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Elite Mooks
aka: Elite Mook

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"ARC troopers, you were selected for this task because you are the best; the elite. You all know what to do."

"These aren't outdated SWAT-bots either. They are the shadow-bots Delta and Gamma — my personal vanguard."
Dr. Robotnik, Sonic the Hedgehog Issue #74
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When the enemies are too easily taken down by the heroes and there is a need to increase the challenge, the easiest way to is to upgrade the Mooks into Elite Mooks. They may come with better weapons, more training, additional skills, or various powers the normal Mooks do not possess. The look of the Elite Mooks may be noted with various appearance changes from a simple Palette Swap, adding Spikes of Villainy, a fancier uniform and other cosmetic alterations that make them stand out from the crowd of regular Mooks. The Big Bad's personal security detail may be a group of Elite Mooks.

Any variety of Mooks can be upgraded to become an Elite Mook, which can yield a Boss in Mook Clothing or Super Powered Mooks. Mooks can be transformed into Cyborgs, Zombies or Elite Zombies if they were already zombies, made into Super Soldiers, or upgraded in other various ways.

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In video games, Elite Mooks are very likely to be Demonic Spiders.

Not to be confused with the generally solitary Giant Mook, the Heavily Armored Mook or the Surprisingly Elite Cannon Fodder. Compare Elite Army, which is what the Elite Mooks may make up. Also compare Mook Commander, which has a main purpose of buffing other mooks but usually fulfills this role as well. Compare the Praetorian Guard as well, which are variants that personally protect the king or other head of government, although those are not necessarily evil. Contrast the King Mook, which is a boss version of a typical Mook, and the Mook Lieutenant, which is a higher ranking mook, who doesn't need to be an Elite Mook to become one.


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Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Attack on Titan: Among the regular titans are "Abnormal Titans", who display radically different and often much smarter behavior. The decimation of Eren's squad at the Battle of Trost begins with an ambush by an abnormal who jumps out from behind a belltower. During the 57th Scouting Expedition, Sasha nearly gets run down by an abnormal who crawls on all fours like a spider.
  • Berserk:
    • Griffith's Apostle army, whose leaders serve as Mook Lieutenants.
    • The Kushan Emperor Ganishka sends in the Daka, monstrous soldiers created through forbidden sorcery, to fight Griffith's Hawks after his human Mooks are quickly dispatched. While certainly ferocious they quickly suffer from The Worf Effect to show off how strong Griffith's Apostles (and later Guts and his companions) have become, to the point where they hardly get any slaughtering in before being dispatched in droves.
  • Hotel Moscow in Black Lagoon has the Desantniki (who are called the "Vysotoniki" by Dutch), Balalaika's personal bodyguard and inner circle made up of former USSR paratroopers who fought under her in Afghanistan.
  • Bleach:
    • The Espada all tend to have a few lesser Arrancar that they keep around to serve this purpose, called their Fraccion. And frankly, the Big Bad considers all Arrancar to be this, at best.
    • Harribel's Fraccion fit this trope best of all. Why? They're by FAR the most effective of ANY Fraccion shown. While most of the Fraccion are defeated by, at best, the Number Twos of the various Gotei divisions, Harribel's trio manages to take out a grand total of FOUR Lieutenants (Matsumoto, Hinamori, Hisagi, and Iba—in that order, and Kira was next) by summoning their pet Giant Mook. It took the Commander General himself to get fed up and take them out.
  • Akuma of D.Gray-Man have levels, so that every time the exorcists get strong enough to Red Shirt-ify the current strongest akuma, they can just introduce a new strongest type.
  • Digimon V-Tamer 01 has Angemon for Lord HolyAngemon's army, Boltmon for Demon's forces and NeoDevimon for Neo's. These generally act as a given Mook Lieutenant's trump card in the first arc of Digimon Fusion. The armies of the second arc's Death Generals are this relative to the rest of the Bagra Army. Subverted in most cases of the latter, however, as the heroes are much more powerful by this point and able to curb-stomp anyone who isn't a major villain.
  • Dragon Ball Z: In King Cold and Frieza's universe-spanning empire, the Saiyans were this, being their strongest enslaved race based on quantity and quality. Deconstructed in that this trope is partly why Frieza decides to wipe them out in the first place: because they were apparently increasing in strength and numbers, the tyrant (correctly) assumed that they, or at least a Chosen One, would eventually be able to challenge him.
    • According to supplementary material, a soldier with more than 1,000 is considered elite, although for the point that they are introduced they are basically fodder.
  • Guyver gives us several. Compared to the average Chronos foot soldiers, the Chronos aligned Zoanoids could count as this trope as they are usually much more than a match for any normal human task force. In terms of the enemies the Guyvers themselves fight, Zoanoids usually become the normal Mooks while the Hyper-Zoanoids take on as members of this trope
  • Fairy Tail has Yomazu and Kowazu. The dark guild, Grimoire Heart, is lead by Hades alongside the Seven Kin of Purgatory, established lesser bosses who oversee the many Mooks of the guild. Yomazu and Kowazu, however, are in between. They're strong enough to be classified higher then a Mook, even having established names, but not strong enough to be standing alongside the leaders. They beat up Gajeel and Levy before they are defeated by them. However, Gajeel is so injured that he's Put on a Bus until Hades' defeat.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist has Solf J. Kimblee's four chimeras (humans who can transform into animalistic forms), who all end up pulling Heel-Face Turns, as well as the failed Fuhrer candidates, who show up near the end under the command of the Gold-Toothed Doctor to force Roy Mustang to become the final sacrifice for Father's Nationwide Transmutation Circle.
  • The Type IV Gadget Drones in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Striker S, which guarded the path towards the engine of the Saint's Cradle and managed to critically injure two main characters over the course of the season.
  • The Metal Brikitons in the first season of the Mashin Hero Wataru Series, who pilot Mashins instead attacking on foot.
  • Though a staple of the universe as a whole, Mobile Suit Gundam Wing begins with the unpopular and beleaguered United Earth Sphere Alliance and its massive military. Within that exists the Special Mobile Suit Troops, with access to more modern equipment and better training, and their junior officers wearing a recolored version of the Alliance officer's uniform. As one might expect, they soon replace the whole Alliance in a long-planned coup d'etat.
  • My Hero Academia: The Eight Bullets of the Shie Hassaikai are essentially this. They do not seem to occupy a place much higher than normal grunts in their structure, but they are definitely far stronger and much more dangerous since they don't care whether they live or die.
  • ANBU from Naruto. Supposedly, anyway. The Jonin are a better example.
  • The giant mecha in the festival arc of Negima! Magister Negi Magi had their weaponry quietly upgraded to no longer fire mere stripper rays. Apart from that they were indistuinguishable from their predecessors.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion:
    • An odd example occurs in the movie. While the majority of the combats in the series make it look like a big boss rush, the final battle in the movie is against the MP ("Mass Produced) Evas, a group of nine identical Evangelion Knockoffs.
    • On the ground there's the JSSDF, Keel Lorenz's shock troopers, sent to *ahem* "clean up" NERV once Keel's plans start going awry.
  • Noir has two varieties — the masked Knights of Paris and the Soldats high priestesses. Something of an Informed Ability in both cases, as basically everyone goes down in one shot in this series.
  • The red armoured Rublum forces of the Empire in Tears to Tiara. They hand the protagonists their first real defeat in episode 8, though that was due in part to Arthur's lack of strategy beyond "charge them and hope for the best". Well, they used logs too, but the Rublum soldiers just got back up after being hit by the logs.
  • One Piece:
    • Near the end of the Enies Lobby arc, 200 Marine Captains attack the Straw Hats at the Bridge of Hesitation. The Straw Hats had spent the rest of the arc taking out several thousand standard Mooks, as well as fighting the government's resident assassin team, CP9, so these Elite Mooks did pretty well against the worn out Straw Hats. Still got their butts handed to them, though. One of them, Shu, scored a victory for mooks everywhere when he actually managed to destroy one of Zoro's swords. Usopp ended up sniping him down, but his actions left Zoro unable to use his strongest techniques for most of the next arc.
    • The Pacifista Units became this after the Time Skip. Before, the one that the Straw Hats defeated was a legitimate boss, but then they were hit with degradation two years later. Justified as those were outdated models and it's stated that there are actually upgraded Pacifistas nownote , meaning that there's now Elite Elite Mooks. And then the Seraphims, newer and much more effective Pacifistas, are deployed...
  • Witches from Puella Magi Madoka Magica command several armies of familiars each, but all of them are generally measly Red Shirts compared to the witches or magical girls who fight them. That is, until we get to Puella Magi Madoka Magica The Movie: Rebellion, where the primary witch in the story possesses not just the typical armies of familiars, but fourteen elite familiars, each of which is at least as strong as a magical girl.
  • From Trigun, the three masked Punisher-carrying members of the Eye of Michael, who seem to act as Chapel's elite mooks. Then it turns out they are actually Razlo's elite mooks, and their Punishers are meant for him. And they keep helping him even after he utterly annihilates one of them with his triple Punishers just for the heck of it. Overall, they put up a better fight than many of the mooks in the story, and in the end, they willingly take a deadly body-enhancing drug to keep Vash busy while Razlo recovers from his wounds, in a sort of villainous heroic sacrifice.
  • Usagi-chan de Cue!!: Dekao is an "admonisher" (assassin) brought in when regular mooks don't get the job done.
  • In Vinland Saga, the viking kings call upon the Jomsvikings, a mercenary band for hire made up of war veterans, for elite muscle. Outside of fighting named characters with Character Shields, they're pretty much unstoppable and manage to combine an unusual mix of being bloodthirsty warriors and super diciplined demonstrated by them hacking a larger peasant militia to threads while laughing with joy while maintaining an ordered formation.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V has both the Fusion Dimension's Obelisk Force and the Synchro Dimension's Security. They're all duelists with definitive skill, defeating several characters and always putting up a fight, and Security Don't even duel after that fails the first few times and just outright arrest their targets.

