Ganondorf (ガノンドロフ, Ganondorf) returns from Super Smash Bros. Melee in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, where he is a playable character. The director of The Legend of Zelda, Eiji Aonuma, hinted that Ganondorf would return as a playable character when he stated that he sent his (Ganondorf), Link, and Sheik's Twilight Princess designs to Masahiro Sakurai . He was ultimately confirmed on March 18, 2008.
Ganondorf is now voiced by Hironori Miyata, his voice actor from Twilight Princess, albeit via reused voice clips from the game, replacing Takashi Nagasako, from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Melee.
Ganondorf is ranked dead last on the tier list, in which he is ranked 38th out of 38 characters in Brawl, his worst tier placement in the Smash series to date. This is a significant drop from his position on the Melee tier list, where he was 14th out of 26. Ganondorf's few strengths include high power throughout his moveset, respectable endurance, strong momentum cancelling capabilities, fearsome edgeguarding abilities, access to the most powerful meteor smash in his down aerial, and a great semi-spike in his up aerial. Ganondorf has also gained a new combo starter in Flame Choke and a superjump glitch in the Flight of Ganon.
However, these strengths are eclipsed by a slew of significant flaws. Ganondorf's overall mobility and frame data are among the slowest, if not the slowest in the game, with King Dedede just barely beating him. His recovery is possibly his biggest flaw, being one of the worst recoveries in Brawl; he has the third-lowest double jump in the game, Flame Choke covers minimal horizontal distance and is easily edge-guarded due to its slow speed and lack of protection, and aerial Wizard's Foot no longer restores his double jump. In particular, Dark Dive is likewise slow and its newly added hitbox at the move's climax is not sufficient enough to defend from edge-guarding, while it has also lost all of its KO power and now KOs past the Sudden Death range (300%), allowing opponents to hit Ganondorf out of it as soon as the move completes. His useful chain-grab options, the changes to hitstun, and his overall moveset were all heavily nerfed from Melee, severely weakening his KO and combo ability. Additionally, many of his moves either have large sourspots (his forward aerial, for example) or cannot KO at realistic percentages (like his aforementioned Dark Dive). Also, the loss of L-cancelling has harmed him far more than any other character in Brawl, as he is no longer able to safely use his powerful, yet laggy aerials for general usage. Most of Ganondorf's attacks either have poor reach for a character of his size or possess inconveniently placed hitboxes, putting him at a serious disadvantage against characters with long reach or disjointed hitboxes (like Marth, Snake, or Ike). In addition, his grab is not only slow, but also the shortest-reaching grab in the series, which combines with his slow attacks to give him poor out of shield options. While his great weight gives him strong endurance potential, it also makes him susceptible to chain grabs and combos (with a few being capable of zero-deathing him outright). Plus, his shield is unusually small, making it vulnerable to shield stabbing, similar to Donkey Kong. Finally, his lack of any projectile makes him easily camped and leaves him with little approach options or the ability to force approaches.
As a result, Ganondorf has had the third-highest tier drop from Melee to Brawl (behind Captain Falcon and Jigglypuff for the second-highest and highest, respectively), with terrible tournament results and no advantageous or even match-ups (Donkey Kong also had this problem in the Japanese Version of Smash 64). He has the highest number of hard counters out of any character in the series at 17, in addition to 5 nearly unwinnable match-ups. He is also the only character in the whole series to have ever been placed in his own tier at the bottom of the tier list. This incarnation of Ganondorf is often considered the worst character in the history of Smash. However, he is ranked 31st, rather than dead last, on the Japanese tier list.
How to unlock
Complete one of the following:
With the exception of the third method, Ganondorf must then be defeated on Final Destination.
Ganondorf is a heavy, fast falling, very slow character (the slowest to be exact) with sub-par range and strong attacks. His attacks, though only in the sweetspot, deal above average knockback, although this can also serve as a problem since it prevents him from comboing at medium damage percentages or higher. His side special grants him armor (only helpful in team battles or Free-for-alls) while he is holding the opponent, and it leaves opponents vulnerable for a bit of time if used on the ground, leaving them open for another quick attack being a true set up like down tilt (on most characters), his jab, or several characters getting hit by dash attack and side tilt for KOs, and even his up aerial on platforms. In the air, Ganondorf's side special can cause a Ganoncide, although it is situational because even when it is impossible to escape from it or control the trajectory, landing it is very hard work, and the results in a last-stock situation are unpredictable. Ganondorf's moves are arguably the least affected by Smash DI because he has the lowest number of multi-hitting moves (his down smash and his neutral aerial are his only moves considered to be a multi-hitting move; however, his neutral aerial's second hit will almost never connect at higher percentages), effectively rendering escape and punishment of his attacks ineffective, although his attacks are a lot easier to shield or dodge. Ganondorf's dash attack provides him with a quick speed boost, and the move is a hard hitter as well and can also KO, but it is easily punished if shielded. Ganondorf's aerials are also very strong; all have high knockback and strong edgeguarding potential; his up aerial is a very useful semi-spike that can gimp opponents due to its high hitstun and his down aerial is an extremely strong, reliable meteor smash that is the strongest in the game (sometimes can KO even at 0%, depending from how far the opponent is from the lower blast line). Ganondorf`s advanced superjump glitch, the Flight of Ganon, is very situational, but, if done right, he travels far higher in the air than any of his aerial options, allowing him to escape pressure, and allows him to set up an aerial reverse Warlock Punch, his strongest move.
