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L - R: Magic Johnson, Karl Malone, Larry Bird, Scottie Pippen, David Robinson, Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, Michael Jordan, and Chris Mullin. Not pictured: Christian Laettner, John Stockton, Clyde Drexler, and head coach Chuck Daly.

"As we say in Cuba, you can't cover the sun with your finger."
Miguel Gómez, coach of the Cuban national basketball team, on its 79-point defeat by the 1992 U.S. Olympic squad, the first to include NBA stars.

A Dream Team is spectacularly good at what they do. They are the absolute, best-ever people in some field, gathered to tackle a problem. After all, if one person who's the best (or at least one of the best) at something is simply "great," then an entire team of them is even better, right?

To get a Dream Team, sometimes the constraints of time and space are relaxed. What if Sherlock Holmes, Ellery Queen, Nero Wolfe, Lew Archer and Lord Peter Wimsey teamed up to solve crime? Answer: detective Dream Team. What if Superman, Batman and Spider-Man teamed up to save the world? Answer: Superhero Dream Team (See I'm a Marvel... And I'm a DC for a version of this).

A good Dream Team has members who, while having majored in the same field, all minored in different specialties. Expect a Plot Tailored to the Party.

Dream Teams create a dramatic problem since it is difficult to find a worthy enemy. Typical opponents include nature and inherently difficult tasks. It is much easier, for example, to commit a crime than to solve one. Occasionally, an opposing Dream Team or Big Bad may be invoked; this is a classic approach for superhero Dream Teams, since by definition a best-ever supervillain is the complement of a best-ever superhero. Additionally, Dream Teams can be their own worst enemy, with egos and infighting over approaches limiting their potential effectiveness. There is often a teamwork Aesop here.

Expect the first act to feature an Avengers Assemble or Putting the Band Back Together scene allowing the characters to be introduced, and their specialities and personalities briefly established.

Compare Massive Multiplayer Crossover, The Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny, All-Star Cast, First Contact Team.

Not to be confused with the 1989 film starring Michael Keaton and Christopher Lloyd or the British soccer club based Soap Opera Dream Team which occasionally used this trope but more often ran with a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits. Also not to be confused with Mario & Luigi: Dream Team.


Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Dr. STONE Chapter 148, the Kingdom of Science deploys their All-Star Lineup (consisting of Kohaku, Tsukasa, Hyoga, Homura, Kirisame, Moz, Matsukaze, and Ginrou) against a clan of giant alligators... who they defeat and turn into gator burgers.
  • Fairy Tail: Implied with the combined Fairy Tail Team in the Grand Magic Games arc, as Mirajane put it, consisting of Natsu, Gajeel, Gray, Laxus and Erza.
    Mirajane: This truly is the strongest team....
  • Girls und Panzer: The All Stars University team, as seen from the name, is not any particular university tankery team, but a team consisting of the best university tankery practitioners that were handpicked by the Japanese Tankery Federation to play in the World Tournament. The team is even stronger than adult pro teams Japan has, so when Ooarai is slotted to fight this team because of a corrupt ministry official's scheme in their effort to save their school, various high schools decide to aid Ooarai by joining forces to make a comparable dream team of their own. Awesome battle ensues.
  • Kuroko's Basketball
    • Kuroko's former team was considered the Generation of Miracles, each member being a total prodigy and together they won the middle school basketball championships three times in a row. Sadly, the fact that they were a dream team turned most of the members into jerkasses when playing basketball, so Kuroko left the team, the team fell apart, and they all went to different schools to play against each other.
    • Post-series, the Last Game arc has Kuroko reunited with his Generation of Miracle pals. And Kagami is there, too. The manga by-line doesn't mince words and flat-out calls it the "strongest team in history".
  • Lupin III: The best thief, most deadly assassin, fastest gunslinger, and most beautiful woman team up.
  • Lyrical Nanoha:
    • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's features a semi-villainous Dream Team in the form of the Wolkenritter; ancient, immortal, reincarnating combat programs who are very good at their jobs.
    • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS brings us Riot Force 6, which has such a ridiculously large portion of the firepower at the disposal of the Time-Space Administrative Bureau that they have to be placed under limiters before being allowed to operate together.
    • In Magical Record Lyrical Nanoha Force, Special Service Section 6 takes Riot Force 6, removes the limiters, and adds a large number of the Combat Cyborgs (who managed to actually challenge Riot Force 6) to the roster.
  • Naruto
    • We have the five Kages teaming up to fight Madara. Killer Bee and Naruto might also count as well, Sasuke and Itachi certainly do.
    • Kakashi and Gai during Orochimaru's attack on Konoha and in the current arc definitely count. On the evil side we have the Akatsuki, who is divided into dream teams (Even when the members do not get along). Itachi and Kisame stand out among those as the most badass team.
  • One Piece:
    • Luffy, Buggy, Mr.3, Mr.2 Bon Clay, Emporio Ivankov, Inazuma, Jimbei, Crocodile, and Mr.1 team up in a chapter titled "The Strongest Team is Formed - Shake Impel Down to its Core!"
    • 38 years before the start of the story, Rocks D. Xebec formed a villainous version consisting of future Yonkos Whitebeard, Big Mom, and Kaido, along with other famous pirates such as Golden Lion Shiki and Captain John. It took both Gol D. Rogers and Monkey D. Garp working together to stop them.
    • The final fight against Douglas Bullet consisted of Luffy, Law, Hancock, Sabo, Smoker, Buggy, Crocodile, Lucci, and Usopp.
  • The Prince of Tennis: Konomi Takeshi has stated that the soon-to-be-published continuation will deal with the formation of a "dream team" chosen from among the hundred or so best junior tennis players in Japan.
  • Played for Laughs in Slam Dunk. Moichi Taoka, Ryonan's coach, was hoping to form this by having Uozumi and Sendoh along with three other players who'd end up playing for Shohoku: Mitsui, Miyagi and Rukawa. He bitterly recalls how each of them rejected him each year when he tried to scout them: Mitsui and Miyagi for being indebted to Coach Anzai, and Rukawa because it's closer to his home.
  • In The Vision of Escaflowne, the Dragonslayers are an elite group of soldiers hand-picked by their leader, Dilandau. They are extremely loyal to him, even beyond the grave, despite Dilandau's habit of slapping them.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: Bonds Beyond Time featured the three heroes of the first three arcs, Yugi Muto, Judai Yukai, and Yusei Fudo, teaming together against the time-traveling villain Paradox.

