Zelda (ゼルダ, Zelda) is a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. She was confirmed as a playable character on June 12, 2018. Zelda is classified as fighter #17.
Zelda is voiced in-game by Ayumi Fujimura, who previously voiced the character in The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds. She speaks a single line in the Adventure Mode: World of Light opening, voiced by the former in Japanese and dubbed in English by Brandy Kopp, who also voices Palutena.
How to unlock
Complete one of the following:
With the exception of the third method, Zelda must then be defeated on Temple.
Changes from Super Smash Bros. 4
Zelda has historically and consistently been regarded as one of the worst characters in previous games (and at some point the worst) due to her combination of underwhelming frame data as a whole, a lackluster special moveset, bad hitbox placements, and an undesirable mix of attributes, being slow, light (except in Melee), tall and floaty. While Smash 4 had brought updates to her offensive game, her weaknesses still remained, causing her to nevertheless remain unviable. Likely as a result of being a poorly regarded character in competitive play, Zelda has been greatly buffed overall in the transition from Smash 4 to Ultimate.
Many of Zelda's moves have either reduced lag, better KO potential, or other improvements. Her neutral attack, previously the slowest in the game, comes out significantly faster, and has been reworked to possess an infinite portion with better damage racking ability and knockback. Her already good grab game was improved to the point it is now among the most useful: her back and up throws are much stronger, while down throw deals more damage and, although its knockback and angle were altered, its combo ability remains mostly intact. Her Lightning Kicks have been improved as well, with the back kick having a larger sweetspot while the forward kick is now active as fast as the back kick, increasing their potency for followups when landing with them, and making them more devastating out of shield. This allows Zelda to secure KOs more easily, and down throw's with the Lightning Kicks in particular possessing more reliable KO setups.
Zelda's special moveset, considered one of the most lackluster in all previous games, has also seen various heavy improvements. Nayru's Love has faster startup and longer intangibility, and preserves Zelda's momentum, strengthening its already remarkable defensive ability and allowing for edgeguarding applications. Din's Fire no longer causes helplessness, giving it utility as an anti-edgeguarding option. Farore's Wind has faster startup, making it a more effective out of shield option, and more precise angles for reappearance, allowing her to land its second hit easier even if the enemy DIs the first hit, making "elevator" combos much more consistent. Most importantly, however, Phantom Slash has been heavily reworked to possess several more stages that can be unleashed faster, and the last stage allows Zelda to move around before it is unleashed, allowing for intricate trap setups and combos when edgeguarding and approaching, while the Phantom no longer has any cooldown if destroyed. Since the Phantom is formed behind Zelda, it is now better used in her advantage state, though with sufficient spacing it is also a strong tool in the neutral game. With precise input, Zelda can also short hop behind the Phantom while charging it, allowing it to block incoming projectiles while charging.
Additionally, Zelda has received noteworthy buffs from the universal changes. Despite still having below-average mobility relative to the rest of the cast, the universal 3-frame jumpsquats and reduced landing lag improve her the most, as they greatly supplement her neutral game, previously one of her main weaknesses. This allows her to approach more reliably with her powerful Lightning Kicks, and improves her combo potential, giving her more consistent and durable followups from moves such as up tilt, neutral aerial, up throw, and down throw, which can dish out large amounts of damage. The changes to air dodging also marginally improve her edgeguarding game with Din's Fire and, in ocassions, give her a niche recovery option.
However, Zelda has received some nerfs as well. Due to the changes to her neutral attack, is it no longer a nearly unpunishable option against shields, and none of her other attacks has had their ending lag reduced enough to compensate. Forward tilt has increased startup and decreased KO potential, reducing its utility, and neutral aerial notoriously fails to connect its hits reliably, due to no longer using the autolink angle nor set knockback, although the first hit can still combo if SHFF'd. Zelda's dash and pivot grabs, already below-average in speed, have received even more startup, although her pivot grab has very large range for a non-tether grab. Both forward throw and Farore's Wind are weaker, most significantly the former, now only being usable for setting up edgeguards in a similar vein to Ness' own forward throw.
