Young Link (SSBM)

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This article is about Young Link's appearance in Super Smash Bros. Melee. For Links in general, see Link, and for Link as a boy in other contexts, see Young Link.
Young Link
in Super Smash Bros. Melee
Young Link
ZeldaSymbol.svg
Universe The Legend of Zelda
Availability Unlockable
Tier E (16) (North America)
F (18) (Europe)
#default:
Young Link is lighter and faster than his older self, and his Kokiri sword packs less punch.
—Description from Young Link's trophy

Young Link (こどもリンク, Child Link) is a character in Super Smash Bros. Melee. He is a direct clone of Link, with some minor differences. Young Link was replaced with Toon Link in Super Smash Bros. Brawl.

He ranks 16th on the tier list in the E tier, two places higher than Link. Young Link has a very good approach due to some low lag aerials, a great SHFFL and a good wavedash, as well as three projectiles. Young Link also is a potent comboer due to his projectiles, and can also edgeguard and space well. However, Young Link's primary flaw is that he has trouble KOing, due to the lack of an efficient quick KO move and having difficulty in hitting cleanly with his smash attacks (except his down smash). Additionally, like Link, Young Link has a slow and predictable recovery, though his ability to wall jump, bomb jump and use his hookshot give him some options. Young Link's recovery, however, is rather poor for his weight class.

How to unlock[edit]

For players to unlock Young Link, the Classic or Adventure Mode has to be completed with ten characters. Alternatively, the player can take part in 500 VS. matches.

When fought, Young Link appears on Great Bay, with Saria's Song playing in the background.

Attributes[edit]

As a fighter, Young Link appears as a lighter, weaker, and faster form of Link, and generally falls under the same archetype as a character, similar to characters such as Ness. Other properties of Young Link, however, are almost identical to those of Link. His airspeed and falling speed are identical to Link's, and he has only slightly lower traction, giving Young Link a slightly longer wavedash than Link. Unlike his 17-year-old self, who is a heavyweight, Young Link is a lightweight and gets sent farther and higher (due to having the same fall speed) than Adult Link. Young Link's primary asset is his range. His Kokiri Sword gives him a disjointed hitbox that can allow him to strike from farther ranges, and his neutral, down, and side specials all give him access to a variety of projectiles that can cause damage and start combos from significant distances. Young Link's projectiles are surprisingly damaging, especially in comparison to Link's; his bombs catch opponents in the blast with multiple hits, allowing for combo potential, and both his boomerangs and Fire Arrows inflict more damage and hitstun than Link's, allowing for some dangerous combo starters against his opponents. Coupled with a long-ranged grapple, Young Link's range is among the highest in the game.

Additionally, Young Link has access to a surprisingly good approach game. In addition to his aforementioned range boons, Young Link's aerial approach is very good. Fast, low-lag aerials and a small short hop coupled with a high falling speed gives Young Link a very good SHFFL, and his high air speed can allow him to easily pursue enemies in the air. These traits also give Young Link a surprisingly good edgeguarding game; Young Link's recovery options are great as well, with a relatively high third jump and a wall-grapple to assist him, and the ability to wall-jump.

Young Link's KO options are varied and often different than those found on most other characters. Young Link's neutral aerial and down tilt are quite powerful, with the former having almost nonexistent ending lag when L-canceled. Additionally, Young Link's forward smash has the unusual property of being two hits: one with fixed knockback, and one with powerful vertical knockback, acting as a trap of sorts. One of Young Link's most reliable finishers is his dash attack, which can KO at as low as 95% on some characters, and is unusually fast.

Young Link's primary flaw, however, is his inability to easily and efficiently hit with his finishers. His neutral air requires him to be in the air first, and the remainder of his attacks can prove too awkward to hit with. His dash attack requires the first few frames to connect, and its ending lag can prove to be problematic; that and the inability to send the opponent upwards unless hit at a precise point of the sword and being a semi-spike, which characters (like Fox and Link) can tech out of. With proper use of DI, it's possible to avoid the second hit of Young Link's forward smash. Furthermore, Young Link's down aerial, which can act as one of the most powerful meteor smashes in the game, has a very small and situational sweetspot, significantly hindering its usefulness off the edge. His forward aerial is also among the weakest forward aerials to both combo and finish with, and his back aerial is significantly worse than his counterpart's.

Young Link's light weight makes him considerably easier to KO than other characters; this itself acts as a problem for Young Link due to his poor recovery in comparison to other characters of his weight class (such as Mewtwo or Jigglypuff).