    Comic Books 
  • The DCU:
    • Both Intergang and the Secret Society of Super-Villains were secretly organized by Darkseid to act as his elite mooks on Earth in various 1970s comics, with the latter intended to replace the former. The Secret Society was reformed by Darkseid's pawn Libra for this reason in Final Crisis as well. Darkseid also has his own Elite on Apokolips, who stand above and beyond his Dog Soldiers and Parademons, though they're more of a Quirky Miniboss Squad.
    • Intergang itself sometimes has elite mook squads of its own, like the "Wall Crawler" assassins seen in some Superman stories.
    • Simon Dark: While most Geo Populous members can be killed just as easily as the humans they've replaced the higher up in the ranks they are the more likely they are to be bullet resistant and Vincent, one of the boss's two personal enforcers recovers from having his arms ripped off in about a day and seems mostly inconvenienced and angry when Rachel splits him in half from the top of his head to his navel, and Simon has to kill him by dragging the thing possessing him back to the plane it originated from.
  • Marvel Universe:
    • The original Power Broker's business involved selling super-strength upgrades, often to villains looking to assemble Elite Mook units. The Broker himself employed a squad of such called the Sweat Shop.
    • Another Marvel subversive group, Advanced Idea Mechanics, started as the Elite Mooks of HYDRA (aka THEM), being its super-science division; AIM itself mass-produced synthetic soldiers like its "chemical androids" and Adaptoids. HYDRA itself developed robotic soldiers called Dreadnoughts for this purpose, and in some continuities HYDRA itself started out as or becomes the Elite Mook organization working for the Red Skull.
    • For more conventional criminals like Spider-Man and Daredevil archfoe The Kingpin, the Hand frequently serves as a group of killers and enforcers a cut above the average mob wiseguy. The Hand usually has its own plans, though. Unsurprisingly, the Hand and HYDRA share a history and have alternately served as elite mooks for one another on separate occasions.
    • After years of Badass Decay, this has been done on a cosmic scale to the Celestials. Unlike other Cosmic Entity types, Celestials are not unique so that's one notch against them and they can suffer from Helmets Are Hardly Heroic or Faceless Goons tropes (sometimes they congregate in a massive herd and outside a named few like Arishem the Judge, they kinda have no identity except being a big Jack Kirby-style metal space giant). If you need to show a menace is a threat to the universe, chances are it'll get to kill a Celestial (such as the Many-Angled Ones slaughtering Celestials in Annihilation). It's gotten to the point where The Mighty Thor kills an extra-powerful Celestial named Exetar the Executioner with nothing more than a cursed axe.
  • The Punisher MAX:
    • The slavers. Not only did they use squad tactics and didn't panic during the first few seconds of The Punisher's attack, they even forced him to retreat. And they held their guns right.
    • Later, a group of generals sends a special forces squad after Frank precisely because they're the Army's elite.
  • Manute from Sin City had a squad of mobsters under his command but he sent a group of former IRA mercs to fight Dwight and the Old Town girls. They did a good job of it due to a lot of firepower and one managed to briefly catch Miho off-guard but they were all eventually defeated.
  • Though the original was introduced as an individual case of A.I. Is a Crapshoot and eventually transformed into the recurring villain Bastion, later X-Men stories have made the Nimrod type of Sentinels this in relation to the usual versions.
  • The Transformers: Monstrosity: Establishes the Terrorcons as one of the more powerful Decepticon fighting forces, able to take on Megatron, albeit weakened. In The Transformers: Windblade three of them go against Windblade's posse and come out victorious, Rippersnapper takes down Slug (a veteran Dinobot, which was one of the most powerful Autobot groups), Sinnertwin takes down both Blurr (another Autobot veteran) and Waspinator, and Cuthroat keeps Tankor (veteran Decepticon) and Windblade (above average fencer) on their toes, even with an impaled wing he's still fighting.
  • The Ten-Seconders: The Disciples, humans whom the Gods have experimented on. While they have their own powers, they're nothing compared to the actual Gods.

    Fan Works 
  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): In this Godzilla MonsterVerse fanfiction, MaNi/Elder Brother is described by Word of God as a "weird combat form" amongst the Many which serve Keizer Ghidorah. Unlike other Many Mind Hives, MaNi has a Gravity Beam, and instead of being driven by a hunger to devour and assimilate biomass endlessly, he's driven by by an utterly Ax-Crazy bloodlust for fighting.

  • Bad Future Crusaders has Captain Rumble's Stormfront Unit, which is described as the best soldiers in all of the Equestrian military.
  • The Butcher Bird has two levels: The Nightmare Pirates rank and file serve as this relative to those of other pirate crews, and inside the crew itself there are several elite formations who typically attach themselves to specific officers, such as the Huscarls to Herman, the Ghosts to Lauren, and the Immortals to Gin.
  • Calvin & Hobbes: The Series uses the Cybermen during "The Five Calvins", a Whole-Plot Reference to "The Five Doctors".
  • The Moon Rabbit soldiers in FREAKIN GENSOKYO.
  • A Diplomatic Visit: The sequel Diplomat at Large introduces the White Changelings, top trained changelings with high degree mastery in most magic spells, who wear pure white outfits to hide what hive they belong to and ensure no single hive can gain control over the entire order. It's noted that several squads of them are being used to guard Chrysalis in her prison, and that Chrysalis herself never contributed any members.
  • In Equestria: Across the Multiverse, the mainline Storm King is aware of the Hegemony would be a problem for him, so he gets some help from Ispita and recruits some Adaptational Badass versions of the G1 Troggles and powers them up further to become equal to Warhammer Orks specifically to counter them.
  • Friendship Is Magical Girls has the Royal Changelings, who are more humanoid, and much more powerful, than the normal ones.
  • The God Empress of Ponykind:
  • The Immortal Game has the Unicorn puppets, which, due to their magic, are greater threats than the Earth pony and Pegasus puppets.
  • Inner Demons has Queen!Twilight Sparkle learning how to magically create undead pony soldiers who serve as this for her, compared to the brainwashed Royal Guards she otherwise uses. By the Final Battle, while the heroes are fighting through the hordes of Tartarus now at her command, these are the ones who she uses to guard her throne room, and the ones she sends en masse to slip past the heroes and attack defenseless Ponyville (though they get bogged down fighting the Royal Guard).
  • In Kokuten, it's said (and shown) that thanks to the Sharingan, one regular Uchiha shinobi can take on three regular Konoha chunin. Essentially, the Uchiha Clan has an entire army of elite mooks at its disposal — any less would get them absolutely butchered by Konoha's both superior numbers and diversified abilities.
  • My Little Denarians: After battling through various less capable mooks, including Discorded Royal Guards and Stormtroopers, Harry and co. end up fighting the Denarian cultists, who ambush and flank, deploy from armoured vehicles, use grenades, heavy weapons and snipers, and generally act like a competent, well-trained paramilitary force. Harry thinks they're almost too competent to be willingly working for the Denarians.
  • Throughout the MLP Fan Fic Harmony Theory, Max Cash, one of the two Big Bads, had been mostly relying on hired-and occasionally brainwashed-thugs to do his bidding, sans his Dragon and personnel body guard. But when its time to raid the estate of a politician with a lot of security, he brings out a small army of top dollar mercenaries Who are brainwashed into being completely loyal and willing to die for him with him. Unfortunately for him, a now fully grown Spike, makes sure they never get to show their true ability.
    • Also, the Griffons and the Changelings serve as this, to the Solar Empire and Lunar Republic respectively, The Lunar Republic uses the changelings, as both spies and shock troops, and The Solar Empire using the Griffons as bodyguards and trackers/hunters. Naturally, this makes them natural enemies.
  • This is one of the many things parodied in Twillight Sparkle's awesome adventure, with Queen Celestia's Elite Elite Guards; Who are Alicorns in Scary Impractical Armor. They don't seem to be any more effective, than the regular elite guards.
  • In the Tamers Forever Series, Armaggedemon, Diaboramon, Infermon, LadyDevimon and SkullSatamon all serve this role in Daemon's army.
  • The Rise of Darth Vulcan: Vulcan eventually gains a second group of minions in the form of the Crimson Guard, a group of Changelings recruited from Chrysalis, who are far more powerful (and competent) than his standard Diamond Dog soldiers.
    • Later on, even they get one upped by the thestrals who defect to Vulcan's horde — as they no longer have to suppress their carnivorism, as they've had to in "polite" Equestrian society, they're able to properly feed and access their full strength as the Super Soldiers Luna designed their race as, putting their full power at Vulcan's disposal.
  • The Assault Troopers from The TSAB – Acturus War, who are both mages and conventionally-trained special forces. We see only four named ones on-screen, but they do fairly well considering they end up fighting Nanoha, Fate, Vita and Signum.
  • Jackie Chan Adventures fanfics, especially those under the Project Dark Jade banner, tend to present the Samurai Khan in this role, as opposed to the Fake Ultimate Mook status they had in canon. Usually, it's explained that since their Mask didn't properly bond with Finn in that episode, their power and effectiveness was hindered, which isn't the case in these stories.
  • Guardians, Wizards, and Kung-Fu Fighters:
    • The Shields of Torus Filney serve as this to Viscount Servantis. They are a group of heavily armed and armored knights, all highly skilled in combat beyond the abilities of the average Phobos soldier.
    • The Samurai Khan, as usual in JCA fics. They have the ability to resist offensive magic, and show a disturbing level of intelligence and an ability to adapt to the fighting style of their foes.
    • Archduchess Sebille's personal cadre of swordsmen from Blackrock Island. Will notes that while other Meridian warriors train only enough to have a worthwhile skill, this group has dedicated their lives to combat.
  • The CIA agents in the Grand Theft Auto IV fic Fall of Liberty.
  • In Earth's Alien History, the Reapers eventually make particularly effective Husks out of captured Pokemon, and on an even grander level, a group of Kryptonians (nicknamed Kryptohusks).
  • The Unabridged Memoirs of Darth Plagueis the Wise has the Thunderclap Commandos serving as this for the Rim Liberation Front, being clones created from Yuuzhan Vong DNA in order to serve as Hero Killers against Jedi.
  • Linked in Life and Love: Roman mentions that while most of the White Fang are stupid kids who just have guns and unlocked Auras, there are quite a few who have Huntsmen-level training, and even a few Academy graduates. Due to their identical uniforms and masks, there is no way to tell the difference before a fight breaks out.
  • Neomorphs has the Apostates, whose Ssri'Kai hosts are among the most dangerous species in the series, and who are also trained to have fanatical Undying Loyalty to the Visser.

