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Who is Link?[]

Aside from being the single most dominant force to ever grace the contest scene, Link is the main character of the brilliant Legend of Zelda series. The original Legend of Zelda was the first game to ever hit one million sales without being packed with a system, and the series has only grown exponentially from there. The true beauty of the Zelda series is that the series always finds a way to rise up above the hype that the games generate. As good as the original Legend of Zelda was, The Adventure of Link was that much better. With all of the hype generated from the Zelda success on the original Nintendo, Link to the Past only exceeded it by being one of the single greatest games of all time. And with all of the hype generated from that game, the Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask were two Nintendo 64 Zelda titles that had fans of the series in a state of euphoria for literally years. When you add in Link's Gameboy titles and his occasional appearance on the side, you have one of the single most solid lineups ever created for one character. Link's one flaw could be considered the CDi games, but the games received bad publicity for its graphics more than anything else, as did the Wind Waker at first, for using cel-shaded graphics, however this changed when everybody played the game, the graphics gave a nice feel, and the gameplay was as good if not better than ever.

Link is different from the Final Fantasy characters in that Link is the main character in every Zelda title. Final Fantasy is a powerful force that produces powerful characters, but those characters do not appear in every game in the series. Link appears in every game in the Zelda series, and even if some people don't like some of the games that Link appears in, they are still likely to vote for Link based upon the grounds of him appearing in other games. He simply has too many high-profile titles to draw popularity from for most other characters to even stand a chance against him in a poll. And not only does Link himself appear in a lot of games, but the games are simply amazing. Most every game in the Zelda series enthrall those who play it in a blanket of solid gameplay, difficult bosses, a myriad of items and special skills, and a gaming experience that rarely takes a back seat to anything else.

But for all that Link has done in his career thusfar, the best may be yet to come. The next Zelda title may very well be one of the single greatest games of all time; it is certainly looking to be that way with what we have seen to this point, and should the game live up to the hype that it is generating, then the only way that Link may ever lose a contest on GameFAQs again is if he doesn't even enter in the first place. Considering that there are very rare examples in which a Zelda game does not live up to its own hype, then this is certainly within the realm of possibility. If Link wasn't dominant in his current state, then he may very well be untouchable after the next Zelda title is released.

"May the way of the hero lead to the Triforce." -Zelda

Contest History[]

Win-Loss Record: 49-3

Summer 2002 Contest - South Division - 2 seed

  • Southern Round 1 --- Defeated (15) Little Mac, 59509 [84.31%] - 11076 [15.69%]
  • Southern Quarterfinal --- Defeated (7) Strider Hiryu, 53992 [75.77%] - 17270 [24.23%]
  • Southern Semifinal --- Defeated (3) Jill Valentine, 61931 [72.63%] - 23342 [27.37%]
  • Southern Final --- Defeated (5) Scorpion, 69544 [75.98%] - 21991 [24.02%]
  • Contest Semifinal --- Defeated (7) Sephiroth, 58273 [56.65%] - 44597 [43.35%]
  • Contest Final --- Defeated (1) Mario, 61415 [62.53%] - 36796 [37.47%]
  • Extrapolated Strength --- 1st Place [50.00%]

Summer 2003 Contest - North Division - 1 seed

  • Northern Round 1 --- Defeated (16) AiAi, 92998 [91.35%] - 8802 [8.65%]
  • Northern Quarterfinal --- Defeated (9) Fox McCloud, 81148 [82.46%] - 17261 [17.54%]
  • Northern Semifinal --- Defeated (13) Magus, 72188 [65.07%] - 38747 [34.93%]
  • Northern Final --- Defeated (2) Samus Aran, 67294 [62.06%] - 41139 [37.94%]
  • Contest Semifinal --- Lost to (1) Cloud, 71438 [48.39%] - 76199 [51.61%]
  • Extrapolated Strength --- 2nd Place [48.39%]

