orks, they were engineered as bioweapons by a now-extinct alien race. All Aeldari have agility and reflexes that make humans seem to move like clumsy children in slow-motion, they are all latently psychic and use it to great effect on the battlefield, and they have hyper-advanced weapons including guns that fire molecule-thin shuriken and anti-armour guns that fire black holes. Their Aspect Warriors are highly specialized elite warriors who train for decades to fight with a particular exotic weapon or fighting style, and any meeting with their intended opponent is a Curb-Stomp Battle just waiting to happen.
    • The Drukhari (Dark Eldar) are the evil versions, and while they lack their Craftworld cousins' psychic potential (which has atrophied over millennia to avoid drawing the attention of Slaanesh), they have them beat in physical prowess and also kept most of the ancient empire's toys. They can annihilate you in ways that violate Clarke's Third Law. From rifles that fire poison glass shards that can overwhelm even the superhuman physiology of Space Marines, to armies of shambling horrors created through drugs and alchemy that require anti-tank weapons to bring down, the Drukhari have myriad ways to slaughter the primitive races of the galaxy and drag them screaming back to Commorragh for a Fate Worse than Death.
    • The Chaos Space Marines. Take the above mentioned Space Marines, and make them give in to their selfish, base desires. They're individually far superior warriors to their loyalist cousins due to their "blessings" and their millennia of combat experience, although they don't have the same level of technological sophistication, and they also lack the discipline and cohesion that their loyalist counterparts do note . However, it still stands that the Chaos Space Marines are really the only army in the whole setting who can take on Space Marines head-on, 1-on-1, and stand a good chance of winning.
    • The Khorne Daemonkin are basically Khorne Berserkers taken up to eleven; no longer being shackled by concepts such as causality and inter-god rivals, they are the combined forces of the literal God of War himself and are terrifyingly effective at what they do.
    • Necrons. They get back up after you kill them, serve gods that eat hope, their standard infantry weapons can one-shot tanks, and they're not even all awake yet. Oh, and they managed to break through the defenses surrounding Mars (home of the Adeptus Mechanicus... with only five ships. Granted, only one made it to the surface, and it was promptly destroyed, but this is a whole lot more than pretty much anyone else has done in millennia.
    • The Tau Empire, an alliance of several alien Badass Armies, most notably the Tau and their BFGs and Mini-Mecha, and their allies: the Kroot, the Vespid, the Demuirg, the Gue'vesa, and the Tarellian Dog-Soldiers. Their burgeoning empire has fought off Tyranid hive fleets, Ork invasions, and Imperial crusades, and they're small fry compared to the galaxy's other major players.
    • The Imperial Guard. It doesn't matter how many of them you kill, they will march forward grimly until they crush you under the weight of their own bodies. And that's just infantry. Imperial Guard Armour Regiments are composed entirely of powerful warmachines, and their artillery is lethal. They routinely go toe-to-toe with all the other hyper-advanced aliens and galactic horrors listed here despite being entirely unaugmented humans with equipment that, while even better than cutting-edge modern tech, is considered low-powered and weak in-universe. And they don't always lose.
    • The planet-eating Tyranids, an extra-galactic race who are not so much an army as a powerful force of nature. Unlike every other faction, they have actually succeeded in conquering a galaxy or two (or rather consuming) and virtually every other faction in the game is deathly afraid of them. Guided by a massive, incredibly intelligent Hive Mind, they use Organic Technology and sheer numbers to overwhelm their opponents — and if that doesn't work, they can just adapt their tactics to beat you another way. While the Imperium fends off Ork and Chaos invasions as a matter of course, an attack by the Great Devourer is nothing short of terrifying for them.
    • When it comes down to it, Warhammer 40000 is basically all about several Badass Armies all fighting each other in a Forever War. Every army except the Planetary Defence Forces count as this trope. Hell, even some of the (richer and more prestigious) PDFs count!
  • Warhammer has various examples that, for the most part, provided the inspiration and blueprint for its sci-fi offspring's entries.
    • Arguably the biggest are the Warriors of Chaos. Think hulking Vikings from the far north and Turco-Mongols from the east, their fiercest and strongest fighters being seven to nine foot superhumans clad in black iron plate armour forged in the depths of Hell itself, their least and weakest still giant men clad in the hides of whatever slavering beasts they've hunted and killed, and all wield massive axes, swords, and polearms that lesser men would struggle to use effectively. Did we also mention that the country they hail from is basically adjacent to a blasted landscape where at the heart of which lies an honest-to-god portal to the depths of hell itself? Hell, let the esteemed Richter Kleiss fill you in on why these guys will fuck you up.
    From the harsh snowlands they come, blonde of hair, blue of eye and tattooed upon arms, face, and chest. Their eyes are wild with bloodlust, for blood they thirst. Driven forth by the whims of the gods they seek to appease. Clad in few garments and wielding brutal and clumsy axes and maces, they rage against the civilized lands of the south. Burning, looting and slaughtering all before them as a sacrifice to their uncaring masters beyond the gates of hell in the Northern Wastes.
    • Coming in at a close second are the armies of the Empire - essentially the 16th-17th century German armies (e.g. Landsknechts) and set up against things like the above. Similar to the Imperial Guard, they get by with massive brass balls, a lot of bodies, guns, fire, faith, steel, and some badass leaders — such as warrior-priests of the mighty god Sigmar. Unlike the Imperial Guard, they manage to kill Bloodthirsters without the aid of tank the size of city blocks; blackpowder cannons are plenty.
    • The Asur (High Elves) may be a Dying Race, but each and every one of them is a badass. Even the lowly archers and spearmen fight like the heroes and elite units of other races thanks to their centuries of experience and magical backup. Great monsters and beasts ranging from dragons and phoenixes to giant eagles and white lions bolster the elven ranks, and it is almost unheard of for an Asur army to march without at least one spellcaster of fearsome power in tow. Special note goes to their elite warriors: the White Lions are the personal guard of the Phoenix King who go into battle with enchanted axes that cleave plate armour and never need sharpening, to the Swordmasters of Hoeth who wield massive greatswords with the grace and speed a cheerleader might wield her baton, to the Sisters of Avelorn who fire magical burning arrows from flaming bows, to the legendary Phoenix Guard who are shown the exact moments and circumstances of their deaths, making them utterly fearless and unbreakable (even for a race who normally go to war with supreme bravery and confidence anyway).
    • The Dwarfs. Like the High Elves, every Dwarf is a capable fighter, from the High King himself to the lowliest goats cheese merchant. Unlike the High Elves, who largely stick to Bronze age-level technology, magic and mighty beasts, the armies of the Dwarfs are practically Napoleonic. Armies with lines of thunderer gunners and cannons, flamethrower troops and even steam-powered war helicopters all come together as a stout, nigh-unbreakable wall of iron, lead, and angry little bearded men shouting "THEY HAVE WRONGED US!"
