Weapon of Mass Destruction

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Total destruction within a 22-mile radius with only half its power

Dr. Sign: Lynn, what is the one and only way to prevent being killed by the explosion of a nuclear weapon?
Lynn: I dunno, don't be there when it goes off?
Dr. Sign: Actually, that's exactly right.

—Dr. Hugo Sign in Paul Robinson's The Gatekeeper: The Gate Contracts

A specific type of MacGuffin. It is a thing that is just really, really bad for children and other small, living things. It may destroy entire cities or countries with the press of a button, it may just wipe out all electronics or something. Either way, expect massive amounts of damage if it's ever used, hence why it's rarely done.

We are sure, though, that it is at least as powerful as the Wave Motion Gun. It is found to be in the hands of the Big Bad, or being sought out by the Big Bad, or being assembled by the Big Bad's minions.

In Anime, this is subject to the Nuclear Weapons Taboo, and will invariably be something that isn't a garden-variety present-day nuclear weapon. Many Speculative Fiction Series similarly use Applied Phlebotinum in place of real weapons of mass destruction available today.

See also Artifact of Doom, Forgotten Superweapon and Wave Motion Gun. Person of Mass Destruction is when this is applied to a character. If it only destroys certain things, it's a Phlebotinum Bomb. If it's built into a famous real-world location, then it's a Weaponized Landmark. In a fantasy setting, expect a Fantastic Nuke. If a measurement or value is given to its power, expect it to use Hiroshima as a Unit of Measure. Turning the trope Up to Eleven results in Planet Killer.

For more on a type we can't discuss, see Atomic Hate.

Examples of Weapon of Mass Destruction include:

Anime and Manga

  • "N2 mines" in Neon Genesis Evangelion.
  • "Vegatron bombs" in UFO Robo Grendizer. They are pretty much nukes with another name.
  • Sweden's Surströmming.
  • The various Mobile Suit Gundam series bring us "Colony Drops", literally dropping space colonies into the earth or moon's surface, along with solar lasers, rogue Nanotechnology, purpose-built Nanotechnology, psychic weapons, automated robots designed to kill all humans, and microwave-powered super lasers.
    • Bonus points to the Psycho Gundam and Destroy Gundam which are essentially mobile, 400 tonne tactical nukes, capable of killing entire cities and armies using only their raw fire power. Both of course, are also quite vulnerable to attack by single enemy craft.
  • The "Book of Eternal Darkness" in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's.
  • The Ohmu and the God-Warrior's mouth laser in Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind.
  • The "Dimension Eater" in Macross Frontier is a car-sized device that generates a planet-sized Negative Space Wedgie that eats anything in its path.
  • Don't forget the FLEIJA warheads from Code Geass R2.
  • Gunbuster: Buster Machine 3, also known as the Black Hole Bomb. It's core uses the planet Jupiter and the entire thing is a significant fraction of the size of Earth.
  • Pain from Naruto was planning to use the tailed beasts the Akatsuki were sealing away to create this.
  • One Piece has three of them: Pluton, Uranus and Poseidon.
    • Pluton is a huge warship, said to be capable of destroying whole islands. It is hidden away somewhere, and Robin is the only person left who has the ability to awaken it. Its blueprints still exist, and even though they are meant to counteract the original Pluton, they can also be used to revive it without the Poneglyphs. Its blueprints were in Franky's possession, but when he found out that Robin had no intention of awakening the weapon, he burned them, so as to prevent Spandam from reviving the weapon.
    • Poseidon is actually not a weapon in the traditional sense, but an ability. Poseidon was the name of a Mermaid Princess who lived during the Void Century, and had the power to control huge creatures known as Sea Kings. This ability came to be feared as a weapon, and all of Poseidon's descendants who had the same ability also inherited her name as a title. The current form of Poseidon is princess Shirahoshi.
    • Uranus is the third and last Ancient Weapon. So far, the only thing we know about it is its name.
  • Inuyasha: Bakusaiga, Sesshoumaru's true sword. When it's revealed that Bakusaiga not only destroys what it's directly cut, but the blow then automatically transfers to anything that comes into contact with the original victim, Byakuya sets up a trap designed to kill Sesshoumaru. When Sesshoumaru points out a couple of Youkai won't stop him, Byakuya reveals he knows and that's why he's enlisted an army of several thousand. Bakusaiga destroys the entire army with a single swing.