    Card Games 

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animated 
  • The entire premise of Turtles Forever is based upon this - The 80s Turtles team up with the 00s Turtles and later, the Turtles from the Mirage comic book and Krang & the 80's Shredder to stop the 00's Shredder from destroying the TMNT multiverse. It's also Subverted: despite all of this it ends up being Bebop and Rocksteady of all people who are actually working for 00's Shredder who end up saving the day.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Louisiana Gator-Boys from Blues Brothers 2000. Whatever you may think of the rest of the movie, that scene, at least, was cool - putting together a band of the greatest R&B musicians alive, just to counter the Blues Brothers Band's Power of Blues. The roster includes: B.B. King, Eric Clapton, Bo Diddley, Dr. John, Jeff Baxter and several other successful musicians — a true Supergroup.
  • The Guns of Navarone. Each member of the team is the best at what he does: killing, explosives, mountain climbing, being lucky, etc.
  • The Avengers (2012) features Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Black Widow, Hawkeye and Nick Fury, all being played by the same actors who appeared in the Iron Man, Thor and Captain America movies; in addition to a re-cast (again) Hulk.
  • The "Super Posse" of famous lawmen hired by the Union Pacific Railroad to hunt down Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. In Butch and Sundance's case a "nightmare team"!
  • The Dream Team: This Michael Keaton comedy movie spoofs this trope; the four main characters are dysfunctional psychiatric patients who have to overcome their various crippling neuroses, not to mention their inherent dislike for each other, to reveal the truth after they're framed for a murder by corrupt police officers.
  • Seven Samurai and The Magnificent Seven, albeit with one member being a rookie in each line-up. They're the best samurai/gunslingers to ever be assembled.
  • Rather literally in Inception, given that team is traveling into someone's dreams, but almost each member of the team is noted to be the best in their respective field. Cobb is the best extractor, Arthur the best point-man, etc. Cobb even goes to an area he knows is full of people who want him dead, specifically because Eames is there, and he needs Eames to be their forger.
  • Spider-Man: No Way Home: 3 generations Spider-Man across different film continuities work together to battle a Legion of Doom of villains from previous continuities.

