Top 10 Strongest Zelda Villains

Much like the best stories that anime and manga have to offer, The Legend of Zelda video game franchise has many story elements combined with an innovative, challenging, and overall enjoyable gameplay that have made the story into what it is today. You have many immersive and expanded settings that draw you in and make you want to explore as well as learn what’s happening. You have an overarching story throughout each game that keep you engaged and treasure the journey even if you already know how it’s going to end. Most importantly, you have a dynamic and unforgettable cast of characters that help uniquely shape each story. However, no matter what the differences are in each of the above aspects, each of the stories share the same concept: you, as the hero, must defeat the game’s main villain in order to restore peace and return things back to normal.

The main villains in each of the Legend of Zelda games are in a class of their own in terms of overall power. Many of them have abilities that allow them to take over the entire setting of each game, and the only person who has any chance of doing anything against them is you, the player. Some are even powerful enough to appear multiple times in the franchise due to being resurrected or surviving to live on and strike again. Not to mention some of the actual video game battles themselves reveal just how worthy of an opponent they actually are. Keeping all of that in mind, here are the Top 10 Strongest Legend of Zelda Villains.

10. Dark Link from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

  • System/Platform: Nintendo 64, GameCube, iQue Player (China), Wii (Virtual Console), Wii U (Virtual Console)
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Developer: Nintendo EAD
  • Release Date: November 23, 1998 (Nintendo 64, U.S.A.)

Dark Link, sometimes referred to as Shadow Link, is unique both as a character and as an opponent. Little is known about his origins apart from the fact that dark magic seems to be responsible for his existence and that he exists solely as an equal to Link. Although there are varied versions throughout multiple games, the version of Dark Link that stands out the most is as a mini-boss in the Water Temple in Ocarina of Time, where he mirrors Link’s movements and adopts a defense style before becoming more aggressive as you do more damage. While Dark Link can be tricky at first when battling him, using items that he doesn’t possess (such as Din’s Fire or the Megaton Hammer) make the fight less challenging and not one to get hung up on. In addition, most of the other versions exist merely as “shadow clones” as opposed to just one entity. Still, the goal to “conquer yourself” only makes the character of Dark Link more impressive, and while he isn’t a challenge as opposed to many of the primary villains, there’s still plenty of potential to explore regarding how strong Dark Link can truly be.


9. Bellum from The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass

  • System/Platform: Nintendo DS
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Developer: Nintendo EAD
  • Release Date: October 1, 2007 (Nintendo DS, U.S.A.)

The main antagonist of Phantom Hourglass, Bellum is a giant squid-like creature with small eyes at the end of its tentacles and one giant eye in its mouth. Bellum’s origin is unknown, but what is known is its obsessiveness with absorbing Life Force, a type of energy that every living thing has. As a result of this obsessiveness, Bellum is able to imprison Oshus, build the Sand of Hours which in turn would create more monsters, and even build the Ghost Ship in order to attract people and in turn absorb even more Life Force. While Bellum certainly differs from most of the primary antagonists in terms of character development (he doesn’t even have any dialogue), he certainly makes up for it in terms of his strength in battle, as Link can only damage it with the Phantom Sword. In addition, Bellum possesses’ Link’s ally Linebeck midway through the battle, making it even more difficult to fight. Certainly an opponent not to overlook, as despite Bellum’s obvious weak spots, he certainly knows how to use his unique abilities to the fullest.


8. Ghirahim from The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

  • System/Platform: Wii, Wii U
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Developer: Nintendo EAD
  • Release Date: November 20, 2011 (Wii, U.S.A.)

he servant of Demise, Ghirahim is both very flamboyant and very arrogant, and thinks little of Link as he goes about trying to resurrect Demise. However, as time goes on, Ghirahim becomes more erratic as Link is able to make progress in thwarting his plan, eventually losing control as Link arrives to try to prevent Demise’s resurrection. Ghirahim certainly differs from most of Link’s opponents in the sense that right from the very beginning of Skyward Sword you fight him, and even that first fight is no pushover. Throughout the game Ghirahim is tricky to fight, as his swordplay, his teleportation, and his “red diamonds” all keep Link on his toes. The final battle especially shows just how strong Ghirahim can be as well as his true purpose: being the sword of Demise. After the fight with Demise, the sword disappears, leaving Ghirahim’s fate a mystery and an opportunity to possibly return even stronger in the future.


