The Spin Attack (回転斬り, Rotating Cutter) is Link, Young Link and Toon Link's up special move. The move involves any of the three versions of Link spinning his sword around in a circle. Though generally not good in terms of recovery, it is very powerful in terms of offense, especially as a ground attack.
The Spin Attack, also known by many professional Link players as "The Cyclone", has been a standard move in many Legend of Zelda games, its first appearance being The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. While usually a basic move available from the start, in some games it can be upgraded with magic to deal more damage and have a greater range. This upgraded version is known as the Hurricane Spin in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker and inspired a custom special move of the same name for Toon Link.
Via the charging mechanic introduced in Brawl, many iterations of the Spin Attack can be charged up in its home series appearance, though the result varies depending on the game (either for more damage and range or an alternate variation).
Link's Spin Attack has nearly identical knockback and damage whether used on the ground and in the air, with extremely similar animation; however, the grounded version releases a wide, orange-tinted ring of "magic" circling him (similar to charging up a Spin Attack in Ocarina of Time or Majora's Mask), while the aerial version lacks this ring. Both versions deal substantial knockback, making them good combo finishers. As a recovery move, though, it is lacking in both horizontal and vertical range; while, as an attack, it has a strictly horizontal hitbox, leaving Link vulnerable from above and below. Unlike in Melee and Brawl, it consists of only one hit when used in the air, being as powerful as it is on the ground, usable as a combo finisher or aerial finisher.
The Spin Attack returns as Link and newcomer Young Link's up special moves. While fundamentally the same as in Smash 64, the grounded version no longer produces a wide ring on use, and the user spins much more rapidly before coming to a braking stop.
If used on the ground, Link will have a bit more range and opponents will be hit away quite a distance. If hit by the attack near the end of its animation, the hit acts as a semi-spike, making it a useful edgeguard technique. Young Link's version has less range, but will suck in opponents to deal several hits of damage, similar to the Mario Tornado. If used in midair, the move is the same for both Link and Young Link: They will spin while moving upward, dealing a possible five hits, with the last hit having considerable knockback to it, with Young Link's version being considerably weaker. The move is greatly improved from the previous game, having larger recovery distance and covering Link from above if used in midair. Both Link and Young Link can grab an edge backwards with their Spin Attacks, but only during the move, similar to the Falcon Dive and the Dark Dive. Link can also descend down an edge with the Spin Attack by running and performing it before the edge. The edge of Link's Spin Attack allows players to give their opponents a very effective gimp; but with Young Link, players would require perfect timing to get the same effect.
The PAL version of the game removes the semi-spike properties of Link's Spin Attack, making it a less dangerous edgeguarding technique. Animation wise as of Melee, both Links spin outward to the left for the grounded version, while the airborne version has them spin to the right inward while angling themselves into an upward motion (leaning downward to their left).
In Brawl, the Spin Attack gains the ability to be charged, but it is much weaker than in Melee when uncharged. By holding the attack, Link will hold his sword in place for a few seconds before releasing a more powerful version of his normal Spin Attack, similar to a smash attack. Toon Link also has the ability to charge up his Spin Attack, trapping opponents and dealing multiple hits just like Young Link's Spin Attack from Melee. Toon Link's spin attack is a semi-spike if multiple hits connect, though they exist only to suck in targets for the rest of the attack. The move can only be charged for the grounded version; the aerial version cannot be charged at all.
While using the Spin Attack in the air, the move changes to a multiple-hitting attack that deals five hits. The final blow has extremely powerful upward knockback, making it a good finisher at the upper blast line. This is an excellent move for Toon Link to finish a string of aerial attacks with, or to KO off the side of a small stage. The angled orientation of the aerial hitbox, especially for Toon Link's version, allows it to hit potential edge-guarders through the stage's edge.
Almost akin to the version in Smash 64, Link's Spin Attack in Brawl is notoriously poor as a recovery move due to its very low horizontal and vertical distance. It additionally grants almost no momentum if used immediately after hitstun ends, especially if used in the opposite direction where he is traveling, and is also unable to auto-sweetspot the ledge during its first frames. These issues give Link one of the most ineffective recoveries in the game, and is one of the major factors for his bottom four tier placement. On the other hand, Toon Link's version covers a greater distance in the air than Link's does, able to go from near the bottom of the Battlefield stage to the ledge without his midair jump, and also keeps more momentum while rising, making it one of the best recoveries in the game. However, if Toon Link uses Spin Attack right when he's running off the ledge, he won't rise at all.
The Spin Attack returns as Link's and Toon Link's up special move in Super Smash Bros. 4. Despite retaining the Master Sword, Toon Link's Spin Attack has oddly lost its light blue energy trail and instead sports the green energy trail that is produced when he uses the Spin Attack while wielding the Hero's Sword. Link's version additionally has a slightly different animation where his sword spins at different heights throughout the move, although this is purely aesthetic. Both versions of the move have been buffed both in regards to attack power and recovery distance when compared to Brawl, as Link retains much more momentum when activating the Spin Attack and the move itself gains much more height than their previous iterations. An uncharged Spin Attack additionally has greater knockback scaling, giving Link another high percentage KO move, especially under the effects of rage.
Special Move Customization was added in Super Smash Bros. 4. These are the variations:
The Edge Slash is a special technique for Link, originating from Super Smash Bros. which can be used in all games. It was discovered by Lavaris of the SmashWiki community, while the SSB version was discovered by Antdgar using TAS exploits.
When playing as Link, players should do a quick dash near the edge and perform Link's Spin Attack. The attack's frames will appear, and Link will slide off of the stage, quickly inflicting damage to nearby opponents. Link may then be able to recover normally. The technique is best for quickly racking up damage on an opponent. However, the attack should not be used in 1-on-1 matches, as it is hard to perform and leaves Link vulnerable. The timing of the frames can be difficult to dictate, seeing how most players' reflexes tell them to stop at the very edge so they will not fall off. Also, using the C-stick specials controller combination is helpful when trying to perform this.