Super Smash Bros has always been a very volatile fighting game. The ability to KO an opponent at any moment adds an interesting layer of fear to every match. One slight mistake can lead to a lost stock, which is quite the scary situation. In a game where death can come at any moment, no character invokes more fear than Ganondorf. Being the 5th heaviest character in the game, Ganon deals insane damage, and lives very long. While he doesn’t sit very high on most tier lists, he is one of the most dangerous characters in Super Smash Bros Ultimate. But why?
Ganondorf is a very interesting character, because even the best Ganon players will experience his duality. He’s so strong and does so much damage that he has the potential to kill opponents with as little as 2 hits. On the other hand, his disadvantage state can be so bad that he can be easily gimped, juggled, and killed with relative ease. Which outcome a player ends up depends on a few key factors; the biggest of these being fear.
Top player Nairoby “NRG Nairo” Quezada recently pulled off an incredible reverse 3-0 in tournament vs Paris “rouge Light” Ramirez, (on Fox) using Ganondorf. While the Ganon vs Fox match-up goes heavily in Fox’s favor, Nairo was able to overcome. He did this by invoking fear into Light, who was visibly taken aback after losing a game. While the set was close, Light was a bit thrown off, and seemed unprepared to fight such a high level Ganondorf. Nairo’s win over light proved not only that tiers don’t always matter, but also that fear can play a big factor in a set.
Smash Ultimate Ganondorf is easily the most viable iteration in series history, but he still has some pretty big flaws. Being a heavy means he gets combo’ed hard and can struggle to land. He’s also pretty slow on the ground, so he has a hard time catching fast, camping opponents. When exploited, these weaknesses can destroy Ganon, but he isn’t completely helpless.
Ganon’s moves are so powerful, and do so much damage that he can evaporate a stock in the blink of an eye. Just getting scooped up by his flame choke can lead to huge amounts of damage, especially if the player can make a good read. This is where the fear factor comes in. In theory, a fast, high tier character should destroy Ganon, easily gimp him, and camp him to death. However it’s almost never that simple.
The fact that he can take your stock from only a few hits means that you have to play extra carefully. One slight over-extension or wrong read can lead to him catching you in a devastating loop. Ganon isn’t a super top tier character, but his raw power demands respect; and Ganon players know this. They know that you have to respect his insane kill power, and they can quickly turn that respect into an advantage. You know that one unsafe approach can cost you your stock, so you begin to take less risks with your approaches. You know that over-extending off stage can get you killed, so you edgeguard less, and let him get back onstage for free. Perhaps they’ve already lost an early stock, so now they play much more safely.
This is playing directly into Ganon’s hands. Ganon players are counting on you to be afraid. When you play afraid, you end up missing opportunities. Fear can cause you to let Ganon pressure your shield for free, and get away with very punishable moves. This allows the Ganon player to dictate the flow of the match, and that’s the last thing you want. Ganon is all about momentum, and once he has it you’re in for a world of hurt. If you struggle against Ganondorf the match-up can seem insurmountable. However, there is a way to overcome.
Put him in his place
To beat Ganon, you have to respect him, not fear him. You have to respect his incredible power, but not let him bully you. Ganon is way too strong for you to take lightly, regardless of how good your character is. That being said, you still have to put him in is place. The best way to beat Ganon is to either camp him, or overwhelm him. Either way you can’t let him dictate the pace of the match. Abuse Ganon’s cool-downs and punish his over aggression. Edgeguard him at every possible opportunity, and abuse his very linear recovery. Be patient, but confident; and do not over-extend. Last but certainly not least, if you lose the lead, or feel a surge of momentum coming form the Ganon player, do not panic. When you panic, you give the Ganon player exactly what they need to dominate you.
Ganondorf is a very scary character, who thrives off of the fear of his enemies. If one is to overcome the king of evil, they must pay him respect, but never fear him.
What do you think of Ganondorf in Super Smash Bros Ultimate? Feel free to let us know down in the comments below!
Featured image courtesy of Zelda Universe.
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