    Films — Animation 
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame: Of Frollo's soldiers, the ones who have visored sallet helmets are portrayed as this. Compared to the rank-and-file guards wearing kettle hats, they suffer almost no slapstick at all and have no incompetent moments. In fact, their presence helps to accentuate the edginess of the situation at hand almost as much as that of Frollo.
  • In The Incredibles, Syndrome doesn't simply hire Dumb Muscle for his armed guards. Many are trained to handle a super threat or potential ones. When seeing two stranded kids on the island, the guards attempt to hold them at gunpoint and detain them, rightly suspecting they're not here for a vacation. A few just won't give up on chasing Dash all over the terrain, even as he accumulates a body count. Violet attempts to take one on with a stick and her invisibility powers, but he forces her to retreat into the nearby lake and tracks her location using dirt to shoot her. The family has to team up to stand a fighting chance against them.
  • Mulan has a set of five Huns that stand apart from the rest. They are the first over the wall in the opening, weed out Imperial scouts, participate in the Awesomeness by Analysis where Shan-Yu ascertains the location of the Chinese Army, weather the avalanche that buries most of the Hun army, and help Shan-Yu's raid on the palace that forms the climax.
  • In Strange Magic, there appears to be several subspecies of goblins, one of which is significantly bigger and brawnier than the others. They are used whenever the fairy protagonists need a serious threat.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 300 applied Action Movie tropes to historical events, including making the Persian 10,000 Immortals Elite Mooks.
  • Shabal's terrorists in Act of Valor are this, when compared with the cartel gunmen. The cartel thugs are mostly just Mooks, save the one who managed to shoot Mikey (by sheer luck while firing blind through a wall), while every one of Shabal's suicide troops puts up some degree of serious resistance. Most notable is the one who is crazy enough to use a rocket-propelled grenade as a close-combat weapon.
  • Near the end of Batman Begins, Ra's al Ghul sends 4 serious-looking ninjas in full metal body armor to fight Batman. They do marginally better than everyone else who's tried to fight Batman up to this point until they pushed him into a mob.
  • Captain America: The First Avenger: has the heavy-weapons HYDRA soldiers, who unlike the rank and file troops, actually manage to at the very least, back the heroes into a corner every time they appear.
  • In Dredd we have the four dirty Judges hired by Ma-Ma late in the film.
  • In Dune (2021) we have the Sardaukar, who show themselves to be far more skills than the rank-and-file House Harkonnen troops. A small phalanx of Atreides soldiers are able to hold against an entire Harkonnen unit before the Sardaukar arrive and effortlessly mow them down. They are also able to kill two major characters: Dr. Kynes and Duncan Idaho. They later meet their match in the Fremen, who are able to ambush and fight them without shields.
  • Both Equilibrium and Ultraviolet (2006) feature the hero battling a group of several unique-looking Mooks armed with katanas, just before the final fight with the Big Bad. These guys are either Elite Mooks, or complete idiots, for fighting only with swords in a world where everyone is equipped with automatic weapons. In any case they don't do noticeably better against the hero than all the previous Mooks...i.e. they all get killed in about 6 or 7 seconds.
  • In The Expendables, there is General Garza's special forces, identified by their red berets, jungle camouflage, and green-and-yellow facepaint. They actually live up to their reputation as well, forcing the Expendables to seriously work to kill them, unlike the regular soldiers who they mow down with regularity.
  • The SS battalion in Fury (2014) that show up at the movie's climax. Whereas the Wehrmacht forces in the movie were disorganized, demoralized and undersupplied already, and many of them quickly surrendered, these guys are boldly marching to combat, singing, fully armed, and when they come across Fury and find that she's operational, they make it their top priority to get rid of it and refuse to give up, even after taking heavy casualties.
  • The nanite-enhanced Neo-Vipers from G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. They are really hard to kill.
  • Zull and Vinz Clortho from Ghostbusters (1984) . They are intimidating and frightening by themselves, but ultimately they are not the the main villain .
  • Averted in John Woo's Heroes Shed No Tears. The so-called Black Squadron are the personal guard of the general responsible for the region's drug trade and are all dressed in black instead of regular military uniforms. However, they're the first mooks fought and are actually less competent than the regular Vietnamese soldiers, who put up slightly more of a fight before going down.
  • Near the climax of The Heroic Ones, when Li Chun-Hsiao and his army are winning the penultimate battle, the enemy forces parts way for the Bladesman Unit - twenty highly-trained halberd-wielding experts, who puts up a far more competent fighht than the regular soldiers. They manage to kill many of Li's men until Li takes on the twenty in an extended spear-vs-halberd duel.
  • In Inception, this is the difference between an untrained mind's projections and a trained one. Normally, a mind's subconscious projections take on the form of waves of mindless civilians that swarm intruders in the dreamworlds, while if a mind has been trained to resist intrusion, the projections are armed with heavy weaponry and attack in coordinated groups.
  • In John Wick: Chapter 2, at the end when John is closing in on Santino, Ares shows up with a quartet of well-trained elite bodyguards. Unlike the dozens of mooks John mowed through earlier, they have armor, assault rifles, and move and fight as a well-coordinated team that John has to use careful tactics to take down.
  • John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum has the High Table soldiers that the Adjudicator sends to assault the Continental at the climax. They are covered head-to-toe in heavy body armor, making it near impossible to take them down with Wick's usual Gun Fu, and which enable them to slaughter Continental security.
  • The Einsatzkommando from The Keep. Just as in the novel, however, they're "elite" in name only, and are no more effective against Molasar than their regular German army counterparts. In fact, as Woermann points out, the only thing these "elite" troops do effectively is slaughter large numbers of unarmed civilians (which in real life was the Einsatzkommando's entire reason for existing — they were mobile death squads).
  • The wuxia movie Killers Five have the main villain's Praetorian Guard units, a legion of his personal bodyguards who despite being unnamed, can put up a far better fight than regular mooks. The last one of them notably gives the Action Girl heroine a rough time in a one-on-one duel while the hero takes on the Big Bad.
  • The Uruk-Hai in The Lord of the Rings movies, though after their introduction they don't seem to pose much of a problem.
  • The Zaror supersoldiers cloned by Voz in Machete Kills.
  • Mars Attacks!: The Martian Girl is a skilled assassin who seems to be one of the Martian leader's best troops.
  • Agents of the East India Co. in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. We only see one of them (Mercer) but Jack "vanished from under the eyes of seven agents of the East India Company" and this is listed as an impressive feat.
  • In Red Dawn (1984), the town of Columette, Colorado is quickly taken over by a crack unit of Red Army para-troopers in a vicious battle. However, once the front lines of World War III stabilize, the town is relegated as a back water outpost, and patroled by rear echelon Red Army troops, supplemented by units of the Cuban and Nicaraguan armies. However, once The Wolverines carry out a successful guerrilla campaign, and after summary execution, after summary execution does not get the Soviets closer to capturing the Wolverines, Col. Strelnikov and his elite Spetnaz unit is brought in. Strelnikov's first act is to ask General Bratchenko to stop the executions, as they only show weakness and desperation and encourages the conquered population to aid the rebellion. Second, rather than sending out soldiers to be inevitably ambushed, Strelnikov carries out more proactive counter insurgency operations, such as making one of the teens swallow a homing device in order to track down the Wolverines' hidding place, and then forcing them out of hiding by tempting them with food. In the end, these tactics do end the Wolverines' guerilla campaign, but both Strelnikov and Bratchenko are killed during a Suicide Mission.
  • Repo! The Genetic Opera has Rotti's shotgun-wielding henchgirls, and the faceless Repo Men.
  • The Rescue (1971): The Mongol sergeants fills this role, being experts with halberds, identifiable by their yellow tunics exposing their bare chests, and managing to kill several members of the Redshirt Army.
  • Star Wars:
    • The destroyer droids (droidekas) in The Phantom Menace, which aren't humanoid like the regular mooks but spider-like bots equipped with shields. As proof of their effectiveness, they are the only droids to not only survive an encounter with the Jedi, but send them running in their first appearance.
    • The Super Battle Droids in Attack of the Clones, which are more heavily armored and aggressive than the regular droids.
    • General Grievous' Magna Guards from Revenge of the Sith, non-Jedi droids who are able to fight against Jedi in melee combat and do relatively well (i.e. live longer than about 6 or 7 seconds).
    • The Royal Guard, the guys in red, are supposed to look like elite mooks, at least. They don't do anything in the original series and get curb stomped by Yoda in the prequels.
    • Despite their prominence in the original trilogy, stormtroopers are this for the Empire. Otherwise they use regular Imperial Army troopers (the dudes with the funny hats in the Death Star prison block). Oddly enough, many works in the Star Wars 'verse (including but not limited to video games) depict stormtroopers as the rank-and-file soldiers instead, with no mention of the actual troopers.
    • The Death Troopers in Rogue One is essentially what would happen if a Stormtrooper retained their brutal efficiency and avert Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy. They are the elite mooks among the Stormtroopers themselves, and they have scored numerous kills of the rebels on screen, including several main characters.
    • The Elite Praetorian Guards of Snoke in The Last Jedi. Clearly based on the Royal Guards from the original and prequel trilogy, except they are actually trained to deal with Force users and give Rey and Kylo a run for their money. One of them even held their own and manages to get a couple hits in while fighting Rey one-on-one, while another comes surprisingly close to killing Kylo.
    • The Rise of Skywalker has the Knights of Ren supposedly fulfill this role. They manage to temporarily capture Chewie with little difficulty, and beat the tar out of their former leader Ben Solo in the climax, until he gets hold of a lightsaber and slaughters them.
  • The Cardinal's Guard in The Three Musketeers (1973) version. Although the novel depicts them as more or less equal to the king's musketeers in training and prestige—and in the first fight sequence the musketeers hesitate before taking them on at 1-2 odds—by the final fight sequences, the heroes are dispatching them by the dozen.
  • The Black Demon Ninjas from Violent Shit III: Infantry of Doom.