  • Just as a warm-up, The Genesis Device of Star Trek II the Wrath of Khan is capable of almost instantly terraforming an entire planet. But if it used on a life-bearing planet, it would, as Spock points out, "Destroy that life in favor of its matrix." The fact that the Genesis Planet, created by using the Device on a nebula, eventually catastrophically exploded doesn't help, either.
  • And the trope is done to death in Star Wars. First, both "Death Stars" were capable of blowing up planets. The Marvel Star Wars comics, which began publishing shortly after the first movie, also featured the Empire coming up with new superweapons and predictably the rebellion discovering their existence and destroying them. Of particular note is the Tarkin, which was originally meant to be another Death Star, but Lucas forbade Marvel from using that since he was going to use the exact same thing in Return of the Jedi. And during the early '90s, many Star Wars Expanded Universe writers would use the "The Empire is building a new superweapon" plot gimmick so often that things quickly got out of hand (the EU was often referred to as the "Superweapon of the Month Club" during this time). The Sun Crusher and the Prototype Death Star, the Eye of Palpatine, the Darksaber, World Devastators and the Galaxy Gun... Kevin J. Anderson was the worst with this; every single adult Star Wars novel he wrote used one. Since Lucasfilm switched publishers to Del Ray, these mostly vanished (it was hilariously lampshaded by Han Solo in one New Jedi Order novel). Whether the overall quality of EU works has improved or not is a matter of some debate, but you will be hard-pressed to find a fan reminiscing about books like Darksaber (which featured a superweapon that didn't even work to begin with), though some found it somewhat funny; Most hated that Wedge was commanding a capital ship (ok, a frigate) rather than flying a fighter, though, it almost read like a deconstruction of the premise, with the whole superweapon just a huge Shaggy Dog Story that costs the life of a movie character without accomplishing anything.

Han Solo: What the Empire would have done was build a supercolossal Yuuzhan Vong-killing battle machine. They would have called it the Nova Colossus… Galaxy Destructor or the Nostril of Palpatine or something equally grandiose… And you know what would have happened? It wouldn't have worked. They'd forget to bolt down a metal plate over an access hatch leading to the main reactors, or some other mistake, and a hotshot enemy pilot would drop a bomb down there and blow the whole thing up.

    • In the Knights of the Old Republic comic, the Mandalorians devastate a planet with good old-fashioned nuclear missiles four thousand years before the movies. Makes you wonder why the Death Star was even necessary.
    • And the trend continues in The Force Awakens with Starkiller base, which can simultaneously destroy several planets while hiding in a different system.


