- This article is about Ganondorf's appearance in Super Smash Bros. Melee. For the character in other contexts, see Ganondorf; for information on the character of whom Ganondorf is a clone, see Captain Falcon.
Ganondorf (ガノンドロフ, Ganondorf) is in his original Gerudo form as he appears in the more recent installments of the series. His design is based on his appearance from the SpaceWorld demo, which is itself based on his appearance in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Instead of using magic or swords like in The Legend of Zelda series, Ganondorf is a clone of Captain Falcon, and as such, he fights in a brawler style similar to Captain Falcon, except in a slower, but more powerful manner.
Currently, Ganondorf ranks 14th on the tier list, located in the E Tier. This is due to his extreme power, good reach, good chain throwing ability, surprising speed in some areas, having what is considered one of the best aerial games, great edge-guarding game, and having a matchup average of +1, while only having disadvantageous matchups against a five characters. However, he has some major flaws, such as his slow ground game, susceptibility to combos and chain throws, being so easily bogged down by fast attacks and projectiles, and being arguably the most vulnerable character to edge-guarding. Another major problem is the fact that three out of five of his disadvantageous matchups are against top tier characters (Falco, Fox, and Sheik). While he has some great strengths, his major flaws, especially the matchup problem against the top tiers, could be what keeps him from being in the higher tiers.
How to unlock
- Clear the "Triforce Gathering" event.
- Play 600 Vs. Matches.
Ganondorf is fought on Final Destination, with the track "Great Bay" playing.
Ganondorf is a character who sacrifices speed for raw power and range. His Up Smash is the strongest in the game if fully charged and if both hits connect. However, hitting the opponent with it is unlikely. His Up Throw and Down Throw are excellent launchers, as well as effective chain throws. His Standard Special Move, Warlock Punch, is one of the strongest attacks in the game: getting hit in any part of the hitbox will almost always result in a KO.
His Down Aerial is the strongest Aerial Attack and Meteor Smash in the game, and it is difficult to recover from or Meteor Cancel, even at low percentages. It can even Star KO opponents that are on the ground under 100% or less. Most of his other attacks are also extremely powerful; every one of his attacks other than his throws have KO power. His aerials are especially powerful, all five being able to reliably KO under 150% (three of which are capable of KOing under 125%) and can combo surprisingly well, giving Ganondorf one of the best aerial games in Melee. He is often considered the most powerful character in the game, with Bowser being the only other character whose power is comparable to that of Ganondorf's.
However, Ganondorf's powerful attacks are counterbalanced with his slowness. Although most of Ganondorf's aerial attacks have long periods of landing lag as well, L-canceling greatly helps this problem. Ganondorf's mobility is also slow, and his wavedash doesn't help because it is rather short. On the upside, Ganondorf can moonwalk, and his great platform dashing game enhances his mobility, as well as his attacking options. He also has among the fastest and farthest rolls in the game due to being a clone of Captain Falcon, who has the fastest and farthest roll dodge. Ganondorf's Down Special Move, Wizard's Foot, is a spike (which means it can't be Meteor Canceled), and is also one of the only two Special Moves which allow the character to regain their midair jump, the other being Falcon Kick.
With a reliable way of regaining his second jump, Ganondorf has a long horizontal recovery. Unfortunately, because of its predictability, slowness, and Ganondorf's large character model, he is extremely vulnerable to edgeguarding and edgehoggers. In return, Ganondorf is a great edgeguarder, with more aerial edgeguarding options than any character in the game. His Up Aerial reverse spike is among one of the best edgeguards in the game, since it has a large radius, covering about 300 degrees around him. It can also easily lead into a Down Aerial for a quick kill.
Many of Ganondorf's attacks have a large hitbox, but he lacks a projectile, and projectile camps are effective against him. Ganondorf's Neutral Attack is extremely fast, and does high damage for how quick it is. It can also be a great move to combo with. Ganondorf is a good candidate for combos and chain grabs due to being large, falling quickly, and being heavy, although this also makes him harder to KO.
