- This article is about Ganondorf's appearance in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. For other uses, see Ganondorf.
Ganondorf (ガノンドロフ, Ganondorf) returns in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. His design is based upon his appearance in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (although he isn't as tall, and is slightly bulkier). He retains his hand-to-hand combat style, and does not use his sword outside of taunts. The Smash Bros. Dojo states that Ganondorf is the heaviest humanoid character in the game, though this is false, as in-game data shows that Snake is heavier. He is the second semi-clone to be based on a character from another series.
Despite several of his moves being the strongest in the game, Ganondorf is currently last on the tier list (the lowest ranked unlockable), in the F tier. This is because of his very sluggish moves, average spot dodge, poor pressure, terrible out of shield options, very limited approach options, poor horizontal recovery, predictable vertical recovery, poor mobility and loss of L-Canceling (otherwise the fact that it doesn't exist in Brawl). As a result, Ganondorf has a very poor metagame and has a losing matchup against everybody else in the game. He has the second lowest tier drop (Jigglypuff having the lowest).
How to Unlock
To unlock Ganondorf, the player must either -
- Clear Classic Mode on Hard with Zelda or Link
- Play 200 brawls
- Have Ganondorf join the party in the Subspace Emissary by collecting the Link and Zelda trophies in the Subspace world.
Note: With the exception of the third option, Ganondorf has to be fought in a fight at Final Destination to unlock him.
- Many powerful attacks that deal high damage and knockback
- Heavyweight, being difficult to launch and having high survivability
- Neutral special possesses heavy armor frames and is a powerful kill move, as well as being able to be reversed to increase attack power
- Flame Choke sets up tech chases, making it an excellent combo and kill set-up as well as limiting opponent options; it can also be used to punish edge-guarding opponents and execute a Ganoncide
- Down special is a good approach option
- Dark Dive has grab boxes that can punish edge-guarding opponents and increase vertical recovery
- Dash attack can set up for some aerial follow-ups
- Possesses one of if not the most powerful meteor smash in the game in the form of his down aerial, as well as having meteor smash frames on his down special, though only in the initial frames of its aerial variation
- Jab is among his fastest attacks and is effective for spacing
- Up tilt breaks shields effectively and has vacuum windboxes
- Up aerial is a good juggling tool
- Down throw is a good kill set-up as it can combo into some of his deadly aerial attacks
- Slow movement both on the ground and in the air, being the second slowest character in the game
- Many attacks are slow, with high starting or ending lag that makes them easy to punish
- Poor out of shield options that are highly punishable
- Poor horizontal recovery option
- Many kill moves are sluggish
- Few good approach options both on the ground and in the air
- Up special is easily gimped and predictable
- Poor grab game and overall combo game
- One of the worst edge games in the game
- Low jump height
- Fast falling speed
- Neutral special is easy to dodge and can be easily punished with a grab even during heavy armor frames
- Flame Choke requires a read on the opponent to effectively get a follow-up from it
- Wizard's Foot has high landing lag and can SD, with the ground variation being easy to shield and punish as well
- Cannot effectively place pressure on an opponent even those that are shielding due to his poor approach options, punishing tools, and lack of spacing tools that possess low enough lag to avoid punishes
- Low grab range
- Below average dodging options
- Ineffective DACUS as the up smash covers low horizontal range
- Heavy weight and fast fall speed makes him easy to combo, juggle, chain-grab, and gimp
Ganondorf is a heavy, fast falling, very slow character (the second slowest after jigglypuff) with slightly above average range (excluding his grab and up smash, which have very low horizontal range), very strong attacks, including more than one of the strongest attacks in the game. His attacks, whether in the sweetspot or the sourspot, are still very powerful (which actually results in a problem for him, since this doesn't allow him combos at mid percents or higher).
