- This article is about Zelda's appearance in Super Smash Bros. Melee. For the character in other contexts, see Princess Zelda.
|“||A graceful princess with powerful magical attacks.||”|
|—Description from Melee's manual.|
Zelda (ゼルダ, Zelda) is one of the more unique characters in the lineup for Super Smash Bros. Melee. Zelda's most notable traits are her array of powerful magical attacks and her unique ability to transform herself into her alter ego, Sheik. This alternate form is very different from Zelda, and each was intended to help balance the other's weaknesses, so that ideally, one would change between the two so to match the flow of battle.
Zelda is 22nd on the tier list, in the F tier. Zelda's positive attributes include an effective KO move with her Lightning Kick, as well as powerful attacks with transcendent priority. Zelda's primary weakness, however, is her poor movement, due to having the slowest dash speed in the game (along with Jigglypuff), slow falling, and air speed, which together with her very high traction results in the shortest wavedash in the game (along with Peach). Additionally, despite Zelda's somewhat long recovery, her recovery is very easily edge-guarded and/or edge-hogged. This contributes to Zelda having poor matchups against others, though she does have a few even matchups against those higher than her, such as Dr. Mario.
Zelda does not fall under any specific archetype of characters, due to her unusual properties as a fighter; she has a slew of powerful finishers, such as her Lightning Kick, but she is of light weight. Additionally, Zelda has a slow falling speed and a high traction, leading to a very short, albeit fast, wavedash.
One of Zelda's strengths is the perhaps surprising amount of power. Within the air, her forward and back aerials of the Lightning Kick can KO at as low as 70% to 80%, and her up air has a large hitbox that can also KO opponents. On the ground, Zelda's up tilt is surprisingly powerful (on par with Marth's up tilt), and its long duration and large radius allows it to be relatively useful under most circumstances. Zelda's up and forward smash attacks are also surprisingly powerful and they have high damage output due to their multiple hits.
In addition, Zelda has some fast attacks, such as her down smash (which is the fastest in the game) and her forward and back aerials, both of which, as mentioned earlier, are among the most powerful in the game. As an added bonus, many of Zelda's attacks have transcendent priority; combined with an average reach in most of her attacks, Zelda has potential to stop others' attacks with her own.
However, Zelda is strongly held back by having one of the worst approach games in the game. On the ground, Zelda has a poor dashing speed, a short wavedash, and a slow dash dance; combined with decidedly average range in her attacks, Zelda cannot effectively attack or counterattack on the ground. Zelda doesn't fare better in the air; despite an above-average air speed, Zelda suffers from poor jumping height, a low falling speed, and a high short hop, leading to a poor SHFFL and equally poor combo game. Zelda's lack of an effective projectile also prevents her from attacking from afar; Din's Fire is too laggy and predictable to be an effective projectile.
In addition to a poor approach on the ground, Zelda's high knockback attacks and poor aerial game gives Zelda an almost non-existent comboing game, with many of her combos only lasting two or three hits, most of which that don't deal significant damage or set up for other approaches. Worse, most of her finishers are very unreliable. Her forward and up smashes suffer from SDI problems, as opponents can easily SDI out of them before the last, most powerful hit can harm them. Zelda's up aerial, while powerful, is impossible to land on a grounded opponent, as it has some start-up lag and the hitbox is just above her. Zelda's up tilt and her Lightning Kicks are possibly her only reliable K.O. moves.
Additionally, Zelda has a very poor grab game; her down throw can easily be DI'd away while its follow-ups are not always reliable; her up throw, while it has chain throw potential at low percentages, it doesn't last for long enough to rack up a good amount of damage. And finally, her forward and back throw, while they have above-average base knockback, they have mediocre K.O. potential and coupled with Zelda's poor edge-guarding game, they aren't so useful in most cases.
