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Ganondorf (SSBM)

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This article is about Ganondorf's appearance in Super Smash Bros. Melee. For the character in other contexts, see Ganondorf.
in Super Smash Bros. Melee
Ganondorf in Super Smash Bros. Melee.
Universe The Legend of Zelda
Other playable appearances in Brawl
in SSB4
in Ultimate
Availability Unlockable
Tier C+ (14) (North America)
E (14) (Europe)

Ganondorf (ガノンドロフ, Ganondorf) appears as an unlockable playable character in Super Smash Bros. Melee. His design (and model) is directly taken from his appearance from the SpaceWorld 2000 GameCube tech demo, which is itself based on his appearance in his original Gerudo form from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Ganondorf is a clone of Captain Falcon, and as such, he fights in a brawler style similar to Captain Falcon, but in a slower, more powerful manner.

Ganondorf is voiced by Takashi Nagasako, who reprises his role from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, albeit via repurposed voice clips.

Ganondorf currently ranks 14th in the C+ tier on the Melee tier list, which is his best placement in the series. Ganondorf boasts extreme power, good reach, decent chaingrabbing ability, and very useful aerials, including the strongest meteor smash in the game in his down aerial. He also has several effective edgeguarding options including the aforementioned down aerial, both the strong and weak hitboxes of his up aerial, and his back aerial. Nonetheless, Ganondorf has extreme flaws to counteract these great strengths as well. He has a bad neutral game due to his poor dash dance and lack of non-committal approaching moves, forcing Ganondorf players to rely more on reads and baits, and the punishes that come with them. However, Ganondorf is also very susceptible to punishes himself, as he is easily comboed and chaingrabbed due to his size and weight, and is very easily edgeguarded due to his very predictable (albeit long) recovery; however, the latter would be among the worst should the aerial Wizard's Foot be absent during the process. He is also vulnerable to projectiles and has few ways to deal with characters that outrange him or have very fast attacks. Because of this, while Ganondorf has good matchups against characters ranked lower than him, and a few high tiers reliant on wavedashing for movement, he struggles to maintain ground against top-tier characters, such as Fox and Sheik.

How to unlock[edit]

To unlock Ganondorf, players must complete Event 29: Triforce Gathering or play 600 VS. matches.

Upon completing this, Ganondorf is fought on Final Destination, with the track "Great Bay" playing.


As a slower, larger clone of Captain Falcon, Ganondorf sacrifices speed for power and range. He is often considered to be the most powerful character in the game, boasting as many as sixteen KO options. This is counteracted by his poor mobility, as he has the 6th slowest dashing speed, the 3rd slowest air speed, and a rather short and slow wavedash. However, he possesses techniques that can partially circumvent his low speed, such as the Moonwalk, a great platform-dashing game, and one of the fastest and longest rolls.

One of Ganondorf's most notable strengths is his extreme power and damage output. His up smash, though laggy, is the strongest in the game if fully charged and both hits connect. His neutral special, Warlock Punch, and his notorious up tilt are two of the slowest moves in the game (the latter is the slowest), but can KO as low as 30%. His down aerial is both the strongest aerial attack and meteor smash in the game; it is notoriously difficult to meteor cancel regardless of damage percentage and is nearly impossible to recover from, even at low percentages, and can reliably star KO some grounded characters under 100%. Ganondorf's powerful attacks are counterbalanced by their slowness, but although most of his aerial attacks have long periods of landing lag, Ganondorf is perhaps the character that benefits the most from L-canceling, as it allows him to effectively combo other characters.

Despite Ganondorf's extreme power, he does not suffer from poor combo ability due to the knockback in his attacks, as he manages to retain some of the excellent combo ability from his clone. His aerials flow very well into each other, and when L-canceled, he can chase his opponents and land a follow-up despite his poor air speed. Due to his benefit from L-canceling, a low short hop, and decent falling speed, Ganondorf has a good SHFFL. The core of Ganondorf's combos lie in his grab game; despite a rather poor grab range, his throws have immense versatility, and his up and down throws are excellent launchers, as well as effective chain-grabs. His forward and back throws can also set up edgeguards.

Ganondorf's greatest strength, however, is his superb edge-guarding game. Despite his poor air speed, he is one of the best edge-guarders, with more aerial guarding options than any other character in the game; all of his aerials deal high damage and knockback and are guaranteed to knock foes offstage; his down air is an extremely powerful meteor smash, and Wizard's Foot is a non-recoverable spike. In particular, his sourspotted reversed up aerial (performed while facing away from the edge) is one of the best gimping moves in the game because of its long duration, range, semi-spiking knockback (hard to tech out of) at a 20° (rear hitbox) or 0° (rear bottom hitbox) trajectory with gravity following suit, extremely high hitstun, and cannot be DI'd due to its low knockback.

Ganondorf's major weakness is his poor approach and neutral game. Although his weight and quick falling speed enables him to live longer, they also make him highly susceptible to combos and chaingrabs. His mobility and approach are ultimately crippled by his short, relatively slow wavedash and poor dashing and air speeds. A lack of a projectile also makes it difficult for him to break opposing camping. He also has a very poor dash-dance, as it is among the shortest in the game and leaves him vulnerable to being camped or rushed down. Additionally, he lacks safe moves that allow him to approach noncommittally. As a result, Ganondorf is dependent on punishing opponents through reads and baits.

