It’s been nearly two years since the release of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for the Nintendo Switch, and thousands of fans are still plagued by one question: How do you defeat a Lynel?
Prior to Breath of The Wild, Lynels had been mostly absent from The Legend of Zelda series, with their last known appearance having been in the 2013 game A Link Between Worlds. The much cuter, less nefarious, fire breathing foe failed to garner the same infamous reputation as the enemy’s current incarnation, and the Lynel once again faded into obscurity.
That is, until 2017.
Breath of the Wild introduced Lynels in a way that fans had never seen before. Strong, fast, and deadly, its wicked reputation for effortlessly overpowering the player rippled through The Legend of Zelda community. Lynels rapidly became known as the game’s most insurmountable enemy, second-to-none, and more challenging than BotW’s final boss.
It’s no wonder then, that Youtubers who proved mettle enough to be able to down the beast became notorious among the LoZ fandom. Countless videos covering Lynels have amassed thousands of views from fans desperate to discover an effective and realistic way of defeating the game’s worst adversary.
Among those videos, very few have offered up actual methods, preferring to show off with a flurry of bomb arrow and three-shot Lynel bows.
In this guide, I’ll cover the best, most repeatable method for defeating Lynels at any point in the game that anyone can use. It requires no excessive items (like 500 bomb arrows) and no buffs.
First: The Basics
Lynels come in four (five in Master Mode) different, leveled versions.
Red Maned – 2,000 HP
Blue Maned – 3,000 HP
White Maned – 4,000 HP
Silver – 6,000 HP
Golden (Master Mode only.) – 7,500 HP
Furthermore, each level of Lynel comes in three different subtypes:
- Sword + Shield
The form you most encounter in game depends on how many Divine Beasts you’ve completed. Almost all Lynels on the map will be replaced with Silver (Golden, in Master Mode) Lynels once all four Divine Beasts have been completed.
(The Lynels in Hyrule Castle and the Lynel on Polymus Mountain will never level with the game.)
Near perfect parrying is integral to the method, so let’s explore what ways you can use to improve the timing of your parry first. This article will only cover some of the most difficult attacks to parry.
Lynel attacks can be divided up into several categories depending on the level and subtype of Lynel involved. Some of the attacks are shared, some differ depending on weapon, while others are simply varieties of the same attack. Let’s take a look.
Charge and Swing
All Lynels perform this attack. It is always preceded by a bluff charge. The Lynel will then run towards the player with his weapon raised, swinging the weapon as he comes upon Link. The player should parry (press A with a drawn shield) the moment the Lynel’s weapon reaches its waist level.
The Quick Charge
This attack is performed by crusher and sword Lynels. The Lynel will run away from the player, rear up, swinging his weapon over his head, and quickly charge towards the player. This is much faster than the charge and swing. The best advice I can give players is to parry the moment his feet are directly in front of Link.
DO NOT depend on the motion of the weapon. Instead focus on the position of his hooves!
This attack is performed by stationary Lynels of the crusher and sword variant. A Lynel positioned directly in front of link will rear up, preparing to slash or crush Link with it’s weapon. Again, focus on the hooves NOT the weapon. You should parry the moment the Lynel’s hooves touch the ground. This should be a perfect parry every time.
Lynels utilize two AOE attacks:
- A massive and fiery AOE blast performed by only White-Maned, Silver, and Golden Lynels.
- A jumping attacking unique to spear Lynels.
Both attacks are parried using the same method. Link must be relatively close to the Lynel in question for the parry to be successful, otherwise he will get hit by the AOE blast.
In order to successfully parry, you must focus on the weapon this time. The moment the Lynel’s weapon touches the ground, parry. Do not gauge the time by the visibility of the AOE blast. Focus on the position of the weapon.
And that’s all the attacks I’m going to cover. The only other remaining attacks are the fireballs and the six-legged bull charge, both of which have generous parry times.
Moving on to the method: for this tactic to work quickly and efficiently, I recommend weapons that all have at least 30 durability for Red Maned Lynels. For every following leveled Lynel, I would increase my weapon durability by about 20 or 30 points.
This should be a natural process; as you complete Divine Beasts, Link will come across weapons of increasing durability and increasing power.
The foundation of this method is timing and accuracy, and follows the formula parry -> head shot -> mount.
Successful head shots at the right moment will stun Lynels and provide players with an opportunity to mount them. Every attack that can be parried provides Link with the opportunity to head shot a Lynel.
Attacking a Lynel while mounted WILL NOT decrease the durability of you weapon (you’ll notice as Link attacks the Lynel while mounted, he will use the hilt of his weapon).
This means you can milk out the lifespan of your weapon for as long as possible. If done correctly, no matter the durability, your weapon will never break. Repeating this formula (parry -> head shot -> mount, parry -> head shot -> mount, parry -> head shot -> mount) will eventually result in a win.
While I cannot help you get better at aiming, I hope my tips on parrying, and my method to defeating Lynels, might help players take their first baby steps to winning a match against a Lynel!