Advancing the Zelda Metagame

iCrash

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Aug 12, 2017
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#1
I feel like there are a lot of places where the Zelda metagame can really be pushed, or where there have been assumptions on how Zelda "should" be played that arent entirely true

I'd like to jot down my own thoughts on what I personally think can be done, along with anything others are experimenting with for matchups, their own personal play, etc.
 

iCrash

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#2
I think Zeldas ground movement is a lot more threatening than it's given credit for. While Zelda obviously doesnt have an amazing dashdance or wavedash, if you run into another characters threat range, that still forces them to react or try to move around, potentially giving up some stage control.

If they try to react with an attack, you can shieldstop with relatively low commitment, and depending on their spacing you can use a kick OoS or Nair / Usmash OoS. Kicks especially can sometimes require a read, but still- the ability to threaten this makes it a lot easier to set up for a kick or other options.
 
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#3
Even if you do nothing but retreating bair as Zelda, characters like Falcon can hunt your landing easily or hit you after you swing by just doing a running short hop uair. Mixing up your timing on aerials and doing double jumps to change the tempo even more is good, but only gets you so far.

The problem is that Zelda lacks good ground options. Her tilts are terrible. Her upsmash out of shield is fast, but can be SDI and crouched. Downsmash is pretty good when you have to use it, but has a lot of limitations. Jab has a good hitbox with low recovery, but the reward for jabbing has yet to be discovered. And grab is slow in addition to being hard to setup due to her slow dash.
 

iCrash

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#4
Even if you do nothing but retreating bair as Zelda, characters like Falcon can hunt your landing easily or hit you after you swing by just doing a running short hop uair. Mixing up your timing on aerials and doing double jumps to change the tempo even more is good, but only gets you so far.

The problem is that Zelda lacks good ground options. Her tilts are terrible. Her upsmash out of shield is fast, but can be SDI and crouched. Downsmash is pretty good when you have to use it, but has a lot of limitations. Jab has a good hitbox with low recovery, but the reward for jabbing has yet to be discovered. And grab is slow in addition to being hard to setup due to her slow dash.
Dtilt is pretty much garbage except for edgeguarding and combos at very specific percents.
Ftilt can actually be decent
Utilt kills earlier than Usmash. It's super situational, but can be OK.
 

SUDOZELDA

Patience Is Power
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#5
Zelda actaully has some moves that are strongly underrated. first off all, with certain character, (most fast fallers,) she has a pretty good chain grab. It can be used for comboing into itself and it leads into uptilt, upsmash, or at mid percents, even fair or hair.

Ftilt is also good decent move. Yes it isn't the quickest move to throw out, but in certain situation's it can be good. It leads into bair at mid percents and im able to get an uptilt at lower percents with most characters.

Uptilt is an OK move. It can lead into upair, or another grab on some characters.

Also, her dash attack sweet spot is pretty good. It can lead into almost anything at lower percents and fair bair at mid percents.

I actually think Zelda's wavedash is pretty decent. It really helps her mobility. Wavelanding and dash dances in my opinion are also underrated.


But the issue with these moves is that they are all mostly unsafe, high commitment, and poor ranged. But moves mentioned above do give Zelda something to use and if used correctly and in certain situations. But, unfortunately, it looks like Zelda was rushed and unfinished so she just ended up being bad. But at least, it looks like we may be getting the Zelda we've dreamed of in Ultimate :)
 

iCrash

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#6
The Zelda / Falcon MU actually feels good for Zelda. Out of neutral I have been able to react to just about any aerial a falcon throws at me with shield, and then try to punish w/ an OoS option, and Zeldas dash attack and jab outrange Falcons grab. My main issue so far has been keeping up with Falcons speed.

I think this MU might actually be 50/50 or even 55/45 in Zeldas favor if played properly.
 

SUDOZELDA

Patience Is Power
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#7
The Zelda / Falcon MU actually feels good for Zelda. Out of neutral I have been able to react to just about any aerial a falcon throws at me with shield, and then try to punish w/ an OoS option, and Zeldas dash attack and jab outrange Falcons grab. My main issue so far has been keeping up with Falcons speed.