Ganondorf is also regarded as one of the most easily edge-guarded and edge-hogged characters in the game. On paper, he has a long, extendable horizontal recovery, thanks to his down special, Wizard's Foot, which is one of the only two specials that allow the character to regain their midair jump (the other being Falcon Kick, but is considered inferior to Wizard's Foot because of how much farther downward it travels and Captain Falcon's higher falling speed). Ganondorf's aforementioned abysmal air speed prevents him from efficiently moving off-stage, and his mid-air jumps fail to give enough height to reliably recover offstage. This makes edgehogging very threatening if Ganondorf is positioned poorly offstage.

Overall, Ganondorf is a powerhouse; with some of the strongest moves in the game, he can easily KO the entire Melee cast at very lower percents with his powerful moves. All that's holding him back are his unimpressive mobility and prediction-reliant neutral game, requiring players to play a bait-and punish style to try and land his powerful moves while being careful not to get attacked himself.

Differences from Captain Falcon[edit]

Ganondorf struggles more often than Captain Falcon due to his slower mobility and a weaker combo game, causing Ganondorf to be more prediction-reliant when approaching and having more difficulty in competing with faster characters like Fox or Sheik. However, Ganondorf boasts noticeably stronger attacks, a more dangerous edgeguarding game, and greater reach. He also has no sourspots on his attacks barring his forward tilt, and still retains a few of Captain Falcon's good combo starters, enabling him to still have an good combo game. Despite being designed as a "slower" Captain Falcon, almost all of Ganondorf's moves have the exact same frame data in terms of start-up and ending lag, although all his aerials do have much higher landing lag. A few of Ganondorf's moves also have different knockback angles, usually toward vertically rather than horizontally. Finally, Ganondorf has more electric effects in addition to darkness on his attacks, with only one move (up tilt) using flame.


  • Change Ganondorf is physically larger and taller than Captain Falcon, giving his attacks more reach. However, this increased size also increases his hurtbox, thus making him easier to hit.
  • Change Ganondorf is heavier than Captain Falcon (104 → 109), granting him better horizontal and slightly vertical endurance, but makes him easier to combo.
  • Buff Ganondorf's ledge jump is higher than Captain Falcon's, being the highest in the game.
  • Buff Ganondorf's rolls cover more distance than Captain Falcon's.
  • Buff Ganondorf's wavedash is longer than Captain Falcon's.
  • Buff Ganondorf's spot dodge has 1 less frame of startup (3-20 → 2-20).
    • Change Spot dodge has a altered animation.
  • Nerf Ganondorf's walk speed (0.85 → 0.73), dash speed (2.3 → 1.35), air speed (1.12 → 0.78), and jump and midair jump height are all lower than Captain Falcon's.
  • Nerf Ganondorf's jumpsquat is slower (4 → 6) than Captain Falcon's, slowing his ability to be airborne and perform aerials and wavedashes.
  • Nerf Ganondorf cannot wall jump.
  • Nerf Ganondorf's falling speed is much slower than Falcon's (2.9 → 2), making his vertical endurance worse despite being heavier. Given the fact that Ganondorf would still be as easy to combo as Falcon due to other factors in spite of this, including his weight and stature, as well as his recovery still being worse due to a lower double jump and significantly lower air speed, it does not provide any benefit whatsoever.
  • Change Captain Falcon's attacks that deal flame damage, such as forward smash, Falcon Punch, Raptor Boost, and Falcon Kick, are replaced by darkness for Ganondorf's counterparts.

Ground attacks[edit]