Summer 2004 Contest Hyrule Division - 1 seed

  • Hyrule Round 1 --- Defeated (16) CATS, 72344 [87.83%] - 10025 [12.17%]
  • Hyrule Quarterfinal --- Defeated (8) Ganondorf, 77295 [87.90%] - 10640 [12.10%]
  • Hyrule Semifinal --- Defeated (5) Yoshi, 76476 [81.74%] - 17082 [18.26%]
  • Hyrule Final --- Defeated (3) Crono, 58840 [62.82%] - 34821 [37.18%]
  • Contest Semifinal --- Defeated (1) Mega Man, 63913 [67.61%] - 30622 [32.39%]
  • Contest Final --- Defeated (1) Cloud, 64443 [51.82%] - 59910 [48.18%]
  • Extrapolated Strength --- 1st Place [50.00%]

There are dominant performances in Summer Contests, and then there is the track record that Link has managed to build up over the last three years. For every flash in the pan that has appeared to challenge for a contest crown, Link has managed to take them all down. Since day one, Link has been able to meet every challenge head-on, and not only has he been able to win, he has been able to absolutely demoralize and destroy nearly every opponent he has ever faced.

In 2002, Link was thought to be powerful going into the contest; however, all the talk was about Mario. Oddly enough, Link had the same odds of winning the contest as Sephiroth that year. Link almost took this as a challenge, and not only did he respond by winning the contest, but he flat-out annihilated every opponent he faced, including Sephiroth, en route to a Summer Contest victory in the first Summer Contest ever held on GameFAQs. Link was so dominant that year that he broke 60% five times, 70% four times, and 80% once. The only character that was even able to break 40% was Sephiroth himself, and Sephiroth was never in the match from the start.

2003 was more of the same for Link. Link's dominance in 2002 caused almost 18,000 people to pick him to win it all, and considering how easily he won it all in 2002, there was little reason to think he wouldn't win it all again. Everything began as expected for Link. He not only retained his 2002 level of dominance, but he looked even stronger than he ever did in 2002 (if this was even possible) after the first four matches of the 2003 contest. Not only did AiAi, Fox, Magus, and Samus fail to defeat Link, but they failed to put so much as a scratch on him. None of them managed to break 40%, and on top of this, Link held Fox under 20%, and AiAi under 10%. Link was looking primed and ready to win the 2003 contest with ease, but in the Final Four, Link met the first character that was able to hit him back in Final Fantasy 7's Cloud Strife. After Link managed to gain the early lead in the poll, Cloud came back, took the lead, and held on tight through 24 hours and 147,637 total votes, still a record that will likely never be broken. The fact that it took over 75,000 votes to bring Link down is impressive in and of itself, but the fact that it took such a large effort to take him down speaks volumes about just how strong Link is in the contest setting. Even more impressive is the fact that Link was handicapped by his Wind Waker picture for that Final Four match with Cloud. The match, in essence, could very well have been Cloud vs Wind Waker Link in the eyes of many, and this could have easily been just enough to turn the match in Cloud's favor. The obvious question was soon raised, and that was what would have happened had the match pic featured Link's adult picture instead of his Wind Waker model. It would only take but one year to find out.

As powerful as Link was in the first two contests, nothing could prepare the field for what he was about to do in 2004. The only blemish on his record in two years was to Cloud Strife, and as if possessed by hell itself, Link set out to conquer one opponent, and one opponent only. But before his rematch with Cloud, Link first had to absolutely obliterate five opponents unlucky enough to get in his way. But despite any and all common sense, those opponents took their best shots at trying to take Link down anyway. The end result, of course, were five characters left to die in the corner while Link marched on with a force that made him look stronger than he had ever looked in the past. One quick look at Link's 2004 stats verifies this. Link gave CATS the worst percentage loss of his contest career, and after Link was done wiping the floor with CATS, he went out and beat down Ganondorf with such force that CATS himself placed higher than Ganondorf in the unadjusted Xsts for 2004. Link then proved that he was all business in this contest, as he not only held Yoshi to under 20%, but proceeded to make Crono look like an absolute joke in the battle of the mute swordsman. Crono was beaten down so badly that by the end of the match, Crono was only able to do all of 2% better against Link than Magus. After brushing off Crono like a bad case of the fleas, Link then proceeded to not only beat down Mega Man in the Final Four, but he managed to give Mega Man a beating that many thought impossible to give. Link was a man possessed in the 2004 contest, but he wasn't quite done yet.

