Hello adventurers and welcome to the first post in a new weekly series here on Adventure Rules, Smash Five! The series is so named because the latest entry in the Super Smash Bros franchise (announced during the March 8th Nintendo Direct) will be the fifth installment in the series, and each post will focus on a top 5 list. I’m really excited to discuss this game, so today I’m gonna jump right in!
With the launch of the Nintendo Switch came the launch of one of the most celebrated Zelda titles of all time, Breath of the Wild. It has won countless awards and set a new record for perfect reviews. With the game having had such a powerful impact on the Switch’s success (at one time the attach rate for this game was 100%), it seems almost inevitable that Nintendo would want to include a new character from this entry into the new Smash Bros. There’s a decent array of options thanks to the Champions and their modern counterparts, but which one would be the best fit? And how would they play? Today I’m going to discuss my top 5 picks.
Quick note before we get started: I’m going to put these in order of my personal preference. That differs from what I think is realistically more likely, so just keep that in mind. Your own personal order might be different from mine, and the order of gamers-at-large probably differs from what both you and I think.
When it comes to the four Champions, Daruk is a pretty cool guy. He’s friendly, boisterous, has a cool design, and grants a very helpful power to Link after defeating Vah Rudania. On top of that, he’s a slow but powerful warrior whose heavy weapon can crush boulders just as easily as skulls. Getting a new heavy character for Smash Bros would be pretty great, and having one that isn’t some monstrous villain would really be a change of pace for the game.
I imagine that Daruk’s basic melee attack would involve his massive fists and his two-handed stone blade. When it comes to specials the first seems obvious – this guy needs a move that utilizes Daruk’s Protection. Of course, in the interest of character variety, we don’t want yet another counterattack move just pasted onto somebody. I think it would be compelling to have Daruk’s recovery fire him upward as if from a cannon, with the shield around him as he hurtles through the air. Attempts to attack Daruk during his recovery would be deflected by the shield. Using this as his up special would be great for getting back on stage unscathed or even just moving safely between platforms.
His other specials are a little trickier to figure out. His side special could cannon him horizontally in the same way his up special cannons him vertically, but that would be a little bland as he’d effectively have two versions of the same special. A better option might be to do a shockwave that hurtles towards opponents, based on the Yiga katanas from Breath of the Wild (and similar to Cloud’s Blade Beam). I’m not entirely sure why, but for Daruk’s neutral special I just picture him giving a barbaric roar. This could maybe clear the area around him and give him space to swing his mighty blade. For his down special, maybe some kind of temporary buff? Shulk has the ability to adjust the power of his sword, so it isn’t totally unprecedented to have a character who can give himself a power boost as one of his specials. Perhaps attach a cooldown to the move (similar to Wario’s fart) that would keep it from becoming too broken.
When it comes to a final smash, the simplest option would be to go with Vah Rudania breathing fire or something. Honestly, the more I think about it the lower Daruk is moving on my list – he started in third place when I began this post but has now shifted down into fifth. Perhaps even more than the other characters, his moveset would look too similar to existing characters – just look at how many comparisons I’ve drawn above. Daruk is a cool Champion but he may not be a great Smash character, at least not as I envision him. Perhaps you can think of better ideas for a Goron moveset, adventurers? Let me know in the comments!
Here’s where things get tricky for me. Sidon is probably my favorite new character introduced in Breath of the Wild. He’s got a fun personality, his connection to Link is probably the most meaningful among the descendants of the Champions, and he’s a Zora (my favorite Zelda race). How can you not love that winning smile? The thing is, although Sidon is a great character and a lot of people love him, he’d be one of the most difficult to add into Smash because the game gives us almost nothing to work with as far as a moveset for him. Not that this has stopped Nintendo before, of course, but for me even though he’s my favorite character, his lack of a definitive fighting style that would be recognizable in the game sets him back a bit.
So how would Sidon fight, exactly? Without anything to go on I think the best option is to gird his loins with Zora weapons from Breath of the Wild and have him sort of represent that overall fighting style. While the Zora spear is two-handed in the source game, maybe Sidon can wield it in one hand and carries the wickedly-curved Silver Sword in the other hand. His specials could involve water and perhaps even allow him to “swim” through the open air, enabling him to move in unique ways that weird out other fighters. Maybe you make this his side special and allow him to do the spin attack like Link does when swimming in the Zora set. It could even serve as a horizontal recovery, allowing Sidon to get back onto the stage if he’s flung sideways.
For a vertical recovery, he could perhaps do a move based on the shrine quest near Zora’s Domain where Link must drive the ceremonial trident into the shrine platform from the top of a waterfall. Sidon could leap upward and then plummet down, driving his spear into the ground and sending out a damaging shockwave. This would be a good vertical recovery but also dangerous if he didn’t make it, causing him to dive down to his doom. For his down special, maybe he does a spinning attack with his sword that knocks enemies back a few steps, putting them in the ideal range for his spear attacks. As far as his neutral special, I don’t have any ideas I’m particularly attached to. I’m picturing a move similar to Ike’s Eruption but with water instead of flames, but since that’s similar to another character’s special it may not be the best option.