  • Neutral attack:
    • Change Neutral attack is changed to be only a single palm strike.
      • Change The single hit deals only 7% (palm)/8% (body), it makes it deal more than the first two hits (2% (hit 1)/3% (hit 2)) and the roughly the same damage as the Gentleman (8% (clean)/6% (late) individually, but does less damage than Captain Falcon's if all hits of his jab were to connect.
      • Buff It has a larger hitbox on the palm than Falcon's Jab 1 (3.5154u → 3.906u).
      • Buff It has higher base knockback than the Gentleman (20 → 30).
      • Nerf It has more ending lag than Falcon's Jab 1 (IASA 16 → 19).
      • Nerf It does not have a rapid jab
    • Change It has an electric effect.
  • Forward tilt:
    • Buff It deals more damage overall (11% (unangled)/12%/11% (angled up)/10%/11% (angled down) → 13%/12%/11% (unangled)/14%/13%/12% (angled up)/12%/11%/10% (angled down))
    • Buff It has more base knockback (10 → 20), being the third strongest forward tilt in the game.
    • Buff It has a larger hitbox at the foot (4.2966u → 5.0778u).
    • Buff Its sweetspot hitboxes are positioned at the foot rather than up close when angled down, making it better for spacing.
  • Up tilt:
    • Buff Up tilt deals significantly more damage (13% → 27%) with drastically higher base knockback (50 → 110), able to KO from center under 25% and at 0% near ledges and is thus the strongest tilt in the game.
    • Nerf Up tilt has drastically more startup (17 frames → 81) and catastropically higher ending lag (38 frames → 115), making it impossible to land in almost any circumstance outside of rest or shield break punishes, edgeguarding, or deceptive mindgames. It also lacks a hitbox as Ganondorf brings his foot down, giving the move less vertical range.
    • Change Up tilt has a wind effect while the leg is lifted up and an explosive effect that deals flame damage when the leg strikes the ground.
  • Down tilt:
    • Buff Down tilt has significantly higher knockback (25 base/75 growth → 30 base/100 growth), being the fourth most powerful down tilt in Melee, while still being a useful combo starter at lower percentages.
    • Nerf Down tilt has a shorter duration (10-15 → 10-12).
  • Dash attack:
    • Buff Dash attack deals more damage (10%/7% → 14%/10%) and knockback (22 base/90 growth → 40 base/80 growth), improving its KO potential, while still being a useful combo starter.
    • Buff Dash attack's hitboxes are placed a little further out, increasing the move's range. They are also positioned higher.
    • Change Dash attack has a different launch angle (361° → 115° (clean)/110° (late)).
  • Forward smash:
    • Buff Forward smash has much higher knockback (24 base/100 growth → 40 base/80, 83, and 85 growth), damage (20% (forward)/21% (up)/19% (down) → 22%/24%/20%), and range.
    • Nerf Forward smash has more startup lag (18 frames → 20).
    • Nerf Forward smash launches opponents at a higher angle (361° (all) → 80° (up)/70° (forward)/60° (down)).
  • Up smash:
    • Buff Up smash deals consistent and increased more damage (8%/14% (hit 1)/13%/12% (hit 2) → 22%/19%) and knockback (base 30/growth 128 → 50 base/40 (hit 1), 80 (hit 2) growth), being the most damaging up smash in the game if both hits connect.
    • Buff Both hits have more active frames (21-22 → 21-23 (hit 1), 27-28 → 26-29 (hit 2)), which also shrinks the frame gap between the 2 hits.
    • Change Both hits have a bigger hitbox on the foot, increasing the move's vertical range. However, the first hit of Ganondorf's version lacks the hitbox on the ground in front of him, reducing the move's horizontal range and worsening its ability to hit grounded opponents.
    • Nerf Up smash is less useful as a combo move and the hits do not link as reliably above very low percentages.
  • Down smash:
    • Change Down smash's hits naturally combo into each other as opposed strong hitting once.
      • Buff This allows it to deal more damage than Captain Falcon's if both hits connect (18%/16% → 22%/20%).
      • Nerf Due to being a multi-hit, it naturally makes it less reliable due to risk of the opponent falling out and being more vulnerable to SDI.
    • Change The seconds launches vertically in front of Ganondorf has opposed to horizontally (361° → 120°)
    • Buff The second kick has higher knockback despite it's lower damage (30 and 20 base/100 growth → 60 base/110 growth).
    • Nerf Both hits deal less damage on their own with the second kick having a sourspot (18% (hit 1)/16% (hit 2) → 8%/14%/12%).
    • Nerf The first hit's hitboxes are slightly smaller (3.906u/3.906u → 3.5154u/3.5154u), though it's Z-offset was compensated (5.0778u → 5.859u).
      • Buff The second hit's hitboxes are bigger with it having an extra hitbox inside of Ganondorf (3.5154u/3.5154u → 4.2966u/4.2966u/4.2966u).
    • Nerf It also has slightly more ending lag (IASA 45 → 47).

Aerial attacks[edit]

  • Nerf All aerials have more landing lag (15 frames → 25 (neutral), 19 frames → 25 (forward), 18 frames → 25 (back), 15 frames → 25 (up), 24 frames → 35 (down)).
  • Neutral aerial:
    • Change The first hit does not have fixed knockback (0 (base)/100 (growth)/40 (fixed) → 30/100/0). This allows the first hit to KO on it's own, but significantly hinders it's ability to connect into the second hit.
    • Change The first hit has an altered launch angle (82°/78°/74° → 55°/60°/65°).
    • Buff It more damage on both kicks (5%/6% (hit 1)/7% (hit 2) → 12% (both)).
    • Buff The second hit has higher base knockback (40 → 50).
    • Buff It autocancels earlier (frame 34 → 26).
    • Nerf Both hits have shorter durations (7-12 → 7-8 (hit 1), 20-29 → 20-21 (hit 2)).
    • Nerf Both hits have smaller hitboxes overall (4.2966u/5.4684u/4.2966u → 3.5154u/4.6872u/5.0778u (hit 1), 4.2966u/4.2966u/4.2966u → 3.5154u/4.6872u/5.0778u (hit 2)
    • Nerf Both hits have shorter durations (7-12 → 7-8 (hit 1), 20-29 → 20-21 (hit 2)).
    • Nerf Both hits are much harder to combo into due to their increased power and shorter durations.
  • Forward aerial:
    • Change Forward aerial has a different animation: an arcing downward punch.
    • Change It does not have a sourspot, this makes it more reliable for KO'ing, but removes the sourspot combos from Captain Falcon's Knee Smash.
    • Change It does not have an electric effect.
    • Change It has altered knockback (24 base/100 growth → 60/80).
    • Buff It has greater range due to it's different animation.
    • Buff It autocancels slightly earlier (frame 34 → 33).
    • Buff It is able to be interrupted earlier (IASA 36 → 35).
      • Nerf However, it has more ending lag overall due to move's fewer active frames.
    • Nerf It has much less active frames (frames 14-30 → 14-19).
    • Nerf It deals slightly less damage than the sweetspot of Captain Falcon's (18% → 17%).
    • Nerf It does not semi-spike (32° → 361°).
  • Back aerial
    • Buff It deals more damage (14% → 16%).
    • Buff It has increased base knockback (20/0 → 30/10).
    • Buff It has a larger hitbox on the fist (4.6872u → 5.4684u).
    • Buff It does not have a weaker late hit.
    • Buff It autocancels slightly earlier (frame 20 → 18).
    • Nerf It has fewer total active frames (10-17 → 10-15).
  • Up aerial
    • Buff It has higher base knockback (10 (clean)/8 (late) → 35 (clean)/30 (middle)/20 (late)).
    • Change It has a late hit that is active from frames 14-16 that deals 8% (body)/6% (foot) and sends at an angle of 0°.
      • Buff This makes the move significantly better for Edgeguarding due to it's low angle.
      • Buff The late hit gives the move a longer duration (6-13 → 6-16) and allows it to hit below Ganondorf.
  • Nerf Back and up aerials are less effective combo tools thanks to their increased power and Ganondorf's slower mobility.
  • Down aerial:
    • Buff Down aerial deals 6% more damage (16% → 22%) with higher base knockback (40 → 50), being the strongest meteor smash in Melee, able to KO grounded opponents under 100% while being notoriously difficult to meteor cancel. It also has larger hitboxes.
    • Nerf Down aerial's top hitbox lacks the ability to nipple spike, meaning it is always meteor cancellable regardless of which hitbox is landed. It also has transcendent priority, preventing it from cancelling out projectiles.
    • Change Down aerial has an electric effect.