Link capped off his 2004 campaign by taking down the one character who was able to defeat him by beating Cloud himself in the final. Cloud gave it everything he had for the first few hours, but once the morning vote kicked in, Link was able to use the momentum from his own voting block to put Cloud away once and for all. By the end of the poll, Link was able to take down Cloud with 51.82% of the vote. It wasn't much, but it was larger than what Cloud was able to do in 2003. Link's mission was accomplished, and he was able to get his revenge on the one character who was able to beat him across three contests. The only thing left for Link to do now is to consider whether or not he has anything left to prove. There has been talk of Link retiring from the contests, simply because it has become fairly obvious that it takes a small miracle to even break 40% on him, let alone beat him. Two characters, and two characters only, have ever been able to even break 40% on Link: Cloud and Sephiroth. And Link has beaten them both.

Just to put Link's power into perspective, the next highest percentage that anyone has been able to manage on him after Cloud/Sephiroth is Samus Aran's 37.94% in 2003. Link is no longer a mere character among the field in these contests. He has grown to be damned-near untouchable, and the scariest part about Link is that he hasn't even reached his full potential yet. Once the new Zelda comes out, Link may very well grow powerful enough to render these contests target practice. He's arguably at that point already, which is why so many are considering taking both him and Cloud out of the contests. Link simply has too many solid games to draw popularity from, and no one else really stands much of a chance to beat him anymore.

But this is not necessarily a bad thing. When you grow powerful to the point of everyone wanting you gone, then there is no greater compliment. Should a Hall of Fame ever be created to retire contest winners, Link's name will undoubtedly be the highlight of the list. He deserves it, and has earned it with his performance.

Summer 2005 Contest - Tournament of Champions - 1 Seed

  • Tournament of Champions Semifinal --- Defeated (2) Cloud, 62541 [52.44%] - 56724 [47.56%]
  • Tournament of Champions Final --- Defeated (3) Sephiroth, 65397 [54.94%] - 53628 [45.06%]
  • Extrapolated Strength --- 1st Place [50.00%]

What else can possibly be said about Link's power in these things? He's gotten strong to the point where it would be a miracle to ever see him lose another match. He was removed from the main bracket in Summer 2005 just to give the rest of the field their fun, and then he proceeded to squash them all like bugs when he was finally put into a match.

And it will only get worse for everyone else. Summer 2005 was a year in which Nintendo dominated, and if Advent Children doesn't exist you'd see Cloud and Sephiroth doing much worse on him. Not only this, but can you imagine how strong Link will be after Twilight Princess? God help everyone else in the contest field after that happens.

Summer 2006 Contest - Battle Royal

  • Battle Royale Day 1 --- Outlasted Samus, 43679 [27.41%] - 12335 [7.74%]
  • Battle Royale Day 2 --- Outlasted Mario, 49567 [34.91%] - 15878 [11.18%]
  • Battle Royale Day 3 --- Outlasted Sephiroth, 57860 [42.68%] - 22754 [16.79%]
  • Battle Royale Day 4 --- Outlasted Solid Snake, 67579 [44.65%] - 29733 [19.64%]
  • Battle Royale Final --- Defeated Cloud, 82165 [53.93%] - 70195 [46.07%]
  • ULTIMATE BATTLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! --- Lost to Jay Solano, 1768 [48.15%] - 1904 [51.85%]
  • Extrapolated Strength --- N/A

There's really nothing left to say about Link's dominance, and it's downright stupifying that his strength is only bound to go up --- a lot --- thanks to Twilight Princess. It's insane. One could very justly postulate Link being the sole reason for the widespread increase in Nintendo popularity over the past three years.

