~~The Triforce of Courage~~ An Advanced Guide to Link v1.2

Mar 12, 2008
Chicago, Illinois
~~The Triforce of Courage~~
-A Complete Guide to Our Favorite Green Garbed Adventurer-
By: NintenJoe

As many of you know, Link is consistently overlooked as a good character. Many say he's "Too slow" or "Too laggy", and he always is placed on the low-bottom tier. My goal with this guide is to bring all of the information we have on Link together, so that it's all in one, easy to access location. It's the job of the reader to process the information and get Link the respect he deserves!

Version History:

Version 1.00~ Released 9/14/08- Original Release of the Guide
Version 1.10~ Released 9/21/08- Added Grabbing ATs, Changed Pictures, Added Shield Options
Version 1.20~ Released 11/16/08- Updated All Pictures, Updated Bomb ATs, Added Recovery ATs, Updated DI Section, Expanded the “B-Reversal Arrow” Section, Added Meta Knight Match-Up

Foreword Credits:

* LinkSpecialist, for taking the amazing pictures displayed in this guide and re-taking them after the old server crashed.
* Izaw, for making "The Art of Link: An Advanced Guide to Link".
* Sasook, for making "A Beginner's Guide: The Basics of Link".
* Bouse, for creating the character match-up thread for Link.
* Blu Link, for providing the Link community with the stage match-up chart.
* Arkive_Zero, for making the "Link Finder" thread, "Official Basic Knowledge of Link" guide, helping with the bomb video, and for making the awesome DI video.
* Legan, for organizing several Link videos and putting them all into a video archive and for helping me with the chaingrab info.
* CunningKitsune, for providing me with several good points about mindgames, strategies, and a guide that helped me bring my game to a competitive level.
* g_regulate, for writing "DA MINDGRAINES" thread and helping me further understand mindgames.
* Inferno_Omni, whose Fox guide I stole a list of ideas from.
* Skler, whose Link guide inspired me to provide the community with an advanced and more up-to-date guide.
* SUB_ZERO, who created the "Bomb AT Guide" and helped with creating the Bomb AT video.
* Aerolink_the_Soulmaster, for telling me about the tripledraw technique.
* God-Is-My-Rock, for making the extremely helpful video on bombsliding and its uses.
* Looticforgothispassword, for telling me all of the recovery ATs and researching them thoroughly.
* Deva, for being an amazing Link player and advancing Link’s metagame.


I. Introduction to Link
A. Pros and Cons

1. Pros
2. Cons
B. Terminology

II. Link's Moveset
A. Ground Moves
B. Aerial Moves
C. Special Moves
D. Grabs, etc.

III. Building a Strong Base
A. Introduction

1. Short Hopping and Fast Falling
2. Reverse Aerial Rush
3. Link’s Shield Game
A) Roll Dodging
B) Spot Dodging
C) Powershielding
D) Shield Grabbing
E) Perfect Frame Shield Attack
4. Simple Mind Games
5. Teching
B. Adding the Master Sword
1. Link's "A" Approaches
2. Link's Recovery (Start Early)
A) Directional Influence
B) Recovery Techniques
1. Stage Bombing
2. Bomb Wall Jump
3. Dair Bounce Recovery

C) Link's "Options"
C. Adding the Gale Boomerang
1. Boomerang Perks
2. Boomerang ATs
A) Gale Guarding
1. Performing a Gale Guard/Uses
2. Character List

B) The Phantom Boomerang
D. Adding the Hero's Bow
1. Hero's Bow ATs
A) Quickdraw
1. Performing the Quickdraw
2. Applications for Quickdraw

B) Arrow B-Reversal
2. Arrow/Projectile Spamming
1. List of Characters
2. List of Stages

E. Adding the Water-Proof Bombs
1. Full Proof ATs
A) Z Bomb Drop Techniques
1. Z - Aerial - Catch
2. Zair with a Bomb
3. Shield Pressure Bombs
4. Bomb Planting
5. Ledgehop Bombdrop

B) Other Bomb Techniques
1. Bombsmashing
2. Ledgehop Bombs
3. Bomb Shielding
4. The Bombslide

IV. Advanced Techniques
A. Introduction

1. DAC (Dash Attack Cancel)
A) Adding the DAC to Gameplay
B) Knowing Your Limits
2. Edguarding Techniques
A) Zair Edgeguarding
B) Hugging/Speed Hugging
3. Grabbing Techniques
A) Pivot Grab/Reverse Grab
B) The Chaingrab
1. Chaingrabbing Maneuver
2. Chaingrabbing Effectiveness

B. A Step Further
1. Craq Walk and Pivot Boosting
A) Adding the Craq Walk to Gameplay
B) Adding the Pivot Boost to Gameplay
C) Smooth Booting
2. Jab Locking
A) Learning to Initiate a Jab Lock
1. Gale Boomerang
2. Bomb Footstool Combo

B) Identifying a Potential Jab Lock
3. Miscellaneous Technqiues
A) B-Sticking/Wavebouncing
B) DI + Zair Recovery
C) Shield Dashing

V. Improving Your Game
A. Introduction

1. Analyzing the Battlefield
A) Knowledge is Power
1. Know Yourself
2. Know Your Opponent
3. Mind Games

B) Defeating your Enemy
1. Stick to the Plan
2. Crush your Enemy's Concentration

B. Playing Styles
1. The Red/Dark Link- Aggressive
A) Strategy- Crush
B) Do's and Don'ts
2. The Blue/Lavender Link- Defensive
A) Strategy- Confuse
B) Do's and Don'ts
3. The Green/Gold Link- Adaptive
A) Strategy- Adapt!
B) Do's and Don'ts

VI. Character Match-Ups
A. Top Tier

1. Meta Knight
2. Snake
3. King DeDeDe
4. Mr. Game and Watch
5. Falco
6. R.O.B.
B. High Tier
1. Marth
2. Wario
3. Lucario
4. Donkey Kong
5. Diddy Kong
6. Pikachu
7. Ice Climbers
8. Kirby
9. Pit
10. Wolf
C. Middle Tier
1. Toon Link
2. Olimar
3. Fox
4. Zelda
5. Zero Suit Samus
6. Bowser
7. Luigi
8. Peach
9. Ike
10. Shiek
D. Low Tier
1. Lucas
2. Ness
3. Mario
4. Pokemon Trainer
5. Samus
6. Yoshi
7. Sonic
8. Jigglypuff
9. Ganondorf
10. Link
11. Captain Falcon

VII. Closing Statements
A. References

1. Links to Helpful Guides
2. Links to Helpful Websites
B. Closing Statements

I. Introduction to Link

Making his third appearance on the Super Smash Bros. scene is Link. Link's moveset has remained similar throughout the Smash Saga (excluding the lack of his arrows in the first game) and Brawl isn't much different. Link still retains his bombs, arrows, boomerang, and, of course, his sword. Same old, same old, right? Wrong! In his transition from Melee to Brawl, Link seems to have undergone a proverbial "puberty", if you will. His attacks are stronger, his playstyle is trickier, and he has a longer sword. :laugh: But seriously, the transition was kind to our favorite hero, but, his principle's remain the same. Link is all about mind games... He has 3 very different projectiles for crying out loud! Link may seem a bit hard to manage at first. He might feel sluggish, hard to handle, and even unusable. But if you give him time, I promise, your reward will be great. Just stick to it, work hard, and never give up!

Link is not for you if:
1. You hate thinking and analyzing your opponent.
2. You don't like the whole "projectile game".
3. You hate slow moving characters.
4. You don't want to memorize a lot of ATs.
5. You want to be a high tier character. Go to the Meta Knight boards.
6. You hate to be the underdog.
7. You spam the grab move. Link's grab is too slow for that.
8. You NEED moves without lag. Again, the Meta Knight boards.
9. You hate having fun while playing Brawl. Link is a fun character to use.

Link has several different playstyles (which I will discuss later), so more than likely, one of them will be for you. If Link doesn't seem to be working from the get-go, don't give up! He has a steep learning curve and you'll be glad you stuck to it!

A. Pros and Cons

1. Pros
-difficult to star KO
-projectiles are good at racking up damage/keeping enemy away
-has MANY advanced techniques
-Hylian shield stops all projectiles
-fast jab attacks
-has a not commonly known spike
-has excellent edgeguarding capabilities
2. Cons
-extremely poor recovery, both vertically and horizontally
-some moves have lag, either before or after
-fastest faller in the game
-spin attack does not semi-spike anymore
-tether cannot grab onto anything besides the ledge
-bombs thrown upwards cannot be jumped into anymore for recovery purposes
Thanks to Sasook for those lists!

B. Terminology

Sex kick/Nair- Neutral Aerial
Uair- Up aerial
Dair- Down Aerial
Bair- Back aerial
Fair- Forward aerial
Zair- Hookshot aerial

Usmash- Up Smash
Dsmash- Down Smash
Fsmash- Forward Smash
Fsmash2- Forward Smash #2

Utilt- Up Tilt
Dtilt- Down Tilt
Ftilt- Forward Tilt
Jab- The "A" attack

SH- Short Hop
FF- Fast Fall
Edge Hog- Using the ledge to prevent a foe from recovering
DAC- Dash-Attack-Cancel (I'll touch on this later)
ZAC- Z Button-Aerial-Cancel (I'll touch on this later)
Bombsmash- Doing a Fsmash with a bomb (I'll touch on this later)
DI- Directional Influence
AT- Advanced Technique
Spike- Hitting an opponent straight down
Tech- Pressing "L" or "R" to catch yourself before you hit the floor
Gimp- Killing at a low percentage

II. Link's Moveset

This is a list (with colorful pictures that were a pain to get on my computer) of all of Link's moves. It displays a short description, a few uses of each moves, and how much damage each move does. Damage amounts will be in red, start up will be in blue, lag will be in green, speed of the move itself will be in orange (slow means long lasting move, quick means short move), priority will be in yellow, and knockback/uses will be explained. It will not tell you combos that are performable with these moves. I will talk about that later in the guide.

A. Ground Moves

Jab-4%-Start Up-Lightning Fast-Lag-Nonexistent-Speed-Fast-Priority-Low- A very useful move for spacing. (If you follow through with the combo at least) This move cannot kill an enemy at any percentage. It has a small amount of knockback.

Jab 2-3%-Start up-Lightning Fast-Lag-Nonexistent-Speed-Fast-Priority-Low- The second move in the jab combo. This move also cannot kill at any percentage. This move brings the opponent a little bit closer and induces upward knockback.

Jab 3-5%-Start up-Lightning Fast-Lag-Almost none-Speed-Fast-Priority-Low/Medium- This move should be used for spacing, not for killing. It CAN kill but I highly recommend you use this move only if you're desperate for spacing. I jab cancel in most cases. (I will touch on this later) Has a good knockback.

Dash Attack-11%-12%-Start up-Quick-Lag-Medium/High-Speed-Fast-Priority-Medium- Just your simple dash attack. This attack comes out more quickly if you press C-Stick down instead of "A". This technique is called QDA or "Quick-Dash-Attack". If you hit your opponent with the very tip of your sword, this attack will only do 11%.

Up Tilt-9%-Start up-Medium-Lag-Low/Medium-Speed-Slow/Medium-Priority-Medium/High- One of Link's best moves in my opinion. This Utilt hits foes within a 180 degree angle of his position. (Not all at the same time, mind you) A very good comboing move.

Forward Tilt-13%-Start up-Slow-Lag-Medium-Speed-Medium/Fast-Priority-High- This move has a very small hitbox at about a 100 degree angle from Link. Although it's slower and laggier than his Utilt, it has better killing potential. Knockback is about 1.25% of Link's third jab, which makes it great move for spacing.

Down Tilt-12%-Start up-Sluggish-Lag-Huge-Speed-Medium-Priority-Medium/High- A great move all around. It has huge upward knockback and can spike. Although it still has to be confirmed, this move may be able to spike enemies if you use it backwards.

First Slash

Second Slash

Third Slash

Up Smash-4%-5%~3%-4%~10%-14%-Start up-Fast-Lag-Medium/High-Speed-SLOW-Priority-High- This attack does 3 hits in succession. (Damage has been listed in chronological order) The first hit sends the enemy a bit upward, the second hits them up a bit more, then the third sends them sky high! This move has about the same upward knockback as a Dtilt. (Yeah, Dtilts that awesome)

Forward Smash #1-14%-21%-Start up-Medium-Lag-Medium-Speed-Medium-Priority-Very High- This attack acts like most of Marth's attacks. It does more damage when an opponent is hit at the tip of Link's Sword. The strangest attribute of this move is its ability to send a close enemy backwards. Mind games, anyone?

Forward Smash #2-17%-28%-Start up-Slow/Medium-Lag-Medium-Speed-Medium-Priority-Very High- Due to the fact that Fsmash1 and Fsmash 2 are so different, I decided to describe both of them. This attack does exactly the opposite that Fsmash1 does. It does more damage to closer foes rather than farther ones. :psycho: (Stupid Sakurai) This attack can only be combo'd with Fsmash1 once a stock. (On lighter characters. You can do it more times on heavier characters like Snake) On the lightest character, (Jigglypuff) this attack stopped comboing at 2% (charged) and 10% (uncharged). Always induces forward knockback.

First Slash

Second Slash

Down Smash-16%-22%-Start up-Medium/Fast-Lag-Medium-Speed-Medium/Slow-Priority-Medium/High- A normal Dsmash, hits at one side then the other. I wouldn't recommend using this move until the opponent reaches 50%. That's when it has as much upward knockback as Dtilt. :chuckle:

B. Aerial Moves

Neutral Air-6% or 10%-Start up-Lightning Fast-Lag-Low-Speed-Slow-Priority-Nonexistent/Low- Link's sexiest and most flexible aerial. Has forward knockback unless you happen to hit the enemy with Link's knee, then it induces backward knockback. If you hit an enemy the instant you use this move, the attack does 10%.

First Slash

Second Slash

Forward Air-9% or 12%-Start up-Fast-Lag-Medium-Speed-Medium/Slow-Priority-Medium- This attack hits twice. The first hit can knock a grounded enemy down at higher percentages. (Around 63%) The initial strike also has a hitbox directly above Link at the very beginning of the attack and always has forward knockback. The second strike also hits directly above Link, but at the end of the move. The second hit is also exceedingly stronger than the first and hits opponents at about a 45 degree angle.

First Kick

Second Kick

Backward Air-4% or 7%-Start up-Fast-Lag-Low-Speed-Medium-Priority-Low/Medium- The first hit has the same knockback all the time and cannot kill at any percentage. If the two kicks are performed in succession, the attacks launch enemies backwards. If not, the second kick sends the opponent diagonally.

Up Air-13% or 15%-Start up-Medium/Slow-Lag-Medium-Speed-Slow-Priority-Medium/High- During Link's upward ascent, this attack does 15% of damage. If it connects on his way down, it only does 13%. This attack always sends the opponent upwards.

Down Air-8% or 18% or 22%-Start Up-Medium-Lag-Huge-Speed-SLOW-Priority-High- Dair is probably one of THE laggiest moves in the game, so use it sparingly. If you fast fall while using it, Dair does 22% and knocks an opponent up at a 75 degree angle. A normal Dair does 18%, and if it connects with an enemy (or his shield), it gives Link an extra "push" up. If you hit another enemy during this time, the attack does 8% and Link lands without lag.

Clawshot Air-4% or 6%-Start Up-Fast-Lag-Low/Nonexistent-Speed-Medium/Fast-Priority-Relatively High- This move rivals sex air in flexibility, but is by far more effective. It is monstrous for spacing and if you do it right, it can do 10%! The initial "shooting" of the clawshot does 4% and the "head" of the clawshot deals 6% at full extension! Same damage as sex air, without having to get up-close-and-personal. :)

C. Special Moves

Hero's Bow-4%-12%-Start up-Medium-Lag-Medium/Fast-Speed-Fast-Priority-None- The bow is used in several ATs, but there isn't much I can say about it here other than "it always knocks back and it can kill".

Gale Boomerang-5% or 7%-Start up-Medium/Slow-Lag-Almost none-Speed-Fast-Priority-Medium- Not much stuff on this either. Sometimes, a foes move can cancel the Gale Boomerang. (Mainly recovery moves) It can only do 7% when you're practically hugging your opponent and it can be thrown at a 35 degree upwards and downwards.

Water-Proof Bombs-7%-10%-Start up-See Speed-Lag-See Speed-Speed-Medium/Slow-Priority-Very High- I've heard there are specific percentages for bombs but it always seems to vary when I test it. It seems to me that it's always random, but the most common percentage seems to be 8%. These are probably Link's most useful projectile, so feel free to spam away. :chuckle:

Grounded Spin Attack

Aerial Spin Attack

Spin Attack-9%-19%-Start up-Fast-Lag-A decent amount-Speed-Slow-Priority-Very High- In Brawl, it's possible to charge up this move to rack up more damage. After testing, I found this move deals 12% of damage for close enemies and 9% for far enemies, but either way, deals 19% charged. :psycho: (wow...) This attack will usually send an enemy back at about a 35 degree angle. While recovering, this attack does 4%-2%-2%-2%-4%. All attacks send the opponent upwards except the final blows, which sends the backwards and away from Link. This move is quite useful for jab cancelling. (I'll touch on this later)​

D. Grab Moves, etc.

Grab-0%- Just thought I'd add a picture and comment. This grab is super laggy but reaches a great distance. Don't abuse it.

Grab Attack-2%- Slow but effective. Try to fit in a few hits on unexpected foes while they are in your clutches.

Forward Throw-7%- Punt your enemy like a football at a 45 degree angle. This move should be used sparingly... there are better throws than this one.

Back Throw-7%- Throws the enemy at about a 35 degree angle backwards. The best spacing throw in my opinion, use it often.

Up Throw-7%- This move has decent enough spacing to be used but most players prefer the b-throw. A nice combo is to throw a bomb into the air, grab your opponent, then throw them straight up into the bomb. Doesn't work often, but often enough to be useful.