Throws/other attacks[edit]

  • Change Up throw launches opponents at a different angle (85° → 90°).
  • Down throw
    • Buff Down throw launches opponents at a different angle (65° → 100°), making it more reliable for combos and chain-grabs.
    • Change Down throw has marginally more knockback scaling (34 → 36).

Special moves[edit]

  • Warlock Punch:
    • Buff Warlock Punch deals much more damage (23%/25%/27% → 30%/32%/34%) than the Falcon Punch with it's knockback not being fully compensated (scaling 102 → 100).
    • Nerf It has smaller hitboxes (3.906u/3.5154u/4.8825u (ground)/5.2731u/4.6872u/4.8825u (air)) → 2.3436u/3.906u/3.5154u (both)).
    • Nerf Warlock Punch has much more startup lag and a shorter duration than the Falcon Punch (52-56 frames → 70-72), and Ganondorf is unable to perform an equivalent to Captain Falcon's Sacred Combo due to his lower air speed and Warlock Punch's higher startup.
    • Change Warlock Punch has significantly different aesthetics from the Falcon Punch; even discounting the darkness effect, it lacks the falcon-shaped fiery aura and falcon screech during the punch.
  • Gerudo Dragon:
    • Buff Gerudo Dragon deals much more damage (7% → 17% (ground)/16% (aerial)) and some extra shield damage (0 → 10 (grounded)) compared to Raptor Boost.
    • Change Gerudo Dragon has a different angle on the ground (90° → 105°).
    • Nerf Gerudo Dragon has lower knockback values (78 base/80 growth (grounded) → 60/69, 60 base/70 growth (aerial) → 50/65), dealing less knockback at lower percents, though it still deals more knockback at higher percents due to the increased damage.
    • Nerf Gerudo Dragon covers less distance than Raptor Boost and the aerial version cannot meteor smash (270° → 70°).
    • Nerf Gerudo Dragon's detection hitboxes during the dash are positioned further back, giving the move a large negative disjoint.
    • Change When Ganondorf falls after whiffing Gerudo Dragon, the screen shakes more than when Captain Falcon whiffs Raptor Boost.
  • Dark Dive:
    • Buff Dark Dive travels slightly more vertical distance than Falcon Dive due to Ganondorf's taller stature.
    • Buff Dark Dive's grab deals four weak electric hits, which can hit opponents who attempt to intercept Ganondorf.
    • Buff Dark Dive's throw deals 3% more damage than Falcon Dive (12% → 15%), giving it more knockback which can KO reliably under 150%.
    • Nerf It covers slightly less horizontal momentum (1.1 → 0.85).
  • Wizard's Foot:
    • Buff Grounded Wizard's Foot has higher and consistent knockback than Falcon Kick (50 base/70, 60, and 50 growth → 60/85).
    • Buff Grounded Wizard's Foot has a longer duration (14-32 → 14-34).
    • Buff Aerial Wizard's Foot is also a powerful spike instead of dealing horizontal knockback like Falcon Kick (361° → 290°).
    • Buff Aerial Wizard's Foot's landing hitbox deals more damage (9% → 12%).
    • Buff Aerial Wizard's Foot is safer to use to restore Ganondorf's midair jump thanks to his lower falling speed compared to Captain Falcon.
    • Nerf Both grounded and aerial Wizard's Foot have slightly more ending lag.
    • Nerf Aerial Wizard's Foot deals 1% less damage (15% → 14%).

Version history[edit]

NTSC 1.01 addressed some oversights and bugs with Ganondorf, fixing glitches where he performs a second jab with a Bunnyhood equipped and no longer being considered grounded when using Dark Dive on the ground. The startup lag on the second hit of his neutral aerial was also increased to match the move's animation which had the side-effects of reducing it's ending lag and making it autocancel later.

The PAL version of Melee nerfed two of Ganondorf's aerials, with his forward aerial no longer being a reliable KO move (although it can combo into itself better), and his down aerial dealing less knockback and damage (while still remaining the strongest meteor smash in the game.)