  • Speaking of planet-crackers, no one can beat for exuberance the science-fiction writer E. E. "Doc" Smith:
    • In his Lensman series, he went from massed fleets to a massive planet-sized sphere of antimatter to a literal "planet-cracker" - two worlds, with opposed velocities, made inertialess and moved on opposite sides of a target world. When the inertialessness was cut off... the three planets went squish rather spectacularly. And from this we get the Lensman Arms Race.
    • The very first sentence of the Lensman series shows two galaxies colliding. (Though it turns out, one of them is ours, and that's where all the planets came from.)
    • Amazingly, Lensman is perhaps the least cosmically destructive series of novels he's ever written. The final book of the Skylark Series series had explosions on a pan-galactic scale.
  • In the Animorphs books, the technologically superior alien Ax tends to look down on the kind of thing that passes for high technology among humans, and this includes the fact that the pinnacle of our destructive technology is the nuclear bomb rather than something more technobabbly, saying things like, "A fusion explosive? That's what that was? I assumed it was a small proton-shift weapon, at least." That's probably why he is so little affected by the Nuclear Weapons Taboo that he is capable of making the moral compromise involved in threatening to use a nuclear weapon.
  • Done realistically in Robert A. Heinlein's The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, where the weapon involved has infinite (or close enough to it) ammo, causes mass destruction (or would, if targeted the right way), and is not stoppable by any conventional means - trying to stop it would cause more damage than just letting it hit. What is it? Metal-sheathed chunks of rock fired from Moon-based linear accelerators. When it hits, each chunk is equivalent to a 2-kiloton atomic weapon, but with no radiation, no lasting effects - a Green Weapon of Mass Destruction. The Heroes, of course, aim the rocks to land near inhabited areas, but not directly on any cities - save for Cheyenne Mountain, home of NORAD, which they pulverize by the end of the novel.
    • Despite that, people on Earth didn't believe that the Lunar folks would do it. They went camping at the coordinates of the demonstration sites that the Lunars provided. Darwin awards all around?
  • In Larry Niven's Ringworld series, the eponymous Ringworld itself (or, more precisely, the shadow squares) can create a gas-laser using solar flares! That's right, a laser the size of a star!
  • The Obernewtyn Chronicles has the weaponmachines Balance of Terror (BOT) and Sentinel as a major part of the plot. Sentinel, once roused, could launch the Balance of Terror against whoever is responsible for any form of attack. In a world where almost everything is polluted, it would wipe out the world again.
  • The Molecular Disruptor, or "Little Doctor," in Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game. The MD releases a burst of energy that tears matter apart at the molecular level. At the same time, this process releases more of that same kind of energy, meaning that once it hits an object, that thing is utterly destroyed as the energy propagates throughout it. In deep space, it's relatively safe to use, as the energy dissipates over much of any distance, meaning it's unlikely to destroy more than one ship unless they're tightly packed together. Used on a planet, however...
  • The planetoids from Empire From the Ashes by David Weber are armed with missiles that use warheads armed with everything from (super-powered) chemical explosives to gigaton-range antimatter devices. And they aren't even considered the real shipkillers, that honour falling to the gravitonic warhead, a micro-ish black hole generator. Then, there is the gravitonic super-bomb, a weapon that kills everything within a light-second or so of its activation point and can cause a supernova if activated close to a star. Oh yes, and one type of FTL drive can also nova a star if you're not careful.
  • Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea: At the state of technology in 1869, the Nautilus is this: a submarine could easily destroy any ship in the sea without possibility of being persecuted when it submerges in the sea. Nemo’s Kick the Dog moment show how terrible its destructive power really is.
  • HALO: In the book "First Strike", we have the NOVA Nuclear Cluster. Admiral Whitcomb described it as a "Planet Killer", and was originally to be used to even the odds against the Covenant in space battles.
  • In The Night's Dawn Trilogy, we find The Alchemist. This deceptively small device (comparably sized to a normal combat missile) was built for the specific purpose of destroying a star (specifically, the host star of the world that used antimatter strikes on the homeworld of the device's creator). It does this by a clever combination of two bog-standard technologies in the setting. Upon learning what the accursed thing is and how it works, the hero remarks on just how insanely dangerous the scientist who created it is, and internally wonders how nobody ELSE has thought of this. He proceeds to use it himself shortly afterwards, on the lower power setting, which paradoxically is the one that causes the target to explode.

Live-Action TV

  • The Dakara Superweapon from Stargate SG-1, capable of disintegrating a lifeform of your choice by a giant wave that wraps around the planet. (The wave can be altered to target any lifeform while leaving others alone; for example, choosing between organic lifeforms and replicators.) In fact, it can even be used to delete life in the entire galaxy.
    • More recently, in Stargate Atlantis, the "Attero" device disables faster-than-light travel for the series' Big Bads, destroying the ships as they attempt it. The downside is the device makes stargates explode. Mid-season six of SG-1 revealed that a stargate explodes with enough force to annihilate a planet, and the device does this passively to the ones in an entire galaxy.
    • Carter used a gate to force a star to go nova, wiping out the entire star system.
    • Then there's Project Arcturus, a failed Ancient Manhattan Project that uses the principles of a ZPM on a larger, less controlled scale to power a great big energy cannon. Throw in the fact that the power source itself is uncontrollable and ends up overloading. When McKay tries to get it working, he ends up blowing up most of a stellar system.
  • Farscape has wormholes. As the Made for TV Movie conclusively proves, they're not so much a "weapon" as they are the interstellar equivalent of shaking an etch-a-sketch.

John: Wormhole weapons do not make peace. Wormhole weapons...don't even make war. They make total destruction. Annihilation. Armageddon.