Differences between Captain Falcon
- Ganondorf is physically larger and taller than Captain Falcon, giving his attacks more reach. However, this increased size also increases his hurtbox, thus making him easier to hit.
- Ganondorf's ledge jump is higher than Captain Falcon's, being the highest in the game.
- Ganondorf's walking (0.85 → 0.73), dashing (2.3 → 1.35), and air speed (1.12 → 0.78) are all lower than Captain Falcon's.
- Ganondorf's jump and midair jump are lower than Captain Falcon's.
- Ganondorf cannot wall jump, unlike Captain Falcon.
- Ganondorf is heavier than Captain Falcon (104 → 109), granting him better horizontal endurance.
- Ganondorf's falling speed is much slower than Falcon's (2.9 → 2), making his vertical endurance worse despite being heavier.
- Ganondorf's moves are generally slower but more powerful than Captain Falcon's.
- Captain Falcon's attacks that deal flame damage, such as forward smash, Falcon Punch, Raptor Boost, and Falcon Kick, are replaced by darkness for Ganondorf's counterparts.
- Neutral attack is a single punch with unusually high knockback for a jab. It also deals more damage than the first two hits and the infinite of Captain Falcon's jab.
- Forward tilt is significantly more powerful (the third strongest in the game) and deals 2% more damage than Captain Falcon's.
- Up tilt deals 14% more damage with drastically higher knockback, able to KO from center under 25% and at 0% near ledges and is thus the strongest up tilt in the game.
- Up tilt has drastically more start-up, hitting on frame 81 as opposed to Captain Falcon's hitting on frame 17, making it impossible to land in almost any circumstance outside of punishment.
- Up tilt has a wind effect while the leg is lifted up and an explosive effect that deals flame damage when the leg strikes the ground.
- Down tilt has significantly higher power, being the fourth most powerful down tilt in Melee (along with Bowser), while still being a useful combo starter at lower percentages.
- Dash attack deals 4% more damage and is much more powerful than Captain Falcon's, as well as being a useful combo starter.
- Forward smash has much higher knockback and range, and deals 1% (angled down), 2% (no angle), or 3% (angled up) more damage.
- Forward smash has more start-up than Captain Falcon's.
- Forward smash has almost purely vertical knockback (70 degrees) instead of largely horizontal (Sakurai angle).
- Up smash's two hits do not link reliably, but both hits deal more damage and knockback, with the first hit dealing 14% more damage while being more powerful than the two hits of Captain Falcon's, and the second dealing 6% more with both hits connecting being the most damaging up smash in the game.
- Down smash's two hits can naturally combo into each other, dealing more damage than Captain Falcon's if both hits connect, and also deals more knockback.
- Neutral aerial deals 6% more damage for the first kick and 5% more for the second, with it dealing 9.92% more total damage than Captain Falcon's if both hits connect (for a total of 22.92%, due to stale moves). It also has increased knockback on both hits, and the first hit has KO power on its own.
- Ganondorf has a completely different forward aerial: an arcing downward punch. It has no weak late hitboxes and much longer range than Captain Falcon's Knee Smash. It also has 1 frame less ending lag.
- Back aerial deals 2% more damage and has no sourspot and better range and power than Captain Falcon's.
- Up aerial is much stronger and longer-ranged (KOing about 25% earlier than Captain Falcon's up aerial), and its late hitboxes that semi-spike have more knockback and higher hitstun, making it more effective at edge-guarding than Captain Falcon's.
- Down aerial deals 6% more damage with higher knockback, being the strongest meteor smash in Melee, able to KO grounded opponents under 100%.
- Warlock Punch is much more powerful than the Falcon Punch, dealing 7% more damage and able to KO virtually any character under 30% damage on tournament legal stages.
- Warlock Punch has more start-up lag than the Falcon Punch, and Ganondorf is unable to perform an equivalent to Captain Falcon's Sacred Combo due to his lower air speed, the diagonal knockback angle of his forward aerial, and Warlock Punch's obscene start-up.
