Zelda (ゼルダ, Zerudā) is one of the more unique characters in the lineup for Super Smash Bros. Melee. Zelda's most notable traits are her array of powerful magical attacks and her unique ability to transform herself into her alter ego, Sheik. This alternate form is very different from Zelda, and each was intended to help balance the other's weaknesses, so that ideally, one would change between the two so to match the flow of battle.
Zelda is 19th on the tier list, in the B tier. Zelda's positive attributes include an effective KO move with her Lightning Kick, as well as powerful attacks with transcendent priority. Additionally, Zelda has a somewhat long recovery, though it has few options that allow it to be extended. Zelda's primary weakness is her poor movement, due to having the slowest dash speed in the game, slow falling, and air speed, resulting in a short, slow wavedash. Zelda also lacks effective combos due to her high knockback moves, preventing her from easily racking up damage. This contributes to Zelda having poor matchups against others, though she does have a few even matchups against those higher than her, such as Dr. Mario.
Zelda does not fall under any specific archetype of characters, due to her unusual properties as a fighter; she has a slew of powerful finishers, such as her Lightning Kick, but she is of average weight. Additionally, Zelda has a slow falling speed and a high traction, leading to a very short, albeit fast, wavedash.
One of Zelda's strengths is the perhaps surprising amount of power. Within the air, her forward and back aerials of the Lightning Kick can KO at as low as 70% to 80%, and her up air has a large hitbox that can also KO opponents. On the ground, Zelda's up tilt is surprisingly powerful (on par with Marth's up tilt), and its long duration and large radius allows it to be relatively useful under most circumstances. Zelda's up and forward smash attacks are also surprisingly powerful and they have high damage output due to their multiple hits.
In addition, Zelda has a variety of fast attacks, such as her down smash (which is the fastest in the game) and her forward and back aerials, both of which, as mentioned earlier, are among the most powerful in the game. As an added bonus, many of Zelda's attacks have transcendent priority; combined with an average reach in most of her attacks, Zelda has potential to stop others' attacks with her own
Additionally, Zelda has a decent grab game; her grab range is moderately high, being the ninth longest in the game. Her up throw, at low percentages, has chain throw potential and her down throw's trajectory can lead to combos with her forward or back aerial. Additionally, her forward and back throws are rather powerful, and their resulting trajectory can lead to some edgeguarding games.
However, Zelda is strongly held back by having one of the worst approach games in the game. On the ground, Zelda has a poor dashing speed, a short wavedash, and a slow dash dance; combined with decidedly average range in her attacks, Zelda cannot effectively attack or counterattack on the ground. Zelda doesn't fare better in the air; despite an above average air speed, Zelda suffers from poor jumping height, a low falling speed, and a high short hop, leading to a poor SHFFL and equally poor combo game. Zelda's lack of an effective projectile also prevents her from attacking from afar; Din's Fire is too laggy and weak to be an effective projectile.
In addition to a poor approach on the ground, Zelda's high knockback attacks and poor aerial game gives Zelda an almost non-existent comboing game, with many of her combos only lasting two or three hits, most of which that don't deal significant damage or set up for other approaches. Her forward and up smashes also suffer from SDI problems, as opponents can easily SDI out of them before the last, most powerful hit can harm them.
Zelda also suffers from having generally situation specials (save Transform). Nayru's Love can only harm attackers in short ranges, and it has high ending lag and it doesn't protect her from attacks above her. Din's Fire, as mentioned earlier, doesn't significantly aid her approach and it too suffers from high ending lag. Farore's Wind, while covering long distances, lacks a powerful offensive hitbox on its start, and lacks one altogether when reentering, making Zelda very easy to edgeguard and/or edgehog.
For a gallery of Zelda's hitboxes, see here.
 Other attacks
 In Competitive play
 Notable players
 Tier placement and history
Zelda was ranked extremely high on the first tier list, tying for 6th place with Samus and Luigi. However, she almost instantly fell down to the lower tiers, and is currently ranked 19th on the tier list, overshadowed by many characters who she was once considered better over. This large drop in position can be attributed to Zelda's undesirable combination of traits, being floaty, light, yet tall, and a very slow dash speed, poor wavedash, and poor hitbox placement on most of her moves. This deterred many from using her in serious play, and many opt to use her alternate form, Sheik, instead. Zelda has also made very little impact in tournaments; her only players, Cosmo and The Lake, are semi-inactive and usually do not place high enough to earn money in any large tournament; usually, the only time when Zelda shows up amongst top level play is when Sheik players transform into her off-stage to take advantage of her longer recovery where they would normally not be able to recover otherwise.
 In single-player modes
 In Classic Mode
In the Classic Mode, Zelda can appear in the ordinary 1 on 1 battles, on a team with either Link, Marth, Young Link, Peach or Bowser, or in the game's metal battle. In her appearances, Zelda appears on Temple, though she appears on Great Bay when with Young Link, and on Battlefield when with Bowser and in the metal battle.
 In Adventure Mode
Zelda's sole appearance in the Adventure Mode is in the second portion of Stage 3, the Underground Maze. The player has to fight against her on the Temple stage to progress in the mode.
 In All-Star Mode
In All-Star Mode, Zelda and her allies are fought on the Temple stage.
 In Event Matches
Zelda is featured in the following event matches:
 Ending images
Zelda and Sheik share ending images for the one-player modes, as well as the same cinematic; clearing the mode with one also gives the player both of their trophies.
 Trophy descriptions
The crown princess of Hyrule. Zelda entrusted Link with the future of Hyrule after a revelation came to her in the world of dreams. She knows much about the Triforce; in fact, the only person who likely knows more about Triforce lore is Ganondorf himself, whom Zelda evaded in Ocarina of Time by transforming into her alter ego, Sheik.
Game: The Legend of Zelda [07/87]
In addition to the normal trophy about Zelda as a character, there are two trophies about her as a fighter, unlocked by completing the Adventure and All-Star modes respectively with Zelda on any difficulty: