Whenever a new fighting game comes out, the tier lists of the strongest fighters are sure to swiftly follow. While these lists are useful, they often miss a certain amount of… nerdly love. Age of Calamity is a game with tons of knowing nods to the previously established world of Breath of the Wild, so in addition to celebrating each fighter’s strengths, we also thought that, to fully capture the spirit of the game, we’d celebrate their delightfulness as well.
So here are all 18 fighters in Age of Calamity, ranked by their merits, based on their strength/usefulness in battle (worth 10 points), plus their delightfulness (worth 5 points). Final scores are out of 15.
Also, I’m going to be using a lot of I-pronouns because, let’s face it, at the end of the day tier lists are a matter of personal preference.
Ouch. Sorry, Yunobo.
As you’ll see in a second, Daruk is already a surprisingly difficult sell, because he’s so goddamn slow. Even though I heartily enjoy his revolving strong attack roster, thanks to the delicious rock roasts he has on hand, Yunobo’s attacks are nowhere near strong enough to justify his slowness. He’s just kinda like Daruk, but… worse.
17. Great Fairies
Yup, the Great Fairies are more delightful than they are useful. While it is quite fun to knock out monsters by blowing them a kiss, the Great Fairies are just too unwieldy to be practical. They’re slow and gigantic, which makes it very difficult to avoid damage. Sadly, not even their giant slaps cancel out their own liability.
Still, their Sheikah Slate moveset is uniquely fun. They can bombard enemies with bombs erupting out of their flower bud, or straight-up slide into enemies struck by stasis.
16. Master Kohga
While it’s pretty fun to imagine Master Kohga as a playable ally, in practice he’s a pretty unsatisfying play. His moves are all very funny, but, like the Fairies, they’re not actually that useful, especially when it comes to his normal moveset.
Still, if you can time it right, his special – the wonderfully named “Big Glowy Blast” – can be quite powerful and function as a one-hit KO for a whole score of enemies.
By the way, here’s a fun fact for ya: “Master Kohga” is a title passed down by the Yiga Clan. So even though this Kohga looks… and talks… like the one in BotW, given what shape we know Impa is in after 100 years, this is not the same Kohga.
If you really love characters that sacrifice number of hits for power of hits, you can build Daruk up and make him work. But, considering everyone on the smorgasbord here, Daruk just often doesn’t feel like he’s worth your time. He’s very slow (as mentioned) and even with strong hits, it can take a while to bring a big monster down.
Still, his invincible armored roll (which also does some attack damage as a dash) is pretty nice, as is making magma explode.
14. King Rhoam
I feel a need for utter transparency on this one. I have *A Thing* against King Rhoam. He’s a sh*tty Dad, and I don’t like him. He’s lucky he got any delightfulness points from me – and it’s only because of Koei Tecmo’s incredibly witty usage of his Old Man disguise from BotW.
Nevertheless, you have to admit that King Bad Dad is a good fighter. You can alternate between his normal kingly appearance, where you can land a bunch of heavy hits, or the Old Man guise, where you can land some not-so-heavy hits with improved speed. This swapping ability makes him easier to play as than other slow characters, such as Daruk.
13. Calamity Ganon
As the game’s final unlockable character (we’re talking way in the post-game,) Calamity Ganon is pretty frickin sweet. There’s just something about seeping enemies in Malice that feels quite rewarding after spending the whole game trying to beat this jerk.
Still… he’s slow. And big. But he’s much more adaptable than Daruk, and while not quite as adaptable as King Rhoam, he’s more fun to play as. Somewhat objectively. I think.
12. Monk Maz Koshia
The surprise badass of the game is the mummified-looking Monk Maz Koshia. Who knew these crusty old monks could pack such a wallop?
In the absence of proper shrines in Age of Calamity, Koei Tecmo packed all their shrine callbacks into ol’ Maz. Hell, one of his strong attacks even consists of slamming an orb into a platform that appears out of thin air, which makes a shrine pop out of the ground, sending enemies flying. Delightful and useful.