Down Throw-7%- Although this move wasn't as good as it was in melee, it still gets the job done. Since your opponent is launched at an 80 degree angle, it's easy to combo this move into a Bair/Utilt or two. :)

Whew, now that that's over with, we can move on to actually playing the game! Finally!

III. Building a Strong Base

A. Introduction

If you haven't already caught on, I've been using the same structural integrity that CunningKitsune used in his Fox guide. That guide was the single factor that helped me bring my smashing ability to tournament level. Assuring that a novice gets ALL of the basics down alleviates any trouble a player might have while progressing through the more advanced techniques. So, before we even touch on any really advances techniques, I'm going to walk you (the reader) through the basics and stress their importance later on. But for now, let's focus on the task at hand. Building a strong base.

1. Short Hopping and Fast Falling

For all the smash n00bs out there, pay close attention to this part of the guide. If a newcomer took nothing away from this guide other than how to short hop and fast fall, that's all I could ask for. That's how important it is. Short hopping is pretty simple with a heavier character like Link. Actually, since I played Fox in Melee, I find it hard not to short hop. :laugh: All you have to do is tap up on your control stick, press X, or Y. A short hop should elevate Link to about half the vertical distance of a normal jump. Practicing short hopping is easy, just short hop and practice every aerial at the peak of Link's jump. Adding the fast fall takes a bit more practice. Press down on your control stick at the peak of your jump to perform a fast fall. Try short hopping then fast falling at first. After you get a bit more experienced, put the whole thing together... short hop, aerial, fast fall. You'll often practice techniques such as these in everyday battles, so try and get this technique down perfectly.

2. Reverse Aerial Rush

This technique is performable with all characters, but I find it's especially important to learn with Link. A reverse aerial rush starts with a dash, a turnaround, and a Bair. The forward momentum from Link's dash will propel him forward and allow him to perform a Bair while moving forward. This move shouldn't be hard to perform and you should have it mastered within a few minutes. It may be a bit more difficult to perform with a short hop and a fast fall. An advanced reverse aerial rush should be a dash, a turnaround, a short jump, a Bair at the peak of the jump, then a fast fall. It may seem like a lot to take in all at once, but practice it a few times. If you don't get it down your first couple of times, go into training mode and turn down the speed until you can execute the technique at a normal speed.

3. Link’s Shield Game

“Shield Game” is the phrase that refers to the options a character has with their shield. It’s important for new players to know what they should do out of their shields. If you don’t know all your options, it’s likely that you’ll continue using one or two options over and over again. In order to stay inconsistent and unpredictable when you’re shielding, make sure you master every aspect of Link’s “Shield Game”

A) Roll Dodging

Undoubtedly, Link’s roll dodge is the most abused and over-appreciated part of his shield game. For all the n00bs reading, a roll dodge is performed by shielding and pressing a direction at the same time. A roll dodge is a great option for either escaping opponents or getting behind them, but in Link’s case, the roll dodge is slow and causes a bit of lag. This doesn’t mean you should never use a roll dodge, just not as often as the other shield options.

B) Spot Dodging

Spot dodging, on the other hand, continues to be the most underused and unappreciated shield option in the shield game of smash novices. One of the best things you can do to improve your shield game is replace most, if not all, of your roll dodging tendencies with spot dodging. Link’s spot dodge is fast and allows Link to punish laggy moves with ease. Spot dodging provides a good alternative to roll dodging when your opponent uses attacks that don’t last long. (This happens more often than not) When a move like Bowser’s Dsmash is unleashed, a roll dodge or a shield are the best options.

C) Powershielding

Although Powershielding is the most difficult shield option to perform, it’s irrefutably the most flexible. A powershield can simply be executed by pressing “L” or “R” when a projectile or an attack hits you. The catch is that you must shield within a very specific frame limit to powershield and negate the attack. Go into training mode and practice powershielding all the attacks of a level 1 Mario. With practice, powershielding can be performed with ease to shield attacks without having to uphold the shield for extended periods of time.

D) Shield Grabbing

A simple, but effective technique in any character's game. This move is most effective against offensive and oncoming opponents. All you have to do is put your shield up and wait for your opponent to attack you. Once your opponent strikes you with a dash attack or something of the like, press "A" to unleash a grab and punish them. Make sure you shield grab only when your opponent attacks you with a laggy move. Otherwise, you could miss your grab and the opponent can punish you. Remember, the key is to punish your foe before they punish you.

E) Perfect Frame Shield Attack

For starters, the perfect frame shield attack sounds A LOT harder then it actually is. Executing a perfect frame shield attack is as easy as pressing “B” up (Spin Attack) or “A” up (Usmash). If done correctly, there should be no “putting-down-the-shield” lag and the attack should be executed instantly. The bad news is that tap jump must be on and using “A” button smashes instead of C-Stick is preferable, if not necessary. This technique proves useful in situations where Link’s stuck in his shield because of a combo. For example, R.O.B.’s side “B” attack can be stopped midway through with a perfect frame shield attack. If you’re like me and can’t live with tap jump, this technique isn’t worth switching controls for, but if you can live with tap jump this technique is great to have in Link’s arsenal.

4. Simple Mind Games

Mind games are tricks you play on your opponent to lull them into a false sense of security. Lets say Link A is running away from Fox A. Fox A might believe that Link A is running away to pull out a bomb or regroup. In order to prevent Link A from regrouping, Fox A runs full speed after him. Link A wanted all of this to happen, so he simply turns around and performs a Zair on Fox A and follows up with a QDA. In this scenario, Link A wanted Fox A to approach him so that he could pull off a combo. Although it's quite unlikely that Fox A would run at Link A instead of laser spamming him, it's still possible. I don't want you to think too much about mind games now, I just wanted to introduce you to them. Later in the guide, I will go more in-depth. For now, all you need to know is that they exist.

5. Teching

Normal Tech

Wall Jump Tech

Simply put, teching is pressing the "L" or "R" button before you hit a surface (while being knocked back) to catch yourself and prevent further knockback. Teching can be used on any surface, as long as it's solid. (Platforms don't count) The utilization of this technique in combination with pressing left or right on the analog stick will perform a dodgeroll when you touch the ground. This helps create space between you and your opponent, which helps avert further assaults from your foe. Teching has a slightly different effect for surfaces that can’t be rolled on, such as ceilings or platform sides. In the event that Link techs a side, he will perform a “wall jump” and gain a boost vertically. Getting into the habit of teching every surface is in your best interest. The best way to practice this technique is to keep it a priority when playing any match. After a few games, teching should become second nature.

B. Adding the Master Sword

Congratulations, you got the Master Sword! Now we can start making progress. The Master Sword is the largest part of your offensive game. Although many of the moves are powerful and effective (Dtilt) they are quite laggy. I recommend using several aerials and limiting the use of smashes, especially Usmash, unless you want to be punished after every move you make. Those are the kind of mistakes that got Link to the tier he's in now. With practice, it will be easy to utilize your aerials and control matches with ease. With self-control, you'll be able to determine when the right time to use your smashes or tilts. The key to Link's offensive game is to punish your enemy before they punish you.

1. Link's "A" Approaches

To be perfectly honest, Link doesn't have many approaches in a battle versus a character with high priority. Against characters like these, I recommend being a bit more subtle with your approach. (Meaning minimize the use of these techniques) These techniques are best against characters with equal or less priority than Link. Here are some good examples of "A" approaches:

Zair into Zair- Good for spacing and doesn't put Link in jeopardy. Using it on unsuspecting foes is quite useful.
Zair into QDA- Since we're only discussing "A" approaches, I figured I would add this in. A bit less subtle, but it still works.
SH Dair- Should only be used on an approaching enemy or a camping enemy. Using a SH Dair could either turn out awesome (26%) or badly (you being punished). In most cases, a camping enemy with defensively put up their shield. If you Dair directly into their shield, you will "bounce off" the shield and be given a second opportunity for an assault. Even if you miss this secondary assault, you will have no lag when you land, giving you the chance for a third assault of your choice.
SH Fair FF into Jab combo- Works well at lower percentages. If you did the SH Fair FF fast enough, you should have only done the first swing of the Fair. Since this attack does really start knocking enemies back until higher percentage, you might be able to get a jab cancel in without being attacked.
SHFF Nair into Utilt- Most opponents expect a dash attack when you're running at them. When you throw them off guard by SHFFing a Nair, they won't have enough time to react by the time you unleash your Utilt.
SH Bair into Zair- This attack works great at low-medium percentages. If you don't connect with at least the second kick, you're going to be punished. If things work out well, you should do a good amount of damage and have a good amount of space to set up another combo.
Jab Cancelling- The first two jabs in the jab combo are supposed the set Link up for his third jab, but they don't have to. Jab Cancelling is an extremely simple and useful technique. All you have to do is replace Link's third jab with a B-Up, Dmash, Utilt, Fsmash, or a grab. The trick is getting the timing down so that you don’t just perform the third jab. Try and switch up your jab cancelled moves, because you will become predictable easily if you do the same move over and over again. B-Up (or spin attack) is the best spacing option, Utilt and Grab are the best options for combos (especially at lower percentages), and Dmash or Fsmash are the best options for killing your opponent. Jab Cancelling's usefulness derives from its flexibility, so don't be afraid to use it!

2. Link's Recovery (Start Early)

*SIGH*... Link's recovery... Every great hero has his/her own weakness. SuperMan couldn't stand kryptonite just as Link cannot recover. The bad news is that Link's recovery lacks both horizontally and vertically. The good news is that Link has several different options while recovering.

A) Directional Influence
Lets start on the single factor that can determine if you live or die: Directional Influence. Directional Influence is the influence that the tilt of the control stick (or C-Stick, for that matter) induces after you are hit by an opponents attack. For example, Link A(70%) gets hit from Link B(0%) with a Ftilt. Link A holds the control stick directly up. This will influence Link A's direction of travel while he is flying through the air upward. This influence could push Link just high enough so that he can have a successful recovery. If Link A didn't hold his control stick at all, he could fall short of recovering.

DI isn’t limited to just normal DI, there are several permutations of this ability that help in an uncountable amount of situations. The two main categories of DI are Normal Directional Influence (DI) and Smash Directional Influence (SDI). Normal DI can be accomplished by simply holding the control stick in any direction to influence your trajectory. Smash DI consists of tapping either the analog stick or C-Stick (or both) repeatedly to influence movement. Now, with both of these types of DI, we can implement several different in-game elements that will help your overall performance as a smash player.

The three sub-categories of DI are Survival DI, Combo DI, and Multi-Attack DI, all of which are very important to learn and use instinctively. The first of the trifurcate, Survival DI, will determine whether you live or die. This type of DI is especially important for characters like Link who cannot recovery efficiently without the aid of DI, so pay close attention. Survival DI requires only that you hold up on the control stick (when you still have hitstun) and press C-Stick back continuously. Holding up on the control stick will allow Link to distort his forward knockback and give him a better chance at recovering towards the ledge. Mashing the C-Stick will make Link perform his Bair (his lowest start-up lag aerial) and regain his momentum as quickly as possible. Immediately after Link does a Bair, tilt the control stick forward to move towards the ledge and safely recover. Now, Survival DI serves another purpose other than reaching the ledge, DI helps one survive at ludicrously high percentages when used correctly. This form of Survival DI is called Momentum Cancelling. Momentum Cancelling is a bit trickier, and involves quick reaction time and sharp attentiveness. Just like with Survival DI, you will hold up (only when hit left or right) and mash C-Stick left to perform a Bair. The difference derives in Momentum Cancelling’s utility of a fast fall and jump to cancel most (if not all) of Link’s momentum. Basically, when hit, hold up, press C-Stick to perform Bair a lot, fast fall at the earliest opportunity, then jump to eliminate most of Link’s momentum. To eliminate any confusion, a picture is provided below to accurately describe Survival DI/Momentum Cancelling:

The second of three, Combo DI, allows one to end an opponent’s combos prematurely and avoid damage. Although it was a lot more helpful in Melee, Combo DI is still useful in Brawl. Combo DI is a bit more freeform than Survival DI, and therefore a bit harder to implement into gameplay. In short, Combo DI is simply getting away from your opponent while you have hitstun. For example, let’s say Meta Knight “locks” you into his Uair combo of doom. (Uair->Uair->Uair) Instead of idly sitting there and waiting for the combo to end, use DI and SDI to slide to one side of Meta Knight and fast fall towards the ground. Not only will this significantly decrease the amount of damage you receive, it will also help you set up an effective counterattack

Last, but certainly not least, is Multi-Attack DI. This type of DI can only be used against attacks like Diddy Kong’s Fsmash, Pit’s Fsmash, Link’s Usmash, or any other attack that hits multiple times. Multi-Attack DI allows you to escape these attacks so that you can avoid damage, and sometimes even death. Attacks such as Diddy’s Fsmash only give you about a second of reaction time to implement Multi-Attack DI, so it’s important that you learn to spot these types of situations and react accordingly.

Click here to watch ArkiveZero’s amazing DI video for a visual on these techniques and the help you improve your DI even further!

B) Recovery Techniques
Although the techniques that Link can perform to aid his recovery are situational and difficult to do, their usage is essential to giving him the best chance to survive. When DI isn’t enough to give you that extra boost onto the stage, you need to take every chance that you can get to help you live. If used to their fullest potential, these techniques will prevent you from falling to your death on several important occasions.

1. Stage Bombing- If there were two phrases to describe stage bombing, they would be highly situational and hard to pull off. To execute a stage bomb, one must be at a relatively high percentage and playing on a stage that stretches to the bottom limits of the map. (Yoshi's Island and Castle Siege are two examples) If you have a bomb while you are recovering, but are too low to reach the ledge with a spin attack, throw the bomb at the stage. The splash damage from the bomb should knock you far up enough so that you can recover safely. This can also be used when playing Falco. If he chaingrabs you and spikes, you can easily recover to the ledge with stage bombing.

2. Bomb Wall Jump- The bomb wall jump takes a different approach to the utilization of bombs to recover onto the stage. Given, you will throw a bomb at yourself in order to recover. The difference lies in the utilization of teching to gain horizontal distance rather than vertical. To do a bomb wall jump, throw a bomb against the side of the stage (just as you would with stage bombing) then press “L” or “R” immediately to tech the side of the stage and perform a wall jump. The wall jump provides a little boost to the side and a chance at another spin attack. This technique helps immensely on stages like Final Destination, Pokemon Stadium, and Halberd. Annoying nuances in stage design can be overcome with “simple” techniques like the bomb wall jump.

3. Dair Bounce Recovery- Characters with projectiles often annoy recovering Link players by spamming projectiles. Fortunately, there is a way to turn this weakness into a strength. Instead of DIing towards the stage and praying that you can grab the ledge, use Link’s second jump and Dair the projectile in question. All projectiles (except bombs) will register a bounce when Dair’d, which can both help recovery horizontally and vertically. It seems crazy to use Link’s Dair as a recovery option, but it helps a lot against projectile spamming characters.

C) Link's "Options"
Unlike most characters, Link has three projectiles at his disposal, all of which he can use during his recovery. If he needs to clear a pesky edguarder, he can throw a bomb, or a boomerang, or even shoot him with an arrow. For even more variety, he can also use his clawshot for tether recovery. You need to use your judgment to decide if you have the time or the space to pull out a bomb or assault your opponent with your boomerang. If you miscalculate, it could mean losing a stock. Practice using these techniques while recovering to really add some spice to Link's terrible recovery.

C. Adding the Gale Boomerang

Congratulations, you got the Gale Boomerang! (Do yourself a favor and go to 7:00 in the video) The Gale Boomerang might be one of the strangest moves in the game. It's the only move that actually carries the opponent back to you, whether you like it or not! The first time I saw this move, I thought it was hands-down Link's worst aspect. After I played a few games as Link, I realized just how important the gale boomerang is in his arsenal.

1. Boomerang Perks

The boomerang itself does 5% of damage when it hits your opponent. On the "throwing" part of the boomerang's travel, it does damage and has almost a 100% change of knocking the opponent down. (I'll explain the importance of this later) When the boomerang makes its return trip, it has the potential to bring all enemies within the area that separates Link and the boomerang back to Link. So, if Mario jumped over the boomerang when it was initially thrown, but landed on its return trip, he wouldn't be damaged, but, Mario would be brought back to Link. (Who might be waiting for Mario with a Fsmash) The best part of the boomerang in my opinion is its ability to be thrown up or down at a 35 degree angle. Not only does this give Link a wider variety when attacking, it also can reduce lag on the throw. Instead of throw the boomerang on the ground and catching it for extra lag, jump and throw the boomerang down at a 35 degree angle. This with help you avoid on-coming enemies and unnecessary lag time. The Gale Boomerang also contributes to several mind games, which, again, I will talk about later.

2. Boomerang ATs

I decided to expose you to the Gale Boomerang the earliest due to its easy to perform advanced techniques. Due to the fact that these ATs are not widely used among Link mains, there is a large possibility that you will catch your opponent off guard. You may not find yourself in too many situations when you need to use techniques like these, but I think these techniques are useful and accessible enough to be important.

A) Gale Guarding
Gale Guarding proves to be a useful technique against the heavier set of characters with bad recovery. This move has the potential to ruin any character whose recovery lacks horizontally, vertically, and in Link's case, both! This technique may appear to be useless against characters with better recovery, (Ike, Falco) but in these cases, Gale Guarding serves a different purpose.

