When anyone thinks of the Dragon Ball franchise, most will immediately think of images of flying martial artists, gigantic, weaponized bursts of fire erupting from palms, super-powered brawls that make Superman look like a wimp, and a seemingly never-ending parade of appearance-altering transformations that exponentially increase the might of whoever goes through the process.
While that’s all well and good, we can’t forget the role that the series’ villains play in making the Dragon Ball franchise as iconic as it is. Whether it’s a teenage duo of merciless cyborgs, literal gods of destruction, or a galactic tyrant born from the literal nightmares of Akira Toriyama, the franchise has countless horrifying and devastatingly powerful adversaries for the well-trained heroes to spar against.
That said, there’s also a collection of “villains” who, while nefarious in their own right, aren’t exactly up there on the scale of pure power and are, in fact, pretty close to the bottom of the barrel.
In our list, we’re going to dive into the each series in the franchise and figure out just where all of the major villains fit in the spectrum of power. Unfortunately we’ll be skipping the movies and focusing purely on the television shows, but there are more than enough villains to fill up the list despite it.
Here's a look at The 15 Most Powerful (And 10 Most Worthless) Main Villains In Dragon Ball, Officially Ranked From Weakest To Strongest.
25 Powerful: Android 17 And 18
Androids 17 and 18 nearly wiped out the entire human race, and even Trunks as a Super Saiyan feared them. Ruthless, cold-blooded, and cruel, these horrific cyborgs were fast, strong, and capable of overwhelming some of the series’ strongest characters. To make matters worse, they’re incapable of exhausting their potent energy sources, meaning that they can hunt their prey for an eternity.
Although both of them would eventually be turned to the side of good, they still make the rank of some of the strongest enemies the Z Fighters have ever faced, whether that be in the present or future.
24 Powerful: Dabura
Dabura, who looked very much like the traditional interpretation of Satan, was a dangerous adversary for the Z fighters, despite his arrival late in his respective season. While it’s theoretically true that Dabura could possibly have been overcome by the Androids if they had not been reformed in the present (or destroyed in the future), its his ability to turn his victims into solid stone that makes him such a dangerous opponent.
Sure, the well-trained Trunks of the future, after visiting the past, was able to make mince meat of Dabura by the time he showed himself in the devastated timeline, but it’s not a stretch to say he was lucky there wasn’t any spit around.
23 Worthless: King Piccolo
Before we jump into why King Piccolo makes the cut of our “weakest” entries, we want to stress the fact that he isn’t exactly weak. In fact, he’s incredibly powerful. His might is so incredible that he had the world in the palm of his hand and almost no one was able to stop him. He needed to be sealed away in order to halt his evil path.
So why is he on the weaker side of this list? Unfortunately for King Piccolo, he just doesn’t measure up to the adversaries that Goku and gang would fight later on in the franchise. He was also beaten by Goku as a kid, so there’s that, too.
22 Powerful: General Rilldo
General Rilldo is said by Goku to be “stronger than Majin Buu.” Frankly, we have an incredibly hard time believing that, but that doesn’t mean the General is a pushover. Unfortunately for Goku and company, it’s the exact opposite.
Rilldo, in his base form, is already a formidable force, but it’s after he’s powered up that the real danger begins. Seemingly the T-1000 at that point, Rilldo is a living, liquid metal, and can manipulate his entire planet to serve him. That ability alone makes him one of the strongest enemies our heroes have ever challenged.
21 Powerful: Shadow Dragons
The Shadow Dragons were the final enemies in Dragon Ball GT and, as such, were immensely powerful beings. One particular member of their clan was far and away the most dangerous individual in the group, but we’ll get to him later. The rest of the Shadow Dragons were strong in their own right, but it was their unique powers and abilities that made them especially overwhelming.
Whether it was Haze Shenron’s pollution, Rage’s electricity, Oceanus’ weather control, Naturon’s amplification abilities, or Nuova’s heat or Eis’ ice, these abilities are comparable to Dabura’s stone powers. Just because they might be physically stronger than some others on this list doesn’t mean they’re not as dangerous.
20 Worthless: The Ginyu Force
Considered by Frieza to be his “elite forces,” the Ginyu Force was strong for its time, but it was almost immediately obsolete. Not unlike the Shadow Dragons, each member of the squad had a unique trait that earned them their spot, but that still wasn’t enough to mean much of anything in the long run.
Sure, Guldo’s time-stopping and telekinesis is incredibly impressive, and Captain Ginyu’s body switching technique is theoretically ridiculously powerful, the Ginyu Force is simply too dumb to succeed, and the group is quickly dealt with by the Z Fighters.
19 Powerful: Baby
Designed specifically to get revenge for the Tuffles and eradicate the Saiyan Race from the cosmos, the neo machine mutant, Baby, remains one of the more poetic and dangerous villains to ever grace the franchise.
Baby’s raw power and ability to infect entire populations in order to enslave them is already an effective and dangerous combination, but it’s the might he gains after infesting Vegeta and taking full advantage of the Saiyan potential that defines Baby as one of the series’ greatest threats. After taking the form of a giant, Golden Oozaru, Baby was nearly unstoppable.
