What is an adventure game without some good old-fashioned enemies? Fighting enemies in RPGs like Zelda challenges the player and gives them a chance to get free items as well as more experience. It is difficult to get the balance right when designing and placing monsters and bosses; you want them to be strong and frequent enough to test the player without placing too many or making them impossible. Luckily, Zelda designs its enemies so that they level up with you, fixing the strength issue. Previous Zelda games have had certain enemies in specific areas for balance, while Breath Of The Wild has them scattered at random and restored with the Blood Moon. Not including variations or bosses, there are 424 individual enemies in Ocarina Of Time, Majora’s Mask, Wind Waker, Twilight Princess, Skyward Sword, and Breath Of The Wild; that is not including enemies from the other 10 canon games in the series.
With so many enemies in Zelda’s history, it is difficult to remember them all, never mind rank them; I mean, who remembers the Leevers from the first game? It is not an easy task to decide which is the best and worst, but someone has to do it. I have taken the best and worst from every game and attempted to rank them. These positions are based on their strength and level of difficulty. There are some incredibly tough enemies on this list, plus a surprise. Do you agree with this list?
Ah, Chuchus, you amorphous blobs, you. Not exactly the most intimidating or difficult alone, but getting three electric Chuchus on you at once can make things a little difficult. These forbidden jellies are bent on…absorbing you? Taking a heart or two? Honestly, I don’t get it but they are out there doing their best. Chuchu jellies can be used to make potions or rupees and give you experience, so they are not completely useless. Just do not try to eat them, no matter how much one looks like strawberry jello.
Anyone else think of Cards Against Humanity when they say bees? Just me? Cool. Often found in bushes or trees, Bees usually attack on sight. Usually, it is Link that is targeted, but sometimes they can be used to your advantage against other enemies. They were once immortal but can be defeated by either jumping into the water, cutting them with a spin attack, or using a bomb depending on which game you are playing. You may even get a fairy or a snack out of it.
Annoying flying rats, these not-bats are more of a nuisance than an enemy to be feared. Usually hanging around dungeons or caves, they are easily defeated with any weapon. A Keese or two on their own is easily taken care of, but swarms are another story. Slashing at and harming a few Keese or wearing the stone mask is often enough to convince them to leave you alone. In Breath Of The Wild, their wings can be used to make potions which help you out.
Often found in mountain ranges or water areas, Tektites are spider-like creatures who are another nuisance to be discovered. A jump first then attack type of enemy, their nimble movements and randomized jumps make them more of a challenge. That being said, hitting them with a sword, hook shot, or boomerang at the right moment should do the trick. You can usually get some rupees and hearts from defeating them, which is great. Their design from Ocarina almost reminds me of Guardians in BOTW; do you see it?
21 Deku Baba
Plucked straight from whatever dimension Audrey from Little Shop Of Horrors came from, Babas come in many forms, but the Deku Baba is most common. These carnivorous plants will attack sight without provocation, but a quick swipe of a sword or bomb should stop it. Depending on which type you slay, a baba will drop Deku Nuts, Deku Sticks, Deku Seeds, Jelly, or rupees. Boko Babas often drop Boko sticks or seeds when slain. Sometimes Babas can fight even with their stems are cut or they are uprooted, but an attack or two should stop them.
Now, these guys would make excellent pitchers. Usually found in lakes, grassland and rivers, Octorocks are little octopus-like things that love sucking up stuff and throwing it at you. Getting hit by a boulder when you are out for a stroll can be a pain. Luckily, catching them off guard with an arrow, hitting them with a sword, or deflecting rocks back with your shield is usually enough to stop them. The usually stand still, but can sometimes jump or spin, making things a little more difficult for our green hero.
Imagine being a warrior and kicking behind only to discover that you still have to work even after you become undead; that’s the life of a Stalfos. Sometimes Hyrulean soldiers, sometimes normal people who got lost in the Lost Woods, Stalfos fight using swords, maces, or shields. Using bombs, hammers, or your sword is often enough to dispatch these skeletal foes. At least their combat ability gets better after becoming undead, which is a nice perk for having to work in the afterlife.
Similar to Moblins, Bokoblins usually wear skull belts and fight with sharp machetes or sticks. If you do manage to disarm them, a Bokoblin will attempt to fight you one-on-one in hand-to-hand combat. First featured in Wind Waker, these bandit-like creatures have appeared in every game since. It was easy enough to find joy pendants when attacking Bokoblins, and they also drop body parts or gemstones depending on what type or which game you are playing. Good luck fighting a group of top tier ones, though.
While they are essentially massive spiders, Skulltulas are hidden in caves or temples. The skull on their back is a warning for its enemies to stay away. Getting closer will get you bitten, but they are easily defeated with patience and a sword. Wait for the Skulltula to flash its soft belly and strike. One blow is usually enough to dispatch one of these creepy crawlies. Of all the enemies in Zelda, this one gives me the biggest yikes vibes because spiders make my skin crawl.
While they do look like a conspiracy theorist’s scaley nightmare, Lizalfos are giant lizards ready to cut and gut you. Often found in harsh environments like mountains and deserts, they wield the same types of weapons that Link can, making them a slightly more formidable foe. That being said, they often look pretty goofy, even when fighting. Lizalfos are also pretty nimble and are big fans of jumping around or running at lightning speed to attack. It is their jumps and speed that have put Lizalfos higher than Bokoblins in my opinion.
Ah, Moblins. Moblins are big fans of carrying around long two-handed weapons like spears. That being said, some do favor other weapons like bows or clubs. These guys usually look like pigs or bulldogs, depending on the game, and also often look goofy. Breath Of The Wild brought a completely different look for Moblins, making them tall and lanky rather than broad and chubby. Using long-range weapons or bombs is often enough to get Moblins off your back.