  • Star Trek: Voyager: The Cardassian-built, Maquis-captured/modified ATR-4107 'Dreadnought', a self-guided strategic missile armed with a 2000 kilo matter/antimatter charge (enough to destroy a small moon like Phobos or Deimos, or make a Class 1-2 mess of a planetary surface) with its own defensive weaponry and a highly sophisticated computer system capable of adapting to any circumstance. Unfortunately, it was pulled into the Delta Quadrant along with Voyager, and headed towards the first inhabited planet fitting its target profile... Then there's the long-range tactical armor unit the crew encounter in "Warhead", which is so intelligent it's not only programmed, it's also fed with propaganda on its ruthless and hostile "enemy". Plus, the Krenim temporal weapon-ship in "Year of Hell", which can erase a species from every having existed, and nine Species 8472 bioships linking up to destroy an entire Borg planet in "Scorpion".
  • Of course, in Andromeda, the Nova Bomb takes the place of nuclear weapons today, since in Andromeda the ability to destroy an entire city is common to the point of being pedestrian. So, Nova Bombs, an antigravity device which removes the gravitational bonds keeping a sun together, so they take the place of the moral problems with nova bombs. There have been episodes where they tried to use it on the Worldship (but a godlike creature absorbed most of it and the worldship survived), a moral dilemma where a superior Admiral asks for use of a Nova Bomb without giving the reason why, a grave threat where a drift entirely of children wants to use Nova Bombs to destroy Nietzschian systems, and an episode where they have to sneak in and destroy a warlord's Voltarium factory (in other words, a uranium enrichment facility).
  • Babylon 5 has the "planet killers", used by both Shadows and Vorlons (interesting, since the latter were frequently grouped with the "good guys"). The mass drivers used by the Centauri might fall into this category, too.
  • Doctor Who has had a fair few of these over the years.
    • "Silver Nemesis" had the Validium statue which was capable of wiping out entire Cybermen warfleets.
    • "Remembrance Of The Daleks" had The hand Of Omega which could rewire stars, and was used to vaporise an entire solar system.
    • Lampooned in the episode "World War Three", in which alien gangsters in disguise manage to gain control of the Western nuclear arsenal in order to reduce Earth to radioactive rubble simply by threatening Earth with a (non-existent) alien battle fleet armed with 'Massive Weapons of Destruction'
    • This trope is taken to its logical extreme by Davros in "Journey's End": his planet-sized Dalek starship, The Crucible, is equipped with a "Reality Bomb", essentially a jumbo-sized, planet-powered disintegrator that can cancel out nuclear cohesion, reducing matter to nothing. One blast from it can propagate throughout the entire Universe, wiping out everything but the Crucible itself. And by setting it off next to The Medusa Cascade the blast would spread throughout The Multiverse, wiping out everything that could possibly exist, ever, leaving the Daleks as the only thigs left in existence.
  • A somewhat tongue in cheek example, Gaius Baltar of Battlestar Galactica tends to cause a lot of destruction every time he gets laid. WikiFrakr refers to this phenomenon as "Baltar's Schlong."

Religion and Mythology

  • In Hindu Mythology, the Brahmastra is essentially a nuclear bomb, a weapon that can destroy an entire army, can kill anything from Brahma's creation (i.e. either anything in the Multiverse at all, or anything that wasn't fished out of raw chaos, not that there's a lot of this) and causes massive environmental damage in a huge area. There's even a second version that's four-squared times as powerful, which never gets used; at one point, Arjuna and Ashwatthama attack each other using the four-square-as-powerful version. They're forced to retract their attacks, because if the weapons collided it would destroy the entire universe.

