Toon Link (トゥーンリンク, Toon Link) is one of Link's multiple incarnations in The Legend of Zelda series. Although several Links appear with the cel-shaded art style that Toon Link's design is based on, the one that appears as a playable character in the Super Smash Bros. series is the Hero of Winds, the main protagonist of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker and The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass.
Toon Link, like most of the Links, is a different Link than the one in Twilight Princess. While the art style of Toon Link has been used for the Links in Four Swords, Four Swords Adventures, The Minish Cap, Spirit Tracks, and Tri Force Heroes, Toon Link refers to the Link from The Wind Waker and Phantom Hourglass.
Despite this, Toon Link's trophies list The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks as one of his appearances, similarly to how Link's trophies mention The Legend of Zelda games regardless of whether the incarnation that appears in the Super Smash Bros. series actually appears in the games listed.
In regard to personality, Toon Link is one of the happier incarnations; even though he only appears in The Wind Waker, Phantom Hourglass and the spin-off game Hyrule Warriors Legends, he is consistently shown to be carefree, easily excitable, and more prone to laughing and smiling than any other incarnation. His cartoonish design also allows him to emote exaggeratedly, a trait shared with the other incarnations that share his art style.
In The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, set hundreds of years after The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and within the Adult Link Timeline, the gods have flooded Hyrule, creating the Great Sea, encompassing the highest mountaintops of Hyrule. At the beginning of the game, Link's younger sister Aryll is captured by the Helmaroc King, a giant masked bird that mistook her for the pirate captain Tetra.
After some persuasion, Tetra agrees to help Link chase after the Helmaroc King in order to rescue Aryll, during which Link discovers that the bird is under the control of Ganondorf, who is revealed to be searching for Princess Zelda. However, before he can clash with Ganondorf, Link is launched into the Great Sea by the Helmaroc King. After being saved by The King of Red Lions, Link then undergoes many trials, which includes acquiring the Wind Waker and rescuing Aryll, which results in The King of Red Lions bestowing him the title "Hero of Winds".
With Aryll safely on board Tetra's Ship alongside the pirate crew, Link discovers that his quest is not yet complete, as Ganondorf still poses a threat to the world now that the seal holding his power has been fully broken. Tetra and The King of Red Lions are eventually revealed to be Princess Zelda and King Daphnes Nohansen Hyrule, respectively, the last members of the Royal Family of Hyrule. As a result, Link takes Zelda to the underwater Hyrule Castle to keep her and the Triforce of Wisdom safe, after which he proceeds to restore the Master Sword's power to repel evil and reassemble the Triforce of Courage.
Now properly equipped, Link, with additional assistance from Zelda, manages to kill Ganondorf by plunging the Master Sword into his head just before Hyrule is fully submerged within the Great Sea, as per Daphnes' Triforce-granted wish of Link and Zelda having a future. With the world saved and Aryll safely returned to their grandmother on Outset Island, Link decides to accompany Tetra and her crew to set sail for for new lands, with Aryll, their grandmother and the rest of Outset Island's population tearfully saying goodbye.
Some time after the events of The Wind Waker, the events of The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass unfold. As the crew searches for new lands, Link, Tetra and the crew encounter the Ghost Ship during their search, which, when boarded, suddenly turns Tetra to stone and teleports Link to the World of the Ocean King, where Tetra is imprisoned by Bellum. Link finds the Phantom Hourglass, an item that protects him from the life-draining magic emitting from the Temple of the Ocean King, but only as long as it has sand in it. In addition to the Hourglass, he is accompanied by Ciela, a new fairy companion, and Linebeck, a cowardly and greedy captain. Together, they journey to various islands that bring Link one step closer to defeating Bellum.
Eventually, Link forges the Phantom Sword and defeats Bellum, saving Tetra. Oshus, the Ocean King, is restored to his original form, and he transports Link and Tetra back to their own realm. Tetra's crew claims everything to be a dream, as they state that only ten minutes passed when they supposedly fell asleep. However, Link discovers that he is still is possession of the now-empty Phantom Hourglass and sees the S.S. Linebeck on the horizon, which confirms that his adventure in the World of the Ocean King was indeed real.