    Literature 
  • In the book Rainbow Six Rainbow is an international anti-terrorist organization composed of former members of various special forces worldwide.
  • In The Lord of the Rings the council of Elrond gathers a handful of members of human, dwarf, and elvish civilizations to decide what to do with the ring. Many are Royals Who Actually Do Something.
  • In Changes, Harry Dresden pulls together a dream team to storm the Red Court stronghold in Chichen Itza, consisting of himself, Thomas, Murphy, Leanansidhe, Susan, Martin, Sanya, Molly, and Mouse. Also, half-way through the battle, Ebenezar and the Grey Council show up in a true Big Damn Heroes fashion. That accounts for pretty much every badass good guy/girl in the series and then some.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, King Aerys II's Kingsguard is regarded as the finest collection of Knights in the history of the Targaryen rule. At the very least they were LEAGUES above Robert Baratheon's current Kingsguard.
  • Older Than Feudalism: In The Bible (2 Samuel 23), King David assembled an elite squad of thirty "mighty men" to be his guard. All of them had impressive achievements in battle, including one who killed 800 Philistines in one day, one who singlehandedly defended an entire field, and one who "killed a lion in a pit on a snowy day."
  • The Belgariad features a kind of one. Belgarath assembles it based on "The Prophecy", but most of the members are considered noteworthy even in the Nation Of Hats they come from. There's Belgarath himself, "The Eternal Man," seven thousand year old sorcerer and emissary of a literal god; as well as his daughter Polgara, a powerful sorceress in her own right who is herself around three thousand. Silk is regarded as a top notch spy in Drasnia, which has as its main export intelligence (in the military sense). Mandorallen is from Arendia, a nation whose Hat is a knight's helm, and is considered its greatest warrior, having never lost a battle or joust. Barak is a Cherek (their Hat is a viking helmet), is an exceptionally strong berserker and captain of their largest warship, and can literally transform into a bear. Hettar, from Algar (think Mongols) can telepathically communicate with horses, and is spoken of with fear by his nation's hereditary enemies the Murgos, where legend has it that he's a thousand feet tall with a necklace of Murgo skulls. Garion is really Belgarion, the rightful Overlord of the West, though no one but Belgarath and his daughter Polgara, who are (distantly) related to him, know this at first. The odd man out at first is Durnik, who seems to mainly be there because he's a friend of Garion's (and of Polgara's in her disguise as Garion's "Aunt Pol"), but he turns out to be in the Prophecy as well.
  • In The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, this is the concept behind the 75th Quarter Quell (with the twist, of course, that they're supposed to kill each other) - by selecting from the pool of winners of previous Hunger Games they're choosing the strongest. In practice this doesn't really work. A number of them have substance abuse problems or are out of shape, and there's a very small pool of victors to choose from outside Districts One and Two. Whatever skills Mags had that allowed her to win about decades ago, she's now over 80 and appears to have suffered a debilitating stroke. Also, many of them have a scheme to escape the arena with no intention of ever killing each other.
  • The local cricket XI, the "Woolfonts Combined CC XI," in the Village Tales novels. It can "give trouble to most County sides and a few Test sides" ... in that it is captained by a former captain of, in order, the Eton, Oxford Authentics, and Oxford Blues 1st XIs, has in its order his old vice-captain when he's in the District, contains a current member of the OUCC 1st XI during the Long Vac., and, although his knees are shot nowadays, is coached and twelfth-manned by a former England Test cricketer. Neighboring villages really don't expect to win matches against WCCC, any more.
  • In the gamebook series Wizards, Warriors and You: Sure King Henry has a lot of knights, but he's also got a powerful archmage trained by Merlin himself and the mightiest warrior in the land so he's always sending out those two legendary champions when there's something more than a bunch of bandits threatening the kingdom, which is every book.
  • An evil version forms in Way of the Tiger, as three of the evillest men in the world have joined forces and obtained magic scrolls that can be used to send a good god and a good goddess to rot in Hell. Unfortunately these 3 men are Yaemon, the world's greatest martial artist, Manse the Deathmage, the greatest spellcaster, and Honoric, the world's greatest swordsman.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Power Rangers
  • On the other side of the Pacific, Super Sentai, the Japanese franchise that provides the source material for Power Rangers, has been making crossover movies between teams starting with Ohranger vs. Kakuranger, (although there has been previous crossovers before the official Vs. movies). Usually these crossovers tend to involve the current team and the previous team, but for two of the anniversary years (the 25th and the 30th), the current team worked together with a mixed team of various past heroes instead.
  • In Hyakujuu Sentai Gaoranger vs. Super Sentai (the 25th anniversary movie), the Gaorangers teamed up with a Dream Team consisting of Big One, Red Falcon, Mega Pink, Ginga Blue and Go Yellow. The other past Red Rangers also made cameos as well, albeit in costume only.
  • In GoGo Sentai Boukenger (the 30th anniversary movie), the Dream Team consisted of Hurricane Blue, Abare Black, Deka Break, Magi Yellow & Magi Shine and a new hero named Aka Red, who embodies the powers of all the previous Red Rangers.
  • In Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger, the 35th Sentai series, the team has the ability to transform into previous heroes. Usually the Gokaigers will all stick to rangers from the same team, but sometimes they transform into mixed teams as well, particularly when they have all have a common motif or they have the same color.
  • Gokaiger Goseiger Super Sentai 199 Hero Great Battle begins with all the rangers that ever were teaming up and sacrificing their powers to defeat a fleet of Zangyack... creating the keys that allow the Gokaigers to transform into newer forms when they come along later. The movie's climactic battle features all the main mecha that ever were smacking down a handful of resurrected recent villains.
  • Joe 90 uses a variation of this; he can use his glasses to download the brain patterns of the experts who would be this trope, allowing him to act as this trope despite being one person.
  • Whenever Doctor Who does a story with more than one Doctor appearing (The Three Doctors, The Five Doctors, The Two Doctors, "Time Crash"), Doctor Who is in something of a unique position in that it's essentially a 'dream team' comprised of what is essentially different versions of the same character. In the 50th anniversary special, all the Doctor's incarnations up to and including the Twelfth work together to save Gallifrey. Day of the Doctor indeed.
  • Game of Thrones had a fantastic example of this in Beyond the Wall, where Jon Snow, the Hound, Beric Dondarrion, Thoros of Myr, Jorah Mormont, Gendry, and Tormund Giantsbane all teamed up to capture a wight alive. Er, sort of alive.