Also, Young Link's hitboxes act much like Roy's hitboxes in that they are significantly weaker near the tip of Young Link's sword, especially in knockback, meaning that Young Link's approach and control must be with complete precision.

Young Link's Kokiri Sword, being made of wood, makes "smacking" sound effects when it connects for every attack except for Young Link's up throw and up special. Young Link's Deku Shield is also slightly less durable than Link's (higher-damage projectiles will phase through the shield).

However, under the hands of a player with skilled precision, Young Link's projectiles, approach options and mobility can prove to be quite deadly.

Differences between Link and Young Link[edit]

Aesthetics[edit]

  • Change Young Link wields the Kokiri Sword and Deku Shield instead of the Master Sword and Hylian Shield.
  • Change With the exception of his up special and up throw, all sword attacks make a punch/kick sound effect instead of a slashing sound effect upon impact.
  • Change Young Link's taunt, idle pose, and two of his victory animations are different and longer than Link's.

Attributes[edit]

  • Change Young Link is shorter than Link. While this does make him harder to hit, it also results in him having less reach in his attacks.
  • Nerf Young Link's Kokiri Sword has less of a disjointed range advantage on his attacks than Link.
  • Buff Young Link dashes much faster than Link (1.3 → 1.6).
  • Buff Young Link has a longer wavedash than Link.
  • Change Young Link has a greater jump height than Link. This makes executing SHFFL attacks more difficult, but allows him to attack in the air easier. It also helps him to deal better against Fox's shinespikes.
  • Nerf Young Link is overall weaker than Link in KO potential. Down smash, dash attack, and neutral air KO better than Link's counterparts, but at the cost of lower knockback on all other moves in addition to lacking Link's Spin Attack finisher.
  • Nerf Young Link's Deku Shield is weaker than the Hylian Shield in protection, as projectiles that are strong enough will ignore and penetrate through the shield.
  • Buff Unlike Link, Young Link can wall jump, aiding his recovery, although this is mostly situational.
  • Nerf Young Link's Hookshot is shorter than Link's, significantly reducing its utility as a recovery tool.
  • Change Young Link is significantly lighter than Link (104 → 85). While this drastically worsens his endurance for both horizontal and vertical survival, it makes him far less vulnerable to combos than his older counterpart. In particular, it makes him invulnerable to Fox's waveshine combos, as he is knocked down by the shine as opposed to pushed back.

Ground Attacks[edit]

  • Buff The second and third hit of neutral attack start one frame earlier: frame 7 → 6.
  • Buff Forward tilt has five frames less starting lag, significantly increasing its overall utility.
  • Buff Down tilt's meteor smash hitbox is placed at the tip as opposed to the hilt, allowing Young Link to safely space.
  • Buff Up smash is able to connect against shorter grounded opponents such as Fox and Pikachu owing to Young Link's shorter stature.
  • Change Down smash and dash attack send opponents sideways instead of upwards, giving them better overall KO ability at the cost of lesser combo potential.
  • Nerf Forward smash's first hit has negligible knockback in order to chain into the second which is greater, however the second hit of the string can be avoided with the use of DI. It also has a shorter range.

Aerial Attacks[edit]

  • Buff Neutral aerial is stronger than Link's.
  • Nerf Neutral aerial is not active in its hitboxes through the duration of the move, unlike Link's.
  • Nerf Forward aerial has less damage and knockback than Link's version.
  • Change Young Link's forward aerial is treated as only a single hit unlike Link's which hits twice.
  • Buff Back aerial is easier to connect than Link's.
  • Buff Down aerial has a hitbox on the sword's hilt that inflicts a powerful meteor smash (second strongest in the game) with a fire effect. It is also easier to land given Young Link's greater aerial speed, though at the cost of some KO power.

Grabs and Throws[edit]

  • Nerf Young Link's Hookshot grab activates one frame earlier than Link's, but at a significant cost in range.
  • Nerf Grab aerial comes out two frames earlier, but deals 1% less damage and has a shorter range which makes it less safe to use than Link's.