NTSC 1.01

  • Bug fix Ganondorf can no longer perform the Bunnyhood double jab glitch.
  • Bug fix Ganondorf is no longer considered grounded when using grounded Dark Dive.
  • Change The second hit of neutral aerial has more startup lag (frame 16 → 20), now matching its animation.
    • Buff This decreases its ending lag as its total duration was unchanged.
    • Nerf However, this also makes it auto-cancel 4 frames later (frame 22 → 26).


  • Nerf Forward aerial has decreased base knockback (60 → 40).
  • Nerf Forward aerial has smaller hitboxes (3.125u/3.91u/5.08u → 2.734u/3.52u/4.3u).
  • Nerf Down aerial deals 1% less damage (22% → 21%) with decreased base knockback (50 → 40).


For a gallery of Ganondorf's hitboxes, see here.

Ganondorf's aerial attacks
Ganondorf performing his forward aerial after a wall tech on Captain Falcon. The move's base knockback is high enough to gimp characters with subpar recovery at any percentage.
  Name Damage Description
Neutral attack Thunder Punch (雷打, Thunder Hit) 7% (hand), 8% (body) A quick palm strike that shocks enemies on contact. Has KO potential at higher damages, but since he jabs directly in front of him, some smaller characters can easily duck under it. It hits on frame 3, making it Ganondorf's fastest attack. It is often used in combos with his other attacks, especially his down aerial.
Forward tilt Armor Crusher (アーマークラッシャー蹴) 12-14% Kicks his foot out forward. Has great speed and range for a powerful tilt (3rd most powerful forward tilt in the game), but is short in duration (3 frames). This attack is often used to space away opponents due to its speed, range, and power. The upward angled-variant is excellent at stuffing out jump-ins and is Ganon's most consistent anti-air option and fastest grounded kill move. The downward variant is helpful for sniping ledges, particularly against Fox Illusion and Falco Phantasm. Overall a very versatile and powerful spacing tool and one of the better forward tilts in the game.
Up tilt Volcano Kick (爆裂蹴, Exploding Kick) 27% Lifts up and charges his leg, then brings it down in a violent explosion. It has extremely long start-up, taking over a second to come out and nearly two seconds to finish. Though it is very powerful; it can OHKO from its extremely high base knockback if landed by an edge. It is by far the most powerful tilt in the game, and can KO even earlier than the Warlock Punch, but its abhorrent start-up combined with its deceptively poor reach limit it to only a niche ledge-trap or shield-break punish.
Down tilt Sweeping Snake (スイープスネーク) 12% Does a quick low sweep kick. Long reach, and is rewarding on hit; it can combo into most aerials for a KO. Rather slow when compared to other down tilts and extremely vulnerable to crouch cancelling. Can KO at very high percentages. Fourth most powerful down tilt in the game.
Dash attack Iron Shoulder (剛肩, Strong Shoulder) 14% (clean), 10% (late) A quick shoulder tackle. Poor combo potential, but a great burst option with decent damage output. Much more rewarding if reversed, setting up for comboes if timed right. This is the second most powerful dash attack in the game, beaten only by Samus.
Forward smash Nightmare Lunge (悪夢のランジ) 24% Lunges forward, thrusting out his elbow. Great reach thanks to how far forward Ganon steps during the thrust; it can outrange other pokes and occasionally even Marth's forward smash, but its poor start-up and cooldown render it catastrophically unsafe on block and very easy to punish. Despite being hard to Dl, forward smash can struggle to kill, especially on fastfallers, and is generally outclassed by his two other smash attacks.
Up smash Tornado Kick (竜巻キック) 22% (hit 1), 19% (hit 2) A 540 kick. It has three unique hitboxes; the first on his pelvis sends sideways with strong knockback, great for calling out high recoveries; the second is located on his thigh and is fairly rare to land, but links into the second hit to deal nearly 40%. The final hit covering his foot sends up with great knockback, consistently killing even fast-fallers below 100%. Up smash has great priority, making it a great anti-air and callout for shorthops and aerials from ledge, and is surprisingly safe on shield (-7). This move isn't without its flaws however; it loses to most ground attacks, has slow, reactable start-up and is extremely susceptible to low profiling. Knockback wise, this is the 5th most powerful up smash in the game, if only the first kick connects (only beaten by Pikachu, Fox, Sheik, and Peach).
Down smash Leg Whip (レッグウィップ) 8% (hit 1), 14% (hit 2 leg), 12% (hit 2 foot) Kicks on either side of him. One of Ganon's best launchers and his fastest smash attack in terms of startup. The first hit chains into the second, and the second hit sends upward, making down smash into an aerial a viable kill confirm on fastfallers. The first hit can rarely fail to link properly and send the opponent at a deep semi-spike angle, setting them up for an edgeguard. The move's biggest flaw is its noticeable blindspot below Ganon's leg, allowing characters that pancake their hurtboxes (e.g Marth to dodge under the move and punish him. If only the second hit connects, this is the second most powerful down smash in the game, only beaten by Marth.
Neutral aerial Swooping Keese (急降下キース) 12% (hits 1-2) Two quick mid-air kicks. Both kicks have high knockback (especially the second kick, capable of KOing under 130%), and can deal very high damage when landed in succession. The first hit can be used as a niche poke and has limited killpower and combo ability on poor DI, but rarely links into the second kick even at low percents; it's completely impossible to do so past ~25%. It's possible to land the second kick without the first one, which is occasionally useful to deter reckless approaches, but requires correct timing. With both kicks, it is the second strongest neutral aerial in the game (exceeded by Mr. Game & Watch's).
Forward aerial Skull Crusher (頭蓋骨クラッシャー, Cranium Crusher) 17% Ganondorf brings his fist down in an arc rather quickly, with impressive knockback and damage, though slightly weaker than Captain Falcon's Knee Smash. Unlike the Knee Smash, however, it always strikes with the same force, and is also just as fast as the Knee with much more reach, though it has more landing lag. KO's at 109% from the center of Final Destination. This is the fifth most powerful f-aerial in the game (Zelda, Dr. Mario, Captain Falcon, and Yoshi respectively surpass him in this regard).
Back aerial Hidden Gauntlet (隠しガントレット) 16% Punches behind him with high power. It is fast, very powerful, good for edgeguarding, and has great range. It has less base knockback than his forward aerial, but has more knockback scaling, making its power proportional to his forward aerial, knockback-wise. Has the exact amount of frames as Captain Falcon's back aerial, but unlike his, it hits with the same power throughout the entirety of the attack. KO's at 105% from the center of Final Destination. This is the second most powerful back aerial in the game (second to Zelda).
Up aerial Vulture Kick (ハゲタカキック) 13%/12% (clean), 12%/10% (mid), 8%/6% (late) Does a flip kick, covering a large arc above him. Knockback direction depends on which angle the foe was hit in. If Ganondorf is facing away from the opponent and the attack hits with the sourspot at the tip of his foot, the opponent will be semi-spiked, with low damage but extremely high hitstun. This is the sixth most powerful up aerial in the game (Bowser, Fox, Kirby, Peach, and Zelda respectively surpasses him in this regard).
Down aerial Thunder Drop (落雷蹴, Thunderbolt Kick) 22% (NTSC), 21% (PAL) Stomps both his feet downwards, with an electric effect. An extremely powerful meteor smash, and an excellent SHFFL option, with a massive hitbox that covers Ganondorf's entire body and is able to hit opponents below platforms. It is the most powerful meteor smash in the game and is overall the most powerful aerial in the game. It is capable of setting up combos at low percentages when used against grounded opponents, and serves as a great finisher on grounded opponents at high percentages. This attack has transcendent priority.

