Link (リンク, Link) is a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. He was suggested to appear in the then unnamed Ultimate in its first teaser trailer at the end of the March 8th, 2018 Nintendo Direct, and officially announced in Ultimate's E3 2018 trailer on June 12th. Link is classified as Fighter #03.
Kengo Takanashi, Link's voice actor from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, reprises his role in Ultimate with newly recorded voice clips, replacing Akira Sasanuma's portrayal from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess used in Brawl and SSB4.
Link is a heavyweight swordsman that sports powerful attacks and long range via the Master Sword. Link sports an above-average walking speed, the 15th slowest dashing speed, above-average initial dash, the 10th slowest air speed (tied with Diddy Kong), the 4th slowest air acceleration, average gravity, above-average falling speed, the 6th highest fast falling speed, and above-average traction. Lastly, Link has among the lowest jumps in the game. Overall, these stats render Link's mobility generally poor. Like his alternate timeline counterparts and Hero, Link possesses two shields instead of just one. In Link's case, he wields the Hylian Shield, which blocks opposing projectiles if he is standing still, walking, or crouching. Like Toon Link, Link also wields his respective version of the Master Sword, which sports overall better range compared to the previous installment.
In addition to overall long range, Link's grounded moveset features other merits: neutral attack deals above-average damage and has a reliable semi-spike in its third hit. Forward tilt boasts both above-average damage and knockback, which in tandem with its good range and low ending lag, makes for a great spacing option. Up tilt also deals above-average damage which, in tandem with its low ending lag and large range, makes it a great juggling option. Down tilt possesses low ending lag, satisfactory damage, and high vertical knockback; altogether, thes traits render it a great combo starter for devastating chains of aerial attacks. Dash attack possesses high damage, knockback, range, and traveling distance, all of which make it very useful for KOs at around 110%.
Link's KO potential shines strongly in his smash attacks, all of which deal high damage and knockback. Forward smash has large range and a tipper on the first hit. His forward smash is a natural combo without activating the tip. When Link is at 0% or when he has full stamina in a stamina battle, the first swing of his forward smash releases a sword beam that can be charged to improve damage and distance. His up smash hits three times, has wide range, and average startup; these attributes, in tandem with up smash's high damage and knockback, makes it very reliable for both damage-racking and KOing. His down smash deals the lowest damage out of Link's smash attacks, but its decent speed and vertical trajectory make it a very useful edgeguarding option; down smash's edgeguarding capabilities are further bolstered through its second hit's strongest hitbox, which is a reliable semi-spike.
Link's aerial attacks are useful in their own rights. His neutral aerial is a sex kick with low all-around lag and good damage output overall, and is able to lock and combo with other aerial and ground attacks; forward aerial sports long range, low landing lag, and high damage, making it one of Link's most reliable KOing options; back aerial is Link's fastest aerial in terms of startup lag, being able to combo into itself at low percents and other attacks at higher percents; up aerial deals high damage, a long-lasting hitbox, and great range, making it reliable for both KOs and juggles; down aerial is similar to up aerial in some regards, but its clean hit instead functions as a reliable meteor smash that KOs at alarmingly early percents (its grounded hit KOs at 125%). Down aerial can be used to bounce off of opponents, which can actually aid Link's recovery.
Although Link's close combat capabilities are excellent, he shines primarily when it comes to his projectiles: arrows from his bow, Boomerang, and Remote Bomb. Bow and Arrows has Link fire an arrow straight ahead, which can be spammed to some degree; it can be charged, greatly increasing its damage, knockback, and distance, making it a good gimping and pressuring tool. Link's neutral special is unique in the fact that his arrows briefly linger on the ground when landing, allowing him to pick them up and fire two arrows simultaneously; Link is able to deal more damage and knockback, aiding neutral special's KO potential.
