New Sword, Same Old Hits: A Smash Bros. Ultimate Ganondorf Guide
Tue 8th Jan 2019 - 10:26pm
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has been quite a breath of fresh air for a many Smash fans, due to all the fighters returning with new looks as well as tooling with a few of them. One of the characters that went through both is Glandorf, a longtime member of the roster known for his power, disrespectful potential and lack of speed. Along with Ganondof getting a new coat of paint inspired by his Ocarina of Time iteration, he’s received a highly requested change: sword moves. While the sword moves to replace his older smash attacks, it’s still a well needed change adding a bit more accuracy to the character. With all of that considered, how good is Ganondorf is Ultimate? How does one play with his updated moveset? Allow me to elaborate.
Don’t Die on Your Sword!
Let’s get the elephant out of the room. Ganondorf’s sword/smash attacks are fantastic, but like Ganondorf himself, can be punished hard if utilized poorly. While it is easy to spam sword moves, if they are dodged or parried, you’re left in a punishable position. There are plenty of good ways to use his smash attacks, as I will detail later, but take this as a PSA: Don’t be careless with your sword strikes!
Once again, Ganondorf has plenty of good tools for neutral play. Ganondorf’s aerials, particularly neutral air (nair), up air and forward air (fair), can cover a wide variety of options if players can space them properly. An interesting addition to the aerials in Ultimate is that some of them can be cancelled if you fast fall, similar to how they work in older Smash titles like Melee. Mixing up the first and second hits of nair can lead to some excellent call outs of your opponent’s movement, and it can link into up air for some solid damage.
Ganondorf’s specials are also quite useful in neutral. His side special, while occasionally predictable, can be useful in close quarters, plus it can link into down tilt or down smash at lower percents if your opponent techs out. His down special, while easily punished, can be a good gap closer if spaced correctly. As for Ganondorf’s up special, it's good for bullying opponents on platforms. His down tilt and forward tilt are good poke tools, but they don’t combo into anything.
Lastly, Ganondorf’s smash attacks are excellent spacing/punish tools. Due to their long range and beefy damage, it's easy to bully opponents who don’t respect the output of swords. Forward smash in particular is best in neutral, but up smash in closer quarters. Up smash can cover platforms, as well as opponents trying to air dodge behind you. Unfortunately, Ganondorf’s neutral special, the Warlock Punch, lost its super armor from Smash for Wii U, (Smash 4), so it’s now only useful for the hardest of reads, alongside up tilt. Overall, Ganondorf is scary in neutral, but make sure that you’re able to space it properly so you can get the most out of his brilliant moveset.
While Ganondorf has a brilliant kit, one of his key weaknesses is his recovery. While there are many ways to recover, the basic recovery of up special is very predictable and higher-level players can punish it hard. So, instead of doing a basic recovery, there are a few other options. If Ganondorf is hit off the stage and high up, it’s ideal to try and Wizard Foot to cover some distance from the ledge and do a up special out of that to make some of the long distance recoveries. Another idea is to try and wait to use your jump, as well as drifting towards or away from the stage.
Adding drift into the equation leads to more options, as well as widening the possibility for your opponent to not predict your recovery and punish. The last option, which is highly optional, is side special. While it’s a decent recovery option, is also easy to exploit and doesn’t have the best range. Also, I would not recommend using your air dodge off-stage. Since it leaves you in a non-actionable state for an extended period, more often than not you’ll end up missing the ledge and lose easy stocks.
If you’re able to edgeguard properly, stocks disappear in a flash. In terms of predicting your opponent landing, Ganondorf’s aerials cover most options. Up air can predict most high recoveries, while nair and fair can cover on-stage recoveries, alongside forward tilt and down tilt. If you have a bit more time to work with, it’s ideal to try and space a forward smash. In my experience, forward smash is the best option for on-stage recoveries due to its large range, the ability for it be be held for long periods of time, and it can even cover ledge! In terms of off-stage edgeguarding, running off and using nair or up air can certainly mess up most recoveries. If you want to go the more disrespectful route, going for a down air (dair) or a Wizard Foot works if timed properly.
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