Young Link returns to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate after being absent for over fifteen years! He may be the weakest The Legend of Zelda protagonist in Ultimate due to a particularly troubling AI flaw, but Young Link still has much unseen potential and can even take on top-tier characters.
Young Link is fast. The fastest of the three Links, in fact, and with ridiculously low landing lag to boot. His KO options stem mostly from Bomb confirms and up aerials as well as the occasionally lucky smash attack. Between his tether grab, projectiles, and aerials, Young Link seems to have a lot of potential, unfortunately, he is held back by a devastating AI flaw. When recovering, it will try to use its tether recovery just a bit too far from the ledge; it will then miss and fall too low to be able to return with an up special.
Stats & Spirit Effects
Using a balanced spread (2100 / 2100) or a slightly defensive one (1800 /2400) are both fine options that work well with Young Link. A fully defensive setup (0/4200) is not recommended at all, as the longer a match goes on the more likely Young Link is to lose a stock to his AI flaw.
Young Link’s most optimal setup is Armor Knight and Move Speed ↑. It increases its user’s attack and defense stat, which goes a long way in helping Young Link survive longer. His recovery is weakened a bit, but it doesn’t matter too much; the character will self-destruct with its recovery with or without this setup.
Another option is Additional Midair Jump and Weapon Attack ↑. It doesn’t provide any defense boosts; as a result, it is best used alongside a fully defensive stat spread. Additional Midair Jump completely negates Young Link’s AI flaw at the cost of providing no increases to his stats.
An amiibo becomes strongest if it is mirror matched all the way to Level 50 with its Learn button switched on. Playing a best-of-five match (configurable via the rules menu) will cause it to level up much faster.
Young Link is heavily restricted by the prevalence of off-stage play, and the character struggles against any opponent who is comfortable gimping him. His recovery is far from decent, his falling speed is rather high, and he often fails to recover even when no one is edgeguarding him; as a result, Young Link should be trained almost exclusively as an on- and above-stage fighter.
- Neutral attack: Two sword swings followed by a solid jab or a flurry attack. Comes out fast and is a good interrupt for any situation.
- Forward tilt: Not as good as Link’s due to its shorter range and decreased power, but still a solid neutral option that should be used frequently.
- Up tilt: Another fast overhead swing. Unlike Link’s up tilt, Young Link’s starts in front and ends around back. It’s fast and leads into many good options. Vital to the character’s success.
- Down tilt: If Young Link’s sword were longer, this move would be more useful. It can combo into a forward aerial. Don’t focus on this one.
- Dash attack: Notable startup, but not much ending lag. If the opponent is recovering high, a dash attack can catch them.
- Forward smash: A two-part attack with decent KO power. Be sure to attack with both hits. Prioritize it as the main kill move.
- Up smash: A good aerial punish with a decent bit of kill power. Use it to catch airborne opponents.
- Down smash: A knee-high swing that is best used as a ledge-trapping tool. Its speed and knockback are high enough to consider it for other situations as well.
- Neutral aerial: One of Young Link’s most important melee attacks. It’s got considerable power and speed and even functions as a KO move at high percentages. A fast-falling neutral aerial is especially effective against Mii Gunner (one of the most successful amiibo in Ultimate).
- Forward aerial: It can be used to catch high recoveries, but its slow speed makes it tough to utilize otherwise. Use it infrequently.
- Back aerial: Fairly strong and can be autocanceled to set up powerful combos. Can be used as a situational KO move.
- Up aerial: A solid kill move that is disjointed enough to protect from opposing downward attacks. Use it after down throw to rack up damage or KO.
- Down aerial: Not a good move to rely on due to its somewhat low speed and short hitbox. Avoid this one for the most part.
- Forward throw: A weak throw that doesn’t combo into anything. Use it to toss opponents off-stage.
- Back throw: Another fairly weak throw that doesn’t combo into much. Use it to toss opponents towards the edge.
- Up throw: Another weak throw that doesn’t do anything notable. Forward and back throws are generally the better options.
- Down throw: A simple combo throw that only leads into a few potential options. One of Young Link’s most useful throws (although that isn’t saying very much).
- Neutral special (Fire Arrow): No need to use it, as the AI learns to space them properly on its own by the time it reaches its maximum level.
- Side special (Boomerang): A surprisingly important move that can be used as a shield from enemy projectiles. It should be used very frequently to rack up damage.
- Up special (Spin Attack): Very weak knockback that doesn’t KO until higher percentages. It can be used out of shield, but should generally be relegated to recovery purposes only.
- Down special (Bomb): Use them somewhat frequently. When the AI lands a Bomb, it will attempt to use kill confirms into other moves. Don’t prioritize it, but show the AI what they can do.
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