It’s really impressive the variety that Toriyama manages to inject into the franchise even today. Super opened the door wider than ever, but Dragon Ball has always had powerful races. Some of which don’t even have proper names.
Earthlings in Dragon Ball aren’t nearly as strong as the series’ many races. They’re perpetually at the bottom of the totem pole and struggle to keep up as soon as the universe starts expanding. But they do keep up. Despite their limitations, despite their weaknesses, Earthlings manage to stand out despite their relative weakness.
More importantly, Earthlings in the series are consistently depicted as the most skilled fighters in the universe. Roshi, Tenshinhan, and Kuririn are three of the most skilled martial artists in the entire franchise and they’re all Earthlings. Earthlings will never defeat a main villain, but they’ll always try to pull their weight.
Namekians are very nomadic by nature. Most of them aren’t even fighters, just farmers and peaceful tribesmen. The few warriors Namek has, however, are quite powerful in the context of the universe. They become even stronger when they merge together. The average Namekian has an insane amount of potential to grow.
Just look at Piccolo. He manages to go from just a bit weaker than Nappa to as strong as second form Freeza by just merging with Nail. In the Cell arc, he realistically might have been able to handle the Artificial Humans himself had Cell not shown up and all he did was merge with Kami.
8 Freeza Race
Freeza’s race is so tossed aside as a piece of lore that his people don’t even have a name. Fans dub them Frost Demons, Dragon Ball Online and Xenoverse just calls them Freeza Race. Of note, the only real mention of his race in the manga comes from Ginyu mentioning that Freeza is a technically a mutant.
The average Freeza Race member isn’t overwhelmingly powerful and capable of taking over the universe. Freeza and King Cold are simply rare exceptions to the rule. As far as non-canon characters go, Coola is also a mutant. Other than those three, though, no other members of the Freeza Race have been seen. (In Universe 7, at least.)
7 Artificial Humans
It’s almost strange to think about, but Dr. Gero’s Artificial Humans are genuinely some of the strongest characters in the original series. They’ve since been outclassed, but Dragon Ball ends with them fairly high on the totem pole. Both 17 and 18 were strong enough to destroy the entire world in Trunks’ timeline.
It makes sense, though. The average Artificial Human can have: infinite stamina, the ability to regenerate, and insane durability. Dr. Gero and 19 even had the ability to absorb energy. Super even implies that 17 and 18 can grow very strong. With 17 winning the Tournament of Power, Artificial Humans have never been stronger.
Divinity in Dragon Ball has always been handled very interestingly. Gods are never much stronger than Goku for long. Goku outdoes Karin by the start of the 22nd Tenkaichi Budokai; Goku outdoes Kami as soon as he’s done training; Goku is exponentially stronger than Kaio by the time he’s revived. Then there are the other Kaioshin.
The Kaioshin are so strong, in fact, that Shin claims he could have defeated Freeza on Namek with a single blast. By this point in the series, the Saiyans have already become powerhouses, but that’s still a fairly impressive feat, especially when taking into consideration that Shin was one of the younger Kaioshin around before Boo killed them all.
The Saiyan race has always been one of the Dragon Ball’s strongest races. From Raditz’s introduction in the Saiyan arc, they only got stronger as the series went on. Of course, it helps that Goku himself is a Saiyan, but it’s interesting to note how so much of Goku’s potential is now tied to his race.
Dragon Ball Super has placed even further focus on the Saiyans, using the Universe 6 Saiyans as a means of explaining just how insanely powerful the average Saiyan can be in the right environment. Were it not for God Ki, Goku and Vegeta wouldn’t be able to keep up. But even then, the whole concept of Super Saiyan God is so intimately related to their arc.
Majin Boo ends the original series as one of the single strongest living characters in the franchise. Potentially even top three. Come Super, he hasn’t really had the chance to fight properly (outside of the manga’s current Moro arc,) but he’s still consistently depicted as quite a strong character.
Dragon Ball Online sees him creating his own race— the Majin. Naturally, they’re quite powerful thanks to their near limitless stamina, ability to regenerate, and magical properties. Of course, other members of the Majin race are still non-canon, but DBO’s timeline was penned by Akira Toriyama.
3 Saiyan-Earthling Hybrids
Gohan is introduced as a character with an insane amount of potential. The fight with Raditz solidifies that Gohan is already innately stronger than Goku and each arc just shows Gohan off more and more. By the Cell Games, he’s outclassed Goku completely. At the end of the series, he’s the single strongest character alive.
But Gohan is lazy and doesn’t train. Interestingly, Pan is shown even stronger than Gohan was as a child, suggesting that it’s the Earthling side of the Saiyan-Earthling hybrid that’s contributing the most power wise. Or it could be that Gohan himself is insanely strong. Either way, both Goten and Trunks prove that Gohan isn’t an exception, but the rule.
2 Beerus’ Race
It perhaps goes without saying, but “God of Destruction” isn’t a race, it’s a job title. Anyone strong enough can be a God of Destruction and just about every God of Destruction is their own race. Except for two. Beerus and Champa are twin brothers representing twin universes and they’re two of the strongest GoDs in the group.
Beerus is more or less stated to be the strongest God of Destruction of the bunch, but the fact that Champa can not only keep up but rival Beerus shows that Beerus isn’t just a fluke. Whatever his race is, they’re pretty darn powerful.
Angels take Dragon Ball’s divinity to a completely different level. Where Goku could once comfortably power his way through the hierarchy, the Angels are just so much stronger than anything Goku has demonstrated so far. They aren’t like the Gods of Destruction either. All Angels are related to one another.Outside of Whis dodging around, though, Dragon Ball Super never stopped to show one in action. Considering how strong they are, though, it’s likely that Toriyama doesn’t want to set a precedent for Angels fighting quite yet. Maybe once Ultra Instinct is back into the picture as a full time ability.