Dragon Ball is a series about super-powered warriors becoming even stronger through their adventures. When Dragon Ball begins, Goku is a strong, little boy, but he’s a totally different person in terms of where his current strength is at in Dragon Ball Super.
Dragon Ball was content to feature a number of martial arts tournaments where the show would determine who the strongest fighter was, but there was no real sense of danger.
Once the series introduces legitimate villains into the mix the fighting is forced to reach a whole other level. It’s one thing to train because you want to win a trophy, but it’s totally different when the fate of the Earth or your life is on the line.
Over the course of 500 or so episodes, Dragon Ball continues to pit new and exciting villains against its heroes. As Goku and company all become stronger and reach new levels of power, the villains go up in strength, too.
With the many villains that have come to dominate the series through the years, it can be easily to lose track of where each one ranks.
Accordingly, here is Every Major Villain From Dragon Ball Ranked From Weakest To Strongest.
25 Mercenary Tao
When Dragon Ball kicks off, it’s seemingly a show that features humans versus humans. Granted, there are some fantastical elements, but the series starts things off on a relatively grounded level.
Accordingly, General Tao of the Red Ribbon Army is weak in the greater scope of the franchise (he’s the only human on this list), but he’s still a formidable match for a young Goku.
Tao the mercenary is just a master of martial arts, which was enough at the time.
However, after a grueling defeat by Goku, he undergoes an operation into a cyborg. In this advanced form Tao becomes considerably stronger due to an arsenal full of weapons, like a hand cannon. Even after the transformation, though, Tao is still relatively small potatoes, but the guy sure knows how to make an exit.
24 King Piccolo
King Piccolo marks the back end of the original Dragon Ball and it’s also when the villains begin to become considerably more otherworldly.
Although he’s technically the first appearance of a Namekian, he bills himself as a Demon God instead. King Piccolo makes his presence known by birthing a bunch of demon children, who end up to kill Krillin. He also briefly kills Shenron, which shows pretty commendable strength.
King Piccolo’s goal is world domination and he begins his feud with Master Roshi and his mentor, Master Mutaito, before he later shifts his aggression to Goku years later.
Goku might ultimately defeat King Piccolo, but the tyrant succeeds in stopping Goku’s heart and breaking all the bones in his body. That’s certainly impressive in itself. Goku needs to rocket himself through the Demon King’s body in order to take him down, which is not the easiest means of defeat.
23 Piccolo Jr.
Piccolo Jr. is born during the final death throes of his successor. King Piccolo literally reincarnates himself into a new version of himself as he dies. Piccolo hopes that this offspring of his will carry on his legacy and ultimately be able to get revenge on Goku and do what he couldn’t.
Piccolo Jr. falls short of his father’s expectations in the end, though.
He eventually becomes a good guy, but there’s still a period where Piccolo Jr. is in evil mode and in opposition to Goku.
Goku and Piccolo Jr. face off in the 23rd World Martial Arts Tournament. Piccolo tears into Goku pretty bad with a barrage of energy blasts, but Goku overcomes and bests him due to his newly learned ability of flight. Otherwise, Piccolo had him down for the count.
22 Garlic Jr.
Garlic Jr. is certainly a persistent little bugger. Not only does he terrorize the Z Fighters during The Dead Zone movie, but he also shows up post-Frieza to again throw his weight around. This small demon might not look like much, but he’s not someone that should be underestimated. He’s the only character in Dragon Ball to actually acquire immortality, which is also sort of s big deal.
Garlic Jr.’s immortality, range of energy attacks, and his villainous posse (the Spice Boys) all give him some reasonable strength. Like many characters in the series, Garlic Jr. is able to transform to a drastically stronger form.
In this state Garlic Jr. actually looks intimidating and can actually do some real damage. Most importantly, though, Garlic Jr. can open voids to the purgatory-like Dead Zone. The area doesn’t get further explored in the show, but it looks like a rough time.
