Transformations are a cornerstone of the world of Dragon Ball. They've been around since the original series and all the various Super Saiyan forms continued to amp up the stakes and power levels of every saga and battle. Transformations really started to become an integral part of the franchise in the Frieza saga, Frieza himself went through several forms and it was the first time that Goku went Super Saiyan. From there, transformations -- specifically Super Saiyan transformations -- were core parts of the story and showed just how powerful Goku and the other Saiyans had gotten.
However, the Super Saiyan form is not the strongest in the series. There are of course the various incarnations and ascensions of Super Saiyan, but we're not talking about those. Forms like Super Saiyan God and Super Saiyan Blue might be some of the strongest transformations in Dragon Ball, but they're not the only ones that can beat regular Super Saiyans. Across the various installments of the Dragon Ball franchise, different transformations and forms have come out that could easily beat a Super Saiyan. Heck, some of them could even take out Goku in Super Saiyan 3! With that, here are 15 Dragon Ball forms that are way more powerful than a Super Saiyan.
15 ULTRA INSTINCT
Before we get into the other characters of Dragon Ball, let's ease into this list by starting with one of Goku's transformations, Ultra Instinct. Up to this point, Ultra Instinct didn't seem to be much of a transformation, just a different aura and quicker reflexes. However, with the teaser for the next episode of Dragon Ball Super and some released images, we know that what we've previously seen of Ultra Instinct was just the beginning.
Turns out, Goku will soon learn to use Ultra Instinct to its fullest power, resulting in silver colored, slightly upturned hair. This form, as we have seen before, is the perfect defense and offense, the technique of one's body perfectly reacting to every threat without the hesitation of thought. This form is not exclusive to Saiyans, something we haven't seen since the Kaio-ken, and is said to make a warrior unbeatable. This form is so powerful that it is ranked among the most powerful Dragon Ball final forms in the series.
14 PERFECT CELL
This is an easy one to argue since it took a whole new kind of Super Saiyan to defeat Cell in his final form. After absorbing both Android 17 and 18, Cell achieved his perfect form, more than tripling his power level. In this form, not even an ascended or a full power Super Saiyan was enough to take Cell on. To make matters worse, thanks to the Saiyan cells within him, Cell was able to go Super Saiyan, giving him a power multiplier.
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With how much power Cell had in his base form, Super Saiyan Perfect Cell was easily more powerful than a regular Super Saiyan. As all Dragon Ball fans know, the only thing that could defeat Perfect Cell was Super Saiyan 2, a form that was first achieved by Gohan, making this transformation/form more powerful than even a fully powered Super Saiyan.
13 SUPER NAMEKIAN
Though there's not exactly a transformation to go with this one, a Super Namekian could still be considered a form separate to that of a regular Namekian. Regardless, this form is achieved whenever a Namekian's power far exceeds that of a regular Namekian, and it has been stated that when Piccolo first became a Super Namekian, he was more powerful than an untrained Super Saiyan.
Take this as you will, but it means that Piccolo is more powerful than Goku was during his first fight as a Super Saiyan. But, Piccolo isn't the only Namekian who achieved this form, as Kami/King Piccolo could easily be considered Super Namekians, and the Namekians of Universe 6 absorbed members of their village to achieve power levels beyond those of normal warrior Namekians.
12 SUPER ANDROID 13
The characters that have appeared in the Dragon Ball films are not always considered canon, but that doesn't mean we can't include them when comparing power levels and fighting ability. Thus, we're going to include the power-up of Android 13, which was achieved after he absorbed Androids 14 and 15. This form gave 13 a power boost from absorbing the power cores of his fellow androids, which gave him the strength to withstand attacks from multiple Super Saiyans.
This transformation was not just a power upgrade, it also provided Android 13 with a new body, one that was incredibly durable. His near indestructible body was, funnily enough, said to be made out of adamantium (hopefully Marvel doesn't sue), which made Super Android 13 one tough opponent. With how much of a power up Android 13's super form was, there's no doubt that it was more powerful than a Super Saiyan.
