Considering just how strong Goku is by the end of Dragon Ball Super thanks to Mastered Ultra Instinct, it’s a bit hard to believe he was only a bit stronger than the average Earthling all the way back in Dragon Ball’s very first arc. By the start of Dragon Ball Z, he’s more than two times weaker than Raditz. Come the end of Dragon Ball Z, he’s completely eclipsed by his son. Dragon Ball is a franchise where, time and time again, our characters grow stronger only to find themselves facing off against even stronger foes. There’s a clear progression of power from series to series and it only gets higher.
Take Dragon Ball Super, for example. Just about any random fighter who participated in the Tournament of Power could likely solo the entire original series from Goku meeting Bulma to Goku flying off with Uub. They’re just that strong. With the Universe Survival arc introducing a minimum of 65 new characters to the series, ranking everyone becomes an incredibly difficult task. Although not an impossible one. At first glance, it’s hard to deduce who the thirty strongest fighters in all of Dragon Ball are, and some placements might seem outright bizarre, but this is, without a doubt, exactly where characters fall on the ever-growing Dragon Ball totem pole. For the time being at least.
30 The Pride Troopers
The Pride Troopers are stuck in a fairly awkward position when it comes to power. On one hand, they’re hyped up to be the Tournament of Power’s greatest challenge. On the other hand, none of them go on to secure an elimination except for Jiren. Of the nine left behind, only Toppo and Dyspo solidify themselves as genuinely powerful foes. The remaining seven are certainly strong, but not strong enough to do anything meaningful.
Here's hoping they actually contribute in the manga version.
It’s made all the worse when taking into consideration just how easily most of the Troop is taken out. Not a single member outside of the core three gets an episode to truly shine. They all ignore one of the key rules of storytelling: show, don’t tell. We’re told the Pride Troopers are strong, but we’re never shown why they’re strong. We’ll take Dragon Ball Super’s word on the matter, but without any actual evidence they, understandably, cannot rank high.
It perhaps goes without saying, but, as a whole, Universe 7 was far and away the strongest overall team present at the Tournament of Power. Not only did every member secure at least one elimination and consistently outperform the majority of the participants, a good chunk of Universe 7 lasted the majority of the Tournament. Piccolo is one such fighter.
Although he’s the fourth weakest member on Universe 7’s team (stronger only than the Earthlings,) Piccolo pulls out the big guns for the Tournament of Power and helps Gohan eliminate Universe 6. He’s a team player through and through with enough power to hold his own up to the second half. It’s nice to see that years after DBZ, Piccolo is still doing relatively well for himself.
28 Android 18
Although by no means the strongest Z-Fighter, Android 18 has one key feature that gives her a leg up on the other main characters: infinite stamina. The greatest gift Dr. Gero could ever give her, Android 18 does not get tired when fighting. She can theoretically fight forever. This isn’t to say that she can’t feel pain or take damage, but that she doesn’t need to worry about exerting herself. As an Android, she can really go all out at all times. Coupled with her natural strength, this makes her quite the formidable fighter.
27 Majin Buu
Dragon Ball Z’s final villain, it’s only natural Majin Buu end up one of Dragon Ball Super’s strongest characters if only due to the massive head start he enters the series with. He may not be as powerful as Super Buu or Kid Buu, but he has enough raw power in his fat form to still pose a threat. He was even chose as one of Universe 7’s five fighters in the Universe 6 Tournament arc, implying he’s much stronger than the majority of the cast. Even if he didn’t get to fight.
It goes without saying that Z's last villain is quite the powerhouse.
When it comes time for Goku to recruit people for the Tournament of Power, the anime shows us a Majin Buu who’s really taken his time to train his body, arguably making him far stronger than even Buuhan. Of course, like with the Universe 6 Tournament arc, he doesn’t end up fighting, but the boost in power is still worth making note of.
26 Super Saiyan 2 Cabba
Cabba’s in a relatively strange position when it comes to power. Despite being introduced as one of Universe 6’s five strongest fighters in the Universe 6 Tournament arc, the Tournament of Power subsequently establishes him as weaker than both Caulifla and Kale, at least when the three of them are at full power. He’s by no means a pushover, naturally only a bit weaker than Super Saiyan Vegeta in his base, but his Saiyan partners do outshine him.