Zelda also suffers from having generally situational specials (save Transform). Nayru's Love can only harm attackers in short ranges, and it has high ending lag and it doesn't protect her from attacks above her. Din's Fire, as mentioned earlier, doesn't significantly aid her approach and it too suffers from high ending lag. Farore's Wind, while covering long distances, lacks a powerful offensive hitbox on its start, and lacks one altogether when reentering, making Zelda very easy to edge-guard and/or edgehog.
|Neutral attack||2% (hits 1-3)||Zelda extends one arm forward and unleashes magic power at the opponent. This attack hits multiple times.|
|Forward tilt||13% (hand), 12% (arm), 11% (shoulder)||Zelda swipes one arm forward, emitting magic sparks. This attack can be aimed up or down.|
|Up tilt||11%||Zelda waves one arm in an arc over her head. This attack is surprisingly powerful.|
|Down tilt||8% (leg), 7% (foot)||Zelda performs a crouching kick that pops grounded enemies into the air.|
|Dash attack||9%/13% (clean), 7%/8% (late)||Zelda dashes forward and unleashes a spark of magic at the opponent.|
|Forward smash||1% (hits 1-4), 14% (hit 5)||Zelda leans forward and unleashes a magical blast in front of her that hits multiple times.|
|Up smash||1% (hits 1-11), 5% (hits 12)||Zelda waves her hand back and forth over her head. This attack hits multiple times.|
|Down smash||11%||Zelda spins and kicks on both sides. Fastest down smash in the game in terms of startup. The leg Zelda strikes with is invincible.|
|Neutral aerial||2-3% (hits 1-5), 5% (hit 6)||Zelda spins twice in the air with her arms outstretched while casting magic from her hands. This attack hits multiple times.|
|Forward aerial||20% (sweetspot), 10% (sourspot)||Zelda performs a horizontal kick that emits a spark at the tip of her foot. Deals massive damage if the sweetspot connects (located at the tip of Zelda's foot).|
|Back aerial||20% (sweetspot), 10% (sourspot)||Zelda turns around and delivers a reverse horizontal kick. Connecting with the tip of Zelda's foot electrocutes the foe before launching them away. Identical to her forward aerial except it has more startup lag and slightly less ending lag.|
|Up aerial||13%||Zelda points one arm upward and casts an explosion above her finger. Deals strong knockback.|
|Down aerial||7% (foot), 8% (leg)||Zelda stomps downward with one foot. A very weak meteor smash.|
|Grab||—||Zelda traps the enemy using magic.|
|Pummel||3%||Zelda zaps her foe.|
|Forward throw||12%||Zelda launches the enemy forward. Deals above-average power.|
|Back throw||11%||Zelda turns around and throws the enemy away.|
|Up throw||11%||Zelda takes the enemy upward and throws them.|
|Down throw||2% (hits 1-4), 2% (throw)||Zelda drops the foe on the ground and zaps them with magical energy.|
|Floor attack (front)||6% (front hit), 8%/6% (back hit)||Zelda swirls her dress around with one foot extended and gets up.|
|Floor attack (back)||6%||Zelda swirls her dress around with one foot extended and gets up.|
|Edge attack (fast)||6%||Zelda climbs onto the stage and swings her legs in a circular motion.|
|Edge attack (slow)||10% (arm), 8% (body)||Zelda slowly climbs onto the stage and swings her arm forward.|
|Neutral special||Nayru's Love||1-2% (hits 1-5), 4-5% (hit 6)||Zelda summons a crystal barrier that can reflect projectiles.|
|Side special||Din's Fire||7-13%||Zelda launches a a fireball that grows stronger the farther it travels before exploding. The fireball can be directed up or down with the control stick. This move puts Zelda in a helpless state when used in the air.|
|Up special||Farore's Wind||4%||A yellow ribbon surrounds Zelda, causing her to teleport to a different direction that can be directed with the control stick. When no direction is inputted, Zelda will simply reappear directly above her original position.|
|Down special||Transform||–||Zelda uses magic to transform into her alter ego, Sheik.|
- Holds her hands together, as if in a prayer.
- Flips her hair back.
- Makes a thinking gesture.
- Turns her body away.
|Description||Zel-da Zel-da Hu!||Zel-da! Zel-da!|
These combos are Directional Influence based.
- Chain throwing - By using her Up Throw, Zelda can perform a chaingrab. She can grab again right before the opponent lands. If the opponents DI, she can follow them a short distance to catch. Stops working around 30-40%.
- Up Throw to Forward/Back Aerial - Throw them up and connect it with a Forward/Back Aerial.