In the PAL version of the game, this move deals slightly less damage with a small decrease to knockback, but still remains a very powerful meteor smash.

Grab Grab (つかみ) Grabs with his left hand. Frame 7 startup, but one of the shorter ranged grabs in the game, beating Captain Falcon but losing to Peach.
Pummel Armored Knee (装甲膝) 3% Knees the opponent.
Forward throw Gut Punch (腸パンチ) 5% (hit 1), 4% (throw) Punches foe in front. Its only use is setting up edgeguarding situations at high percentages.
Back throw Blind Mule Kick (ブラインドラバキック) 5% (hit 1), 4% (throw) Brings foe behind him and kicks. Can set up edgeguards at high percentages.
Up throw Jaw Breaker (顎砕, Jaw Smash) 4% (hit 1), 3% (throw) Knocks his foe above him. Excellent set up for juggles and platform pressure, and can be an effective chain-grab against fast fallers until high percentages, but its high endlag makes it somewhat clunky to start setups with
Down throw Dirt Nap (ダート昼寝 7% Takes foe and slams them into the floor. Another throw well-suited for juggling. Can also chain-grab characters with average falling speeds until around 90%, and fast-fallers to about 130%. Can combo into jab then down aerial on Space animals around 50%. Comboes into all aerials at higher percentages and is one of Ganon's most common bread-and-butter kill confirms.
Floor attack (front)   6% Gets up and flips while kicking. Deceptively high horizontal range.
Floor attack (back)   6% Stands on both hands and does a spinning double kick. Short horizontal range makes this a poor getup attack, but it can occasionally snipe opponents on Fountain of Dreams's platforms at lower elevations, and its multi-hit nature makes it decently safe against crouch cancelling
Edge attack (fast)   10% Picks himself up and kicks forward. Fantastic range and can even snipe platforms on Yoshi's Story and Fountain of Dreams, but is unsafe against crouch cancelling. Hitting an opponent standing too close to the edge sends them backward at a great angle, setting up for Ganon's deadly edgeguarding.
Edge attack (slow)   8% Slowly gets up and uppercuts. Has occasional use to catch opponents off guard due to its above average intangibility frames, but mostly death on whiff.
Neutral special Warlock Punch 34% (close), 32% (mid), 30% (far) Winds up darkness in his fist then releases it all in one powerful punch. Like the Falcon Punch, Ganondorf announces the move with a loud yell, lacking any surprise advantage. It has very high knockback, able to KO at low percentages and can even KO light characters under 10%. Except on utterly defenseless or paralyzed opponents, this attack is very hard to use in combat because it is very slow and predictable, making it extremely difficult to land in competitive play.
Side special Gerudo Dragon 17% (Ground), 16% (Air) Lunges forward, uppercutting any opponents who come in his path. One of Ganondorf's best launchers, and it can hit slightly behind him, making it particularly useful in tech situations, but is very unsafe on whiff. Unlike Raptor Boost, this move does not meteor smash opponents when used in the air. Instead, it will launch them diagonally upwards. The move causes helplessness if used in the air. The grounded version KO's at 127%
Up special Dark Dive 1% (hits 1-4), 15% (release), 6% (breakout) Quickly leaps upward. If he connects with an opponent, they will be trapped in a flurry of electricity. Also, if the move connects, Ganondorf will not go into a helpless state. This move can grab the ledge even if Ganondorf is facing the opposite direction. Useful for mixups, especially below platforms and can kill at higher percents, but has so little base knockback that it's negative on hit at low percentages.
Down special Wizard's Foot 15% (ground), 14% (air), 12% (landing) On the ground, Ganondorf rushes forward with his leg extended, dealing great knockback for the whole duration of the move, but leaving him extremely open, especially on shield. In the air, he plummets to the ground at a sharp angle. If Ganondorf comes into contact with the ground whilst this move is active, a shockwave is generated the frame after landing. Both the kick and the shockwave are spikes-giving them utility as devastating-albeit niche-edgeguarding tools, particularly against Donkey Kong and Bowser. This move has the odd property of rewarding Ganondorf's second jump back, making it an essential tool in his recovery.



