Young Link (SSBU)
Young Link (こどもリンク, Young Link) is a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. He was officially confirmed as playable alongside his former successor Toon Link on June 12th, 2018. Young Link is classified as fighter #22.
As in Super Smash Bros. Melee, Fujiko Takimoto's portrayals of Young Link from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask were repurposed for Ultimate, with mostly returning voice clips from Melee, and in addition to some new ones sourced from these games.
How to unlock
Complete one of the following:
With the exception of the third method, Young Link must then be defeated on Great Bay.
Young Link is a lightweight character (same as Greninja and Isabelle) and is actually the lightest of the three Links, being three units lighter than Toon Link. Compared to his descendants, he tends to be in the middle of their movement stats, with Toon Link usually being faster than him, but outclassing the mobility of regular Link. In terms of the rest of the cast, Young Link’s dashing speed is average, his initial dash is above average, and his air speed and acceleration are both low. His falling speed is above average, actually being the highest of the Links, however his fast falling speed is slower than Link’s, albeit still above average. Finally, his gravity is average and tied with Link’s. Overall, Young Link’s mobility is very average overall.
Young Link’s moveset is regarded as one of the best and most reliable in the entire game. While even the best characters in the game usually have one or two moves in their moveset regarded as worthless, none of Young Link’s moves are competitively unviable and all serve a purpose to his kit. There are two reasons for this. The first being that, like his descendants, he wields a sword. However, in his case, he wields his starting weapon from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask: the Kokiri Sword. Being a sword, the Kokiri Sword grants Young Link disjointed range, giving him the ability to space out his opponents as well as making his sword attacks risky to trade with unless the opponent has disjointed range of their own. The second, and more important, is his outstanding frame data. While Link has been synonymous with poor frame data and a laggy moveset due to his past appearances up until Ultimate, Young Link, on the other hand, has some of the best frame data in the entire game, with many of his moves being infamous for how quickly they come out coupled with how little cooldown they have. As a result, many moves of his are extremely safe on shield, such as down tilt, neutral air, forward air, back air, and even his boomerang. Additionally, the speed of his moveset makes it reliable for one of Young Link’s most notable aspects: his combo game.
While the Link archetype is one that has never been known for combos, Young Link subverts this by providing one of the most complex and varied combo games out of the entire cast. His down tilt and up tilt are specifically designed to start combos, with both simply knocking the opponents up into the air with weak knockback to set up for his aerials, while his jab can transition into a rapid jab for respectable damage or be used to jab lock opponents and set up for down tilt into an aerial combo. However, his aerials are truly what gives him the outstanding combo game he has. Most of them are capable of both starting combos as well as continuing them, making their usage very flexible and wide. His neutral air, perhaps his best aerial, is a simple sex kick. It’s late hit in particular is extremely good for combos, being able to both start and continue combos even into high percentages and being able to be followed up with a majority of Young Link’s moveset. It can also lead to tech chase situations at high percents when the move causes opponents to go into tumble. The clean hit, on the other hand, is a very reliable “get off me” tool that prevents other combo heavy characters from overwhelming Young Link with combos of their own, as well as providing him with an out of shield option. Overall, the sheer utility of this move has caused it to gain the reputation as one of the best aerials in the game.
Forward and back air are both designed similarly. Both attacks are combo attacks that consist of a first weak hit that is meant to lead into a second stronger attack that contains knockback. However, these are both meant to be used in different ways. Back air is much more geared towards combos as it comes out fast, has very little lag, and deals minimal knockback, making it easy to follow up with another back air or another move. Forward air is instead a combo finisher as it comes out slower and is slower overall than back air in exchange for having much more power and knockback, being one of Young Link’s best KO moves. Additionally, both of these moves can be land cancelled before their second hits come out, essentially allowing them another way to set up for combos. Up air is a thrust above Young Link that comes out very fast for how strong it is and lingers awhile, making it useful for covering the space above him. It can be used to juggle opponents, as it’s hard to challenge due to it’s disjoint. Additionally, when fresh, it is one of his most potent KO moves and can be comboed into quite flexibly. Down air, while not being a combo tool, serves as a reliable landing option due to it’s lingering hitbox and disjointed range as well as a KO tool at high percents.