Tabletop Games

  • In the Warhammer 40,000 universe, Abaddon the Despoiler's flagship is called the Planet Killer. He also has the remaining two Blackstone fortresses, which he has subverted to the will of Chaos, and which he once used (when he had more of them) to send a star nova, destroying everything in the system. In fact, most races have their own WMDs; the Imperium have the Exterminatus doctrine - and god bless you if that only means kinetic or thermonuclear orbital bombardment. They also have a flesh-eating supervirus as well as weapons that destabilize a planet's core. The Necrons revel in destroying all life on a planet, down to and including bacteria; no-one knows how, though. The Tyranids do something similar, but instead of destroying all life on a planet, they simply consume it while assimilating useful genetic traits, leaving a dried-up ball of rock behind.
    • In fact, there are so many ways of utterly ruining a good planet in the 40K world, it's a wonder they've got any left.
      • Because stray Orks can land on just about anything with a basic atmosphere and turn it into an Orky biosphere. Of course, they often do the same to existing biosphere, so their biosphere is a biological weapon, with individual Orks simply conscious servants of it.
  • GURPS High Tech actually lists specific stats for the original weapon of mass destruction, "Little Boy" itself is given specific stats.
    • GURPS Spaceships has the Azrael (Angel of Death). It's basically a giant sentient missile carrying a bunch of smaller missiles. At full speed the impact of the Azrael is equal to 42 million megatons of TNT (the same as the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs). The thirty smaller missiles are "just" equal to 700 megatons each. Better yet, this design uses zero superscience, making it one of the weakest planet killer ships you can design.
  • Blade/Flying Buffalo has produced an extension set for the Nuclear War/Nuclear Escalation/Nuclear Proliferation series of games called Weapons of Mass Destruction. However, these are the classical (non-trope) WMDs, and there is one event card that has you try to find a nuclear warhead in the card hand of an opponent.
  • The Sword of Creation (also known as the Realm Defense Grid) from Exalted. Capable of targeted environmental destruction (using effects such as rains of iron needles or walls of fire) from a scale of anywhere between 10 square miles and all of Creation. Also enhances the spells of those using it, and can control the Warmanses of the Blessed Isle. Typically used to defend Creation from the Raksha, although the Scarlet Empress was able to use it to establish one of the most powerful empires in history. When used by anyone other than a circle of Solar sorcerers, has severe geomantic side effects (i.e. causes natural disasters across Creation).
    • On further development, it's been revealed that the Dirigible Engine Daystar (IE: the Sun) is in reality an autonomous God-Artifact that takes the form of a spherical airship sheathed in intense Solar fire. It was explicitly designed as a defensive Weapon of Mass Destruction, keeping Wyld Behemoths, Unshaped Fae, emergent Primordials, and other cosmic horrors outside Creation. One brash Solar wanted to fire the sun's primary weapon into Creation during the Primordial War, only to have the Unconquered Sun explain that he was utterly unwilling to reveal to the general populace that they were living under the barrel of a gun.
      • Also, the sun knows several varieties of kung fu, one of which was invented by a Kung Fu master explicitly for it.
  • AD&D 2nd Edition's Spelljammer setting had the Witchlight Marauders, essentially artificial engineered Horde of Alien Locusts, with primary unit 500 feet long dropped onto a planetary surface, after which it grows, spawns lesser ones, to slaughter and poison everything, and will literally eat the entire planet down to bedrock if not killed off.