- Up Smash - If done with the right timing, Zelda can connect a series of these at low damage.
- Down Throw + Forward/Back Aerial - If Zelda is facing right, Down Throw, short hop and use Forward/Back Aerial to the left. If Zelda is facing left, Down Throw and short hop Forward/Back Aerial to the right.
- If the enemy DI's away from Zelda, she can't connect it.
- If the enemy smashes buttons to break out of the grab, it might be a good idea to throw quickly. Since they were too busy breaking out, their chance to DI is gone and it can be connected.
- If the opponent seems to go straight attempting to DI, get a few bits of damage by tapping A before throwing. Then it's suggested that Zelda go for Combo #2 if they are around the right damage.
- Dash Attack spam - If the first Dash attack connects too early they will most likely be stunned a bit and pushed away. If the Dash Attack is used when nearly touching them they will be sent above. Zelda can dash away and back in for another Dash Attack most likely (again depends on DI as they rack up damage). If they DI right above, change it to a Combo#3 or Combo#2 by Up Throwing them. From this point really any move can be connected (Naryu's Love, etc.).
- Forward Tilt spam - If they are too far away when doing a mid aimed tilt, it will send them away. However if caught them in it close, they can DI straight up, or behind (doesn't work with too low damage because they can tech out of this, and doesn't work with too high, so it becomes very rare to pull this out). When DI'ing straight up another one can be done.
- This is extremely Damaged based.
Average weight & floaty
- Down Throw + Forward/Back Aerial - If Zelda is facing right, Down Throw and short hop Forward/Back Aerial to the left. If Zelda is facing left, Down Throw and short hop Forward/Back Aerial to the right.
- If the enemy DI's away from Zelda, she can't connect it.
- If the enemy mashes buttons to break out of the grab, might be a good idea to throw down quickly. Since they were too busy breaking out, their chance to DI is gone and it can be connected.
- If the opponent seems to go straight to attempting to DI, get a few bits of damage by tapping A before throwing.
- Dash Attack + Up Tilt - Around usually 0-10% depending on the character, if the player can get a Dash Attack connected this early, they'll fly just right above Zelda. Up Smash or Up Tilt is good after this. If done on some characters (ex: Ganondorf, Roy, etc.) Zelda could jump to the side and Forward/Back Aerial the opposite direction based on the enemies choice of DI.
- Dash Attack + Grab - Same concept as the second combo listed for floaties, but only if they go up right above Zelda's head. A grab can be sometimes obtained. Only works around 0-10%.
- Forward Tilt + Choice - If they are too far away it'll send the opponent away. If close enough to Zelda they usually end up behind her or sent right above her (DI based). At this point, any move the player chooses could be connected: Lightning kick, another Tilt, a Jab, a Smash, a Dash Attack, etc. If they DI above Zelda, she could grab them if they don't fly too far away.
- Down Smash - Quick, and punishes characters who failed to sweetspot the ledge. Best used against Ganondorf, and Captain Falcon.
- Down Aerial - Weak Meteor Smash, but can get the job done with good timing.
- Forward Smash - If timed correctly, it can punish a Fox or Falco player that attempted to Fox Illusion or Falco Phantasm into the stage. Or any character whose Up Special Move leaves them over the ledge.
- Forward Aerial - Time it well with the opponent's recovery. It can be landed really close to ground level.
- Din's Fire - With great accuracy, Samus's Bombs can be destroyed, making it hard for her to recover. It is also used often to set up an opponent for another Forward Aerial.
Zelda can apply the concept of watching her opponent and baiting them to make the first move. This allows her to either Dash dance away, short hop away, Shield to Forward Aerial, or anything to make them miss. Zelda shouldn't be too offensive, since a lot of her moves leave her vulnerable when missed, even if L-canceled.
- Long High Heels - Short hopping away from the opponent when anticipating an attack, then C-sticking toward your enemy.
- I'm back: Foxtrot away, and come back in after a missed attack. A Dash attack, a Crouch canceled Smash, or Forward Aerial is usually the best option.
- I'm open! - Zelda's short dash-dance is actually useful in baiting. Zelda appears vulnerable, but she has tricks. Shield against long lag moves like Link's Spin Attack, Marth's Forward Smash, and punish them buy kicking out of the shield.