1. Performing a Gale Guard/Uses- Gale Guarding may be somewhat difficult to perform, but well worth the effort. After you hit your enemy, run towards the edge and jump off, then use the Gale Boomerang at the ledge. If you performed this technique correctly, the boomerang should hit the side of the stage and travelled directly backwards. If you performed it incorrectly, it either didn't hit the ledge, you were unable to recover with a spin attack, or the boomerang didn't even leave your hands. This technique won't work if you're right next to the ledge, that's why you have to angle the analog stick a bit to the left while you jump. Remember to practice this technique so that you are able to recover to the ledge each time, or you'll die and your opponent will live. Once you're able to recover, try throwing the boomerang up and down, instead. You'll notice that when you throw it up, the boomerang travels down and vice versa. This happens because the game reads that the boomerang is hitting the ground, and therefore, should ricochet in the opposite direction. Throwing it at an angle increases the usefulness of this technique. If an enemy recovers behind you at about a 45 degree angle, Gale Guard upward so the boomerang will travel downwards and carry him/her away. Against heavy characters with bad recovery, use this technique to prevent them from getting to the ledge. Things get a little trickier when using this against foes with average recovery. Instead of using this technique to kill the opponent, you can use it to stall them momentarily. This technique obviously won't KO them every time, but it will push them a good distance away from the ledge, which will give you time to pull out a bomb or shoot an arrow. Remember though, if you miss, your opponent might have the option to punish you. Use your best judgment when using this technique on characters with good recovery. I advise you don't try it on any characters that have a 4 * rating or more. Gale Guarding under such conditions could do a lot more harm than good.

2. Character List- For easier usage on this list, I put where a character needs improvement in his/her recovery. If a character lacks in horizontal recovery, you should try and knock them as far away from the stage as possible. If a character lacks in vertical recovery, you should try and knock them as far down as possible. I'm also putting a star rating (1-5) next to each name that illustrates the risk you're taking by Gale Guarding that particular character. This rating depends on how fast they recover, how much damage they do while recovering, and if that character's recovery cancels the boomerang. I'll start with characters with bad recoveries:

Bad Recovery-
Bowser (Lacks Vertically) ***
Donkey Kong (Lacks Vertically) ***
Ganondorf (Lacks Horizontally) ***
Ivysaur (Tether Recovery) *
Link (Lacks in Both) *
Mario (Lacks Horizontally) **
Marth (Lacks Horizontally) **
Olimar (Tether Recovery) *
Samus (Lacks Horizontally) **
Wario (Lacks Horizontally w/o Bike) **

Medium Recovery-
Captain Falcon (Lacks Vertically) **
Diddy Kong (Lacks Horizontally) **
Falco (Lacks Vertically) ***
Fox (Lacks Vertically) ***
Ice Climbers (Doesn't Lack) *
Ike (Up-B Lacks Horizontally) ****
Lucas (Doesn't Lack) **
Lucario (Doesn't Lack) *
Ness (Doesn't Lack) **
Sheik (Does'nt Lack) *
Snake (Lacks Horizontally) **
Squirtle (Doesn't Lack) ***
Wolf (Doesn't Lack) ***
Zero Suit Samus (Tether Recovery) ***

Good Recovery-
Charizard (Lacks Vertically) ***
Jigglypuff (Doesn't Lack) ****
King DeDeDe (Doesn't Lack) *****
Kirby (Doesn't Lack) ****
Meta Knight (Doesn't Lack) *****
Mr. Game & Watch (Doesn't Lack) ***
Peach (Lacks Vertically) **
Pikachu (Doesn't Lack) ***
Pit (Doesn't Lack) *****
R.O.B. (Doesn't Lack) *****
Sonic (Lacks Horizontally) **
Toon Link (Doesn't Lack) ***
Yoshi (Doesn't Lack) *
Zelda (Doesn't Lack) *

B) The Phantom Boomerang
Just as the Gale Guarding AT is an offensive technique, The Phantom Boomerang AT is a defensive technique. To execute The Phantom Boomerang, Link must either be hanging from a ledge (on the right side) or be near a platform (on the right side). Then, you must jump up (be it from the ledge or up to the right side of the platform) and throw your boomerang. If you throw your boomerang close enough to the stage (the bottom part of the tornado should be in the ground) it will glide across the stage and never return. If you succeed, the Gale Boomerang should never come back to you, but continue flying across the stage. If you failed, the Gale Boomerang either came back to you or it never left your hands. As with Gale Guarding, in The Phantom Boomerang you can also throw your boomerang up or down. Throwing down is useless, as the boomerang just flies throw the stage. Throwing it up, however, has a unique purpose. If thrown up, The Phantom Boomerang should fly up at about a 45 degree angle and then come down at about a 60 degree angle, which makes it great for mind games. The Phantom Boomerang can really help you buy time while recovering from a ledge. If you're knocked across the stage and are holding on to the ledge, simply use The Phantom Boomerang at the oncoming opponent to blow them all the way across the stage. This will give Link time to recover and maybe even pull a bomb out. Even if the enemy waits for you near the edge, throw the boomerang anyway. Hitting an enemy only increases the speed of The Phantom Boomerang and will carry your opponent just far enough to give you adequate spacing. (In most cases they'll be knocked over as well)

D. Adding the Hero's Bow

Congratulations! You got the Hero's Bow! The archer's best friend. The Hero's Bow is undoubtedly the trickiest part of Link's projectile game. Knowing when the right time to spam the arrows and the right time to restrain them can change the outcome of a game. If you underuse the arrows, you're missing out on a lot of free damage. If you overuse the arrows, you're subject to severe punishment. It's crucial to your projectile game to find the perfect arrow equilibrium for your playing style.

1. Hero's Bow ATs

Even though the Hero's Bow has a few advanced techniques of its own, its true potential lies in its ability to compliment other ATs. The arrows that launch through the Hero's Bow stun and hold an opponent in place, which makes this move a great set up for a projectile chain. The Hero's Bow may exceed the Gale Boomerang in areas such as range and complexity, but don't forsake the Gale Boomerang because of this. The Gale Boomerang and Hero's Bow play equally important parts in Link's projectile game.

A) Quickdraw
You've undoubtedly noticed how slowly Link draws his bow. His slow arrows drawing time, doubled with the lame range of the Hero's Bow, repelled players from using this projectile in Super Smash Bros. Melee. Luckily, in brawl, we have the quickdraw. The quickdraw cuts the bow drawing time in half, making it one of the most worthwhile ATs. Getting into the habit of using the quickdraw early will prevent future punishment and provoke a better playing style.

1. Performing the Quickdraw- The quickdraw (AKA the arrow cancel) utilizes the landing frames from your jump animation to cancel the "drawing" part of the Hero's Bow attack. Performing a quickdraw is a lot easier than it sounds. All you have to do is jump, then press the "B" button right before you land. The quick draw takes about half as much time as a normal bow attack. Using a little creativity, smasher around the world have discovered an overwhelming amount of techniques that utilize the quickdraw.

2. Applications for the Quickdraw-
SHFF Quickdraw- This is hands-down the hardest quickdraw technique. The procedure for a SHFF Quickdraw is short hopping, fast falling, then immediately pressing the "B" button. 9 times out of 10, you will either draw and shoot your arrow after you land or you'll pull out a bomb instead of a bow. I highly advise that you start at 1/4 speed in training mode and practice there. From there, go to 1/2, and when you feel you're up to the challenge, normal speed. It took me about an hour to master this technique perfectly, so don't get discouraged if you can't do it at first.
Doubledraw- A must for any self-respecting projectile spammer. To perform a Doubledraw, you need to jump and just before your jump peaks, unleash your first arrow. This first shot will lag until you're about a foot above the ground. At this time, you should unleash your second arrow and land without lag. The moment you string the first arrow will decide whether this technique will work or not, so watch when you shoot. If you're not doing the doubledraw correctly, you're probably shooting the first arrow too late.
Tripledraw- Much like the Doubledraw, the Tripledraw requires you to shoot an arrow before Link reaches the pinnacle of his first jump. Unlike the Doubledraw, the tripledraw utilizes Link's second jump to unleash his second arrow. So, instead of waiting until you hit the ground to shoot your second arrow, you'll be jumping and shooting an arrow instantly after your first arrow leaves the string. After the second arrow deploys, you'll fall towards the ground and quickdraw your third and final arrow. Even though this technique shoots more arrows, it's far more situational and takes 2 times longer to perform. Use the Tripledraw sparingly, Link's susceptible to oncoming opponents when he uses this technique.
Bair to Quickdraw- Finally, something easy to do! For the Bair Quickdraw, all you need to do is a short hopped Bair, then press "B" button. For extra damage, press back on the analog stick as Link does his second Bair kick. This will turn Link around for his bow attack. This technique allows a ton of room for error, and is probably one of your safest approach options. If you miss the first Bair kick, you have the second kick to look forward to. If you miss the second kick, you can use the quickdraw. With so many back-up attacks, its strange to see Link not land some damage.
Gale Boomerang to Quickdraw- Link's powerhouse knockback move, the Gale Boomerang to Quickdraw. Just like in the doubledraw, you'll need to throw the Gale Boomerang a little bit before you reach the peak of your jump. The lag prevents Link from doing any moves until he's a touch above the ground. Press "B" at this exact moment to execute a quickdraw. Once you get the hang of this maneuver, try angling the boomerang down. The angle the boomerang gets on its downward tilt is just enough to hit your opponent. Following up with a quickdraw gives this attack extraordinary spacing and a lot of potential. Even if the opponent miraculously dodges the boomerang, the follow-up quickdraw will certainly connect.
Bomb to Quickdraw- The bomb to quickdraw technique allows Link to protect himself while pulling out a bomb. As you probably know, pulling out a bomb generates a ton of lag, which is easily punishable. To eliminate such lag, Link jumps fully and pulls out the bomb just before the peak of his jump. Then, to punish approaching enemies, quickdraw just before land. It may seem like a lot of trouble to go through to simply pull out a bomb, but trust me, eliminating the lag and possibly damage your foe is well worth the effort.
SH Bomb throw into Quickdraw- Although this technique may sound hard, it's actually the easiest out of these six. To perform this move, you need to short hop (with a bomb out), throw the bomb, then shoot an arrow. By the time the lag of the bomb throw diminishes, you should be able to quickdraw with ease. You also have the option of fast falling the bomb lag frames, which just allows for the arrow to come out more quickly. Performing the latter will allow you to follow up more quickly, but its a bit harder to pull off. As always, use your best judgment when deciding on which technique to unleash on your foe.

B) B-Reversal Arrow
The B-Reversal arrow plays an important part in Link's counter-offensive, especially against characters slower than Link. The procedure of the B-Reversal arrow is simple... tap the opposite direction just before you land onto the ground to perform a quickdraw or an auto-cancelled arrow shot. The B-Reversal arrow provides Link with great mindgames in several different situations. Below is a short list of applications for the B-Reversal Arrow.

SH Quickdraw Reversal- Believe it or not, there is a technique harder than the SH Quickdraw: It’s B-Reversal counterpart. This technique requires both precise timing and incredibly steady fingers. In order to execute this technique, you must SH, tap the analog stick in the opposite direction Link’s facing two times very quickly, fast fall, and press “B”. The B-Reveral Quickdraw should look exactly like a normal quickdraw, but facing the opposite direction. All the effort put into mastering this technique will be well worth the labor. This is on of Link’s best mindgames and should be used frequently.
Doubledraw Reversal- The Doubledraw Reversal works a bit differently than the SH Quickdraw Reversal. This technique allows for two windows for the reversal, one before you shoot your first arrow and one before you shoot the second arrow. The former works similarly to the SH Quickdraw Reversal, but you only have to smash the analog stick in the opposite direction once right after you leave the land, then proceed to shooting both of your arrows. By reversing both arrows, you can set up a great counter offensive or proceed with projectile spamming. I find this technique to be the most useful when coupled with running away, allowing you to hit your opponent if they remain far away or if they begin to approach. The second of the Doubledraw reversal only requires that you smash the opposite direction that Link’s facing after you shoot the first arrow, forcing Link to shoot the second arrow in the opposite direction. This permutation doesn’t help in many situations, especially in a 1 on 1 brawl. I recommend using the first form of the Doubledraw Reversal most, if not all, of the time.
SH Reversal- Whereas the SH Quickdraw Reversal should be used on nearby enemies, the SH Reversal (with no quickdraw) should be used to hit far off enemies. In order to perform this technique, run away from your enemy, short hop, tap the opposite direction on your analog stick, then press "B". When performed correctly, Link should keep his forward momentum while jumping, turn around in the air, then shoot an arrow. If your doing it wrong, you're either turning around too quickly and not getting the forward momentum of the dash or you're pressing "B" too soon and unleashing a Gale Boomerang. The primary use for this technique is to regroup your thoughts. Keep this technique in mind whenever you're getting frustrated during a battle so you can get out of the fray and collect yourself for a moment. This move provides a lot of spacing and starts a great set-up for arrow or bomb spamming.
Bomb to Quickdraw Reversal- This technique is almost a carbon copy of its un-reversed counterpart, only you reverse the direction of the second arrow. All you need to do differently is smash the opposite direction Link’s facing before you hit the ground and shoot the arrow. I find this technique more useful for mindgames and retreating bomb pull outs, but it usually doesn’t hit its mark unlike its counterpart.
SH Bomb Throw Quickdraw Reversal- Yes, the “SH Bomb Throw Quickdraw Reversal” is a really long name, but don’t let that intimidate you, the technique is very easy to perform. Just like the Doubledraw Reversal, this technique has two variations, one of which helps during a match. The first (and more useful) of the two reuires that you press the opposite direction Link’s facing and throw the bomb, then follow up with the arrow. In short, you’ll just be throwing the bomb and shooting the arrow in the opposite direction. Like all of the other reversal techniques, its better for mindgames than its counterpart but can’t be used as an offensive maneuver. The other variation will shoot the arrow, but not the bomb, in the opposite direction. Just like the Doubledraw, just tap the opposite direction after you throw the bomb to reverse the arrow.

2. Arrow/Projectile Spamming

Almost every single character in the Brawl universe has their own "unique" type of spamming. For a character like Sheik, it's needle spamming. For a character like Wolf, it's laser spamming. For a character like Link, it's arrow/bomb/boomerang spamming! On opponents who don't have any range attacks (DK, Marth) this provides a great alternative strategy. Why should you risk yourself if you can just shoot arrows from afar? Projectile spamming becomes possible on larger stages in which your opponent can't put a stop to your constant barrage. Stages such as Final Destionation, Halberd (on Meta Knight's ship), Corneria, and Delfino (at most landing zones) make arrow spamming a breeze. So, whenever you're making a decision about projectile spamming, look closely at two factors: Your opponent and the stage you're battling at. If both factors don't allow for easy arrow spamming, don't take the risk, or you WILL be punished severely.

1. List of Characters- Much like the previous list, this list will give each character a star rating (1-5 again) based on their ability to cope with Link's arrow/bomb/boomerang spam. The characters will get an extra star if: they have a projectile, they can easily run up to you, and/or they reflect projectiles/can cope with projectiles. The higher the star rating, the less arrow spamming you want to use. This list will be in alphabetical order:

Bowser (No projectile) *
Captain Falcon (No Projectile) **
Charizard (No Projectile) *
Diddy Kong (Peanut Popgun) ***
Doney Kong (No Projectile) *
Falco (Laser Blaster) *****
Fox (Laser Blaster) *****
Ganondorf (No Projectile) *
Ice Climbers (Icicle Slide) **
Ike (No Projectile) **
Ivysaur (Razor Leaf) ***
Jigglypuff (No Projectile) **
Kirby (Final Cutter/Hero's Bow) **
King DeDeDe (Waddle Dee) ***
Lucas (PK Fire, PK Thunder) ****
Lucario (Aura Sphere) ***
Link (Hero's Bow, Boomerang, Bombs) *****
Mario (Fireballs) ***
Marth (No Projectile) **
Meta Knight (No Projectile) ***
Mr. Game & Watch (Sausage Pan) **
Ness (PK Fire, PK Thunder) ****
Olimar (Pikmin) **
Peach (Turnips) ***
Pikachu (Thundershock) ****
Pit (Palutena's Bow) *****
R.O.B. (Laser Beams, Gyro Top) *****
Samus (Missles, Charge Beam) ****
Sheik (Needles) ***
Snake (Grenades, Bazooka) *****
Sonic (No Projectile) ***
Squirtle (No Projectile) **
Toon Link (Bombs, Arrows, Boomerang) *****
Wario (Bike Parts?) *
Wolf (Wolf Laser) *****
Yoshi (Eggs) ***
Zelda (Din's Fire) ****
Zero Suit Samus (Samus Parts?) **

2. Stage List- For the stage list, the star system will work a little bit differently. The smaller the star amount, the safer the stage will be for Link's projectile spamming. I only used stages that tournaments allow: Neutral stages, Neutral/Counterpick stages, and Counterpick stages. As for the other stages, you'll have to make that judgment on your own. This list will also be in alphabetical order:

Neutral stages:
Battlefield (Small) ***
Final Destination (Large) **
Smashville (Medium) **
Yoshi's Island (Small) ***

Neutral/Counterpick stages:
Castle Siege (Small and Large) **
Delfino Plaza (Small and Large) **
Halberd (Small and Large) ***
Lylat Cruise (Small) ****
Pokemon Stadium 1 (Small) *****

Counterpick stages:
Brinstar (Small) *****
Corneria (Huge) *
Distant Plant (Large) *
Frigate Orpheon (Medium) ***
Green Hill Zone (Huge) *
Jungle Japes (Large) **
Luigi's Mansion (Small and Large) ****
Norfair (Small) ***
Pictochat (Medium) **
Pirate Ship (Large) **
Pokemon Stadium 2 (Small) ****
Rainbow Cruise (Large) *
Yoshi's Island (Medium) **

E. Adding the Water-Proof Bombs

Congratulations! You got the Water-Proof bombs! (Or Gigant Bomb bag... this was the only video I could find) A green-garbed adventurer should never leave the second dungeon without them. Link's "water-proof" bombs are undoubtedly his best and most versatile projectile. They can be sent in every direction, dropped, and even be set on platforms. Their base attack strength also surpasses that of an uncharged arrow or even the Gale Boomerang. The downside to this projectile lies in its ability to backfire and hit Link instead of the enemy. Used wisely, the bombs are by far the best projectile that Link possesses.

1. Full-Proof ATs

Due to the fact that the bomb is Link's most versatile projectile, its only natural that it should have the most complexity. When things get complex, game-makers often miss something in their programming and we end up with ATs. At this point you already have an impressive amount of advanced techniques in your arsenal. In this portion of the guide, you'll be learning more ATs than all of the other weapons combined, so I hope you're prepared. This video made by SUB_ZERO and ArikiveZero should help you immensely throughout this portion of the guide.