    Mythology and Legend 
  • Arthurian Legend: King Arthur in his various incarnations had his knights, who were the finest warriors of the land.
  • Celtic Mythology had Fionn mac Cumhaill who led the godlike band of warriors, the Fianna.
  • Hrolf Kraki's Saga has the eponymous main character form a team of heroes to replace his earlier team of berserkers.

    Professional Wrestling 

    Tabletop Games 

    Video Games 
  • By the end of the game, any given Super Robot Wars's cast will become this, with the combined forces of numerous Humongous Mecha series teaming up to defeat a new threat after all their storylines have finished.
  • The whole point of Mass Effect 2 is to put together a dream team of the toughest badasses in the entire galaxy in an attempt to survive a Suicide Mission.
  • Most of the plot of Fable II revolves around assembling a Dream Team so that a prophecy will oust a horrible tyrant. The Player Character must track down and unite the Hero of Strength, the Hero of Will, and the Hero of Skill, which is harder than it sounds.
  • Inazuma Eleven:
    • The game more than the anime. Though the anime team is made of several of the best players defected from other teams, the game explicitly encourages you to find and recruit the strongest players from any team you battle, making the ultimate team a mishmash of the cream of the crop.
    • GO Chrono Stone features a dream team made up of historical figures that was envisioned by Endou Daisuke as the ultimate team. This leads the team to travel through time to gather the power of these memnbers. The first of which is Oda Nobunaga.
  • Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney: One is a famous professor of archaeology, a quintessential British gentleman, and possibly the best puzzle-solver in the world. The other is a notorious Ace Attorney who, no matter the odds, always manages to find out the truth and gets his clients acquitted.
  • In the NES baseball game BaseWars, two such teams are available from the get go. They carry the best weapons and can consistently hit home runs.
  • Mount & Blade runs on this trope; part of building an army involves assembling "hero" characters from taverns around the land of Calradia, who then gain experience and level up with the player in the course of play. By the lategame, you can have as many as nine ultimate warriors armed and armored like someone put the Brotherhood of Steel in a time machine, riding equally indestructible warhorses.
  • The Arc Stars, if their name wasn't an indication, is the best team in Arc Style: Baseball!! 3D. They have the absolute best stats in every field (batting, running, pitching, fielding). The team is made of some of the most important characters from the company.
  • In a late game quest in The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III, Rean and Lechter have to assemble a group of people who can help them find one Calvard Jaeger who is still around the Heimdallr Catacombs. The ones who answer the call are Olivert, Agate, Tita, Tio, Randy, Sara, Claire, Sharon, Toval, and Patrick. Both Rean and Lechter conclude the line up is a bit of an overkill but decides to roll with it.
  • Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order, your Alliance heroes are initially a mix of the Guardians of the Galaxy, some of the best members of various incarnations of the Avengers and a bunch of independents like Venom and Spider-Gwen. If one of your heroes asks Nick Fury if they should go and get reinforcements, Nick says no and that any commanding officer could only dream of having a team like this. And then the Alliance gets a massive power boost when the X-Men, a bunch of supernatural specialists and the street-level Defenders join in. Plus even more heroes come along if you bought the Season Pass, including the Fantastic Four.
  • In King Arthur: The Role-Playing Wargame, you are King Arthur and you're trying to fill the Round Table with Knights. Since every Knight is a legendary hero gifted with supernatural powers and superhuman statlines, even your early starters are among the Best of the Best and this goes up as you go beyond hiring the minor-leaguers of the Arthurian tales and get Merlin, Lancelot and etc. Of course each Knight will also be commanding companies of troops - through improving technology and the purchasing elite mercenaries - you'll end up with Seelie, Unseelie and Giant troops along with exotic human forces.
  • The forces of evil are going to get their asses kicked in beat'em up Night Slashers. You control a monster-hunting team of a psychic cyborg who's the best monster hunter in America, the spell-casting finest vampire slayer from Europe and the most acclaimed martial artist from Asia who also has supernatural powers.
  • Fate/Grand Order consist of summoning heroes from the past (which also include characters from previous Nasuverse works, especially Fate/stay night) and forming a team to save human history, with heroes such as Cu Chulainn, Leonardo Da Vinci, Joan of Arc, Emperor Nero, Gilgamesh, and King Solomon.
  • The Madden NFL iterations through the mid-2000s included "historic" rosters for each team with the best players in franchise history up to that point represented. It was quite satisfying to roll over the competition with a team of every elite legend from the team's history, bordering on a sports version of an Army of The Ages. However, as their likeness was being used without compensation, some of these former players sued and EA stopped including them around 2008-09.

