The Dragonball Z Technique Guide


Every character has his signature attacks, but which ones work best?

As a huge DBZ fan, I’ve come to considered myself an expert on every aspect of the show. I’ve mentioned a few plotholes I found unacceptable (because this is very serious business), as well as some filler plots that bugged me. But I was careful to give ten excellent points where the show was awesome. I’ve been rolling some ideas around in my head and thought maybe I could do a top ten list for DBZ moves, but I thought, nah, too complicated. Therefore, I’m going to give a rundown of all the moves I can think of including their effectiveness within the show and beyond, plus my choices should I be in the show. We better start with the big ones, so let’s begin.


Simplicity at its finest.

Most characters on the show know how to fire this all-important beam. Goku made it most popular, but Gohan, Krillin, Yamucha, Goten, Cell, and Buu know how to create it as well, making it essentially the standard attack for everyone to know. And what’s not to love? It’s bigger than a basic energy blast, it has a decent follow-through, and it allows for the flexibility of it being a small attack or a finishing move. But how effective is it really? According to the battle count of the series, it’s only managed to end one fight by itself, that being Gohan vs Cell. Otherwise Goku has used it against Vegeta, Frieza, and Buu, and none of those times it has finished the fight. However, it does act as a great combo technique and becomes vastly important. It’s too tough to quantify this one with numbers, but I give it an A+ for usefulness.


I could chop you in the side right now. Would you like that?

The Masenko is more or less the Kamehameha’s little brother, used only by Piccolo and Gohan. Is it really special? No, not really. It just looks like another energy blast. It’s primary color is yellow, and while Gohan tries really hard to use it a ton (certainly more than Piccolo), he eventually gives it up and sticks with the Kamehameha. However, the Masenko had a moment to shine when Gohan fought with Frieza. He even came close to injuring Frieza really bad, but ultimately this attack just never measured up. Stick with the Kamehameha if you need a signature energy attack.

Special Beam Cannon:

And then it stopped working altogether.

Initially, the Special Beam Cannon (forget you, I’m not looking up the Japanese term) looked awesome and for all we knew it was going to become the standard finisher move. The first two times it was fired it blew up a mountain and killed Goku and Raditz in one shot. But then it never found a use again. Piccolo was the only character to learn this one, which is probably best since originally it took way too long to charge. Eventually Piccolo figured out how to fire these without any real charge time, but every time I saw it fired at someone, it was like they had trained in the use of the Standard Special Beam Cannon Defensive Chop. Seriously, look back through and every person that has a SBC fired at them chops it away like it’s nothing. Too low of a success rate, retired from the roster.

Destructo Disk:

Get that out of Krillin's hands and into someone that knows how to use it.

Quick, name all the characters that have used a Destructo Disk or something similar. You got Krillin, and Frieza, correct. And Cell. But who else? Well, both Goku and Vegeta showed they knew how to throw these at some point. Of all those characters, who uses it the most? Krillin. And what’s its major weakness? Krillin has to yell “Destructo Disk” right before he throws it. Why? We may never know. This attack has the capability to be the single best move available as a one-hit-kill finisher. Put in the right hands, like Goku’s, this should end every fight. But time to look at the scoreboard. Krillin tried it against Nappa. Nappa dodged. Krillin tried it against Vegeta. Vegeta dodged. Krillin tried it against Frieza. Frieza dodged, although he lost his tail for a few episodes. Krillin used it against Cell. It didn’t do anything to Cell because Krillin was way too weak. Now look at the other characters. Vegeta used it on Gohan’s tail, but then got crushed by Gohan. Frieza used it against Goku, but then accidentally cut himself in half with his own attack. Cell used it against Goku but Goku dodged. And finally, Goku used it against Buu, but Buu regenerated. So in all, the Destructo Disk has a negative score for times it’s been effective. If you have to use it, at least just throw it and don’t bother trying to control it, but still, this one’s a pitiful excuse for an attack.

Hellzone Grenade:

Boy Piccolo, have you ever been effective in this series? Really?

Does anyone remember who used this attack and when? Piccolo used it against Android 17 in the middle of the Cell Saga. While their fight is actually pretty cool, Piccolo’s “genius” mind seemed to underestimate the difficulty of fighting a machine. Eventually, Piccolo began firing small energy blasts in the “Scatter Shot” formation, a tactic that places value on quantity over quality (side note: this tactic never works), before pausing for a moment to allow Android 17 the chance to look around and see himself surrounded by energy blasts. Piccolo yelled the attack’s name and all the energy blasts converged on Android 17, causing a huge explosion. And it was completely ineffective. Piccolo never used it again, a shame since it really did seem like a good strategy. But, a 0% success rate makes this one a failure.