A) Z Bomb Drop Techniques
As the name implies, Z bomb drop techniques utilize Link's ability to drop bombs using the "Z" button. Before proceeding through this part of the guide, go into training mode and drop a few bombs. Become familiar with the speed of Link's dropped bombs compared to bombs thrown downward. Practicing such a trivial component can actually help you make better decisions. (Should I drop the bomb or throw it down?) This simple technique actually leads to several more complex maneuvers that are both easily do-able and hard to predict. The sole purpose of these ATs is to throw your opponent off balance so you can take the offensive.

1. Z-Aerial-Catch- Z-Aerial-Catch (dubbed the ZAC) is simple to perform and great for mindgames. Simply jump, press Z, then quickly do an aerial of your choice. This works with every single aerial (except Z of course) and provides a great alternative for normal aerials. Why do a regular aerial when you can follow up with a bomb, right?

2. Zair with a Bomb- Another relatively simple and useful technique, the Zair with a Bomb. I said above that you can do every aerial except the Zair with the ZAC. To perform Link's best aerial with a bomb, you'll need to jump (with a bomb in hand, of course), airdodge, then press "Z". I can't imagine anybody messing something like that, so I'm guessing you got it right the first time. This AT has great set-up potential for combos, so be creative. Zair->throw bomb->QDA? Zair->throw bomb->bommerang? The list could go on forever, but for now, let's move on to the next AT.

3. Shield Pressue Bombs- Do you have a problem with foes who cower behind their shield whenever you throw a bomb? Then let shield pressure bombs solve all your problems. Whenever you throw a bomb from a distance, the opponents mentality is "Oh a bomb! I can just shield it and it'll bounce off!". You're thinking "Aw, hellz no!" and charge in for a dash attack. This almost always ends in you being punished by your foe or worse, your own bomb. To prevent such an occurrence, use an aerial to catch the bomb and surprise your opponent. That's what a shield pressure bomb is! Not only will you hit your enemy, but you'll also have a bomb as well! This move may work about 2-3 times in a game, but after this point, your opponent will catch on. Space out these uses in a match so you become less predictable. So, to perform a shield pressure bomb, you must throw a bomb at a shielding opponent then follow up with an aerial to catch your bomb. (Recap)

4. Bomb Planting- Last, but certainly not least, we have Bomb Planting. Bomb Planting requires three important ingredients: a water-proof bomb, a ledge, and a press of the "Z" button. All you need to do is jump up to the ledge and press "Z". To do this correctly, you must press "Z" when the bomb is fully emerged over the ledge. If you press "Z" to early, it will fall under the platform. If you press "Z" to late, the bomb will explode on the platform. Watch the video posted above at 2:27 and observe when ArikiveZero drops the bombs on the platforms. Also notice how he plants the bomb the second time. Instead of jumping up to the platform, he drops down. I think this way is a bit harder but better for mindgames. You can also plant bombs in front of ledges. To do this, you need to jump off the stage (close to the ledge) and just before you grab the ledge, drop your bomb. Using this technique while ledgeguarding proves to be quite effective, even if characters manage to grab the ledge and recover. The final and most difficult way to plant bombs is on the floor. You must be on a platform (try one of Battlefield's lower platforms) and have a bomb. To execute this technique you must fall through the ledge, fast fall, then press "Z". Using this in combination with a bomb planted on a platform will set up a little "bomb barrier" for Link to arrow spam behind.

5. Ledgehop Bombdrop- Although in essence this technique resembles a bomb plant on a ledge, it’s much faster and more effective for edgeguarding. With a bomb in hand, grab one of the ledges and wait. Then, perform a lightning quick fast fall followed up immediately by a jump. Link should perform his double jump “twirling” animation while doing his jump. When Link’s upper torso leans towards the stage, press “Z” once. When performed correctly, the bomb should drop perfectly on the ledge and Link will drop down to the ledge quickly. This technique requires a precise timing, but with a little bit of practice it can be mastered. The Ledgehop Bombdrop can also be used in combination with a Gale Guard, vastly increasing it’s practicality against characters with good recoveries. Simply Gale Guard with a bomb, grab the ledge, Ledgehop Bombdrop, then drop onto the ledge again. Oftentimes, the opponent will be forced to recover to the ledge and blown up by the bomb, which leaves them open for another assault.

B) Other Bomb Techniques
Here's where things may get a bit tougher. I find that these techniques are far more subtle than those just shown, but harder to pull off. Make sure you don't overuse them or the "subtle" aspect they have will become a "predictable" aspect. Being predictable leads to a lot of punishment. :laugh:

1. Bombsmashing- Not to sound blunt, but the bombsmash is hands-down the best way to catch your opponent off balance. We all know that "B" attacks are possible while holding a bomb, but what about "A" attacks? With bombsmashing, you can unleash a Fsmash when your opponent least expects it. All you have to do is hold "A" while you're pulling out a bomb, then press C-Stick left or right to perform an Fsmash. Make sure you hold "A" constantly, or else you'll throw the bomb instead of doing an Fsmash. If you forget to hold A when you pull out the bomb, do a dodge roll and hold "A". I often forget about this technique and hardly ever perform it in a serious match. I don't even think I've seen it used in a tournament video! So, maybe you can be the first to win a tournament utilizing this strange technique.

2. Ledgehop Bombs- Probably the simplest of the non-"Z" ATs to perform. As the name suggests, you'll be using a ledgehop to pull out a bomb. While holding from a ledge, you need to press down to let go of the ledge, jump, then pull out a bomb. This process must be done very quickly, or else you won't grab onto the ledge again without having to use Link's third jump. This technique can either be used to get a bomb before having to return to the main stage or as a tool to get your opponent away from the ledge. I often use both in a normal match, so do whatever fits the situation best.

3. Bomb Shielding- Now it's time for you to cower behind your shield and give your opponents a hard time. The shield that all character's posses defends them from outside attacks, but Bomb Shielding utilizes the shields ability to protect Link from inside attacks. Let me explain: If a bomb explodes in your hands while you're shielding, Link won't receive any damage but the bomb will damage other enemies. That being said, Bomb Shielding is a technique that utilizes the explosion of a held bomb with the defense of the shield to damage close enemies. Performing a Bomb Shield is simple, pull out a bomb, and before it explodes, press and hold "L" or "R". This technique is useful against physical foes. While they pummel your shield, chances are they'll forget about the bomb in your hand and it will explode in their face, providing you with some spacing and time to pull out another bomb. Bomb Shielding is a very situational technique, and most players use it on accident. Utilize this technique against aggressive enemies who can't get enough of destroying your shield.

4. The Bombslide- If you want to surprise the enemy with your bomb instead of nonchalantly tossing it at them, the bombslide is your best option. This technique combines the boost of dashing with the nonesxistent lag of an aerial bomb throw to create this outlandish ability. The Bombslide consists of three different button combinations: Dash->C-Stick Downward->"Z" Up. The Bombslide also has two different variations: Slide Throws and Slide Cancels. Each different type of bomslide has another three permutations: Forward, Backward, and Upward. Watch this video, made by God-Is-My-Rock, to help you throughout this section.

Cancelled Bomslides- Cancelled Bomslides allow Link to throw a bomb forwards without lag by cancelling it with a different throw animation. To perform a cancelled bomslide, you need to dash, then press C-Stick down and "Z" (any direction). The dash doesn't have to immediately follow the C-Stick forward, but the C-Stick forward and "Z" (any direction) must be performed in lightning fast succession. The type of Cancelled Bomslide you execute will depend solely on which direction you use in combination with the "Z" button. For example, to do a Forward Throw into an Upward Cancel, you should press "Z" up to accomplish the "Upward Cancel". Whenever you do a Cancelled Bomslide, you should throw the bomb forward but "fake-out" in a different direction. This "fake-out" has several purposes, but the most important are mindgames and eliminating lag. Utilize the Cancelled Bomslide to either confuse your opponent into believing you threw the bomb in a different direction or to prevent your enemy from punishing the lag of the regular bomb toss.

Normal Bombslides- A Cancelled Bombslide will only allow Link to throw the bomb forward, but with a regular bomslide you can throw the projectile in any direction. Although the transformation from a cancelled to a normal bomslide will eliminate the "fake-out" factor, the increase in sliding distance more than makes up for it. In order to execute a normal bomslide, you need to press the same buttons, but at a different rate and with a different slide of the fingers. I find it easier to do a normal bomslide by sliding the analog stick quickly in whatever dirction you want to throw the bomb. So, instead of holding forward and tapping Up with your left thumb, you're going to slide your left thumb from the forward direction to the upward direction. You're also going to shorten the pause between pressing C-Stick down and whatever direction you want. In short, you're pretty much going to press C-Stick down and your direction at the same time. You can do a normal bombslide forward, backward, and upwards which gives you one more option than the cancelled bomslide. I've already stated how to perform an upward bombslide, and the forward bomslide is easily done by pushing the analog stick slightly upward at a 45 degree angle. The tricky part is the backwards bomslide, which requires you to push the analog stick upwards towards the opposite side of the analog casing. It's hard to explain, but basically it's tilting the analog stick up and to the opposite way Link is facing. Similar to the backward cancel, the backward bomslide will slide Link, but this time he will throw the bomb back instead of faking it.

Congratulations on making it this far! Here is your reward. If you've been closely reading this guide, I'm impressed with both your concentration and dedication. The next step will be a big one, probably the step that differentiates a casual-level Link player from a tournament-level Link player. If your only reading this guide to impress your friends, go destroy them with Link now. For those of you who want to continue improving your playing style, read on. There is still much to be learned.​

IV. Advanced Techniques

A. Introduction

Well, you made it. At the very beggining of this guide, I said never give up, and you've accomplished that. This is where things get a bit more interesting. It's time to expose you to the hardest, strangest, and most useful technique Link has to offer. With quick thinking, fast fingers, and a will to improve, mastering these techniques should be an easy accomplishment. So without further ado, let me introduce you to Link's ATs.

1. DAC (Dash-Attack-Cancel)

Up until now, you haven't had much of a challenge mastering ATs. That will all end when you try the dash attack cancel. This technique is tricky, and will require very fast fingers. In order to perform a DAC, dash, quickly press C-Stick down and "Z" up. On your first attempt, you will probably: jump and Dair, Usmash, or Dsmash. This means you pressed one button too slowly. After a few tries, you'll fly across the stage while performing a Usmash. You can also hold "Z" up to charge Link's Usmash while you glide across the stage. Izaw's Advanced Guide to Link provides a beautiful visual demonstration at 2:43. (<- link provided) Work on mastering this technique. You might have noticed that Link's DAC often varies in sliding distance. I don't want to go into detail, but it all depends on when you press the C-Stick down. If you press it down instantly after you dash, you'll go farther than you would waiting a few milliseconds. For the best results, smash down C-Stick instantly. DAC can also be performed with a bomb. If you Z-Drop a bomb at the height of Link's short hop, then DAC after you hit the ground, Link will catch the bomb and DAC at the same time. This alteration of the DAC allows Link to either cancel the Usmash's lag with the bomb's explosion or to damage his enemy's with it. Continue to practice both variations of the DAC, and the button combination will become an effortless maneuver.

A) Adding the DAC to Gameplay
Including the DAC in normal gameplay may prove difficult at first, but its inclusion is essential to Link's gameplay. Not only does the DAC slide Link across the stage whilst performing a Usmash, it also provides a creative mindgame, spacing, and a great combo move. Instead of running at your opponent and performing a QDA, use a DAC instead. I'm not hinting that you stop QDA assaults altogether, just keep DAC in mind for more variety. As for its comboing potential, DAC compliments other spacing moves, such as a Zair or Jab combo. In Izaw's video, he executes combos like Zair with a Bomb->Throw Bomb->DAC. Not only does this combo consistently, it gives Link sufficient spacing so that Usmash's lag won't be punished. Last but not least, don't forget Link's ability to charge the DAC by holding down the "Z" button. Not only will this pack a bigger punch, it also concentrates all three slashes in one area.

B) Knowing your Limits
The DAC, being the amazing technique that it is, may seem like an easily spammable technique. This statement could be no further from the truth. The DAC is easily cancelled with almost all forms of projectiles and smashes. Only use this technique as a surprise combo or a mind game. A wise man once said, with great power comes great responsibility. Abusing this technique can and will result in TERRIBLE PUNISHMENT!!!! Terrible punishment will result in you losing a stock, and more likely, the match.

2. Edgeguarding Techniques

For those of you who didn't play melee, edgeguarding (sometimes referred to as edgehogging) is a technique in which one character prevents another character from grabbing the ledge by occupying it themselves. In other words, one person grabs the ledge to prevent another person from grabbing the ledge. To perform an edgeguard, you must utilize the invincibility frames your character gets to avoid getting hit when your opponent recovers.

A) Zair Edgeguarding
Zair Edgeguarding applies the extra invincibility frames Link receives when he tether recovers to elongate Link's edgeguard. Zair Edguarding may sound simple, but getting the timing down perfectly and adapting to various situations make it a tricky technique to master. In order to perform a Zair edgeguard, you need let go of a ledge and press Z twice extremely fast. When done correctly, Link should re-grab the ledge with his clawshot and receive extra invincibility frames. This technique triples Link's invincibility frames at the ledge. Not only does this allow for a larger margin of error, but it also allows Link to edgeguard against characters with longer hitboxes at the ledge. For example, Ike's aether attack lasts longer than a normal edgeguard could handle. But, Ike's aether doesn't last as long as Link's 4 invincibility frames in succession. Zair edgeguarding will become an essential part of your edgeguarding game. You can only In time, you'll be able to Zair edgeguard to effectively quadruple the amount of invincibility frames you receive.

B) Hugging/Speed Hugging
When you don't have enough time to reach the ledge and perform a Zair Edgeguard, Hugging provides a great alternative. Hugging doesn't elongate Link's invincibility frames, it allows Link to grab the ledge in time so that he has can perform an effective edgeguard. Lets say that Link hits an enemy across the stage. If Link jumps to grab the ledge, he wont make it in time to prevent the foe from grabbing the ledge. If he Speed Hugs the ledge, he will run to the edge and grab it much more quickly. To perform a hug/speed hug, you need to run at an edge, then tilt your control stick quickly in a semi-circle downwards. The semi-circle twist will push Link down, the DI him backwards so that he can grab the ledge. You can also follow up a hug/speed hug by Zair edgeguarding. I recommend hugging whenever you need to edgeguard, but it isn't really necessary. Before you continue onto the next portion of the guide, determine whether you can hug easily. If you fast fall to your death half the time, put in a little more practice.

2. Grabbing Techniques

Link’s grab might reach a great distance, but the lag it induces limits its versatility. Therefore, learning the right time to use the grab is essential. Spot dodging an opponent’s move and grabbing, jab cancelling into a grab, and shield grabbing are all great times to grab, but these techniques will get predictable easily. So, in order to keep your opponent on their toes, utilize a wide array of grabbing techniques. If you miss a grab, you will be punished, oftentimes by death.

A) Pivot Grab/Reverse Grab
A pivot grab (AKA Reverse Grab) allows Link to pivot (or change directions) and perform a grab that is 1.5 times faster than a normal grab. Pivot grabbing is as easy as shield grabbing, just dash, turn around and press “Z” immediately. Not only does this provide Link with a faster grab, it also is a great mindgame. Although I have seen the pivot grab used offensively, in my opinion it’s primarily a defensive technique. For example, let’s say Link A is running away from his opponent, and they decide to chase him. Instead of fleeing to the other side of the stage, Link A surprises the oncoming foe with a pivot grab and proceeds to throw them off the stage. The defensive stance Link A took encouraged his opponent to take an offensive stance. This allowed Link A to use the pivot grab to set up a counter offensive.

B) The Chaingrab
No, this is not a joke pertaining to Link’s clawshot grab. A “chaingrab” is a chain of grabs strung together, usually one right after the other. If one is to exploit the minimal knockback distance of Link’s Dthrow, they can combo it together with a second, or even a third Dthrow. In other words, you can string together multiple Dthrows if you time them correctly. Link’s chaingrab may not be as effective as Falco’s or King DeDeDe’s, but it can rack up damage easily at lower percentages.

1. Chaingrabbing Maneuver- Simplistic as it may sound, putting together a few down throws is hard work. In order to perform a perfect chaingrab, you need to calculate where your opponent will land, at what time, and predict whether they will tech away or not. That takes a lot of practice and an understanding of how your opponent plays. I recommend only chaingrabbing on the second or third stock when your opponent has 0-10%. This way, you have a gist of how your opponent plays and they will be at a low percentage. Also, don’t continue the chaingrab for more than three throws. By the third throw, your opponent will recognize the pattern (if they haven’t already) and undoubtedly escape. If you attempt a fourth grab, it’s likely that you’ll miss and be punished severely. The key to the chaingrab is learning when to initiate and terminate it. Learn that much, and you’ll be racking up easy throw damage in no time.