That said, he does show off a solid burst of power when he finally transcends into Super Saiyan 2. His unique leg based fighting styles gives him an edge over most fighters as Dragon Ball tends to be rather fist based. In many ways, he’s almost like the Gohan of Universe 6. He’s just a naturally strong guy with a lot of hidden potential.
It’s only natural Frieza’s Universe 6 counterpart also be one of the strongest fighters in his universe. While nowhere near as powerful as everyone’s favorite galactic tyrant, Frost isn’t without his fair share of qualities to raise him above the rest. He can boost his final form up to a full power state like Frieza, and he seems to be naturally stronger. He likely doesn’t have the same potential to improve like Frieza, evidenced by Frost effectively being locked out from a Golden form equivalent, but he’s dangerous enough to take out nearly a dozen fighters on his own during the manga’s depiction of the Tournament of Power.
Ribrianne was a decisive character, to say the least. Some liked her for her twist on the magical girl archetype, most hated her for generally eating up screen time and outstaying her welcome. The manga version of the Tournament of Power only added more vitriol towards the character with her getting eliminated incredibly early, meaning her prominence in the anime’s depiction of the tournament stemmed solely from Toei trying to force her in.
Hatred towards the character aside, she is quite strong. In the anime adaptation, at least. Not only does she make it more than halfway through the tournament, she does so fighting several characters. Whether you like her or not, she undeniably puts on a good show and goes out in one of the arc’s highlight episodes.
23 Super Saiyan 2 Caulifla
In many respects, Caulifla is Universe 6’s Goku. She’s a hick, she loves fighting, and she’s got a knack for self improvement. They have their differences, of course, as all literary foils do, but, for the most part, she’s supposed to be our Goku surrogate. With that in mind, it’s only fitting Caulifla end up one of the stronger characters in Dragon Ball Super.
With some more training, Caulifla could rival Goku in no time.
When she finally taps into Super Saiyan 2, she’s able to put up a decent fight against Super Saiyan God Goku with Kale by her side. While she’s not fighting alone, the mere fact she can survive a fight with SSG Goku as a mere SSJ2 shows just how latent Caulifla’s power is. With more training, she could easily end up one of the strongest characters in the franchise. Not that she already isn’t.
22 Android 17
Dragon Ball Super was incredibly kind to Android 17. Not only did it give him a God level boost of power, putting him roughly on par with a Super Saiyan Blue Goku holding back, he actually goes on to win the Tournament of Power. It’s worth noting that Android 17 doesn’t show off any particular amazing feats of strength in Super, but he’s incredibly durable and even manages to damage Jiren at one point. He’s a sneaky, smart fighter with enough raw power to fight long enough to win a multiversal tournament.
21 Ultimate Gohan
Just as Dragon Ball Super was kind to Android 17, it was unkind to Son Gohan. Despite ending Dragon Ball Z as the strongest unfused character in the series, Super takes every opportunity to nerf Gohan and show how he isn’t all that hot. Beerus one shots him; he struggles to turn Super Saiyan in Resurrection F, and he outright retires from fighting in the Goku Black arc.
Thankfully, the Tournament of Power tries to reverse the damage by instilling some of Gohan’s old character back into his personality. By training with Piccolo, Gohan is able to once again tap into his Ultimate state. He’s not as close to the top as he once was, but he’s strong enough to pose a threat yet again. Here’s hoping it sticks.
The series’ first evil Kaioshin, Zamasu doesn’t pack that hard a punch, but his immortality does give him quite a boost. Simply by being immortal, Zamasu can take punishment upon punishment while also dishing out some highly sophisticated Ki-based techniques. Goku, Vegeta, and Future Trunks are all stronger than him, but none of them can actually manage to take him down on account of his immortality. Zamasu is literally unbeatable, a first for a canon character. That our heroes actually managed to overcome him, in the end, is a miracle in and of itself.
19 Super Saiyan Rage Future Trunks
It’s hard to swallow for a few fans, but Super Saiyan Rage Future Trunks is actually ridiculously strong. He’s able to take out Merged Zamasu with a single sword strike. Granted, it’s a sword filled with Genki, but he does need the power to wield such, well, power. If you go back even earlier, SSR Future Trunks holds his own against both Zamasu and Goku Black, two characters who were making a fool out of him.