Video Games

  • Being a military RTS Act of War has the obligatory Tactical Weapon for each faction, going from nuclear cruise missiles to Nuclear Artillery, however, in an interesting twist, the game also adds Counter-tactical Weapons, which can protect your base and forces pretty well.
  • Each race in EVE Online has its own flavor of Doomsday Device (the actual game term for the weapons class). When fired, they destroy pretty much any ship within 150 kilometers save for heavily armored battleships, which just barely survive.
    • As a reference point, a single detonation of a Doomsday Device is canonically capable of extreme damage to a planet; that is, apocalyptic hellfire and brimstone on the targeted area, with a side effect of initiating the destruction of the planet's biosphere.
    • The upcoming expansion pack "Dominion" is modifying the Doomsday Device of all four Titans: they are now going to be a focused-fire weapon. So as opposed to the area-of-effect destruction field, think Death Star superlaser.
  • The galactic federation of Mass Effect has an interesting definition for "weapon of mass destruction" - a WMD is defined as a weapon that causes "environmental alteration" if used on a planetary surface. So a bomb that simply blew an enormous crater in the landscape would not be a WMD, but one that kicked up enough dust or water vapor to cause nuclear winter would be. So would things like asteroid impacts, self-replicating nanite plagues, etc.
    • One codex entry actually lists the various type of WMDs by tier. The most devastating tier is asteroid bombardment, since that doesn't just destroy a lot of stuff, but pretty much irrevocably destroys the world that it hits (not to mention being basically free). The least devastating tier is ecological alteration such that a dominant species loses dominance. The implication is that the civilized races are less worried about the overall damage inflicted, and more worried about the possibility of the (rare) habitable planets being made uninhabitable.
      • Not that surprising, given that the Council has signed off on the complete extermination of two intelligent species. The Encyclopedia Exposita doesn't say much about the ABCs - Atomic, Biological and Chemical weapons. And given that the Turians are biologically incapable of contacting diseases from any other species but the bubble-boy Quarians, it makes you wonder how much of their peacekeeping was like the genophage.
        • Put in perspective, when the Council authorizes an extinction, they must believe that race's existence will have consequences as bad or worse than upper tier WMD's.
  • Homeworld has Low Orbit Atmosphere Deprivation Weapon, which, even though its effect is not described in-game, burns out the atmosphere of the planet.
  • The Mako Cannon from Final Fantasy VII.
  • "Vegnagun" from Final Fantasy X-2
  • The Gigas in Skies of Arcadia in general, and Zelos in particular, as it can devastate entire continents in a matter of minutes.
  • Along the veins of the Death Star, let's not forget Wing Commander III's Behemoth, a massive energy cannon with a ship wrapped around it that was designed to destroy the Kilrathi homeworld. Was only used once, and not on the Kilrathi.
    • There was also the Temblor Bomb, designed with a similar use in mind. It seems having Mark Hamill play the lead meant they had to plagiarize A New Hope wholesale; at least they did it well.
    • From the same game, the Kilrathi had their own WMD, a particularly nasty bioweapon that rendered Locanda IV entirely uninhabitable for centuries.
    • Secret Missions had you trying to destroy the Sivar, essentially a colony destroying Dreadnaught that the Kilrathi will use to enslave humanity.
    • And in WC4, the GenSelect device, biological warfare Nanomachines that kill off up to 90 percent of the population of the targeted planet.
    • And on the literary WC front, in the novel Fleet Action by William Forstchen, Sirius (a colony of Earth) is rendered uninhabitable by especially "dirty" thermonuclear bombs. Earth itself was fated to get this as well, but thanks to a Big Damn Heroes rescue, it gets off lightly with having major defense cities wiped off the face of the planet by "ordinary" antimatter bombardment.
  • Most of Unreal II the Awakening revolves around finding the parts of what the player believes to be a Weapon Of Mass Destruction. In a twist at the last minute, it's revealed to only be the activation key for the actual Weapon Of Mass Destruction - some harmless and unassuming aliens that the player has seen throughout the game, which turn out to be the dormant form of bioengineered supersoldiers.
  • The Seeds of Resurrection in Drakengard. The hierarch Verdelet seems to think they cause all of humanity, if worthy, to Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence. It's a pity he didn't consider that statement metaphorically.
  • The Ace Combat series uses pseudonuclear weapons a lot. The weapons explode in massive fireballs, but are never explicitly said to be nuclear.
    • Ace Combat 04 features Stonehenge, a battery of hypervelocity cannons designed to destroy near-Earth asteroids. When fired near the Earth's surface as an area-effect antiaircraft weapon, the rounds from Stonehenge come streaking in horizontally and create large spherical blue-white fireballs, as if they were nuclear warheads set on a time delay fuse rather than solid projectiles. In one mission, you are called on to intercept and destroy a barrage of cruise missiles. The last (damnably evasive) cruise missile explodes in a massive fireball when you kill it. As it comes onto the map, the AWACS guiding you say "looks like a regular warhead, but keep your distance", which all but explicitly says that it's nuclear tipped.
    • Ace Combat 5 has "burst missiles" fired from very large submarines of the Yuktobanian Navy. These missiles function almost exactly like MIRV missiles from real life, coming down out of the sky, breaking into several independent warheads, and carpeting a large area with fireballs. There is no mushroom cloud, but the explosions behave more like a nuke than like any other real-world weapon. There is also a nuclear satellite explicitly equipped with a MIRV nuclear warhead.
    • Ace Combat Zero's final boss is a fighter which has, among other weapons, missile that appear to be tipped with a small subcritical nuclear bomb - you want to give those a very wide berth.
