Character Crisis: I Mained Link for a Week

Introduction to Character Crisis

I am suffering from a character crisis in Super Smash Bros Ultimate. Traditionally, the way to solve this is to choose one fighter, learning the game through the perspective of your main. But with how large Smash’s cast is, could I be missing out on someone? For as long as it takes I intend on maining each character in Smash Bros, learning the game through their eyes, and then testing those skills at my local tournament. If you’d like join me on my character crisis you can sign up to receive emails each time I post a new article. This week I’m playing the hero of Hyrule, Link.

Character Crisis Logo

Preconceptions on Link

Link, the champion lost to time has returned to fight in Smash! Breath of the Wild is one of my favorite Zelda games but after introducing it to my wife it became her favorite game of all time. The moment I knew she fell in love with the game was when she spent 10 minutes rolling bombs down a hill to defeat a single Wizzrobe.

Link has appeared in every Smash game and has been a beloved fighter in the franchise ever since. He brings a unique archetype to Smash that mixes bombs, arrows, sword, and shield allowing Link to fight on all fronts. Throughout the series Link has usually been categorized as a low-mid tier, owing in large part to being slow and having a terrible recovery. However, upon the release of Ultimate many people placed Link in high tier for the first time ever. His new tools in remote bomb and an outstanding Neutral Air convinced many people of his potential.

As much hype as there was for Link at the beginning of the game, eventually he faded into obscurity. His highest placing at a supermajor was T’s 5th place finish at 2GG: Kongo Saga all the way back in 2019. With all the new waves of DLC players just stopped paying attention to Link. Even though the meta has shifted, Link still has all the tools he needs to take on the new fighters. Here’s a matchup chart I made before I had a chance to play the character compared to a matchup chart created by a main of the character.

Out of all the matchup charts I’ve made so far, this is the one that I’ve had the greatest discrepancy with. This is probably a result of Link not being a very relevant character in the current metagame. Olimar is a character I placed in even, but is considered to be a +2 matchup. Weird things about the matchup such as Hylian Shield blocking F-Smash could be partly to blame. Sephiroth is a another character I placed in even that is a +2 matchup. Both of these characters are extremely light, which lets Link’s incredible kill power shine.

On the other end of the spectrum we have Mario. Another matchup I thought could be even turns out to be awful for Link. Terry is even worse with me initially thinking it could be a winning matchup. Finally Little Mac, a character many would consider to be the worst in the game, somehow has a slightly winning matchup against Link. What all these characters share in common is how destructive they can be in close quarters. Link plays best at range, harassing your opponent with projectiles and then stuffing their approaches with the Master Sword. But as long as they can play around his frame 7 Up-B out of shield, they can bully him when they get in.

Training Mode with Link

Link has one thing that sets him apart from the rest of the cast and that is his remote bomb. Link’s bomb is only limited by your creativity and can be used for stage control, zoning, edge guarding, combos, and even intimidation. Perhaps the most important thing remote bomb is when you use it to blow yourself up. Just like speedrunners in Breath of the Wild Link can use bomb to send himself flying. Mastering this technique is essential because without it Link would have one of the worst recoveries in the game.

Link Blowing Up Pikachu

There are multiple different ways to perform this technique all of which require a Z-Drop. As long as you are airborn, you can input grab to instantly drop your item. This is called a Z-Drop because grab is mapped to the Z-button on Gamecube controllers. If you have a double jump you can Z-Drop, double jump, and then press Down-B to blow yourself up. Be careful to not hold forward when inputting the Z-Drop or you’ll just toss your bomb away. If you don’t have a double jump you can still perform this technique as long as you wait a full second after pulling out the bomb. It’s easy to accidentally kill yourself while going for this, but learning this technique is essential for aspiring champions.

Another important thing to practice is landing the first hit of his Back-Air (Bair). This move is a key part of Link’s gameplan, giving him a safe option to throw out that can convert into kills if he lands it. Simply time your fast fall so that you land before the second hit comes out. Link has one of the best fast-fall multipliers in the cast which you can use to your advantage. There are many different moves you can use as follow-ups to Bair 1 such as grab, Up-Tilt, and Up-B. Even though it’s not a true combo, options such as Forward-Smash have very few ways to escape and can kill very early.

There’s a lot to learn about Link so I’ll include resources down below for those who want to learn more about the character. I hope you enjoy some of the clips I was able to land this week.

Link Tournament Report

Going into this tournament I wanted nothing more than to win. My last two weeks I had gone 0-2 and I felt like I needed to win a tournament set. If I don’t manage to win will people get bored of the series? Will it just prove that going through a Character Crisis is bad and you should avoid it at all costs? I was proud of my Link so far, in part due to all the experience I gained from playing Toon Link in Smash 4. Out of all the characters I have played so far, he’s easily the one I put the most practice into simply because I enjoyed playing as him. I knew I was capable of winning a set I just had to prove it.