However, Young Link is not completely reliant upon his superb combo game and his special moves grant him many more options to work with. Fire Arrow fires a flaming arrow in front of Young Link. The most notable aspect of this move, much like the rest of Young Link’s moveset, is how fast it is. It contains very little startup and ending lag and even an uncharged arrow travels a respectable distance, making it very useful for zoning. The arrow itself also deals low upwards knockback with high hitstun, essentially making them reliable combo starters, too, provided Young Link is close enough to his opponent. Fire Arrow can also be charged, allowing it to fly further and do more damage than a noncharged arrow. However, this charge cannot be held, unlike moves such as Samus’ Charge Shot. Boomerang is slower than Fire Arrow, but comes with the perks of more damage, lasting much longer, and returning to Young Link after travelling a certain distance, meaning that the opponent must remain aware of the boomerang’s location even after it has passed them. Boomerang is best used as another projectile to force the opponent to worry about getting around and granting Young Link stage control. Interestingly, a point blank boomerang is actually safe on shield against most of the cast, something extremely uncharacteristic of a projectile. Bombs, Young Link’s third and final projectile, are perhaps his most flexible. Using the move will have Young Link pull out and light a bomb before holding it in his hand. Afterwards, the bomb functions as a held item, allowing Young Link to throw it forward, backward, up, and down in addition to being able to drop it and have it lie on the ground until it explodes. Bombs grant Young Link a numerous amount of trapping opportunities, such as being able to use dropped bombs to cover platforms or ledge getup options, as well as setting up for combos if the Bomb hits an opponent. Essentially, these three moves allow Young Link to play as a zoner, much like regular Link does. However, Young Link is unique in that, while most zoners’ weaknesses are their poor frame data and inability to get opponents off of them, he is more than capable of fighting up close and actually likes when his opponents get close to him, as it allows him to take advantage of his combo game. While on the topic of his combo game, his last special move, Spin Attack, serves as a surprisingly effective combo starter on the ground, where it knocks opponents up into the air with weak knockback and has little endlag. In the air, it is instead a combo finisher, reliably KOing opponents at the ledge at high percents.
Young Link’s grab game provides him with some interesting options. Unlike Link, Young Link still retains use of the Hookshot for his grab, giving him a very long grab range in exchange for his grab being laggier than most. Additionally, the Hookshot itself can be used as a ZAir attack, where it has the longest range of any of his aerials, and can confirm into Up Smash for KOs at higher percents. This ZAir attack can also allow him to grab onto ledges provided he is close enough, providing him with another recovery option. His forward throw is one of the strongest throws in the game, KOing middleweights at the ledge of Final Destination around 130%. Up and down throws both have combo potential in the low-to-mid percent range. Back throw is the least useful of his throws but can set up for an edgeguard.
However, while he has some very potent strengths, Young Link has some notable weaknesses. His range, while disjointed, is significantly lacking when compared to other sword users. As a result, despite having a sword, Young Link is beaten out in range by nearly every other swordfighter in the game, causing his mid-range game to be rather poor as his attacks are too short ranged to hit but his projectiles leave him wide open to attack. Unlike other sword characters, he still needs to get up close and personal if he wants to use any attacks other than his projectiles, which leads into his second issue of his mobility. While Young Link’s mobility is average overall, this average mobility can tend to clash with his combo oriented moveset. This can lead to situations where Young Link is simply too slow to continue a combo he has started. While Fire Arrows can help alleviate this by being used to “hold” opponents in hitstun while Young Link gets over to continue the combo, it is not ideal or even possible in all situations. Additionally, Young Link’s recovery, while much better than in Melee, is very exploitable. Due to Spin Attack only covering to the sides of him and not above, he is easily hit out of his recovery and edgeguarded by characters who can hit his head and now come into contact with the hitboxes as well as being vulnerable to characters with counters such as Lucina.
Though, none of these are Young Link’s biggest flaw which is his inconsistent KO ability. While some players may claim Young Link’s KO ability is flat out bad, this is not actually true. Many of his moves including all of his Smash Attacks, forward air, up air, and down air, all possess respectable knockback and can kill at average percentages at worst. What gives him difficulty KOing is his lack of an easy, reliable setup into these moves. The easy setups such as using bombs are not always reliable due to bombs having random knockback at times while the more difficult setups such as ZAir into Up Smash are reliable, but considerably more difficult to pull off due to the attacks themselves often being difficult to land because of Young Link’s small range, especially in the heat of a match. Stale moves also pose a huge threat to Young Link’s KO potential. While moves like forward and up air are very strong in combos, using them to wrack up damage will result in sacrificing them as reliable KO tools later on. As a result, Young Link players must be very vigilant of staling their moves and work to make sure they keep their kill moves as fresh as possible, more so than most other characters. This, when combined with a large number of combos and set ups that need to be memorized, causes Young Link to have a rather high learning curve, especially at top level play.
