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. Although the changes made to Link were not enough to change Young Link's status as a clone, he is not classified as an Echo Fighter. As such, 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 (weighing the same as Greninja and Isabelle), and is the lightest of the three Links, being 3 units lighter than Toon Link. Compared to his alternate timeline counterparts, he tends to be in the middle in regard to mobility. 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, and is 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, with most of his quick movement potential coming from his high initial dash and fall speed.
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 unusually weak or situational, every one of Young Link's moves is strong and flexible, with a mix of versatile ranged combat and robust up close boxing.
Young Link uses the Kokiri Sword, the starting weapon from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, granting Young Link disjointed range and 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. Unlike many sword users, however, this is coupled with outstanding frame data. Although the Link archetype has been synonymous with laggy frame data up until Ultimate, Young Link has some of the best frame data in the entire game, with many of his moves being infamous for how quickly they come out and 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 up tilt and especially down tilt are well 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, create mixups through his surprisingly fast jab 2 cancel, or be used to jab lock opponents and set up combos with down tilt or finish stocks with an up special or forward smash. However, his aerials are truly what gives him the outstanding combo and boxing game he has. Most of Young Link's aerials are capable of both starting combos as well as continuing them, making their usage very flexible and wide, as well as dealing significant damage.
His neutral aerial, perhaps his best aerial, is a simple sex kick. Its late hit in particular is extremely good for combos, being able to both start and continue them well 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. Meanwhile, the clean hit is very reliable at warding off opponents, prevents other combo-oriented characters from overwhelming Young Link with combos of their own, has enough power to kill at high percentages, and provides him with a fast, safe and reliable out of shield option. Overall, the sheer utility of this move has caused it to gain a reputation as one of the best aerials in the game.
Forward and back aerial are both designed similarly. Both attacks are combo attacks that consist of a first weak hit that stuns the enemy in place for a second launching hit. However, these are both meant to be used in different ways. Back aerial 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 aerial or another move. Forward aerial is instead a combo finisher as it comes out slower and recovers slower than back air in exchange for having much more power and knockback, providing significant KO power. Notably, canceling either of these moves by landing after the first hit allows Young Link to combo in to almost any move in his kit depending on the situation.
Up aerial 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 its large disjoint makes it hard to challenge. Additionally, up aerial is a powerful KO move and can be combo'd into quite flexibly. Down aerial, while not being a combo tool, serves as a reliable landing option or jump callout due to its lingering, disjointed hitbox and considerable power even on the late hit.
Young Link's special moves grant him many more options to work with. Like his normals they tend to be fast, flexible and safe. Fire Arrow fires a flaming arrow in front of Young Link. It is incredibly fast and quick-recovering, and even an uncharged arrow travels a respectable distance, making it a very persistent poking tool when zoning. The arrow itself also deals low upwards knockback with high hitstun, making them reliable combo starters, provided Young Link is close enough to his opponent or can catch the upward knockback with another projectile (including another arrow). Fire Arrow can also be charged, allowing it to fly further and do more damage than a noncharged arrow, which can be useful for catching landings, mixing up timings against certain reflectors, or pressuring far away targets. However, this charge cannot be stored, unlike moves such as Charge Shot.
Boomerang is slower than Fire Arrow, but comes with the perks of more damage, lasting much longer, being able to be thrown at different angles, 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 a lingering trap to grant Young Link stage control and for challenging people above or below you with its many angles. Interestingly, a point blank Boomerang is actually safe on shield against most of the cast, something uncharacteristic of a projectile.
Bomb, Young Link's third and final projectile, is perhaps his most complex and flexible. When used, Bomb functions as a held item, allowing Young Link to throw it forward, backward, up, and down, in addition to Z dropping it, which may be used to pressure people below you or drop it and have it lie on the ground until it explodes. Bomb grants 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.
This diverse projectile kit allow Young Link to play as a zoner, much like regular Link does. However, while most zoners' weaknesses are their poor frame data and inability to get opponents off of them, Young Link 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. Speaking 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. Starting frame 9 and hitting on both sides, it provides a powerful out of shield option with great damage reward. In the air, it is instead a combo finisher or hard read, reliably KOing opponents at (or beyond) the ledge.