Gallick/Garlic Gun:

"Kameh- I mean Gallick Gun!"

Depending on what you want to call Vegeta’s original signature attack, the Gallick Gun looked more or less like a purple Kamehameha. And good for Vegeta since anything related to Goku’s fighting style is a serious no-no in his family lineage. As far as usefulness goes, well, it’s just another energy blast. If you prefer not to use the Kamehameha, this is a pretty decent second choice.

Final Flash:

Protip: Anger doesn't always make your attacks any more effective.

Vegeta has his own finisher as well, the Final Flash, used sparingly throughout the series. We see this while Vegeta fights Recoome of the Ginyu Force, but it doesn’t work. He uses it once more against Cell much later in the series and even manages to rip off half of Cell’s torso…but then Cell regenerated so it didn’t work. He uses it one more time against a Cell Junior and still, it doesn’t work, meaning that while it certainly looks cool, it hasn’t proven to be effective against anyone.

Big Bang Attack:

"Five minutes." No wait, that's something else.

Not content to have just one finisher, Vegeta has two. The Big Bang Attack debuted and retired essentially at the same time as the Fatality used against Android 19. Vegeta had the android on the ropes the whole fight and finished him off with a pretty excellent explosion, but was it necessary? Vegeta had ripped off the android’s hands and beaten it up pretty good up until this point. Android 19 couldn’t really fight back anymore, so any attack that anyone fired would have destroyed it, including a Special Beam Cannon (since it couldn’t use the SBC Defensive Chop). A cool finishing move, but if you’re looking for fighting efficiency, just use a Kamehameha since you have both a regular energy beam and a finisher in the same move.


Damn son, where'd THAT technique come from?

Tien doesn’t get mentioned very often anymore. That’s too bad since he’s got a lot of pretty good moves at his disposal. One of which is his Tribeam, a move that somehow placed him in a position way above his power level when fighting Cell’s second form. In essence, the Tribeam is a super-focused concussive attack, capable of precise accuracy and able to cut through solid rock without any real trouble. The thump this attack can generate is enough to keep even the strongest enemies down for a little while, plus it can be kept up for quite a long time. Sadly, Tien hardly has a chance or reason to use this attack. Placed in a stronger character, most likely Goku, this attack could be extremely useful. As it exists in the show it only really seems helpful to stall people.

Death Ball:

If your enemy hands you your Death Ball back, you did it wrong.

A favorite of the Big Bads of the series, Frieza was the first to create one in order to destroy Namek. While it didn’t immediately destroy Namek, it did seem powerful enough to rip a huge plothole through the series. Death Balls can range from the size of a basketball to the size of what appear to be small moons. Attacks of this nature are purely to display dominance and rarely succeed in being more powerful than even a basic attack. Frieza even throws a Death Ball and lands it right on Trunks’ head, ultimately having Trunks hand it back without any trouble. The Death Ball has succeeded twice in the series. Once in destroying planet Vegeta, and once in destroying Planet Earth. It gets half credit for destroying Planet Namek. This is a desperation technique only, meaning you should have no reason to use this if you’re fighting smart.

Body Switch:

Man that was stupid.

Burning Attack:

If you look like you're having a spazz attack, your technique may be stupid.

Trunks used this one against Frieza as what appeared to be a distraction tactic. It worked, forcing Frieza to leap into the air where Trunks hacked him to pieces with a sword. (Note: Weapons are dangerous in DBZ battles as they can easily be turned against you. I don’t advise using them). So while the Burning Attack looked cool, what with all the hand flailing, is it really effective? Since it’s only used once, there’s no way to tell, but I would vote against it’s use since you have to flail your hands around like a goober for a few seconds before firing. The Kamehameha can be fired as fast as you can yell the attack. Keep these flashy moves in check.

Super Ghost Kamikaze Attack:

Kids today. What will they think of next?

Dang, they got a lot of usage out of this one technique for a while in the Buu Saga. Gotenks invented it as a super special move and demonstrated it was pretty darn powerful, and then Buu stole it and used it against Gohan and Vegitto later on, even tweaking it to allow for the ghosts to fire energy blasts on their own. That’s smart planning, but still, this move ultimately didn’t result in any successes, perhaps because it was developed by a 7/8-year-old.

Spirit Bomb:

"Kaboom! I really hope it works this time!"