When it comes to his final smash, this is another area where Sidon might struggle. If Link weren’t a separate playable character, there could be a cutscene where Link jumps on Sidon’s back, and then the player gets a target cursor they can use to fire arrows at opponents from a position of safety. Maybe put a focus on Sidon’s aquatic mobility by filling the whole stage with water for a few moments, with Sidon as the only character who can still move effectively and giving him a few moments to attack opponents with impunity. Again, Sidon’s lack of any defined combat skills makes this difficult to speculate about.
As much as I love Sidon, I don’t see him being a great character for Smash Bros. Anything they do with his fighting style will have to be based on peripheral elements of Breath of the Wild rather than being based on the character himself. So while Sidon is a great personality for Smash Bros, I think from a combat perspective he’s going to have to stay on the bench. We still have three more slots, so let’s move on to my next one:
Okay, so I know that Revali apparently has a pretty strong following on the internet, but I seriously do not get the appeal. He’s kind of a jerk, and based on what little backstory we see he isn’t a jerk for any justifiable reason. His negative feelings towards Link tend to stem from jealousy more than anything else. But hey, he can fly and shoots arrows so I guess that makes him pretty cool, right? I feel like he could really step on Pit’s toes a little bit, but realistically that’s only one character with strong similarities to Revali (compared to multiple potential overlaps with Daruk). Besides, we have enough skinny sword guys that a second winged archery guy wouldn’t necessarily be throwing the balance off. With that in mind, let’s talk moveset.
Revali’s Gale is so obvious for the recovery slot (Up Special) that it almost hurts. I think it could be changed up from just a generic “soaring upward” move to something a bit more dangerous if he flung arrows out to the sides during the spin, kind of like the move he showed off during his new cutscene in the Ballad of the Champions. Speaking of that, bomb arrows appear to be his specialty, so I think for his standard special he should fire off three of those bad boys. To differentiate his archery, though, I think holding the button should allow him to angle the bow in order to arc his shot, allowing you to shoot over obstacles or other enemies if you aim properly. This would be different than Pit (whose arrows shoot straight in a single direction but can curve) and Link (who literally just shoots in a straight line). The explosive arrows could do some good damage, too – maybe throw in a risk element where the arrow will explode if too much time is spent aiming.
His other moves are a bit less obvious to me, simply because soaring and arrows are kind of Revali’s main jam. One option could be to give Revali multiple arrow types with different advantages and allow him to use his down special to switch between arrows. While a bomb arrow might explode and deal area damage, maybe a fire arrow sets an enemy ablaze and does chip damage over time, while an ice arrow freezes them in place for a few moments. Switching between different arrow types to try different strategies would put a greater focus on Revali playing like an archer, again furthering him from Link and Pit. As far as his side special, I feel like something movement-based makes sense to again emphasize his flight and mobility. Perhaps this move helps him create distance between himself and opponents, since having time to aim and fire would be key to Revali’s strategy. Maybe rather than swooping past the opponent, though, the move gives Revali a sort of backdraft that causes him to retreat from the enemy. This would be helpful for dodging as well as giving Revali some room to fire an arrow or perhaps to up-special to an even more secure position.
As for a final smash, there are a couple of different options. One could be a cutscene-type smash where Revali whirls up and then rains bomb arrows down all over the field, doing pretty good damage to everyone and knocking out those with an already-high damage percent. He could also be given a final smash similar to Diddy Kong’s that allows him to fly around unobstructed and rain down arrows indiscriminately upon his victims below. Alternatively, perhaps Vah Medoh swoops in and fires down Guardian-like beams that the opponents must try and dodge. There are plenty of options here and I think each has its pros and cons mechanically.
Overall, Revali has the potential to be a pretty unique archer compared to the others present in Smash so far. A greater focus on the bow and his maneuverability would make him stand out, but as for me I’d much rather see a more likeable and engaging character included in the game. So while uniqueness earns him some points over the other characters so far, he loses out when it comes to appeal.
Ah yes, the older of the two Zora royal siblings, and the one that no one ships Link with because they like her brother more. Fan reactions to Mipha were somewhat mixed due to her terrible voice acting and somewhat predictable personality. I personally didn’t mind her – I think the story of who she was as a person is told better not through Link’s memories of her, but the memories of her people. The Zora tribe loved Mipha, and the echoes of her loss are still felt in the Zora’s Domain 100 years later. But that’s not why we’re here, right? We’re here to talk about what unique skills Mipha might bring to the table as a fighter in Super Smash Bros.
Mipha’s main weapon is a spear, the Zora Trident, and she would be the first spear-wielding fighter in the Smash Bros lineup. This helps to make her unique when it comes to fighting style, as visually her attacks will look a lot different from the punches or sword slashes of her peers. I imagine that her side special could be a spear throw – after all, throwing weapons is one technique in your arsenal in Breath of the Wild, and it would give Mipha an opportunity for both damage and mobility if she rushed to the spear to pluck it from the ground after it flew. For her standard special, she could perform the charge attack for spears from Breath of the Wild, jabbing multiple times while pushing forward and sending the enemy reeling.