Stats Weight Dash speed Walk speed Traction Air friction Air speed Air acceleration Gravity Falling speed Jumpsquat Jump Height Double jump Height
Value 109 1.3 – Initial dash
1.35 – Run
0.73 0.07 0.02 0.78 0.02 – Base
0.04 – Additional
0.13 2 – Base
6 27.3 - Base
16.4 - Short hop


Stats Weight Dash speed Walk speed Traction Air friction Air speed Air acceleration Gravity Falling speed Jumpsquat Jump Height Double jump Height
Value 109 1.3 – Initial dash
1.35 – Run
0.73 0.07 0.02 0.78 0.02 – Base
0.04 – Additional
0.13 2 – Base
6 27.3 - Base
16.4 - Short hop

Announcer call[edit]


  • Hovers in mid-air and spins before laughing menacingly. Both of these poses are very similar to the ones he did before transforming into Ganon. The laugh he makes is also similar to the laugh he does when he hurts Link.

Idle pose[edit]

  • Brings his hands together, then swings his right hand over his head.
Ganondorf Idle Pose Melee.gif

Crowd cheer[edit]

English Japanese
Description Gaaa-non-doorff...! Ganondorf! *claps three times*
Pitch Group chant Male

Victory poses[edit]

An orchestrated portion of the main theme from The Legend of Zelda series.
  • Pumps a victorious fist, then crouches and yells.
  • With his back facing the camera, Ganondorf turns to face the camera, and holds up his fist, the back of the it facing the viewer. The pose is similar to when he shows off the Triforce of Power in Ocarina of Time.
  • Spins his sword upward while laughing before thrusting it into the ground. The sword he uses is the same one from the Spaceworld 2000 tech demo.
Ganondorf-Victory1-SSBM.gif Ganondorf-Victory2-SSBM.gif Ganondorf-Victory3-SSBM.gif

In competitive play[edit]

Most historically significant players[edit]

Any number following the Smasher name indicates placement on the 2019 MPGR, which recognizes the official top 100 players in the world in Super Smash Bros. Melee.
See also: Category:Ganondorf players (SSBM)

Tier placement and history[edit]

Historically, Ganondorf has been considered a high or mid-high tiered character, having fluctuated between 8th and 12th for the first eleven tier lists. Although Ganondorf's great power and strong punish game enabled him to maintain a more powerful presence in the early metagame, this was due to players being less experienced with the character and defensive counter play was less developed. With a better understanding on how to check Ganondorf, his ground with the rest of the cast began to falter, and his flaws became more exacerbated due to Ganondorf players being unable to fend off fast-paced and careful approaches from characters like Falco and Sheik. Yoshi and Pikachu have developed vastly improved counterplay on his chaingrabs, with the former now considered to win against Ganon. As a result of the metagame shifts favoring against him, Ganondorf's tier placement faltered. This is reflected in the most recent tier list where he is ranked 14th, the lowest he has ever placed.

In Single-Player[edit]

In Classic Mode[edit]

Ganondorf's unused intro image.

Like Roy and Sheik, Ganondorf does not appear as an opponent in the game's Classic Mode, though he can appear as an ally in Team and Giant battles. Despite this, Ganondorf does have an introduction image for the "Now Loading..." screen between matches in the game's files.

In Adventure Mode[edit]

Upon being unlocked, Adventure Mode makes no concessions to Ganondorf whatsoever.

In All-Star Mode[edit]

In All-Star Mode, Ganondorf and his allies are fought on Brinstar Depths. Unusually, the music remains unchanged.

In Event Matches[edit]

Ganondorf is featured in the following event matches:

  • Event 29: Triforce Gathering: As Link and teamed with Zelda, the player faces Ganondorf on the Temple stage. If the player has not yet unlocked Ganondorf upon completing this event, they will have the opportunity to do so after defeating him one-on-one.
  • Event 49: All-Star Match Deluxe: Ganondorf is the final opponent the player must fight in this series of staged battles. The player battles him on Final Destination, and their character has two stocks, while Ganondorf has one. With a timer of four minutes, the player must defeat him and the other five characters one-by-one with the overall time and life the player is given: Dr. Mario, Falco, Pichu, Young Link, and Roy.
  • Event 51: The Showdown: The final event match pits the player against a team of Giga Bowser, Mewtwo, and Ganondorf on the Final Destination stage, without friendly fire, and all four characters having three stocks apiece and unlimited time.