Special Moves[edit]

  • Buff Fire Bow's arrows deal more hitstun than Link's arrows, increasing his combo ability and making the move safer on hit up close. It also has slightly faster startup than Link's Bow.
  • Change Fire Bow deals flame damage (hence the name).
  • Nerf Fire Bow's arrows travel less distance.
  • Change Fire Bow's arrows have reversed damage roles. It deals more than Bow's arrows uncharged, but less damage fully charged.
  • Buff Young Link's Boomerang is stronger than Link's on hit.
  • Buff Boomerang can be angled better to hit close opponents.
  • Nerf Boomerang's return hitbox deals 1% less damage (3% → 2%).
  • Nerf Boomerang travels less distance compared to Link's.
  • Buff Spin Attack lands multiple hits instead of one, allowing it to trap opponents within its hitboxes, and the late hitboxes inflict more damage.
  • Nerf Nonetheless, the late hitboxes do not semi-spike and even if all hits connect, it is still weaker than Link's clean Spin Attack in damage. Also, it is not a viable KO move unlike Link's.
  • Change Young Link's Bomb looks slightly different than Link's, as it is smaller; it has a smaller projectile hitbox but is slightly harder to track visually when thrown.
  • Buff Young Link's bombs have four hitboxes as opposed to Link's two, increasing their hitstun and combo ability.
  • Buff Young Link's bombs do more damage to opponents than Link's, given that all of their hitboxes connect.
  • Nerf The multi-hit property of the bombs means that their explosion can affect Young Link more often in close range.
  • Nerf Young Link's Bombs travel a shorter distance when thrown.

Moveset[edit]

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

Young Link's aerial attacks
  Name Damage Description
Neutral attack   3% Same as Link's; two initial slashes, and then it can be either a single launching stab if the A button is pressed just three times, or a barrage of stabs if it's pressed in quick succession.
2%
5%
1%
Forward tilt   12% (tip), 11% (base), 10% (body) Brings sword down, in an axe-like fashion. Considerably faster than Link's.
Up tilt   8% Swings his sword in an arc above himself. Quick, leads into various air combos if the foe DIs wrong. Above average KO power beyond high damages, usually 120%+, but can KO faster than his up smash.
Down tilt   7% (tip), 9% (base), 10% (body) Swipes sword whilst crouching. Can lead into various combos, though somewhat slow. Incredibly powerful meteor smash if used against a foe on the ledge; unlike Link's, the meteor smash hitbox is located on the tip of the sword, making it considerably more useful for edgeguarding.
Dash attack   11% (tip), 10% (body) Slashes in front of himself and slows down. Surprisingly powerful for a dash attack, and it has the unusual property of Young Link to charge forward. With the ability to KO starting at 95%, it is one of Young Link's most used finishers.
Forward smash   10% Swings his sword in front once with low set knockback, and if the A button is pressed again, he will do a much more powerful slash to follow. The first hit easily chains into the second, though it can be DI'd out of. Very strong finisher, damage and knockback-wise.
9% (tip), 11% (body), 12% (base & arm)
Up smash   3% (hit 1), 2% (hit 2), 7%-8% (hit 3 clean), 8%-9% (hit 3 late) Slashes in an upwards arc very similar to his up tilt three consecutive times. Hits all usually follow into each other with the final hit having the most knockback, though DI makes it an unreliable finishing attack. Fully charged is usually the toughest time to get all hits successfully connecting. The last hit has the unusual property of being able to send opponents to the left or right side of him.
Down smash   13%/7% (front), 12%/6% (back) Swings sword on both sides of himself on the ground. First hit comes out fast, though second hit has some lag. Deals less damage if the opponent hits the tip of Young Link's sword.
Neutral aerial   12% (clean), 8% (late) A standard sex kick. Stronger than Link's.
Forward aerial   12%/11%/9% (clean), 8%/7%/5% (late) Swings his sword twice in front of himself. Strangely, even though Young Link does two midair slashes, the move can only hit opponents once.
Back aerial   7% (hits 1-2) Two short-ranged kicks behind himself. More easier for both hits to connect compared to Link's version.
Up aerial   15% (clean), 12% (late) Stabs his sword upwards. Not a good move for KOing, being better at juggling.
Down aerial   14%/16% (clean), 17%/12% (late), 8%/9% (after bounce) Very similar to Link's, thrusts his sword down with massive damage, knockback, ending lag, and duration, and makes Young Link bounce after hitting a foe. If the opponent is positioned above or to the side of Young Link, they will be meteor smashed powerfully at an angle. Because opponent must be positioned above or to the side of Young Link to meteor smash, it is feasible to edgeguard opponents from above or ending this attack after a combo. This is, however, hard to perform as Young Link will most likely self-destruct. If the opponent is below Young Link, it results in considerable vertical knockback on the first hit, making it a great KO move. Second strongest meteor smash in Melee thanks to its immense base knockback and somewhat high knockback scaling (Ganondorf's down aerial gets stronger at higher percentages due to its even higher knockback scaling), and its one of the strongest meteors on grounded opponents in Melee. Though it is very difficult to meteor smash opponents on a soft platform, it is capable of Star KOing any grounded opponents (only if the characters are on the soft platform) under 150%.
Grab aerial Hookshot 5% Uses his Hookshot. The attack has the unusual property of not suffering from 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 Young Link's small short hop. This move has transcendent priority.
Grab Hookshot Uses his hookshot to grab at foes from afar. It's the third longest grab in the game, behind Link.
Pummel   3% Hits opponent with the hilt of his sword.
Forward throw   3% (hit 1), 3% (throw) Kicks foe forward. Can chaingrab against heavy foes, or can simply lead into a combo or follow-up attack.
Back throw   3% (hit 1), 3% (throw) Takes foe and kicks them to his back.
Up throw   4% (hit 1), 2% (throw) Takes foe and swings his sword in an arch above, launching to foe above. Can lead into various combos, or simply his up aerial. At high percentage it can lead to his down aerial's meteor smash (up to 200%) if timed correctly.
Down throw   2% (hit 1), 4% (throw) Suddenly grounds the foe and tackles them. This launches the foe temporarily in the air right in front of Young Link, and can lead into many combos, though being DI-able.
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. Similar to Link's, only the sword has a hitbox, meaning that foes close to the edge can avoid the attack completely.
Neutral special Fire Bow 8-15% Shoots a flaming arrow that does not travel as far as Link's and does slightly less damage, but has more hitstun.
Side special Boomerang 16% (throw), 19% (smash throw), 7% (far), 2% (return) Throws a Boomerang forward. Young Link's Boomerang doesn't go as far as Link's does, but it deals more damage. The Boomerang's distance can be extended or have its trajectory altered with the control stick.
Up special Spin Attack Ground: 1% (hits 1-12), 3% (hit 13)
Air: 3% (hit 1), 2% (hits 2-4), 3% (hit 5)
Does a spinning attack. When used in the air, it gives Young Link a boost in the air, makes it a recovery move. Compared to Link's version, Young Link's Spin Attack has slightly more control when used in midair and hits multiple times on the ground. This move has transcendent priority.
Down special Bomb 2-7% (contact), 2% (explosion hits 1-3) Young 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 Young Link himself. Unlike Link's Bombs, Young Link's bombs deals multiple hits upon exploding. 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 Young Link an extra Spin Attack if used skillfully.