7. Onox from The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons

  • System/Platform: Game Boy Color, Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Developer: Capcom
  • Release Date: May 14, 2001 (Game Boy Color, U.S.A.)

The General of Darkness, Onox is one of Twinrova’s servants used to help in the resurrection of Ganondorf. Onox works behind the scenes more as opposed to other primary villains, as his main actions come at the beginning and at the end of Oracle of Seasons. In the beginning, Onox wreaks havoc, as his kidnapping of Din and sealing her away leads to rapid nature disasters throughout Holodrum. In addition, Onox also submerges the Temple of Seasons in the land of Subrosia, an underworld of sorts. However, it isn’t until the end that Link finally encounters Onox, where he uses Din as a human shield in addition to his ball and chain attacks. It isn’t until he reveals his true form as a dragon that the battle gets difficult, and like Veran, he laughs as he is vanquished knowing that his sacrifice will aid in the resurrection of Ganon. Had Onox played a bigger role in the story he could be considered a stronger villain, as he certainly looks the part.


6. Veran from The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages

  • System/Platform: Game Boy Color, Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Developer: Capcom
  • Release Date: May 14, 2001 (Game Boy Color, U.S.A.)

The Sorceress of Shadows, Veran serves as one of Twinrova’s servants in order to resurrect Ganondorf. However, Veran’s plan of ruling and terrorizing Labrynna is worthy in its own right. With the special ability of possessing anyone she wishes, Veran is able to possess Nayru aka the Oracle of Ages and is able to travel back to the past, not only wreaking destruction at that time but also causing repercussions in the future. Link encounters her at one point in the journey and is faced with the difficulty of figuring out how to attack her without hurting Nayru. In the final battle, Veran even attempts to possess Link before transforming into various creatures that can dish out a lot of damage and force Link to be on his toes. Veran is evil until the very end, laughing as she dies since her death will only lead to the resurrection of Ganondorf. With her powers as well as her exploitation of Labrynna’s timeline, Veran shouldn’t be overlooked as a strong opponent.


5. Zant from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

  • System/Platform: Nintendo GameCube, Wii
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Developer: Nintendo EAD
  • Release Date: November 19, 2006 (Wii, U.S.A.)

The Usurper King, Zant is a member of the Twili race who serves as the initial primary antagonist in Twilight Princess. Skipped over for Midna to rule the Twili in addition to feeling trapped in the Twilight Realm, Zant takes matters into his own hands and makes contact with Ganondorf, who had been cast into the Twilight Realm after his failed execution. With Ganondorf’s help, Zant is able to use his new powers to overthrow Midna, turn her into an imp without her powers, turn everyone in the Twilight Realm into Shadow Beasts, invade Hyrule Castle and force Princess Zelda to yield, and turn most of Hyrule into Twilight. With a calm and collected composure, excellent tactics, and absolutely ruthless, Zant was certainly a force to be reckoned with. Unfortunately, despite the final battle revealing Zant’s abilities to warp reality to certain degrees and his true physical strength, Zant reveals himself to not only be completely insane, but also a complete puppet under Ganondorf’s control. Were it not for demonstrating a fanatical commitment to fulfilling Ganondorf’s every command as well as losing his sanity, Zant could easily be considered among the very best of the Legend of Zelda villains, as his abilities both during and outside of combat rank among the best.


4. Vaati from The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap

  • System/Platform: Game Boy Advance, Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Developer: Capcom
  • Release Date: January 10, 2005 (Game Boy Advance, U.S.A.)

Once a Picori serving as Ezlo’s apprentice, Vaati became fascinated with evil and used his master’s magical cap to transform himself into a sorcerer. After using his new magic to turn Ezlo into a living cap, Vaati begins searching for the Light Force in order to obtain unlimited magical power, resulting in his encounters with Princess Zelda and Link. Vaati serves as one of the few primary villains to have multiple appearances, as he returns again in Four Swords and Four Swords Adventures. In addition, Vaati proves hard to kill, as he has multiple forms that he transforms into in his final fight with Link in the Minish Cap, each more stronger than the last. One of the franchise’s most powerful villains.


