Link (SSBM)

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This article is about Link's appearance in Super Smash Bros. Melee. For the younger playable Link in Melee, see Young Link (SSBM), and for the character in other contexts, see Link.
in Super Smash Bros. Melee
Link SSBM.jpg
Universe The Legend of Zelda
Other Smash Bros. appearances in SSB
in Brawl
in SSB4
in Ultimate
Availability Starter
Tier E (18) (North America)
F (16) (Europe)
A sword-wielding hero who also boasts long-range attacks.
—Description from Melee's manual.

Announced at E3 2001, Link (リンク, Link) is a starter character in Super Smash Bros. Melee. Link returns as a veteran character from the previous game, acting mostly the same as before, as a swordsman with powerful short range attacks and a wide variety of long range attacks. Link, however, has received some large buffs, making him a considerably better fighter in Melee.

Link is ranked 18th in the tier list, in the E tier, which is much higher than his second to last current rank in the Smash 64 tier list (11th out of 12), and two places below his clone, Young Link. Link's placement is due to a very good approach, his low lag aerials (with his neutral and forward air), a good variety of projectiles and a very high air speed. His disjointed hitbox also gives him a slight advantage against others, as well as a fully functional shield that can block a wide variety of projectiles. Link is also a potent edgeguarder in the NTSC versions of the game; his Spin Attack is possibly the best semi-spike in the game, though he still has many other options. Link, however, suffers from a rather high falling speed and a high weight, making him an easy target for chain grabbing and combos. His recovery is also predictable, though he can extend it slightly.


Link generally falls under the "slow, but powerful" archetype of fighter, though many of his attacks are fairly versatile and long reaching. Link has a rather high weight, as well as an average falling speed and high air speed, an unusual combination of physics for someone of his weight class.

Arguably Link's greatest asset is his range. His sword has a large, disjointed hitbox (though not as large and disjointed as Marth's sword), allowing him to attack safely from a distance; unlike the duo of Marth and Roy, Link only has one hitbox on his sword, allowing his approach to be considerably less "specific" than either. Additionally, Link has a multitude of projectiles on his Special moves; while the Bow is decidedly situational due to its low range, speed, and power, Link's boomerang and bombs allow him to start combos, continue them, or simply deal damage; the latter also can extend Link's recovery if he slashes them with his Spin Attack.

Another benefit are his variety of useful attacks in his arsenal; a majority of his grounded attacks have good KO potential, including his tilts, with his up tilt having rather decent speed and acting as an excellent combo starter that takes advantage of his above-average air game. Link's air game is solid; his fast, low-lag back, forward, and neutral aerials coupled with his low short hop and high falling and air speeds give Link among the best SHFFLs in the game. Link's boomerangs and bombs also give him excellent zoning abilities, with the former's modifiable trajectories potentially making it a good approach tool as well. In addition, Link has a variety of powerful finishers; all of his smashes have decent power with acceptable start-up and cool-down lag, his forward smash can be extended should the first hit fail to connect, and both his up and down aerials can be potent finishers, especially when combined with his aforementioned SHFFL. In the NTSC regions, Link's Spin Attack is also a deadly edgeguarding technique when used on the ground; its later hitboxes sharply semi-spike the opponent, and if Link can land this attack on recovering opponents, he can quickly and safely gimp opponents. While the attack lost its semi-spike properties in PAL regions, the attack's long range and high power still make it a decent edgeguarding technique.

Link's grab game has a variety of positive and negative attributes; while his grab has a long range, it also has high ending lag. Link's grab also cannot grab opponents in the air, limiting his chaingrab potential. Link's throws, however, have low knockback and relatively high hitstun, as well as low ending lag, allowing Link to potentially string in a few hits against his opponent.

Link's recovery is also considered to be above-average. Link by himself is difficult to edgeguard, as his recovery has a wide variety of options; his wall-grapple can allow him to enter "safe-zones" underneath the ledge, and his spin attack covers the top of him, with his bombs also potentially allowing for some form of recovery if he slashes them with his spin attack. In addition, Link's high weight and falling speed make him rather resilient to the upper blast line, though these attributes impact his horizontal survivability.