I think this MU might actually be 50/50 or even 55/45 in Zeldas favor if played properly.
I dont think the MU is even, but I do think its doable if the Zelda know what he/she is doing. But Falcon still reks Zelda, so I personally think its 60/40 in Falcons favor. But this is just my opinion.
 

iCrash

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#8
I dont think the MU is even, but I do think its doable if the Zelda know what he/she is doing. But Falcon still reks Zelda, so I personally think its 60/40 in Falcons favor. But this is just my opinion.
Ehhhh, I feel like both Zelda and Falcon really mess each other up, but Zelda can get pretty free kills off of edgeguards, while also having some pretty good mixups for getting back on stage that I havent had Falcon players deal with consistently

Might just be that I'm at a lower level of play, but even then- it just feels like a good MU to me, I never feel like I am in a situation where I had no good way to deal with what a Falcon player was doing.
 

CAUP

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#9
Personally I think a big part of optimizing low tier characters is not maining them and instead using low tiers as situational counter picks. This comes down to the fact that it is almost always better to spend time maximizing strengths vs minimizing weaknesses. After about Game & Watch, down the tier list every character has multiple matchups that are virtually unwinnable. It's not worth it to try to minimize the weaknesses of these matchups. Instead focus on the actual good matchups Zelda has.

IMO, ICs are by far the best matchup Zelda has, followed by maybe Puff or Peach. I don't really think it's worth it to play Zelda in any other high tier matchup besides these. Alternatively, if you think Zelda is viable in some other matchup, play her only on her best stage. So for instance if you think chain grabbing fast fallers as Zelda is viable, only use Zelda on FD (this is just an example. FD really exposes Zelda's bad neutral game).

Importantly, Zelda is unique in that she is actually two characters- Zelda and Sheik. Another important optimization with Zelda is playing her only some of the time and using Sheik when needed. For instance this weekend I saw Drephen play as Zelda agains Drunksloth (ICs). He would play Zelda when Nana was alive and go Sheik for Sopo. He barely lost to Drunksloth.
 

iCrash

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#10
Personally I think a big part of optimizing low tier characters is not maining them and instead using low tiers as situational counter picks. This comes down to the fact that it is almost always better to spend time maximizing strengths vs minimizing weaknesses. After about Game & Watch, down the tier list every character has multiple matchups that are virtually unwinnable. It's not worth it to try to minimize the weaknesses of these matchups. Instead focus on the actual good matchups Zelda has.

IMO, ICs are by far the best matchup Zelda has, followed by maybe Puff or Peach. I don't really think it's worth it to play Zelda in any other high tier matchup besides these. Alternatively, if you think Zelda is viable in some other matchup, play her only on her best stage. So for instance if you think chain grabbing fast fallers as Zelda is viable, only use Zelda on FD (this is just an example. FD really exposes Zelda's bad neutral game).

Importantly, Zelda is unique in that she is actually two characters- Zelda and Sheik. Another important optimization with Zelda is playing her only some of the time and using Sheik when needed. For instance this weekend I saw Drephen play as Zelda agains Drunksloth (ICs). He would play Zelda when Nana was alive and go Sheik for Sopo. He barely lost to Drunksloth.
There is a difference between optimizing a character, maining that character, and using different characters.

By saying I want to push the zelda metagame, or optimize Zelda, I'm not saying I want to solely use Zelda, I'm saying I want to lab Zelda and see what I can figure out that she can do that's good.

Switching to Sheik against sopo makes sense, the reason Zelda is good against IC's is because her kicks are so powerful and disruptive that she can completely separate the ICs and keep them that way. Once Nana goes down, the disruptive power isnt as helpful.
 

CAUP

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#11
That's good. I wish more people had your attitude and weren't dead set on maining a low tier. I think counter picking is just a way better, more powerful option.
 
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