    • The Lizardmen. Skinks are fast, nimble, and fire deadly accurate volleys of poison darts, but if you can pin them down, you can kill them. Unfortunately, while you've been pinning them down, the Saurus have arrived, meaning you're about to be slaughtered and probably eaten by hulking reptilian warriors who have been purpose-bred to kill since before humanity first used fire, and if they're Temple Guard, wielding halberds that can casually crush the highest-quality armour humans can make. Backing this up are literal dinosaurs and the Slann, who are some of the most terrifyingly potent mages in the Warhammer world, capable of snuffing out entire units with magical death or bestowing spectacular boons on friendly units; in the eighth edition rules, a Temple Guard unit that a Slann had buffed with Birona's Timewarp was capable of being charged on all sides by zombies and skeletons and winning the combat handily.
    • Though not a faction in the tabletop game, the armies of the Grand Empire of Cathay are alluded to in lore and finally Promoted to Playable in Total War: Warhammer III... and boy, are they ever an example. The Cathayian Army is a state-controlled behemoth composed of the professional Jade Warrior corps — equal to the Imperial State Army to the west in technology and discipline, while also having the Celestial Dragon Legion, elite warriors who are sworn to serve the Cathayian Royal Family alone. All of these soldiers enjoy mighty magical and mundane support, from crossbowmen armed with clockwork repeating crossbows, great firework cannons, war balloons and sky junks bristling with artillery, state-trained Kung Fu Wizards, giant terracotta constructs, and great stone dragons that swim through the earth. To say nothing of the Children of the Dragon Emperor who command these armies in battle, and no, the "Dragon" part is no mere euphemism or title — they are actual dragons.
  • The Valaes Tairn in Eberron are the most terrifyingly elite military in Khorvaire, which is an impressive feat considering that they're up against everything from Karrnathi undead to Aundairian war magic, and more than a few commanders across the Five Nations are glad they basically never took to the battlefields of the Last War as a unified force. The average Valenar elf is Born in the Saddle, trained from a young age to emulate a dead champion, and riding a supernaturally good horse; in third edition, when the average soldier in the armies of the Five Nations was a human rocking a couple of levels of a nerfed, NPC-only version of the fighter class, Valenar troops had 4-6 levels in PC classes like fighter or ranger.

    Video Games 
  • Ace Combat:
    • Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War: The Belkan Military, particularly their Air Force, are (or rather, were) the Badass Army of Strangereal. In about a week, they almost took over one of its neighbors and took control of hundreds of miles of land from a US-equivalent superpower. Also, their airforce contains the most named aces than any other in the series — that has gotta tell you something.
    • Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation:
      • The Estovakian Military are close runners-up who, after suffering under years of civil war, were able to quickly bounce back its military and almost took over its neighbor, Emmeria. The fact that Estovakians profited from the work of Belkan emigrants probably contributed.
      • From the same game, there's also the Emmerian Military. Despite losing the initial battles as Estovakia launched a surprise attack on their country, they quickly regroup and formed a resistance force which manages to hold the Estovakians from finishing them off, before slowly but surely regain their foothold and take their country back with their mighty Air Force. It's telling that this game marks the first time in the series where you, the protagonist Ace Pilot, is explicitly shown to be not the only one winning the entire war for your side: your allies do contribute to the success as well. Your wingmen will help attack your designated targets, and you can cooperate with ground and naval forces to engage the enemy on different fronts in large-scale operations. The Emmerian Military is the definitive Badass Army of Strangereal bar none.
    • Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies: The Erusean military could have had this had they done like the Belkans had (ten years before) and had a Badass Air Force... instead, their Badass Navy simply got cut off from supplies, trapped in harbor, then bombed to bits. Worse yet, their Air Force's Badassery was limited to a single (though elite) squadron and the effectiveness (to a point) of the Stonehenge Turret Network that had allowed them to deter ISAF air power, so when both of them were cut off, and the best of the rest probably fell at the satellite launch furball.
      • Look at this link for a kind of in-verse "analysis" of Erusea's military and their shortcomings. Among other things, the navy was the only real badass part.
  • While you would expect this in a Real-Time Strategy game, it's particularly noticeable in Command & Conquer. The GDI has commandos who can massacre squad after squad of infantry while throwing out one great and memorable Bond One-Liner after another, the Mammoth Tanks that grind entire armies under their massive treads, Powered Armor equipped special squads with railguns that can quickly shred even tanks to pieces, devastating Humongous Mecha artillery platforms, and the MARV, to name a few. The Brotherhood of Nod, on the other hand, has heavy armor-clad flamethrower wielding anti-infantry troops, cloaked tanks that can unload missile after missile into a target before it can react, soldiers armed with weapons that spew tiberium, and the attack bikes, heavy motorcycles with twin missile launchers. No wonder the Scrin had trouble invading.
  • In the Crusader series, the Silencer Corps definitely count. As far as can be told, they don't even care for mottos or creeds — the closest thing is a saying that has entered mainstream parlance: Silencers get the job done.
  • Dark Souls III has the Undead Legion of Farron. Before the events of the game, their primary task was to fight any outbreak of the Abyss, much like their predecessor Artorias the Abysswalker and were known to burn down nations if it meant containing an outbreak of the Abyss; being so terrifying to the masses their helmets were known as an omen of destruction. Structurally it's segmented into three main units.
    • The Abyss Watchers. The legion's primary and most elite unit, in charge of containing outbreaks of the Abyss, up to and including just burning everything to the ground. Unmatched warriors, they train to fight like wolves, and ingest special blood to make them even more acrobatic killers. They eventually sacrificed themselves collectively to link the First Flame and became Lords of Cinder.
    • The Farron Followers. The legion's secondary unit, serving as Internal Affairs of the Legion and tasked with killing any legionnaire who became corrupted by the Abyss, fighting with their own special techniques and tactics. By the events of the game, they have lost their purpose, gone hollow, and wandered off into the Painted World.
    • The Watchdogs of Farron. The auxiliary unit and a player covenant, acting as a Home Guard to defend Farron Woods from would-be invaders. By the events of the game, they now serve as grave wardens watching over the graves of the Legion.
  • The Cabal in Destiny are a colossal race of powerful, rhino-like aliens who have occupied Mars and are engaged in a massive, constant war of attrition with all other contenders for control of the planet. The other species in the system have strange magical powers granted by cosmic entities or dark gods or have hyper-advanced time travel and reality-warping technology. The Cabal, on the other hand, have numbers, firepower, organization, discipline, and sheer, bloody-minded tenacity, which is enough that they're the biggest and most powerful military force in the entire solar system.