    Gamebooks 
  • Lone Wolf:
    • The Giaks are the lowly mooks of the Darklords, while the Drakkarim, black-armored warriors wearing death masks, are the elite. Further in the series, the ante is upped with the elite of Drakkarim, the Death Knights.
    • After having deal with many Vassagonian brigands in the previous book, in Shadow on the Sand Lone Wolf is confronted with Sharnazim, the elite warriors of Vassagonia, during a trip to their capital.
  • For Fighting Fantasy, your adventurers will be killing hordes of goblins, trolls and orcs that make up the forces of the Dark Gods. Their skill score runs around 6 or 7, the minimum. Adventurers often get some variety in bloodletting by shanking tougher skill 8 or 9 monsters. But whenever an enemy with skill in the double digits shows up, like Chaos Warriors, Chaos Knights, Greater Demons or Spectres, you can expect some of the hardest fights in the book outside of the story's Final Boss. Some are even mightier than plot-relevant villains!

    Literature 
  • The Blue Band Hork-Bajir introduced late in the Animorphs books are this, and various books focus on attempts by the Yeerks to create these such as the weaponized hammerhead sharks in The Escape and the failed attempt to create aquatic Hork-Bajir from The Mutation.
  • The Social Police in Blade of Tyshalle could nail scouts between the eyes as said scouts were peeking through window slats at them. "Say what you like about Soapy, but those bastards can shoot."
  • In Cerberon Wizard Royal Elect Tmneal Kravat has a group of half-hackal warriors called the Nine Fangs explicitly described as elite soldiers. Their eliteness seems more like an Informed Ability when Aladavan fries them with a massive ball of lightning, and decapitates the blinded and severely burned survivors who are still trying to achieve their objective despite their fatal injuries.
  • The ur-viles from the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant are an interesting example. They're no stronger than the stock mooks, Cavewights (who are physically powerful but weak-willed), but are far more dangerous because they're smarter (Cavewights will just Zerg Rush the enemy; ur-viles always fight in disciplined formations) and possess potent magic (ur-vile loremasters, their primary magic-users, can cause even experienced warriors to freak when they show up).
  • Chrysalis (RinoZ): The entire Colony essentially becomes the elite version of an ant swarm. They don't breed quite as fast as regular ant monsters, and their base stats are lower, but they're a lot smarter. Smart enough to train all their hatchlings up to tier three or four before they even see real combat, which more than offsets their lower base stats. Smart enough to replace regular ants' Zerg Rush tactics with far more advanced and coordinated strategies; ranged Hit-and-Run Tactics, assaulting supply lines, setting traps, building fortifications, and casting all kinds of magic. Smart enough to launch their own industrial revolution and heavy industry, building gates and armour and magical communication items and a hundred other things. Regular ant colonies are dangerous, but are priority targets, to kill them before exponential growth kicks in; when it comes to the Colony, on the other hand, the expert recommendation on how to assault an anthill is, Don't.
    Establish ranged superiority and throw stuff at it until it crumbles into dust, then burn the dust until nothing remains but a puddle of molten rock. It takes a long time, requires a massive concentration of valuable assets, but it's the only way that works.
  • The Crimson Shadow: The Praetorian Guard, who serve not only as Greensparrow's bodyguards, but his most elite troops.
  • Discworld: The modern Watch is often viewed this way by people opposing them. Criminals and cons trying their usual tricks on "stupid guards" tend to be surprised by the smart tactics Vimes has instilled in his troops.
  • The Sardaukar from Dune are hyped up to be the most dangerous warriors in existence... but they never get a chance to show off before they're getting slaughtered wholesale to show just how badass the Fremen are.
  • Source material notwithstanding, the Warhammer 40,000: Gaunt's Ghosts novels after Necropolis had them fighting the Blood Pact, the retinue of the Chaos warlord they were fighting against, who were supposedly better than the generic heretics and zealots that came before. The Guns of Tanith also introduced Loxatl mercenaries that could take lots of lasfire.
  • In Harry Potter, not that the Death Eaters in general aren't a force to be reckoned with, but every once in awhile we meet one who proves to be more dangerous to the heroes and takes more to defeat. Examples include Antonin Dolohov, Thorfinn Rowle, and Bellatrix Lestrange (though she's closer to being The Dragon).
  • In The Girl from the Miracles District, the calligraphomancer (writing witch) in the Arc Villain's employ is the only one of his mooks to survive more than one encounter with Nikita, and the only one who manages to take down her bodyguards.
  • The Iron Guard and Shadow Guard in The Grimnoir Chronicles books are born superhuman, given Training from Hell and then enhanced even more.
  • The Inheritance Cycle has the Kull, elite urgals that are about ten feet in height.
  • In The Iron Teeth, Mages and Vessels serve this function in militaries. The former can fire off magic crystals to create devastating attacks or utility effects, while the latter use a difficult-to-master Super Serum to fight with unmatched speed and strength. And they're treated like elites, too, leading Herad to correctly conclude that Basghus and Mehedium had deserted for reasons other than mere discontent.
  • The Lord of the Rings has the Uruk-hai, elite orcs who are significantly bigger and stronger than their lesser kin, with those of Isengard able to endure sunlight. There's also the Olog-hai, elite trolls who are more intelligent and able to operate in sunlight.
    • Remember the Balrog from Moria? In The Silmarillion we learn that its kin not only acted as Morgoth's elite troops, they're as powerful as Sauron himself.
  • Mistborn:
    • The Steel Inquisitors. A little more elite than most Elite Mooks; in the first book only Sazed and Kelsier can take them on and live, and it's still not very advisable. Kelsier killing one is treated like him snatching the sun out of the sky: everybody around falls still and can't believe their eyes. Oh, and they have literal Spikes of Villainy...through both of their eyes.
    • Hazekillers (who are warriors specially trained to kill allomancers), and koloss are Elite Mooks who are more powerful than regular Mooks, but less powerful than Inquisitors.
  • Arawn employs two main varieties in the The Chronicles of Prydain, each with their own particular twist. The Cauldron-Born are undead, implacable, and virtually impervious to injury, but they're also progressively weakened the further they get from Annuvin, making them more useful as elite guards than as an assault force. The Huntsmen of Annuvin, in contrast, are mortal men, but are magically bound to have Undying Loyalty to Arawn and also have the Conservation of Ninjutsu as a superpower, with every surviving Huntsman becoming stronger whenever one is killed. They're more often used as fast moving strike forces and skirmishers.
  • Necromancers in the Old Kingdom typically use Dead Hands, fairly basic (albeit mutated) shambling zombies created by pulling a spirit out of Death and binding it to a body. Abhorsen, however, displays the more dangerous Shadow Hands, where the spirit remains incorporeal and thus cannot be harmed by standard weapons, or even Charter marks — but can still drain the life out of anyone it touches, to fuel its ongoing presence in the world of the living. Only the necromantic bells can banish Shadow Hands back into Death.
  • The Wheel of Time has the Myrddraal, also known as the Eyeless. They use spirit vision of a sort to transcend being physically blind and their melee skills are implied to be in part due to being "out of sync with time".
  • The Keep has the SS Einsatzkommando, led by Major Kaempffer, sent in after the regular German soldiers keep falling to an unseen menace. They're a subversion, though. Although they have better weaponry, more authority due to being SS, and flashier uniforms, in practice they fare no better against Rasalom than the regular soldiers did.
  • Star Wars Expanded Universe:
    • Darth Vader's 501st Legion (named after the fan club), who are stormtroopers that can actually shoot straight. Justified further in the Star Wars Legends continuity, where the Legion remains composed purely of relatively elite clone troopers and not ordinary recruits.
    • The Stormtroopers are actually the Elite Mooks of the Empire; the Imperial Army (which the Corps are not a part of) is actually the mook component, though the movies would have you believe otherwise.
    • In the New Jedi Order series, Lando Calrissian and his wife Tendra start a weapons company that manufactures the Yuuzhan Vong Hunter battle droid, which has self-healing armor, blaster cannons that can down a starfighter, and a sensor package that can detect disguised Yuuzhan Vong. It's far too expensive to replace organic soldiers but the New Republic/Galactic Alliance uses them in critical tactical roles on several occasions.
  • Wardens from The Powder Mage Trilogy serve as this for the Kez army. They are ordinary people warped with sorcery into nigh- invulnerable juggernauts of destruction which can take on entire squads of infantry and are designed specifically to combat the titular Powder Mages. They are however not very intelligent and can still be taken down by a lucky shot to the eye or just by being swarmed and stabbed to death. The later books also give us black wardens, who were instead created from Powder Mages and possess much of their abilities, making them even deadlier.
  • Skyward: The lifebuster bombers and their escort flyers are faster and more reactive than regular Krell interceptors. They are also the only ships Spensa can't "hear", suggesting that they are piloted by actual Krell rather than by cytonic remote-control.
  • The Tunnels series has the Limiters, an elite regiment of Styx soldiers who patrol the Deeps and conduct covert operations Topsoil. They differ from the Styx Division by wearing khaki and brown trenchcoats instead of green and gray, but are presented as much more fearsome. It is commonly believed that they are cannibals, although that only occurs if they run out of supplies and the point is moot because they are not human. Later in the series they are superseded by the Armagi, shape-shifting monsters produced by the Phase.
  • The Stormlight Archive has the Regals, singers who have bonded with a Voidspren and possess limited supernatural powers. While not anywhere near as dangerous as the Fused (who possess Surgebinding nearly as effective as that of the Knights Radiant and millennia of combat experience from their repeated ressurrections), their limited powers still make them far more dangerous than regular singer soldiers.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Season 1 has The Three, Luke and Darla.
    • Season 7 has elite vampires called Turok-han. The first one to make an appearance is actually incredibly dangerous, but once a whole army of them are released at once, they go down easily.
  • Colony has several levels of increasingly Elite Mooks:
    • The Special Operations Team aka Red Berets, who, unlike regular Red Hats, do not have face coverings and carry out important roles, like protecting the Proxy, leading the arrest of insurgents and overseeing the Gate Ways between Blocs.
    • Whatever Will Bowman's unit is called, which appears to carry out prolonged investigations.
    • The Grey Hats, who protect the Hosts and serve as the muscle for the Global Authority.
