The Spin Attack (回転斬り, Rotation 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 Link pros 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 typically called the Hurricane Spin.
Link's Spin Attack has nearly identical knockback and damage whether used on the ground and in the air, with extremely similar animation (the size of the circle made by the attack while in the air is smaller). 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.
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 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 5 hits, the last 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 Attack, but only during the move, similar to the Falcon Dive and the Dark Dive. Link can also descend down a edge with 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.
In Brawl, it 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, somewhat similar to a smash attack. The attack can only be charged while Link is on the ground, however. Toon Link also has the ability to charge up his Spin Attack, but it is more like Young Link's Spin Attack from Melee, it will trap opponents and will deal multiple hits. 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.
While using the Spin Attack in the air, if all strikes make contact, the final blow has extremely powerful upward knockback. 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. Toon Link's 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, making it one of the best recoveries in the game. Link can reach the ledge by giving momentum with his midair jump.
If Toon Link uses Spin Attack right when he's running off the ledge, when he falls and Spin Attack starts, he won't rise at all. Link's Spin Attack as a recovery move, however, has very poor horizontal and vertical recovery and his stats makes it worse, unable to gain any horizontal distance at all if he uses it immediately after flinching until he becomes helpless, making Link having one of the worst recoveries in the game. It can also not auto-sweetspot the ledge during the first frames of Link's Spin Attack.
Special Move Customization was added in Super Smash Bros. 4. These are the known variations:
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. The N64 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.