In summary, Young Link, despite appearing to be very similar to his descendants in terms of his moveset, has a completely unique design and playstyle unlike anybody else in the game. He possesses one of the best zoning and combo games in the cast, giving him the ability to play both hyper defensively and hyper aggressively and switch between the two playstyles on the fly to throw opponents off. However, he must remain very aware of how he uses his moves, as not to stale his finishers too soon, as well as be ready to react to any mistake an opponent makes at high percents in order to take a stock before an opponent’s percentage gets too high and it becomes difficult to KO them in a set-up. Despite rather low representation at top level, most likely due to his high learning curve and inconsistencies, Young Link is regarded as a high tier character, especially with the recent buffs to his KO power in 7.0.0, and the few top level players who have chosen to main him have proven his capability to preform well in tournaments.
Changes from Super Smash Bros. Melee
Since Link has been heavily reworked to match his appearance in Breath of the Wild, Young Link effectively functions as a stand-in for Link’s older appearances. Furthermore, as Young Link is based off of Ocarina of Time rather than Twilight Princess, he is closest to Link’s appearances in Smash 64 and Melee. He retains moves and characteristics from Melee that Link himself no longer possesses, such as a rapid jab, his dash attack, and Hookshot. These changes further declones Young Link from Link, to the point that he is now a semi-clone, similarly to the changes Roy received in Super Smash Bros. 4.
Young Link has been heavily buffed in the transition from Melee to Ultimate. His attributes, moveset and general gameplan have all been significantly improved in the transition, and he has gained a better combo game, whereas the changes to the general pace of Ultimate have contributed to his benefits.
Young Link's speed has been improved from Melee, not just in terms of his mobility, but also his attacks, as many of them have decreased startup and ending lag (such as neutral attack, forward and down tilts, and dash attack), and his aerials have heavily decreased landing lag (even compared to their L-canceled counterparts in Melee), improving his ability to land. Some of his moves have also been reworked to make them more reliable and effective, such as his up smash and his forward and back aerials, and the weakening of SDI heavily benefits his multi-hit attacks. His grab game has also been improved thanks to the universal changes to tether grabs, as they now have less ending lag and a longer duration. His forward throw also has increased knockback, giving him a new KOing option.
His special moveset has also seen heavy improvements. Fire Arrow has less ending lag and increased knockback, Boomerang deals less knockback as a result of its lower damage, grounded Spin Attack has less ending lag after its final hit, and aerial Spin Attack's hits link into the other much more consistently. Bombs were also significantly buffed, as their multi-hits accumulate their damage faster, they travel farther when thrown, no longer deal damage to Young Link if they hit an enemy head-on, and can be "soft-tossed" or slowly Z-dropped without exploding. All of these changes combined together not only grant Young Link a deceptively improved zoning game, but have also further improved his combo ability from mid-distance.
The changes to Ultimate's engine have also generally benefitted Young Link. The universal increase in mobility, the ability to use any attack out of a run and the increased shieldstun have vastly improved Young Link's close quarters combat, as he can now close in on the distance with less issue and his attacks' above average damage output renders them harder to punish (most infamously his tilt attacks). The universal reduction to landing lag is an especially notable benefit, as not only this improves his ability to land, but has improved his aerials' safety on shield -despite the reduced shieldstun on aerial attacks-, but has also dramatically improved his combo game up-close outside of his down throw and Bombs, with him now having set-up options by virtue of his neutral aerial's late hit and the first hits of his forward and back aerials. The removal of edgehogging, the introduction of ledge trumping and the changes to invincibility when grabbing an edge have also notably improved Young Link's recovery, making him much less vulnerable to getting edgeguarded or getting hit if he doesn't grab the stage's edge.
Although he has mostly received buffs, Young Link is not without some nerfs. In exchange for his now excellent combo ability, some of Young Link's attacks deal less damage (most notably his projectiles), now requiring him to string more hits in order to rack up more damage. A few of his attacks also have slightly increased startup and ending lag, while others have shorter durations, bringing them more in line with the rest of the cast. His aerial mobility is also slightly worse (especially when relative to the cast). Additionally, his down tilt and down aerial no longer have meteor smash hitboxes, meaning that Young Link gains no benefits from the removal of meteor canceling. In terms of gameplay changes, the changes to air dodging also hinder Young Link's mobility, as wavedashing and wavelanding are significantly less effective due to their increased landing lag. Some of Young Link's weaknesses from Melee also remain, most notably his below average range for a swordfighter (despite it improving in the transition) and his still limited KOing ability.