Almost all of his moves have above average knockback and can KO as well, although some have low priority (this case is severe, as the moves with low priority are mostly used to approach, but the priority of some of his other moves are not bad). His leg attacks have enough priority to clank with swords and even cut through them (most of the time). His side special grants him Super armor (only helpful in team battles or FFAS) while he is holding the opponent and it leaves opponents vulnerable for a bit of time if used on the ground, leaving them open for another quick attack being a true set up like down tilt (on most characters), his jab (some that can avoid the down tilt but not the jab) or several characters getting hit by dash attack and side tilt for kills, and even up air on platforms. He can also use it for tech-chases to predict the opponent, for example regrabbing with it or getting a down aerial or down angled forward smash, the damage side special does is fairly low though. In the air, Ganondorf's side special can cause a Ganoncide, although it is situational because even when it's impossible to escape from it or control the trajectory, landing it is very hard work.
Ganondorf's moves are arguably the least affected by Smash DI, because he has the lowest number of multi-hitting moves (his Down Smash is his only move considered to be a multi-hitting move), effectively rendering escape and punishment of his attacks ineffective, although his attacks are a lot easier to shield or dodge. Ganondorf's dash attack provides him with a quick speed boost, and the move is a hard hitter as well and can also KO, but it is easily punished if shielded. Ganondorf's aerials are also very strong; all have high knockback, and his down aerial is an extremely strong, reliable spike (sometimes can KO even at 0%, depending from how far they are from the bottom and how good their recovery is), Ganondorf`s advanced Super-Jump glitch is very situational, but, if done right, he travels higher in the air, useful for an aerial Reverse Warlock Punch, his most powerful move.
However, Ganondorf's extreme power and heavy weight are counterbalanced with many factors. Ganondorf is a tall target — the tallest in the game (though most heavyweights have this problem). His horizontal standing grab range is the shortest in the game (though his pivot grab has good range, but slower start-up). Because of his poor grab range and slow moves, his out of shield options are one of the worst in the game (though his grab is the shortest in the game, it can sometimes still shield grab depending on the range of the opponent's attack and the shieldstun of it), forcing him to rely on powershielding, and because of how much he relies on his shield that hasn't the size of characters like Snake without being able to punish the opponent, it makes him easy to shield-stab with multi-hit moves. Ganondorf can't even take the sky out of shield due to jump lag (7 frames). Ganondorf has very bad air speed, and a very small second jump (though it auto-sweetspots ledges, allowing him to plank).
He lacks a projectile and he is easy to camp for those who have a projectile. Ganondorf's overall ground attack speed is among the slowest in the game along with Ike (but 3 of Ganondorf's aerial attacks are only laggy if he lands while attacking; Ganondorf's fastest ground attack is his poor ranged grab which has 7 frames start-up). His staling ratio is one of the highest in the game. Many of his moves like his Dash Attack, Down Tilt and his Down Aerial lose a lot of their KO power and damage input very quickly, the KO factor having an even bigger impact. This will give him trouble KOing if he can't land a fresh move. Although his weight and good Momentum Canceling allows him to live very long, his slow, predictable and easily gimped recovery does not horizontally travel much distance. In addition to that, it is easy to be hit out of from above (where he has no hitboxes), and most characters can hit him out of his up special (E.G. Falco, at around 90% damage, can spike Ganondorf out of his up special with his Dair). It can poorly Stage spike edgehoggers, but Dark Dive is easily tech'd. Because of these reasons, Ganondorf's Up special is one of the worst in the game and should only be used offensively if the opponent is at a low percent or is one of the few who can't punish Ganon's Up Special.
Although his damage input and kill power allows to compensate his poor recovery somewhat, it is still a major problem, especially in teams where his partner has to be good at preventing gimps. He, like Captain Falcon and Wolf, has a very fast falling speed and a heavy weight that can backfire by being very vulnerable to chain grabs. Ganondorf's mobility is very poor. This means that characters with a good projectile can easily break his approach and force him to jump and still get very little distance, so it's suggested to all Ganondorf mains to learn to Perfect Shield every projectile aimed on him. Also, half of his moveset can be ducked under by certain characters (jab, ftilt, non-down angled Forward smash, Down smash, auto-canceled short hop dair, Warlock Punch, grounded Wizard's Foot and even standing grab and dash grab).
