Sixx had a great run at the Heir 4 SSBM tournament with his trademark Link. Link is generally (and rightly) ranked as a B-tier character. In theory, he should be outperformed by faster and more tryhard tourney choices such as Fox and Shiek, but in practice a Link specialist can put on a real show. By leveraging Link’s strengths, Sixx battled his way to 9th place out of 476 entrants in the singles bracket with a string of brilliantly entertaining matches. Strong Link play is uncommon, and many commentators are ill-equipped to provide useful insight into the character. It was a rare pleasure to hear on-point discussion from Lolo and Fuzzyness. I’ve pulled three good moments of analystical commentary from one of Sixx’s early matches.
(00:08-00:16) One common way to try and punish an attacker as the defender is to block a hit with shield and then immediately drop the shield to counterattack while the opponent is still locked in the end of their attack animation, but after their attack hitbox has deactivated. Link’s forward smash is resilient against this tactic because the hitbox remains for a long time. The usual trick of dropping shield quickly doesn’t work against this strike due to its lingering hitbox, which will still be live to contact the opponent after their shield comes down. This high-duration hitbox protects Link despite him being a slow character:
(00:27-00:38) Crouch cancelling (CCing) is a SSBM technique where a player holds down on the movement stick while taking a hit, causing them to be knocked back far less than normal due to their character’s friction against the stage floor. CCing is useful because it allows one to take a hit without being knocked out of range to counterattack. Most characters’ down-air attacks hit opponents downwards, making them ideal attacks to crouch cancel. Link’s d-air is unusual in that it instead delivers a powerful popup. Since crouch cancelling depends on stage friction, Link’s popup d-air cannot be CCed. As the commentators point out, Sixx takes advantage of his unusual d-air to get in a one-sided hit on Peach, as she cannot reduce its knockback with a CC:
(04:22-04-55) In this last clip I’ve taken from the match, we hear how Link’s mobility is a weakness. Perhaps his biggest single weakness is the extreme slowness of his jumpsquat, meaning he has a long animation to go through before lifting off from the stage when he tries to start a jump. He is also slow when coming back to stage from the air, as his jumps and attacks have a lot of landing lag before he can start another move. He is a sitting duck to be punished during these windows of forced inactivity. On the bright side, Link’s attacks apply high damage to shields, which can help limit the opponent’s options and provide some safety…assuming the attacks are placed well enough to strike the other character or their shield in the first place: