Warlock Punch (魔人拳, Demon-Man Fist) is Ganondorf's neutral special move. In every game since its introduction in Super Smash Bros. Melee, it has consistently been one of the most powerful attacks of any character that is not a Final Smash.
A quintessential slow-yet-powerful attack, Warlock Punch involves Ganondorf winding back for a devastatingly powerful, but incredibly slow darkness-fueled punch. Fitting with its extreme power, it takes approximately 70 frames to charge up (a little over a second).
This move is extremely powerful, dealing 30% damage or greater with extreme knockback, able to KO at low percentages and even KOing 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 practically useless in competitive play. In the air, Warlock Punch is even more powerful and does about 37%-40% with higher knockback, but the very slow start-up of the Warlock Punch combined with Ganondorf's poor jumping and fast falling speed makes landing the Warlock Punch while airborne extremely difficult.
This move is considered a "clone" move of Captain Falcon's Falcon Punch as it has the same animation, nicknamed the "Ganon Punch" or "Dorf Punch" by fans, but as mentioned above, it is slower, deals more damage, and has higher knockback. Also unlike the Falcon Punch, it is extremely difficult to attempt a Sacred Combo with Warlock Punch due to its lag. In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Ganondorf has a different animation with the attack, where he instead does a powerful forward backfist with his left hand instead after a waving motion, and in Smash 4 he gains a different ending animation where he crouches menacingly.
In addition to dealing consistent damage and doing much more damage while airborne, starting from Brawl, a player can pull off a 180° punch by turning in the opposite direction during the beginning of the charging period. This is known as a Reverse Warlock Punch. This version of Warlock Punch deals roughly 3% more damage than a normal punch with more knockback. This move can be done on the ground and in midair, but on the downside, it is 0.167 seconds longer, or 10 frames slower, than a normal Warlock Punch. This reversed move is good for mindgames (as with Falcon's) and does serve as a way to turn a match around, but is still very laggy.
Warlock Punch usually guarantees a KO at around 20-29% damage upon connecting (with a reverse aerial Warlock Punch being able to KO Mario at 8%), the second lowest of any special move without particular criteria (such as Oil Panic and Judge #9), behind Ike's stage 8 Eruption, which has OHKO power. Also, Kirby's Warlock Punch after absorbing Ganondorf is even slightly more powerful, with reverse aerial KOing Mario at 5%.
In Super Smash Bros. 4, the regular grounded version has been reduced in power, now dealing 30% damage with much lower knockback scaling. However, all other versions of the move have drastically increased power with slightly increased damage, KOing Mario below 25% in the middle of Final Destination even with DI and without rage; lighter characters are guaranteed to get KO'd near the ledge if they do not DI at all, regardless of rage. With the increase in damage for the other versions of Warlock Punch, as well as the decreased shield health in Smash 4, they can easily shatter any shield that is not at full size.
Both grounded versions also have super armor during most of their startup, from frame 11-66 for the regular version. 1.1.3 added super armor to the reversed version, with it being active from frame 21-67 for the reversed version.
In Ultimate, all hitboxes had their durations increased by 2 frames, and the super armor lasts much longer, being active from 11-67 for normal and 21-75 for the reverse. Landing the move also triggers the Special Zoom effect. The hitboxes have been made smaller, however, making the move a bit more difficult to connect.
Warlock Punch has four stages of power depending on what type of punch is performed. Smash 4 KO percents assume no DI on Mario and in the middle of Final Destination.
Special Move customization was added in Super Smash Bros. 4. These are the variations:
Ganondorf never used the Warlock Punch as it is (a superpowered punch enhanced by dark energy) in any Zelda game.
In Brawl and Smash 4, Ganondorf uses his left hand to perform the Warlock Punch and its custom variants, even though he is depicted as right-handed in the GameCube version of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. As with Flame Choke, this is likely due to the mirrored Wii version of Twilight Princess, and has the side effect of further differentiating the move from Falcon Punch animation-wise.
Warlock Blade involves Ganondorf wielding the Sword of the Six Sages, which he used extensively during the final battle in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. The sword was used by the Sage of Water in an attempt to execute Ganondorf for his crimes, but the Triforce of Power kept Ganondorf alive and he proceeded to kill the Sage of Water, keeping the sword throughout the events of the game. While the animation in Smash Bros. is a modified version of the Warlock Punch itself that involves Ganondorf wielding the sword in a reverse grip, one of Ganondorf's moves during the aforementioned boss battle is a similar one-handed thrust/stab with the sword.
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