Some fighting moves in Dragon Ball Z are time-honored. The Kamehameha Wave has taken down some pretty intense adversaries, the Kaio-Ken offers a profound boost, and the Spirit Bomb, while it comes with a heavy cost, subdues some of the saga's greatest villains. However, some of the least flashy moves in the Dragon Ball series are actually among the mightiest.
These other techniques are just as useful in battle, but, for better or worse, are either under-utilized or under-appreciated by fans throughout the series. Some of these moves have serious costs, but they are also among Dragon Ball's most surprisingly effective yet underrated attacks.
Evil Containment Wave
The Evil Containment Wave has been used a few times throughout Dragon Ball's history, though considering its incredible potential, it isn't used nearly enough. Invented by Master Mutaito, who also trained Master Roshi, the Wave is designed to contain demonic entities. Sounds powerful, but it comes with a terrible cost. The first time it was used to seal up the Demon King Piccolo, Mutaito died. As Master Roshi explains in the Dragon Ball Super manga, the stronger the adversary, the more energy it takes to seal up the target. However, once that target is sealed, that's it.
Another serious flaw to the Evil Containment Wave is, as Piccolo demonstrated when Kami attempted the move on him, it can be easily reversed by someone expecting the attack. During Dragon Ball Super, Frost even manages to reverse the attack to seal up Vegeta instead. Despite that, the move works pretty well against Zamatsu -- until it becomes apparent that the container won't hold him for long. Regardless, if the Evil Containment Wave can seal away someone as powerful as Zamatsu, that would've been it for him had the move been performed correctly.
One of the classic Dragon Ball moves, the Tri-Beam Cannon is one of Tien's signature attacks. By channeling his very life force into a singular wave of energy, he can bombard just about anyone standing in his way. It doesn't matter how powerful that person is -- if this attack hits, it will ram them into the Earth.
What makes the Tri-Beam Cannon so impressive is how effective it remains late into Dragon Ball Z. After a certain point, many of the human fighters were simply outclassed by the Saiyans' ever-increasing power. Piccolo ultimately fuses with Kami to surpass the power of a Super Saiyan. Humans, on the other hand, had few buffs to increase their power. And yet, Tien holds Imperfect Cell down with a barrage of Tri-Beam Cannons, essentially demonstrating he had more potential power than Piccolo at that point in time. The attack almost killed Tien in the process, but then again, Imperfect Cell couldn't land a hit on him either.
Not all attacks in Dragon Ball need to obliterate a target. Sometimes, leaving them blinded is incredibly effective as an escape method. The Solar Flare is a remarkably common technique that everyone in the core cast of Dragon Ball appears to know. The move is first invented by Tien, then later learned by many of his allies as well as villains like Cell. Again, Tien appears to be a master of using incredibly powerful techniques that prove very useful.
What makes the Solar Flare so useful is that it doesn't matter how strong an opponent is -- it will blind them. The move is equally effective against all sorts of adversaries, so long as vision is a primary means through which they fight. So while Solar Flare might not affect, say, the blind warrior Majora, it would effectively keep Frieza from functioning for a while. This is a move so useful it's even effective against Beerus in Dragon Ball Super, as well as in the Tournament of Power against Caulifla.
Destructo Disc is one of those remarkable signature abilities that everyone acknowledges is an incredible attack, yet it's rarely used effectively in battle. It's a narrow disc of energy, sharp and powerful enough to carve through just about anything. Frieza is essentially shredded multiple times by the attack before using a variant of his own. The move even managed to split Buu apart -- though, being Buu, it didn't hold him down for long.
One component that makes the Destructo Disc so useful is how many variations exist surrounding it. During Dragon Ball Super's Tournament of Power, Krillin creates the Destructo Disc Triple Blade attack, where the disc splits into multiple projectiles to make it harder to dodge. Goku also creates a variant of the attack intended to knock Jiren out of bounds. The blade remains useful deep into the series because, unlike the raw explosive force of ordinary ki attacks, there's always a practical application to an attack designed to just cut someone open.
Stone Spit/Metal Breath
Dabura is a relatively overlooked henchman in Dragon Ball Z, but his spit remains one of the most bizarre and nightmarish attacks in the whole continuity. The move is simple -- Dabura spits on a target and they turn to stone. The target can return to normal if and when Dabura dies. It's simple and straightforward, but deals little lasting damage thanks to Buu killing Dabura fairly quickly after his first appearance.
However, Dabura's spit is arguably the most effective weapon in Dragon Ball, as it's essentially an instant-kill move. There are other variants of the move as well. In Dragon Ball GT, General Rildo uses Metal Breath, an attack that transmutes parts of a target into metal. It's less effective than the Stone Spit, which turns its target entirely into stone. Yet the end result -- paralysis with possible instant death -- is the same.
Transmutation attacks like this are rarely used in Dragon Ball, often ignored in favor of explosive attacks. However, they prove that fights can be won in cleverer and more creative ways. It's not always necessary to beat up a target. Just render them powerless.