  • Dragon Age has the Grey Wardens. Just to be considered for admittance you have to be pretty badass to begin with and joining the Grey Wardens just makes them that much more badass. To underscore how badass they are, the Dwarves are only willing to risk venturing into the Deep Roads in large armed bands and even then they often lose a few on account of the Darkspawn that have overrun the Deep Roads. The Grey Wardens, on the other hand, are the only ones who can venture alone into the Deep Roads without being considered suicidal.
    • Each Grey Warden is even considered a one-man army. Apart from them, there is also the dwarven Legion of the Dead. The Legion swears off all ties to family, life, hope... everything. They enter the Deep Roads where they are accountable only to the King of Orzammar, never leaving nor ceasing their fight so long as they have orders. Their job is so lethal that upon their joining, a funeral is held and they are declared already dead. This way, they have nothing left to fear.
    • Hell, the plot of the game is to assemble such an army under your command to defeat the blight. While a morally inclined Warden will get a typical fantasy army composed of humans, dwarves, elves, and mages, the far less scrupulous of players will get an army of humans, dwarves, stone golems, werewolves, and drug-addled, fanatical, mage-killing templars.
  • The Earth Defense Force has Powered Armor soldiers, jetpacks, giant robots, tanks and loads of weapons that are 20 Minutes into the Future or reverse-engineered from alien tech. In-game, your forces actually get stronger as difficulty increases. It reaches a point where some levels, the EDF can wipe out the aliens without your help.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • Just about any army comprised of the races of Men qualifies, but there are a few especially notable examples. One example is the Imperial Legion. While the Imperials of Cyrodiil may lack the cool powers and strengths of the other races, but they more than make up for it through discipline and collective martial skill, and the armies of Cyrodiil have conquered all of Tamriel twice. Ultimately, they come down heavily on the "soldier" side of the Soldier vs. Warrior debate. By the 4th Era, they're not in much better shape than the Empire they serve, but they've still got enough spirit left to fight off the Aldmeri Dominion and keep Skyrim from fully seceding.
    • Like the races of Men in general, just about any Nord army qualifies (as well as their ancestors, the Atmorans), but a few deserve special mention:
      • Ysgramor and his 500 Companions. They managed to destroy the entire Falmer civilization in Skyrim and nearly drove them to extinction as a race.
      • The ancient Nord armies led by masters of the Thu'um. They first managed to defeat and nearly wipe out the dragons, then they carved out an empire spanning from High Rock and Hammerfell in the west, across Skyrim and northern Cyrodiil, to Morrowind in the east. It took a coalition of Dwemer and Chimer forces to finally bring them to a halt.
      • By the events of Skyrim, the Stormcloaks are a faction comprised mostly of Nord warriors that is fighting for Skyrim's independence. They can go toe-to-toe with the Imperial IVth Legion, one of the branches of the Imperial Military that's in the best shape since the Great War, and while they're not as regimented or as well-trained as the Legion, they make up for it by being individually superior fighters. Their initiation rite to join is to swim to an iceberg in the middle of a freezing ocean and kill an undead ice wraith; this feat becomes even more impressive if you use the Frostfall mod, which adds a complex set of cold weather survival mechanics to the game, and then just swimming out to the iceberg without succumbing to severe hypothermia is a challenge, nevermind beat the ice wraith and swim back.
    • The very African/Middle Eastern Redguards certainly qualify. And they have a Badass Navy as well. The "Warrior Wave" of Yokudans (Ra'Gada), ancestors of the Redguards, cleared Hammerfell for the resettlement of their people after Yokuda sank beneath the sea. After only a few brutal months, Hammerfell was cleansed of any Men, Mer, or beast to make it safe for settlement. This even included Orcs and giant goblins. Later, by the time of Skyrim, they broke off from the Empire, said "screw you" to the Aldmeri Dominion, and then successfully repelled invasion attempts by an army that fought the Empire to a crippling standstill.
    • Speaking of the Empire by the time of Skyrim, the Aldmeri Dominion qualifies. After having been crushed by Tiber Septim and his Numidium some 700 years before, the Dominion reformed following the Oblivion Crisis, now under the leadership of the even more extremist Thalmor. The Altmer, already a Mage Species in which every soldier is a Magic Knight, annexed the province of Valenwood and then got the Khajiit of Elsweyr to join them as vassals. They kicked off the Great War by delivering the severed heads of every Blade within the Dominion to the Emperor and quickly captured the Imperial City. Only with Nord reinforcements from Skyrim was the Emperor able to reclaim the city, and even then his military was too weakened to continue the fight, forcing him to accept the humiliating terms of the White-Gold Concordant. The inclusion of a ban on Talos worship was too much for the Nords to take, leading to the Skyrim Civil War. Each party recognizes that a second Great War is inevitable, but the Dominion is able to sit back and prepare while the forces of Cyrodiil and Skyrim bleed each other dry.
    • The Argonians as of the 4th Era. Usually depicted as being at the very least marginally Cloud Cuckoolander in their tendencies, they have proven to be an exceptionally "hidden badass" fighting force. Following the Oblivion Crisis, their race Took a Level in Badass. The Hist, whose sap the Argonians drink to grow, began to change the Argonians, making them stronger and more aggressive to prepare for the coming chaos and wars following the crisis. Offscreen events recorded in the in-game books make it clear they're masters of Viet Cong style guerilla warfare, and their invasion of Morrowind (and, therefore, its rich ebony deposits) is speculated to have made them one of the only nations still capable of standing against the Aldmeri Dominion. They were also the only force in all of Tamriel that not only held off the Dremora in the Oblivion Crisis but actually forced the Dremora to close their gates because the Argonians were invading Oblivion.
    • The Dunmer (Dark Elves) of Morrowind, especially those within House Redoran. Great House Redoran is the "Warrior House" of the Dunmer, following a strict code of honor and highly valuing martial prowess in its members. They are the Dunmer's first line of defense, to the point that even the Imperial Legions recognize the Redorans as a badass army. In the backstory, when Tiber Septim was threatening to invade Morrowind, House Redoran was preparing to defend Morrowind on their own while the other Great Houses chose to remain neutral or to accommodate the empire before the armistice was signed. Game sources identify them as exceptional soldiers that seamlessly combine mobile tactics, swordplay, and magic. At the end of the 3rd Era, they were subjected to the loss of their Physical Gods, the Oblivion Crisis, a moon crashing into their province, the eruption of Red Mountain, and the aforementioned invasion by Argonians... and House Redoran STILL managed to hold the line north of Mournhold.