Of course, Link was no match for the Noble Nine-slaying BEAST that was Jay Solano. Of all the characters we've picked to break the Noble Nine over the years, no one would have EVER thought the first victim to be Link. Ever. And the match took place during a sanctioned contest poll on GameFAQs(only on board 8), so shut up about it being a gimmick <_<

Summer 2007 Contest - Division 4 - First Group

Link looked as dominant as ever in his contest rampage in this contest...until the finals anyway. He broke a character contest record for most individual votes in a fourway match, as he scored over 70% there. I think he was purposefully put into the weakest fourpack imaginable just to see what he could do, and he did not disappoint. He dominated his division, never falling below 45% in three matches. Even when Cloud and Sephiroth came into the equation, they couldn't touch him. It took the incredible contest run of L-Block to put a stop to Link. Strangely enough, two of the three times that he has lost in these contests have been in unusual circumstances against a joke character. Perhaps that's his weakness.

Summer 2008 Contest - Division 1 - Second Group

The Hylian Hammer probably took his loss to L-Block in 2007 a little too seriously, and the results here show why. Link dominated his entire division, taking at least 50% of the vote each time. When the quarterfinals came, Link let Zack, Mario, and X fight for the second spot while leaving them in the dust. The only struggle Link remotely had in this contest was the first few hours against Solid Snake in the finals, and even then, Link managed to pull far ahead before the match ended. Regardless, whether you say he's a 5-time champ (I don't count 2005 or 2006 since he wasn't in the official contest bracket) or a 3-time champ, Link is a force to be reckoned with and then some.

Winter 2010 Contest - Hyrule Division - 1 seed

  • Hyrule Round 1 --- Defeated (16) Thrall, 48367 [79.81%] - 12232 [20.19%]
  • Hyrule Round 2 --- Defeated (8) Alucard, 43055 [71.79%] - 16916 [28.21%]
  • Hyrule Semifinal --- Defeated (13) Mega Man X, 36790 [67.28%] - 17891 [32.72%]
  • Hyrule Final --- Defeated (3) Luigi, 41062 [71.13%] - 16669 [28.87%]
  • Contest Quarterfinal --- Defeated (1) Sonic the Hedgehog, 37755 [70.23%] - 16004 [29.77%]
  • Contest Semifinal --- Defeated (1) Mario, 67456 [64.57%] - 37006 [35.43%]
  • Contest Final --- Defeated (1) Cloud Strife, 69074 [53.54%] - 59944 [46.46%]
  • Extrapolated Strength --- 1st Place [50.00%]

As usual Link was the heavy favorite to win the 8th edition of this contest. In the first few rounds it seemed that Link has lost his step, but many other powerful characters were doing the same so people blamed it on anti-blowoutFAQs. Link however kicked it up a notch later into the contest and it seemed that he would be the run away winner of the entire contest. However Cloud had other plans and performed surprisingly well against Link, especially considering Cloud's performance against Samus and Solid Snake. It is pretty clear that Link indeed lost his step, but despite that he was still able to win. Debates of whether or not to ban him have risen since the end of this contest.

Fall 2010 Contest - Bonus Match

  • Bonus Poll --- Defeated Santa Claus, 56402 [60.49%] - 36846 [39.51%]

Many cases have been made for the expansion of contests to include all characters appearing in games, but if anything becomes the "last straw," this match is it. While Santa failed to break 40%, his final percentage was better than five Noble Niners have ever achieved against Link.

Summer 2013 Contest - Division 1 - 1 seed

  • Division 1 Round 1 --- 1st place, 21024 [72.67%] - Isaac (Binding), 4443 [15.36%] - Tingle, 3463 [11.97%]
  • Division 1 Round 2 --- 1st place, 16652 [60.05%] - Raiden, 6127 [22.09%] - Yoshi, 4953 [17.86%]
  • Division 1 Final --- 2nd place, 53703 [44.02%] - Draven, 54468 [44.65%] - Commander Shepard, 13829 [11.34%]
  • Bonus Match -- Defeated Solid Snake, 30420 [53.48%] - 26465 [46.52%]

As usual, Link was strongly favoured to win the contest - with only a few people picking Solid Snake to win it all by taking advantage of a potential Mario/Link Nintendo LFF split in the final. Link's performance in Round 1 was actually seen by some as somewhat disappointing, which perhaps says a lot about his strength. After scoring 60% against Raiden and Yoshi, though, it was clear that any steps Link had lost were baby ones.