Perhaps the most interesting thing Mipha brings to the table, though, is her ability to heal. Mipha’s Grace works as a fairy on steroids in Breath of the Wild, but the cutscenes show her able to heal at a much slower pace as well. Her powers aren’t limited to the brink of death, so perhaps her down special could be a move where she removes some of the damage percentage she has accumulated. This would be pretty unique from any other Smash character so far – the only trick would be the balancing. Do you place it on a timed cooldown? Lock it to one use per stock? How much damage should it heal? I’m not the expert when it comes to gameplay balance for Smash Bros, but I think having a healing character would be an interesting addition to the roster.
For her up special, they could pull from her ability to swim up waterfalls as demonstrated in the Ballad of the Champions memory of her. She rockets upward in a mighty spray of water, dealing damage to anyone standing too close to her when she activates the move. For her final smash, she could have Vah Ruta spray the battlefield and push opponents off of the edge of the stage a la Mario’s FLUDD. Or perhaps just as Ike gets a more powerful version of his signature move for his final smash, Mipha could gain an even greater healing power that she can utilize to bring herself back from the brink; a defensive final smash rather than an offensive one.
Mipha is similar to Revali in that she’s a strong competitor when it comes to bringing a unique moveset to the table, but she might not be the best example of a great character from the game. With her weapon serving as the first of its kind in Smash and her healing ability being a gamechanger as well, she could definitely stand out if added to the game. However, I think there’s one character left who meets the criteria for both a strong combatant and a cool character that folks would be excited to see in the game. That Champion is:
See folks, THIS is what a Smash Bros contestant looks like. Urbosa delivers on both criteria I’ve established throughout the post: she’s a powerful fighter with potential for unique moves and she has a great personality that would draw folks to want to play as her. Urbosa thoroughly demonstrates her combat prowess in Breath of the Wild (unlike the other characters), and she has some of the best lines in the game. The moment where she talks about how Ganondorf’s past Gerudo identity gives her justification to seek vengeance is fantastic. But although she is powerful, her mentoring and friendship towards Zelda shows that humor and kindness are in her repertoire as well.
Urbosa’s shield and scimitar combination may give you cause for worry – there’s too many swords in Smash Bros, right? – but I think she has a lot of potential to stand out by focusing on her shield as an important part of her fighting style. While Link kind of just holds his the whole time, Urbosa’s battle against the Yiga in Ballad of the Champions shows that she actively uses her shield to give her an edge in combat. Her side special could be the defensive shield bash she uses to knock the Yiga’s weapon away and create an opening for her attacks, temporarily stunning an opponent. For her up special/recovery, she could perform a third jump and then board her shield to surf down towards the stage. If someone tries to juggle her back up into the air, the shield beneath her will block the attempt and just give her a bit of extra lift instead.
Since Urbosa demonstrates herself to use many of the same techniques that Link does in Breath of the Wild, her down special could be a backflip that – if timed correctly – gives her an opening to move in with flurry rush afterwards. Bayonetta already messes with time, so it wouldn’t be too far-fetched for Urbosa to slow things down for a few seconds while she wails on an unsuspecting brawler. As for her standard special, the obvious choice here is Urbosa’s Fury, a snap of her fingers calling lightning down upon her opponents. I could see this being used a couple of different ways – one would be similar to Zelda’s Din’s Fire spell, where a targeting icon of some sort flies out from her and then another press of the button would cause the lightning to strike. Alternatively, it could automatically target any opponent within a small radius of Urbosa, with more damage being dealt the closer they are to her. This approach would recreate the move more faithfully – she doesn’t have to see her opponent to strike them in the game – but it might need more careful balancing.
Urbosa’s final smash could be a supped-up version of Urbosa’s Fury more like the one that Link demonstrates, where multiple lightning bolts crash down on everyone within a large radius of her attack. Or perhaps Vah Naboris could send its lightning to the battlefield, with a large glowing sphere appearing that opponents have to try to escape before they get blasted. Either of these would be pretty fitting and feature abilities that are clearly demonstrated in Breath of the Wild.
Ultimately, Urbosa would be my number one choice when it comes to Breath of the Wild characters to introduce to Super Smash Bros. She has a great personality that’s fun and intense all at once, and she demonstrates excellent combat skills that would be exciting to utilize in Smash. She also adds some much-needed diversity to the cast of Smash as both a female and a non-white character. In my view, she’s the most outstanding of the four Champions, and I think a lot of fans would be really excited to see her join the roster.
Now I turn the conversation to you, adventurers. What Champion or Champions would you like to see enter Smash Bros? Do you have different ideas for what fighting styles they might have? Let me know in the comments below, and be sure to vote for your preferred topic in next week’s edition of Smash Five!