    • In Online, Big Bad Daedric Prince Molag Bal creates one out of the lesser Daedra Xivkyn. Xivkyn are an unholy hybrid of the massive and powerful but unruly and untrustworthy Xivilai with the Proud Warrior Race Legions of Hell Dremora (who refer to themselves as the "Kyn" in the Daedric language). They very nearly succeeded in taking over Mundus during the Planemeld while being an implacable fighting force.
  • ELEX pits the Clerics, a religious, technology-loving police state with Elex-powered plasma weapons, battle mechs, and drones, against the Berserkers, a clan of hardcore warriors regressed back to medieval ways of war but also converting Elex into Mana to use magic. In other words, it's druidic Viking Magic Knights vs. the Brotherhood of Steel but more advanced and building their own tech instead of scavenging it. Between them are the Outlaws, basically Mad Max baddies with old-fashioned guns, Elex-derived combat stims, and a fierce Might Makes Right attitude. Oh, and finally you have the Albs, high-tech Super Soldiers who consume Elex to gain incredible powers at the cost of their emotions. It's an unusual setting.
  • In Endless Legend, all of the armies of the main factions qualify, especially if they successfully research and recruit the Guardians. But the biggest badasses are perhaps the Vaulters, a faction of underground dwelling humans that uses bows and Lost Technology. It was the Vaulters who canonically conquered the dying planet Auriga and escaped it, leaving almost everyone else to die out.
  • End of Nations has the Liberation Front, the Shadow Revolution, and the Order of Nations.
  • Endwar has the USA's Joint Strike Force, the European Federation's EFEC, and Russia's Spetznaz. All represent the special forces of their nation (the JSF are noted as the successor of the Marines, and most of the EFEC are made up of ex-Team Rainbow). As the story takes place 20 Minutes into the Future, all three are armed to the teeth with high-tech gear that real life special forces would kill for. There is a lot of military Description Porn in this game.
  • Being a Spiritual Successor of Suikoden, Exit Fate qualifies with The Elysium Army. Seventy-five misfit badasses of varying quality, ranging from legendary generals and veteran officers to spoiled but capable nobles, as well as a poet, a mad scientist, various undead and spirits, scholars, farmers, ninja, and at least one humanoid Eldritch Abomination. And those are the commanders and officers (who are playable party members); under them are thousands of loyal soldiers.
  • Fallout: New Vegas has a fair few:
    • While the NCR's regular troopers are the Red Shirt Army, the NCR Rangers and Heavy Troopers deserve a mention. Heavy Troopers are armed with heavy machine guns and miniguns and armoured in scavenged Powered Armor, while Rangers are described as one-man platoons who go into battle wearing a Badass Longcoat over pre-war riot gear and are armed with some of the best revolvers and rifles in the game.
    • Caesar's Legion has several examples. First, the Praetorian guard who defend Caesar go into battle with shotgun gauntlets and sunglasses, the Centurions are equipped with heavy weapons and armour scavenged from their defeated enemies, and even their regular troopers are known for defeating their much better trained and equipped NCR counterparts with only Improvised Weapons, numbers and sheer determination.
    • Securitron Mk.II's are armed with machine guns, automatic grenade launchers, laser gatlings and missile launchers. They also self-repair and are resistant to small-arms fire. Except for the tire.
    • The Boomers deserve a mention. A bunch of tribals descended from Vault 34, armed with heavy artillery, missile launchers, flame-throwers, and a B-29 bomber. When they were attacked by raiders while travelling to Nellis air force base, they had a kill-death ratio of 43:1.
    • The Brotherhood of Steel; while impressive they are also vastly outnumbered by their enemies (primarily the NCR), with Mr. House noting that all that combat training and power armor won't save you if you're outnumbered 15 to 1.
    • The Enclave back in Fallout 2, before Villain Decay set in. Enclave patrols were the some of the nastiest things you could run into out in the wastelands of 2240, even at the higher levels, shrugging off your Frickin' Laser Beams while returning fire with Gauss and Plasma Rifles. And in New Vegas, a small band of geriatric former members using old rusty Powered Armor can play a significant role in the final battle if you get them involved. The closing narration will say that they become Living Legends and a reminder of why the people of the wasteland used to fear the sound of Enclave Vertibirds.
    • It's somewhat understated, but the Great Khans are one of the most well-armed and dangerous raider groups in the Mojave, toting decent-quality lever-action rifles, sub-machineguns, and shotguns. Both men and women are expected to be able to hold their own in either a brawl or a shootout, and the initiation rite is to endure a savage beating from multiple Khans — showing any visible sign of pain or discomfort at any point in the hazing results in automatic failure, and this means the average Khan warrior is determined and tough-as-nails. The Khans also make heavy use of combat drugs to give them an edge in combat.
  • Fallout 4 also has quite a few:
    • The Eastern Brotherhood of Steel have taken a huge level in badass since 3, as even though not all of their soldiers come in Powered Armor now, the ones that do have it have the awesomely powerful T-60c armour instead of the old T-45d. Brotherhood Knights are powerful: just one of them can clear out entire Raider camps on their own and one of the few things that consistently beat Deathclaws. They also maintain an entire fleet of captured Enclave Vertibirds, a Cool Airship called the Prydwen and have even rebuilt Liberty Prime.
    • The Railroad don't really seem to have the makings of one of these, being an unassuming bunch of idealistic wastelanders united by a common cause, but you'd be mistaken. Railroad Heavies are often seen wearing coats with metal plates woven into the fabric and come equipped with railway rifles, which can punch through Brotherhood of Steel T-60 armour with ease. Plus they have some of the best covert operations of all the factions. If you lead them to victory against all the other factions at the end of the game, they're practiclly a N.G.O. Superpower as they have captured Vertibirds for you to use, along with hundreds of comprehensively superhuman Synths who'd happily take up arms to express their gratitude towards the faction which freed them from slavery.
    • The Gunners are a ruthless mercenary company modelling themselves off the old military forces of the pre-war United States. Gunners can pose a considerable challenge to the player as they serve as Elite Mooks to Raiders and come equipped with durable combat armour and often sport high-tier firearms and energy weapons.
    • The Commonwealth Minutemen certainly don't start as this, considering they got wiped out by the Gunners, ghouls, and mirelurks quite early on, but if the player helps them rebuild, they can easily become this as at higher levels they begin carrying all sorts of weapons ranging from high-quality pipe guns to plasma weapons and even coming equipped with metal armour. At this point they're on par with their main rivals the Gunners and can even give Deathclaws a tough fight in groups. Not to mention once they get hold of some artillery, they can inflict a humiliating Curb-Stomp Battle on the Brotherhood of Steel by shelling their fancy heavily-armoured troops from miles away and blast the Prydwen out of the sky.