The Division 1 Final match easily became one of the most controversial matches in contest history, rivaling that of Mario vs Crono in 2003, exactly 10 years ago. It is interesting to note that in both matches, the winner (Mario in 2003, Draven in 2013) was not favored by much of GameFAQs to win. In that same year, Cloud beat Link (Link: 48.39% to Cloud: 51.61%) by a bigger margin that Draven did this year (Link: 49.65% to Draven: 50.35%) when only these two were compared. Also, in 2003, CJayC was accursed after the match between Mario and Crono, much like how SBAllen was in 2013 between Link, Draven and Shepard. In addition, during the 2003 match, Mario was also believed to have been rallied to victory by suspicious polls, messages and e-mails. Match analysis are provided below. 

In the meantime after Link's victory in Round 2, newcomer Draven was becoming possibly the most controversial entrant in contest history. On the back of an enormous rally from reddit, Draven had secured one of the biggest comebacks ever to defeat Jak and Chie Satonaka in Round 1. In Round 2, Draven had beaten down Ryu and Mega Man X with such force that he became a huge favourite to become only the third character to beat Link, after Cloud and L-Block. Draven had secured more votes on his own than every match in the contest had received until that point and, in a 24 hour match, he was backed overwhelmingly to win unless something spectacular happened.

Then the match went down. Draven took a big lead on Link early, but it was not out of reach for the Hylian Hammer; Link had survived the initial onslaught where MMX and Ryu had not, with the deficit not even reaching 1000 until 80 minutes into the match. Draven did not stop building his lead, though, and after 8 and a half hours the lead stood at 6144. It was here that Link made a cut, only his second of the match, taking a mere 9 votes off of Draven's mammoth lead. 10 minutes later he cut again, and before long Link was making regular cuts. And they were only increasing in severity  - half an hour after the 9 vote cut, Link cut 25. 20 minutes later, 38. Then 49. And it did not stop. Link continued to slice apart Draven's lead savagely, making him look every inch the character that was once almost lost to Chie. 90 minutes after the comeback began (a little over 11 hours in), Link had taken the lead down to under 5000 and rapidly falling, a phenomenal comeback rate. It then took only an hour for Link to take another 1000 off the lead, and then...the site went down. During a time period where Link was completely dominating Draven, and due to complete a phenomenal comeback in only a couple of hours, the site went down. 

Vote intake, of course, dropped drastically, though Link was still making significant cuts (the site was not completely down - some were still able to access pages - just very slowly and very rarely). Many suspected, and still suspect to this day, that the downtime was the result of a malicious Distributed Denial of Service attack from reddit (a website with history for such things), designed to halt Link's comeback. When the site went back up, the board was in uproar until Allen commented on the incident to deny that it was a DDoS - or to say there was no clear proof that it was. This, coupled with Draven beginning to make significant gains shortly after the downtime, caused further outrage on the board. Draven had quickly halted any Link momentum, making gains of 60, 70, sometimes even 100 votes. And that, seemingly, was that.

Not so! Draven reached a lead of a little over 5000 votes 18 hours in, when Link began to make huge cuts of between 80 and 100. It still seemed as though all hope was lost, but then Link made an unpredecented, enormous cut of 241 due to a rally on the Skyward Sword Facebook page, of all places. Link's momentum slowed and slowed, though, and it became clear that even though he was still making big cuts (of 40 or 50 votes now), he would not have enough. But he kept coming, making cut after cut. In the end, though, Link needed 1400 votes in the final hour - too much to ask even for him. And so it went. Link cut the lead in half in the last 60 minutes, eventually losing by 725; in other words, easily a close enough deficit for Link fans to point to the 90 minutes of downtime as a reason for the loss. Cries of stuffing, cries of a DDoS from reddit, and attacks against Allen for refusing to grant an extension to make up for the downtime pervaded the board, but they could not change the outcome - Link had lost an all-time classic. 