- Warlock Punch has significantly different aesthetics from the Falcon Punch; even discounting the darkness effect, it lacks the falcon-shaped fiery aura and falcon screech during the punch.
- Gerudo Dragon deals 10% damage on the ground and 9% more in the air than Raptor Boost.
- Dark Dive travels slightly more vertically than Falcon Dive due to Ganondorf's taller stature. Its grab deals four weak electric hits, which can hit opponents who attempt to intercept Ganondorf. It also deals 2% more damage and the throw has stronger knockback.
- Grounded Wizard's Foot is much stronger than Falcon Kick. It also lasts longer and lacks weak late hitboxes.
- Aerial Wizard's Foot is a powerful spike instead of dealing upwards vertical knockback like Falcon Kick, making it deadly off-stage. It is also safer to use to restore Ganondorf's midair jump thanks to his lower falling speed compared to Captain Falcon.
- Both Grounded and Aerial Wizard's Foot have slightly more ending lag. Aerial Wizard's Foot also deals 3% less damage.
- Grounded Wizard's Foot wall rebounding has a different animation, where Ganondorf leaps backward, as opposed to Captain Falcon's backflip.
|Neutral attack||7% (hand), 8% (body)||Ganondorf jabs forward to electrocute the foe with his hand. The sweetspot is at the hand.|
|Forward tilt||↗||12-14%||Ganondorf delivers a strong horizontal kick forward. This attack can be aimed up or down.|
|Up tilt||27%||Ganondorf lifts his leg and charges up before unleashing a downward kick that produces an explosion. This attack has extremely long startup, but deals a lot of damage and extremely high knockback when it connects.|
|Down tilt||12%||Ganondorf does a quick low sweep kick while crouching. The fourth most powerful down tilt in the game, along with Bowser's.|
|Dash attack||14% (clean), 10% (late)||Ganondorf does a running shoulder tackle. Despite its upward knockback not being extremely high, it is a strong dash attack that can combo into other moves. This is the second most powerful dash attack in the game, second to Samus.|
|Forward smash||↗||24%||Ganondorf lunges forward while thrusting out his arm, performing a powerful elbow strike. Impressive vertical knockback combined with almost no horizontal knockback, making it difficult to DI out of. This attack can be aimed up or down, being the second most powerful forward smash in the game when angled up.|
|Up smash||22% hit 1), 19% (hit 2)||Ganondorf leaps into the air to perform a spinning double kick. The first hit can lead into the second, though it is unlikely at high percentages and can be DI'd out of. It is the second most powerful (uncharged) up smash in the game, second only to Pikachu.|
|Down smash||8% (hit 1), 14%/12% (hit 2)||Ganondorf kicks forward and then backward. The first kick usually knocks the enemy into the second kick, with the second kick being stronger than the first.|
|Neutral aerial||12% (hits 1-2)||Ganondorf performs a spinning double-kick attack in midair. Both kicks have high knockback (especially the second kick, capable of KOing under 130%) and can deal very high damage when landed in succession, but it is extremely difficult to land the two kicks even at very low percentages, and impossible to land at percentages higher than 25% (under standard conditions). With both kicks do conenct, it is the second strongest neutral aerial in the game (exceeded by Mr. Game & Watch's).|
|Forward aerial||17%||Ganondorf delivers an overhead downward punch that deals high damage and knockback. Despite being weaker than the Knee Smash, the attack does not contain a lingering hitbox, which is useful as a finishing move in combos.|
|Back aerial||16%||Ganondorf turns his upper body in midair and performs a backhanded punch. This attack is fast and very powerful, good for edge-guarding, and has great range. Has the exact amount of frames as Captain Falcon's back aerial, but unlike his, it hits with the same power throughout the entirety of the attack.|
|Up aerial||13%/12% (clean), 12%/10% (mid), 8%/6% (late)||Does an overhead flipkick, covering a large arc upward. Knockback direction depends on which angle the foe was hit in. If Ganondorf is facing away from the opponent and the attack hits with the sourspot at the tip of his foot, the opponent will be semi-spiked, with low damage but extremely high hitstun.|