      • Also, during that game, the Belkans set off seven bombs on their territory that are explicitly nuclear, complete with mushroom clouds, to delay advancing enemy forces. This is only seen during cut scenes. This event is also mentioned in Ace Combat 5.
    • Strangereal doesn't seem to have nuclear proliferation; thus, when someone says the word "nuke," often after "Belkan," you know it's going to be even worse than the faux-nukes you've been dodging thus far, especially considering that if the Belkans dropped seven of them on themselves, who knows what else they'll do with them?
      • Though considering the fact that many a few countries in Strangereal have superweapons than can probably destroy the world 10 times over, they must've realized that nukes just won't cut it anymore.
    • Ace Combat 6 features a WMD never used, but explicitly stated to need a 'catalyst' to be shipped in from elsewhere as well as having the capability of wiping out a large city. Also, there's the cruise missiles used by the Agaion (a flying aircraft carrier) and Chandelier (a gigantic railgun).
      • The weapon of mass destruction was stated to be a chemical weapon, probably nerve gas.
    • Ace Combat X has the Shock Wave Ballistic Missile on the Gleipnir that creates a massive shockwave strong enough that your view shakes no matter how far your plane's from it, as well as its weaker cousin the Long range Shock Wave Missile on the player-usable Fenrir. A biochemical agent is also used by the enemy during mission 7C.
  • In the R-Type series, the Bydo were originally designed as Weapons of Mass Destruction. Unfortunately for 26th century humans, they ran out of control and were shunted to an odd section of space, only to come back earlier in time (R-Type is so confusing) and assault humanity in a pre-emptive attack. Humans of the 24th century retaliated with Force weapons, which were created with Bydo DNA, and at the end of each game, the Force weapons become Weapons of Mass Destruction in and of themselves. Particularly at the end of R-Type Final, when the Force weapon is destroyed to make the final boss vulnerable, and then everything explodes.
  • The Cannon Seed in Galaxian³.
  • Total Annihilation ups the ante with the Galactic Implosion Device, a bomb used by the remnants of the Core in the expansion pack in an attempt to destroy the entire frickin' galaxy (except themselves) and then repopulate the reconstituted dead stars and planets.
  • The eponymous Halos will, if all seven are activated, wipe out all sentient life in the galaxy. The Forerunners built them in order to starve the Flood out of existence, and wiped out most life thousands of years prior to the games. Unfortunately, the Forerunners had kept some Flood in a safe place on at least two Halos for study.
  • Command & Conquer loves bizarre WMDs. Nod typically uses nuclear weapons (typically of the gameplay-balanced variety), GDI loves its Ion Cannon, the Allies have Weather Control, etc.
    • A major plot point of the third Tiberium game was the Liquid Tiberium Bomb, a Nod WMD that was all a part of Kane's Xanatos Roulette.
      • As in Nod couldn't actually detonate it by themselves and needed GDI to hit Temple Prime with the Ion Cannon to set it off and summon the Scrin.
    • Don't forget the Red Alert 3 ones: Proton Collider(shout out, anyone?) and the Sigma Harmonizer for the Allies, a nuclear-powered magnetic vacuum imploder for the Soviet Union, and a Black, schoolgirl-powered psionic Sphere of Destruction for The Empire of the Rising Sun.
      • Not to mention Generals' repeated use of the term, whether the GLA stealing American weapons of mass destruction or the USA trying to stop their use.
    • The Tiberium games also point out GDI's hipocrisy, in that they outlawed all nuclear weapons soon after they developed the ion cannon.
  • Nuclear Strike gives us Shiva's Dagger, a Soviet super nuke that if launched and detonated in the atmosphere would wipe out the human race. As well as a successful bid to set off a nuke in Pyonyang and blame South Korea.
  • The Mana Cannon of Tales of Phantasia and Tales of Symphonia.
  • The Wings of Light in Tales of Legendia.
  • The Forgotten Shrine of Zaude in Tales of Vesperia. Or so Alexei thinks...
  • The Eclipse Cannon in Sonic Adventure 2 (sure are a lot of cannons on this list).
  • Final Weapon and Ragnarok, although they also belong to another trope.
    • Zero, a hero himself, is a weapon of mass destruction. Luckily, he doesn't want to be one...
  • The Planet Buster missile of Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, although it doesn't live up to its name, can still do enough damage that using one is an atrocity that will get most of the other sides very upset with you.
  • Universe At War got Radiation cascade, Black Hole generator, and Burning Wrath/Matter Storm.
  • Quite a few of these show up in mecha form in the Super Robot Wars games. Quite a few of them can vaporize whole galaxies while they are at it.
  • Arguably, the Spire in Fable 2. It's said that the Archon who commissioned its construction made a wish for the current world to be destroyed so that a new, purer one could take its place. The result: Seconds after a light bloomed in the Spire, a massive blast destroyed the Old Kingdom.
  • Galactic Civilizations 2 has the Terror Star, an obvious Shout-Out to the Death Star with far more firepower, enough in fact that it blows up stars and all the planets around them when fired.
  • The Stellar Converter in Master of Orion 2. It's a Wave Motion Gun powerful enough to destroy planets and turn them into asteroid belts.[1] It's slightly underwhelming in actual battles: it never misses, and the raw damage per shot is the greatest in the game,[2] but the toughest ships still can withstand multiple hits; conversely, on small ships this ludicrous damage is wasted, while dedicated missile- or bomber- carriers unload their bays in 1-2 rounds, thus a single guaranteed overkill per round does little against their Spam Attack.
    • There are also bioweapons, but bombing with these makes everyone hate the user, and destruction of the population instead of invading a colony doesn't make much sense in the first place, unless one cannot invade even after bombing out the defenses or is too weak to stay on orbit until then and resorts to "scorched earth" strategy.