- Reverse Shield Grab? - Again short dash-dancing helps out with this. This only works on opponents who tend to try and land behind the player after an Aerial Attack. Dash-dance, and as they wonder what the player is doing, they come in for an Aerial move. Dash-dance and end it with Zelda facing away from the enemy and bring up the shield. After they land behind, hitting the shield, the player should grab them.
- Note: Doesn't work on everybody, especially not the Star Fox characters, who, even if they land behind Zelda, they can just L-cancel it into Reflector, and get away.
- Farore's Wind - Realistically, if the opponent is well aware, the shift of the screen zooming in and out or left and right can tell them where Zelda is going, regardless of having a game tag on or not. However, Farore's Wind is an OK baiting move if Zelda is at the right distance. Knowing how to space Zelda is important here. Teleporting in place or quite a bit away from the enemy can bait them into thinking Zelda is going to be open when the move is finished. This move is pretty laggy, but that's why it can bait. Most opponents don't know when the lag ends.
- Naryu's Love: When Zelda is fighting an opponent who has a ranged base of attacks, she can bait them by simply just reflecting their attacks, or dodging them, until they come to Zelda.
- Note: Link is hard to counter because right after throwing a Boomerang, he can throw a Bomb he was already holding, so it hits Zelda after Naryu's Love is finished.
- Note 2: Won't work on Falco or Fox, their projectiles are just too fast.
- Note 3: Samus is a lot easier to use against. Just be sure she doesn't have an already fully Charge Shot. A thing to watch out for is when Samus starts spamming missiles and also has a saved up Charge Shot. There is a good chance where Samus wants Zelda to use Nayru's Love on the missiles, since there is a slight delay for the move to finish. During the delay, Samus can use this to her advantage and fire her Charge Shot. Avoid the missiles instead, since they don't travel far for very long. Overall, use caution when fighting a Samus user.
- Note 4: Peach is the easiest to bait. Catch her Vegetables or reflect them until she comes close. However, be wary of the possible Bob-omb Peach might pull out.
Zelda's Defense/baiting technique is normally better, but she has some tricks up her sleeve when on the offensive.
- Double Aerial Attack - Short hop with a Forward Aerial. If the opponent is facing Zelda, have her aerial land behind them, and go for a L-canceled Neutral Attack or another Forward Aerial. Good to know if the first kick was countered with a shield, so it isn't as easy to shield grab Zelda.
- Jab Jab Grab - Good idea to mix these up when Zelda is forced with a close encounter so the opponent is thinking more about not getting grabbed or jabbed or which is coming.
- Note: They can shieldgrab the jab if their grab is faster. Point is if they expect a jab, they will most likely shield, giving Zelda a chance to grab. If they expect a grab, they Spotdodge or some other alternative, like trying to hit Zelda first, since she's a slow grabber. Jab is rather quick, and can sometimes lead to a Forward Smash.
- Farore's Wind Out of Shield - If Zelda is being overwhelmed with a barrage of attacks and the player needs spacing, this is a good idea to try. The beginning animation even stuns them momentarily. If it doesn't, a fast character like Captain Falcon can follow Zelda anyway. Depends on opponent's character.
Many of Zelda's attacks have great priority; large, extending (disjointed) hitboxes. This includes her Forward Smash, Up Smash, Forward Aerial/Back Aerial, Up Aerial, and even Dow Aerial. Her tilts also have decent priority.
- Up Smash has priority over Ganondorf and Captain Falcon's Side Special Move if Zelda starts it just after they start their attack.
- Down Aerial can be used for edgeguarding from the ledge, to at least disrupt the opponent's sweetspot, but it should be done just a split second before they reach Zelda. Can be followed up by a Forward Smash if/once they Meteor Cancel it and aren't about to sweetspot again. An alternative could be to place a kick (Forward Aerial/Back Aerial) at the ledge while on the stage as the opponent comes close to the edge.
- Forward Smash has priority on a lot of aerial moves on their ending frames (Ex: Captain Falcon's Knee has more priority at start, but as the move nears the end, Zelda's Forward Smash has better priority). This is why Baiting is a good idea to get the last frames of the Aerial Attacks coming the way.