  • The Nightcrawlers in F.E.A.R. Perseus Mandate are an entire, permanent free-standing army of very well-trained and skilled soldiers that tote better equipment than the F.E.A.R. crew, and that's at the lowest level of their pecking order. A regular squad is more than twice as dangerous as one of Replica Elites. Their own Elite units are nothing short of mini-boss ninjas with even better aim than their regular brethren, on top of being fast enough to challenge the Sergeant's Bullet Time-like Super-Reflexes and carry more explosives than any normal soldier would deem unsafe. The Nightcrawler Commander is the only boss in the first generation of the series, and he makes VERY good on that title. They're not badass just in combat either, as their rather organization existed and acted right under the nose of the US government while having a plethora of data on certain individuals, such as the whole second F.E.A.R. team and Commissioner Betters. They're not quite on Alma's level, though.
  • Final Fantasy VII has Shin-ra's SOLDIER units. And in its sequel, Dirge of Cerberus, the Deepground soldiers. The World Regenesis Organization too. Sure they got beaten up at first but once they decided it was time to play hardball, they quickly wiped Deepground out with their badass air force and shock troopers.
  • Final Fantasy VIII has the SeeD mercenary army, which has 5 groups of three take on an army as their graduating test with minimal support. Additionally, most of the playable characters are newly-graduated SeeDs, and manage to fight the Sorceresses.
  • Final Fantasy XIV has the Grand Companies which the player can join one of: the Immortal Flames of Ul'dah, the Order of the Twin Adder of Gridania, and the Maelstrom of Limsa Lominsa. In the game's story, the Scions of the Seventh Dawn found their own Grand Company independent of Eorzea's city-states, the Crystal Braves.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • As a general rule of thumb, any Player Character army shapes up to be this, with some tactical skill and a little luck. If fate's on your side, you can create a whole army of One-Man Armies, wiping out dozens of enemy soldiers and collectively taking on groups ten times their size without taking a single casualty.
    • Not as though the NPC armies aren't competent or badass in their own right. In a lot of missions, they generally Hold the Line against a far superior force so that the Player Army can sweep in as The Cavalry — and in some instances, they even drive them back!
    • Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn has its final act chronicles three badass armies, all in an attempts to take on Ashera, a Light Is Not Good God of Evil.
    • Fire Emblem Fates has a few badass armies to boot.
      • Despite being a peaceful nation, the Hoshidan Army can very well hold its own against the on-paper stronger Nohrian forces, to the point they're the only nation who doesn't crumble under their might without external support. It's telling that they need to be on the wrong side of a Kingmaker Scenario to be brought down.
      • The Nohrian army is likely the strongest military in the world Fates takes place in, boasting a king who's a one-man army, the Royals Who Actually Do Something, and despite being subjected to poor resources and a civil war, they still manage to be the continent's strongest force. Similar to Hoshido, it takes being on the wrong end of a Kingmaker Scenario to be brought down.
      • The best part is? They can join forces to defeat the true enemy in Revelation! If a Badass Army has it's badassness increased by two, then imagine how powerful The Alliance would be!
    • In general, it's harder to find an army in this series that isn't this trope, rather than the ones who are.
  • In Half-Life 2, the Combine, the army of the Universal Union defeats all the world's military forces and conquers Earth in 7 hours. Also, the HECU in the first Half-Life were pretty badass too, considering they were a bunch of cigar-smoking war veterans, fighting toe-to-toe with a whole alien army
  • Halo:
    • Despite being frequently demolished by the Covenant, the human military is considered this by the Covenant's Elites — after all, it's tough to fight a war against hordes of technologically and physically superior aliens led by 8-foot tall Elite warriors who can give a tough fight to the Master Chief himself. In fact, many Elites were so impressed they wanted to ask the humans to join the Covenant. It has been stated in the expanded universe that the humans are generally on par with the Covenant on the ground and fight like maniacs because this is a war for survival; it's just that when the Covenant do not secure a planet on the ground, they resort to glassing the planet because the Covenant space forces are much better than what the Humans can gather.
      • The Spartans themselves are a more obvious example, regardless of which version we're talking about. Even the Spartans from "quantity over quality" iterations are individually superior to almost any other type of soldier in the galaxy.
      • Before the Spartans, there were also the ODSTs — Orbital Drop Shock Troopers that quite literally drop onto a planet from an orbiting battleship in a Jeep-sized drop pod, all within just a few minutes. Unlike the Spartans, they do this without the latest in augmentations and powered armor.
    • The Covenant is quite a badass army itself. The Grunts know how to use their numbers right, and they're experts with heavy weaponry. The Jackals are excellent snipers and very hard to kill when they have energy shields. The Drones are extremely fast and agile fearless warriors who comes in hundreds. The Hunters are basically living tanks instead of infantry warriors, who can take a lot of punishment and deliver even more punishment back to the enemy. The Brutes are zealous devoted warriors who have immense physical strength, great endurance, and weaponry that is extremely deadly in and out of melee combat. And the Elites themselves more than live up to their names; when faced with a Brute-led Covenant fleet three times their own strength in Halo 3, the Elite fleet's commander simply remarks "Then it will be a fair fight" before proceeding to stomp the enemy force's ass.
    • The backstory indicates that the Forerunner Warrior-Servants were this as well; for one thing, their average soldier was capable of remote-controlling an entire small fleet by themselves. The ancient humans they fought against were this too, given that they managed to give the Forerunners a good fight despite inferior technology and numbers.
    • Halo Wars 2 introduces Atriox and his Banished, a heavily militarized, Brute-led splinter faction that rebelled against the Covenant midway through the Human-Covenant War. Not only did they survive against the Covenant from then until the collapse of the Covenant, they thrived, and by Halo Infinite, they're the dominant power in the post-war galaxy, mopping the floor with both the Created and the UNSC. As Isabel puts it, the Covenant nearly wiped out humanity, but never came close to stopping the Banished.
  • In King Arthur: The Role-Playing Wargame, you are King Arthur and can hire (or with a high enough tech-level, even build) mighty Sidhe troops and Giants to complement your Knights of the Round Table and more mundane troops. But even among the mundane troops, you can get powerful troops that are affiliated with particular alignments and religious belief.
  • Kingdom Wars 2 from Springcomes is a mobile Tower Defense game, that's unusually generous in its daily rewards as well as having an extensive number of upgrades for your castle and a wide variety of troops that could include legendary and suoer-legendary units like a goddess, golems, spirits, dragons, other dimensional beings from the far future and etc. All this can happen before your Ebonia Kingdom army even gets around to doing Mission 2! So your castle could have 9 automated cannons plus a defensive arrow shower that can almost reach the enemy's castle in addition to an army of only top tier beings, while your enemy is stuck using the most basic goblin infantry.