3. Majora’s Mask from The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask

  • System/Platform: Nintendo 64, GameCube, Wii
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Developer: Nintendo EAD
  • Release Date: October 26, 2000 (Nintendo 64, U.S.A.)

Once used by an unknown ancient tribe for rituals, Majora’s Mask was sealed away after the tribe feared its evil power had gotten too strong. How it came to be in the hands of the Happy Mask Salesman is a mystery, but when Skull Kid puts it on after stealing it as a joke, Majora’s Mask soon begins to take over Skull Kid’s mind with its own intentions. Majora’s Mask is ruthless; its plan to have the moon come down and destroy the land of Termina only takes 3 days to occur, and once the 4 Giants show up to stop the moon, it ditches Skull Kid in order to go into the moon and force it past the giants. Link’s battle with Majora’s Mask in the moon is difficult to say the least, as it has multiple forms as well as incredible speed. If you obtain all the masks in the game and trade them for the Fierce Deity Mask right before the final battle, you’ve set yourself up for one of the most iconic boss battles in the franchise. With the degree of evil witnessed as well as a difficult boss battle, Majora’s Mask is among the elite.


2. Ganondorf from The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

  • System/Platform: Nintendo GameCube
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Developer: Nintendo EAD
  • Release Date: March 24, 2003 (Nintendo Gamecube, U.S.A.)

The most iconic Legend of Zelda villain, Ganondorf has many iterations throughout the franchise. However, each of them generally possess the Triforce of Power and wish to gather the Triforce of Wisdom and Triforce of Courage in order to obtain the Triforce as a whole and have their wish granted. As the holder of the Triforce of Power, that alone should speak as to how strong Ganondorf is. The iteration from the Wind Waker makes this list mainly because the final boss fight at the very end can be difficult, as Ganondorf’s sword techniques do massive damage. Throw in coordinating with Princess Zelda’s Light Arrows and you can find yourself losing the fight very quickly if you’re not careful. Bottom line, in terms of lore and boss fights, Ganondorf
is arguable the best.


1. Demise from The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

  • System/Platform: Wii, Wii U
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Developer: Nintendo EAD
  • Release Date: November 20, 2011 (Wii, U.S.A.)

The incarnation of pure evil. Long ago before the events of many of the Legend of Zelda games, Demise and his demon army searched for the Triforce in order to rule the world. However, the goddess Hylia, who guarded the Triforce, defeated Demise and sealed him away, only for him to be resurrected by his right hand man, Ghirahim. Demise is the ultimate example of someone who is arrogant; he believes he is unstoppable and willing to challenge anyone who tries to get in his way. The final fight with Demise proves that he can back up his boasts, as he is certainly a challenge; he can block all of Link’s attacks, he becomes twice as strong when he absorbs the lightning from the storm they’re fighting in, and he can dodge Link’s finishing move multiple times. More importantly, Demise declares that he, Zelda, and Link will be reborn in an endless cycle as he continues to pursue world domination, leading to the incarnations of Link, Zelda, and Ganondorf in the other games. Certainly the strongest villain both in terms of gameplay as well as story.


Final Thoughts

There are so many other Legend of Zelda villains to consider in this historic franchise. You have Twinrova, the real villain behind the events of the Oracle games. You have Nightmare, a unique villain who’s fighting to protect something as opposed to destroying something. You have other villains such as Yuga, Malladus, and Chancellor Cole as well, all of which had unique takes on working to achieve what they wanted. However, at the end of the day, these are your Top 10 Strongest Legend of Zelda Villains. What do you guys think? Is there a villain on the list you don’t believe should be there? Should a different version of Ganondorf have been used? Should Ganondorf have been #1 as opposed to Demise? Let us know in the comments!

Ian Williams

Writer

Author: Ian Williams

Hi, my name's Ian. I grew up in the United States, but I've traveled to and lived in many different countries, including Scotland, Japan, and New Zealand. Some of my hobbies include reading, writing, chess, running, playing video games, and watching anime. I started getting more into anime after watching Dragon Ball Z on Toonami as a kid, and have been hooked by the amazing stories and characters in anime ever since.

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