Monk Maz’s special ability is to turn gigantic – which can be a weak point, similar to the Great Fairies, except when used strategically. If you don’t leave your back or sides vulnerable, Monk Maz can really get a good bop in there.
Let me be transparent: I had to tone down my own opinion about Hetsu for this one, because he’s my very favorite character from Breath of the Wild. And maybe all of Zelda. Which says something, for me.
Many players place him at the very bottom of their Age of Calamity lists, but I feel I must come to Hetsu’s defense because why don’t you want to beat up enemies with maracas?!
From a tactful perspective, you can also see exactly the area in which Hetsu’s attacks land, which is quite nice. Plus, it’s nice that his bomb attacks lob tons of bombs, and his cryonis will just plop a frozen pillar right on the head of a baddie.
But let’s be honest: I love Hetsu because he’s such a dang joy. Chucking metal chests at enemies with his Korok friends, sailing on a Korok leaf, being lifted by his Korok pals to crash into enemies… did I also mention that his weapon is his maracas?
10. Riju (and Patricia)
Riju – along with Patricia, who we are assured is the best sand seal – is the only character that excels at dash attacks from the outset. Paired with her regular moveset, this means she’s useful for knocking out hordes of enemies, especially if they’re somewhat scattered. However, mowing down stronger monsters in one-on-one battles is a bit trickier with Riju. It’s not hopeless, though – especially if you tease out which combo sends her and Patricia into the air to land a critical hit.
Used strategically, Riju can be a surprisingly strong character. Also, she gets major delightfulness points, because who doesn’t like a good sand seal?
Hyrule’s cutest Guardian/best BB8 is another late-game addition to the fighting roster. After getting owned so frequently by Guardian beams, wielding them yourself is immensely satisfying.
Terrako can positively own crowds, thanks to a vacuum-like attack which not only collects a ton of foes in one place, it spurts them upwards like one of Mipha’s fountains. He’s a bit trickier to use for bigger, stronger enemies, but, like Riju, the dedicated player can absolutely manage to transform him into a badass.
Also, those chirps.
Whether Teba or Revali is more fun to play as is actually a really tough call. On one hand, you can properly fly with Revali, and choose when to fly, which is excellent. On the other hand, you can make wonton arrows rain from the sky with Teba, which is also excellent. And you can float in the air while absolutely owning hordes of monsters with arrow after arrow.
The only downside to Teba is that it can take a while to clear strong enemies with him. While he’s excellent to mow down groups, he doesn’t really have any single attacks that whittle down strong enemies efficiently. However, he gets big up for being the only character who can actually aim his stasis. He also has a refreshingly amount of control over his bombs.
It would’ve really been a bummer if Sidon was a difficult fighter to play as, seeing as his chipper smile made him a fan favorite in BotW. Fortunately for everyone, he’s a really solid fighter who’s useful for both hordes and one-and-ones.
What’s more, his special is “charisma.” If used well, he can eviscerate tons of enemies at once. If not used with the proper timing, he flashes his bold smile – which isn’t what you wanted at that moment, sure, but it’s a nice consolation prize.
His score gets docked a bit because his bombs are a bit tedious – you have to swing them like a golf ball, which means you need to both time them properly and somehow aim. Needless to say, this is rather difficult and involved for a key function, not to mention it takes a bit too long.
On the other hand, his dash is a shark.
I wanted to like Urbosa more than Link, but when it comes down to it, she’s just not as fast. And I like fast.
Still, there’s nothing more satisfying than embodying a badass lady with six-pack abs that can electrify hordes of monsters. While Urbosa’s lightning attacks are excellent for large hordes of monsters, you’ll find that when it comes to one-on-one battles, you’ll have an easier time with Link. Urbosa’s cryonis also has the unique ability to use your frozen pillar as a lightning rod, which certainly comes in handy.
All of the animations following Urbosa’s special attack or critical hits are excellent, because sassy snaps while monsters crumble beneath your mighty sword are always excellent.
Revali took me by surprise, because I freaking hated him in Breath of the Wild (c’mon, he’s such a cocky asshole), but he’s an absolute joy to play as in Age of Calamity. Because flying.