2. Chaingrabbing Effectiveness- Link’s chaingrab doesn’t have the same knockback for every character, and heavier, fast falling characters are more likely to fall victim to this technique. Once again, I’m going to use the star system to describe how effective the chaingrab is on each character. The rating will be based on how heavy they are, the stun they receive from the Dthrow, and how fast they fall. The higher the amount of stars a character has, the easier they are to chaingrab. Without further ado, the list:

Bowser (Heavy, Medium Stun) ***
Captain Falcon (Heavy, High Stun, Fast Fall) *****
Charizard (Heavy, Medium Stun) ***
Diddy Kong (Medium, Low Stun) **
Doney Kong (Heavy, Low Stun) **
Falco (Heavy, Highish Stun) ****
Fox (Heavy, Highish Stun) ****
Ganondorf (Heavy, High Stun) *****
Ice Climbers (Light, Medium Stun) *
Ike (Heavy, Medium Stun) ***
Ivysaur (Medium, Medium Stun) ***
Jigglypuff (Light, Medium Stun) **
Kirby (Light, Low Stun) *
King DeDeDe (Heavy, High Stun) *****
Lucas (Medium, Medium Stun) ***
Lucario (Medium, Low Stun) **
Link (Heavy, Medium Stun) ***
Mario (Medium, Low Stun) **
Marth (Medium, Medium Stun) ***
Meta Knight (Heavy, High Stun) *****
Mr. Game & Watch (Medium, Highish Stun) ****
Ness (Medium, Medium Stun) ***
Olimar (Light, Highish Stun) ***
Peach (Light, Low Stun) *
Pikachu (Medium, Low Stun) **
Pit (Medium, Low Stun) **
R.O.B. (Light, Medium Stun) **
Samus (Medium, Medium Stun) ***
Sheik (Heavy, Highish Stun) ****
Snake (Heavy, High Stun) *****
Sonic (Medium, Medium Stun) ***
Squirtle (Medium, Low Stun) **
Toon Link (Light, Low Stun) *
Wario (Heavy, Medium Stun) ***
Wolf (Heavy, Highish Stun) ****
Yoshi (Heavy, Medium Stun) ****
Zelda (Medium, Medium Stun) ***
Zero Suit Samus (Heavy, Low Stun) ***

B. A Step Further

The majority of Link's moveset is now at your fingertips. You can DAC, Ledgehop Bomb, and Shield Grab with ease. The last portion of Link's moveset can either improve your playing style tremendously, or in most cases, not affect how you play Link. As the smash community delves deeper into Brawl, more and more mysterious ATs will surface. Learning these unusual techniques will prove useful only to those with a quick wit and flexible playing style. At this point in the guide, you've mastered enough abilities to play at tournament level. After you read this section of the guide, you might be able to win at tournament level. Notice: This section of the guide will be updated periodically, so check back often.

1. Craq Walk and Pivot Boosting

When melee still dominated the smash scene, there was a little thing called wavedashing. Wavedashing reduced the lag time of movement in general and allowed smashers who mastered it to glide up to their enemies and perform and move they chose. Now, in a Brawl dominated society, we have the Craq Walk and Pivot Boost. Instead of exploiting the air dodge to float across the stage, (as in wavedashing) we employ the momentum Link receives when he jumps or pivots. Craq Walking is an aerial version of the pivot boost. Jump straight upwards, and while you're still in the air, tilt your control stick lightly in the opposite direction Link's facing and hold it. When Link descends, he should float across the stage for a little while before stopping. ArkiveZero shows visuals on the Craq walk and Pivot Boost in this video here. As you can see, Craq Walking should be followed up with an Fsmash, Dtilt, Dsmash, Ftilt, etc. This gives you yet another approach option. Pivot Boosting is a bit trickier to perform. To execute this maneuver, you need to tap one direction (opposite of which Link's facing) then hold the other direction. If you push the analog stick to forcefully, you will do a dash animation and the technique will fail. When performed correctly, Link should "float" like he does in the Craq Walk. Again, following this up with any smash or tilt provides Link with more approach options. Watch the end of ArkiveZero's video when he utilizes the Pivot Boost after a Dair and try to mimic that move. It will prove useful later on.

A) Adding the Craq Walk to Gameplay
Although not quite as effective as the Pivot Boost, the Craq Walk is easier for aerial follow ups. Link has three options for his Craq Walk: SH Bair into Craq Walk, SH Nair into Craq Walk, or SH into Craq walk. Short hopping a Craq Walk is easier and safer than risking a pivot boost, but it takes a lot longer. There's also Nair into a Craq Walk, which has a larger margin for error than a Bair, but doesn't correspond as well. Craq Walk your Nairs when you know your going to hit your opponent with the hitbox on Link's bent knee. If the opponent gets hit with the extended leg, they will be knocked forward and the Craq Walk wouldn't serve a purpose. Most of the time, you'll use Bair into Craq Walk. At low-medium percentages, the Craq Walk combos with the Bair beautifully. Follow up with Ftilts or Dtilts at low percentages to provide spacing and Fsmashes and Dsmashes at medium percentages to rack up damage. Craq Walk periodically to throw your opponent off balance. Most Link players (including myself) forget to use this technique, even when the opportunity arises. So, keep the Craq Walk in the back of your head along with the other underused techniques. (Bombsmashing, Bomb Planting)

B) Adding the Pivot Boost to Gameplay
The Pivot Boost will take an uncomfortably long time to integrate into your gameplay, but in the end, it'll be worth it. Like its cousin the Craq Walk, to Pivot Boost compliments aerials ravishingly. The Craq walk is much more effective with Bair, but Pivot Boosting Nairs is preferable. More often than not, you'll hit you foe with the extended leg portion of the Nair, which cannot be followed up by a Craq Walk. Therefore, you need to pivot boost and move Link forward. As for the other aerials, pivot boosting favors Zair and Fair. The spacing that follows the Zair provides a perfect opportunity to Pivot Boost. Since the Zair's knockback doesn't alter much according to percentage, this opportunity will arise several times a game. The Fair, on the other hand, is a bit more situational. This combination will only work at lower percentage. Fair has the most knockback of Link's aerials, and since the Pivot Boost's short reach provides a problem. On the other hand, Fair combo'd with the pivot boost does a stupendous amount of damage. Use this move sparingly, it easily becomes predictable. As for non-aerial approach options, SH Quickdraw into Pivot Boost, Bombsmash Pivot Boost, etc. Get creative and avoid predictability.

C) Smooth Booting
Very akin to Pivot Boosting and Craq Walking, Smooth Booting (SBing) glides Link across the stage. Smooth Booting is harder to do and easier to remember, but the lag the follows it restricts its usefulness. Performing this AT is simple, (in a sense) just walk (make sure you step off Link's right foot) and angle your control stick lightly downwards. Link should float a little before crouching down. The end crouch causes lag in the move, which limits its usefulness. I won't talk about this technique too much, but I will say this technique might help you at one point in your smash career. Here's a video that demonstrates how to utilize Link's Smooth Boots. Feel free to learn it if you wish, it's a very situational ability.

2. Jab Lock

Now it's time for everyone's favorite technique... the infinite. If you've come this far in the guide and don't know what an infinite is, it's an inescapable technique that usually ends in one character loosing a stock. The Jab Lock is a common technique among the cast of Super Smash Bros. Brawl that exploits the wobble animation of fallen characters. When a character falls on their back, they have a brief pause in their ability to move. Instead of letting them get back up, continue jabbing them to "lock" them into this position. Watch this video explaining how to perform a jab lock. Although Link wasn't shown in this video, its the same general principle. Walk forward and continue jabbing your opponent until you reach the edge of the stage. I personally hate infinites, but they're a necessary evil of competitive gaming.

A) Learning to Initiate a Jab Lock
Jab Locking can be initiated in several ways, but the two most important are the Gale Boomerang and the Bomb Footstool combo. The Gale Boomerang is a safer approach, but it's harder to set up. The Bomb Footstool is an easier set up, but a less safe approach. Learn how to use each to their full potential so you can easily rack up damage on your opponent and give you an edge in matches.

1. Gale Boomerang- I stated a lot earlier in the guide that I would eventually explain the utility of the knockdown of Link's Gale Boomerang. At this time, the only thing this function is good for is to give you extra time to set up an offensive or defensive assault. Now, instead of watching your enemy lie vulnerably on the ground, you're going to Jab Cancel them. The great thing about this set up is that it's easy. The problem is that you probably won't reach your enemy and jab lock by the time they get up. The solution? If you want to Jab Lock your opponent, throw the boomerang up close so that you can easily follow-up with a jab in time. The best way to approach this is to have your opponent come to you. For example, Link A plays Fox A again. Link A runs away and baits Fox A into running after him. Link A short hops and unleashes his boomerang at the approaching opponent. Fox A gets knocked over by the Gale Boomerang a second before can make contact with Link A. Link A decides to follow-up with a Jab Lock and Fox A ends up losing a stock. The Gale Boomerang into Jab Lock provides a great mind game and an effective infinite option. Remember, the Gale Boomerang only knocks over your opponent about half the time!! Don't rely on this technique, but if the opportunity arises, don't hesitate.

2. Bomb Footstool Combo- The 50% chance for a wobble animation by throwing the Gale Boomerang isn't enough when you NEED to initiate a Jab Lock. Luckily, the Bomb Footstool combo contributes a 100% full proof alternative to starting a Jab Lock. For this to work, Link has to have a bomb in hand and his opponent within range. You need to short hop, throw a bomb down at your foe, jump another time to footstool, then fast fall an Nair to the ground and Jab Lock. For extra killing potential, use Dair instead of Nair when your opponent is at higher percentages. If your foe has a high enough percentage, you can kill them without having to go through the trouble of Jab Locking.Here's a video by Linkforce that demonstrates the Bomb Footstool combo. This combo virtually inescapeable (with a few exceptions) the problem lies in its complexity. Setting up your opponent in this way happens rarely, but when it does, it pays off big time. Practice SH bomb into footstool at first. When you master that much of the combo, the rest of it should come to you with ease.

B) Identifying a Potential Jab Lock
There are two important ingredients that must be present if a Jab Lock is to be executed: an opponent in the wobble animation and good positioning. The wobble animation can be achieved through either of the techniques recently introduced to you. Good positioning is a different story completely. If Link's too far away from his opponent, the wobble animation will end before you can start a Jab Lock. If you miss the wobble animation (miss the second jump in bomb footstool, gale boomerang doesn't work) then you'll be close to your opponent and susceptible to punishment. This makes things a whole lot more complicated. The majority of the time, your first Jab Lock in a match can be done easily, so staying close and being alert will improve your chances of success. If you get the chance to Jab Lock multiple times in one match (tournament or otherwise) keep your distance. There's a higher chance that your opponent will catch on and indentify your combos if you perform them more than once. Make sure that you stay inconsistent and irregular to prevent predictablity. (Like always) With that being said, watch the video provided to learn a handful of cool and effective ways to set-up a jab lock. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e291cu7khzE

3. Miscellaneous Techniques

To be honest, I doubt you'll ever use these techniques. They're both hard to perform and situational. A common misconception is that these techniques are useless, and this couldn't be further from the truth. It's quite possible to center your playing style on some of these techniques. (B-Sticking in particular) Mastering these techniques will only prove useful to smash masters who strive to define their own, creative playing style. If you think that learning every part of Link's moveset is necessary, continue reading. If not, skip this portion of the section and read Part Five.

A) B-Sticking/Wavebouncing
The name "B-Sticking" was dubbed to the control scheme in which you put specials for your C-Stick in options rather than smashes. Wavebouncing describes the change in momentum that happens when you use special attacks with "B-Sticking". This usually works with Link's side special (Gale Boomerang) and can be helpful for spacing. If you utilize B-Sticking when you throw the gale boomerang in the air, Link will fly backwards. In my opinion, giving Link some extra spacing through the use of B-Sticking isn't worth sacrificing your C-Stick. Having bombsmashing, DAC, bombsliding, and C-Stick aerials proves to be much more useful than just B-Sticking. It's your choice to make and I won't come to your house and beat you if you use B-Sticking. Just choose wisely and weigh all of your options.

B) DI + Zair Recovery
DI + Zair Recovering allows Link to Zair Edgegrab a ledge when he's knocked back at higher percentages. The problem is that it can only be used when Link's knocked close enough to the ledge to perform a Zair Edgegrab. If you're hit with an attack that hits you straight across the stage (Fox's Dsmash, Falco's Dsmash, Jigglypuff's Dsmash), DI the hit downwards and press Z twice to grab the edge. Utilizing this technique, you can survive to percentages surpassing 300%! Because this technique is to situational, it's not that important. But, if you ever find yourself in a position where you can't escape a Dsmash, keep this technique in mind. A visual on this technique, courtesy of Izaw. (DI + Zair Recovery at 4:40)

C) Shield Dashing
Imagine having the option of running away from your opponent while having your shield up to protect you. With the Shield Dash, one can enjoy the combination of the acceleration of the dash with the protection of the shield. In order to perform the Shield Dash, you need to dash and press the "L" or "R" button. To initiate a Shield Dash, you need to sheild first, then follow the previous pattern. The dash animation will not be cancelled the first time you Shield Dash, so you need to put up the shield at the beginning. If you do the Shield Dash correctly, you should move a short distance and put your shield up. The versatility of this technique may seem minimal at first, but having a move-able defense ability in your arsenal proves to be quite useful. During one of his matches, Legan (one of the best Link players) uses this technique to provide cover for his retreat. Watch this video at 1:58 if you don't believe me or if you want a visual aid on the Shield Dash.

V. Improving Your Game​

A. Introduction

The path to knowledge and understanding has been easy thus far. Learning simple button combinations and when to use them is simple. Learning to utilize all of these techniques in perfect equilibrium based on character match-ups and your opponents playing style is a completely different story. Now, instead of learning logical and literal techniques, you will be exposed to the philosophical. Analyzing your opponent, predicting their moves, thinking of counters, and most importantly, winning. Winning tournaments doesn't simply come from learning a character's moveset. Winning tournaments requires speed, wit, and understanding. Averting your attention from you or your opponent for even a second or two can cost you the match. Stay focused and play to win.

1. Analyzing the Battlefield

"From a position of this sort, if the enemy is unprepared, you may sally forth and defeat him. But if the enemy is prepared for your coming, and you fail to defeat him, then, return being impossible, disaster will ensue." - Sun Tzu, Art of War

Every game of Super Smash Bros. consists of three things: Two competitors and a field of play. It's crucial that you know each element before you rush head first into a battle. First, and most importantly, you need to know the stage. I won't go into intricate detail, but you need to know which stages Link has an advantage on. Link's best options are probably Norfair, Rainbow Cruise, Battlefield, and Luigi's Mansion. You also need to know what stages your opponent has an advantage on. If your opponent has an advantage on stages like FD and Castle Siege, try to avoid those stages as picks. Blu Link has created a stage list for the Link community. (<-- Click) Study this guide to learn what stages give Link advantages and disadvantages.

A) Knowledge is Power

"If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle." - Sun Tzu, Art of War

Knowledge includes among other things knowing your character's moveset and its corresponding controls, the start and lag time of your own moves, your character's innate physics (how high does he or she jump? How fast does he or she fall?), the properties of your recovery moves and when they are best used, and the knockback power of your own attacks. However, knowledge can also apply to things other than your own character. Indeed, perhaps the best knowledge you can have is that of other characters.
1. Knowing Yourself- Hopefully, by now, you have a complete understanding of Link's moveset. You know every single move's start-up time, lag time, and priority. You know every single Advanced Technique Link brings to the table, from DAC to Zair. You know Link's physics: how quickly he fast falls, how high he short hops, the distance of his attacks. What you don't know is how to utilize your knowledge and create the perfect Link. Take some time to re-practice some of the ATs explained earlier to remind yourself and refresh your memory. If I've said it once, I've said it a million times: DON'T GET PREDICTABLE. This is where knowing yourself (rather than Link) comes into play.
Knowing yourself essentially boils down to being aware of how you fight: what your favored approaches are, how you edgeguard, how you combat edgeguarding, how you return from the ledge, how you tech and wake up, and ever more. Granted, when dealing with such an abstract concept as this, being able to define your own play from your own eyes can become quite difficult, if not impossible. This is where the ever-important human competition comes in; from another player's eyes, an outside player, one who anticipates, predicts, follows, and adjusts, the flaws in your play are made flagrantly obvious. Good human competition will do all of the above in their efforts to defeat you; they will take advantage of flaws in your innate game play, how you tech, how you wake up, predictable approaches and ledge returns, all this and more, and what's more is that they will punish you for your mistakes. They will take stocks off for your predictability and your failure to adapt; as such, if you want to continue to be competitive, if you want to take your game to the next level and defeat this and more higher-level opponents, you must play good human competition as often as possible. In this fashion, you have secured the best possible means of unearthing errors in your own game, and perhaps more importantly, you begin to see human tendencies, almost instinctual reflexes and thought patterns, all of which you can take advantage of and use to your own benefit. That topic, however, is for the next section; for now, the focus shall be on you as a player and how your play relates to your own potential for mind games as well as the possibility to have mind games used against you.
2. Knowing Your Opponent-

"To know your enemy, you must become your enemy. " - Sun Tzu, Art of War

There are 34 characters in the Super Smash Bros. Brawl universe, each of which has a unique moveset. This means that there are 34 different movesets that need to be memorized in order to know your opponent. Not only do you need to know what they look like, you need to be able to generalize the character's priority, identify spammable moves, ATs, spacing, infinites, etc. For the first time out of school, you'll be doin' some homework. It may sound like a stupid amount of stuff to learn, but if you don't understand your opponent's character, chances are you'll be caught off-guard. (There will be a Character Match-Up Chart later in the guide) Once you learn about your foe's character, you need to focus on his/her playstyle. During higher-levels of play, your opponents will fall into fewer habits, punish you more severely for bad habits, and analyze you carefully. In order to defeat your enemy, you must outclass them in every single aspect. Make them fall into habits, punish him/her severely, and analyze every intricate detail of their unique playing style. Tread lightly and stay sharp.

For many players, especially lower-level ones, there are certain reactions that are almost instinctual. For example, when being pressured near the edge with their back facing the empty air, they may instinctively jump or roll inward in an attempt to escape; both of these are common human reactions for players who do not think and fight their natural reactions to such situations. Another example: perhaps when your foe stands up as their wake-up, they tend to spot-dodge as soon as possible in anticipation of a grab right then and there; the aware player will simply wait for the dodge and punish afterward with a grab or lethal smash. In another instance, perhaps if you apply pressure to a certain player's shield consistently, he or she will roll to either side in an attempt both to escape your pressure and to conserve his or her shield; you should notice this and be ready to follow in either direction with a jump-canceled grab or up-smash.