    Web Comics 
  • The Dragon Doctors: The best surgeon, the best shaman/therapist, the best alterist/wizard, the best science mage.
  • In Tower of God, Viole's new team, consisting of himself, Ran, Nobic, Horyang, Cassano and some FUG members. Outright referred to as "a perfect team" by Nobic. Averted when they get their asses handed to them by Shibisu's team.

    Web Original 
  • While Team Kimba of Whateley Universe is a Dream Team, most of the school believes this trope is in play because Phase is a teen billionaire who as a Goodkind would pull together a dream team as his personal backup. He just happens to have one of the best mages in the world, one of the best flying bricks available, one of the best (if not the best) flying blaster, one of the best martial artists anywhere, plus the Handmaid of the Tao and the Generator.
  • Survival of the Fittest Version 7 has the girl's basketball team for George Hunter High, which is stacked with a ridiculous level of talent. Two players have ambitions of going pro while three-five of the others are at least considering college ball. For a real life high school team, that amount of skill on one side is pretty much unthinkable. Back in Version 1, there was also Barry Coleson High School's baseball team, which accomplished the (statistically impossible) feat of going three consecutive seasons undefeated.

    Western Animation 
  • Hanna-Barbera's Laff-A-Lympics was a dream team.....of funny. The "classic" Hanna-Barbera "animal" characters were all on one team (captained by Yogi Bear), the "modern" Hanna-Barbera "crime-solver" characters were all on another team (captained by Scooby-Doo), and the "Devious" Hanna-Barbera "villians" from both eras (captained by Mumbly) - all on one cartoon!!
  • Total Drama All Stars had the the heroic and the devious characters from the past four seasons join forces.
  • This was the premise of two '90s video game based animated shows. There was the So Bad, It's Good Captain N: The Game Master and the unforgettably awful The Power Team, an animated show served up alongside Video Power. The former licensed some of the biggest characters from the NES glory days, including Simon Belmont of Castlevania, Pit of Kid Icarus, Mega Man, Mother Brain of Metroid fame, and so on. The result was a strange product by today's standards and the quality is certainly debatable. Acclaim wanted to do a similar show, but using only its own rather shallow roster of characters. The resulting cartoon featured the monster truck Big Foot, a walking tomato called Kwirk, a generic barbarian claiming to be Kuros of Wizards & Warriors, Tyrone of Arch Rivals (who plays basketball — that's it), and Max Force of NARC who was not able to use his guns on a show aimed at children. The resulting show is almost universally panned by the few who remember it.
  • ProStars was another also-ran kid's TV show with a similar premise. In this show, Bo Jackson, Michael Jordan, and Wayne Gretzky teamed up to form a sports-themed super-hero group helping kids and saving the environment from cheesy villains. Each of the athletes was a superhero, each of them using gimmicks based on their respective sports, with Bo covering football and baseball. Live-action sequences with all three athletes talking to kids about morality were also included. Picture Michael Jordan and company as the protagonists of a show like Captain Planet and you'll have a good idea how cheesy it is.


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