Raditz is on the weaker scope of the Saiyans— he doesn’t get anywhere close to Super Saiyan status— but he still leaves a memorable mark on the series.
He signals the start of Dragon Ball Z and he’s a terrific villain to kick off the new show and highlight its larger scope.
Raditz doesn’t waste any time as he makes Earth cower at his feet. He causes some general disarray throughout the area to demonstrate that weapons like guns have no effect on him.
When it comes down to Goku’s fight against Raditz, it’s one of the few occasions where Goku doesn’t come out okay when everything’s done. Goku needs to sacrifice himself in order to defeat Raditz, which happens when Piccolo’s Special Beam Cannon skewers the both of them.
Other villains have been stronger, but this is an important occasion as it shows that Goku won’t always prevail.
Nappa's appearance is the first time that some real carnage enters Dragon Ball and it’s a little overwhelming to see so many beloved characters perish. Nappa and Vegeta land on Earth in lieu of Raditz’ death and they face off against the Z Fighters, minus Goku.
Nappa proves that he’s just as strong as he looks and not only is everyone powerless against him, but Chiaotzu and Tien die by his hand. This is only moments after Yamcha dies as a result of Nappa and Vegeta’s Saibamen.
As strong as Nappa is against the series’ lower tier characters, when Goku arrives he shows off his new strength and annihilates Nappa with zero effort. A further reflection of power follows when a disgusted Vegeta kills Nappa with an energy blast due to his uselessness.
He’s drastically stronger than Goku and Vegeta if they can both handle him this easily.
Turles has become weirdly popular in the more recent years of Dragon Ball fandom. The character essentially only appears in The Tree of Might movie, but he’s become a huge component of the Dragon Ball Xenoverse video games. Besides, who doesn’t love an evil Goku doppleganger?
Turles is definitely one of the stronger Saiyan Elite and he also shows off his Great Ape form to illustrate his full range of power and abilities.
When Turles is around there’s usually Tree of Might fruit not that far behind, so it’s safe to assume that Turles is also indulging in this X10 power boost.
The Daizenshuu resource materials explicitly state that the first handful of movies intentionally feature increasingly strong villains. Accordingly, it’s canon that Turles is stronger than World’s Strongest’s Dr. Wheelo, but weaker than Lord Slug.
18 The Ginyu Force
Admittedly, the Ginyu Force might be five separate villains, but they operate as a single unit and if you square off against one of them, you square off against all of them.
Guldo, Recoome, Burter, Jeice, and of course, Captain Ginyu, have a legendary reputation throughout the galaxy. They’re known to be Frieza’s personal hit squad, so while they may not be as strong as him, they’re still a super power collective.
The best thing about the Ginyu Force (other than their style) is that even though they are all incredibly strong, each member also has a special ability that’s hard to counter in battle. Guldo can freeze time for instance and Ginyu knows how to switch bodies.
These are skills that can take down even a God of Destruction when under the right circumstances. Even still, Gohan, Vegeta, and Goku take them down easily enough.
17 Abo And Kado
Abo and Kado might not be the most well known Dragon Ball villains, but they’re actually quite strong in comparison to some of the earlier foes from the series.
The only problem here is that everyone else has grown so exponentially stronger that Abo and Kado’s impressive strength doesn’t really register-- they’re not in their right audience.
The two appear in the Dragon Ball Reunion Special, Yo! Son Goku and His Friends Return!!, where they land on Earth (along with Vegeta’s brother, Tarble) and have a vendetta to settle.
Abo and Kado were a part of Frieza’s Galactic Army and apparently as strong as the Ginyu Force. However, after many years of training they claim to be as strong as Frieza (although this is presumably his first form). The two get beaten by Goten and Trunks (with some help from Gotenks) before they turn a new leaf.
16 King Cold
For the longest time Dragon Ball operates as if Frieza is the strongest entity to ever grace the galaxy. Granted, Frieza sets the new standard in Dragon Ball, both in terms of how many times a villain can transform and just how long a fight can last.