Overall, Young Link's gameplan has radically changed between both games, which has also resulted in a slight increase to his already high learning curve. Young Link now has reliable damage racking capabilities at all ranges, courtesy of an improved zoning game and a deceptively improved combo game that doesn't require use of his bombs, which now makes it easier for him to close in on the distance against other characters and harder for other characters to keep up with him, and he has less trouble at landing due to his aerials' lower landing lag. However, even with the higher knockback on some of his moves and his new hit confirms, his KOing ability remains below average, which combined with his short range means Young Link still has to take risks in order to KO the opponent. Regardless, Young Link is a significantly better character than he was in Melee, with a larger playerbase in competitive play consisting of players such as colinies, SKITTLES!!, Supahsemmie, T, Toast and Tweek, who have demonstrated Young Link's strong potential when mastered. As a result, Young Link is commonly considered to be a high tier character, though due to other characters receiving similar improvements such as Greninja, Mario, Pikachu, Palutena, Roy, R.O.B., and Wolf, his true tier placement remains debatable.
Throws and other attacks
Young Link received a mix of buffs and nerfs in game updates, but was buffed overall. The nerfs to the shield damage of various projectiles in update 3.0.0 affect Young Link more negatively than most other characters. However, the version 7.0.0 update gave Young Link increased knockback on many of his attacks, allowing for more KO options.
For a gallery of Young Link's hitboxes, see here.
Note: All numbers are listed as base damage, without the 1v1 multiplier.
In competitive play
Young Link was met with a considerable amount of hype when he returned to the series after 17 years, last appearing in Melee. By the time Ultimate got released, there were high hopes for him due to his amazing combo game and damage racking potential from his projectiles. Tweek found success with the character in the early months of Ultimate, winning some tournaments, such as Glitch 6 and Frostbite 2019. Players believed that because of these strengths and strong results, Young Link was seen as a viable high tier, or maybe a top tier, and the best of the three Links. As time went on, many discovered some of his weaknesses, which include inconsistent KO power and a linear, slow recovery, making him not too difficult to edgeguard. Tweek went on to drop the character in favor of Pokémon Trainer and Wario. As a result, Young Link was then seen as a high tier or an upper mid tier. In 2020, Patch 7.0.0. was released, granting Young Link a multitude of buffs, which fixed his problem of KO'ing at higher percents and having a confirm off of his grab aerial, or z-air. This grabbed the attention and caught the eye of some players and allowed to think of him highly again as a competitive high tier or maybe a top tier and the best Legend of Zelda representative. Because of this, coming out of nowhere, Toast amazed the crowd with his breakout performance at Frostbite 2020, placing 7th, taking sets off of many top players, including Samsora and Light.
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.
Classic Mode: Hyrule Smash
Young Link's opponents are all from the Zelda series. Additionally, to go with the theme of the route, all stages, items and assist trophies are from the The Legend of Zelda universe.
Credits roll after completing Classic Mode. Completing it as Young Link has Termina Field (Remix) accompany the credits.
Role in World of Light
Although Young Link does not appear in the World of Light opening cutscene, he was vaporized and later imprisoned alongside the rest of the fighters (sans Kirby) when Galeem unleashed his beams of light.
Young Link was one of the many imprisoned fighters that fell under Dharkon's control upon Galeem's first defeat. He is a necessary unlock found in the Sacred Realm sub-area on the bottom right corner of the land which makes up the Triforce of Courage. The player must rely on the owl statues which will guide the player to Saria's spirit battle. Unlocking her spirit clears out a tree stump that blocked access to his unlock battle. Once Young Link is unlocked, the Triforce of Courage appears in the center of the map. If Zelda is unlocked, the path leading to Cloud's unlock battle and the Master Sword clears out.
Young Link's Fighter Spirit can be obtained by completing Classic Mode. It is also available periodically for purchase in the shop for 500 coins. Unlocking Young Link in World of Light allows the player to preview the first 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, this incarnation of Link makes an appearance in a few Primary and Support Spirits under other forms.
In Spirit battles
As the main opponent
As a minion
Character Showcase Video