Isn't it amazing what a single transformation can do?
Super Saiyan Rage is a form that gets a bit of ire due to not being well thought out within the actual lore, but it’s thematically appropriate. It’s Future Trunks channeling the hope present in his future and manifesting it into genuine power. He’s basically a Demi God if you think about it.
18 Legendary Super Saiyan Kale
As Broly’s Dragon Ball Super surrogate, it’s only fitting Kale end up improbably strong with a berserker fueled transformation stemming from a hatred of Goku. In her Legendary Super Saiyan state, Kale tears through the Tournament of Power like paper. She tanks a Kamehameha from Super Saiyan Blue Goku and just walks it off. She’s so powerful, Jiren actually steps in to remedy the situation. If Jiren recognizes your strength enough to do something about it, you’ve definitely made a name for yourself in terms of raw power. Whether or not her controlled state is as strong is up for debate, but Legendary Super Saiyan Kale is genuinely one of the most dangerous characters in the entire franchise.
17 Golden Frieza
Without a single day of training, Frieza was the naturally strongest being in the universe. It took Goku fulfilling an ancient prophecy and turning Super Saiyan for anyone to actually be able to put Frieza in his place. With four months of training, Frieza develops his own form of Super Saiyan and rockets in strength up to God levels of power.
To push things even further, Frieza simply meditates his weaknesses away in Hell during the gap between Resurrection F and the Universe Survival arc. Such a simple feat elevates Frieza to higher heights, putting him on par with a Super Saiyan Blue Goku on the cusp of achieving Ultra Instinct. Now that he’s alive again, Frieza’s got everything he needs to break past his limits yet again.
Hit is a fairly difficult character to properly rank if only because we have no idea just how strong he actually is. This isn’t even a case of the series telling us he’s strong without showing it, either. We straight up don’t know what Hit’s full power entails. Since he’s only ever fought in tournament settings, excluding filler, we only see him fight while holding himself back. A full power Hit could theoretically be stronger than Ultra Instinct Goku.
A 1,000-year-old boxer? Yeah, Hit's strong.
From what we have seen of Hit, though, we can deduce that, at the very least, he’s roughly as strong as Super Saiyan Blue Goku at the time of the Tournament of Power. The two work together to fight off Jiren in the manga, and Hit does a decent job fending off Jiren on his own in the anime. He’s not strong enough to do any lasting damage, but he puts up a decent fight. Now if only we knew how strong he really was.
15 Super Saiyan Rose Goku Black
As someone who’s literally just Goku, it goes without saying that Goku Black is quite the powerful character. Since Zamasu also knows everything about Goku, he’s able to use all his abilities, preventing a Ginyu situation. Goku Black is just as strong as Goku in the Goku Black arc, if not a bit stronger. At least as far as potential is concerned. For whatever reason, hijacking Goku’s body gives Goku Black the ability to make use of Zenkais, pushing him even further than regular Goku could. Had he stuck around longer, Goku Black likely could have surpassed Goku entirely.
14 Light Speed Dyspo
The third major pillar of the Pride Troopers, Dyspo is one of the only members of Universe 11 to put up a decent fight during the Tournament of Power. Arguably, he even does better than Toppo despite being weaker. When tapping into his Light Speed, Dyspo runs circles around Ultimate Gohan, nearly defeating him in the process. It takes a team effort from both Gohan and Frieza to actually subdue him. Even then, though, it takes Gohan sacrificing himself for Universe 7 to actually eliminate Dyspo. In a tournament setting, it’s no telling what Dyspo could actually accomplish.
13 Super Saiyan Evolution Vegeta
Despite being a story arc squarely focused on giving Goku Ultra Instinct, the Universe Survival arc decided to show some mercy and bestow upon Vegeta a new transformation: Super Saiyan Evolution. Out of nowhere with no build up, Vegeta transformed near the end of the arc and went on to use his newfound powers to defeat Toppo and help Goku take on Jiren.
