Follow TV Tropes


Greek Letter Ranks

Go To

Many fictional organizations rank their members with Greek letters. Such ranking systems usually progress alphabetically- 'alpha' refers to a leader note  or uber-badass, 'beta' refers to their Number Two, and so on. If there is a rank ''above'' alpha (compare the non-greek C, B, A, S ranks) then this will usually be called Omega; although that is the last letter in the Greek alphabet, it has connotations of "the ultimate".

If the letters denote power level instead of someone's rank in a group, that's Random Power Ranking (although the two tropes often overlap because Asskicking Leads to Leadership). Compare Gratuitous Greek (which is about how works (or items/technology within a work) involving futuristic science often have a Greek letter in their title) and Alpha and Beta Wolves (when this trope is used for wolves). Compare SI Prefix Name. Subtropes include Alpha Bitch and Beta Bitch. See also Omegaverse.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • In DARLING in the FRANXX, 'pilots' are referred to by number, and some have letters such as iota attached to their number.
  • In Soul Eater, Crona's various attacks are named with the pattern "Screech [Greek Letter]", from least powerful to most powerful. In this case it emphasizes the cold and clinical conditions they were raised under and the fact that their abilities are experimental; other characters use more traditional attack names.
  • In You Are My Soulmate, people are divided into Alphas, Betas and Omegas. Betas are normal, while Alphas are able to impregnate anyone of either gender, and the Omegas go into heat and release pheromones that can compel alphas to sexually assault them.

    Comic Books 
  • X-Men:
    • The comic has Omega-Level Mutants, which are mutants with a power so strong that they are Person of Mass Destruction material. Whenever they are part of an organization, including the titular team, they are wholly acknowledged to be the "big gun" of the group.
    • This originated with the Bad Future versions of the mutant-hunting Sentinel robots, especially the ultimate Sentinel Nimrod. Mutants were ranked according a threat level, with the "normal" rankings having Alpha as the strongest and Epsilon as the lowest. This spread to modern-day Sentinels via Time Travel. But an Omega-level mutant is one that transcends the normal rankings and supposedly has no upper limit to their potential power. Omegas are usually mutants with very high-end Psychic Powers or Elemental Powers, or an outright Reality Warper.
    • In the alternate universe of Age of Apocalypse, Apocalypse used a similar scheme to rank the power of mutants, but lacked the Omega ranking. In line with the Big Bad's obsession with "survival of the fittest", Alphas were the mutants he deemed most likely to survive, while lower-rank mutants were considered of little value and used as Cannon Fodder in his war to exterminate ordinary humans.

    Fan Works 
  • In A/B/O fics, a person's biological 'caste' often determines their position in society.
  • In lost seasons, a Kung Fu Panda fic, a pack's alpha is its strategist and the beta (there's only one beta in any pack) is essentially an armsmaster/field commander. The narrator's pack allied with Shen because they thought he could replace their deceased alpha; without one, a pack disintegrates.
  • In the Persona 5/TORG crossover fic The Dance of Dominance, demon groups go by martial strength; the strongest is alpha, the second strongest is beta, and so on. Demons use these terms even if the group they're in is mostly human.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Alpha and Omega, the former are a wolf pack's best fighters and hunters, and 'omega' is a catchall term for everyone else. It's an Omega's role to defuse tension within and between packs, so the alphas don't fight unnecessarily. The two types aren't allowed to mate, and omegas don't have much official power, yet every pack onscreen has some.
  • In Up, Muntz names his dogs after Greek letters according to their rank. Dug, the Minion with an F in Evil, has an Odd Name Out, which suggests he's so low on the hierarchy that there were no letters left to assign him. When Dug defeats Alpha, the other dogs make him the new Alpha.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Edge of Tomorrow, the alien Mimics have three biological castes. The basic foot-soldiers are just called Mimics. The Alphas are the commanders, and are also capable of sending their memories into the past should they die. And the Omega is the supreme leader of the entire Hive Mind, and possesses a time-reset ability similar to the Alphas.