Goku’s Spirit Bomb is regarded as one of the strongest moves in the series, yet you need to look at its overall track record. It’s been used three times, once against Vegeta, once against Frieza, and once against Kid Buu. It eventually killed Kid Buu after a lengthy battle. That makes its success rate 33%, a failure as a technique. The move requires you to gather energy from things other than yourself, a task that takes more time than you’ll have on the battlefield, plus if no one is around to gather energy from, you’re screwed. This is a total waste of a technique, so skip it.

Multi Form:

Four more of a sucky character doesn't mean much. It just means you suck four times more.

Tien started the trend of characters randomly knowing how to split into multiple copies of themselves, usually three or four, but no one seemed to figure out how to use it well. I’ve seen Piccolo fight himself for the heck of it, Krillin feign usefulness, and Cell waste time fighting Goku, but I’ve yet to see anyone pull this one out and do some damage. The major drawback is that your power gets split every time you create a double, so if you’ve got four of you flying around, you’re all still pitifully weak. Stick to something more effective next time.

Kaio Ken:

Also, while your enemy thinks you're on fire, they'll be totally distracted for your next move.

The Kaio Ken is a great ability to know. It’s a good combination technique to use with something like the Kamehameha or any finisher since it adds an extra oomph. Plus, there really is no limit to its use. Goku pushed himself to Kaio Ken times 20 when fighting Frieza, and later did something called a “Super Kaio Ken,” although I have no idea how powerful that is. It can offer a huge speed and power boost well above your max level, but the risk is that your body won’t be able to handle the strain. Train for this eventuality if you use this as your power-raising technique.

Super Saiyan:

Excellent for battles that take place in the dark.

Wouldn’t we all like to be able to use this transformation? Of course we would, but not all of us have Saiyan blood, a prerequisite for anyone wishing to be a Super Saiyan. As far as humans go, there is no comparable Super Human or something, meaning that we’d all be SOL for Super Saiyans. Plus, as with all Super Saiyan transformations, there’s always one more level to achieve, just after the one you already hit, making this feel like a futile achievement. As cool as it’d be to transform into a Super Saiyan, and however useful the constant speed and power boost it provides, the Kaio Ken is more effective as a surprise. Plus, if you’ve already trained your body enough, what’s to stop you from hitting a Kaio Ken times 100 or something? Who knows how strong that is?


Oh you silly kids.

The Fusion Dance looks silly, but it does offer a massive power burst should you have an ally that knows the dance and is your double in power and mental concentration. Problem is, you’re not very likely to find that on the battlefield. If you’re fighting someone with your buddy and he gets killed, your tactic of fusion is blown. Plus, if done wrong, you fuse into a worthless body for half an hour. Furthermore, you only get a half hour of this fusion, and while you can apparently conduct the majority of a saga in five minutes, you better be ready for battles that last longer than a half hour.

Instant Transmission:

Piccolo was so close to a better technique, wasn't he?

Teleporting instantly to any spot either near or far is incredibly useful. Goku used this in conjunction with most other techniques and found it to be incredibly effective, such as the Instant Transmission Kamehameha, the single greatest tactic ever used in the series…except it was used against an enemy that could regenerate. This is a must-know technique, making it questionable why Goku never taught it to anyone else in the entire series. How sad.

Solar Flare:

My eyes! The goggles do nothing!

Now we come to the final and best technique you can learn in DBZ: The Solar Flare. No, you will not be able to finish someone off with a Solar Flare, or even inflict any damage at all. But you will have a near 100% success rate for this technique. It’s been used throughout the series, usually against characters vastly stronger than the user, and always provided a means to quickly escape or make space between your attacker and you. It’s been used against Vegeta, Dodoria, Frieza, and a handful of other characters throughout the Cell Saga, each time working 100% of the time. In fact, the only time throughout either Dragonball or Dragonball Z that a Solar Flare failed was in the World Martial Arts Tournament fight between Goku and Tien, and only then it failed because Goku snagged Master Roshi’s sunglasses. As long as you can make sure your enemy isn’t wearing sunglasses, this will work every time.

My Three Techniques:

Shown: Martial Arts, apparently.

Given only three techniques, I’d take the Kamehameha due to its range as both a functional energy beam and a workable finisher movie, Instant Transmission thanks to its versatility to allow transport around any situation, and the Solar Flare since it always hits. My usual combo would be something like a Solar Flare to mess with your perception, an Instant Transmission away from the battle entirely while I charged a Kamehameha to max power, then a quick Instant Transmission back to the battle as I unload everything on my enemy at once. If done correctly, they’ll still be so disoriented by my Solar flare that they won’t have any notion if I’m there or not, so when I reappear they’ll be completely off guard and unprepared for a full-powered finisher. But of course, that’s just me.