A high falling speed and being a rather large target, however, reveals Link's primary flaw: Link is a particularly easy target for chain throwing and combos. Against fast characters, such as Fox or Sheik, Link players must read opponents very well as to avoid such techniques; unlike most others, however, Link's only fast move that can potentially break combos is his neutral air, causing him to be rather predictable in these cases. In addition, he is arguably the easiest character for Fox to waveshine, for Falco, shine to down air, as well as one of the easiest characters for Sheik to chaingrab. These major setbacks with three very common characters in tournaments is the main problem. In addition, Link boasts among the worst out of shield options in the game; both Spin Attack and his up tilt are slow to come out, and his grab cannot grab opponents in midair.

Exacerbating Link's ease to be comboed is his poor overall mobility. While still rather fast for a character of his strength, weight and range, Link still has a rather slow, inflexible approach on the ground, due to his slow dash speed, poor dashdance, and short wavedash. Additionally, Link has multiple high-lag attacks, notably his down and up aerial attacks; while this can be alleviated with L-cancelling, they can still be punished, requiring Link players to carefully set up combos and KO moves.

Changes from Smash 64 to Melee[edit]

In his transition from Super Smash Bros. to Super Smash Bros. Melee, Link received numerous buffs, most of which made him a more potent fighter, going from bottom tier to mid-low tier.


  • Change Link now has an added belt going over his shoulder and around his waist.
  • Change Link has a new taunt.
  • Change Link's helpless animation has changed.
  • Change Link has a different dash animation.


  • Buff Link's air speed is higher (31 → 1).
  • Buff Link walks faster (0.37 → 1.2).
  • Nerf Link's already poor dash speed is reduced even further (42 → 1.3), hindering his ability to keep up with opponents.
  • Nerf Link is significantly floatier (64 → 2.13), going from the second fastest falling speed to tied for the 7th highest. While this makes him less vulnerable to combos, it greatly hinders his vertical endurance.
  • Buff Jumpsquat is shorter (7 frames → 6).
  • Buff Link's recovery was strongly buffed; it is considerably longer and more flexible, with Spin Attack granting a much higher vertical distance, and his higher air speed improving his horizontal recovery. He also has new options, with the wall grapple and bomb recovery.
  • Change Link is lighter (108 → 104), which hinders his endurance, but makes him harder to combo.
  • Buff Link's Hylian Shield now has a hitbox that allows it to nullify projectiles.

Ground attacks[edit]

  • Nerf Forward tilt (17%/18% → 13%/14%/15%), Down tilt (12% → 11%), and Up tilt (10% → 9%) deal less damage.
  • Buff Down tilt can now meteor smash.
  • Change New dash attack: a slash rather than a stab. It has slightly better combo ability, however it deals less damage (16% → 12%), lessening its KO potential.
  • Buff New Forward smash: a sword swing in front of himself while stepping forward, and if the A button is pressed, executes a second and more powerful swing. It is considerably stronger and covers more space than his old forward smash.
  • Nerf Up smash, while covering more horizontal range, is slower, and has less vertical range and smaller hitboxes.

Aerial attacks[edit]

  • Buff Neutral aerial deals more damage (10%/8% → 11%/7% ) and is easier to land.
  • Buff Down aerial is considerably stronger (16% → 22%/20%), and is now the 2nd strongest d-air in the game (only surpassed by Ganondorf's d-air).
  • Change Down aerial now launches vertically instead of horizontally. This improves its KO ability, but worsens its edgeguarding ability.
  • Nerf Forward aerial deals considerably less damage (20%/12% → 13%/8%).
  • Change Back aerial deals less knockback and damage (20% → 14%, if both hits connect). However, this allows for the individual hits to connect better.
  • Nerf Up aerial now has a late hit that deals less damage (16% → 12%).