  • In Zoe Chant's Paranormal Romance novels, these terms can refer to either rank or a were's nature, which they are instinctively hardwired to follow. Alphas and betas both fight, but only alphas are stubborn enough to risk themselves in dominance fights over pack note  leadership; betas are more pragmatic. (It's noted that this isn't a bad thing.) There can only be two alphas in a group, so most alpha shifters are loners.
  • In the Alliance/Union series, the clones created by the Union are created and trained in categories designated alpha through epsilon (in an obvious shout-out to Brave New World). The alphas are the smartest clones- the ones most likely to graduate to full citizenship- while the epsilons are slow and stupid and assigned to all the most boring jobs. This only applies to those clones created by the Union government to address its horrible manpower shortage; clones made by private citizens and raised as normal children are outside of the alpha-epsilon system and are always considered full citizens.
  • In Brave New World, one of the Trope Codifiers, people are all genetically engineered and designed to fit into castes ranging from Alpha (the best and brightest) to Epsilon (simple-minded workers for the simplest jobs, literally called "semi-morons" even if not especially in official contexts). Here the trope overlaps with Random Power Ranking, because the ranking is based on intellectual power.
  • In Mercy Thompson: Alpha and Omega, the letters are both titles and ranks (because of Personality Powers). Alphas command. Omegas are peacemakers who must be protected from fights.
  • Zigzagged in Twilight: Breaking Dawn. A werewolf pack leader is an 'alpha', but everyone else is titled 'second' or 'third' as befits their place in the hierarchy.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "One Little Ship", Jem'Hadar are referred to by the quadrant in which they were created. Alphas come from the Alpha Quadrant, for example. Each type has traits meant to make them better warriors against opponents from governments in the corresponding quadrants. (The system is not alphabetical; Gammas were created before Alphas.)
  • Hirogen hunters from Star Trek: Voyager are led by an Alpha, with a Beta as his Number Two.
  • In Blake's 7, the Federation's social classes are "alphas", "betas", "gammas", and "epsilons".
  • The name of the various forms of Ultraman Z: Alpha Edge, Beta Smash, Gamma Future, and Delta Rise. Their debuts in the show is in that order, too. He also have a video game exclusive form called Sigma Breaster, which isn't shown in the series itself.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • The psyker rating scale goes all the way from Alpha Plus (can snap a Titan in half with their mind) to Omega Minus blanks (invisible to daemons and cause immense suffering to psykers just by being present due to their having no Warp presence). Baseline humans are Rho or Pi.
    • Particularly tough versions of individual Tyranid strains are referred to as Alphas.

    Video Games 
  • Borderlands 2 has "Alpha" as the second highest rank for enemy NPCs, only below "Badass".
  • In Descent, the first levels are labeled alpha and beta. The concept is quickly dropped afterwards, although the last level of the second game is labeled omega.
  • Double Homework has a couple of examples, both of which are related to male social standing:
    • Dennis says to the protagonist in one of their conversations that the protagonist showing weakness could damage his romantic chances, because that would mark him as a beta, while the girls all want alphas. Of course, Dennis misses the irony that he himself is anything but an alpha male.
    • The theory on which Dr. Mosely’s experiment rests is called “Trusted Alpha/Rival Threat.” Dennis says that it should really be called “Trusted Alpha/Beta Threat.” And Dr. Mosely/Zeta even uses Dennis’s wording at a later point.
  • In the Earthbound Series, PSI spells are ranked in terms of their power, with Alpha being the weakest and Omega being the strongest.
  • In Final Fantasy Brave Exvius (Season 2), there's the Aldore Orders, ranked as [X] Star; e.g. Beta Star, Sigma Star, etc. Not only is it a Rank indicator, it's also a rough guide to how tough the person is; and since there are occasional competitions where members can be replaced by effective Klingon Promotion, each member with that rank can be assumed to be stronger than the previous rank holder.
  • In Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Dark Magic has Greek letters next to them, and the stronger spells usually have later letters in the alphabet. They range from Miasma Delta to Hades Omega.
  • Freespace features this prominently for levels of information classification. The contents of the training program that makes up the tutorial in Freespace 2 is classified level ALPHA, and the existence of the superdestroyer GTVA Colossus is described as "Classified, level RHO."
  • The eponymous Project Zero Dawn in Horizon Zero Dawn designates its department heads as Alphas, senior personnel as Betas and junior workers as Gammas. The project leader is referred to as “Alpha Prime”, emphasising their first-among-equals attitude. And leaving ”Omega” for the villain bankrolling the project.
  • Some Heartless raid bosses in Kingdom Hearts χ have Palette Swapped variants more powerful than the original. These variants were labelled "Subspecies" in the original game and "Omega" in the English translation.
  • The Metroid aliens metamorphose through "stages," not unlike butterflies. From weakest to strongest, the stages are: larval, Alpha, Gamma, Zeta, Omega, Queen.
  • In the visual novel Omega Vampire, the pheromones emitted by an Omega person attract vampires, so people with different attributes, like Alphas and Betas, consider Omegas vulnerable and try to protect them. This is played for all the Uke fanservice it's worth.
  • Soulcalibur V: When Drunk on the Dark Side, Pyrrha's name changes to "Pyrrha Omega".

    Western Animation