Taunt[edit]

  • Takes out a bottle of Lon Lon Milk, drinks it, and then wipes his mouth. This is the longest taunt in the game.
YoungLink-Taunt-SSBM.gif

Idle poses[edit]

  • Beats the edge of his boots on the ground.
  • Looks around himself.
Young Link Idle Pose Melee.png

Crowd cheer[edit]

English Japanese
Cheer
Young Link Cheer NTSC Melee.ogg
Young Link Cheer JP Melee.ogg
Description Young-Link! Young-Link!
Pitch Male Male

Victory poses[edit]

An orchestrated portion of the main theme from The Legend of Zelda series.
  • Checks his belt, then readjusts it. Based on one of his idle animations from The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask
  • Put his sword and shield together and then raises his sword high into the air. Shares this victory pose with Link.
  • Puts his sword away, then dusts off his hands and looks at the screen while posing.
YLink-Victory1-SSBM.gif YLink-Victory2-SSBM.gif YLink-Victory3-SSBM.gif

In Competitive play[edit]

Matchups[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.
YoungLinkHeadSSBM.png -2 -3 -2 -2 -1 -1 -1 -2 -1 -1 -1 +2 -1 -1 -2 Mirror match -1 +1 +1 +2 +1 +2 +2 +2 +2 +2 ±0

Young Link has a somewhat below average matchup spread, notably without any even matchups; he is hard countered only by Falco, countered by 5 characters, soft countered by 9 characters, soft counters 3 characters, and counters 7 characters. With the exception of Yoshi, he has a losing matchup against everyone above him in ranking (as well as Donkey Kong) due to a lack of range and KO power, a relatively slow projectile game despite having three different types of projectiles, and a mediocre recovery, though he fares slightly better against the floatier characters. On the other hand, Young Link has a winning matchup over everyone else due to his speed and using their weaknesses to his advantage.

