Zelda: Every Shield Link Has Wielded In The Series, Ranked
By Callum Archer
Published Apr 13, 2021
Link has sheltered behind several sturdy shields over the course of his heroic career, but which protective implement did it best?
When it comes to the equipment that Link utilizes in The Legend of Zelda series, the most obvious piece of gear that comes to mind is the signature Master Sword. Of course, this is alongside various recurring items such as the Hookshot, Bow, and Fire Rod. However, it’s safe to say that the various incarnations of Link wouldn’t have been able to defeat Ganon so many times without a trusty shield.
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Appearing all the way back in the original Legend of Zelda, Link’s shield helps keep him out of trouble in more ways than one.?There have been?several different takes on the standard board to go along with his sword, some of which have unique abilities aside from blocking a Bokoblin’s fists.
The trusty (though very weak) Wooden Shield has appeared in just about every Legend of Zelda game over the years.?However, its most prevalent appearances are in the 3D titles, including Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess. For the most part, this shield is the first that Link will have in his possession and is usually very weak to fire, making it useless against enemies like Lizalfos and Dodongos. The Shield of Antiquity, while it has a fancy name, is simply the Wooden Shield found in Spirit Tracks and is the weakest shield from that title, being no better than any other Wooden Shield in the series.
One of the many different shields that Link can wield in Skyward Sword, the Banded Shield is one of the weakest of the bunch. While it isn’t as weak as the standard Wooden Shield and can take a few more attacks, it is still fragile and will break fairly easily in battle, making it one that should be quickly replaced when possible.
While the Braced Shield in Skyward Sword is the most powerful of the wooden variants, it’s still nowhere near as good as the rest of the shields available to Link in this game. Thankfully, Skyward Sword has many better shields for the player to find and use, meaning Link won’t be stuck with this shield for very long.
The first of the metallic shields that Link can wield in Skyward Sword, this shield is a substantial step up from the wooden variants. However, while it is immune to fire attacks and won’t disintegrate against them, the Iron Shield and its variants are all weak to electric attacks instead.
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For those fans who have played Breath of the Wild, electrical attacks are some of the most deadly for Link to face down. This is particularly true for the Hero of the Wild as it often causes him to drop whatever weapons and shields he is holding onto.
Another metallic shield in Skyward Sword, this shield is simply an upgraded version of the Iron Shield.?It’s able to take more damage before breaking, but it still has the same shortcomings as its weaker form and?leaves Link vulnerable to electrical attacks.
The final and most powerful of the Iron Shield variants, the Fortified Shield can take a serious beating before it breaks.?It’s handily one of the better shields players can use should they lose a better one, but it still falls short of the majority of other shields in Skyward Sword?when considering its relative fragility.
The second most powerful shield class in Skyward Sword, the Sacred Shield will defend Link against all manner of attacks and isn’t weak to electric attacks.?However, it has low durability to offset this.
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While this may seem as though the Sacred Shield is fairly weak, the shields in this series all have the ability to regenerate the shield meter over time, meaning there is the potential for it to never break so long as the player is careful.
The first upgraded version of the Sacred Shield, the Divine Shield simply takes what the Sacred Shield can do and makes it a little more durable. Like its predecessor, the Divine Shield can also regenerate the shield meter over time. But with the increase in its durability, it is even more capable in battle than the Sacred Shield.
The second most powerful shield in Skyward Sword, the Goddess Shield is the final version of the Sacred Shield and has the same ability to regenerate the shield meter over time —?and it has even greater durability to boot. However, the Goddess Shield also acts like a Mirror shield and can reflect Fire, Electric, and Curse attacks back to the attacker, making it one of the better shields Link has access to in his many lifetimes.?Of course, it is still let down by its fragility.
The Hero’s Shield appears multiple times in the series, and it usually does so when Link isn’t adventuring in Hyrule — likely as a way to give him a shield with a similar design. This is most prevalent in Majora’s Mask and Link’s Awakening, both being games wherein Link finds himself in a mysterious land.
As the first shield that Link can wield in A Link to the Past, this shield has a strange ability to automatically block attacks so long as Link is in the correct position.?This allows him to focus on offense rather than on defense. While this is useful, it is also subject to the player’s knowledge of the enemy’s attack patterns and can fail more often than not for newcomers to this classic title.
The Red Shield is the first shield upgrade that Link can get in A Link to the Past, and it allows?him to reflect fire blasts back at his attackers.?This is particularly useful against enemy Zora. Although it’s not as powerful as the Mirror Shield, it is a step in the right direction and goes a long way to helping Link in his quest.
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While the Red Shield is a great upgrade, it does require the player to throw their Fighter’s Shield into a fairy fountain in order to gain access to it.?It also necessitates gathering up a whopping 500 Rupees in order to buy the Red Shield from the lone vendor who sells it.
Of all the standard shields that Link has access to in his many lifetimes, the Hylian Shield is oftentimes the best in his arsenal.?It appears in a large number of 3D Zelda titles, most notably in Ocarina of Time, Twilight Princess, and Skyward Sword. It also made a return in Breath of the Wild as the best shield in the game,?being so absurdly durable that it was unlikely to break against even the strongest Lynels or Guardians.
While the original Legend of Zelda didn’t have the Mirror Shield that would later become a staple in the series, it did have an alternative in the Magical Shield that would appear yet again in its sequel, The Adventure of Link. It functions in almost the exact same way as the Goddess Shield and Mirror Shield.?However, the Magical Shield’s?sole shortcoming is its weakness to Like Likes, who like to swallow both Link and his equipment if he isn’t careful.?He’ll be forced to buy a new one if he loses it.
For all intents and purposes, the Mirror Shield (as found in just about every modern Zelda game in recent years) is the most powerful shield that Link can wield. While it has the ability to reflect most projectiles just like the Goddess Shield and Magical Shield, the Mirror Shield is often a key dungeon item that can’t break and can’t be stolen by Like Likes. The Mirror Shield is also just as capable of blocking damage as the Hylian Shield to boot, making it work just as well in regular combat against melee enemies.?Picking this thing up often means that Link will never have to wield another shield ever again.
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About The Author
(266 Articles Published)
Callum Archer is a freelance writer based in Perth, Western Australia. He is an avid gamer, Nintendo fanboy, and lover of weird sci-fi novels, who also dabbles in manga from time to time, usually dark and twisted work like Uzumaki and Death Note.
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