Plan future punishment only when you know your opponent falls into the same habit consistently. Watch your enemy's recovery techniques carefully, especially when they use a character that lacks recovery. Learning the subtle nuances of their recovery and predicting these flaws will help you edgeguard effectively and possibly even gimp your opponent. The most important thing you need to learn about your opponent is their infinites. If you don't know about Sheik's Ftilt combo, you might not make spacing your priority. Then, you get Ftilt locked and end up with 80%.

Learning your opponent's habits and indentifying them takes lots and lots of practice, especially when applying this under pressure. It gets easier the more tournaments you enter, so don't stress out if you can't predict your enemy. As long as you know their moveset, priority, etc. you should do fine.

3. Mindgames-

"All warfare is based on deception." - Sun Tzu, Art of War

The mindgame one of the major factors that aid Super Smash players to win tournaments. Not only do you need skill and ATs, you need to know how to use them to defeat your opponent. Mindgames are the most complex, interesting, and free-form part of high-level play. G-Regulate contributes an excellent definition of mindgames in his thread post: DA MINDGRAINES: an Overview of Mindgames. Bits and pieces I took from the passage are displayed below:

Mindgames cannot really be defined; there are infinite variables as to how mindgames work. It's more than just "tricking your opponent into being where you want them". It's an application of technical skill, mixed with predictions of how your opponent will react. It begins to be less of a prediction, and more of a manipulation of your opponent.

Mindgames are created by you and are formed from your opponent. It exposes a weakness in your opponent to take advantage of, but don’t think of it like that. Don’t think you’re exposing a weakness, think of it as creating a weakness. These creations give you style, giving you not just an advantage that you character has, but an advantage that YOU have created, an advantage that only YOUR style of play can pull off.

Anytime your opponent expects you to do something or be somewhere, and you aren’t? Successful mindgame. Anytime you expect someone to do something, and they do? Successful mindgame.

Remember, there is no one way to play that just beats everyone, it’s all a different collaboration of mindgames that are used on each opponent. All high-level smashers pull off wicked combos that are inescapable and wow us all, but how do they start? Some form of mindgame that sets it up.
So, as you can see, mindgames can be as simple as following your opponent's techs and they can be advanced as predicting where your enemies will move, at what time, and what attack they'll perform once they reach their designated location. Mindgames are all about predicting. Not only do you have to predict what your opponent does, you have to predict what they think you're going to do. In this aspect, Super Smash Bros. Brawl can be compared to an extremely fast paced game of chess. You have to make your moves fast, but at the same time, you have to predict how your opponent moves. You'll attempt to set your opponent up, but they may out-think you and set you up. You always have to be one step ahead of your opponent in order to finish the game and checkmate/kill them. If you can't keep up with your opponent's movements, you'll fall a step behind, and you'll be defeated.

At tournament level, a Super Smash Bros. match is more akin to a battle of wits than a beat-down fest. You should be aware of when you perform a mindgame so that you can identify and execute them without much effort. Practice makes perfect, so continually monitor how both you and your opponent play. Identify their mistakes and habits as well as your own. Prevent your own habits, punish your opponents, and you will claim victory. :)

B) Defeating Your Opponent

"These five heads (Moral Law-Mindgames, Heaven-Conditions, Earth-The Stage, The Commander-You, Method and Discipline-Advanced Techniques) should be familiar to every general: he who knows them will be victorious; he who knows them not will fail."- Sun Tzu, Art of War

The most important aspect of Super Smash Bros. is winning. If you're playing this game, you should be playing to win. Never hold back and always play your hardest. In order to play effectively and defeat your opponent, you need to plan out your own movements. When your opponent can chaingrab, don't get too close. When your opponent can spam projectiles, don't stray too far away. Always set a general goal for yourself before the match: Space effectively, combo, edgeguard, etc. Setting such goals and keeping them your priority will help you concentrate throughout the match. Don't get distracted and keep your eyes and your mind on the task at hand: Defeating Your Opponent.

1. Stick to the Plan-

"According as circumstances are favorable, one should modify one's plans." - Sun Tzu, Art of War

To reiterate, going into each battle with a plan immensely improves your chances of winning. With so many different characters and playing styles, it's difficult to formulate a specific plan for each match. One can't just simply say "I'll start out the match with a Dsmash, then pull out a Bomb and Zair, throw the bomb. After that, I'll...". You have to generalize your strategy and follow those guidelines based on your opponent and their character. For example, lets say your playing an aggressive King DeDeDe who absolutely loves chaingrabbing. Knowing this, you can imply that this particular foe doesn't use many ranged attacks. Your plan for this match should be: "Space effectively, use Zair, always have a bomb, spam projectiles". The battle commences, and the enemy's first action is to run at you. You follow your own mental instructions and Zair him to the other end of the stage. King DeDeDe gets frustrated and follow with a barrage of Bairs. Again, you think things out and spam projectiles. In the end, your prediction of your enemy's tactics won you the match, and more importantly, helped you overcome a difficult match-up.

Fortunately, the playing format you formulate isn't set in stone, and it can be changed during a match. Re-thinking your plan is as easy as changing the priority of your gameplay. Changing things up will also add more variability to your moveset, which helps prevent predictability. So, if things aren't working out, change up your playing style. (A good time to collect your thoughts is in between stocks) If you're an experienced smash player and your plan works consistently, don't change strategies. If it ain't broken, don't fix it.

2. Crushing Your Enemy's Concentration-

"If your opponent is of choleric temper, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant." - Sun Tzu, Art of War

The Sun Tzu Art of War provides a perfect description on how to manipulate your enemy and interrupt their train of thought. As stated, the best way to do this is to annoy the hell out of him/her. Challenge your opponent to stop you from whatever you're doing, whether it be spamming, comboing, etc. An irritated foe makes many more mistakes than a calm and collected one.

One of your goals during the course of your matches should be to disrupt your opponent’s game plan and his focus on his own character and strategies. You have more than a few ways to achieve this. Your primary method is never to stagnate during a match. You must always be doing something that appears even remotely threatening, even at long distances.....Will you continue with it and force him to come to you? How will he stop you? Can he afford to approach you directly when you can clearly see where he is going while he cannot see where you are going?.....Don’t stop moving during the course of the match. If you find yourself at a stage-length stand-off with your foe, don’t stand still. That affords your opponent too much quiet time.....Don’t be afraid to show off randomly during the course of the match if you want to or can; it serves to do more than heighten your image. It also shows your opponent that you can do something, and that he should watch out for it. In addition, it occupies your opponent’s mind with what else you may be capable of and how good you really are.
CunningKitsune generates yet another way to disrupt your opponent: Fill it with distracting ideas. During a match, throw a curveball and DAC out of nowhere to kill your opponent. He/She will think "WTF is that? How do I counter? When will it be used again? What else can this Link do?" During their little "Thinking Time" you have the upper hand. Concentration is interrupted by outside thoughts, thoughts that make the enemy question your movements as well as their own. "Saving" techniques for later in the match doesn't work. Limiting yourself from unleashing Link's full potential will not confuse your opponent or decrease your predictability. Using all of your ATs during a match increases your variability massively, and will force your opponent to adjust to a wider set of moves and mindgames. Due to the fact that Link has so many ATs, it should be easy to baffle your opponent with something new. If you expose your opponent to enough techniques, they might get intimidated and play conservatively, allowing you to control the remainder of the match. For example, Link A and Fox A fight a third time, but this time Fox A was prepared. Fox A never approaches Link A, only spammed his laser. Link A receives a considerable amount of damage and gets frustrated. Link A charges at Fox A and starts spamming all of his smash attacks. Fox A predicted this and punishes Link A accordingly.

Crushing the concentration of your enemy is a hard technique to learn and you'll have to attend your share of tournaments to master it. The most important part of this ability is making sure that you don't fall for it yourself. Stay calm and collected for the duration of the match, or you will lose.

B. Playing Styles

Super Smash Bros. Brawl is an extremely vast an complex game, as most fighting games are. This means that there are an infinite amount of ways to play each and every character, whether it be offensively, defensively, etc. Link is no exception to this rule, which is a good thing. Due to the fact that Link has several projectiles along with a wide variety of physical moves, he can be played in several unique ways. In this final portion of the guide, I'll explain each "general" playing style by comparing it to one of Link's costumes. (Don't look too far into this, the colors are simply a metaphor) I'll also list which competitive Link players use each costume, what playing style each competitive Link has, and how to play as each type of Link effectively.

1. The Red/Dark Link-Aggressive

Competitve Color Users: HDL (Puerto Rico), NintenJoe (Midwest)

Competitive Color Users: ArkiveZero (Midwest), Dolphinns22 (Midwest)

Competitive Playstyle Users: (~Unavailable~)

A) Strategy- Crush
Aggressive Link is as difficult to play as he is to cope with as an opponent. He strings combos, abuses his priority, and pressures his foe. A good offensive Link doesn't give his opponent room for error, and always punishes lag. As a controlled chaos, this Link constantly assaults his foe with every attack and technique he can possibly think of. This playing style has a slogan: "Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer". An aggressive Link stays on his opponent in an almost claustrophobic manner, never allowing them any breathing room. The best aspect of the offensive Link is his knack for crushing his enemy's concentration. After about a minute of being oppressed by Link's perpetual attacks, your opponent will start to cower in fear of Link's greatness. Obviously, a good Link player was expecting such a response, and punishes the cowardice of the opponent accordingly. On the other hand, the enemy might get angry and start playing stupidly. Either way, the aggressive Link gets his way with his opponent and destroys them.

Playing as an offensive Link may seem as simple as smashing your C-Stick in every direction and hoping you hit your opponent. In reality, this playing style is one of the hardest to learn. You need to play smart, intimidate your opponent, and don't give them a chance to strike back. Your top priority as an aggressive Link is to suffocate your enemy and prevent them from taking control of the match. With you in control, your foe will attempt shielding to avoid damage more frequently. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, because now they're much easier to predict. For example, lets say you as Link A (yea, he's red now) string together one combo that dishes out 80%. Fox A, your worst nemesis, starts having second thoughts about going on the offensive. He shields and hopes for a dash attack when you attempt a second assault. Being the amazing Link A that you are, you grab him and hit him 3 times to deal extra damage. Calm and collected opponents at tournament level don't fall into patterns, so you'll have to observe more closely how they play to formulate mindgames.

Defensive players are easier to control and manipulate once they're under your control. The problem is controlling them to start with. Trapping a defensive player at one end of the stage will ensure you an easy combo. Don't approach defensively played characters nonchalantly, because more often than not that's just what they want you to do. If you find yourself in such a situation, space appropriately and look for an opening. Other offensive players are just as challenging to oppose. You and your opponent will fight for control of the match in a battle of priority and mindgames. During this match, make sure to minimize your lag moves and mazimize your combos. The easiest way to intimidate another offensive character is to perform a damage dealing combo on them. Without a secure feeling of the lead, an offensive character will make more mistakes in poor attempts to kill you. Identify their lag producing moves and do another combo to punish them. Playing smart and keeping control is the key.

B) Do's and Don'ts
An important part of being an aggressive player is using ATs that don't take long to set-up or last tedious amounts of time.

* Combo viciously and without hesitation.
* Use Zair to reach far-off foes.
* Continuously move, even if you're just short hopping and fast falling.
* Only DAC to finish up a combo, never start with it.
* Strive to initiate a Jab Lock throughout the match.
* Craq Walk and Pivot Boost during combos to elongate them.
* Edgeguard safely with quick hugging and Zair Edgeguard.
* Pull out bombs only when your opponent is recovering or dead.
* Use Gale Boomerang whenever it's necessary.
* Bombsmash infrequently, but keep it in mind.
* ZAC more often than you throw your bomb, this will further lengthen combos.

* Spam Projectiles
* Shield often, only when it's absolutely necessary.
* Allow your opponent to escape beyond your reach.
* Use many Gale Boomerang and Hero's Bow ATs.
* Plant bombs. Save bombs for combos.
* Reset your controls to B-Sticking. B-Sticking is a defensive technique at best.
* Perform lag moves during a combo. In most cases, this ends the combo prematurely.

2. The Blue/Lavender Link- Defensive

Competitive Color Users: Deva (Pacific Northwest), Blu Link (East Coast)

Competitive Color Users: Sonic the Hedgehawg (Midwest)

Competitive Playstle Users: NintenJoe

A) Strategy- Confuse
The goal of a defensive Link is not to combo the opponent into oblivion, but to build up damage little by little without taking any damage himself. Instead of intimidating his foe, the unaggressive Link confuses the sh*t out of them. He spams bombs, follows techs, avoids close combat, and punishes every frame of lag that he can. The defensive Link demands a deeper strategy then his offensive counterpart. He cannot fall into a single pattern, tech the same way twice, recover from the ledge in a similar fashion consistently, or approach his opponent. Spacing and punishment should be an unaggressive Link's top priority in every situation. Simply put, he won't be playing the game himself. The defensive Link will play off his opponents mistakes, lag, and habits. With that being said, a good defensive Link will never make a move without his opponent doing so beforehand. After being punished over and over again, it's likely that an enemy will either get extremely confused or viciously annoyed. If the former comes to pass, the opponent is likely to attempt your defensive pattern and punish you. If the latter happens, your foe will make stupid mistakes and be punished further.

Playing as a defensive Link comprises of several different factors, including projectile spamming, mindgames, and hit-and-run tactics. A constant barrage of Link's various projectiles will not only help the defensive Link build up easy damage, it will also confound the opponent. Utilizing CunningKitsune's strategy of "filling the foes head with ideas" works wonders for the defensive Link in this situation. A skilled opponent will be thinking "Where's the opening? What other ATs does this Link know? What does the Link do habitually?". According to CunningKitsune, this time should be used to deal extra damage onto your confused foe. Exploit all of your defensive ATs early in the match so that your opponent will have to predict from a wider range of abilities. The combination of predicting a wide range of attacks under the constant pressure of projectile spam will confuse and break the concentration of the best smashers.

Throughout all the spam and mindgames, aggressive opponents find an opening in the defensive Link's strategy and punish him for it. There are many things to keep in mind when coming toe-to-toe with an offensive opponent. First and foremost, you should know that an offensive opponent will attempt to corner you by any means necessary. To avoid such a fate, always space appropriately and stay away from the edges of the stage. If you find yourself in a situation where you're cornered at a ledge, speed hug immediately and attempt to either ledgehop or roll away from your opponent. Defensive players are a bit trickier to handle. As a defensive Link, you'll be looking for flaws in your enemy's playing style. But, if your foe plays defensively as well, it will result in a battle of ultimate mindgames. Setting up defensive walls, putting yourself into situations where you look vulnerable, and projectile spamming will all be at an all time high during this match. Other defensive players will never get annoyed, the key to winning this match is to out smart your foe.

B) Do's and Don'ts
Defensive ATs should confuse and baffle your opponent, as well as force them to concentrate on a wider variety of moves.

* Projectile spam, with all projectiles including arrows.
* Have a bomb in hand almost all of the time.
* Bombsmash! Bombsmashing is a great mindgame!
* ZAC and Zair with the bomb to save bombs for further punishment.
* Zair for spacing and to keep approaching enemies away.
* DAC only when your opponent uses a laggy move at a distance.
* Use all your ATs during the first stock of the match. This will force your opponent to remember a wide variety of moves.
* Edgeguard with Gale Guarding, Speed Hugging, Zair Edgeguarding, or by any means you see necessary.
* Stay away from your opponent, let them approach you.
* Punish your foe for using laggy moves and feel free to punish them with laggy moves of your own.
* Shield Dash and Bomb Shield. They are great mindgames and they allow Link to put up his shield.
* Shield frequently. Don't shield grab too often, though.

* Approach your opponent and attack them.
* Make yourself vulnerable whenever you're close to your enemy.
* Get cornered. This will result in you taking damage.
* Spam a single projectile. Link has three, utilize all of them.
* Grab frequently. If you punish your opponent, make sure they're hit far away afterwards.
* Strive to initiate a jab lock. Only do it when the opportunity arises.

3. The Green/Gold Link- Adaptive

Competitive Color Users: Legan (Midwest), Blubba_Pinecone (Midwest)

Competitive Color Users: Izaw (Europe)

Competitive Playstyle Users: Legan

A) Strategy- Adapt!
An adaptive Link doesn't stick to one single strategy throughout an entire match, but rather chooses a strategy that fits the situation. This variation of Link's playing style merges both the aggressive and defensive Link to form an almighty force. Keep in mind that the adaptive Link solely adapts to in-game situations. That doesn't mean that the aggressive or defensive Link don't adapt, it simply means that the Adaptive Link utilizes both playing styles for his own unique adaptation. That being said, the Adaptive Link requires a lot of concentration and a lot of hard work to master. This doesn't necessarily mean that the Adaptive Link is the best playing style, just the most flexible, meaning that you're going to have to revisit all the ATs Link has to offer, from "The Phantom Boomerang" all the way to "Bomb Shielding". Being able to perform each and every one of these techniques is crucial to your success as an Adaptive Link. Not only will this give you a wide variety of abilities to choose from when you're facing off against your opponent, it will also help you determine which ones are useful for your particular playing style.

Nothing on this particular playing style is set on stone. Like Super Smash Bros itself, the Adaptive Link is very free-form and creative. Therefore, you'll be doing a lot of switching back and fourth between offensive and defensive maneuvers. The style that comes first depends on the actions of your opponent. For example, let's say your playing someone who never wants to get close to you. Naturally, you should projectile spam to get them to come to you. Once they're close enough, you'll switch to the offensive and pull off a combo or two. Then, after you're assault is over, you can decide whether the situation calls for another offense or requires for a retreat. Just like the offensive Link, make sure that you're always doing something. Never just stand around and wait for your opponent to come to you, at least SHFF around to make yourself look a bit more imposing. If you're playing a defensive character like Fox, which requires you start on the offensive, things get a little bit trickier. You're going to want the Fox to think you're going for an all-out assault, but in actuality it's just a facade. Run straight at them and perform a series of SHFF aerials, which will either make them play offensively or force them to roll dodge away. In both cases, you can switch to a defensive stance and start projectile spamming.

