io9 has selected 11 fearsome warrior races that would be ridiculously easy to defeat—but we all know that this is the case only because our storytelling is, understandably, too anthropocentric. If there are real aggressive species out there, they will probably annihilate us before we could even realize how silly they are.
An entire species of warriors is one of the most thrilling tropes from science fiction and fantasy. Bred only for combat, with a culture based entirely on war and destruction. But sometimes that single-minded focus on slaughter can actually have its drawbacks. Here are 11 fictional warrior races that would be easy to beat.
1) The Silastic Armourfiends of Striterax (Hitchhiker’s Guide the Galaxy)
Despite the fact that The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy has a lot of war-making species the Silastic Armourfiends of Striterax are the nastiest. They are unequivocally aggressive, and even tried to use a weapon that would combine and detonate every major star in the universe at once. Dealing with them is easy though — just avoid/hide from them until boredom forces them to kill each other. Apparently their bloodlust is so strong that, if locked in a room long enough, they’ll beat themselves up.
2) Predators (from the Predator movies)
These technologically advanced aliens have turned hunting into a way of life – this actually seems to be the only thing that Predators do with their lives, judging from our glimpses of the Predator homeworld. On the plus side, the Predators have a wide array of advanced, deadly technology — but they would be terrible in an actual war.
First, their honor code would make them rather easy to trick, as they only fight "prey" that is worthy of them. They cannot attack children and unarmed adults. You could exploit this to avoid attacks or set up ambushes, while keeping casualties low. They also don't really wear any armor, making them vulnerable to modern human weapons. They do have a cloaking field, but it can be shorted out with water – and likely can be seen through with infrared scopes. Also, the self-destruct device that every Predator carries on their wrist can be quite a liability if manipulated properly – baiting them into using it to defend their honor.
3) The Skrulls (Marvel comics)
The Skrull have one of the oldest empires in the Marvel universe, and their ability to shapeshift makes them highly skilled infiltrators and adaptable fighters. But at the same time, their tendency to impersonate humans has resulted in misunderstandings in the past. For example, Reed Richards convinced the Skrulls to stop an invasion of Earth by impersonating his own impersonator. Also, Skrulls will gladly betray each other if it benefits them in some way. With that in mind, it wouldn’t be too hard to play them against each other and easily defeat them during the resultant in-fighting.
4) The Krogan (Mass Effect)
The Krogan are the most dangerous race of organics in Citadel space. Their strength and vicious temperament make them formidable fighters, and their rapid cycle of birth and maturation give them a never-ending supply of warriors. After they helped defeat the Rachni, they were treated as heroes and given several planets to inhabit — but this led to massive overpopulation, and a 300-year war as the Krogan tried to take more planets for themselves. Image via Stealthero/Deviant Art.
But due to the Krogan's rapid reproductive cycle, they have no qualms with taking massive casualties, leading to an overreliance on brute-force tactics. To exploit that simple strategy, the other species of the citadel all but destroyed the Krogan’s ability to reproduce by unleashing something called the genophage – a bio-weapon which causes only 1 in 1,000 births to result in a live offspring. The Krogan didn’t adapt a new method of fighting fast enough, and soon they were dwindled down to manageable numbers.
Also, with seemingly no hope of maintaining a stable population, most Krogan have taken to becoming mercenaries, seeking violence any way they can find it. As a result, Krogan are possibly the only race on this list that you can pay to kill itself.
5) Mangalores (The Fifth Element)
The Fifth Element’s Mangalores have the makings of a formidable warrior race – they’re strong, aggressive, can shapeshift, and they shoot first, ask questions later. They even seem pretty competent at a few points in the film. At the beginning, they ambush the Mondoshawns and kill the original Fifth Element. Also, later in the film, they manage to kill the current protector of the all-important four stones, almost ensuring the Great Evil’s victory for a second time.
But both times, the Mangalores fail to get the job done, and don’t learn from their mistakes. The only tactic they seem to know is straightforward shooting and ambushes, which doesn’t always go well for them. Corbin Dallas (Bruce Willis) manages to take down a group of them almost singlehandedly, without having brought any weapons of his own to the fight. And when Dallas starts clearly gaining the upper hand, the Mangalores only think to respond with bigger weapons. Also, Mangalores become incredibly demoralized when their leader is killed, as Dallas demonstrates in the movie. Plus, their shape-shifting isn’t very good either, as they’re prone partially reverting to their natural appearance at inopportune moments.