Boomerang travels decently far and deals good damage, which can be further exploited by smash tapping the move: the Boomerang's distance and damage are increased as a result. Boomerang also launches opponents vertically with high base knockback on its way forward, and launches opponents towards Link on its way back. When coupled with its ability to be angled up and down, Boomerang is a flexible combo starter and approaching option.
Remote Bomb can be thrown as an item, potentially being able to initiate combos by chaining it with other attacks. This is further bolstered by the Remote Bomb's 30-second time limit, which gives it plenty of time to be abused as a projectile. The Bomb's detonation has large range and deals decent damage and knockback, with enough power to KO opponents at 180%. Although Link can be harmed by his own bomb's explosion, he can exploit its vertical knockback offstage as a means of aiding his recovery. This also allows him to launch himself way past the ledge without going into freefall, avoiding being edge-trapped.
Link's primary recovery move and most offensive special attack is Spin Attack. The move's grounded version boasts decent damage and knockback, good range, and is a fast out of shield option, giving it decent utility; however, it can be charged, increasing its damage output and knockback, significantly improving its KO ability. Aerial Spin Attack is instead a multi-hitting series of sword slashes that gains respectable vertical distance and has good knockback on its last hit, making it good for KOing near the upper blast line.
However, like all fighters, Link has some weaknesses. Although he has noticeably better mobility than his predecessors, Link's mobility is still inconsistent and somewhat on the poor side. Despite his fast walking speed, his dash is only marginally faster, making it very sluggish and unreliable for approaching (with foxtrotting being the only way of mitigating this issue). Link's air speed and air acceleration are both notoriously poor, making his air game solely reliant on the traits of his aerial attacks. On a related note, Link's recovery is burdened by the combination of his low jumps and high falling speed, his aforementioned poor air speed and air acceleration, and the merely average travel distance of Spin Attack. Due to lacking a Hookshot or a Clawshot in his moveset, Link lacks both a tether recovery and another spacing option, the former of which further hinders his recovery.
Link's lack of a Hookshot/Clawshot also results in his grab game differing entirely: due to grabbing opponents with his bare hands, his grab speed is significantly quicker at the cost of his grab having much less range. Thus, Link's grab game is much more aggressive and up-close. Despite being a swordsman, Link's grab game is decent overall. His pummel is fast and his down throw is a reliable combo starter into moves like up tilt, up smash, neutral aerial and up aerial. Although Link's up throw will semi-spike bystanders, it has minimal KO potential. Finally, his forward and back throws deal minimal damage and while both are best suited for setting up edgeguards, only forward throw is decent in that regard.
Overall, Link is a flexible zoner character; while his long-distance projectiles and disjointed hitboxes make him play somewhat defensively for much of the match, his excellent out-of-shield options and KO power allow him to close in on his opponents with the right timing and deal large amounts of damage very quickly. However, Link players must be cautious to not play recklessly due to his below-average frame data and mobility, as many other characters can make it difficult for him to utilize his options with their superior speed. Throughout Ultimate's lifespan, Link has garnered great results from many different players, although his results did go down slightly after the first few months of the game's release.
Changes from Super Smash Bros. 4
Link has received arguably the most noticeable changes of any veteran in Ultimate. Due to being the Hero of the Wild from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, he incorporates multiple elements from that game into his moveset, such as the Remote Bomb, the Ancient Bow and Ancient Arrow, the Sword Beam, and the ability to fire 2 arrows at once. This has led to a much larger overhaul in his moveset compared to other veterans, as several of his attacks either have altered or completely new animations alongside mechanical changes. As a result, Link has gained a large mix of buffs and nerfs in his transition to Ultimate, but has been considerably buffed overall.
Compared to his predecessors (the Hero of Time and the Hero of Twilight) in Smash, Link has better close combat and spacing capabilities, thanks to his faster movement speed, a stronger and longer ranged Boomerang (which also improved his combo game), and the longer range on his Master Sword, now having range on par with other swordfighters, such as Ike or Marth. Particularly, the latter change has either improved or outright granted his attacks' more utility: forward tilt is now much more effective as a ledge-trapping option due to its wider arc, down tilt's reduced damage output allows the move to combo for much longer (even serving as a potential KO confirm at higher percents), up smash serves as a more threatening anti-air option, forward aerial is more effective as a spacing option while the first hit can now be used to start combos, up aerial catches airborne opponents from a farther distance, and Spin Attack has increased reliability as an out of shield option and KOing tool due to its faster start-up and larger sweetspot.
