Could Link be a sleeper high tier in Super Smash Bros. 4? Let's analyze this character's attributes

Posted by Justin 'AdaptiveTrigger' Gordon • April 18, 2017 at 8:12 a.m. PDT

Link is a character that has generally been accepted as a low tier character throughout the entirety of the Super Smash Bros. series. Despite being the main protagonist of one of the most popular Nintendo franchises, Link has never really been considered a viable character.

With the recent 3rd place finish for the player known as T during 2GGC: Civil War, one of the most stacked tournaments in Smash 4 history, perhaps there's a bit more to the character that most have written off as being bad, like in previous iterations.

Could Link be a high tier character in Smash 4? I do think it is fair to say that Link is stronger in Smash 4 than he has ever appeared in any other Smash game.

What attributes have been holding Link back in the Smash series? Could the improvements he has received in Smash 4 be enough to push the character into high tier?

Let's analyze the character's capabilities.

Tether Grab


Typically, tether grabs in the Super Smash Bros. series tend to have more cons than pros. While that isn't completely untrue in Smash 4, a lot of the disadvantages of tether grabs have been toned down.

In particular for Link, the total number of frames in which he can't do anything after a whiffed grab has been reduced by over 20 frames. Punishes against Link are a little weaker compared to previous titles.

Super Smash Bros. Melee and Super Smash Bros. Brawl had it so that tether grabs were handicapped in which they were unable to grab airborne opponents, unlike normal grabs. This handicap has been removed in Smash 4.

Thanks to patches, Link's down throw serves as a good combo starter. At early percents, this can lead to up-tilts and up-smashes, while at higher percents it can lead to up-airs.

The main downside now is the longer than average startup, which still exists for Link.

Bombs


Link's bombs in Smash 4 have seen a pretty significant improvement compared to previous entries. For one, if the bomb connects with the opponent then the explosion won't hurt Link even at close range.

This equates to giving Link more combo opportunities and makes for a good OOS (out of shield) option. This is because Link is able to throw bombs while holding shield while skipping the 7 frames of shield drop frames.

The bomb's shorter fuse helps Link in a variety of ways, such as improving his recovery. This, in addition to Link's up-special giving better distance than previously, makes Link's recovery just simply better.

It's also pretty nifty that bombs can be dropped without exploding on the ground, more easily. I feel as though this benefit hasn't been explored enough by players.

Link's (and Toon Link's) bombs in general are also just very versatile projectiles. These projectiles have the tendency to absorb and beat out most other projectiles without prematurely exploding.

Sword and shield


While Link is certainly no Marth in terms of the range and speed of his sword, Link's sword is a fantastic footsies tool once the opponent gets past his projectiles. This can give trouble to characters without their share of disjointed hitboxes.

Given, Link's attacks can feel a bit slow at times but improved movement options make it so that Link can space them out a little better than previously. This is thanks to both a better set of jumps and faster ground speed.

Armed with a couple of double slashing type attacks, the opponent won't always be able to punish the first slash out of having to respect the incoming second slash.

Thanks to the mixups that are possible thanks to how Link's forward-smash functions, this is one of the safest and most damaging forward smashes in the game.

As for Link's shield, it allows him to completely negate projectiles without having to block. New to Smash 4, Link is able to utilize his shield against projectiles even while walking forward.

As an overview, a big part of Link's problems in previous entries was his lack of mobility. In Smash 4, he jumps higher and moves faster.

Better mobility options makes for a better zoning game by allowing him to throw projectiles from better angles more often. Also thanks to how his boomerang and bombs work now, he is able to convert stray projectile hits into combos.

Link's landing lag frame data is basically as good as Sheik's, and is even armed with a long ranged Zair. While these moves can't really be used in such a way as Sheik's moves to carry the opponent across the stage, they do prove useful for poking purposes.

Another problem that Link is perceived to have is the lack of ability to punish opponents who attack the back of his shield. Both back-air and Link's up-special may be good options to cover this perceived blind spot.

What this comes down to is a zoning character that can beat other zoning characters and a poking character that will give characters without disjoints of their own trouble. Link hits hard and has the potential to have very powerful stage control abilities.

While it's true that Link will likely always have trouble against characters like Rosalina thanks to how powerful some anti-zoning tools are, Link could be seeing a rise with enough dedication from players like T.

Source: 2GGaming.

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