While the new form is strong, here’s the thing- it’s only as strong as Super Saiyan Blue Kaioken. Fans have this idea that SSE is actually a huge boost for Vegeta, but everything in the series points to it just being equal to SSBKK. Specifically, Goku is shown using SSBKK while Vegeta uses SSE when they team up against JIren. It’s a catch up form and, while it does make Vegeta stronger, it doesn’t elevate him that much higher.
12 God Of Destruction Toppo
Introduced as a God of Destruction in training, Toppo has quite a lot going for him even untransformed. He’s supposedly strong enough to be a God of Destruction, doesn’t lose to Goku during their exhibition match in the anime, and outright wins their match in the manga. When it comes time for Toppo to transform, his powers skyrockets, eclipsing his base form.
As an actual God of Destruction, Toppo is in a league of his own.
Although Vegeta ends up ringing him out, it’s worth noting that Vegeta needed to use up all his Ki in an explosion to knock Toppo out of the arena. Even doing so, Toppo didn’t seem all that damage. He lost his GoD form, but he’d clearly still be able to fight in a proper match. Simply surviving Vegeta’s blast is proof of Toppo’s raw power.
Universe 6’s resident fused fighter, Kefla is the result of Caulifla and Kale using the potara earrings to fuse. Not only is she the strongest female fighter in the Tournament of Power, she’s also the strongest female mortal in the entire series. Even with Ultra Instinct, Kefla gives Goku a run for his money, tanking his blows at every turn. It’s only by charging up his Ki and outsmarting her does Goku come out the victor. This is to say nothing of the wide variety of techniques at Kefla’s disposal and her ability to fight on part with an Ultra Instinct fighter in only a Super Saiyan state. She only needs to transform once to be above God level. Now that’s impressive.
The result of a four-way fusion between participants from Universe 3, Anilaza is a lot stronger than Dragon Ball Super leads us to believe. Although he’s more or less one and done in a single episode, his attacks are able to bend reality itself in a space that’s effectively separate from it. It takes a combined effort from every standing member of Universe 7 just to bring Anilaza down. With that in mind, that places him far higher than the majority of villains in the series, arguably matching Merged Zamasu in terms of power. Had Anilaza not fought our heroes in a tournament setting, the universe very much could have been in big trouble.
9 Merged Zamasu
With the raw, natural talent of Goku Black and the immortality of Zamasu all merged into one potara fused being who gets an added boost thanks to the affinity between his base fusers, Merged Zamasu ends up ridiculously powerful. He’s so strong, in fact, it takes Vegetto appearing for the second time in the entire franchise for anybody to do any actual damage to him.
It has to count for something when you can become one with the literal universe.
When it comes down to it, though, Merged Zamasu is still invincible. He can be damaged, but he cannot be defeated. When Future Trunks cuts him in half with his Spirit Sword, it ultimately only makes matters worse as Merged Zamasu becomes one with the multiverse himself. It takes Zeno outright erasing the entire future multiverse to remedy the Merged Zamasu situation.
Universe 11’s strongest fighter and the strongest antagonist in the series only behind Beerus, Jiren is a monster unlike any other. It takes almost all of the Tournament of Power before anybody manages to deal any substantial damage onto Jiren. When Goku finally masters Ultra Instinct and lays the law down on Jiren, he doesn’t even manage to knock him out since UI betrays his body at the last second. Even at the end of his rope, Jiren brings out the fire and the fury against Goku, Android 17, and Frieza. Jiren is borderline unstoppable, securing him a safe spot as one of Dragon Ball’s strongest characters.
7 Mastered Ultra Instinct Goku
Dragon Ball Super was not particularly kind to Son Goku. Arc after arc, he’d find himself on the losing end. He wouldn’t take it bad, using his losses as a means of pushing himself further, but it certainly served to damage his legacy in the long run. When it came time for the Tournament of Power to start, the series needed to once again establish Goku as one of the most powerful fighters in the multiverse.
They don't call him the Monkey King for nothing.
Through Ultra Instinct, the Universe Survival arc did just that. By mastering Ultra Instinct, Goku was able to subdue Jiren with little to no effort. In a state of pure zen, Goku could break past his limits like never before, pushing himself to arguably God of Destruction levels. He can’t use Ultra Instinct at will, which will play a role moving forward, but it’s more than likely we’ll see Goku using the form again.