Revali is arguably the best character in the game (except maybe for Teba) for mowing down huge hordes. Plus, you can do this from the sky – and while this is quite far from affording you complete immunity to attacks, it’s pretty nice. This is especially true when you take the opportunity to scoop up a Bokoblin with Revali’s talons, like the proper bird of prey he is.
Additionally, Revali’s Sheikah Stone moveset is perhaps one of the best in the game, because his attacks also cover a ton of ground.
Sheikah Slate Usefulness: 5/10
Bow of Light Usefulness: 9/10
Total (highest possible): 13/15
At the start of the game, I wanted to be super into playing as Zelda right away – after all, how many (probably) canonical Legend of Zelda games exist where you can actually play as the titular character?! (Spoiler: none, except this one.)
However, I found her Sheikah Slate move set a little cumbersome. Very delightful (shout out to the mining cart and the cryonis platform hops that would make Elsa from Frozen proud), but cumbersome. The Sheikah Slate moveset is for players who don’t mind technical fighters, but if you just want something closer to a hack-and-slash (which… guilty), you have to wait for the Bow of Light.
When Zelda does get the Bow of Light, hot damn does she kick ass. Learning when to opt for the god-like Luminescent form or just to save up for a special attack takes some strategic adjustment, but it’s worth it. It’s excellent.
No surprise, Zelda is very adept with using the Sheikah Slate. In particular, the walking bomb that bursts little mini-bombs from itself in the Slate moveset is unlike anything else in the game, and I love it.
Going into Age of Calamity, I was wondering if Mipha would be a weak fighter – after all, they really lean on the “healer” thing in Breath of the Wild. To my joyous surprise, Mipha is actually the strongest of the Champions in this game.
Firstly, her trident has a long reach, which – like Link’s spear – is useful for not getting unnecessarily up-close-and-personal. But her true combat ability lies in her ability to generate whirlpools, which allow you to blink. If you place your whirlpools well, Mipha will pop out and land a critical hit. Or, sometimes, you just end up mashing the button and continuously create new whirlpools when you’re trying to blink, which is the only reason she gets a deduction.
Plus, Mipha can not only heal herself with her special – she can heal allies around her. This makes her essential for large and/or hard group battles, where apples can be scarce.
As for the delightfulness… I just really like trapping Bokoblins in a mini-tsunami or giant whirlpool.
Sword+Shield Usefulness: 10/10
Spear Usefulness: 7/10
Two-Handed Weapon Usefulness: 7/10
Total (highest possible): 14/15
Listen, we all know Link is delightful. I love my boy very, very much. And while I heartily appreciate that eating and shield surfing have been worked into his various movesets, you can play as Link in any ol’ Zelda game.
Still, there’s little as satisfying in the gaming world as swinging the Master Sword at some monsters. While Link’s obviously strong, his usefulness in the game comes largely from his ability to shoot arrows on his sword + shield moveset. This means you can land critical hits more easily with Link than almost any other character in the game.
Also, the fact that he tosses his bombs and you can actually aim them is quite nice. Otherwise, his Sheikah Slate moveset is comfortably standard.
GO NINJA GO NINJA GO.
Ahem, if I may universalize for a moment: everyone loves ninjas. They’re just cool. And fast, and strong, which helps in games like this. But a lady ninja?! Who can make spirit duplicates?! Get outta here, that’s almost too good.
Impa is nearly universally accepted as the strongest character in this game. How many fighting games have you played where a woman is hands-down the strongest character? There’s all your delightfulness points right there.
If you fill all of Impa’s seals, you can fill up her special meter in no time at all – faster than any other character by far, making her the best choice for tough fights against strong enemies. You can also strategically use the seals to slowish-blink – get away from an attack, then transport close when they’re vulnerable.
Impa’s Sheikah Slate moveset is nothing particularly special. It’s fun to ride around in your frozen cryonis pillar, but I honestly almost never used that in battle.
Also, shout out to giant frogs. And giant spirit frogs.