  • In the back story for Knights of the Old Republic, the Mandalorian Neo-Crusaders were a force to be reckoned with. One of the few times the great warrior clans united towards a single goal, and they almost brought the numerically superior Republic to its knees. They were essentially a spacefaring Roman Legion, giving conquered populaces the choice to join or die. At the end of the Mandalorian War, a Jedi Knight named Revan managed to defeat the ruling Mandalore at the time, and his lieutenant, Meetra Surik, activated a weapon of mass destruction that caused an Earth-Shattering Kaboom and nearly destroyed both fleets. Without a clear line of succession and impressed by the Jedi’s pragmatism, the clans scattered and went about their business. That is, until an amnesiac Revan remembers where he hid Mandalore’s mask and gives it to his Mandalorian friend Canderous Ordo, with the instructions to rebuild their army.
  • Time Gate Studios's Kohan: Immortal Sovereigns has the Kohan Special Forces. In multiplayer, you pick one faction of Kohan and get one element of the Kohan Special Forces (Royal Infantry for the Nationalists, Cavaliers for the Royalists and etc.). For the final level of the single-player campaign, you have united all the factions and have the complete Kohan Special Forces, an army of immortal Benevolent Precursors of the human race. These guys will completely gut enemy troops with only 2 or 3 attacks. And by this time, you'll probably have recovered enough Lost Technology that your normal human troops aren't too, too far below the Kohan in ability.
  • In The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel, after the initial surprise the Imperial Army had at the start of the Civil War in the first game, they get their act together in Cold Steel II and actually hold their ground even if they're technologically outmatched. By Cold Steel IV, Giliath Osborne has the biggest army in Erebonia and he's sending them to war against the rest of the world trying to stop their advance towards Calvard due to Calvard's attempted assassination towards the emperor. note 
  • The krogan and turians of Mass Effect are entire species of Badass Armies. The turians get their reputation for having universal military service and the most disciplined army in the galaxy, while the krogan got their status as a result of having evolved on the nastiest Death World in the galaxy, finding everything else the universe could throw at them to be an amusing game. Human soldiers can face larger numbers of turians because of a greater emphasis on mobile warfare, adding humans to the list. Plus the humans are really creative. It's mentioned that the whole concept of an aircraft/spacecraft carrier was completely human in origin. Humans also went from being incapable of interstellar travel, to being good enough to kick turian ass in only 9 years. A feat it took centuries for other races to do, if they have done it yet at all.
    • It should be noted that the Turians are the only race to face a major Reaper offensive on their homeworld, and not be almost completely overwhelmed almost immediately, unlike the asari, batarians and humanity, though last ones (as well as the asari, as we see in the ending) managed to keep themselves in fight through guerilla tactics even on Earth (Thessia) itself.
    • The asari or the salarians. Sure, their armies are much, much smaller, but they're no less badass. Consider the fact, for instance, that each asari soldier is a highly trained psychic commando and that the salarians are reputably the most badass spies in existence. This because in order to become a major race in the Mass Effect universe, you have to demonstrate your bad-ass army qualities on a large scale. It's made clear in the codex that a person going one-on-one against an asari commando (unless s/he's Commander Shepard or a krogan battlemaster) is practically committing suicide.
      • The badassery of asari commandos is perfectly summed up by the War Assets entry for the Serrice Guard, a unit of asari commandos, in Mass Effect 3. After a space battle with a Blood Pack ship, they and the Blood Pack were forced to crash land on a planet. Over the course of nine days, the Blood Pack suffered over a hundred casualties from traps, ambushes, and night assaults. When the Blood Pack gave up and finally surrendered, they found out that they had only been fighting FIVE asari commandos.
    • Quarians, who practically define True Companions. Although their marines are a Red Shirt Army due to their fragile physiology, that doesn't matter much when you have the biggest fleet in the galaxy, with even their liveships packing as much firepower as a dreadnought.
    • The geth deserve a special mention. Every geth platform is armed, shielded, and capable of combat, combat data and intelligence is shared between geth units instantly, and they employ drones and turrets as well as ambush and stealth tactics. In addition, they are probably the most technologically advanced race in the galaxy. The geth possess the largest and most advanced infantry and dreadnoughts in the galaxy, and if they're recruited, they provide more war asset points than pretty much every race except the turians and krogan.
    • Most of Mass Effect 3 is building the most badass army the galaxy has ever seen: Turians, Krogans, Salarian STG, Asari Commandos, the Quarian Fleet, Rachni, and Geth Primes.
    • The Alliance has N7 operatives, which are basically the futuristic equivalent of Navy SEALS or the SAS. Commander Shepard is one such agent.
      • More broadly, Alliance military personnel have a letter and a number, the letter denoting their career field (N is special forces, for example) and the number denoting how much training and experience (7 is highest), so all N-series operatives are this trope. Even soldiers who fail training before becoming an N1 are considered worthy of respect because being considered at all is seen as noteworthy.
    • The Citadel Council has the Spectres, where in order to become one, an individual has to prove they are a One-Man Army. Naturally, Commander Shepard becomes one of them too.
    • The Protheans used to be this Up to Eleven. They held the Reapers off for centuries even after the Reapers had disrupted the mass relay network and cut their systems off from each other, whereas the current cycle was almost tapped out after just one year.
    • The Reapers themselves are basically the perfect war machines. A great deal of their technology even breaks the laws of physics. They have no need for logistics, supply lines, energy supply, or maintenance, which even has the codex notes how impossible this should be. They create foot soldiers using the bodies of their dead enemies, create an effective shock trooper and psychological breaker. They can indoctrinate anyone who is close to them for a long enough period of time, creating the perfect sleeper agents. Along with this, they have unbelievable firepower that is nearly 12 times more powerful than the firepower of the most powerful non-Reaper ship and near-impenetrable defenses. And while the smaller destroyers are not as powerful as the capital ships, they are nearly indestructible to ground attacks. And there are at least thousands of both the destroyers and capital ships.
      • Speaking of the destroyers, it takes either the mother of all Thresher Maws or several salvos of Orbital Bombardment by the entire Quarian Fleet to kill one. Meanwhile, a single capital ship can tank an entire fleet like they were nothing but little space mosquitoes.
  • The Metal Gear series almost entirely revolves around the idea of Badass Armies that consist entirely of Super Soldiers. The Genome Soldiers from Metal Gear Solid are supposed to be this, having been augmented with genetic code from Big Boss, but against a full clone of Big Boss himself, they fail rather spectacularly. There are a number of supposedly elite mercenary groups in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, but only the Frogs can really take claim to that title. They get bonus points for also being an Amazon Brigade. Portable Ops and Peace Walker revolve around Big Boss assembling his own private army of Badasses. However, Guns of the Patriots proves that you don't need Super Soldiers to qualify. Snake's support, who armed with WWII-era naval weaponry (since anything else more modern is locked out), and normal soldiers who didn't have the benefit of SOP, still manages to effectively fight the FROGS to the standstill.