    • The Intelligence Directorate (aka "Blackjacks") which reports directly to the Global Authority and is able to operate outside the Colony and can call down strikes by the Drones and oversees the total rendition of the Colony.
  • Cobra Kai: The "Way of the Fist" Tang Soo Do senseis hired by Terry Silver in season 5 are this, led by Kim Da-Eun, the granddaughter of master Kim Sun-Yung, the same master that trained Kreese, Silver himself, and their CO during Vietnam War Captain Turner with his fighting style. They are much more powerful senseis that are at on par with Silver's level, so much so that they gave Johnny Lawrence, Chozen Toguchi, and Mike Barnes a hard time during the season finale.
  • Daredevil (2015): A couple of Wilson Fisk's henchmen seem to fill this role, particularly the ones that are able to pose a challenge to Matt. Rance in the first episode of season 1 (the assassin sent to kill Karen in her apartment) is a martial artist. John Healy in "Rabbit in a Snowstorm" similarly gives Matt a run for his money. The standout one is Benjamin "Dex" Poindexter in season 3, who is responsible for both of season 3's major character deaths (Father Lantom and Ray Nadeem), as well as a large number of minor character killings or hospitalizations (Ellison, Jasper Evans, etc) and whom manages to best Matt in combat twice.
  • Red Series in Dark Angel.
  • In Doctor Who:
  • Dominion has the Powers, the Higher Angels that have joined Gabriel's campaign of extermination against humanity. Not only are they vastly more powerful than the Lesser Angels, the fact that they have bodies of their own and don't need to possess human hosts means that they can slip right past the human defenses designed to detect angelic infiltration.
  • Kamen Rider:
    • The Leo Zodiarts in Kamen Rider Fourze has the ability to summon the Leo Dustards, which are modified versions of the regular mooks wearing Kabuki wigs.
    • About halfway through Kamen Rider Build, Nanba Heavy Industries, who until this point have been selling their Guardians to the highest bidder, unveils their own war-ready Hard Guardians, which are green, have twin machine gun hands and are powerful enough to give the heroes a hard time (at the power level they were at when they were introduced).
  • Kingdom (2019): Yeong-shin used to be one. The Crown Prince is told that the only people who shoot on the level of Yeong-shin are the Chakho, a special unit of soldiers used for hunting down wild tigers.
  • In episodes 7 and 8 of The Mandalorian, Death Troopers fulfill this role again, gunning down The Client and his men in seconds and giving the title character of the show much more difficulty than the rank-and-file goons. As a visual lampshading of sorts, in wide shots they're clearly shown towering over the rest of the stormtroopers. Luke Skywalker defeating a whole bunch of them just show what's the difference between a Master Jedi and normal soldiers.
  • Masked Rider has the Maggots (comic relief stooge villains, used for jobs like distraction and MacGuffin theft) and the Commandoids (used to fight.) Kamen Rider Dragon Knight has three stages of grunt evolution (red normal Mooks, white stronger Elite Mooks, blue flying super-Mooks.)
  • The Shadow Priests from Mortal Kombat: Conquest. They are skilled in both martial arts and magic, can deflect or counter any attack with a mere wave of their hand, can outfight anyone and kill every single cast member except Raiden. Makes you wonder why Shao Kahn never used them prior to the series finale.
  • Motherland: Fort Salem: Witch soldiers seem to be this for the US government, since it's mentioned the military still has conventional (presumably muggle) forces as well.
  • Nikita: Division has several ascending levels of Elite Mooks:
    • The Cleaners, described by Owen as being stronger and faster than regular agents, and who "clean up" after Division's missions.
    • The Reapers, Cleaners trained to deal with other Division agents.
    • And the best of the best are chosen to act as Guardians (like Owen), who protect Percy's black boxes.
  • Power Rangers:
    • The shows sometimes have a multiple tier grunt system, such as normal Kelzaks and their red Palette Swap, Kelzak Furies, followed by Styxoids, Koragg's badder (and speech-capable!) versions of the Hidiacs. Blueheads started out as Giant Mooks who led regular Mooks, but started being sent in small groups themselves on occasion. Then gold, spiky ones, imaginatively named Orangeheads by the Rangers, arrived and were even more elite (that first one gave them a lot of trouble, being stronger than Monster of the Week level) until the same Monster Threat Expiration problem that affected the blue ones set in.
    • The "Zordon Era" of Power Rangers, lasting from Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers to Power Rangers in Space, did this regularly, with So Last Season existing before the changing-teams-every-year phenomenon, with each set of Mooks being considered "elite" as compared to the last, until reaching the standard Mook success rate about five episodes in. Z-putties are elite until the Rangers find out they can just hit the big giant Lord Zedd Z symbol on their chests and the Putties will lose power and shatter (though the fights still last a while because it has to be a hard direct hit). Then Tengas were elite until...they weren't. Power Rangers Zeo's Mecha-Mooks, the Cogs, were equally hyped and actually tougher than Putties or Tengas...but that just meant the Rangers had to actually suit up to fight them. Rita also had a short-lived line of Super Putties who were tougher, stronger, and would pull a starfish and regenerate into two Super Putties if smashed, which forced the Rangers to retrieve special blasters in order to break them. These were not used again because Rita had only so much of the special clay used to make them.
  • Seven Star Fighting God Guyferd has an interesting example where a set of Mooks retroactively become this. The Guyborgs were originally Crown's sole Mook force, and are actually show to be able to put up a decent fight agaisnt Guyferd. After the develop of the Fangs, which are less strong than Guyborgs but easier to mass produce, the Guyborgs begin being used as elite units, with one even acting as the Monster of the Week in an episode.
  • The Kull Warriors in Stargate SG-1 are — watch this — Anubis' Frankenstein's symbiotically enhanced super-zombie cyborg Implacable Men. One episode of SG-1 also showed that some of the Jaffa under Anubis were elite Ninja Jaffa. For some reason, they never showed up again after that episode. Sokar had the Red Guard, who were more heavily armored and fewer in number than the usual grunts. Apophis used them after knocking off Sokar and taking over his territory.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation plays with this concerning the Borg. The Borg start out as chump Mooks. The problem is... once you knock off a few of the chump Mooks, ALL of them become Elite Mooks, or at least elite enough that they can kick your ass. New foe, wash, rinse, repeat.
  • Supernatural: Season 8 reveals the existence of the Knights of Hell, demonic super soldiers that served as Lucifer's chief enforcers. By the present, the Archangels have managed to wipe out all of them, save for Abaddon. Season 9 reveals more about the Knights, including that they were founded, trained, and led by Cain (yes, that Cain) until he — not the Archangels, as it turns out — killed them all for killing his wife, whose love had redeemed him.
  • Super Sentai has multiple instances of this trope:
    • Midway through Himitsu Sentai Gorenger, the Black Cross Army developed the Black Cross Ninja Team, comprised of elite Zolders trained in ninjitsu.
    • The villain Doctor Ashura from Choujuu Sentai Liveman modified his own body, allowing him to generate three clones of himself, called the Shurer Three. These more or less fill the role of Elite Mook.
    • The villains in Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger have the aptly named Golem Soldiers as their standard set of Mooks, which get upgraded midway into the much stronger Dokiita Golem Soldiers, who are capable of self replication.
    • Denji Sentai Megaranger has both this and a Giant Mook in the same episode — Boss Kunekune is the Monster of the Week, and in lieu of the standard giganification has a bunch of Kunekune cover it to form King Kunekune.
    • Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger has three tiers of Mooks. The Anaroids, which are the standard mooks. The BatsuRoids are the Mook Lieutenants and the Igaroids fill this trope. In their first appearance they managed to almost defeat the Rangers.
    • Mahou Sentai Magiranger has the High Zobiru, which are much stronger versions of the standard Zobiru. Supplemental material reveals that the first Dragon is actually a mechanically modified version of aforementioned Elite Mook.
    • Juken Sentai Gekiranger manages to combine this trope with Monster of the Week. Elite Mooks are created when numerous regular Mooks fight against each other. The strongest one survives the fight and gets upgraded into an Elite Mook. Whenever the Elite Mook in question receives enough negative energy by causing fear in innocent people, they get the power to change themselves into a Monster of the Week.
    • Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger has the Sugormin, officers in chunky blue armor who are stronger than Gormin and lead them into battle. They can go giant along with the monster as well as turn into plane-like vehicles. They get a red Palette Swap called the Dogormin, even stronger variants used only by the king and his court.
    • Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger has the Zorima as the standard Mooks. But it does not take long for the villains to introduce the much stronger Cambrima, who is claimed to be as strong as 100 Zorima
    • Uchu Sentai Kyuranger has Tsuyoindavers, which actually have little resemblance to the normal Mooks called Indavers. A few Tsuyoindavers can grow giant like monsters of the week can and several of the monsters of the week actually were unique Tsuyoindaver variants. Indavers themselves may have one of four different colors of stripes on their uniforms which may indicate different ranks (with the less common purple ones being commanders) but there seems to be very little or no difference in strength between them. One episode had a unique Indaver with a red uniform instead of a black one who lead a Sentai-like team of Indavers including one of each normal stripe color, but he and his team turned out to be no stronger than normal and were easily beaten.
    • In Kaitou Sentai Lupinranger VS Keisatsu Sentai Patranger, the Monsters of the Week have safes built into them that allow them to harness the power of the Lupin Collection piece contained within. The Lupinrangers, who are collecting the Collection pieces, can open these safes with their Dial Fighter. Stronger variations can have two safes, allowing them to harness two powers, or have a gold safe, which requires two Dial Fighters in order to open. The lieutenants all have gold safes, and two of them have two gold safes. The Big Bad has a special gold safe surrounded with chains which is not only indestructable and unopenable by anyone except himself, but also contains an entire pocket dimension that stores multiple Lupin Collection pieces, allowing him to use multiple powers.
    • In Mashin Sentai Kiramager, the small-size Monsters of the Week are mooks that were upgraded by being given a Mask of Power. In the last episode the Big Bad calls up his own royal guard mooks who are tougher than the regular ones.
  • In VR Troopers, there were Skugs and eventually the stronger Ultra Skugs. (Ultra Skugs have the same Weaksauce Weakness, though: if two touch, both disintegrate.)