Young Link's grab game may be the best of the Links and provides him with additional options. Unlike Link, Young Link still retains use of the Hookshot for his grab, giving him a very long, disjointed grab range in exchange for his grab being laggier than most. Additionally, the Hookshot itself can be used as a grab aerial attack. It has the longest range of any of his aerials, and can confirm in to a variety of followups, including nair or up smash for KOs at higher percents. This grab aerial attack also provides him with a tether recovery, which is often much safer than his Spin Attack. His forward throw is one of the strongest forward throws in the game, KOing middleweights at the ledge of Final Destination around 130% depending on their directional influence. Young Link's grabs also have solid combo potential as up and down throw both provide combos at low to mid percents. 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. His low air speed can also limit his ability to approach or escape, making him dependent on his projectiles for setting the terms of engagement.
Additionally, Young Link's recovery, while much better than in Melee, can be exploitable. His Spin Attack, while having good reach, travels on a predictable arc and only hits to his sides, allowing him to be edge guarded by characters who can hit his head, or be blocked by characters with counters such as Lucina. Young Link has a variety of options to deepen his recovery potential thanks to his tether recovery and many projectiles he can throw at the stage to cover himself, but in bad situations may be forced to use his up special in a way that's very vulnerable or predictable.
Young Link's KO potential can also be a mixed bag. His up smash gives him excellent kill potential out of shield, but is risky if it misses. While he has many safe moves that kill such as neutral air, forward air, and forward tilt, they may kill quite late, often requiring the opponent to be past 150%. Young Link is very dependent on his melee hits in order to kill, challenging him to contend with his sometimes-awkward approach game and short reach. As usual this can be mitigated with projectiles, which provide combos even at very high percents and give Young Link an opening with which to approach. Stale moves can also present challenges--moves like nair and fair may have been heavily involved in combos and neutral, meaning they may be missing their full power when used for a KO. These factors, when combined with a large number of combos and set ups to learn, causes Young Link to have a rather high learning curve, especially at top level play.
In summary, Young Link, despite featuring a very similar moveset to his alternate timeline counterparts, has a 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. 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 buffs to his KO power in update 7.0.0, and the few top level players who have chosen to main him have proven his capability to preform well in tournaments.
Link has received a major aesthetic and gameplay overhaul. He is now based on the Hero of the Wild and thus features a heavily reworked moveset to reference his appearance in Breath of the Wild. As Young Link hails from Ocarina of Time, he is closest to his older self's appearances in SSB and Melee, effectively serving as the classic Link archetype for this game. He retains moves and characteristics from Melee that the Hero of the Wild lacks (most notably a flurry attack and Hookshot), yet has also received a few changes that reference his descendant, the Hero of Twilight, as he appeared in Brawl and Smash 4. While these changes further de-clone Young Link from Link, he remains a full clone instead of a semi-clone due to his large number of shared attacks (compared to Toon Link, who has roughly as many unique attacks as not).
Throws and other attacks
Changes from Super Smash Bros. Melee
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
Aside from glitch fixes, Young Link has received a mix of buffs and nerfs via game updates, but has been 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, update 7.0.0 gave Young Link increased knockback on a few 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 was 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 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 top-tier character, and the best of the three Links. As time went on, players began discovering his weaknesses, which include inconsistent KO power and a linear, slow recovery, making him relatively easy 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, update 7.0.0. granted Young Link a multitude of buffs, which fixed his problem of KOing at higher percents and having a confirm off of his grab aerial. This caused many to again consider him a high-tier or even top-tier and the best fighter from The Legend of Zelda. 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.
In the online scene, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Young Link has a more prominent representation and a much stronger pick in Wi-Fi tournaments. His safe aerials and already strong projectiles are buffed online due to increased lag and reaction time being taken into account. Currently, the character's Wi-Fi meta is being represented by players such as SKITTLES!! and colinies.
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:Young Link professionals (SSBU)
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.
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 Land 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
Fighter Showcase Video