|Down aerial||22%||Stomps both feet downwards, dealing a powerful electric effect. An extremely powerful meteor smash, and an excellent SHFFL option, with a massive hitbox that covers Ganondorf's entire body. It is the most powerful meteor smash in the game and is overall the most powerful aerial attack in the game. It is capable of setting up combos at low percentages when used against grounded opponents, and serves as a great finisher on grounded opponents at high percentages.|
|Pummel||3%||Knees the opponent.|
|Forward throw||5% (hit 1), 4% (throw)||Punches foe forward. Oddly, this throw contains two hits.|
|Back throw||5% (hit 1), 4% (throw)||Kicks the foe behind. Also has two very small and hardly noticeable hits. Can set up edge-guards at high percentages.|
|Up throw||4% (hit 1), 3% (throw)||Punches the foe upward. An excellent throw for setting up for juggles, and can be an effective chain-grab against fast fallers until high percentages. Another mysterious throw that supposedly only hits the foe once, but contains two separate hitboxes.|
|Down throw||7%||Slams the foe onto the floor. Another throw well-suited for juggling. Can also chain-grab characters with average falling speeds until around 90%, and fast-fallers to about 130%. Only contains one hitbox, unlike his other throws.|
|Floor attack (front)||6%||Gets up and flips while kicking.|
|Floor attack (back)||6%||Stands on both hands and does a spinning double kick.|
|Edge attack (fast)||10%||Pulls himself back up then attacks with a quick kick.|
|Edge attack (slow)||8%||Slowly climbs up and delivers a quick punch.|
|Neutral special||Warlock Punch||34% (close), 32% (mid), 30% (far)||Charges up with dark energy before unleashing a devastating punch. This attack is similar to Captain Falcon's Falcon Punch except it has more startup in exchange for more power.|
|Side special||Gerudo Dragon||17% (ground), 16% (air)||Ganondorf charges forward to launch his opponents with an uppercut. Unlike Raptor Boost, this move does not meteor smash opponents when used in the air; instead, it will launch them diagonally upwards. The move causes helplessness if used in the air.|
|Up special||Dark Dive||1% (hits 1-4), 15% (release)||Ganondorf quickly leaps upward. If he connects with an opponent, he will be trap them in a flurry of electric strikes before launching them away in an explosion. Also, if the move connects, Ganondorf will not go into a helpless state. This move can grab the ledge even if Ganondorf is facing the opposite direction.|
|Down special||Wizard's Foot||15% (ground), 14% (air), 12% (landing)||On the ground, Ganondorf rushes forward with his leg extended, dealing damage and relatively high knockback. In the air, he plummets to the ground at a sharp angle, during which the move can spike opponents. This move restores Ganondorf's midair jump, making it a useful move for horizontal recovery at long distances, especially with Ganondorf's lower falling speed.|
- Hovers in midair and spins while laughing menacingly.
- Brings his hands together, then swings his right hand over his head.
Wall of Pain & Ken Combo
A player can use Ganondorf's Forward Aerial twice as a Wall of Pain or combine them with his Down aerial for an effective Ken Combo. In addition, Forward Aerial combined with Wizard's Foot is a more effective Ken Combo.
Ganondorf has a series of spikes at his disposal, which help make him an even fiercer opponent to face. Most spikes are often Aerial A moves, but in the case of Ganondorf, he has both aerial A and B attacks that can send an opponent to an early KO.
Spike/Meteors and Description
Also referred to as "The Stomp". Both feet are thrusted under Ganondorf, and on contact, the opponent receives an electrical shock animation. If the opponent is on the ground, they are shot upward very fast, which can be DI'ed left or right. If in the air, the attack sends the opponent straight down, once again very fast. The attack can be used multiple times over to combo opponents with low percentage, but requires the ability to SHFFL, and tech chase. However, this is a Meteor Smash, and although it is difficult, the opponent can Meteor Cancel and recover.