Web Comics

  • Minions At Work: A Doomsday Machine
  • SSDD: The Tower of Babel was used by the Anarchists to destroy isolated Texan platoons and despite being a sky-scraper sized maser cannon couldn't really qualify as a Weapon of Mass Destruction until they used it to take out Texas' anti-missile defenses and nuked Austin.
  • In Chirault, the mage's council accidentally created a working simulacrum of the world magically linked to the real world. For example, touching a spot on the simulacrum causes the corresponding real-world location to be completely crushed.

Web Original

  • This has become a huge meme on YouTube. It started with the popular Downfall parodies, and more specifically, a series of videos in which Hitler uses his "Pencil of Doom" (literally a pencil that he can use to cause damage simply by throwing it against a table). Since then, numerous other characters in and even outside Downfall have been given their own bizarre superweapons capable of doing just as great (if not worse) damage as the Pencil of Doom, all contained in everyday objects such as bottles, pistols, forks, ect. Considering that such weapons are in the possession of so many people ranging from ruthless dictators to generals to U-Boat sailors, it's a wonder they haven't completely destroyed their world.

Western Animation

  • In Bionicle, the Mask of Life (which is alive and sentient) is primarily intended to revive the Great Spirit Mata Nui, but it has a failsafe should the universe ever collapse into decay, plague, war, etc. Said failsafe is the absorption of all life in the universe, a la the Halo from the video games of the same name. However, while Halos have an activation sequence necessary, this does not. And there's only one needed, so it's arguable that it is even more powerful.
    • Word of God, though, says that Bionicle's "universe" usually equates to "known world" - anything off the map wouldn't be affected.
    • To be exact, the universe/known world is everything inside Mata Nui's body. He's a roughly planet-sized robot.
  • Omega Supreme from Transformers Animated is an example thats actually been called a WMD multiple times by BOTH sides.
  • Speaking of Transformers, how much more mass-destruction can you get than Unicron, WHO EATS PLANETS?
    • Wasn't done as a weapon.
      • In at least one continuity, Unicron was indeed created as an omnicidal weapon, by the Munky thing Primacron.
        • Not as a weapon, but as a sort of servant and universal tool in one. That version of Primacron was a bit of an idiot and tried doing it again after Unicron rebelled (and, of course, the NEW servant/universal tool ALSO rebelled). Grimlock called destroying Primacron's lab "the smartest thing I've ever done."
  1. if used in bombardment/invasion phase, i.e. when the target lacks active defences
  2. 400x4 points; vs. Plasma Torpedo +Ov +Env +NR - 240x4 per 2 rounds; vs. Mauler Device +Hv - 150