Ganondorf is a unique character. His extreme power means that a single blow from him can turn the tide of a match with opponents in the danger zone as low as 30% (his earliest killer, Warlock Punch, essentially guarantees kills at damages as low as 13% or 14% when reversed), but landing that blow is never easy. Opponents need to relentlessly pummel him with attacks and keep him from executing his big finishers, or they may see themselves down a stock. He can rack damage extremely quickly, with moves like short hop the 0% combo dair twice into short hop Uair or Usmash or low percent Dtilt juggling, but landing that hit that allows that can be almost impossible. Thanks to his Flame Choke, which puts the opponent in a very bad position he can tech-chase into very powerful moves in terms of both damage and knockback like his Forward Smash, which kills at fairly low percents, or even into another Flame Choke. So as said before, he can find it very difficult to land a move, but once he does, with proper prediction he can become a lethal character. On a competitive level Ganondorf really has no positive attributes apart from partial use of Spot Dodged, Rolls, great punishing ability, and Air Dodges.
Changes from Melee to Brawl
Ganondorf has been severely nerfed from Melee to Brawl. Despite having some good buffs, most of his nerfs left him with some terrible attributes, overwhelming the buffs. Ganondorf has had a significant number of changes from Melee to Brawl, beginning with a general design change to his Twilight Princess incarnation and a new voice actor. The animations of his attacks are largely different as well. Ganondorf's moves and attributes also underwent a lot of changes, the result of which is that while he was Middle tier in Melee, he is currently the lowest in the Brawl tier list.
He now has the 2nd slowest dash speed, his dodge rolls are slower (though still very fast for his weight class), has shorter grab range (now the shortest in the game) and lower jumping height, but has a faster spot dodge (thanks to its new IASA), now average instead of being one of the worst in the game. In general, his attacks are slower but with generally greater reach: his neutral jab and down tilt are noticeable. d-tilt is stronger but slightly slower. Although, more of his killing moves were weakened than strengthened, often on a higher scale. His F-throw and B-throw are much stronger. Volcano Kick, his up tilt, has a vacuum effect, has 81 frames start-up instead of 88, has an incredibly long disjointed range and completely cancels knockback if knocked close to it (can act like a spike on aerial characters, for example being great for punishing Snake's C4 jump) but has slightly less killing power and purely vertical knockback if hit from afar. His up smash is now a single, vertical kick with less lag at the end.
His Warlock Punch, now fired from his left hand, was made faster and can be reversed during the start-up frames for more damage and knockback. Gerudo Dragon was replaced with Flame Choke, his new side special, which is one of his few buffs as it is a much better move in general. Dark Dive is weaker during the grab (11% compared to 17% and Ganondorf can even get punished from grabbing the opponent when he/she has around 50% damage or higher due its poor hitstun) and can no longer KO outside of stage spiking, but can now grab edgehoggers and hit enemies with an uppercut at the end. Wizard's Foot no longer enables a midair jump if one was used already making his horizontal recovery much worse, the aerial Wizard's Foot must hit during the initial frames to spike and the grounded version has much lower knockback, but the non-spike hitbox of aerial Wizard's Foot has very high upwards knockback. His side smash can be angled up or down, has more horizontal knockback than vertical knockback, and is stronger but has less range. His down smash is slower, hooking opponents into the second kick better, but the second kick has significantly less knockback.
His dash attack has better range and is much stronger, while 2nd kick of neutral aerial is much weaker. His F-air has 3 frames slower start-up, has a sourspot and has 10 frames longer landing lag than his non-L-canceled one had in Melee, now having 1 frame more landing lag than his D-air and because of a programming error, it has now no IASA at all and no auto cancel frames either. His B-air no longer has the 5 frame duration it had in Melee and is slightly weaker. His F-tilt and D-air is stronger in terms of power and D-air has less ending lag. Finally, another buff is his Down Aerial auto-cancels during short hops, making it easier to abuse, but it doesn't prevent him from being severely nerfed.
