Sweat mingled with the blood as it was washed away by the beating rain. Was it his, the blood? Did it matter? He felt as bad as his opponent looked, and it was his opponent’s look that continued to trouble him. Not only his appearance, but the way he moved, the effortless way he swung the sword, meeting his own between them and letting out a shriek of metal. That sword, so like his own. So much of this was mirrored, but the differences maligned his doppelganger assumption. He was charging at him now, and so he too would meet his foe for another few swings and cuts before they succumbed to exhaustion. The lightning cracked again, illuminating the field and the eerily familiar face and vestments of his opponent.
Link was fighting himself.
The Legend of Zelda is a unique series in that while the characters are repeated across nearly all entries, they are, most of the time, different versions of the ones that came before. There is always a Link, but it’s not always the same Link as the one we saw before, nor will it likely be the same Link we’ll see in the next adventure. The same holds true for Zelda and Ganon, when he chooses to show up to the villainous role. There are similarities, but also differences. This combination of same and different gives rise to a curious question that is wholly unique to the series: Which Link is strongest?
Now a better question might be which Link is the most courageous, since it’s the Triforce of Courage that is represented by the green-tunicked hero. However, courage is a hard value to measure. It might be possible to stack up the accomplishments of each version of Link, looking at the breadth of difference between how strong Link was at the start of the adventure and how monumental the main quest was. The bigger the gap, the more courageous Link had to be to decide to face the peril. Unfortunately, to do it that way would be insurmountable, requiring the measurement of each Link at his weakest and the strength of each villain comparatively. It’s just too daunting. So instead, we’ll go over which Link is the strongest.
For the sake of my own ease, I’ve limited the pool of Link candidates to just those from the 3D console games. These include: Ocarina of Time, Majora’s Mask, Wind Waker, Twilight Princess, Skyward Sword, Hyrule Warriors, and Breath of the Wild. After looking over the Links from the handheld and/or 2D games, I’ve determined that it’s the 3D Links that tend to display the most prowess. If you feel this is an oversight, feel free to let me know in the comments below!
The ranking will be displayed from weakest to strongest. Originally, the contest would be a free for all battle against each other, but as I mulled that over, it was simply too staggering a task to fathom. Instead, in the interest of fairness, the question becomes: how would each fair against Wind Waker’s Ganon? I chose this version of Ganon because the fight pits him against Link in a sword fight, Link’s go-to weapon of choice. It feels like a true level playing field against the two adversaries. It’s also my favorite Ganon fight, so there. Again, if you feel this could have been done a different, better, way, please let me know.
#7: “Skyward Sword” Link
Strengths: Growth, territorial advantage
This is the Link I’m the least familiar with on since I never played Skyward Sword (here’s hoping for a Switch remaster). Nevertheless, I did my research, more on him than any other Link because of my unfamiliarity. Where this Link shines is his ability to upgrade his gear. While Breath of the Wild’s Link can do the same, he can only upgrade his armor, whereas this Link can upgrade all his items and even potions. The Mogma Mitts give Link a unique skill over the other Links, allowing him to burrow underground and attack from below. He might be able to use this to his advantage, allowing him to get the jump on Ganon. His Guardian Potion+ means he could shrug off any damage for a set amount of time.
Still, this Link shows no strong combat capabilities compared to the other Links. His arsenal is upgradable, but more limited than other versions of himself. He could certainly win against Ganon, but he brings nothing special to the table other than the Mitts, which offer up only a territorial advantage.
Power Level: 4/10
#6: “Wind Waker” Link
Strengths: Wind control, enhanced sword training
Don’t discount Wind Waker’s Link just because of his child status. This Link can do both a Back Slice and a Parry. Both abilities are extremely powerful, and when used properly make this Link a formidable opponent. Sadly, the game’s token unique power, the ability to control the wind, and Link’s sailing skills don’t help in the slightest for this fight, nor would it really help for any fight against the Ganon line-up.
Despite doing well for his size, it’s likely he would have had a much easier time if he was a bit more grown up. Being taller would give him more reach, and being bigger more strength.
Power Level: 6/10
#5: “Hyrule Warriors” Link
Strengths: Overwhelming power, unlimited ammo
This Link comes with the most destructive power of any of the Links, by far. He can wipe out entire armies like it was nothing. Unfortunately, against named opponents like Volga and Cia, it balances to more normalized conditions. Regardless, it’s hard to discount just how much devastation this Link can cause.
He also comes with a wide selection of weapons to choose from, each with unique means of dispatching his enemies. However, he can only use one main weapon at a time. In my opinion, the Ball and Chain + Power Gauntlets are his strongest weapons, allowing him to bring up entire huge columns of stone and swing one like a bat. This would be devastating when it hits Ganon, though Ganon would likely be able to dodge them quite often, given how effortlessly he moves in Wind Waker.