11 GOLDEN FRIEZA
Unlike most of the warriors in Dragon Ball, Frieza's strength did not come from training and hard work, it essentially came from good genetics. Frieza's family was amongst the strongest of their kind, naturally possessing great power in all their forms. Because of this, Frieza was lazy and saw no need in training with how powerful he was on his own. However, when he did decide to train, he achieved a brand new transformation: Golden Frieza.
This transformation, unlike his other forms, is actually just a temporary power up that gives Frieza the power to take on the likes of gods, including Super Saiyans with godly ki. There's no doubt that Frieza would have easily annihilated Super Saiyan Goku had he been able to use his golden from back on Namek.
This is another one that doesn't really have an actual form change to go along with the power up, but we're still going to count it, since it served as a turning point for the Majin Buu saga. Whenever the wizard Babidi takes over the mind and body of a warrior, he turns them into a demon known as a Majin. With this possession comes an "M" forehead mark, a massive power up, and a personality change that makes the warrior give in to their darkest tendencies.
Some of the Majins we saw in the Majin Buu arc were Dabura, the demon king; Pui Pui, one of Babidi's lackeys; and, of course, Vegeta. When Vegeta gave in to Babidi's control and became a Majin, he got a massive increase in power that pushed him into his Super Saiyan 2 form and made him stronger than he had ever been before.
9 LEGENDARY/BERSERKER SUPER SAIYAN
If we're talking about transformations stronger than a Super Saiyan, we have to talk about the variations of the form that have appeared throughout the franchise. There's the Legendary Super Saiyan, Broly, as well as the similar Berserker Super Saiyan, Kale. Both Broly and Kale are gifted with a power unlike any other Saiyan in existence, making their Super Saiyan forms something else entirely.
Broly was known as a Legendary Super Saiyan, a form that made him far more powerful than a regular Super Saiyan, though it came at the cost of his sanity when powered up. Similarly, Kale's Berserker Super Saiyan form seems to be much stronger than a regular Super Saiyan, though she has trouble controlling it at first. Both forms are different enough from regular Super Saiyans that we can consider them their own transformations, and both are clearly more powerful than typical Super Saiyans.
8 ULTIMATE GOHAN
There's always a little bit of confusion surrounding Ultimate Gohan, since there is no visible change to his appearance, but it's pretty much the strongest he could ever be. Though it's not exactly a transformation, Ultimate Gohan is still a form that Gohan has to change into in order to access the power, evidenced by the aura he gets and the slight change in his facial features.
Regardless of the visible changes, Ultimate Gohan is stronger than both Super Saiyan 1 and 2, and was easily able to knock around Super Buu without breaking a sweat. This form was achieved when the Old Kai unlocked Gohan's potential, granting him the power of all his Super Saiyan forms at once without having to actually go Super Saiyan.
7 ANDROID 21'S FORMS
The canon of the wildly popular Dragon Ball FighterZ video game is most likely not the same as the main franchise's continuity, but we're still going to include all of Android 21's forms in this ranking. Android 21 is an android created By Dr. Gero using methods similar to those that created a Cell, she was made using the cells of powerful warriors, including Buu.
But, this isn't all that 21 has up her sleeve, as she also has multiple forms, each of which could easily take down a Super Saiyan on their own. Her first form, the human-looking one, was stronger than all of the Z-fighters, and when she split into her good and bad sides, they both still had enough power to fight a Super Saiyan. 21's final form came after she absorbed Cell, and with this power up, she was stronger than anyone the Z-fighters had ever faced.
6 JANEMBA'S TRANSFORMATION
In Dragon Ball Z: Fusion Reborn, Goku and Vegeta faced a powerful foe in the afterlife, Janemba. Janemba was a strange entity that was created from an accident involving the gate to otherworld that turned one of the ogres that worked for King Yemma into a large yellow creature known as Janemba. This infant-like creature would give way to a much more intimidating form, one that was also far more powerful.