Furthermore, Link benefits from some of the universal gameplay mechanics, all of which have improved his previously below average close combat game. His grab game has slightly improved due to him now possessing a more standard grab; while the Hookshot and Clawshot granted his predecessors a long-ranged grab, they were unsafe due to their high startup and ending lag. Ultimate's improved dash-canceling, when coupled with Link's faster mobility, above average traction and the Master Sword's overall improved range, altogether improve his ground game by a noticeable degree.
Link's air game has also benefitted from gameplay changes: the combination of his standardized jumpsquat (which is much faster than his predecessors') and the universal reduction of landing lag make his aerial combo game significantly more potent, as well as result in him having somewhat less difficulty when it comes to landing safely. This has been demonstrated with neutral aerial's weak hit allowing him to set-up for a grab at low percents, forward aerial's first hit comboing into other moves until very high percentages, back aerial's SHFF'd first hit now serving as a KO setup at high percents, and his aerials' damage outputs making them safer on shield despite the reduced shieldstun for aerial attacks.
Unlike his predecessors, Link uses the Remote Bomb instead of a standard Bomb. Compared to standard Bombs, Remote Bombs can be detonated at will, making it function similarly to C4, and feature both much higher knockback and a much larger blast radius. As a result, these changes modify his set-up and combo routes, as the Remote Bomb can now be detonated or Z-dropped into one of Link's own attacks. They also significantly improve Link's pressuring, edgeguarding and edge trapping abilities, since the bomb can be thrown while only being detonated at command. Lastly, the move possesses potential as a strong, albeit difficult recovery option, as it can also be Z-dropped and detonated to launch Link a considerable distance forward.
However, Link is not without his fair share of nerfs. As a result of the several changes and alterations his moveset received, he has inadvertently lost several key strengths that his predecessors possessed. While Link has a much faster grab than his predecessors, his lack of a Hookshot/Clawshot has not only significantly worsened his overall grab range, but also effectively removed one of his more potent recovery and spacing options. Link's lack of standard Bombs also hinders him in a variety of ways. Link can no longer pull out Bombs as a way to potentially break out of combos, making him slightly more vulnerable to them. Since Remote Bombs no longer explode on impact, KO set-ups with them have effectively become harder to perform.
Compared to Bombs, Link can only have one Remote Bomb out a time, resulting in them becoming a worse zoning option overall. Link has also received hitbox reductions to several of his sword-based attacks, now mapping them strictly to the Master Sword itself. While this does not necessarily affect the reach of his attacks that involve swinging his sword from above (i.e. forward tilt, up tilt, forward smash), it has reduced the vertical reach of his attacks that are swung in front of him (i.e. down tilt), while also hindering the horizontal range of his thrusting sword attacks (i.e. up aerial, down aerial), making them slightly harder to land overall.
Finally, despite sporting less landing lag and a better Spin Attack than his predecessors, the maority of his frame data is more sluggish in comparison, especially on the ground. A considerable number of his attacks have either increased endlag (such as forward tilt or down tilt) or increased start-up lag (such as neutral attack, forward smash, down smash, and forward aerial), making it even harder for him to defend himself up close against opponents with superior frame data, such as Fox or Mario. This requires Link to be more wary when fighting opponents with such strong boxing capabilities and use the longer range of his Master Sword to his advantage, as his weaker frame data can put him at a greater risk of being thrown into a disadvantage state easier.