Grabs and throws[edit]

  • Buff The Hookshot now has considerably less startup and ending lag.
  • Nerf Lower grab range, and grab hitbox lasts shorter, along with Link no longer being able to grab aerial opponents.
  • Nerf Forward and back throws deal considerably less damage (14% (forward)/16% (back) → 6% (both)).

Special moves[edit]

  • Change New neutral special move: Hero's Bow (or simply Bow as the games refers to it). This projectile's power and distance can be increased by charging the move before releasing the B button.
  • Buff Boomerangs travel faster and have less startup lag, as well as having a higher chance of returning to Link.
  • Buff The Boomerang throw now also has a close-range hitbox with good damage.
    • Nerf Despite this, Boomerangs deal less damage overall and cannot travel as far.
  • Change Due to the addition of the Hero's Bow, Boomerang is now a side special move.
  • Buff Grounded Spin Attack is now an even better edgeguarding option.
  • Buff Spin Attack grants significantly more distance in the air, and now has multiple hits, being a safer and more reliable recovery move.
  • Nerf Aerial Spin Attack, due to now being a multi-hit attack, can no longer KO reliably unless the last hit is landed, and even then, it has less power than in Smash 64.

PAL differences[edit]

Like other characters, Link received some changes in the PAL version of Melee.

  • Nerf Spin Attack has lost its semi-spike properties, making it slightly less useful for edgeguarding, though it still acts as a potent attack.
  • Nerf The boomerang superjump and chain dance glitches were removed; these were also removed in NTSC version 1.2.