Lastly, although Zelda does benefit from the changes to the game's engine, some of the changes impair her; the universal increase in mobility doesn't benefit her as much due to her slow grounded movement, since it still doesn't allow her to catch up with most of the cast. The weakening of rage slightly hinders her KO power, as it hasn't got any notable improvements otherwise. The increased shieldstun both helps and hinders Zelda, as it allows her moves to be more safely spaced, but combined with the universal reductions to landing lag (despite aerials having less shieldstun), it also slightly impairs her out of shield game. In addition to these nerfs, Zelda also retains most of her weaknesses from previous, mainly her slow movement speed, light weight, a few poor hitbox placements, and extremely weak sourspots on her Lightning Kicks, which are otherwise her strongest KO moves; and despite the improvements she has received, her weaknesses can still be exploited by the rest of the cast.
Overall, Zelda's moveset has been considerably enhanced from previous installments, making her strengths much more defined, and allowing her to play defensive much more reliably. This makes her Ultimate iteration the strongest, although she still faces competition from several returning characters that have been likewise buffed to varying degrees. Her perception in the competitive metagame has been more positive than in Smash 4, thanks to moderately good tournament representation and results both regionally and nationally from top players such as ven and Mystearica, and many smashers such as ZeRo, Samsora, and VoiD consider her a mid-tier character. However, since her weaknesses from previous games still remain, Zelda's overall perception remains average at best.
Throws and other attacks
Zelda has been barely affected by updates. As part of update 3.0.0's universal nerfing of projectiles, each charge level of Phantom Slash deals less shield damage. Aside from this, update 4.0.0 simply provided animation touch-ups.
Note: All numbers are listed as base damage, without the 1v1 multiplier.
In competitive play
As one of the characters playable in the E3 demo build, players were fairly divided early on Zelda as a competitive character. Much of the optimism surrounding the character could be attributed to noticeably improved frame data, particularly on her Jab and out-of-shield options, which were key points of grievance with the character's past iterations, as well as Phantom Slash's changes. However, just as players took notice of the character's improvements over SSB4, they also found that not only did some other flaws pop up, but her mobility and height issues were retained from previous games as well. The loss of key kill confirms from Smash 4 did much to offset some of the initial hype surrounding the character, leaving consensus on her potential standing in the metagame all over the place. The beginning of competitive Ultimate had players regard Zelda as a mid-tiered character.
However, as time went on and the game and its ensuing patches were released, counterplay measures to exploit Zelda's flaws were discovered and shared among opponents, all while patches did nothing to help her unlike other characters viewed as mid tier. It was at this point where Zelda greatly fell out of favor with the playerbase, and many who did play the character saw a sharp decline in their results, dropped Zelda entirely, or both, leaving only the most dedicated Zelda mains to continue playing her. She is currently seen as low tier by the community, with some even ranking her among the game's worst characters. This is heavily contested, however, as players such as Mystearica, Rizeasu, and ven continue to place well with her.
Classic Mode: Wisdom Prevails
All of Zelda's battles are on The Legend of Zelda themed stages, and all her opponents are antagonists.
Role in World of Light
Zelda was among the fighters that were summoned to fight the army of Master Hands.
During the opening cutscene, Zelda tried to rally the other fighters to fight the army of Master Hands by saying, "Stow your fear; it's now or never!", and was present when Galeem unleashed his beams of light. She and Mewtwo attempted to reflect the beams using Nayru's Love and Confusion, respectively, but this attempt failed, and both of them were vaporized and placed under Galeem's imprisonment along with the rest of the fighters (excluding Kirby).
Zelda was one of the many fighters that fell under Dharkon's control upon Galeem's first defeat. She is unlocked in the the Dark Realm at Sacred Land, on the bottom left corner of the land which makes up the Triforce of Wisdom. The player must defeat the Spirit of Impa (which is revealed by solving a clock-based puzzle) to clear a boulder that's blocking the path to her unlock battle and then the Spirit of Uxie, Mesprit & Azelf. Unlocking her reveals the Triforce of Wisdom in the center of the map. If Young Link is unlocked, the boulders leading to Cloud's unlock battle and the Master Sword clear out.
Zelda is later seen among several other fighters, making their last stand against Galeem and Dharkon. She is also seen in the bad ending where Galeem emerges victorious against Dharkon, witnessing Galeem engulf the world in light.
Zelda's Fighter Spirit can be obtained by completing Classic Mode. It is also available periodically for purchase in the shop for 500 coins. Unlocking Zelda 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, different incarnations of Zelda make an appearance in various Primary and Support Spirits.
In Spirit Battles
As the main opponent
As a minion
As an ally
Character Showcase Video