18 Powerful: Majin Buu
Known to both the galactic tyrant, Frieza, and the God of Destruction himself, Beerus, Majin Buu is a force of pure evil. Despite the fact that he looks like chewed-up bubblegum, Majin Buu, in almost every last one of his multitude of forms, was an opponent not to be underestimated.
Going as far as wiping out the entire population of the Earth, this maniacal, impish devil nearly achieved total victory. The scariest part is that according to Toriyama himself, Buu’s ki is unfathomable, which means that we not have even seen the true depth of his power.
17 Worthless: Zarbon
Something fascinating about the Frieza Saga was how well-paced it was. It seemed as if every corner there was a new, more terrible adversary that our heroes couldn’t possibly defeat (until they did) and the cycle never got boring.
Zarbon falls right into this loop and, for a time, remained as a dangerous threat to those who wished to defeat Frieza. Unfortunately for Zarbon, despite his charming personality, good looks, and even his disgusting transformation, he’d eventually be nothing more than a footnote that helped set the stage for the eventual super-powered clash that’d round out the Saga.
16 Powerful: Super 17
A diabolical fusion between two Android 17s thanks to the combined genius of Dr. Gero and Dr. Myuu, Super 17 was freakishly powerful, nearly indestructible due to a seemingly impenetrable barrier, and capable of absorbing energy in order to add it to his reserves.
His might was so severe that even the godly Super Saiyan 4 had difficulty against him. In fact, his only weakness seemed to be being distracted by his sister, Android 18. This allowed Goku to discover that when Super 17 absorbed energy, which meant that he was vulnerable to physical attack. If that trick wasn't discovered, Super 17 may very well have ruled the cosmos.
15 Powerful: Goku Black
What do you get when an angry, hateful god takes over the body of the Earth’s strongest warrior? The answer is Goku Black, and he is a living nightmare.
Goku is unquestionably one of the most powerful fighters in the universe, but he thankfully uses his power to fight villainy. In the hands of the twisted Zamasu, however, that same might is used for genocide and evil. Worse yet, this Zamasu-infested Saiyan was able to achieve a new, mutated version of Super Saiyan called Rose, and it proved to be devilishly devastating.
14 Worthless: Dodoria
Much like Zarbon, Dodoria was one of Frieza’s most trusted right hand men and, for a time, was considered to be an immensely dangerous threat. Exactly like Zarbon, however, what was horrifying merely an episode before was nothing more than a joke in the next.
Dodoria’s look, voice, and abject cruelty is still extremely iconic, but his power is pitiful in the long run. Heck, he didn’t even have a transformation and wasn’t even charming enough for Bulma to have a crush on him. Couple that with being a weakling in retrospect, and it’s extra pathetic.
13 Powerful: Omega Shenron
Syn Shenron, the last of the Shadow Dragons, was able to absorb the Dragon Balls and become Omega Shenron, a being that, by almost every standard, was the apex of power. Super Saiyan 4 Goku, who had demonstrated nearly god-like strength, was essentially nothing to him, nor was Super Saiyan 4 Vegeta.
In fact, the only force seemingly capable of outclassing and outmatching Omega Shenron was Super Saiyan 4 Gogeta, but his transformation wore off before the finishing blow could be administered. His very existence corrupts and slowly destroys the universe, and it took the power of that very universe to stop him.
12 Worthless: Nappa
Once upon a time, Nappa was one of the scariest villains in the show’s history. This big, dumb, bald oaf was evil incarnate, as he viciously beat and toyed with the Z Fighters. His remorseless bloodlust and hunger for callous destruction was the stuff of nightmares. Now? Well, now he’s just the set-up for a punchline in a meme.
Nappa, for all of the trouble he caused, was already obsolete by his first appearance, with Vegeta outclassing him exponentially. Heck, Vegeta was even the one to wipe him out. Not unlike Zarbon and Dodoria before him, Nappa, who was once horrifying, has now been literally reduced to a joke.
11 Powerful: Frieza
Was there any doubt that Frieza would be included on this list? When he originally debuted in the series, his power was so far off the scale that the situation seemed legitimately hopeless - even for Goku who, after all of the training and progress he had made, was incapable of doing real damage after Frieza got serious.
It took a miracle in the form of a Super Saiyan to win, but even that seems quaint now after Frieza was able to achieve his Golden Form, and its further enhanced version. Now inexplicably equal to (or greater than) actual gods, Frieza remains one of the greatest threats to the universe.
10 Wothless: Raditz
For an exceedingly, painfully brief moment in time, Raditz could proudly say he was the strongest being on the entire planet of Earth. In fact, the world’s greatest champions, Goku and Piccolo, didn’t even stand a chance against him. It took a lot of luck, clever strategy, and one angry half-breed Saiyan to get the job done, but the heroes found success.
Now, after Tournaments of Power, Gods of Destruction, and even artificial humans, it’s hard not to think back about Raditz and just laugh. The guy was so pathetic that even Vegeta and Nappa didn’t really want to be associated with him.