However, Ganondorf's high power and heavy weight are counter-balanced with a slew of flaws. Ganondorf is the tallest fighter in the game, a problem shared with other heavyweights. His horizontal standing grab range is the shortest in the game (though his pivot grab has good range, but slower start-up). Because of his poor grab range, slow moves, and short distanced rolls, his out of shield options are some of the least effective in the game (though his grab is the shortest in the game, it can sometimes still shield grab depending on the range of the opponent's attack and the shieldstun of it), forcing him to rely on powershielding, and because of how much he relies on his shield that hasn't the size of characters like Snake without being able to punish the opponent, it makes him easy to shield-stab with multi-hit moves. Ganondorf also has difficulty jumping out of shield due to the significant jump lag (7 frames). Ganondorf has poor air speed, and a very small second jump (though it auto-sweetspots ledges, allowing him to plank). He lacks a projectile and he is easy to outcamp for those who have a projectile. Ganondorf's mobility is also very poor with his poor air speed and ground speed; because of this, characters with a good projectile can easily break his approach and force him to jump and still get very little distance. Ganondorf's overall ground attack speed is among the slowest in the game along with Ike (but three of Ganondorf's aerial attacks are only laggy if he lands while attacking; Ganondorf's fastest ground attack is his short-ranged grab which has 7 frames start-up).
Although his weight and good momentum canceling allows Ganondorf to potentially live up to very high percents, his slow, predictable and easily gimped recovery compromises this, being among the worst in the game. His main recovery move, Dark Dive, not only gains little distance, but it can be hit out of from above by certain characters where he lacks hitboxes (e.g. Falco, at around 90% damage, can spike Ganondorf out of his up special with his down aerial). It can poorly stage spike edgehoggers, but Dark Dive is easily teched, and in fact the uppercut at the end is stronger than the primary attack (which can reliably KO starting at 300%). Because of these reasons, Ganondorf's up special is one of the worst in the game and is practical only when used offensively if the opponent is at a low percent or is one of the few who cannot punish it. Although his overall damage input and KO power allows to compensate his terrible recovery somewhat, it still lacks sufficient utility, as opponents can act as soon as they are let go, while Ganondorf must wait for a while before attacking, giving enemies the chance to attack Ganon as soon as he lets go. He, like Captain Falcon and Wolf, has a fast falling speed and a heavy weight that can backfire by making him vulnerable to chain grabs from the Ice Climbers and King Dedede. Also, certain characters can avoid much of his moveset by crouching (jab, f-tilt, non-down angled forward smash, down smash, auto-canceled short hop down aerial, Warlock Punch, grounded Wizard's Foot and even standing grab and dash grab).
Additionally, despite him having some useful combo starters at low percentages, Ganondorf is otherwise virtually unable to combo past low-mid percents. Ganondorf cannot pursue his opponents with most of his other moves both in the air and on the ground due to his low air speed, his abysmal overall mobility, the high knockback of most of his attacks, and the ability to act out of hitstun, which makes him nearly incapable of consistently and efficiently racking up damage above mid percents. As mentionned earlier, he does have some decent combo starters in his short hop auto-cancelled down aerial and his Flame Choke. However, both moves are flawed in the same way: they have long start-up lag and are as such extremely predictable and avoidable. Furthermore, his Flame Choke has high ending lag if missed and requires proper reads in order to effectively tech-chase and combo his opponent repeatedly, while his down aerial no longer set ups into any of his other moves above mid percentages.
Changes from Melee to Brawl
Ganondorf's overall moveset has received an overhaul from Melee. While he still shares some moves from Captain Falcon, he has received different animations and moves that now makes him a semi-clone rather than a full clone.
Despite being a low-mid tier in Melee while also receiving some good buffs, Ganondorf was immensely nerfed from Melee, being one of the most nerfed characters in the transition alongside Jigglypuff and one of the most severely nerfed characters in the entire series. His already slow mobility has been weakened, and some of his moves have less reach (despite his tall stature), leaving him very easily out-maneuvered and vulnerable from all sides. His comboing and KOing ability also have been severely crippled: his grabs can no longer chain throw nor set-up effectively as before; and his great power has been toned down to being only slightly above-average, due to his moves either being drastically weakened to the point where they cannot K.O. even at 200% or have received extremely large sourspots that cannot KO reliably, most notably his forward aerial, the crux of his metagame in Melee. Finally, his already poor recovery was significantly weakened to be among the worst, with his main recovery move (Dark Dive) being completely unsafe on hit.