- Note: Exceptions are Marth or Ganondorf's Forward Aerial.
- Naryu's Love just has a lot of priority in general. A Multi-hit attack, additional to its nice range. Zelda is open after this move, however. So, if blocked, or even just missed, she's most likely in trouble. Works on a lot of horizontal approaching moves, like Dash Attacks with the body of the character, Fox, Ganon, Mario. Fox, Falco, Captain Falcon, Ganondorf and Peach's Side Special Move, and projectiles.
In 1-P Modes
In the Classic Mode, Zelda can appear as an ordinary opponent, as an opponent in the team battle alongside Link, Marth, Young Link, Peach or Bowser, or as a meta opponent. In her appearances, Zelda appears on Temple, though she appears on Great Bay when on a team with Young Link, and on Battlefield when on a team with Bowser and in the metal battle. Unusually, however, Zelda will never appear as an ally in team and giant fights.
Zelda's sole appearance in the Adventure Mode is in the second portion of Stage 3, the Underground Maze. The player has to fight against her on the Temple stage to progress in the mode.
In All-Star Mode, Zelda and her allies are fought on Temple.
Zelda is featured in the following event matches:
- Event 9: Hide 'n' Sheik: The player chooses any character and is pitted against two Zeldas on Great Bay In order to clear this event, the player has to wait for Zelda to transform into Sheik and KO her before she transforms back into Zelda. KOing Sheik removes her from the match, while KOing Zelda causes her to respawn.
- Event 15: Girl Power: The player chooses any character and must defeat Samus, Peach, and Zelda in a two-stock match on Fountain of Dreams. The character the player chooses is tiny, while the female combatants are normal-sized. Friendly fire is turned on in the match, easing it slightly for the player.
- Event 20: All-Star Match 2: Zelda is the third opponent the player must fight in this series of staged battles. The player's character battles her on the Temple stage, and the player's character has two stock while Zelda has one. With a timer of four minutes, the player must defeat her and the other four characters with the overall time and life they have: Samus, Link, Captain Falcon, and Fox.
- Event 29: Triforce Gathering: The player plays as Link with Zelda as their partner and must work together to defeat Ganondorf on the Temple stage. Both Link and Zelda have one stock each while Ganondorf has two. Clearing this event allows the player to unlock Ganondorf.
- Event 44: Mewtwo Strikes!: The player chooses any character and first faces off against Zelda on the Battlefield stage. After fifteen seconds, Mewtwo appears and teams up with Zelda to fight the player. The player's main objective is to KO Mewtwo, while KOing Zelda by any means results in a failure.
In addition to the normal trophy about Zelda as a character, there are two trophies about her as a fighter, unlocked by completing the Adventure and All-Star modes respectively with Zelda on any difficulty.
- The crown princess of Hyrule. Zelda entrusted Link with the future of Hyrule after a revelation came to her in the world of dreams. She knows much about the Triforce; in fact, the only person who likely knows more about Triforce lore is Ganondorf himself, whom Zelda evaded in Ocarina of Time by transforming into her alter ego, Sheik.
- The Legend of Zelda [07/87]
- Zelda (Smash Red)
- Zelda is a bit slow and, because of her light frame, easy to send flying. On the other hand, her magical skills lend her reliable and explosive attack power. Zelda's easier to use if you focus on waiting and countering rather than pressing attacks. She can use Nayru's Love to reflect projectile attacks or as an offensive weapon.
- Zelda (Smash Blue)
- Zelda's midair Lightning Kick centers immense magical power in the ball of her foot. If she strikes perfectly, the attack is as strong as can be. If her aim is slightly off, it'll be exceedingly weak. Farore's Wind again utilizes Zelda's magical prowess, this time by transporting her great distances. It's vital to know the lay of the land before using this move.
- Zelda is the only character with the ability to transform into another character in Melee, and the first to do so in the Super Smash Bros. series, by being able to turn into Sheik. The Pokémon Trainer in Brawl would later have the ability to "change" fighters by switching out different Pokémon, and Samus could change into Zero Suit Samus thorough various methods.
- Zelda is the only female fighter in Melee (excluding Nana) whose recovery move could not be used by another character through the use of an item. (Peach - Parasol, Samus - Screw Attack.)