By the end of the match, supporters of Draven did not want SBAllen to extend the match by an hour and a half. When SBAllen announced that there would be no extension, Draven supporters celebrated at Board 8 and are overjoyed by the decision. Draven continued on to win the contest. 

Though this was a bad contest for Link - at this point, any contest he does not win is a "bad" performance for him - his heroic defeat to Draven turned a board full of people who had, for the most part, wanted him retired from the contest a couple of months earlier into a board full of people who respected his dominance and loving fanbase, vastly preferring him to the alternative presented by Draven and a reddit invasion. Though admittedly helped by some rallying (including professional wrestler Trent Barretta tweeting the link to the poll), Link faced down a huge rally from the largest message board on the internet for a character from a game with the largest fanbase in the world, and still (probably) only lost because of 90 minutes downtime - 90 minutes of either cruel coincidence or a malicious attack. Link could arguably also point to Commander Shepard's presence in the poll as a reason for his defeat, since Link would only have needed to take about 53% of Shepard's votes to have enough. Given Allen's decisions during the match largely favouring Draven, it could even be said that this time Link was the one who fought the law. And the law won.

So a bad contest overall by Link's standards? Yes. But with Link now being seen as a victim of unfortunate circumstance, his stock on board 8 is arguably as high as it's been in the best part of a decade. So much that in the bonus battle after the contest, that had originally been chosen as Link\Draven before Allen got fed up with the Redditors and set up a poll to change it, he won over Board 8's contest champion Solid Snake without the usual whining of Link Always Wins (except for the League of Draven complaining, of course). He might be a boring invincible contestant on GameFAQs, but it's our boring invincible contestant.


Fall 2018 Contest - Legends Division - 1 Seed

  • Finals Division Round 1 --- Defeated Ganondorf, 22974 [79.64% ] - 5874 [20.36%]
  • Contest Quarterfinal --- Defeated Pikachu, 20129 [68.41%] - 9295 [31.59%]
  • Contest Semifinal --- Defeated (5) Cloud Strife, 17763 [60.52%] - 11590 [39.48%]
  • Contest Final --- Defeated Zelda, 18399 [63.56%] - 10547 [36.44%]
  • FINAL BATTLE --- Defeated (5) Cloud, 16554 [59.27%] - 11375 [40.73%]

Every time Link is upset, the following contest reminds us that GameFAQs will always turn back to him. And this time things were as favorable as possible: Breath of the Wild was the biggest Zelda game in ages, and Smash Bros. hype boosted all of Nintendo. Split from the regular bracket again, Link was right away served with the one guy he outright slaughters through SFF, archenemy Ganondorf, who only improved 8% in 14 years. Pikachu, who had just upset Noble Niner Mega Man, got taught that PokéFEAR means nothing on ZeldaFAQs. To prevent the regular bracket in ending in Link/Cloud, the FFVII hero was next, and got beaten by 60% for the first time ever. So who was there in the final? The love of Link's life who names his series and got boosted enough to break Noble Niners and brackets. Still, no matter if Zelda got ahead with the board vote, things eventually went the predictable path where the actual guy who is the playable character yelled "Excuuuse me, princess!" and won in percentages slightly higher than the 2002 final with Mario. A rematch with Cloud was the ultimate final after the ex-SOLDIER won the Loser Bracket, and Link scored almost the same, even if with less votes (not only the raw total didn't break the 29000 from their semifinal, but for the first time Link\Cloud didn't bring in a total of 100k votes; what a sad decay). The LAW is still prevalent, and requests to remove Link from the contest (or at least relegate him to only bonus matches) emerged again.

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