6) Orcs (Everywhere)
Orcs show up in a lot of different stories in a lot of different forms, but they are almost always relegated to the level of cannon fodder despite their martial prowess. The bad guys will often throw a giant army of Orcs at the good guys, who seem afraid of the threat. And for a while it seems like the Orcs might win, but the good guys come out on top almost every time, usually while sustaining a fraction of the casualties that the Orcs suffer. This is probably a result of Orcs just charging into battle without much forethought. As it turns out, it’s not too hard to outmaneuver and out-strategize a disorganized mob that only fights one way.
A few sources handle Orcs with a little more depth (D&D, Warcraft, Elder Scrolls), but most don’t bother exploring past the “More Dakka” mentality.
7) Sangheili/Elites (Halo)
The Elites of the Covenant are imposing foes on the battlefield, with a long history of military excellence – but they’re not that much harder to kill than any other alien that humanity has to fight in the Halo universe. Most of their weapons are designed for close combat, due to their honor code, making them easy to pick off from a distance. They also find injuries to be dishonorable, and will often go berserk when their blood is drawn. And assuming they even survive the berserker charge, they occasionally kill themselves out of shame. Of course, since they refuse to retreat, this kind of suicide is rather rare. Also, they would rather die than pick up a fully loaded human weapon when their guns run out of ammo. Defeating them could potentially be as simple as taking out their supply lines and rendering them weaponless. They’ll probably try to fight with bare hands while the human army mows them down from a distance.
8) The Zentradi (Macross)
Created as soldiers by the Protoculture, the Zentradi are five times the size of a human and armed with powerful spaceships and mecha. Not only that, but they’re easily cloned and apparently expendable. Regardless, they are beaten by the technologically inferior humans during Space War I. Much of their downfall is attributed to being exposed to culture and emotion (two things they had been kept from by their creators) — but they probably wouldn’t fare very well at all without the support of their creators. After all, since they're only trained to be soldiers, not a single Zentradi is capable of repairing or maintaining their own ships/mecha — so in a prolonged war of attrition, they would be screwed. Also, it doesn’t matter how much strategic prowess the Zentradi possess, if they lose the will to fight with a single exposure to “human love.”
9) The Sontarans (Doctor Who)
Like some of the other races on this list, Sontarans have rapid breeding — they're cloned and engineered for conquest. But they still can't seem to conquer the Rutans, the glowy green blobs that don't seem that tough the one time we meet them. And it's easy to see why. For one thing, the Sontarans share a weakness with the Kzinti from Larry Niven's Known Space universe — they don't understand gender, and view human females as either irrelevant or a source of confusion. Meaning that someone like Donna Noble or Leela can easily get the drop on them. They have a crucial weakness — the probic vent in the back of their necks — that they deliberately don't patch so that they'll always have to face their enemies. They waste oodles of time doing sadistic experiments to assess their enemies' weaknesses, and can easily be tricked out of a major military operation if you take out a single one of their scouts. In fact, some of the other races on this list, the Sontarans tend to overthink things — besides the endless tests and assessments, they also come up with ridiculously overcomplicated schemes like "let's sell the world a new kind of low-emission car engine."
10) The Narn (Babylon 5)
Like some of the other races on this list, the Narn have a keenly developed sense of honor — which frequently proves their undoing. Their honor code means that they frequently pick fights and follow vendettas, rather than organize for a coordinated effort. So they're easy to divide and conquer. Also, like the Spartans, they regard physical imperfection as a source of shame... so they don't really have much in the way of medical technology. For example, no corrective lenses or prosthetic limbs. The ambassador G'Kar becomes a religious figure, helping them to see that they should stand for the greater good, something outside themselves. But he's continually faced with the cultural short-sightedness of his own race.
11) The Klingons (Star Trek)
They're so fixated on today being a good day to die, they don't make strategic withdrawals when the situation is hopeless. They're constantly going on about honor, but they break treaties every chance they get. They're allergic to ridiculously common furballs, to the point where they can't even function if Tribbles are around. And no Klingons go into engineering or science, which means they're dependent on the Romulans for their castoff spaceships and equipment. Most of all, they claim to be above politics and petty wrangling — but that's basically their entire political system, which allows people like Gowron to rise to the top, and nearly leads to the rulership of the slimy Duras clan.
Additional reporting by Jason Shankel.