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

Link's aerial attacks.
  Name Damage Description
Neutral attack   5% A diagonal sword slash followed by a horizontal slash, with a lunging stab finisher. If the player mashes the A button enough, Link will initiate a rapid stab attack that deals low knockback.
1% (loop)
Forward tilt   13% (body), 14% (tip & hilt), 15% (base) Brings sword down, in an axe-like fashion. This attack has relatively high knockback for a forward tilt. Since the hitbox is high, Link can hit midair opponents with it.
Up tilt   9% Swings his sword in an arc above himself. Among Link's most flexible moves on the ground, it has good combo potential, it is rather fast with minimal ending lag, and it has good knockback.
Down tilt   11% Swipes sword across ground in front of him. The move can lead into an aerial attack, though this is somewhat predictable. This move can also strongly meteor smash a ledge-grabbing foe when the middle and bottom of Link's sword makes contact, though this is highly situational.
Dash attack   9% (tip), 12% (base), 11% (body) Swings sword from head to toe while coming to a stop. Somewhat fast, though it has some ending lag. At higher damages it will knock a grounded foe into the air, often leading into an aerial follow up, though it doesn't have much KO power.
Forward smash   13% (tip), 14% (body) Swings sword once in front for good knockback by itself, and if the A button is pressed again, he will do a much more powerful slash to follow. The second hit deals more vertical knockback than the first. It is impossible that the second hit will land at damages above 30% or so due to knockback growth of the first hit. The first hit is still strong, though, not as much as the second one. Its possible to land a second hit without the first hit, but it requires perfect timing. Interestingly, the second slash does not increase in damage or knockback whenever it's "charging".
18% (tip), 20% (body)
Up smash   4% (hit 1), 2% (hit 2), 9% (hit 3 body), 10% (hit 3 blade) Slashes in an upwards arc three consecutive times. This attack was taken from Smash 64, but with changes to the hitbox. All hits now have a noticeable arc above him with good range, instead of just the first hit being an arch and two smaller stabs upwards as in Smash 64. Good for racking up damage and setting up for air combos due to below average knockback for an up smash. All three hits can deal up to ≈14.92% when used fresh (though is says 15% when first used in-game).
Down smash   13% (front hit tip), 11% (back hit tip), 16% (blade & body), 17% (hilt) Sweeps with his sword in front of and then behind him. The first hit comes out fast, though the second hit has some lag. This move has decent range, and since the hitbox is on the floor, it makes this move good for spacing, and has some KO power.
Neutral aerial   11%/9%/8% (clean foot/back leg/hip) 7% (late) A generic sex kick; very fast, with low ending and landing lag, making it a good SHFFL option.
Forward aerial   13% (hit 1), 8% (hit 2) Swings his sword forward twice while spinning 360 degrees. The first hit is usually hard to follow into the second hit. This is somewhat like his f-smash, where the second hit has more power than the first, so the first hit is usually purposely missed in favor for the second. Due to its moderately high ending lag, it's rather situational for edgeguarding.
Back aerial   7% (hits 1-2) Two short-ranged back kicks behind himself. The properties of the first hitbox make it difficult to directly segue into the second. This move, unlike most back aerials, is not always considered Link's best viable choice for edgeguarding due to awkward hitboxes and duration.
Up aerial   16% (clean), 12% (late) Thrusts his sword upwards. Good for juggling, and it acts as a reliable vertical finisher at higher damages ~120%. Has some sex kick properties, though it has rather high ending lag.
Down aerial   22%/20% (clean), 19% (late), 6%/8% (after bounce) His famous aerial from Zelda II where he takes his sword and keeps it aimed downward. This move is a move of extremes: huge knockback, huge ending lag, and huge hitbox. It is possible to hit more than once with this move on the same foe. If the move is still in action when Link lands, he must pull it from the ground, with among the highest ending lag in the game; as such, the move can be risky, though L-canceling substantially reduces its lag, giving it slightly as much cool-down time as an ordinary smash attack. It is one of his primary KO moves, and it can KO reliably starting at 80% to 90%.
Grab aerial Hookshot 6% Uses his Hookshot. The attack has the unusual property of not suffering from the stale-move negation. With low damage, knockback and hitstun, as well as long lag, the move has relatively little use outside of being used for recovery, though its long range can potentially catch opponents off-guard, and it benefits from Link's small short hop. This attack has transcendent priority.
Grab Hookshot Uses his Hookshot to grab at foes from afar. It's the second longest grab in the game, behind Samus.
Pummel   3% Hits opponent with the hilt of his sword.
Forward throw   3% (hit 1), 3% (throw) Kicks foe a short distance in front of him. Low knockback.
Back throw   3% (hit 1), 3% (throw) Throws the opponent behind him and kicks them away.
Up throw   4% (hit 1), 2% (throw) Raises the opponent above him and slashes upward. Has below-average knockback, allowing it to potentially combo into an u-tilt or an u-air.
Down throw   2% (hit 1), 4% (throw) Takes the opponent onto the ground and elbow drops them. Leaves foes wide open for a combo, such as his Spin Attack or u-tilt.
Floor attack (front)   6% Quickly gets up and slashes on both sides.
Floor attack (back)   6% Quickly gets up and slashes on both sides.
Edge attack (fast)   8% Pulls himself up into a front flip and slices downward.
Edge attack (slow)   8% Slowly gets up and quickly thrusts his sword. Only the sword has a hitbox; foes close to the end of the ledge Link was on can avoid the attack completely.
Neutral special Bow 5-18% Link takes out his bow and shoots an arrow. Although a bit laggy and travels fairly slowly, Link can increase the speed and damage of the arrow by holding down the B button.
Side special Boomerang 14% (throw), 16% (smash throw), 6% (far), 3% (return) Link throws a Boomerang. Deals fair knockback, Link's Boomerang's distance can be extended or have its trajectory altered with the control stick. Only one Boomerang can be on the field at a time.
Up special Spin Attack Ground: 15% (clean), 5% (late)
Air: 4%/6% (hit 1), 2% (hits 2-4), 4%/6% (hit 5)
Leaps and does a spinning attack. Initial hits have low knockback, but the last one has a much stronger knockback than the rest. Although an unspectacular recovery, it can be dangerous as an offensive move, especially an edgeguarder. It deals high knockback and can send opponents in a lower diagonal trajectory, a semi-spike (not in PAL versions of the game). Link can grab an edge backward with his Spin Attack, unlike most recovery moves, but only during the move. This attack has transcendent priority.
Down special Bomb 1~7.2% (contact), 4% (explosion) Link takes out a bomb. Then, he can throw it like any other item. The bomb eventually explodes on its own, even being able to damage Link himself. Oddly, anyone who comes in contact with the bomb will have an explosive effect on their bodies, despite the bomb not detonating. The explosion can grant Link an extra Spin Attack if used skillfully.