Notable players[edit]

See also: Category:Young Link professionals (SSBM)

Active[edit]

  • USA Axe - Widely considered to be flashiest as well as the best Young Link player in the world.
  • USA Dazwa - One of the best Young Link players in the United States, most notably beating MacD and Mafia.
  • USA Laijin - Considered to be the second best Young Link player in the United States, behind Axe.
  • USA SparkingZero
  • USA Taj

Inactive[edit]

Tier placement and history[edit]

Young Link has always been placed in the mid-low tiers, ranking as low as 20th, due to his slow projectile game and lack of KOing power. For a long time, he was considered inferior to Link due to his adult counterpart having greater range, better KOing power, and just as good of a recovery, but Young Link has seen greater usage in major tournaments. Most notably, Armada used to play Young Link to counter Hungrybox's Jigglypuff, and Axe also has considerable practice with using Young Link in tournament; both of them take advantage of Young Link's speed and better combo ability to win matches, and these traits eventually allowed Young Link to pull ahead of Link in the tier list. However, outside of Armada and Axe, active dedicated Young Link mains are few and far between; as a result, Young Link is considered a very niche character in the metagame, and is expected to remain in the mid-low tiers.

In single-player modes[edit]

In Classic Mode[edit]

Young Link can appear in ordinary one-on-one matches, in a team as an ally or opponent (paired up with either Link or Zelda), in a giant battle, or as an opponent in the metal fight. In these cases, Young Link either appears on Great Bay or Temple, with the exception of the metal battle. In all such instances, bar the metal fight, Saria's Song will play.

In Adventure Mode[edit]

The Adventure Mode makes no concessions to Young Link when he is unlocked.

In All-Star Mode[edit]

In All-Star Mode, Young Link and his allies are fought on the stage Jungle Japes, with Saria's Song playing, as the remainder of the Zelda stages are instead taken by Link and Zelda.

In Event Matches[edit]

Young Link is featured in the following event matches:

Ending images[edit]

Trophies[edit]

Young Link Trophy.png

Young Link (Classic Mode, Trophy #287)
Link's younger incarnation is often considered to be the true Link: he was a young boy in the very first Legend of Zelda game, and he has appeared as a youth in most of the subsequent games. Since his debut on the original NES in 1987, Link's appearance has changed over and over again, each time adding to the mystique of his incomparable story.

Young Link Trophy (Smash).png

Young Link (Smash Red, Adventure Mode, Trophy #288)
Young Link is lighter and faster than his older self, and his Kokiri sword packs less punch. Even though his Boomerang has a shorter range, he has greater control over it. He's a smaller target, and while his Hookshot has less reach than older Link's, you can still use it in midair as a last ditch attempt to grab a ledge.

Young Link Trophy 2 (Smash).png

Young Link (Smash Blue, All-Star Mode, Trophy #289)
With a youthful spring in his step, Young Link can perform amazing wall-jumps. Once he hits a wall, tap the Control stick in the opposite direction to send him leaping upward; you can practice to your heart's content in Target Test. His Spin Attack can strike multiple times even on the ground, and although it's hard to discern, so do his Bombs.

Alternate costumes[edit]

Young Link's alternate costumes in Melee

Trivia[edit]

A comparison of Link and Young Link's respective Hookshots.
  • Link and Young Link's hookshot use the same model; as a result, it looks larger when Young Link uses it.
  • Young Link appears in the background of Link's montage in the introduction to Melee, making him one of the five hidden characters, along with Ganondorf, Jigglypuff, Mewtwo, and Pichu, to have some kind of involvement in the intro.
  • Despite the Deku Shield's vulnerability to flames in Ocarina of Time, the Deku Shield is able to block fire projectiles in Melee.
  • Because of its length, Young Link's defeat cry does not properly terminate when he is KOed on the left, right, or bottom blast lines; similar behaviour occurs with Mr. Game & Watch.
  • Young Link and Roy are the only fighters to use their KO voice cry for other uses. Young Link's is used during his Star KO animation and Roy's is used when fully charging Flare Blade.
  • Young Link, Toon Link and Roy are the only swordfighters in Smash Bros. whose swords consistently produce a punch/kick sound effect instead of a slashing sound effect for the majority of their attacks.
  • Young Link and Falco are the only two characters in Melee to have similar images with the same pose for their respective official artworks, alternate costumes, and "Challenger Approaching" screens.
  • Young Link is the only character in Melee to not have any even matchups with any character.


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