Both of Janemba's forms were incredibly destructive, but his second form was significantly stronger due to it being more warrior-like. Regardless, both forms were too much for Goku and Vegeta to handle as Super Saiyans. In fact, it took the use of the fusion dance for the two to combine into Gogeta to have the necessary power to defeat Janemba and reverse the accident that created him.
5 BUU'S FORMS
Majin Buu might have the most transformations of any Dragon Ball villain out there, though some are variations on his Super form. To list them all, there is his base Kid Buu form, his Majin Buu form (aka "Fat Buu"), his evil Majin Buu form and Super Buu, which had several forms of its own due to all the warriors he absorbed to gain more power.
Each of these forms are powerful in their own right, and each of them were too powerful for Goku and the other Saiyans to take on with just their first Super Saiyan forms. If you need further proof that all of Buu's forms were stronger than a Super Saiyan, just look at all the tactics that were used to take him on, like fusion and a spirit bomb with the power of everyone on Earth.
4 FULL POWER HERA
Another Dragon Ball movie villain that had a super powerful transformation was Bojack of Bojack Unbound. Bojack and his crew were of the Hera race, super powerful aliens that could transform into their "full power" forms. Full Power Hera is very similar to a Super Saiyan in that it results in a massive power increase and a change in hair color, as well as skin tone.
When Bojack and the other Hera people use their Full Power transformation, they prove to be tough opponents for Super Saiyan Trunks, Vegeta and Gohan, all of whom are defeated by Bojack. It isn't until Gohan goes Super Saiyan 2 that Full Power Bojack is defeated, showing just how strong the transformation is that it required Gohan to push past Super Saiyan.
3 GOLDEN GREAT APE
We apologize for bringing up the much hated Dragon Ball GT, but you have to admit that the Golden Great Ape form was a pretty cool callback to the image of the first Super Saiyan we saw way back in the Frieza Saga. Regardless, the power of a Golden Great Ape is far more than that of both a normal Super Saiyan and a normal Great Ape. In fact, a Golden Great Ape's power is said to be greater than that of the Super Saiyan 3 form.
However, all of this comes at a price -- the Saiyan's sanity. While in the Golden Great Ape form, Goku was completely uncontrollable, the transformation only serving to cause destruction and carnage. The power multiplier of the Golden Great Ape is unknown, but it is clearly much higher than a regular Super Saiyan.
2 GOD OF DESTRUCTION
In the world of Dragon Ball, most gods are born into divinity, possessing godly ki from birth. However, certain gods are chosen to become deities, such as the planetary guardians and the gods of destruction. The latter are chosen from the strongest mortals to be granted destruction power so that they can rid their universe of threats to other mortal life.
In the universal survival saga of Dragon Ball Super, we find out that Toppo of Universe 3's Pride Troopers is a candidate to become a god of destruction, and towards the end of the tournament, he unleashes the power that has been granted to him. With this power comes larger muscles, a darker aura and markings on his chest that signify his ascension as a destroyer, a transformation that is far more powerful than even the Super Saiyan Blue form.
Last but not least we have another transformation that premiered in the universal survival saga of Dragon Ball Super, Formation. Formation is a tribute to the transformations of magical girl anime characters like Sailor Moon and Cardcaptor Sakura. This technique is used by the Kamikaze Fireballs, three maiden warriors of Universe 2, to transform from their usual selves into teal-skinned warriors with great power and unique abilities.
Each of the Kamikaze Fireballs have their own unique strengths and abilities, such as beastly speed and love-themed beam attacks. But, their greatest strength comes in the form of further transformations such as Super Ribrianne, which turns the Fireball's leader into a stronger version of herself, complete with butterfly wings, and Lovely Love, Love Ribrianne, which turns her into a giant being made of pure love energy. It all sounds goofy, but these transformations could easily overpower a Super Saiyan.