  • Sheathes his sword and shield, and lets out a chuckle while brushing back his hair, as if admiring his own handsomeness.

Idle pose[edit]

  • Moves torso from forward to back.
Link Idle Pose Melee.gif

Crowd cheer[edit]

English Japanese
Link Cheer NTSC Melee.ogg
Link Cheer JP Melee.ogg
Description Go Link! *claps three times* Lin-k!
Pitch Male Male

Victory poses[edit]

An orchestrated portion of the main theme from The Legend of Zelda series.
  • Swings his sword three times and turns his back to the camera.
  • Puts his sword and shield together and then raises his sword high into the air.
  • Swings his sword once, spins his sword, and sheaths it.
Link-Victory1-SSBM.gif Link-Victory2-SSBM.gif Link-Victory3-SSBM.gif

In Competitive play[edit]


Super Smash Bros. Melee Character Matchups
  FoxHeadSSBM.png FalcoHeadSSBM.png MarthHeadSSBM.png SheikHeadSSBM.png JigglypuffHeadSSBM.png PeachHeadSSBM.png IceClimbersHeadSSBM.png CaptainFalconHeadSSBM.png PikachuHeadSSBM.png SamusHeadSSBM.png DrMarioHeadSSBM.png YoshiHeadSSBM.png LuigiHeadSSBM.png GanondorfHeadSSBM.png MarioHeadSSBM.png YoungLinkHeadSSBM.png DonkeyKongHeadSSBM.png LinkHeadSSBM.png MrGame&WatchHeadSSBM.png RoyHeadSSBM.png MewtwoHeadSSBM.png ZeldaHeadSSBM.png NessHeadSSBM.png PichuHeadSSBM.png BowserHeadSSBM.png KirbyHeadSSBM.png Avg.
LinkHeadSSBM.png -3 -3 -2 -3 -1 -1 ±0 -3 ±0 +1 -1 +2 -1 -1 -1 -1 ±0 Mirror match +1 +1 +1 +2 +1 +2 +3 ±0 ±0

Link has poor matchups. He is hard countered by four characters, countered by one, soft countered by seven, and has four even matchups. On the bright side, he soft counters five, counters three, and hard counters one, Bowser. Link does well against characters with bad range, like Pikachu and Ness. He also does well against Ice Climbers, where he is equipped with the perfect tools to zone, separate, and eventually KO without getting grabbed. However, he does pretty bad against characters who possess deadly chain grabs on him, such as Mario and Sheik. He also does bad against characters who can wall him out with projectiles, such as Falco, and characters who can gimp his recovery, like Fox. It is also worth noting he's one of the only characters in all of Melee to have an even matchup against Kirby, the current worst character in the game.

Notable players[edit]

See also: Category:Link professionals (SSBM)


  • France Aether - 17th at Heir 2, 33rd at BEAST 6, 15th in France
  • USA Christian - 65th at CEO 2016, 15th in Central Florida
  • Mexico El Link - 17th at Smash Factor 5 and ranked in Monterrey, Mexico
  • USA J666 - once ranked 22nd in NorCal, 49th at EVO 2016, 33rd at EVO 2014, and 65th at GENESIS 3
  • Germany Sixx - HM in Germany, 9th at Heir 4, 2nd at Avalon-M VI
  • USA Stro
  • USA The GERM - 49th at I'm Not Yelling, 25th at GENESIS 2


  • Japan Aniki - Best Link in Japan
  • USA Dan Salvato - 7th at KTAR 7, 13th at APEX 2016
  • USA Lord HDL - 49th at Apex 2013
  • France niam - 13th at Epita Smash Arena
  • Canada SAUS - 13th at GOML 2015
  • USA Skler - 9th at S.N.E.S.