Ugh, Wizards. A complete pain in the behind, the robed enemies typically hide in Maze Island Palace and Hidden Palace, where they wait to attack. Similar to Wizzrobes, Wizards teleport and fire magic spells at Link, making them tough to target. However, they can be defeated with a well-timed Reflect Spell. Defeating a Wizard will give you 100 experience points, which is fantastic for leveling up. Defeating Wizzrobes also requires patience and timing, as you must attack the moment that they appear so that they cannot fire another spell.
13 Big Octo
Appearing in two different forms over the years, Big Octos love to get in the way. Whether it is to take away Ruta or block cave entrances, Big Octos are a nuisance. Hitting them with a bomb, boomerang, or sword often works, but sometimes smacking them with a cruise boat is enough. Big Octos look a little different in Wind Waker, making big whirlpools to try and drown the player. Shooting them in the eyes with bombs is the most effective way to dispose of them.
I am putting these two in the same category since they are incredibly similar. Lurking in Link’s shadow, these zombie's hands are waiting to grab Link by surprise. Should they grab him, Link will be transported to the beginning of whatever dungeon he is in. Another nuisance instead of a threat, Link must strike them before they attack using his sword or some arrows. Keeping an eye on walls and the ceiling should keep you safe from losing your progress.
11 Shadow Beast
Now, these guys are spooky. Shadow Beasts have corrupted Twili folks with shield-like masks that run on darkness. What makes these enemies so formidable is their strength and power, since defeating all but one will cause the final Shadow Beast to revive its brethren with a scream. Because of this, the final blow must strike and finish all the remaining beasts. A well-aimed spin attack or consecutive lunge attack are both keys to damaging Shadow Beasts. How do they survive in the Light World?
10 Gerudo Thief
Ever wanted to become a thief? Well, in Zelda you can. In Ocarina Of Time, you must save four carpenters who are guarded by the elite Gerudo thieves. These thieves dual wield scimitars and have two attacks; the normal sword swipe and a lunge attack. The sword swipe is nothing to be concerned about, but the lunge attack will take Link out. Z-target each thief and attack when they let their guard down or you will be captured. Defeating all of them makes you an honorary Gerudo – neat.
The freakiest enemy in the Zelda universe, ReDead are so scary that even Link freezes up when he sees it. ReDeads freeze people on sight and suck out their life, which is not ideal. Stunning them with sunlight is an option, as is attacking them with a bomb or jump attack. Hookshotting it will get you rupees and ending on can give you bandages or ashes, which can fetch more rupees. In my personal opinion, the Ocarina and Wind Waker are the spookiest looking.
Phantoms are surprisingly beady-eyed considering their armor. Until you can get the right weapons to defeat them, sneaking around or leading them to trap doors or under falling boulders are the best ways to survive. Once you get the Bow of Light or a Phantom Sword, you can attack and defeat them without sneaking around. Phantoms have a cool design and are freaking huge; this combined with their strength and sight make them a formidable foe to face.
The closest things to dinosaurs that the Zelda universe has, Dodongo are huge scaley lizards that shoot fire or smack Link with their tails. Despite their huge size, it is easy enough to defeat them once you know how. Getting it to swallow a bomb or slashing its tail will take care of it for you. The Twilight Princess Dodongos are harder to hit since they can climb on walls and ceilings but they go the same way.
A huge hulking Cyclops like creature, Hinox are massive giants that love to throw things. Throwing their own weapons back at them or aiming for their eyes with an arrow is usually the right way to go in a battle with them, but sometimes a spin attack can help push it over the edge. The Hinox, like many other Zelda enemy, is color-coded to show their level and usually scale with you. The Hinox design in Breath Of The Wild is the coolest.
These guys are tricky. Darknuts are slow but well-defended soldiers clad in armor that seems impossible to break. They move erratically, making them difficult to maneuver around and fight, especially when you get cornered by a group. However, rolling to get behind them and slashing with your sword should defeat them. Fighting a Darknut takes patience and skill, which brings it to the top five. Also, it is hard to ignore how iconic Darknuts are.
There are two versions of the Guardian in Zelda. This entry is focused on the Guardians from Breath Of The Wild. Everything about them from their movements to their attacks is off-putting and brutal. There are few musical tracks that can strike as much fear and panic as Breath Of The Wild’s ‘Guardian Theme’. Striking the Guardian with Guardian gear in the eye or legs will disarm it enough to get close and attack until it explodes gears everywhere.
3 Iron Knuckles
One of the toughest enemies in Zelda lore, Iron Knuckles are incredibly resilient to attacks and deal a huge amount of damage if they manage to hit you. They are dressed as knights and wield swords, shields, lances, and axes that are capable of blocking attacks. Removing their armor in Ocarina makes them more vulnerable, but more agile. Attacking them when they drop their guard is the best time. Defeating them gives you a lot of goodies and a huge sense of victory.
Gosh, I really don't like Lynels. They are so tough and definitely worthy of this top spot thanks to the damage output of their sword beams and fire attacks. In Breath Of The Wild, they are at their most imposing, charging, flying arrows and attacking with swords or clubs. Each hit wrecks your hearts and knocks Link backward. Using a Flurry attack or your Champion given powers plus pure determination are key to taking a Lynel down. There is one instance in Breath Of The Wild where you must fight a Lynel so they are easy enough to avoid.
Immortal, imposing, unavoidable; there is only one enemy that fits this description and that is the Cucco. Laugh all you want, cucco will peck out all of your hearts and send you back to Game Over before you can do anything. Running and fighting do nothing to dissuade the hordes of cuccos intent on destroying you. How to avoid them? All you have to do is not attack one of them. Sounds simple right? Don’t say I didn’t warn you the next time you hit one of them with your sword.