The most important factor to becoming an Adaptive Link is finding the equilibrium for offensive and defensive assaults. If you play too offensively, you're defensive game will lack and vice versa. Recognize whenever you switch from a defensive stance to an offensive stance so you can solidify you're playing style. Most importantly, don't feel pressured into playing an Adaptive Link playing style. Even though it's the most flexible playing style, it might not be the right one for you. Experience all three playing styles to determine which is the best for you. Just remember, when it comes time to play in a tournament, you're going to be the one holding the controller, not me. :laugh:

B) Do's and Don'ts
You're going to want to use most, if not all of your techniques as an Adaptive Link. There are some that you can do without...

* DAC, both with and without bombs.
* Shield Grab, but only when playing defensively.
* Arrow Cancel, especially as a substitution for normal arrow shooting.
* Have a bomb out whenever you're playing defensively, and often when playing offensively.
* Zair, especially against larger characters like Bowser and DK.
* Pivot Boost and Craq Walk whenever you switch from defense to offense.
* Perform a B-Reversal arrow often when switching from offense to defense.
* Do most, if not all, of your ATs early on to force your opponent to concentrate on a wider variety of moves.
* Use the gale boomerang to pull enemies towards you when playing offensively and use it to keep them away when playing defensively.
* Save your killing moves, such as Dair and Fsmash, for later in the match.
* Use all types of edgeguarding to prevent predictability.

* Approach an enemy who cannot play defensively, let them come to you.
* Overuse either offensive or defensive play.
* Get cornered, when either playing offensively or defensively.
* Play offensively whenever your opponent has spawning invincibility frames.
* Play defensively whenever your opponent is recovering.
* Overuse a single AT, especially DAC and ledgehop bombs.
Mar 12, 2008
Chicago, Illinois
VI. Character Match-Ups​

A. Top Tier

1. Meta Knight

Meta Knight, the “antagonist” of Kirby in almost all of the Kirby games, makes his first appearance on the Super Smash Brother scene. Currently the highest tier character, boasting several tournament wins, Meta Knight dominates the Smash scene in more ways than one. He's the most commonly used character, and without a doubt, the best choice for tournament play. So, how does a Link main overcome such a god among men? The answer is: with a lot of practice and a careful approach!

* Link has more range than Meta Knight on the ground.
* Link can kill Meta Knight at low percentages with good knockback attacks.
* Link has several attacks that cancel Meta Knights special attacks.
* Meta Knight is vulnerable to projectiles and Link has 3 projectiles. Do the math. :)
* Link's chaingrab is effective against Meta Knight.
* Bomb Footstool combo works well on Meta Knight.

* Meta Knight has aerial priority over most of Link's moves.
* Meta Knight has virtually no lag that can be punished.
* Meta Knight cannot be gimped by Link, but Link can easily be gimped by Meta Knight.
* Everything Meta Knight does is faster. EVERYTHING LAST THING! :mad:
* Meta Knight is too short to hit consistently with the Zair.
* Since Meta Knight is fast, there isn't much room for error in this match.

~Ground Game~

Meta Knight may have great priority and little or no lag, but not even he can surpass Link whilst on the ground. In this match-up, Link's "ace-in-the-hole" is his ability to overpower Meta Knight on the stage. Exploiting this advantage is the key to winning this match-up. That means that in order to beat Meta Knight, you need to do everything in your power to stay on the ground while keeping Meta Knight on the ground as well.

Keeping a character that's to prone to jumping and abusing aerial priority is not easy. On top of that, Meta Knight's aerial attacks have little (if any) landing lag. That being said, the process will be more like forcing Meta Knight to the ground rather than baiting him there. The Gale Boomerang's "push and pull" function works wonders in this situation. Not only will the Gale Boomerang pull Meta Knight to the ground, it will also draft him towards Link and prevent Meta Knight from escaping without being punished. Keeping your eye on the boomerang at all times will help you position attack so you can get the maximum punishment out of a cemented Meta Knight. Utilizing Link's bombs and arrows will also allow you to damage Meta Knight without having to go airborne.

In order to control the ground, it's crucial that you attack with quick moves that can't be punished easily. Good Meta Knight players will strive to get you into the air and follow up with insane aerial combos. Attacks such as Dsmash, jab combo, and Utilt should be the "go-to" moves for this match and will allow you to quickly rack up damage on Meta Knight without receiving too much lag. Pivot Boosting Dsmashes and Utilts will help taper gaps in between you and your opponent as well as put pressure on your opponent's playing style. Craq Walking also helps fill in the spaces, but if you Craq Walk too close to Meta Knight then chances are good that he will punish you in the air.

Meta Knight has several great approaches, many of which can be nullified by Link’s ground game. Link’s tilts (Utilt and Ftilt) out-prioritize MK’s aerials and induce decent knockback to allow for follow-up attacks. The real problem lies in MK’s ability to punish Link’s laggy moves with aerial combos and special attacks like Mach Tornado. To overcome such an obstacle, one must use the right moves to counteract Meta Knight’s approaches. If Meta Knight advances on the ground, chances are he will either grab, dash attack, shield, or SH Fair. All of the stated approaches can be countered with a simple jab combo or jab cancel into a Utilt. Retrain yourself from overusing the 3rd jab in this match-up because often times the lag will allow MK to punish you.

Believe it or not, a Meta Knight nonchalantly walking towards you is much deadlier than one that approaches by running, primarily because when he walks he can release his Dsmash or Ftilt. In the event that MK walks in your direction, flee quickly and projectile spam. Annoying Meta Knight with projectiles is the easiest way to force him to approach by running, which will give you the upper hand. The most difficult approach to predict is by far Meta Knight’s aerial approach. With moves like the glide attack, Shuttle Loop, and Dair, MK has a lot of aerial variety. The best way to deal with this is by either utilizing Utilt or Usmash, depending on how certain you are about the attack’s success. In this particular match-up, you always want to have a lower vertical position on the battlefield. Link’s Utilt and Uair both out-prioritize MK’s Dair. That being said, the best ways for Link to build up damage on Meta Knight are to get him on the ground or in the air directly above him.

Ground Move Priority List:

Smash Moves:

Tilt Moves:

~Air Game~

While both characters are in the air, Meta Knight has almost every possible advantage over Link. Even if Link's almighty Dair is unleashed on a subjacent Meta Knight, MK's Uair has more priority. If you ever find yourself in a situation when you’re near Meta Knight in the air, air dodge like crazy and retreat to the ground. Meta Knight’s air game is one of the best in the Smash universe, so defeating him while he’s airborne will not be easy. You’ll need to play smart, exploit every single advantage, and air dodge appropriately to even stand a chance during an aerial duel.

Meta Knight players will do everything in their power to keep you in the air and juggle you like a rag doll. It’s inevitable that you will be tossed up in the air during the match, but avoiding such a fate isn’t impossible. The most important thing you can to is space while MK is in the air. Utilize all of your projectiles to keep Meta Knight away and rack up damage. Many of the quickdraw techniques, such as the doubledraw and the bomb to quickdraw, help cover the air space and restrict Meta Knight from going airborne. Spam with care, for too much spamming will allow the MK player to find a flaw in your projectile game, exploit it, then combo you into the air.

Hands down, the hardest thing about this match-up is avoiding Meta Knight once both characters are in the air. As demonstrated by the chart below, Meta Knight has many advantages over Link while they are both airborne. Stay away from MK while you are on the same vertical level; MK’s Fair dominates almost all of Link’s aerials. Don’t approach MK with a reverse aerial rush, for he will most decidedly counter with an even stronger aerial or even unleash his Mach Tornado. In the event of an aerial dispute (both characters high in the air), either use Zair as a spacing tool or air dodge to safety. If all else fails, throw a Gale Boomerang and hope that it either hits MK or that he air dodges and leaves himself open for an attack.

The final portion of Meta Knight’s godly aerial game is his ability to combo mercilessly. With 5 aerial jumps and 4 different recovery options, he’s both hard to predict and difficult to stop. Your only option as a Link player is to utilize combo DI and get below Meta Knight before he finishes his combo. To refresh your memory, Combo DI is a type of DI in which you utilize both DI and SDI to get yourself out of range of your opponent’s combo. A character like Meta Knight usually combos enemies who are at a higher position in the air; usually with moves like Uair, Fair, Shuttle Loop, and sometimes even Mach Tornado. Popular combos among pros, such as Uair->Uair->Uair->Shuttle Loop, can deal up to 30% if all attacks make contact. To avoid this damage, Combo DI furiously until you escape the combo and then prepare a defensive set-up. Be prepared to Combo DI and Multi-Attack DI at any given point in the match, because most of Meta Knight’s attacks consist of multiple hits.

Aerial Move Priority List:

~Edge/Off the Ledge Game~

As it is, Link’s edge game is decent (Zair edgeguard) but his off the ledge game is terrible. Awful recovery, coupled with weak aerials, makes him very susceptible to attacks when he’s off the stage. Meta Knight’s awesome recovery, great ledge game, and high priority attacks destroy Link in this match-up, especially while Link is off the ledge. Meta Knight can gimp Link like its nobodies business. To make matters worse, Link’s edge game is also refuted by MK’s amazing recover, and gimping through edgeguarding becomes an impossibility.

First things first: dealing with Link’s recovery vs. Meta Knight’s gimping capabilities. The best advice I have in this situation is to Survival DI and throw projectiles in order to help yourself reach the ledge. I strongly recommend pulling out bombs at every possible opportunity, for they will repel uncertain Meta Knights and slightly help your chances at recovering. Oftentimes, MK players will fly towards you and finish you off with a simple Dair, which is easy to identify but hard to avoid unless you get lucky with a bomb throw. Even so, good Meta Knight players will frequently identify patterns in Link’s banal recovery and punish it with ease. Try to mix things up as much as possible in order to throw your opponent off, but the best thing you can do is avoid extended periods of time off the stage.

Meta Knight’s “off the ledge” game might be crude and predictable, but even so it’s effective. Meta Knight has 4 different forms of recovery: Drill Rush, Shuttle Loop, Mach Tornado (never used), and Dimensional Cape. At tournament level, MK players will only use the former two: Drill Rush and Shuttle Loop. Drill Rush will often be used when Meta Knight is above the ledge and at a reasonable range to hit you with it. Shuttle Loop is used more often to actually reach the ledge or deal damage to foes who dare challenge MK off the ledge. (If you do attack MK while he’s off the ledge, you will die) Dealing with the Drill Rush is simple, just shield throughout the attack and shield grab when it ends. Shuttle Loop is a different story entirely. This attack comes out fast and has hardly any ending lag. The best action to take in this situation is to space appropriately from the ledge and spam projectiles. If you get lucky, a stray bomb may strike Meta Knight and force him into an awkward recovery position.

The only thing deadlier than Meta Knight’s off the edge game is his ledge game. Not only can MK speed hug edges quicker than most characters in the Smash universe, he can also recover from edges in several deadly ways. Pros will speed hug and punish Link’s awful recovery every time he nears the ledge and, unfortunately, there really isn’t any way around it. There is, however, a way to beat MK’s amazing ledge game with a few tricks of your own. In terms of ledge recovery, Meta Knight players will ledgehop a Shuttle Loop 99% of the time. (The other 1% will be a random aerial attack) As previously stated, Shuttle Loop is fast and can be followed up with a glide attack. The solution is simple, walk towards the ledge (to bait the MK player into Shuttle Looping) then simple pivot boost in the opposite direction. Meta Knight has two options after the Shuttle Loop misses: glide attack quickly and fast fall or glide towards you. If the former is performed, the match will proceed normally. If the latter is performed, you will have the upper hand. Link’s Ftilt out-prioritizes the Shuttle Loop attack, so all you need to do is turn around and slash MK in the face.

~Shield Game~

Getting into a roll dodge war with a Meta Knight is a bad idea. Meta Knight rolls fast, spot dodges as well as Link, and air dodges with much celerity. In short, Meta Knight’s shield game dominates Link’s in every category except spot dodging. That being said, spacing and Shield-Pressure Bombs are essential to winning the “shield game”. Meta Knight’s perfect frame shield attack (Shuttle Loop) does a lot of damage and provides MK with great spacing capabilities, so don’t pressure his shield with jabs.

~Meta Knight's Techniques~
Surprisingly, Meta Knight doesn’t have that many ATs in his metagame. Other than Dimensional Edgeguarding, (which is rarely, if ever, used) MK’s AT metagame is almost nonexistent. Meta Knight’s lack of ATs doesn’t make his metagame sparse. To the contrary, the sword wielding puffball’s metagame is full of different uses for his special moves. Attacks such as Shuttle Loop, Mach Tornado, and Dsmash can be used in a myriad of annoying ways to build up damage. Fortunately, Link can counter most of Meta Knight’s techniques with some of his own.

~Shuttle Loop~
Shuttle Loop (Up Special)

9% Initial, 12% Gliding Attack
This is a pretty awesome Special. First of all, the initial strike is a down-to-up sword slash that reaches really high above him quickly (see picture above). The knockback on the initial hitbox of this attack is strong enough to KO a highly damaged opponent. Using this out of shield yields good results since it it quick and gets your opponent away from you. The sweet spot is easy to hit with, and is pretty much everywhere in the attack except right behind Meta Knight (6%).

After the first hit, Meta Knight launches himself into the air straight up at which point he opens his wings and begins an auto Glide. You can grab the ledge at this point as he begins to dive down, or you can get some amazing horizontal distance by continuing the Glide.

Additional Techs:
  • Use Standard Attack, Throw button, or C-stick to attack out of your glide (you will go into FallSpecial).
  • Jump or Special Attack to cancel the Glide mid-air (you will go into FallSpecial).
  • Cancel your Glide (Jump or Special Attack) right before landing on the ground to negate landing lag.
  • Hitting with the "non-sweetspot" of this attack only does 6% damage, but you can get twice the hits in since Meta Knight will hit once initially and then loop around for a second hit.
  • You can reverse the Shuttle Loop by pushing the control stick in the opposite direction immediately after executing the Up Special.
Quoted from t!mmy’s Meta Knight- Behind the Mask

In my opinion, the Shuttle Loop is the hardest technique for Link to deal with. This attack is fast, powerful, and has little ending lag that can be punished. It can also be used for recovery, edgeguarding, recovering from the edge, combos, follow-ups, and a spike. Thus far in the match-up, I’ve discussed how to avoid Shuttle Loop. Now, it’s time to talk about countering the Shuttle Loop and refuting the damage it deals.

Countering Shuttle Loop:
  • Bombs will cancel Shuttle Loop and reset Meta Knight to his neutral position.
  • Dair will overpower Shuttle Loop, but only if it’s used directly above and MK makes contact with the sword.
  • Link’s other projectiles will only cancel Shuttle Loop’s “gliding” animation. The glide attack will cancel out the projectiles.
  • Several of Link’s ground attacks overpower Shuttle Loop’s “gliding” attack, but don’t cancel out the initial shuttle attack.
Conclusion: Utilize ATs such as Bomb Shielding and pivot boosting to either punish the glide portion of this attack or to escape it. Seriously, this attack is way too good; avoid it whenever possible.

Refuting the Damage:
  • Predict when the Shuttle Loop will be unleashed and attempt a powershield. IF you succeed, follow up with a Utilt.
  • Shield the Shuttle Loop. Easy, effective, and safe.
  • Spot dodge the Shuttle Loop, run away, then set-up a defensive assault.
Conclusion: The shield is your friend. Feel free to spam it while playing Meta Knight mainers.

~The Mach Tornado~
Mach Tornado (Neutral Special)

1% x 19, +3%

The Mach Tornado is easily Meta Knight's most spammable move. It has amazing priority, multi-hits that rack up damage, and is hard to punish. While using Mach Tornado, you can move about fairly easily with the control stick and you can increase the duration of the tornado if you tap the Special Button.

As I said, it has some great priority. It can negate an opponent's close-ranged attack and catch them up into the tornado. It can even be used against lesser projectiles to hit them with the tornado's hitbox, effectively disabling them. Watch out for disjointed attacks/projectiles with large hitboxes since they can go right through this attack. For instance, weaker versions of Samus Charge Beam and Missiles get destroyed by this attack, but full-charged Beams and Super Missiles go right through and hit Meta Knight.

You can use this attack as a recovery option when trying to get back to the stage. Much like the Triple Dash, you can use the tornado's offensive abilities to thwart edge guarders, and with it's multi-directional mobility you'll be able to maneuver as you see fit. Its so versatile you could even use it as Edge Guarding as well if you want to rack up some damage.

Additional Techs
  • Use the Control Stick to move about freely as a tornado.
  • Tap the Special Attack to rise off the ground and/or extend the duration of this attack.
Quoted from t!mmy’s Meta Knight- Behind the Mask

The unholy priority of Meta Knight’s Mach Tornado is both unfair and broken. Mach Tornado has priority over practically every attack in the game, including the majority projectiles and smashes. To make matters worse, Mach Tornado is one of Meta Knight’s most spammable moves. It’s hard to believe that a little tornado created by a puffball could defeat the sword of a great warrior. Nonetheless, Mach Tornado is one of Meta Knight’s attacks and we have to deal with it. Lucky for us, Link has several attacks that can effectively knock Meta Knight out of his Mach Tornado:

Moves marked in Red are ones that work in every circumstance, regardless of where, when, or how the attack/projectile hit.

Moves marked in Blue are ones that require the attack to be used on the upper corner of the Tornado when the hitbox is thin, or overtop the Tornado and on Meta Knights head, such as a fast fall Dair or a Zair.

Moves marked in Green are ones that require the attack to be used underneath the Tornado or under Meta Knights body, such as a UTilt or USmash.


Dash Attack***
Quoted from Ulevo’s Anti Tornado Attack List

According to Ulevo’s statistics, the most effective ways to deal with the tornado are bombs, dash attack, and spin attack. (In that order) Dash attack will produce too much lag and leave Link vulnerable, so I recommend avoiding it. Bombs and Spin attack, on the other hand, both have ATs which utilize the shield to protect Link from the tornado and hurt MK at the same time. For those who haven’t already guessed, Bomb Shielding and Perfect Frame Shield attack are those very techniques. The controversy with these two techniques is versatility vs. effectiveness. Bomb Shielding requires a precise timing for the bomb explosion and an annoying demand to conserve bombs. The Perfect Frame Shield Attack calls for one to change their control settings and allow tap jump, which restricts the use of bombsliding and other similar techniques.

