Toon Link (SSB4)
Toon Link (トゥーンリンク, Toon Link) is a playable character in Super Smash Bros. 4. His return to the series was announced on the official website on September 26th, 2013, the same day that The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD was released in Japan. Sachi Matsumoto reprises her role as Toon Link's voice actor, albeit via voice clips recycled from Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Unlike in Brawl, he is now a starter character, instead of an unlockable character.
Toon Link is currently ranked 17th out of 58 on the tier list, placing him at the top of C tier and in the middle of the high-tier. This is a slight improvement compared to his placement in Brawl, where he was ranked 13th out of 38. Toon Link has multiple projectiles, which grant him a powerful zoning game and enable him to follow up into different moves; his Bomb in particular is his most notable set-up for combos and KOs. Toon Link's grab game has also been improved: his grabs now have less ending lag when missed, his grab aerial is better for zoning due to it now possessing knockback, and his back throw is now among the strongest throws in the game thanks to its significantly increased knockback.
While Toon Link's ground game is potent, his air game is marred by his floatiness and sub-par air speed. Additionally, his aerial attacks' power and utility are offset by their high landing lag, which prevents them from following up into other moves. Lastly, as his combo game largely relies on his projectiles, reflection-based moves can both significantly hinder his combo game and turn his projectiles against him.
Toon Link has achieved impressive tournament results, thanks to the efforts of professionals like Zan and Hyuga, the latter of whom notably placed 9th at GENESIS 3 and 5th at CEO 2016. However, since Hyuga has been banned from various tournaments as of EVO 2016, Toon Link's results have plummeted significantly, to the point that he has achieved very minimal results since Hyuga's ban. Fortunatly however, Hyuga returned to the smash scene and won Hail Smash VIII: The Return of the Heroe of the Wind. As a result, Toon Link's tier placement has become highly debatable.
As in Brawl, the majority of Toon Link's attributes noticeably differ from those of his alternate timeline counterpart. Toon Link is among the lighter middleweights and boasts dashing speed and air acceleration that are both above average, as well as the ability to wall jump. However, his falling and fast falling speeds are both slow, while his gravity is low. While they differ on the majority of their attributes, Toon Link and Link both have above average walking speeds and slow air speeds. Overall, Toon Link's attributes render him as a fairly quick, yet floaty character.
Like Link, Toon Link is a very zoning-oriented character, thanks to his Hero's Bow, Boomerang and Bomb. Outside of forcing approaches, his projectiles grant him a strong camping game alongside his ability to block an opponent's projectiles with his Hero's Shield. Another benefit that Toon Link's projectiles possess is their combo potential. Bomb in particular, especially when jump-canceled, can grant him a number of follow-ups at low percents, such as into his neutral aerial and dash attack. Bomb can even set up his up smash or forward aerial, both of which are good KOing options. Boomerang is also useful for his combo game, as it can combo into his up tilt, grab and various other moves depending on the positioning. While largely reliant on his projectiles, Toon Link's impressive combo game is not exclusively limited to them. His up tilt can chain into itself repeatedly, a short hopped neutral aerial, an up smash or Spin Attack at low percents, and then into aerial attacks at medium to higher percents.
Toon Link's grab game can produce interesting options due to its considerable improvement since Brawl. His grab aerial, if used during the falling portion of a short hop, combos into his tilt attacks at low percents, his dash attack at medium percents and his up smash at KOing percents. Toon Link can also use his throws to launch an opponent into the trajectory of a previously thrown Boomerang or Bomb, with his up throw into Bomb being a good example of this technique. Finally, Toon Link's back throw is a great KOing option and one of the strongest throws of any kind in the game.
However, Toon Link also has some weaknesses. His combo game heavily relies on his projectiles and his grab aerial. With the exception of up tilt, his close-ranged attacks cannot reliably combo most of the time. His recovery can be problematic as well, since Spin Attack can be easily gimped and only covers mediocre distance. As a result, Toon Link must make use of his wall jump and Hookshot more often than not. Despite being a fairly floaty character, most of his aerials also have a lot of ending lag, so they do not chain very well into each other. While his grabs all boast long ranges and have had their ending lag significantly decreased since Brawl, they are still slow; this is further compounded by his back throw being his only throw with KO potential. Toon Link's floatiness also makes him susceptible to strong vertical attacks.