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Kaiju Big Battel's evil surgeon Dr. Cube has been known for experimenting on his minions, resulting in some of them being more dangerous than the others.
  • In Generalissimo Takada's monster army of Fighting Opera HUSTLE, the Flying Vampires fill this role. Tougher to beat than most minions but still minions for more important monsters and army members.

    Roleplay 
  • Destroy the Godmodder: Sometimes, usually when someone summons an army, one particular group of minions will be a cut above the rest. More generally, there are entities that are not boss level but are still important to game progression and wield unusual powers, or are even just particularly powerful player summons.
  • In The Gamer's Alliance, the Blessed are the Master's most fearsome Totenkopf minions who have the authority to command lower-ranked Totenkopfs. The Coalition's S-Class Mullencamp are an even deadlier group of regular Mullencamp who are efficient warriors and mages surpassed only by the Vulfsatz in effectiveness. Demons of Hoch class, particularly the Black Death squad, are surpassed only by the Dreadlords and the archdemons in raw power and cunning.
  • Sirene's Stormtroopers/Sturmtruppen from Open Blue. Lacking actual dedicated special forces, Avelia has its Praetorian Guard take double duty and handle this department.

    Tabletop Games 
  • 13th Age: The various kinds of elite monsters (which are counted as 1.5 normal monsters of the same level when a GM builds an encounter), double-strength or large monsters (counted as two) and triple-strength or huge monsters (counted as three).
  • Arcadia Quest:
    • In the base game, Orc Captains are slightly more powerful than Orc Marauders, and have a +2 Reroll ability, but are still classed as "Minor Minions". The base game also has the Hammer Beastman and Spear Beastman, along with the Sister of Pain and Sister of Pleasure, which are "Major Minions".
    • In the Beyond the Grave expansion, the Necromancer fulfills this role as a "Major Minion".
    • In Inferno, the Demon Captain and Demoness Captain are still much stronger than most other minions, but are still only "Major Minions".
  • Boss Monster: The Epic Heroes, from the point of view of the player-controlled monsters. They only come out once all of the normal Hero cards have been used up, but have roughly double the hit points of the regular guys and deal an extra wound if they manage to bypass your entire dungeon.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Most common monster races for mooks have an elite mook variant. Gnolls have the flail-wielding flinds, goblins have the militaristic hobgoblins and bullying bugbears, lizardfolk have the fiendish Lizard Kings, and orcs have numerous variations.
    • Beholders are already very strong monsters so most of the beholder variants are actually weaker than standard ones. So in a hive of beholders the standard ones will be the elite mooks with the weaker variants below them. Above them will be the tougher Elder orbs. And even higher will be Overseers, and the rulers are the Hive Mothers. Both of those last two have the ability to control other beholders.
    • Occasionally, displacer beasts give birth to freakishly large and strong offspring. Besides being much stronger and more dangerous than typical displacer beasts, these creatures often take control of displacer packs, hence their common moniker of displacer beast pack lords.
    • Ghasts are a more powerful and intelligent variant of ghoul whose touch can paralyze even elves, who are normally immune to ghoul paralysis.
    • Monastic flumphs are a rare variation of flumph characterized by greater intelligence and the ability to cast cleric spells.
    • Any mooks that don't have prebuilt variations can just be made into Elite Mooks by the DM by adding class levels or templates, seasoned to taste.
    • 4E breaks monsters down into tiers of elite-ness. Minions are minor mooks, being just like regular monsters, but die in one hit. Elites are monsters that are somewhat harder than their baseline versions, usually lending to using them as leaders. Solos are double-dose Elite Mooks designed to stand on their own against a whole team of players.
    • 5E has Tasha's, which has the Sidekick rules. Basically, a CR 1/2, or lower, monster, NPC, animal, or whatever, can take levels in Expert, which is rogue-like with a bit of Bard thrown in, a Spellcaster, who can become a Mage with the Wizard's spell-list, a Healer with the Cleric and Druid spell-lists, or a Prodigy with the Bard and Warlock spell-lists, and finally the Warrior, which is similar to a Champion Fighter with a bit of Barbarian thrown in. While not as fancy as the options a player gets, they can be useful to give parties appropriate foes in settings where a fancy counterpart wouldn't fit, like using leveled up guards and scouts to fight a party instead of using reskinned Knights and Archers. Alternatively, the DMG also has a section for applying class levels to monsters, the example being applying barbarian levels to a werewolf, and how to calculate the CR there.
    • Ravenloft: Strahd's personal brand of skeletons and zombies have a number of advantages over the typical kind, namely a Healing Factor that makes them extremely hard to kill.
  • Pathfinder:
    • Due to the template system that easily allows you to add additional features and abilities to a monster, it's fairly easy to make various types of elite mooks by selecting a monster and adding a few. The most common is the Advanced template that increases all ability scores by 4 and adds 2 natural armor to the AC, but there are dozens of different templates to choose from.
    • Class levels are another popular way to advance monsters. Add enough and even a CR 1/4 foe can become an elite mook against level 20 players.
    • Seugathi savants are an elite variant of the common seugathi, with slightly more comprehension of their neothelid masters' plans and some extra psychic powers.
    • Ghasts are a more powerful variant of ghoul whose touch can paralyze even elves, who are normally immune to ghoul paralysis. They are often found leading bands of common ghouls.
  • RPG Stuck: Carapacians, Undead, Alternian, and Grimdark enemies all come with a warning to the DM that they are tougher than the average enemy of the same tier.
  • Sentinels of the Multiverse:
    • The Vengeful Five's decks feature nemeses of some heroes in the role of mooks. Most are much stronger than the minions in the other decks.
    • To a lesser extent with Citizen Dawn's Citizens of the Sun. Each is unique and they tend to have higher HP than the nameless, interchangeable mooks in other decks, and the ones who share a naming scheme support one another, making them an extra challenge when they can team up.
    • The Chairman's unique underbosses in his tiered mook system. The underbosses summon their own Thugs out of the trash, have much higher HP and can be brought back with Jailbreak. Also, the only way he flips is by putting underbosses in the trash.
  • Tails of Equestria: The greater ooze is essentially just a stronger, tougher version of the lesser ooze.
  • Warhammer:
    • Assassinorum: Execution Force: Chaos Space Marines. In addition to being tougher and more powerful than cultists, they also possess two points of Stamina (the same as an Assassin). This means that, barring very specific circumstances, it is impossible for a lone Assassin to finish off a Chaos Space Marine in a single turn.