After Frieza’s defeat, however, the whole Frieza family clan makes a pit stop on Earth to get revenge for tarnishing their good name.
Unfortunately King Cold gets killed by Trunks before he’s able to demonstrate any of his power, but it stands to reason that he’s stronger than Frieza, or at least on an equal level.
Cold seems to know his way around a sword and the guy is also just huge. All of the “Changeling” species have several forms, so it’s a shame that King Cold doesn’t get the chance to show off any of his transformations.
Dragon Ball becomes pretty indulgent when it brings Meta-Cooler onto the scene. It’s basically the show mashing itself together with the Terminator and not giving a damn. Cooler is Frieza’s brother and, while regular Cooler is stronger than Frieza and weaker than King Cold, Meta-Cooler is more powerful than them both.
In the film Cooler’s Revenge, Cooler demonstrates a fourth transformation that goes beyond that of Frieza. Super Saiyan Goku still takes care of him without too much trouble.
Meta-Cooler is a mass-produced army of cyborg versions of the villain.
The Big Gete Star creates this Meta-Cooler Corps and they completely obliterate Super Saiyan Goku.
It requires the strength of both Super Saiyan Goku and Vegeta to overpower the threat. What follows is a particularly awesome battle and also Vegeta’s first appearance in a Dragon Ball movie.
14 Androids 16-20
Once more we’re lumping some bad guys together here, but it’s not without good reason. Without a doubt Androids 16-20 vary in strength, but they collectively represent a certain threat in the series before Cell comes along.
Androids 19 and 20 appear to be the inferior models, as Super Saiyan Vegeta defeats 19 without a sweat and Android 20 is just the decrepit old Dr. Gero. Android 17 gives Piccolo extreme difficulty and Android 18 goes shot for shot against Super Saiyan Vegeta.
Furthermore, 18 and 19 are still in Dragon Ball Super and a crucial part of the action and stronger than ever before (although obviously no longer villains).
The power scaling here is that Gero created the androids to eliminate Goku, but they’re not as strong as his masterpiece, Cell. Cell requires the Androids, but they’re still built to be stronger than Frieza and past foes.
13 Super Android 13
The Androids were such a popular addition to Dragon Ball that the movies would dip back into this well with Super Android 13. The addition of Androids 13, 14, and 15 is a very Episode IV approach as there’s always been a gap in Androids between 8 and 16.
Since the Dragon Ball films are always meant to up the stakes from the previous villain, these Androids are meant to be stronger than the lot encountered in the anime.
These Androids hold their own against base versions of Goku, Vegeta, and Trunks, but when they turn into Super Saiyans, they go down hard.
However, all of these Androids fuse together into Super Android 13 who is able to give the Super Saiyans a tough time.
It ultimately takes Super Saiyan Goku absorbing the energy of a spirit bomb (um, what?) and then punch through Super Android 13 with that power to defeat him.
12 Perfect Cell
Cell doesn’t seem to be as popular of a main villain as Frieza or Buu, but he’s a pretty fascinating concept in the end. This isn’t just some evil force from somewhere in the universe, this is a creature that was created using the DNA of the Z Fighters, with the express purpose of exterminating them.
Cell’s origin story doesn’t get enough credit and it’s very satisfying to see Cell turn these heroes’ signature attacks back on them.
Imperfect Cell is a nuisance, but one that could have ultimately been dealt with. It’s after Cell absorbs the Androids that he’s able to turn into Perfect Cell and really set the world on fire.
He has incredible power at this point. He can do things like generate the equally strong Cell Juniors, and he’s the first villain on here that requires a Super Saiyan 2 to eliminate.
Bojack Unbound takes place post-Cell Games and during that awkward period when Goku is dead after Cell’s self-destruction. This allows Gohan to take center stage and lead the charge against Bojack and his Galaxy Soldiers.
He is a gypsy-like pirate that King Kai explains is big on genocide and Goku even says that he reminds him of King Piccolo. The warrior is so dangerous and powerful that he was even locked inside of a star by all four Kais.