Some of the attacks he still shares with Captain Falcon are actually weaker (than Falcon's), notably B-air and D-smash is only slightly more powerful. U-air is stronger but has inferior range.
- Neutral attack - Quick palm strike. Moderate knockback, deals more damage if the tip of the attack connects. Very slow for a jab, but it is Ganondorf's quickest attack. 8 frames, and ends on frame 25 which makes it one of the slowest jabs in the game. This attack is good to use out of a Perfect Shield 7%, 9% if tipped and 5% if hit from very close.
- Dash attack - Shoulder tackle. Ganondorf gains a quick speed boost during the move. Has fairly long duration (hits on frames 10-19). Like King Dedede's, this can KO at high percentages. The 2nd strongest dash attack. Some characters can be dash attacked after a grounded Flame Choke. However, it is very unsafe on shields because it has fairly little shield stun and the opponent goes back with Ganondorf. 15%.
- Strong Side - Ganondorf leans back a little and thrusts one leg straight forward. Surprisingly the same range as his jab, but slightly slower start up (frame 10), good low angle horizontal knockback, so it's a semi-spike, so also good for KOing characters with poor horizontal recovery, fairly quick. Often referred to as the "Sparta" Kick due to this attack resembling a kick from a famous scene from the movie 300. Ganondorf makes a similar kick in the final battle of Twilight Princess. 12%-13%. Can be used as a follow up on some characters after a successful grounded Flame Choke.
- Strong Up - Volcano Kick, Ganondorf lifts his leg for a very long time before smashing it down in an explosion. Has vacuum properties, and has huge damage and knockback if it connects, and it does very high damage on shields. Does less damage and with only vertical knockback if it connects from afar. The explosion has incredibly long range, which is disjointed and about as long as the vacuum. His slowest start up attack (81 frames of start-up lag, almost 1.5 seconds), yet not one of his longer end lag attacks. 27%, 19% if hit from afar.
- Strong Down - Ganondorf kneels on one leg and thrusts the other forward. Great range and sets up for aerials and has great priority, including a slight disjoint in the end but is not safe when shielded (although more safe than most of his moves). Lowest knockback out of all of his tilts, although still powerful in general. 12%. It also stuns weak enemies in the SSE before destroying them. Could be chained against opponents at low percentages but has a risk of being shield grabbed. Can be used as a follow up on some characters after a successful grounded Flame Choke. Hits on frames 10-12.
- Side Smash - Elbow thrust, with a dark magic effect on contact. Moderately slow startup (frame 24), but fast for being such a powerful move, with high ending lag. Has very high knockback, killing reliably at 70%. Although farther hitboxes do exactly the same damage, they have slightly less knockback. Can be angled up or down. This is somewhat unique to other Side Smashes that can be angled as the damage does not increase when angled upward and does not decrease when angled downward. Stutter Stepping increases its range a bit. This attack also has a disjointed hitbox. 24%-35%
- Up Smash - Ganondorf does a high kick, lifting his leg to about thirty degrees from vertical quickly. Has lots of IASA frames, being effectively cancelled into a Down Tilt, Forward Tilt and Neutral Attack. Very effective to charge it as it's safe on shields, but unfortunately it has poor horizontal range. Has a slight disjoint in the farthest horizontal range. 19%-26% damage if hit with leg, 22%-30% damage if hit with foot. Hits on frames 21-23.
- Down Smash - Ganondorf sweeps his leg forward, then back. The knockback from the first kick usually makes the second kick connect as well. First hit comes out fairly fast (at least in comparison to Ganondorf's other moves, frame 16) but second hit is somewhat laggy (frame 35). Nearly useless move in general because the 1st hit can be Smash DIed out of the 2nd hit and it's weak compared to his other moves. CPUs can also Air dodge to avoid it. 19%-26%.