Bomb Shielding:
  • Protects Link and blasts Meta Knight out of the Mach Tornado attack while dealing 7%.
  • Requires one to keep a watchful eye on the clock. Link’s bombs blow up in 7 seconds.
  • Meta Knight players often don’t see this coming. Shield Bombing also helps in several different situations during this match-up.
Conclusion: Shield Bombs are quite possibly the most helpful AT in this particular match-up. You don’t necessarily need to watch the clock, just make sure the bomb explodes before the Mach Tornado ends.

Perfect Frame Shield Attack:
  • Protects Link and slashes Meta Knight out of the Mach Tornado while dealing a whopping 10%!
  • Calls for a change in the control set-up, which is both a pain to do and hard to accomplish while competing in a tournament.
  • Spin attack induces a lot of knockback, and it will push MK far enough away to set up a defensive play.
Conclusion: The Perfect Frame Shield Attack is only worth it if you can deal with tap jump. For those who can’t, this technique may not be helpful enough to change your control settings.

~Aerial -> Dsmash~
More commonly known as Meta Knight’s “L-Cancel”, the aerial -> Dsmash is a big part of Meta Knight’s aerial game. The MK L-Cancel combines the nonexistent lag of his aerials (or Shuttle Loop/Glide attack for that matter) with the power of his Dsmash to form one of the best counters to the shield grab in this game. At tournament level, Meta Knight players usually follow up aerials with a Dsmash when either their opponent is close to their landing zone or if an enemy has their shield up. Although this technique doesn’t eliminate shield grabbing, it will definitely restrict its practicality. Instead of always shield grabbing after an opponent’s aerial, try Perfect Frame Shield Attack or continue to shield. Constantly mix-up your shield options after MK performs an aerial. If you continually attack with the same option repeatedly, you will get predictable and probably be punished with an MK aerial combo.

~Link's Techniques~
Just as Link has several options to counteract Meta Knight’s ATs, MK can also oppose many of Link’s ATs. Playing MK will require that you perform ATs at specific times. Unlike the great MK himself, many of Link’s ATs are slow and laggy. Spotting the correct time to use ATs while playing MK will take a lot of practice and patience. Take it slow, take advantage of every little frame of lag MK has, and don’t overuse any single AT.

~Dash Attack Cancel~
Since Meta Knight doesn’t have a projectile, the DAC works well in this match-up. MK players often won’t expect a Link main to play offensively, so use this technique when your opponent least expects it. DACing with a bomb will help you space and follow-up, so do it instead of a normal DAC whenever possible. Make sure you hit MK with the Usmash, or else severe punishment will ensue…

One of Meta Knight’s advantages in this game is his miniscule size. He’s about as tall as Kirby and incredibly hard to hit with Zair while he stands on the ground. However, most of Meta Knight’s gameplay revolves around aerial attacks so Zair does have its applications. Retreating Zairs will help you smack cemented Meta Knight’s while normal Zairs will deal damage to airborne ones.

~Jab Cancel~
Jabbing is one of Link’s greatest options against Meta Knight, and Jab Cancelling is no exception. Jab Cancel frequently, especially against approaching as well as airborne Meta Knights. Follow ups such as Dsmash and Fsmash are too laggy to hit MK, so use better alternatives like Utilt and Spin Attack. Crouch cancel jabs to build up even more damage and play mindgames on your opponent. Jab carefully and quickly; good MK players will oftentimes interrupt your jabs with a Shuttle Loop and follow up with an aerial combo.

~Jab Lock~
Link’s Jab Lock is his only advantage over Meta Knight. Meta Knight falls down frequently when he’s hit by the Gale Boomerang, Bomb Footstool combo works best against Meta Knight, and Link’s Dthrow gives MK an unprecedented amount of hitstun at lower percentages. Exploit every opportunity to Jab Lock Meta Knight, even if you can only string together 2 or 3 jabs at a time. The much needed damage from these jabs, coupled with the free Spin Attack hit after your opponent recovers from the wobble animation, are awesome for racking up easy percentage.

~The Offensive Link~

Some aspects of the offensive Link, such as his abilities to jab lock with ease and stay on the ground with pivot boosting and craq walking, make him seem like an ideal candidate to face Meta Knight. Remaining grounded for the greater portion of the match is very important which is why the offensive Link does somewhat well against Meta Knight. An uncanny ability to Jab Lock also helps him gain an advantage. Unfortunately, the offensive Link player will (overall) not fare well against an equally (or even more) aggressive Meta Knight. Meta Knight’s aerials have more priority than virtually all of Link’s aerials, which will be problematic for the offensive Link’s ZAC combos and follow-ups. Mach Tornado’s unholy amount of priority forces Link to play defensively and transforms the aggressive style of the offensive Link to become more adaptive. The purple puffball’s light weight and great avoidance potential also make it difficult to string together combos. Worst of all, Link’s terrible Zair approach against small characters makes it near impossible to start combos against Meta Knight. Meta Knight is an overall offensive character, which makes an overall defensive character, such as Link, fail at attempting to beat an offensive character at their own game.

Conclusion: Being a constantly offensive Link won’t work well against Meta Knight. Oftentimes, MK’s counter attacks to your aggressive playing styles will make advantages such as the jab lock not worth it. Playing offensively is good for characters that recollect themselves quickly. Meta Knight is not one of those characters.

~The Defensive Link~

Link’s strong suit, defense, also seems like a great counter to Meta Knight’s overly offensive playing style. Keeping distance, spamming projectiles, and repelling Meta Knight with several different defensive set-ups are perfect for keeping his mega priority at bay. Bombs and the boomerang also seem ideal for coping with airborne Meta Knight foes. The most significant problem the defensive Link has against Meta Knight is dealing with MK when he’s nearby. Inevitably, Meta Knight players will find an opening in the projectile wall and punish an overly defensive player. Without the proper capabilities to fend away Meta Knight, a defensive player will have to rely on roll dodges or air dodges to escape being cornered. Pro players will easily spot such flaws in gameplay and punish accordingly. This often leads to a long string of aerial combos that results in a loss of stock. After the defensive Link respawns and sets up another defensive wall, the process starts all over again.

Conclusion: Defensive Link players cannot fend off Meta Knight forever. Since MK is one of the fastest characters in the game, he can simply run through the defensive wall and destroy Link in a close range battle. Playing defensively can be good, but being too defensive against Meta Knight won’t win the match.

~The Adaptive Link~

For their own specific reasons, both the offensive and defensive Link fell short of truly being able to counter Meta Knight. The Adaptive Link, on the other hand, combines the strengths of both the offensive and defensive Link to counter Meta Knight effectively. (As effectively as Link can counter Meta Knight, anyway) To rack up easy damage on MK, the adaptive Link utilizes all three projectiles. Infused with the close combat capabilities of the offensive Link, the adaptive Link can deal with approaching Meta Knights and punish them for their hasty assaults. Instead of challenging Meta Knight offensively, the adaptive Link keeps his distance and spaces very carefully to avoid MK’s high priority attacks. The adaptive Link will also stay grounded for the majority of the match and do everything possible to stay on the stage and avoid getting gimped by the merciless Meta Knight.

Conclusion: The Adaptive Link has the most advantages over Meta Knight in general. The offensive Link is just a tad too aggressive and the defensive Link is too unaggressive, so the equilibrium (offense + defense) is the best option. Follow all of the guidelines in the guide above and play an adaptive Link to maximize your chances against Meta Knight.

~Stage Counterpick~


Norfair is both a great stage for Link and a terrible stage for Meta Knight, which makes it the perfect counterpick. Several ledges endorse projectile spamming and quick escapes. Link’s terrible recovery also benefits from this particular stage selection. Things such as numerous tether-able ledges, rising lava, and a small stage window allow Link to survive as long as other characters and prevent him from getting gimped as frequently. Norfair’s abnormally low ceiling allows Link to KO Meta Knight at low percentages with attacks like Dair and Dsmash. Even though the stage’s uneven platforms discourage the use of Link’s great ground priority, they help Link hit smaller characters like MK with Zair. The stage’s unique design also supports advanced techniques such as bomb planting and gives it applications for gameplay. All in all, Norfair’s stage hazards combined with it’s multiple platform design make it a great counterpick for Link against MK.

2. Snake



Smash Champion
Aug 9, 2008
New York

I put so much effort into mine....and you go and do this? It makes mine look like garbage.

But seriously, nice work. And thanks for mentioning me in the credits, this blows mine away.
May 25, 2007
NJ of all places.
I'm astonished at this guide. The level of detail in nothing short of great. ^_^ With that aside, I'm just blown away by this guide none the less. Great job in putting all this together.


Smash Ace
May 23, 2008
Metaknight is actually coming up soon in the discussion thread. If you don't want to drive yourself insane I'd just post small pro/con lists. If you just want to use my guide, just remember to keep the credit I have at the bottom for the different communities that helped write it.
Also when you give credit, in the title link to the thread/video. Otherwise it's almost like plagiarism if you don't credit source location for reference.*

*Doesn't really matter on the internet, but it's being discourteous if you don't.
Mar 12, 2008
Chicago, Illinois
Metaknight is actually coming up soon in the discussion thread. If you don't want to drive yourself insane I'd just post small pro/con lists. If you just want to use my guide, just remember to keep the credit I have at the bottom for the different communities that helped write it.
Also when you give credit, in the title link to the thread/video. Otherwise it's almost like plagiarism if you don't credit source location for reference.*

*Doesn't really matter on the internet, but it's being discourteous if you don't.
sorry, it wasn't intended to be plagarism. I was going to add all the links at the end in the "references" section, but if you want me to put them at the top, thats fine too. I just don't feel like writing anymore right now... :(


Legacy of the Mario
Aug 3, 2008
San Antonio, Texas
This guide is freaken awesome. Can't wait to see what you do with the matchups.

I'm baffled by how you explored the playstyles. Makes me wonder if I'm defensive or adaptive.


Smash Ace
May 23, 2008
sorry, it wasn't intended to be plagarism. I was going to add all the links at the end in the "references" section, but if you want me to put them at the top, thats fine too. I just don't feel like writing anymore right now... :(
Oh you can copy my entries word for word if you want, just give credit and references. Like to give you an idea, when I quote guides (my Wario entry for example), I reference it underneath the quote and in my "Homework Section." It just saves you grief.
Mar 12, 2008
Chicago, Illinois
Oh you can copy my entries word for word if you want, just give credit and references. Like to give you an idea, when I quote guides (my Wario entry for example), I reference it underneath the quote and in my "Homework Section." It just saves you grief.
Oh ok, i understand. Thanks for the advice Bouse. :)

And thank you everyone for supporting this guide. I'll try to tackle the character match-ups as quickly as possible, but don't expect too much. I've been working on this guide for about a month, so it might be a week before I write again.


is the mano, ya know?
Jul 25, 2008
This is the best guide I've read so far of ALL the character discussions I've seen so far, including several top tier characters. Your thoroughness in every topic available, from mindgames, AT's, to crushing your opponents concentration, really makes this the best overall guide I've ever seen. Plus you take from a huge variety of sources, from a long dead guy to our most current and recently discovered techniques puts this guide in the top 5 for sure.
...Not that the rest of your guys' wasn't good or anything, but this is just incredible.
Mar 12, 2008
Chicago, Illinois
@Competitive Players: Please say what color you use and playing style you use if I got it wrong. I didn't want to judge your playing styles by looking at videos, so if you have an opinion on how you play, please tell me so I can add it to the guide.
Aug 7, 2007
under a rock
Nintenjoe, this is THE essence of epic, nothing less. So much detail, so much everything. From now on, when people ask me to teach them how to play Link, I may just tell them to go here. lol.

Oh, one thing though, I see you mention DAC with Bomb a few times, but I don't recall having seen it being told how to preform and such. That's the only thing I could possibly imagine that could be added to this, and it's really not extrememly essential, if at all.

But regardless, this is nothing short of amazing.

Also, one question: What was with the Water Bombs? lol, I think I got lost about those. xD
Mar 12, 2008
Chicago, Illinois
Nintenjoe, this is THE essence of epic, nothing less. So much detail, so much everything. From now on, when people ask me to teach them how to play Link, I may just tell them to go here. lol.

Oh, one thing though, I see you mention DAC with Bomb a few times, but I don't recall having seen it being told how to preform and such. That's the only thing I could possibly imagine that could be added to this, and it's really not extrememly essential, if at all.

But regardless, this is nothing short of amazing.

Also, one question: What was with the Water Bombs? lol, I think I got lost about those. xD
at the end of the DAC explination, I state how to do it with a bomb. "If you Z-Drop a bomb at the height of Link's short hop, then DAC after you hit the ground, Link will catch the bomb and DAC at the same time. This alteration of the DAC allows Link to either cancel the Usmash's lag with the bomb's explosion or to damage his enemy's with it. Continue to practice both variations of the DAC, and the button combination will become an effortless maneuver."

Water Bombs is just something I sort of added in. In the stage Pokemon Stadium, the water hoses don't defuse the bomb. It's stupid as hell, I know, but they were in twilight princess so I thought I might as well add it in. :laugh:
Aug 7, 2007
under a rock
at the end of the DAC explination, I state how to do it with a bomb. "If you Z-Drop a bomb at the height of Link's short hop, then DAC after you hit the ground, Link will catch the bomb and DAC at the same time. This alteration of the DAC allows Link to either cancel the Usmash's lag with the bomb's explosion or to damage his enemy's with it. Continue to practice both variations of the DAC, and the button combination will become an effortless maneuver."

Water Bombs is just something I sort of added in. In the stage Pokemon Stadium, the water hoses don't defuse the bomb. It's stupid as hell, I know, but they were in twilight princess so I thought I might as well add it in. :laugh:
Ooooooohh ok, now I see it. Lol, yeah ok. So this IS perfectly 100% complete in every way, shape, and form. You'll have to forgive me for missing it the first read through, lol. xD

And yeah, that's what I was thinking the Water Bombs were for. xD Good stuffs. I mainly got confused because I was thinking... "but... whenever I have a bomb and go into the water Link loses it. D:" lmao.


Smash Journeyman
Jul 6, 2007
Holy ****, that's ridiculous.

This guide is quite possibly the best I've ever seen, thank you for your efforts...

And I love the Color guide thing.....it's like a horoscope, XD.


Smash Ace
Aug 1, 2008
I (Dolphins), use all 3 types it depends on the situation. I dont believe link can be successful being too agressive. When I have more time I will explain my strategy with link.


Smash Lord
Jan 7, 2007
St Louis, Missouri
@Competitive Players: Please say what color you use and playing style you use if I got it wrong. I didn't want to judge your playing styles by looking at videos, so if you have an opinion on how you play, please tell me so I can add it to the guide.
Get out of my head, It's like you know me all too well. Everything you stated is dead on.


Smash Lord
Jun 28, 2008
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
I saw the thread title and was like ".. another one?" I went in and was blown away. The quality of this guide is superb. Good **** on this NintenJoe. No offense to Skler, but his guide is mad outdated and this deserves to replace it. This is good enough to replace at least 3 of the current stickies actually.


Shadow Link
Mar 29, 2007
fcking baller dude, me and dolphins have our own color, get at ya boy lmao

but yea you got black link correct

me n dolphins ravage foes, we don't just beat them
Mar 12, 2008
Chicago, Illinois
I kinda Like this but just create Hyperlinks back to bouse's thread for matchups....we got a good thing goin there.
I know, and I will refer to Bouse's guide often. I wanted to add the effectiveness of each playing style, some ATs, etc. Don't get me wrong, Bouse's guide is amazing, I just wanted to add a few little things.


Smash Ace
Sep 18, 2007
Woow dude, very nice guide, the best written guide I've seen actually, this should be replaced with the old Stickied written Link guide

Good job dude ;D
Apr 9, 2008
Switch FC
3936 9382 6790
Best link guide ive ever seen on a tread. No one can beat this on. good job dude


Smash Lord
Jun 28, 2008
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
"Link is not for you if you like to grab a lot"

I kind of disagree here. Grabbing is really important at higher levels of play with every character and it's good to land grabs as much as you can. His grab isn't really as spammable as Olimar's, but you should still grab every time you get the opportunity to.
Mar 12, 2008
Chicago, Illinois
"Link is not for you if you like to grab a lot"

I kind of disagree here. Grabbing is really important at higher levels of play with every character and it's good to land grabs as much as you can. His grab isn't really as spammable as Olimar's, but you should still grab every time you get the opportunity to.
I agree, grabbing is an important part of playing, just grabbing a lot isn't good. Characters like King DeDeDe grab a lot. When the opportunity arises, by all means someone should grab. While watching videos of myself and other competitive players, I really didn't see much grabbing...

I'm open to suggestions, but I don't think Link's grab should be used too often. Thoughts?


Smash Champion
Aug 9, 2008
New York
I agree, grabbing is an important part of playing, just grabbing a lot isn't good. Characters like King DeDeDe grab a lot. When the opportunity arises, by all means someone should grab. While watching videos of myself and other competitive players, I really didn't see much grabbing...

I'm open to suggestions, but I don't think Link's grab should be used too often. Thoughts?
I grab a lot. The key to Link's grabs are learning the exact timing of them. What I mean is, grabbing them out of air. I don't mean if the opponent is offstage. I mean the opponent is in the air, but too close to the ground to airdodge, but not actually on the ground to spot dodge. Learning this lands SO many grabs, trust me.


Heaven Piercer
May 4, 2008
Westwood, NJ
And maybe a link to my Link stage discussion thread as well? I've covered the neutral and most of the CP stages. :p But meh I hope to see some sort of advancement in it some time. Oh yes and we need a sticky plz.
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