Ending images[edit]


In addition to the normal trophy about Ganondorf as a character, there are two trophies about him as a fighter, unlocked by completing the Adventure and All-Star Modes as Ganondorf, respectively, on any difficulty:

Ganondorf trophy from Super Smash Bros. Melee.
Classic Mode trophy
Said to be the sole man born to the Gerudo tribe in a hundred years, Ganondorf aspired to conquer the world. He plundered a piece of the sacred Triforce from the Temple of Time when Link pulled the Master Sword from its pedestal. With the Triforce of Power in Ganondorf's possession, Hyrule was plunged into darkness until Link and Zelda defeated the fiend.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (11/98)
Ganondorf trophy from Super Smash Bros. Melee.
Adventure Mode [Smash] trophy
Ganondorf [Smash]
Since he's slow and can't jump very high, Ganondorf relies mainly on his immense physical strength to overwhelm his enemies. His great weight also makes him a difficult foe to send offscreen. Ganondorf's Warlock Punch is slow but absurdly powerful, and when he strikes with his Gerudo Dragon, enemies rise skyward enveloped in dark flames.
B: Warlock Punch
Smash B: Gerudo Dragon
Ganondorf trophy from Super Smash Bros. Melee.
All-Star Mode [Smash] trophy
Ganondorf [Smash]
Ganondorf's slow speed works against him in single combat, but in melees, his crazy power lets him earn his keep with innumerable KOs. Ganondorf can't strike quickly, but each blow he lands adds up. Ganondorf is at his quickest when he uses the Wizard's Foot, and his Dark Dive blasts foes in a burst of dark energy.
Up & B: Dark Dive
Down & B: Wizard's Foot

Alternate costumes[edit]

Ganondorf's palette swaps, with corresponding tournament mode colours.
GanondorfHeadSSBM.png GanondorfHeadRedSSBM.png GanondorfHeadBlueSSBM.png GanondorfHeadGreenSSBM.png GanondorfHeadPurpleSSBM.png



Ganondorf's scrapped Jab 2
Ganondorf's scrapped second Jab from version 1.0 of Melee, which is visible and usable by mods.
  • In the 1.0 version of Melee, if Ganondorf had a Bunny Hood equipped, he would perform a second jab during his neutral attack, an apparent leftover from Captain Falcon's moveset. This second jab had no hitboxes however, and was removed in the subsequent versions of Melee.
  • Despite being a rather poor jumper, Ganondorf has the highest ledge jump in the game, jumping higher than his more agile counterpart, Captain Falcon, and even Falco (who has the highest normal jumps, and the second highest ledge jump).
  • Ganondorf's AI is infamous for its extreme level of dominance when fighting other CPUs, where it’s been observed that a level 9 CPU Ganondorf will win the majority of the time against every other level 9 CPU, even against level 9 Luigi (who is normally considered the best CPU character against human players). As such, when AI tournaments are held, where players choose a CPU character to represent them, there are usually limitations on choosing Ganondorf, such as charging a higher fee to pick him.[1]
  • Ganondorf is tied with the Ice Climbers for the world record in the Home-Run Contest. Ganondorf is also the only character that can break the max distance in the Home-Run Contest without the use of a glitch or Action Replay (the Ice Climbers have to utilize the freeze glitch to break the max distance).
  • When Ganondorf's trophies are viewed under the "night"/"dark" background in the Trophy Gallery, his eyes glow. He is the only character whose trophy holds this trait.
  • Ganondorf's hand is briefly seen during Link's montage in the introduction to Melee, making him one of the five hidden characters, along with Jigglypuff, Mewtwo, Young Link, and Pichu, to have some kind of involvement with the intro.
  • Most of Ganondorf's voice clips were imported from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time; for example, his victory pose and taunt both use a sped up version of his laugh from that game. One voice clip involving Ganon saying "Ooya!" was imported, but it isn't used anywhere in the game.
    • This "Ooya!" clip would later find itself used in Brawl, as it is the sound that plays when Ganondorf is selected with the Wii Remote, despite him having a new voice actor.
    • The voice clip would later then make a proper usage in Ultimate, since Ganondorf has his voice actor reverted back to Takashi Nagasako's, through Ganondorf's new down smash.
  • Unlike his appearance in Ocarina of Time, Ganondorf's voice sounds more higher-pitched and less monstruous. This is due to his repurposed voice clips from the game being largely unadultered, lacking the digital alteration they had in Ocarina of Time, where they're applied a filter to sound slower, gruffer and lower-pitched. Ironically, in Ultimate, Takashi Nagasako would provide Ganondorf with a closer voice tone to that of Ocarina of Time.
  • Ganondorf is the only clone whose original character (Captain Falcon) is from a different series.
    • Sakurai did not plan to include Ganondorf as a playable character in Melee, only including him later in development because his body had a very similar build to Captain Falcon's, allowing him to be easily added on as a last minute clone of Captain Falcon.
  • Alongside fellow The Legend of Zelda fighter Sheik, Melee marks Ganondorf's first playable appearance. Both would eventually become playable characters outside of Smash in Hyrule Warriors.
  • Not counting Donkey Kong and Mario, as they have been both a protagonist and antagonist, Ganondorf, along with Bowser, are the first two playable antagonists in the Smash franchise.
  • Strangely, in his challenger approaching screen, Ganondorf appears to have no cape, more closely matching his design in the promo art of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.


External links[edit]