  • In Mount & Blade, it's quite easy for the player to make up an elite army of top tier units including Swadian Knights, Nord Huscarls, Rhodok Sharpshooters, Vaegir Marksmen, other exotic and powerful mercenaries, and of course, the player character and his elite retinue of True Companions. With a small force of around 50-90 of these, you can make absolute hay of another army consisting of hundreds of lower-level troops, especially if you're defending a choke-point or a wall.
    • The mod Prophesy of Pendor changes the game into a High Fantasy setting where the absolute kings of war are the Noldor elves. Their racist arrogance is not entirely misplaced, as the lore says that human soldiers who have seen them in battle firsthand consider a five-to-one numerical advantage over the elves to be bad odds. Every Noldor is an elite archer, they have enchanted longbows that can punch clean through even the thickest armour while still being great swordsmen too, and the head of the army is a powerful lord festooned in magical artefacts. Defeating the Noldor in direct combat isn't strictly necessary to win, but it is possible and it makes for the ultimate test of your mettle.
  • Noblemen: 1896 by Foursaken Media has your loyalist nobleman rally a powerful army ranging from Boxed Crooks using wooden 2x4s and government conscripts who have tech that's outdated at the time of the U.S. Civil War to getting wealthy patriots armed with high quality "modern for its age" equipment to getting more outlandish things like ghouls, vampires, paladins, knights, steam carriages, WWI tanks, weaponized airships and Tesla Tech Timeline warriors. Your particular nobleman can further his forces with unique technology including force-field generators, heatseeking bullets, a weaponized version of the Wright Brothers's airplane, a bomb-dropping hot-air balloon and war elephants. Your army is even more powerful once you get Officers and armies (which is actually this game's term for a specialist company) and additionally most of your units can have some of their equipment upgraded.
  • ParaWorld has the SEAS faction, who act like the highly dominant kingdom of Creon in Total Annihilation: Kingdoms. The three native factions of the setting are the Norsemen, the Dust Riders and the Dragon Clan who all have varying degrees of technology melded with dinosaur-powered Stone Punk, with the most advanced being the Dragon Clan who have a bit of Clock Punk with some Steampunk and Bamboo Technology as well as gunpowder. The SEAS function similar to the Dragon Clan on steroids, only without the oddball traps and upping everything with Diesel Punk technology. Their uniquely designed non-electric technology based on planning by a famous 19th century mathematician who's still alive in the 21st century, is reminiscent of what came out of World War 2 with the addition of Mini-Mecha and triceratops. No wonder the SEAS was easily trouncing all 3 factions at once, until our heroes came over.
    • It's not easy creating a powerful army because of the game's unique Arbitrary Headcount Limit for each ranking of unit. But you have an unique advantage in campaign mode. Because at a certain ranking, your heroes can produce a uniquely special unit or building according to their specialization you can easily have an army full of these units. So a Dragon Clan force could have a significant number of mini-gunners and sumo wrestlers with some dinosaur riders carrying enchanted ice spears, in addition to the best of what they normally can make.
  • Project × Zone brings together a platoon's worth of ass-kickers from franchises owned by Capcom, Bandai Namco Entertainment, and Sega, and pits them against a brigade of baddies that include a demon noble, a demon king, a super-soldier, a combat robot with a photographic memory, an all-consuming beast, and the Terror of Death.
  • [PROTOTYPE]'s Blackwatch is definitely one of these. Every individual soldier gets an honorable mention as a Badass Normal, and they have one of the best creeds of all time (it's listed in the quote section for this trope). They are assholes, vicious even beyond the requirements for a hellish job combating bioweapons, but there is no denying their unflinching (sometimes crossing into psychotic) dedication to their duty.
  • Deconstructed in Red Dead Redemption 2. The outlaw characters dread the idea of drawing the wrath of the US Army, seeing that outcome as a death sentence. However, when actually fought, they turn out to be nothing more than young boys and green recruits, no match for hardened career outlaws except in overwhelming numbers.
  • Sands of Salzaar is an action rpg but has a large emphasis on making armies. And initially the 5 Sultans of the tribes have the strongest armies: Bahat of the Akhal, Rebiya of the Dakn, Ludo Khan of the Thur, Ruha of the Dhib and Husnu of the Nasir. Their units are all at or close to the maximum experience of Level 20 and each unit has a full complement of individuals and they've all upgraded themselves along different branches for flexibility. But you can make a stronger army than theirs, as they stick almost exclusively to units within their tribe and even then they rarely have units from Tier 6, the final tier. So they are often missing the Akhal Vanguard Knight, the Dakn Shadow Apostle, the Thur Warmonger, Dhib Beastmaster and the Nasir Crossbowman. Your army have can easily have the maximum of 2 of the Tier 6 ultimate units and you can supplement them further with various Tier 5 monsters and humans who are outside of the tribes.
  • The Suikoden series should get a mention — they are the 108 Stars of Destiny, after all. That's one hundred and eight central figures in an army that eventually gathers into tens of thousands who are all exceptional in their chosen fields. In every game, you lead an army of pretty special individuals.
  • Say what you like about them, the Koopa Troop from Super Mario Bros. has accomplished AMAZING things with nothing but their own power and a beloved leader. Together they've conquered the Mushroom Kingdom twice, assaulted the Star Spirits, and stolen from God... twice. Not to mention their fierce loyalty to their leader, even after several losses. If it weren't for Mario, the universe would be screwed several times over. Even in side games, where some Koopas usually help Mario, they're undoubtedly Badass. With a leader like Demon King Bowser there's no wonder they never give up.
  • Super Robot Wars essentially takes the Badass Armies of every faction, weeds out the lesser members through a Sorting Algorithm of Evil, so by the end of the game you're fighting the biggest and baddest of them all. Arguably, by the end of most SRW games, you are the biggest and baddest of them all.
  • The nation of Creon in Total Annihilation: Kingdoms is able to fight four powerful magical kingdoms all at once with nothing but Steampunk technology. The four kingdoms have to join forces to fight the Creonites to a stalemate. The kingdom of Zhon is also a good candidate, an untamed land where the entire population are badass savages and monstrous beastmen.
  • In Total War, the player can easily create an army of elite units and, with enough victories, gain them battlefield experience as well as upgrading their weapons and armor. It is especially noticeable in Shogun II. Not only can you have a Hero units with full upgrades leading the pack (who can often take on entire armies by themselves at that point) but then you can deck out the rest of the force with badass samurai units that are deadly enough on their own, let alone with upgrades.