On the other hand, he did receive a few notable buffs. His air speed is much faster (although still among the slowest), his forward tilt now semi-spikes and is effective against enemies with weak recoveries, his up and down tilts have significantly improved range, and he now has the highest damaging forward throw in the game. Warlock Punch and aerial Wizard's Foot are much stronger, and Dark Dive now has a hitbox at the move's climax that provides decent protection against edgeguarders, along with being able to grab ledge-hangers. Arguably the biggest buff he received is a new side special, Flame Choke, which gives Ganondorf a combo starter and tech-chasing move. However, none of these are significant enough to counterbalance the nerfs he had received, while most of these moves were also nerfed as well.
In competitive play
Ganondorf has, unarguably, the worst matchup spread not only in Brawl, but in the entire Smash series. Being one of two characters in any game to hold this distinction (the other being Donkey Kong in the Japanese version of Smash 64), he has a losing matchup against every other character. He is soft countered by 3 characters, countered by 11 characters, hard countered by 17 characters, and has 5 nearly unwinnable matchups. Characters can overwhelm him with blinding attack speed (Meta Knight and Sheik), outcamp him at any range (Olimar and Falco), or chain grab him to death (Ice Climbers and King Dedede), all of which almost completely nullify his strong punish game. Ultimately, Ganondorf is completely outmatched by every character in the game, and is the only positive matchup for some characters (Captain Falcon, Jigglypuff, and Zelda).
Tier placement and history
Ganondorf initially was not seen as the worst character, being ranked above Link and Captain Falcon on the first tier list, and was still ranked above Captain Falcon on the second tier list. From the third tier list on however, Ganondorf was consistently ranked the worst character, and on the fifth tier list, was considered to be so much worse than everyone else he was ranked in his own tier at the absolute bottom. Despite his reputation as the worst character, he had a dedicated playerbase that achieved better tournament success than most other bottom/low tier characters (however minor it was). A player named Fonz even once won a legitimate tournament using Ganondorf (except for in one game), an accomplishment players of most other low/bottom tier characters have not been able to replicate. As such, with Ganondorf's better tournament success compared to most other low/bottom characters, there was some dispute near the end of Brawl's active life on if Ganondorf was actually the worst character in the game, with Zelda and Jigglypuff frequently being cited as even worse. Interestingly, the Japanese do not consider Ganondorf the worst character, and actually have him listed above five other characters on their tier list. Despite the arguments in favor of Ganon and his slightly superior results compared to other bottom tier characters, the BBR still considered him the worst character in their final tier list.
Role in The Subspace Emissary
Ganondorf plays the role of the secondary antagonist (under Tabuu) alongside Bowser in the Subspace Emissary. Ganondorf first appears in a control room on the Isle of the Ancients, where Zero Suit Samus was in to find her Power Suit, giving Bowser the coordinates to find King Dedede, who had stolen Wario's trophies.
Later, in the same control room, he receives orders from Master Hand to destroy the Isle of the Ancients. Appearing in their island base as a hologram, he consequently orders the R.O.B. Squad to activate all of the Subspace Bombs on the Isle. When the Ancient Minister objects, Ganondorf presses an override button that forces the R.O.B.s to ignore the Minister and continue. When he continues to intervene, Ganondorf goes further and forces the R.O.B.s to attack the Ancient Minister, setting him aflame; while sending a flock of Auroros to distract an approaching group of heroes. Suddenly, the burning Ancient Minister fires beams from his eyes, destroying the Auroros and shedding the remnants of his robes to show that he himself is a R.O.B., and proceeds to help the others fight the advancing Subspace troops.
After the Isle of the Ancients is engulfed in Subspace, Ganondorf appears on the Subspace Gunship as its co-commander, with Bowser, but they are forced to retreat into Subspace when the Gunship is destroyed by Kirby and his Dragoon. Ganondorf then decides it is time to betray Master Hand, so he takes out the last remaining Dark Cannon and fires it at Bowser, his own co-captain and the most loyal of Master Hand's henchmen. Kicking the Bowser trophy out of the way, Ganondorf proceeds to present himself to Master Hand. However, as he prepares to betray Master Hand for complete control of the Subspace Army, he sees that Master Hand was literally a puppet of Tabuu, the supreme ruler of Subspace. Ganondorf tries to attack him, but is quickly defeated and turned into a trophy. As he falls, however, he bumps into the chains of light which puppeteer Master Hand, freeing him from Tabuu's control. Master Hand then attempts to attack Tabuu, but is also defeated with ease.
Later, after the main group of heroes had been defeated by Tabuu and rescued by Luigi, Ness and King Dedede, Kirby finds Ganondorf's trophy - leading the resurrected Bowser to appear and brutally attack the trophy as an act of revenge for shooting him with a dark cannon before tossing it aside. If both Link and Zelda were rescued, a cutscene will show Ganondorf being revived by them (with a headache from his trophification and Bowser's retaliation) and after the Hyrulian heroes walk away, he clenches his fist in anger and reluctantly decides to help the heroes travel through The Great Maze in order to defeat Tabuu.
Ganondorf appears frequently during The Subspace Emissary.
These stickers can only be used by Ganondorf or by a select few including him:
In Event Matches