Bojack has plenty of raw strength and even kills some of his own team just to prove his ruthlessness.
He’s also able to turn into Super Bojack, which is kind of a Hulk sort of thing where he changes color, gains muscle, and shreds his clothes.
His defeat comes courtesy of Super Saiyan 2 Gohan who gets in a tug of war with his Super Kamehameha against Super Bojack’s Galactic Buster.
Normally just the strongest form of the character would be listed here, but it’s actually a little unclear if Bio-Broly is technically stronger than his human counterpart. Bio-Broly’s an obstacle merely because Broly’s back.
He appears to be identical to how he was before, except for the fact that he also has a disgusting, melting form. Furthermore, Bio-Broly is a mindless zombie, so even though the syrupy look probably freaks out enemies, original Broly can actually use his brain in battle.
Broly, the Legendary Super Saiyan, is unbelievably strong. It’s easy to see why there are legends about him. Not only is this guy powerful, but he also has incredible rage and lets it fuel his fighting.
It takes a “Family Kamehameha” between Goku, Gohan, and Goten to defeat regular Broly. Bio-Broly, on the other hand, is defeated when Goten ands Trunks shatter his frozen form. Go science.
9 Majin Vegeta
Vegeta’s been a good guy for some time at this point, but some of his best moments are when he’s playing for the other team. Goku’s initial battle against Vegeta pre-Namek is one of the most thrilling fights from Dragon Ball, but what’s even more exciting is the re-match in the Buu Saga.
Vegeta undergoes a bit of a midlife crisis and allows Babidi to boost his power in exchange for turning over to the dark side. Vegeta hopes that he’ll now finally be stronger than Goku and the two put it to the test.
It’s safe to say that Super Saiyan 2 Majin Vegeta is as strong as Super Saiyan 2 Goku.
The two are fairly evenly matched and Vegeta even gets the advantage a few times, but later information reveals that Goku could have turned Super Saiyan 3 the whole time and overwhelmed Vegeta.
Janemba is from the 12th Dragon Ball film, Fusion Reborn, and he’s definitely a serious threat. Janemba is considered to be a demon of pure evil and some Kais even think of him as the embodiment of evil itself.
He runs amok in Hell and takes it over before Goku and Pikkon are able to intervene. Janemba also has the ability to alter reality as he sees fit which is an insanely powerful ability and one that eludes Goku several times.
Janemba’s first form is a round, spherical demon who doesn’t seem that threatening, but it still requires Goku turning into a Super Saiyan 3 to survive. Finally when Janemba turns into his more intimidating form, Super Janemba, Goku and Vegeta need to fuse into Gogeta to take him out.
Not only is this a first, but they also still need to be a Super Saiyan to finish the job.
The Dragon Ball movie Wrath of the Dragon more or less re-imagines Dragon Ball Z into a Godzilla movie. Goku and company have faced off against many large opponents in the past, but Hirudegarn puts them all to shame.
A lot of the time Dragon Ball feels like it can operate in a bubble where the widespread damage of these villains isn’t felt. Hirudegarn takes it to the streets and rampages through the city with everyone powerless to stop this behemoth.
Hirudegarn has size and some powerful energy attacks to use to his advantage.
Goku has to resort to turning into Super Saiyan 3 and even that’s not good enough until he uses his crazy Dragon Fist movie (which never comes up again).
Hirudegarn comes at a time where these characters can’t continue to transform, so they need new moves instead as a substitute.
6 Kid Buu
The Buu Saga is the final arc from Dragon Ball Z and the series doesn’t waste the opportunity to go all out. The series introduces a bunch of different forms of Buu to the audience, each with their own skills and limitations.
Furthermore, Buu is able to absorb and eat characters and gain their skills and power. All of this amounts to a villain that’s nearly impossible to defeat, with Super Saiyan 3 Gotenks, Mystic Gohan, and Vegeta all not being strong enough.