  • On a similar note to Earth Defense Force, Tower Defense game Alien Creeps TD from Outplay Entertainment has the Terran Shield Initiative. Set 20 Minutes into the Future, when aliens attacked all the militaries of the world jointly allied with tech industry corporations. This means the Terran Shield Initiative has Army Rangers and Delta Force being its Redshirt Army and humanity has access to portable fusion power, Lightning Gun technology, rail guns, cyborgs, artillery-sized machine guns, laser weapons, and A.I. robots. The Initiative also has heroes that range from Badass Normal that look like they're from G.I. Joe and Command & Conquer: Tiberian Dawn to guys that could have come from Marvel or DC comics and Over Watch. Human tech is so advanced that it turns out Earth fired the first shot to start the war, one tech company's orbital weapon platform accidentally fired a shot that almost hit the aliens' planet.
  • Squad 422 in Valkyria Chronicles III. While the combined force of Gallian military and conscripted militia have a hard time stopping Batomys, Kurt Irving and his men can take on Echidna by themselves and win. Keep in mind that Squad 422 does this without any meaningful support from the HQ because they have been declared Dangerous Deserter, and for all purposes are actually deserters. Altaha Abilia, indeed.
  • World of Warcraft is full of these.
  • In Warhammer: Shadow of the Horned Rat and its sequel Warhammer: Dark Omen, you have the Grudgebringers mercenary company. The Grudgebringers start off with a solid infantry unit and the powerful cavalry unit led by Captain Morgan Bernhardt, who owns the mighty magical sword Grudgebringer. Over the course of their respective games, the Grudgebringers can flesh out their forces by hiring artillery, archers, wizards plus other cavalry and infantry units of varying quality. Additionally, unusual volunteers join your team such as an elven ranger, dwarven Trollslayers and a Treeman. In the 2nd game, the Grudgebringers have grown more powerful after the Time Skip as they start with a cannon unit and a unit of crossbowmen.
  • In Microid's Warrior Kings, young Baron Arthas is already a mighty horseman with the power to heal. As his already solid basic forces grow in strength, he'll be able to pledge allegiance to 3 factions - Pagan, Imperial and Renaissance. As a Pagan he'll have access to witches, powerful demons - including demon prince Baal, and the most ferocious infantry. Their antagonist Imperial are modelled after the Holy Roman Church and he'll get miracle-using clergymen, fireball casting Inquisitors, a summoned Archangel and the best archers and cavalry. The Renaissance doesn't have to be fully purist and can incorporate either Pagan and Imperial elements while infusing those aspects with a little scientific pursuit. The Renaissance also provides gun-using forces, the best artillery and a Clock Punk rocket launcher. Arthas himself will gain new abilities according to these allegiances.
  • The Wonderful 101: The title group is composed of one hundrednote  superheroes said to be the most elite out of the top trained fighters, and are capable of defeating an alien invasion that uses mechs dozens of times larger than them. Each one can be selected to be the team leader, and each is strong both individually and when using Unite Morphs with the other members.
  • The X-COM initiative in any of the games. The series' is based around the enemy being a completely unknown alien menace that vastly outnumbers and outguns humanity even on the most fundamental levels, and the player, the director of the X-COM project, has to hire troops, reverse-engineer alien technology, and halt the invasion in less than a year. Furthermore, due to the nature of the alien threat and the troops' aiming skills, by the end of the game any small squadron of survivors from the rest of the game will count as this. And this isn't even touching on the rest of the series' which stacks the odds even more against humanity; nor the actual alien invasion force which will fuck you up if you're not ready to face them. And are smarter than they might seem at first.

  • The Jokers of Alice and the Nightmare have this reputation in-universe. Seeing how they're an elite force drawn from the lowest social caste, there has to be something to punch through the layers of Fantastic Racism.
  • The Dogs of War from Cry 'Havoc' are considerably more badass than their enemies.
  • The Jägers from Girl Genius are considered one of the most dangerous armies in all of Europe. And one of the most psychotic, for some. The Geisters might also qualify, though it's been proven that they are no match for Jägers, but then again, it was Da Boyz.
  • The Alternian Trolls from Homestuck are implied to have this, seeing as though all adult trolls are sent offworld to conquer and plunder other planets.
  • In The Order of the Stick, the Sapphire Guard is the Praetorian Guard of Azure City. They merely count as Elite Mooks to the Big Bad Xykon, who kills them rather effortlessly. What happens after, though, frightens even him.

    Web Original 

    Web Videos 
  • Downplayed for The Chain's eponymous mercenary company. While once fully this trope, they have suffered a number of great defeats, and their numbers have fallen.
  • Mahu in "Crownless Eagle" the army of the Commonwealth Republic is this, thanks to a mixture of veteran soldiers, more than competent commanders, and the nation´s technological advances.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
  • In Codename: Kids Next Door, the KND is a Badass Adorable, Child Soldier, and Badass Normal (with a dash of Kid Hero) example of this trope, this is an army that protects their world's children from being oppressed and harmed by evil Child-hating adults, many of which have super powers, and yet, when they go toe-to-toe with the KND, they mostly lose in the end. It's a wonder why at least some of the villains don't cringe in fear or dread over the thought of taking them on.
  • Samurai Jack: In Season 5, it's shown that in the 50-year Time Skip that The Scotsman has had many, many daughters, who are all big and muscular amazons hefting huge swords and spears. If they're anything like their dad (or mom), these girls are doubtlessly a force to be reckoned with.
  • Early episodes of The Simpsons episodes often depicted mundane businesses that employ large, zealous, hyper-vigilant security forces.
    • Disne—uh, Itchy and Scratchy Land seems to be protected by The Gestapo.
    • Mr. Burns' stormtroopers in "Rosebud" seem to be brutally efficient. The episode also shows that Burns also employs the palace guards of The Wicked Witch of the West. They had to get work somewhere after their boss melted.
    • Subverted in "Boy Scoutz in 'n the Hood", where the arcade's badass army turns out to be just the Squeaky Voiced Teen, who politely asks Bart and Milhouse to leave.
    • Inverted whenever the military is depicted on the show.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: The entire Republic clone army, whether from small squads to entire legions, have managed to win several battles across the galaxy alongside their Jedi leaders despite being outnumbered 100 to 1 (as stated during the pilot). Most prominent is during the Battle of Umbara where they won despite their Jedi General Pong Krell trying to sabotage the battle and get them killed.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Badass Armies, Badass Navy, Badass Air Force, Badass Military


The Alnus Hill Massacre

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why modern armies no longer use swords and shields...

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Main / CurbStompBattle

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