9 Powerful: Beerus
Beerus may look like a purple, hairless cat, but his power is far less goofy than what his appearance might lead you to believe. He has the ability to destroy the universe, and even destroy beings so thoroughly that they cease to exist in multiple timelines and dimensions. However, we’ve never actually seen the extent of his power (as far as we know, at least.)
Goku was able to rough him up, but Beerus had so much left in reserve that it wasn’t a fair contest. We haven’t seen the last of Beerus, and we have a feeling we’ll eventually see him go all out. Until then, though, he’ll rest comfortably in our top five.
8 Worthless: Mercenary Tao
It seems unfair to rank the weakest villains in the entire Dragon Ball franchise, because most of the ones who are at the bottom of the barrel hail from the very first series, Dragon Ball. Unfortunately, there’s nothing we can do about it, and Mercenary Tao is the first to fall into this pit.
While a potent threat upon his debut, and especially after becoming a cyborg, Mercenary Tao just doesn’t measure up to almost anyone else who calls themselves a villain. That said, Tao isn’t the weakest on our list, so perhaps he can take some solace and comfort in knowing that there are those who are far weaker than him to come.
7 Powerful: Jiren
The Tournament of Power was a ton of fun, and easily the best part of Super. Unfortunately, it asked us to suspend our disbelief on a level not yet heard of, even for a show that regularly features people flying and shooting energy.
We’re asked to believe that Jiren, a seemingly regular (but driven and angry) guy is so ridiculously strong that even a God of Destruction is terrified of him. Narrative nonsense aside, Jiren is unquestionably one of the most powerful figures in the entire franchise, with his breath and sight even delivering catastrophic damage. Despite him being at nearly One Punch Man levels of absurdity, we can’t argue with the results.
6 Worthless: Red Ribbon Army
Despite being a literal army and having numerous weapons, armored vehicles, and even androids (retroactively supplied by Dr. Gero) at their command, the Red Ribbon Army was essentially stopped by a little kid with a tail. While the Red Ribben Army theoretically posed a threat to the world of Dragon Ball, they didn’t prepare for the threat of the Saiyan kid who bonked his head.
Goku easily tossed them aside like ragdolls, ending their bid for power almost as soon as it had begun. That said, it was this action that fueled the creation of some of the strongest villains in the franchise, but that doesn’t give the Red Ribbon Army any bonus points.
5 Powerful: Vegeta
While Vegeta is a “good guy” now, he used to be one of the more despicable and treacherous villains in the series. So, for a brief moment, let’s consider what it would have been like if he had remained an evil space warrior. Vegeta is nearly Goku’s equal in strength, and he has moments where he even eclipses him (like Super Saiyan Blue Shinka). If he were evil and used his power as such, Goku would be in for a rough, perhaps impossible time.
Aside from his powers, innovations, and transformations, Vegeta is also immensely more intelligent than Goku, and would likely defeat him through pure strategy. Thankfully he’s still a good guy… for now.
4 Worthless: Babidi
The only reason Babidi isn’t first on the list of the weakest villains ever is that he’s got magic, and he’s pretty darn good with it. Unfortunately for him, though, he’s absolutely nothing without it and requires the protection of possessed enforcers to even have a chance of not being immediately slain. Frail doesn’t even begin to describe the bug-eyed little freak.
After going through all of the trouble of resurrecting Majin Buu, the pink menace straight up takes his life. It takes a certain skill at being as excruciatingly embarrassing as that, and Babidi clearly possesses it.
3 Powerful: Cell
Created from the cells of some of the galaxy’s greatest warriors, Cell has every devastating and unique technique used by the Z Fighters (and others) available to him, including the iconic Kamehameha and regeneration. That said, you might be wondering why he’s ranked so high, considering that he was thoroughly defeated.
The truth is this: Cell has Saiyan cells in his body. He was easily able to emulate the Super Saiyan state. This means that 2 and 3 could be next - even Super Saiyan God and beyond. We may never truly know, but theoretically, Cell has the potential to be the most powerful enemy in the franchise.
2 Worthless: Emperor Pilaf
Oh Pilaf, where to begin? Neutered into absolutely nothing more than a joke character in Dragon Ball Super, things weren’t much better for him in the very first series, Dragon Ball, where he was a comically inept tyrant with hopes of ruling the world through the power of the Dragon Balls.
While he occasionally hatches interesting plans or uses some powerful hardware, he and his gang are just embarrassingly weak. Even Babidi, for all of his frailty, could probably whoop Pilaf into a bloody pulp. Emperor Pilaf is the mold growing on the bottom of the barrel in terms of raw weakness, no matter how many times he makes us laugh.
1 Powerful: Zamasu
Zamasu has proven to be physically inferior to Goku, and that he lets his hubris and hatred for mortality cloud his judgment. However, none of that matters. Zamasu made himself literally invincible, recruited himself from another timeline, and then fused with himself, giving him almost unlimited powers.
After his apparent demise, he simply reappeared and turned himself into the universe. It took no less than the divine might of Zen-Oh to obliterate him, but it cost that timeline’s entire universe to do it. Without Zen-Oh, Zamasu would have consumed the entirety of existence, period.
Who do you think is the weakest or strongest Dragon Ball main villain? Sound off in the comments!