Sometime after the events of Phantom Hourglass, Tetra's crew and Link discover a new land, which they rechristen New Hyrule. A hundred years after this, the events for The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks unfold and follow a new Link and a new Princess Zelda, the latter of whom is Tetra's descendant. Unlike Tetra, the Hero of Winds does not make any kind of appearance whatsoever in Spirit Tracks. However, the Hero of Winds' legacy clearly lives on in New Hyrule: his signature clothing is the basis for the uniform worn by the country's soldiers, while the exact same shield that he wielded during Phantom Hourglass can be acquired from Niko, one of his and Tetra's shipmates.
As a playable character
Main article: Toon Link (SSBB)
Toon Link is an unlockable character in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, in which he can be unlocked by either clearing Adventure Mode: The Subspace Emissary and/or going through the hidden door in The Forest stage, clearing Classic Mode with any character on any difficulty after clearing The Subspace Emissary, or by participating in 400 VS matches.
As a semi-clone of Young Link, Toon Link's moveset is almost identical to his and, by extension, Link's, although there are some differences. One of the most obvious is his Bomb, which emits an explosion that uses the art style from The Wind Waker and Phantom Hourglass.
However, there are mechanical differences as well, as the explosion has greater range, but less power compared to Young Link and Link's. Toon Link's neutral special, Hero's Bow, charges faster than Young Link's and shoots arrows farther compared to his and Link's. However, it charges slower than Link's, and his arrows fly slower than Link's. Toon Link's Spin Attack functions like Young Link's, as it traps opponents by hitting them multiple times before launching them away. However, it grants more distance when used as a recovery move, especially in comparison to Link's. Like Young Link, Toon Link possesses the Boomerang as his side special and as such, it provides noticeable differences compared to Link's Gale Boomerang: it does not push/pull opponents and grants more control when throwing it.
In regard to mobility, Toon Link's only differences from Young Link are his higher double jump and lower traction. However, Toon Link's mobility differs considerably from Link's: he walks and dashes faster than Link, his jump is higher and both it and his falling speed are floaty than Link's, and he can wall jump like Young Link. Toon Link's overall power is also similar to Young Link's, yet noticeably lower than Link's. Much like his special moves, a number of Toon Link's standard moves differ from theirs. The most noticeable examples include his up smash; neutral, forward, back and down aerials; and forward and back throws.
Toon Link is currently ranked 13th on the tier list, placing him in the C+ tier. This makes him both the highest ranking incarnation of Link in the Super Smash Bros. series, and the highest ranking representative of The Legend of Zelda series in Brawl.
As a playable character
Main article: Toon Link (SSB4)
Toon Link returns as a playable character in Super Smash Bros. 4, now as a starter character rather than as an unlockable character. His appearance is largely unchanged since Brawl, with the only alterations being a more cartoonish aesthetic instead of the realistic aesthetic used in Brawl; his proportions being more in line with his appearance in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD; and his overall color scheme being noticeably brighter.
The Spirit Tracks incarnation of Link also appears on the Spirit Train stage, although if Toon Link and/or Link fights on the stage, Alfonzo will be the conductor instead. Spirit Tracks Link also has two trophies: one featuring him wearing his Engineer's Clothes, and one featuring him wearing the Recruit Uniform and playing the Spirit Flute.
Toon Link is currently ranked 23rd on the tier list. While his overall power was nerfed in the transition from Brawl, he retains his powerful zoning ability and even gained an improved grab game, which was arguably his greatest flaw in Brawl. His improved grab game allows for better spacing using his grab aerial and grants him a KO option in the form of his back throw. Like in Brawl, Toon Link has achieved decent tournament representation and impressive results.
Main article: Toon Link (SSBU)
Toon Link was confirmed to return in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate during Nintendo's E3 2018 presentation on June 12th. Unlike in Super Smash Bros. 4, he has reverted to being an unlockable character.
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