Power Level: 7/10
#4: “Breath of the Wild” Link
Strengths: Survivability, wide weapon selection
The freshest Link on the scene, it may surprise some that he’s not higher on the list, given the big tasks he’s given and completes. Yet with his move set and weapon durability problem, he’s not as strong as you might think. Like OoT Link with his Biggoron Sword, BotW Link can get weapons that surpass the Master Sword in terms of raw power. Unlike the Master Sword, these weapons break, putting him at a distinct disadvantage in longer fights. Against WW Ganon, it shouldn’t be too much of a problem, however. This Link isn’t used to an enemy who is as skilled a swordsman as WW Ganon, though, so his fight may be going on longer than he’d like.
Where this Link shines most is his survivability. BotW Link has the most hearts available to him, but lacks the defensive boosts of Magic Armor and Silver Hearts. Still, this Link can take a hit, and can easily pause the fight to grab a snack or two. No other Link can hold that much recovery in their pockets, as they’re always limited to the number of bottles they’re allowed to carry. Link’s culinary skills truly help him in this instance.
Power Level: 7/10
#3: “Ocarina of Time” Link
Strengths: Biggoron Sword, Magic
By far one of the most memorable Links, OoT Link took the green tunic hero out of childhood and into the hearts of young girls and boys everywhere. He’s not just a pretty face, though, he’s got skills to back up his wielding of the Master Sword. Though he lacks things like Parry and Back Slice, his Z-targeting means an enemy would have a hard time getting away from him. But then, all the Links have a lock on, so it doesn’t help him stand out from the rest. He does, however, have magic spells at his disposal, giving him the power to deflect damage and let out a wave of fire.
OoT Link has an answer for nearly any situation, too. Fire arrows, ice arrows, fire tunic, Zora tunic, you name it. He also comes equipped with the Golden Gauntlets, which give him strength meeting that of Hyrule Warriors’ Link. Silver Hearts essentially double his max hearts to 40, as they allow him to only take half damage from attacks. Bringing the Biggoron Sword into battle, Link sacrifices a shield in favor of more raw damage, something few other Links can boast. Unfortunately, his Ocarina would not offer him any advantages in a fight against WW Ganon, as it was primarily used to warp from place to place. This Link also doesn’t have anything unique about him. He’s almost like a baseline Link, in a lot of ways.
Power Level: 7/10
#2: “Twilight Princess” Link
Strengths: Enhanced sword training
This Link does have the wolf form, unique solely to him, but it likely won’t help him at all against a skilled sword user like Ganon. However, what will help him are the hidden combat skills he can learn from the stal warrior he can summon throughout this adventure. Ending Blow, Shield Bash, Back Slice, Mortal Draw, etc., they all offer Link terrific offensive and defensive capabilities to better face off against Ganon.
TP Link also comes with the Hawkeye bow, giving him the longest bow range and accuracy of any Link. Magic Armor provides total defense at the cost of rupees, but so long as he goes into the fight with a full wallet, he’ll be fine. The Ball and Chain appear with his arsenal, giving him reach and raw power. It’s hard to find any weaknesses for this Link.
Power Level: 9/10
#1: “Majora’s Mask” Link
Strengths: Adaptability, overwhelming power
Far and away the Link from Majora’s Mask is the strongest Link there ever was, hands down. His only real weakness is that he’s the size of a child, limiting his reach, but as WW Link has shown, you can’t discount a kid just for their size. Regardless, with the Goron Mask and Zora Mask, he can easily turn himself into a bigger opponent. Link has a mask for any situation, giving him faster run speed, control of cuccos and the undead, a bomb for a face, etc.
Of course, what really helps him stand out is the Fierce Deity mask. Link has never been more powerful than when he donned the Fierce Deity mask. Though he forgoes using a shield, the double-helix blade more than makes up for that loss with tremendous power. Even though some may say that since it’s not canon, it doesn’t count, I say look at Hyrule Warriors and the kind of destruction MM Link, especially with the Deity mask on, can accomplish. He cuts the freakin’ moon in half! Nothing Ganon can throw at this Link would hinder him in the slightest Any of Link’s weaknesses are countered by a mask that makes that point trivial, so it’s easy to see why MM Link is the strongest Link ever.
Power Level: 10/10
So, there you have it, the seven candidates ranked from weakest to strongest with arbitrary power levels granted to each. It’s difficult to measure the strength of a character against another unless they have an equal contest of strength to compare their results from. Games like Super Smash come close, but the non-canonical nature of them makes the results debatable. Same for Hyrule Warriors. Because of this, the results come down heavily to opinion, though I tried to be as objective as possible, looking at all the Links’ gear and how their items and skills beyond just having the Master Sword helped them in their own games.
Yet, because opinion is such a strong factor, I’m sure you, the reader, have your own thoughts on which Link is the strongest there is, and I’d love to hear them! Please feel free to share them in the comments below. And so, I close with one final thought: Which Ganon is the most powerful?