Tier placement and history[edit]

Link currently ranks at eighteenth on the current tier list. Historically, Link has always been regarded as an average to below-average character in the competitive metagame, having most frequently appeared at the thirteenth spot on the tier list. While Link's spacing ability and his above-average air game have been noted, his poor mobility on the ground is widely seen as the reason for his high-low tier ranking; even Aniki's impressive performance with Link in the Jack Garden Tournament could not move him up in the tier list, and Link's metagame has not become particularly powerful in Melee. In the eleventh tier list, Link was ranked lower than his clone, Young Link, for the first time, owing to Young Link's better mobility. Link currently does not place particularly high in tournaments, even in smaller tournaments, and there are very few dedicated Link mains in the present metagame.

As part of an April Fools' joke, Link has once ranked sixth on the tier list; in the two days that this version of the tier list was declared official, the Melee Back Room claimed that Link's high-tiered ranking was due to having untapped aerial prowess. While another prediction on the tier list involving Jigglypuff eventually came true in the post-Brawl metagame, Link has failed to rise out of the low-mid tier range.

In single-player modes[edit]

Classic Mode[edit]

Link can appear in Classic Mode as a solo opponent, an opponent or ally in team battles (paired up with either Luigi, Young Link, Zelda or Marth), a giant opponent, or a metal opponent. Link will always appear on either Great Bay or Temple with the exception of when on a team with Luigi, where they will be fought on Mushroom Kingdom, as well as the metal battle, where, like everybody else, he will be fought on Battlefield.

Adventure Mode[edit]

Link's sole appearance in the Adventure Mode is in the Underground Maze stage. In the stage, the player must find the Triforce in one of six stages; however, five of these stages contain a Master Sword, where the player will fight a Link. While players have the option to skip these matches by merely jumping over the stage, the player receives the "Link Master" bonus if they KO all five Links in the stage.

All-Star Mode[edit]

In All-Star Mode, Link and his allies are fought on Great Bay.

Event Matches[edit]

Link is featured in the following event matches:

Ending Images[edit]

Trophy descriptions[edit]

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

Even in his youth, Link was already becoming the warrior who would carry the destiny of Hyrule (and many other lands) on his shoulders. His epic struggles against the forces of darkness are written in legend, and he is bound to the Princess Zelda and the archfiend Ganondorf by the awesome power of the Triforce.
  • The Legend of Zelda 07/87
Link [Smash]
Burdened with a shield, a heavy sword, and plenty of equipment, Link is not a very mobile character. Nevertheless, he's skilled with the blade, and his varied supply of missile weapons makes him a powerful fighter. To master Link, you must control the pace by balancing your long-range attacks with head-to-head swordplay.
  • B: Bow
  • Smash B: Boomerang
Link [Smash]
Link's Bow, Boomerang, and Bombs all take time to wield, so you may want to try drawing them in midair to prevent your foes from attacking you while you're vulnerable. The Spin Attack can score consecutive midair hits, and the final slash is very powerful. Link's Bombs are his trump card, but he can't pull one out if he's carrying another item.
  • Up & B: Spin Attack
  • Down & B: Bomb

Alternate costumes[edit]

Link Palette (SSBM).png
LinkHeadSSBM.png LinkHeadRedSSBM.png LinkHeadBlueSSBM.png LinkHeadBlackSSBM.png LinkHeadLavenderSSBM.png



A comparison of Link and Young Link's respective Hookshots.
  • Link and Young Link both use the same model for the Hookshot; as a result, it looks larger when Young Link uses it.
  • Link is one of 3 Super Smash Bros. characters whose neutral special move changed during the transition from Super Smash Bros. 64 to Super Smash Bros. Melee, the others being Ness and Jigglypuff. In the first Super Smash Bros. game, Link's neutral special was the Boomerang; from Super Smash Bros. Melee and forth, he instead uses the Bow (or variants such as the Hero's Bow), with the Boomerang being reassigned as a side special move.

External links[edit]

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