In regard to custom moves, Toon Link has a number of notable ones at his disposal. Fire Arrow is an incredibly useful tool for spacing, allowing him to control his opponents' approaches, as well as jab lock at any percent or lead into a number of options and finishers from an arrow on the ground. Floating Boomerang is a very useful combo option to catch opponents off guard if used correctly, making it excellent for combos due to the large amount of hitstun it deals. Flying Spin Attack is an excellent KOing option and is even more reliable at snapping the edge. Finally, Short-Fused Bomb is great for increased damage, making it useful for ranged punishment, starting combos, and is a powerful KOing option as well. As a result, Toon Link's custom moves can result in his already useful zoning capability becoming even more potent.
Ultimately, Toon Link's most reliable KOing options require him to rack up damage, and his combo game is largely reliant on his projectiles. However, he is still an effective character when his zoning ability, projectiles' utility and grab game are properly utilized.
Changes from Brawl
In the transition from Brawl to SSB4, Toon Link received both buffs and nerfs, but was slightly nerfed overall. He gained some important buffs to his speed, projectile utility and most notably, his grab game. After previously possessing arguably the worst grab game in Brawl due to having the short grab range for a character with a tether grab, very high ending lag overall and nearly useless throws, all of these faults have been noticeably improved. He now has far less ending lag on a missed grab and his back throw is now a potent KOing option, especially near the edge. Additionally, as Bombs no longer damaging Toon Link on contact with opponent, they are now very useful in melee combat when combined with his Boomerang, particularly when followed up with finishers like his forward aerial.
Toon Link has also received some noticeable nerfs however, most prominently to his power, recovery and combo game. Although his Hookshot now reaches incredibly far to grab edges off-stage, vertical recovery without a wall has been made more difficult with his Spin Attack's range having been slightly shortened. His back aerial, which was an incredibly useful combo option in Brawl, now has much more ending lag, making it very hard to combo with. While his down aerial can now meteor smash when sweetspotted, it no longer bounces on opponents, making it much harder to use for both spacing and damage racking. Overall, while his potency has been toned down somewhat since Brawl, Toon Link is still ranked above average on the tier list and has seen above average tournament results, courtesy of professionals like Hyuga and Zan.
Toon Link has been slightly buffed via game updates. Update 1.0.6 saw his Hero's Shield become capable of blocking the lasers from Fox's and Falco's Blasters, resulting in Toon Link now being capable of properly blocking any and all characters' projectiles so long as he stands still or walks. Update 1.1.0 saw his grab game improved even further, as his pivot and dash grabs come out.
Unlike his alternate timeline counterpart, however, Toon Link is neither helped or hindered by the changes to the shield mechanics brought about by updates 1.1.0 and 1.1.1. Lastly, update 1.1.4 improved his forward smash by enabling its first hit to connect with its second hit better.
Technical changelist 1.1.4
In competitive play
Tier placement and history
Since the SSB4's release, Toon Link had high expectations as a character due to his success in Brawl. While players realized he had lost some of his potency from Brawl, the adoption of a new playstyle that is more reliant on his Bomb allowed him to attain roughly the same potency that he did in Brawl. Despite not achieving many tournament results, professionals like Anaky, Hyuga, Sigma and Zan have achieved very favorable tournament results in their respective regions, with Hyuga in particular placing 3rd at Smash Factor 4. Opinions of Toon Link became even more positive when Hyuga announced his participation in GENESIS 3, where he placed 9th. While a decent amount of the cast have achieved good tournament results as well, Toon Link's success resulted in him being ranked 22nd on the first tier list, placing him in the D tier.
Expectations of Toon Link remained high thanks to Hyuga placing 9th at Pound 2016, 4th at 2GGT: Mexico Saga and 5th at CEO 2016, while Zan also achieved good results at 2GGaming tournaments. As such, Toon Link is currently ranked 17th, placing him at the top of the C tier and in the middle of the high-tier. However, Hyuga's inactivity has resulted in Toon Link's tournament representation decreasing noticeably despite a few notable placings, such as Ri-ma placing 13th at The Big House 6. As a result, Toon Link's tier placement is often considered to be somewhat too high, though Hyuga announcing his comeback could result in his tier placement remaining stable.
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