Hammy Vs Link

Fox Head

Hammy is a Fox main who has been quickly rising up the ranks of Utah Smash. Fox is a tough character for Link to deal with due to how blisteringly fast he can be in close quarters combat. As soon as the match started we somehow managed to both self-destruct. I was doing my best to keep Fox as far away from me as I could but Hammy was able to hurtbox shift around my attacks and open me up. I kept it close but ultimately Hammy was too fast for my defensive playstyle and I wasn’t able to take a game in our set. Playing against Fox felt really frustrating because I tried my best to wall him out, but when your fastest sword move comes out at frame 7 it’s difficult to keep distance.

RunningBuffalo Vs Link

King K. Rool Head

Going into my next match all I could focus on was how much I wanted to win. I found out my next opponent was a King K. Rool main, who plays the piss crocodile skin. Going into this I was confident I could win considering it would be an easier matchup. It’s going back and forth until I miss time a bomb recovery off stage and I’m unable to make it back. RunningBuffalo was hitting me hard and with his reflector and crown I couldn’t wall him out effectively. I see an opporotunity to get a Dash Attack, but time it too quickly and I die thanks to terrible DI. (Directional Influence).

Tournament Report

My nerves about wanting to win a tournament set blinded me to the point where I wasn’t playing well. I was messing up important tech that lead to a couple SD’s and because I wanted to win so bad my opponents could exploit my aggression. I had a good week with Mario, but was unable to get a tournament set win for 3 weeks in a row now. My morale was the lowest it had ever been regarding myself and Character Crisis as a whole. Fortunately, this is exactly where Redemption Bracket comes in.

Redemption Bracket

My tournament has a rule where if you’re unable to make it out of pools, you can participate in a Redemption Bracket based on how well you did in tournament. On average before Character Crisis I would win 2 sets and lose 2 sets so instead of joining the 0-2 bracket, I decided to join the 2-2+ bracket. I chose this bracket because I wasn’t fighting to win redemption, I was fighting to reignite my courage. Winning a single set in this bracket would mean far more to me than if I could win 0-2 redemption.

Shiroberry Vs Link

Byleth Head

I’ve fought Shiroberry before when he mained Mewtwo and was able to defeat him then. Except now he’s on Byleth and I am playing Link. My goal for redemption bracket had changed from winning to just playing good. This shift in my mentality lead me to 3 stocking him in game 1! He brought it to game 3 and by then we were both intensely focused on winning the set. He broke my shield at 42% but I was lucky and just barely survived. I then bring it back and take the first stock because I predicted how he’d play around my bomb. On our last stock I force him to recover high and cover with Up-B. It may not have been a main bracket set, but this win meant everything to me.

Marauder Vs Link

Hero Head

Marauder is a Hero main and was someone I had never fought before. Riding high off my win against Shiroberry though, I go into this set determined to play good. He cleans me up in game 1 pretty convincingly but I rally and beat him in game 2. Game 3 he gets a strong lead, but I start playing incredibly well and take his stock first. It stays even for the rest of the game, but I get hit by Hero cheese and die at 25% to a critical hit Up-Smash. I’m stunned but all I can do is laugh and say good game you earned it.

pm Vs Link

R.O.B. Head

At this point in the tournament I was running out of gas. I had to fight pm, a R.O.B. player and in the one game I remembered to save it was a devastating 3-stock. By now though I didn’t care about losing. I achieved what I set out to do and played well against good players.

Final Results

Winning in Smash Bros requires both skill at playing the game and mentality. Skill can be gained just through playing the game, and understanding the character you are playing. However, your mentality can either be the thing that propels you to success or holds you back and keeps you from your true potential. In the main bracket I was so focused on winning the set that I was unable to play well in my games. I had this pressure on me that I needed to do good if I want this series to become popular. This simply isn’t true though, and I recognized that my desire to win was exactly what was getting in the way.

In redemption bracket I had a different goal. Instead of playing to win I played to do well. I still wanted to win more than anything else but I didn’t let that thought cross my mind while I was playing the game. I let go of the pressure that I created for myself and could now focus on my opponent instead. It was a subtle change but it made all the difference.

Winning a single set was exactly what I needed to regain my confidence. In a way, this week made me feel like I had to earn the Triforce of Courage and it couldn’t have come at a better time. With that skill gained, it’s time for a new character. Comment below for who you want to see next and the most liked comment will make it into the next poll. I’ll be posting a video every other week so stay tuned. See you on Tuesday.

Steve Finds Mario

How to Play Link Guides

More Character Crisis

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