Kid Buu even successfully executes a mass genocide attack that destroys the Earth’s population. He accomplishes what no other villain has been able to do. This is Dragon Ball, so of course Goku finds a way to beat him, but it’s not easy.
Goku’s Super Saiyan 3 theatrics aren’t enough and he requires a super special Spirit Bomb to finish him off.
Dragon Ball Super’s first villain is Beerus and his introduction once again allows the show to expand its boundaries a little more. Beerus is a God of Destruction and with him comes the concept of how there are 12 parallel universes, each with their own Gods of Destruction.
Since this is the first time that Goku and friends have faced off against a God, they’re understandably outclassed.
Beerus can destroy entire planets with a sneeze, so clearly he can eliminate Earth if he wants.
Beerus instead comes to Earth with the hopes of finding a Super Saiyan God. After a lengthy ceremony, Goku attains this form and appears to be pretty even with Beerus.
This fights ends abruptly when a tired Beerus spontaneously falls asleep, but the two look to be on level ground. It’s also good to know that this God of Destruction has a particular weakness to ramen.
4 Golden Frieza
It’s a bit of a running joke in Dragon Ball in regard to just how many times Frieza comes back for one last hurrah. Frieza makes a triumphant return in Dragon Ball Super, and with a new form, no less.
Golden Frieza is a colossal power boost for the character. Frieza explains that in his entire lifetime he’s never actually trained before. In recent years he’s taken it upon himself to try and become stronger and the result is Golden Frieza.
Golden Frieza is such a threat that not even Goku and Vegeta in Super Saiyan Blue form can get the upper hand. It’s only because Frieza is still not used to his new form that he eventually lapses in power to Goku. However, Golden Frieza is still able to blow up the Earth and Whis needs to turn back time to keep everyone safe.
Goku and company first encounter the notorious assassin Hit when they face off against Universe 6. Hit is the pride of the universe and he never misses a target. Hit operates with such precision that most of the time there are just victims inexplicably in his wake.
It’s revealed that Hit’s big move is that he’s able to perform a “Time Skip” technique that allows him to manipulate time and get the jump on his opponents.
Even with Goku’s savvy to how the technique works, he still has a hard time against the assassin.
Goku needs to turn to unprecedented power here by becoming Super Saiyan Blue and using Kaio-Ken X10 in conjunction with it. It’s a risky move that nearly obliterates Goku’s body and even leaves him with “ki sickness” afterwards. Hit remains one of the most interesting characters in the series.
2 Goku Black
Goku Black gets ultimate points for not knowing when to give up. The character is actually Zamasu, the Supreme Kai of Universe 10. After Zamasu views the entirety of existence and humanity, he becomes depressed over the futility of mortals and sets out to destroy them all and begin the universe anew.
Zamasu manages to steal an alternate timeline’s version of Goku, and with the help of a future version of Zamasu, Goku Black is born.
The fight against Goku Black brings Gods, Time Rings, and changes to the timeline into the mix, all to take this abomination down. Super Saiyan Blue Vegeta and Goku aren’t able to defeat him and Goku Black even has his own evil equivalency, Super Saiyan Rose.
In the end, extreme interference is needed to defeat Goku Black and it feels like the entire universe is still reeling from the ramifications of the incident.
Jiren is too strong. Dragon Ball Super currently approaches the end of their Universe Survial arc, but it’s clear that the final showdown is going to revolve around Universe 11’s Jiren.
Both Goku and Vegeta have given their all against Jiren and they’ve barely managed to get his attention.
Goku even taps into the new power of Ultra Instinct and he still can’t bring Jiren into submission. Universe 7’s entire team in the Tournament of Power has fought against this powerhouse and they still have no idea how to defeat him.
He literally seems impossible to take down, but something will have to give. Will it be a fused Ultra Instinct Vegito that does the job? Or will Jiren simply surrender or undergo some other sort of surprising dismissal? Either way, it’s hard to guess at what comes next after someone as strong as this.
What do you think? Who is the strongest Dragon Ball villain? Sound off in the comments and let your voice be heard!