    • Battlefleet Gothic: Space Marines and their Chaos counterparts, as putting them on a ship gives it a better leadership rating as well as boarding and hit-and-run attack ratings. Among them there are also Terminator marines, which improve hit-and-run attacks even further.
    • HeroQuest: Fimirs (elite greenskins), mummies (elite undead) and Chaos warriors (just plain elite) are considerably tougher than most monsters, and there are fewer of them. Chaos Warriors are especially elite in the US version, with four dice to attack and defend, and three hitpoints and they look the part with their armor and horned helmets.
    • Warhammer 40,000:
      • Elite choices vary between specialized units tailored for a specific purpose and simply better-armed and more expensive versions of the army's core troops. Space Marines have Veterans, Chaos Space Marines have Chosen, Orks have Nobz, Eldar have Dire Avengers (elite guardians), Dark Eldar have Trueborn (elite raiders), Necrons have Immortals (elite warriors), and so on and so on. All the Chaos Gods have daemons like this.
      • From a fluff perspective, all Space Marines qualify compared to the Imperial Guardsmen and PDF Forces who do the bulk of the Imperium's fighting. The Eldar Aspect Warriors also perform similar roles for their people.
    • Warhammer 40,000: Kill Team: The Doom Squadnote  upgrade for Brute squads in the 4th Edition version represents enemy troops who have been specially trained for close combat, making them more powerful than your average Mook. In-game these powerful troops have superior close combat stats to other Brute squads.
    • Warhammer Fantasy:
      • Special and Rare choices. Every army has at least one unit that is effectively one unit of normal infantry, just better trained, better equipped, less likely to run, Spikes of Villainy for the evil races, and with a badass sounding name. Compare Chosen to "normal" Chaos Warriors, Stormvermin to bog-standard Clanrats, High Elf Coast Guard to the High Elf Spearmen... etc. The more intimidating the name, the faster you have to run away from them.
      • High Elf Phoenix Guard are special order of warriors who guard the Shrine of Asuryan, each one has been personally blessed by the god and granted knowledge of how and when they're going to die, making them utterly fearless in battle. They also take up a vow of silence to never reveal any of the secret knowledge stored deep within the shrine.
      • Strength and fighting ability varies among Orcs, and the bigger Orcs tend to gather into units of Big 'Uns to bash more heads together. One unit of Orcs in any given army can become Big 'Uns, receiving a bonus to Weapon Skill and Strength to signify that they are tougher and stronger than the average boyz. Beyond that there are the Black Orcs, the toughest and hardest-hitting line infantry in the Orc roster.
      • Stormvermin are the fighting elite of any Skaven army. The Skaven leadership may have little care for the well-being of their underlings but even they recognize the need for having at least a handful of professional soldiers they can count on. Thus, Skaven born with black fur are recruited at an early age for the Stormvermin, fed very well, given extensive training, clad in heavy armor and equipped with quality weaponry. All of this creates larger, stronger, more disciplined guards with superior equipment, and who are usually fairly loyal (by Skaven standards).

    Theme Parks 
  • When the evil Supreme Leader sees Captain EO changing her zombie guards into '80s dancers with his music, she sends in her Whip Warriors, scary robots with electric whips who are immune to his music and the rainbows he shoots out of his hands.

    Toys 
  • BIONICLE:
    • The Bohrok-Kal. The ordinary Bohrok rely heavily on Zerg Rush to overwhelm their foes. But there are only six Bohrok-Kal, who have unique powers, are intelligent enough to speak, and cunning enough to steal the icon that is the source of the Toa Nuva's powers in order to render them inert.
    • The original six Rahkshi were this as well, being powerful enough to fight the Toa Nuva on equal terms and get the better of them at multiple times, while latter Rahkshi could be dispatched by the dozens due to regular Toa. This was justified in that Rahkshi and their kraata controllers have different power levels, with the implication being those first six were made and piloted by high-quality kraata while latter were mass-produced weaker versions. Indeed, the comics and movie showed they were in fact piloted by Shadow Kraata, the absolute highest and strongest form.

    Visual Novels 
  • Sunrider has the aptly-named PACT Elites. They have more than twice as much health as the regular PACT Mooks, more armor, better flak and better evasion. They also carry improved versions of the Mook’s lasernote  and submachinegun as well as missile launchers and a beam saber for melee combat with other Ryders.

    Web Animation 
  • The Madness Combat series features the Agents, starting in the fourth one, where he manages to stall the protagonist... for a few extra seconds. He gets his revenge, however, later in the episode, when he's resurrected as a zombie, and manages to shoot the protagonist. In the fifth through seventh ones, however, they become as common place as regular mooks, until another elite group takes their place as as Elite Mooks. The three appear in the sixth and are quickly killed, and in the seventh, they're highly commonplace.
  • Likewise, the Bunnykill series features two ninja rabbits as Elite Mooks in the first installment (and are actually challenging), bunny 'agents' in the second (the first two are challenging, but then about ten are cut down easily in a display of Katanas Are Just Better), and the dark-grey (mercenary) and brown (techie) rabbits in the third installment (the techs provided extra challenge, the mercs not so much).
  • Red vs. Blue features, in the ninth season, a flamethrower-wielding soldier who manages to give a couple of the top Freelancers a tough fight. Lampshaded by Wash when he first appears: "What the fuck is with this guy?" Later in the same mission, a few jetpack-equipped soldiers prove a challenge.
    • The flamethrower equipped soldier, referred to as Sharkface because of the decorations on his armor, is just one member of an elite squad among the Insurrection. The others appear in season nine and ten, and include The Leader, who uses a pair of collapsible tomahawks that he can use hand to hand, or accurately throw great distances. He’s also C.T.’s lover, and after her death in season ten, he takes her identity, setting up his reappearance in the chronologically later season seven., The sleeveless soldier, who physically can match any of the freelancers but Maine. Demo Man, who holds a grudge against the freelancers for causing him to lose an arm the first time they meet face to face, The Chick, who is a obsessed with knives and is a rival to Carolina, the Cold Sniper, and the twins, two creepy, mostly silent soldiers that carry miniguns.
    • Sharkface returns in Season 13, having survived his initial encounter with the Freelancers, and seeking revenge for the death of his squad. He joins Felix and Locus in the Big Bad Duumvirate in the final season of the Chorus Trilogy, but unlike the other two he’s still more of an Elite Mook, as he wears the same armor as the rest of the space pirates, but with red trim.