Wow, that’s over five whole pages devoted to Dragonball Z techniques, and I didn’t even cover them all. Did I miss any that you’re a huge fan of? Or do you think I didn’t do proper justice to anything here? Time to leave a comment and let me know. Just expect me to Instant Transmission away if your argument gets too complex for me to handle.

What more fan love? Check out these articles:

The Top Ten Best Zelda Items

Kyle’s Top Ten Most Unattainable Toys

Chris’ Top Ten Pokemon-Related Achievements


About Author

Chris was the former Head Writer/Editor of Toy-TMA. He did a great job overseeing the site and getting new content published regularly. Always more than willing to respond to a comment or two, but pitiless with trolls! He has since moved on from TMA, and we wish him the best.


  1. Seeing Multi-form and Kaio Ken next one another has no one think of endless copies tactic?
    Come on, one technique multiply your bodies splitting your power and the other one boost your power straining your body, is a win-win combo, “Oh, my body is reaching his limits with Kaio Ken 50 better multiply. Now I have two bodies with power equivalent to Kaio Ken 25 and my body limit is 50…”. And as you train and your body can allow more strain all your infinite copies will be stronger.

  2. I have seen it and love it, though I think I’m probably behind at this point. Wouldn’t mind getting a chance to shoot the breeze with those guys some time.

  3. This is awesome. Hey, have you ever seen DBZ abridged by Team Fourstar ( it’s freaking amazing, i think you’d appriciate it.

  4. That looked more like just a standard energy blast to me, what with it only coming from one hand, being gold, and not being prompted by the Kamehameha chant. Also, it didn’t kill Frieza, just made him very sad.

  5. Technically, Goku killed Frieza with Angry Kamehameha, so that’s another fight the Kamehameha wave finished.

  6. You said that the Kaio-Ken technique is more effective than a Super Saiyan. I dissagree, the Kaio-Ken attack is incredibly taxing on the users (Goku and presumably King Kai) energy and body, but Goku discovered a way to become a Super Saiyan and not have it drain his energy at all. He spent at least 10 days in his powered up state with no problems (although Old Kai points out that living in that form can shorten your life).
    So in my opinion powering up to Super Saiyan is much more effective.
    It would have been good if Goku use the Kaio-Ken attack while powered up in a real fight. (Great Saiyaman saga sucked)

  7. goku’s instantaneous movement works by sensing a ki and moving to that direction right. then how come he can teleport while he’s fighting, and to not around someone?

  8. I think u missed 1 very important and useful move, The Energy Shield work well for the androids and is a great defense all round could easily put it on while solar flared or charging a spirit bomb 😛

  9. lets be honest if goku had the galick gun or final flash or even both he couldve mixed it with the kamehameha and killed any character
    also anyone else notice after the frieza saga no saiyans get stronger after dying or being beaten almost enough to die

  10. Was that when Gohan sneaked off from his bed and started doing chin-ups on the balcony and when Goku sneaked away from the whole city even to train…

  11. Michael Abraham on

    Did anyone not find it weird that during the First season of dragon ball z that when ever they needed to fly they would but in other moments such as falling off a building or cliff they magically couldnt?

  12. Do Don Tao Pai Pai on

    yay! yes! stoping time ability! I want that one! just by holding breath, Guldo is a lame, if vegeta or goku had it the series would have ended lol

  13. I’m not counting the movies because they break with continuity constantly, nor am I counting GT because, well, GT was boring. But yes, you are right, Android 18 knows the Destructo Disk as well. I forgot to mention it since for some reason I thought it was only in the games that she knew it.

  14. Didn’t the spirit bomb also kill Omega Shenron in the final battle of Dragon Ball GT?

    And 18 used a Destructo Disc to expose Trunks and Goten from their disguise as Mighty Mask. That fight always made me laugh.

    And the special beam cannon did kill the last of Cooler’s men in the. In fact if I recall, Piccolo killed ALL of Cooler’s men, and they were suppose to be stronger than the Ginyu force.

    Speaking of which, almost all lame attacks come from the Ginyu Force. Like Guldo freezing time every time he holds his breath. Or the completely not gay purple buzzsaw-looking thing that Jeice and Burter use together. Almost reminds me of that one attack you gave your Red and Black power ranger knock-offs in your Eclipse Star story: Shadow Blood was it? That still makes me laugh.

    Yamcha’s Wolffang Fist from Dragonball? …Oh wait, never Mind.

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