- Ledge Attack - Backhands the edgeguarding opponent. If the opponent is a distance away, the attack knocks them away. If the opponent is standing close to Ganondorf, the attack will throw the opponent off the ledge. 10%.
- 100% Ledge Attack - Ducks slightly and delivers a kick across the ground. Comes out fast, and Ganon keeps low. 10%. This move has a sweetspot similar to Usmash, it is on the foot but is small. Does 17% this way.
- Trip attack - Does a rising, spinning kick. Reach of the attack extends across the entire height of his legs, and the attack is incredibly fast. 6%.
- Floor attack - Flips upward, kicking with his feet, similar to his up-aerial.
- Neutral Aerial - Double kick. Unlike Captain Falcon's NAir, the first hit will hit hard causing a high knockback, but weak compared to his other aerials, and the second hit deals a weaker attack that lacks KO potential. First hit deals 11% while the second does 7%. First kick on frame 7-13, second on 20-32.
- Forward Aerial - Swings his hand forward in an overhead arc downward. High knockback. Slower, longer range, high land lag and slightly weaker than the knee, and has somewhat of a sweetspot, which is the fist (doing 17% damage) with huge base knockback but fairly little knockback growth compared to its Base Knockback, whereas if it connects with his arm, it does 15% with less knockback. Sweetspot is fairly safe on shields due its high amount of shieldstun, while the sourspot is unsafe on shields. Hits on frames 14-20.
- Back Aerial - Backhand. One of Ganondorf's fastest aerials, good knockback. One of his few moves that are fairly safe on shield even when it's not auto canceled, but unfortunately its high vertical hitbox reduces its usefulness as it can't hit grounded opponents with a buffered short hop Bair. Can be ground canceled. 16%. Hits on frames 10-12.
- Up Aerial - Overhead Flip Kick. The hitbox travels in a large arc, hitting opponents above and behind as well. Fast and great for edge guarding. Difficult to hit smaller characters on the ground. Very strong at the start and semi-spike at the end. Hit in last few frames is great at gimping recoveries that either lacks horizontally, vertically, or both. Ganondorf's fastest attack and grants him a good air game because of its range and speed. 13%. Hits on frames 6-16.
- Down Aerial - Thunder Stomp. Ganondorf kicks his legs downward, with an electric effect if the attack connects. Will always spike if it hits, even if not sweetspotted, which makes it one of the easier to spike with. 23% damage. If connected with body instead of his leg, the attack will do 17%. This meteor smash has by far the highest knockback growth in the game but only above average base knockback, meaning that other meteor smashes such as Ness's down aerial (which instead has very high base knockback but fairly low knockback growth) can KO even at 0%, but Ganondorf's is more powerful at higher percentages (although, with DI, and if their recovery is well-timed, some characters can survive this up to around 80%, however, it is very difficult to Meteor Cancel at such high percents). This spike is so powerful that grounded opponents will be launched upward, getting Star KOed at high enough damages (most characters lower than 100%). Can chain 2 autocanceled Dairs at 0%, or 1 Dair to chain into an Up Smash or short hop Uair. Ganondorf can also chain three autocanceled Dairs at 0% on large, heavy characters like Bowser, dealing roughly 60%. Can be auto-canceled after short hops making it a great approach move, and is also a solid edgeguarding move. Given its quick start-up and deceptive horizontal range it can be difficult for characters off-stage to avoid it, however its KO power stales extremely quickly.
Grabs & Throws
- Range - High vertical range but one of the shortest horizontal grab ranges except the pivot grab which has good range.
- Pummel - Knees opponent. A moderate speed pummel that is slow for a pummel of its strength. 2%.
- Forward Throw - Punches his opponent forward. High damage for a throw and good power. 13%.