6 Vegetto Blue
By the end of Dragon Ball Z, Vegetto had established himself as the single strongest character in the entire franchise. The result of lifelong rivals Goku and Vegeta fusing, Vegetto was basically invincible. Buuhan, a character who had threatened the universe on a scale the series had never seen before, found himself completely at Vegetto’s mercy. In the anime, a base form Vegetto toys with Buuhan for fun.
Come Super, it’s only natural Vegetto’s gotten stronger. With Super Saiyan Blue at his disposal, Vegetto Blue utterly throttles Merged Zamasu, nearly eliminating him in the process. That’s right, Vegetto Blue is so strong that he pushed an immortal being to their limits. Now that Goku has Ultra Instinct, it’s possible Vegetto could even surpass a God of Destruction. He’s the best parts of Goku and Vegeta combined.
5 The Gods Of Destruction
Every universe has a God of Destruction and every universe’s God of Destruction must have the raw power to destroy their universe unopposed. They are the judges who dictate the natural course of universal evolution. Should anyone truly stand to oppose them, the God of Destruction clearly has proven themselves unqualified for the job. Only the strongest can be a God of Destruction.
Naturally, Gods of Destruction are super strong. Although a few characters have come close in terms of power, there’s still quite the gap between the strongest mortal and the weakest GoD. As fighters specifically trained by the angels to govern the multiverse, your average God of Destruction can coast through life with little to no worries. Just look at Beerus. Speaking of…
Time and time again, Beerus has proven himself to be the strongest God of Destruction in the series. In the anime, Champa and Quitella both specifically comment on Beerus’ strength while Belmod seems to have a pre existing rivalry with him. In the manga, Beerus is straight up shown fighting off the GoDs in an exhibition match leading up to the Tournament of Power. Not only does he show proficiency in using Ultra Instinct, he’s the only God of Destruction who doesn’t end up overtly damaged. Had Zeno not interrupted the fight, it’s fairly likely he would have defeated all eleven of his counterparts.
3 The Angels
If the God of Destruction are so high up on the list, it’s only fair the Angels wind up even higher. Firmly established as the beings who actually train the Gods of Destruction, not a single character has even come close to matching an Angel in terms of raw power. Vegetto Blue, Jiren, and Mastered Ultra Instinct Goku all give the GoDs a run for their money, but they’re nothing when compared to your average Angel.
Need further proof they’re so strong? Whis casually uses Ultra Instinct all the way back during Resurrection F. He’s able to just use it without thinking or making a big show of it while Goku has to struggle just to maintain the form. They’re so far up the totem pole, it’s likely even Vegetto Blue would get one shot in a fair fight.
2 The Grand Priest
Even though we have yet to see the Grand Priest in action, one thing is clear: he’s incredibly dangerous. Not only is he Zeno’s right-hand man, he also has a body type perfect for fighting. On top of that, he supposedly trained all the angels himself. That alone elevates him to levels far higher than anyone else previously mentioned. Toss in some ominous look he throws at Goku, and his ever growing prominence, and the Grand Priest is shaping up to be quite the dangerous martial artist. Only time will tell if he actually ends up fighting, but it doesn’t look good for anyone who chooses to challenge him.
Many characters have held the title of “strongest” throughout the course of Dragon Ball: Roshi, Demon King Piccolo, Goku, Raditz, Vegeta, Frieza, Cell, Buu, Gohan, Vegetto. The list goes on and on. The difference between Zeno and those who came before him, however, is the fact that, this time around, Zeno’s bound to stay the strongest. The God of Everything, the Omni King, the Lord of All, Zeno isn’t going away anytime soon.
He can wipe you out in the blink of an eye. Of course, he's the strongest character.
Just as easily as he seemingly created the multiverse, Zeno can wipe it out in an instance. Humanity exists for his pleasure to the point where he’s nearly wiped out universes in the past for displeasing him. Everything he does he does so effortlessly. He does not break a single sweat erasing billions upon billions of people. Should anyone even try to lay a hand on him, Zeno could simply blink them out of existence. He is the end all, be all. Dragon Ball’s strongest character.