    Webcomics 
  • A Beginner's Guide to the End of the Universe: The clockwork knight is this to the clockwork halberdiers; the latter are clumsy, weak and easily dispatched, while the knight is a much swifter and more formidable foe.
  • Cucumber Quest: The seven Disaster Masters who serve directly under the Nightmare Knight are each stationed in one of the seven kingdoms of Dreamside, causing havoc for the heroes. Each one is more stronger than the one before, and their powers are corruptions of the theme of the kingdom they're based in, from the first, a giant monstrous squid Splashmaster of the Ripple Kingdom, to the seventh, the eldritch and ominous Glitchmaster of the Space Kingdom.
  • Homestuck: Sburb, the reality-warping game into which the characters are drawn, populates its Lands with a variety of enemies for players to battle. Imps are the weakest and most common of these, and the characters usually mow through them by the dozens — until Jade meets an Uranium Imp that has gained Reality Warper powers from Jade's godlike guardian Bequerel being added into the pool of traits that Sburb's enemies can be given. The resulting enemy constantly pulses and flickers with power and easily battles Jade to a standstill, but is quickly defeated when Bequerel steps in himself.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • The original Avatar: The Last Airbender:
      • The Dai Li are the highly-trained Secret Police of the Earth Kingdom, with their leader being the true power behind the throne. They are the rare recurring villains of the series, and are one of the heroes' most dangerous opponents, possibly second only to Azula.
      • The Fire Nation had the Yu Yan Archers, who combined Improbable Aiming Skills with ninja-like speed and agility, and proved too much for Aang to handle. Oddly, they were only used in one episode (where they handle the Avatar) and are never seen again. One of them shows up as a member of the "Rough Rhinos" that reappears a few times in the series. However, he was actually booted out of the Yu-Yan for failing a critical mission. The General from "The Blue Spirit" implies that the Yu Yan archers are used only for certain tasks.
      • The Fire Nation also had the Royal Procession, a group of elite Firebenders who accompanied Azula in order to capture Zuko and Iroh. Unfortunately for them, their only chance to prove themselves was against Iroh who took out all 12-15 of them without breaking a sweat. Furthermore Azula soon decided that this group allowed no element of surprise and instead formed a smaller more elite group with Mai and Ty Lee.
    • Sequel Series The Legend of Korra has its fair share of these too:
      • In Book 1, the Equalists appear to consist purely of these, despite the fact that none of them are benders. A few trainees and hangers-on have gone down easily enough, but the uniformed members are usually able to give even the main characters a good fight. In their first appearance they actually beat the heroes in even odds!
      • In Book 2, the Dark Spirits are eventually revealed to be this, working for Vaatu and therefore for Unalaq, who uses them as secondary troops when his waterbending human soldiers are defeated.
      • In Book 3, the Dai Li are actually loyal to their monarch this time. It just so happens that she's an evil tyrant.
      • In Book 4, the metalbenders and mecha suit pilots of Kuvira's Earth Empire are able to hold their own against the heroes even when the numbers on both sides are the same.
  • Regular Neosapien mooks in Exo Squad were gradually reinforced with more powerful Neo Warriors and Neo Lords in the second season. Not that any of them had a real chance to harm a recurring character...
  • Season 3 of Generator Rex features the "Black Pawns," elite soldiers brought in by Black Knight after she takes over Providence. They wear all-black versions of the standard Providence uniform, and are far more skilled at hand-to-hand combat than regular mooks, even giving Six a run for his money. Later episodes imply that they're now the field commanders for Providence operations, even getting their own custom vehicles.
  • G.I. Joe:
    • Cobra Commander has his Crimson Guards, who were supposed to be of significantly higher quality than Cobra's basic blue-shirt mooks, but who (at least in the '80s cartoon version) generally proved as ineffective against G.I. Joe's named character squads as the lesser mooks. At least one or two Crimson Guardsmen got a minor Moment of Awesome (i.e. the one who fights his way out of a top secret lab in one episode), but would usually screw it up at the last moment with a cringeworthy mistake (the aforementioned Siegie accidentally dropped the chemical he was stealing, creating a giant amoeba that ate him and half the county he was in... Cobra's experiments had a funny way of unexpectedly doing wacky stuff like that.)
      • The comics considered the Siegies too elite for typical combat, as they were more valuable infiltrating society and making money for Cobra through good ol' capitalism. Guardsmen were required to have a degree in either law or accounting (if not both), or be highly skilled in a technical or scientific field, and uniformed Siegies rarely saw conflict beyond internal power struggles.
    • The toyline also had the Crimson Guard Immortals, the elite of the Crimson Guard. Possibly a Shoutout to the Persian Immortals.
  • The Fourth Mask shadowkhan from Jackie Chan Adventures could be considered Elite, as they nearly had super-strength and were almost impossible to beat without the strength talisman, or similar.
  • Lucius on Jimmy Two-Shoes has a supply of Minotaur-like enforcers, which are powerful enough to subdue even Heloise.
  • During one episode of Kim Possible Dr. Drakken discovers how worthless his Mooks are so he sends Shego to steal strength-enhancing rings that transform the wearer to peak physical condition. However, even with the rings they were still pretty inept and easily defeated by Kim, leaving Shego to do most of the real fighting.
  • Samurai Jack has the Ultra Bots, from the episode of the same name, who unlike Aku's regular Mecha-Mooks which Jack regularly slices through with ease, are designed to be so tough, Jack is physically incapable of even scratching, even with his magic sword, were programmed with knowledge of all of Jack's combat moves, and each equipped with their own unique weapons and abilities, forcing Jack to find outside help from their creator and later Divine Intervention to put them down.
  • In The Spectacular Spider-Man, Big Bad Tombstone has a cadre of personal bodyguards, all of whom are Scary Black Men with taser guns. The irony is that he doesn't particularly need them, considering his Super Strength. Though being a mega-philanthropist in his civilian identity, he probably has to keep up appearances.
  • Star Wars: Clone Wars introduced the counterpart for the clones, the Advanced Recon Commandos (ARC) Troopers (Pictured above). They starred in a few episodes, showing that a team of them could do what even Jedi would struggle to accomplish. (They notably force General Grievous to retreat in his first appearance, after he's taken out an entire team of Jedi solo.) ARC troopers would later feature in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, where some of the recurring clone characters underwent ARC training and became commandos.
    • The clone troopers as a whole are this to their later stormtrooper replacements, at least those few that remained in commission. If you happen to see an Imperial agent wearing Phase 2 clone trooper armor post-Battle of Yavin, run.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars introduced the BX-series commando droids, the Elite Mook version of the standard battle droids. They had enhanced armor, nearly General Grievous-level agility, and a number of neat tricks such as magnetized feet to resist Force pushes (at least when there's a metal floor to attach to). They were a decent threat to clones, but still no match for the Jedi (although they were at least able to put up some resistance). In addition to enabling their enhanced agility, the more compact frames and smaller heads that lack the standard B1 battle droid's distinctive "snout" allows BX commando droids to wear clone trooper armor for infiltration purposes. Though this is hindered by their retaining the tendency to finish conversations with "Roger Roger". Also hindered by the fact that they only have three fingers per hand. That’s probably why they stop doing this in later seasons.
  • Star Wars: The Bad Batch: Subverted with the Elite Squad, as despite the name, they’re never really shown doing anything impressive. They’re simply a squad of non-clones to follow Crosshair around now that he’s been promoted to squad leader, as well as a reminder that eventually the Empire will stop using clones altogether. In actual combat, especially against the titular squad, they don’t fare much better than their clone counterparts.
    • Towards the end of the first season, it’s revealed Clone Commandos are training first generation stormtroopers en-masse in a hidden imperial base. These commandos thwarted Gregor’s initial escape attempt and one commando in particular even managed to knock Tech to his knees and blast Gregor in the chest before tanking a whopping five stun rounds before being incapacitated himself. And he’s back on his feet minutes later to capture Hunter when the latter fails to get aboard the Havoc Marauder.
  • In Storm Hawks, the Nightcrawlers are an elite group of assassins that answer directly to Master Cyclonis and are considered part of her personal guard. Unlike the normal Talon soldiers, they are fanatically loyal to her, possess their own personal vehicles, and are extremely skilled in both armed and hand-to-hand combat. The Storm Hawks usually struggle harder to beat them any normal soldier, and in the finale Cyclonis upgrades them with even more tech to stand up to the Sky Knight army that attacks their base.
  • After realizing that his regular mooks just weren't cutting it, Teen Titans (2003) Season Three Big Bad Brother Blood replaced them with completely mechanical copies of Titans member Cyborg. The Titans still managed to take them down, but it took a lot of strategizing and improvising where ordinary mooks would have just been effortlessly blasted through.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:
    • In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003), the Foot Clan has Elite Foot Ninjas (the guys in the red robes and coolie hats). Unlike many Elite Mooks, these guys actually were demonstrably better than the standard cannon fodder Mooks, able to fight evenly against the turtles and almost killing them in their first appearance. A big contributor to the Foot Elite always posing a threat would be that there's only four of them.
    • Before them we had the Foot Tech Ninjas, who were augmented to be inhumanly strong and agile, and could turn invisible.
    • "Robots 2.0" and the mutant army from Turtles Forever.
  • Transformers: Prime:
    • The Insecticons are massive, vicious, bestial Decepticons vastly superior to the general Vehicon troops. One on one, they can give even the strongest of the main cast a run for their money. Fortunately for the Autobots, they go down much more easily in groups than as individuals. And even then, when they're at larger numbers, they're usually in their more vulnerable beetle-like forms (which canonically have lighter armour). Insecticons in this series are subject to Conservation of Ninjutsu, but not to the same jarring degree as most mook squads. When they're at their most dangerous, they tend to fight in smaller squads and provide relatively tough opposition to the Autobots.
    • The Predacon army that Shockwave was cloning would have likely made the Insecticons look like houseflies by comparison, if the few that eventually surfaced are anything to go by. However, after seeing how fully the first specimen exceeded expectations, Megatron pulled the plug on the project out of fear they'd eventually wind up threatening the Decepticons as well. This information got out at exactly the wrong time.
  • The Venture Bros.:
    • The Monarch briefly employed Black Guards, who appear much more menacing than his regular henchmen (but subverted as the Black Guards all used to be regular henchmen; even typical non-action villainess Dr. Girlfriend handles several in a fight without issue).
    • Henchman 1, another Monarch follower, appears to be one; he's better-equipped and notably more skilled than the other henchmen. 21 and 24, Mauve Shirts and savvy to this trope, immediately agree he's going to get taken down. Ironically, 21 himself would graduate to elite mook status once he Took a Level in Badass after 24's death and eventually became the Monarch's new Dragon.
    • Also the "Strangers", the team of soldiers used by the Guild, all appear to be Elite Mooks. Brock even seemed to be wary of them the first time they were shown. They have been seen freezing a room of people solid and then administering memory wipes in the event that somebody is about to give away a crucial piece of information.

 
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Alternative Title(s): Elite Mook

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Elite Blarg

Chairman Drek sends out his Elite Blarg troops to destroy Ratchet & Clank.

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