- Frame Data:
- Total time: 44 frames
- Hits on frames 16-20
- IASA frame 38
- Landing before frame 3 or after frame 36 of this attack causes the move to auto cancel
- Lag when landing: 35 frames
- Lag when landing (l-canceled): 17 frames
- Reverse Up Aerial
Surprisingly Ganondorf's Up Aerial attack can be used to semi-spike an opponent very effectively. The attack has very high priority, so if done correctly, it greatly contributes to Ganondorf players. Ganondorf does a backflip that resembles a flash kick in actual martial arts. One foot is extended during the flip, that creates a hitbox about 200 degrees in rotation around Ganondorf. Ganondorf must be facing away from the opponent, and hit the opponent with the top of his extended foot. There is little knockback, but considerable stun for the amount of damage the attack actually does. As an added bonus, this move is extremely hard to walltech. Something about the physics just makes it next to impossible to tech.
- Aerial Wizard's Foot
Also used to regain the midair jump while recovering, it will spike an opponent if connected in midair. Ganondorf extends one foot and travels diagonally down, accompanied by a cloud of purple energy. The opponent receives an animation of cloudy purple energy when damaged by this attack. The attack itself puts Ganondorf in an inconvenient position to recover, so it is inferior to the Down Aerial and Up Aerial in most situations. Ganondorf can still double jump and Up B, so it still has its advantages, as the opponent cannot "cancel" the attack.
In addition to the normal trophy about Ganondorf as a character, there are two trophies about him as a fighter, unlocked by completing the Adventure and All-Star modes respectively with Ganondorf on any difficulty.
- Said to be the sole man born to the Gerudo tribe in a hundred years, Ganondorf aspired to conquer the world. He plundered a piece of the sacred Triforce from the Temple of Time when Link pulled the Master Sword from its pedestal. With the Triforce of Power in Ganondorf's possession, Hyrule was plunged into darkness until Link and Zelda defeated the fiend.
- Ganondorf (Smash Red)
- Since he's slow and can't jump very high, Ganondorf relies mainly on his immense physical strength to overwhelm his enemies. His great weight also makes him a difficult foe to send offscreen. Ganondorf's Warlock Punch is slow but absurdly powerful, and when he strikes with his Gerudo Dragon, enemies rise skyward enveloped in dark flames.
- Ganondorf (Smash Blue)
- Ganondorf's slow speed works against him in single combat, but in melees, his crazy power lets him earn his keep with innumerable KOs. Ganondorf can't strike quickly, but each blow he lands adds up. Ganondorf is at his quickest when he uses the Wizard's Foot, and his Dark Dive blasts foes in a burst of dark energy.
- Despite being a rather poor jumper, Ganondorf has the highest ledge jump in the game, jumping even higher than Falco and his counterpart, Captain Falcon.
- Ganondorf is one of two clones to not be related to the character he is cloned from, or from the same "series". The other who falls into this category is Jigglypuff, as it shares some moves with Kirby.
- The bird sound effect used for the Falcon Punch is also present in Ganondorf's sound test.
- In Classic Mode, Ganondorf can only appear as a partner for the player in the team and giant battles. He never appears as an opponent in Classic Mode.
- When Ganondorf's trophies are viewed under the "night"/"dark" background in the Trophy Gallery, his eyes glow. He is the only character whose trophy holds this trait.
- Ganondorf is tied with the Ice Climbers for the world record in the Home-Run Contest. However, the Ice Climbers have to utilize the freeze glitch in order to do this.
- In the 1.0 version of Melee, if Ganondorf had a Bunny Hood equipped, he would perform a second jab during his neutral attack, an apparent leftover from Captain Falcon's moveset. This second jab had no hitboxes however, and was removed in the subsequent versions of Melee.
- Ganondorf is the only clone in Melee to not contain the same number of palette swaps as the character he was cloned from (Ganondorf has five available alternate costumes while Captain Falcon has six).
- Whenever Ganondorf gets hit, his irises disappears.
- Ganondorf is seen holding a sword in his some of his artwork and victory poses, but never uses it in-game.
- Ganondorf's AI in Melee is notorious for being extremely powerful. Luigi also shares this trait.