- Back Throw - Throws opponent backward and kicks them. Strong knockback for a throw, it easily sets up edgeguard opportunities, and can even KO at high percents when near the edge. 10%.
- Up Throw - Throws opponent upward and jabs his/her back. A poor throw that isn't strong enough to KO under 200%, but has too high of base knockback to be effective at setting up more attacks at low percentages. 7%.
- Down Throw - Throws his opponent violently on the ground. A weak throw that works very well for setting up at low percentages, even a shutter-step Forward Smash for high damage. Can often be led into a Flame Choke, uair, bair, or even dair depending on the opponent's DI. 7%.
- Emerges from a portal of dark magic. It also appears to be similar to the purple color of subspace.
|Ganondorf's Special Moves|
|Standard Special||Warlock Punch|
|Side Special||Gerudo Dragon||Flame Choke|
|Up Special||Dark Dive|
|Down Special||Wizard's Foot|
|Final Smash||—|| Beast Ganon</noinclude>
Wii Remote choice
A sound clip of Ganondorf shouting from Melee is heard. However, it sounds more like Ganondorf is shouting "Oh yeah!".
In competitive play
Role in the Subspace Emissary
Ganondorf first appears in a control room on Angel Island giving Bowser the coordinates to find King Dedede, who stole Wario's trophies. Later in the same control room Master Hand gives him the orders to destroy Angel Island. He then appears in the island base as a hologram and orders the R.O.B. Squad to activate all of the Subspace Bombs they had. When the Ancient Minister gets in their path, Ganondorf presses an override button that forces the R.O.B.s to ignore the Minister. When the Ancient Minister continues to intervene, Ganondorf presses the override button again and the R.O.B.S attack the Ancient Minister, setting him aflame. The heroes attempt to stop the R.O.B.s, so Ganondorf sends a flock of Auroros to distract them. Suddenly, the burning Ancient Minister fires beams from his eyes, destroying the Auroros, and reveals that he, himself, is a R.O.B. who was disguised, and proceeds to help the others fight the advancing Subspace troops. After the Isle of the Ancients is engulfed in Subspace, Ganondorf appears on the Subspace Gunship as it's commander along with Bowser, but he retreats into Subspace with Bowser when the Gunship is destroyed by Kirby and his Dragoon. Ganondorf decides it is the time to betray the Master Hand so he takes out the last remaining Dark Cannon and aims it at Bowser, his own co-captain and the most loyal of Master Hand's henchmen. After shooting Bowser in a surprise attack with the dark cannon, Ganondorf kicks the Bowser trophy out of the way and goes up to the edge of a ledge. When Ganondorf presents himself to Master Hand preparing to betray him for complete control of the Subspace Army, he sees that Master Hand was literally a puppet of Tabuu, the supreme leader of the Subspace Army. Ganondorf tries to attack him, but is defeated and turned into a trophy. As he was falling however, he bumped into Master Hand, freeing him from Tabuu's control. Master Hand then attempts to attack Tabuu, but is defeated with ease. When Kirby finds Ganondorf's trophy the resurrected Bowser appears and brutally attacks his trophy as an act of revenge before tossing it aside. If Link and Zelda were rescued, a cutscene will show Ganondorf being revived by Link and Zelda (with a bit of a headache from the abuse treatment) and after Link and Zelda walk away he clenches his fist in anger he then helps the heroes defeat Tabuu. Ganondorf might have been the secondary antagonist of the story (The Ancient Minister does not count, due to him being R.O.B later on and the fact that he does not have evil intentions), due to him being responsible for the destruction of the Isle Of The Ancients.
These stickers can only be used by Ganondorf or by a select few including him:
A man who wants to use the power of the Triforce to conquer the world. In Twilight Princess, he gives strength to the Twilight King, Zant, and tries to change the land into a world of darkness. He possesses Zelda, transforms into a magical beast, and attacks Link. In the end, however, Link deals him a finishing blow and defeats him.