Overall, the changes to Link have somewhat repurposed his playstyle from that of a hard-hitting zoner with long-ranged melee attacks to one that also incorporates more stage control and trapping tactics with his Remote Bomb, simiarly to to Snake. Because of this, Link has noticeably deviated from not only his predecessors, but also Young Link and Toon Link in terms of his overall gameplan and how he enacts it. Compared to his predecessors, Link has amassed an increasingly robust set of results in Ultimate's early competitive metagame, which have also arguably been the strongest when compared to theirs overall. This is partly thanks to players such as Izaw, Otakuni, VinS and especially T. However, his results have been somewhat inconsistent over time as Ultimate's metagame has progressed, as Salem has since then dropped Link in favor of Snake, which has led to a slight slowdown of noteworthy results. Regardless, Link is agreed to fare better competitively than his predecessors, and he has maintained a more positive reception since the launch of Ultimate, to the point that he is usually seen as either a lower high tier character or an upper mid-tier character.
Throws and other attacks
Aside from glitch fixes and a single nerf to Boomerang, Link has been buffed slightly overall via game updates.
For a gallery of Link's hitboxes, see here.
Note: All numbers are listed as base damage, without the 1v1 multiplier.
In competitive play
In the beginning of Ultimate's metagame, many players thought of Link to have significantly improved from SSB4, recognizing the increased reach of his sword, the return of his previous Boomerang from Smash 64 and Melee, his improved mobility, most of his aerials being safe on shield (most notably his neutral air), and the versatility of his new Remote Bomb special. Compounded with Salem's strong success with the character at majors and supermajors like Glitch 6 and GENESIS 6, Link would receive an extremely positive reception from the community, being regarded as a high-tier or even a top-tier character (with Dabuz at one point considering him to be a top 3 character).
However, overtime, Salem would eventually drop the character for Snake; coupled with Link's small playerbase, this would cause his results to diminish considerably. As a result, Link's tier placement would become a subject of debate by many players, with some pointing out that despite his improvements, Link continues to retain the same issues from his previous counterparts, most notably his sluggish frame data. However, though Link's results have been sparse, T has begun to show strong signs of success with the character, being the first Link player to place top 8 at an S-Tier tournament with 2GG: Kongo Saga as well as making other notable placements at regionals and majors, while also defeating high level players such as Marss, Raito, and Zackray. As a result, most players think of Link as a high-tier character once again, garnering him a mostly positive reception from the community overall, albeit not to the same degree as before.
Most historically significant players
Any number following the Smasher name indicates placement on the Fall 2019 PGRU, which recognizes the official top 50 players in the world in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate from July 13th, 2019 to December 15th, 2019.
See also: Category:Link professionals (SSBU)
Classic Mode: A Quest to Seal the Darkness
Link's opponents are all affiliated with darkness, referencing the main goal of every game in his series: to destroy darkness.
Character unlock tree
Link's Classic Mode character unlock tree includes the following characters in order:
Each character can be unlocked by clearing Link's Classic Mode, or the Classic Mode of any preceding character, if all preceding characters have been unlocked. Once all the above characters are unlocked, clearing Classic Mode with any of them will default to Mario's character unlock tree, starting with Sonic.
Role in World of Light
Link was among the fighters summoned to the cliffside to fight the army of Master Hands.
During the opening cutscene, Link was present on the cliffside when Galeem unleashed his beams of light. Link successfully deflected three beams of light with his shield (staying true to the shield's unbreakable nature), but he lost his footing on the third blow, and was vaporized and placed under Galeem's imprisonment along with the rest of the fighters (excluding Kirby).
Link's fighter spirit can be obtained by completing Classic Mode as him. It is also available periodically for purchase in the shop for 500 coins. Unlocking Link in World of Light allows the player to preview the second spirit below in the Spirit List under the name "???". As a fighter spirit, it cannot be used in Spirit Battles and is purely aesthetic. Each fighter spirit has an alternate version that replaces them with their artwork in Ultimate.
Additionally, various incarnations of Link make an appearance in various primary and support spirits.
In Spirit battles
As the main opponent
As a minion
Character Showcase Video