No more games, no more pretense — this is our list of the top 25 Zelda items of all-time. Whether they were weapons or shields or utility items, these are the panel’s selections for the coolest or most useful inventory slots in the series. This is our pick for the best ever.
1) Master Sword – 8 votes, 700 points
Chris: The sword of evil’s bane. A legendary blade honed by the goddesses. A weapon worthy only of someone pure of heart and strong of body. Seems like a fitting choice for our No. 1 Zelda item of all-time.
Pulling the Master Sword from its pedestal is always a chill-inducing moment, complete with a music cue that has become iconic. I mentioned way earlier in this list how much I loved the moment in Ocarina of Time when you put the three Spiritual Stones on the pedestal in the Temple of Time, and the door opens to a cavernous room with the sword of legend sitting in its middle. But every example is great. Yanking the sword from its resting place in Link to the Past means holding up a glowing masterpiece and instantly clearing the forest of its fog. Sneaking down through a hidden chamber into the sleeping ruins of Hyrule Castle in Wind Waker and learning about Tetra’s identity? Fantastic. Finding the blade in the Sacred Grove, with stray beams of sunlight raining down upon it, in Twilight Princess? Super neat.
Even restoring or adding power to the Master Sword is cool. Usually, that means changing the color of its blade, or infusing it with light, and giving it the ability to slaughter what used to be difficult foes.
I also appreciate Skyward Sword for its origin story, even though I can’t say I’m thrilled about Fi’s role in it. Still, the idea of taking the Goddess Sword and forging the blade we know today was pretty interesting.
The best moment with the Master Sword and a pedestal is not removing it, but putting it in. I’m talking, of course, about SHOVING THE SWORD INTO GANONDORF’S FOREHEAD in Wind Waker at the end of the best fight in the series. The blade is so powerful that instead of severing Ganon’s brain into two distinct halves, it turns him to stone as a reminder of what is not to be messed with.
The Master Sword doesn’t always show up in a Zelda game. But it doesn’t matter — it’s still the item that you most associate with Link. Every great hero needs a great tool to assist in his quest, and the Master Sword is that weapon for the Hero of Time/Winds/Light/Hyrule/Legend.
Shaun: Not only is the Master Sword synonymous with the hero, like Chris has said, it has in many ways become its own character in the series. Hell, multiple games in the series now have dedicated primary plot threads to the sword, either to obtain it, grant it its ability to banish evil, or return it to its once former glory.
It’s also tied to many of my favorite moments in the series. Pulling it and sleeping for seven years. Imbuing it with the energy it needs to vanquish Ganondorf. Planting it in said Ganondorf’s forehead. And, most recently in Skyward Sword, using it as a god damn lightning rod to absorb electricity from the sky and directing it straight at a demon that makes Ganondorf look like a soccer mom.
At this point, the Master Sword has become one of the main staples of the entire series, as iconic as the Triforce, Princess Zelda, and even the hero wielding it himself. The Master Sword and Link are tied together, and I can’t wait for the new adventures that will once again require the power from this mighty, dependable blade.
Joseph: I am not surprised that this is at the top of the list. The Master Sword has been a staple of the Zelda series, often required in the struggle against Ganon or whoever. It reflects evil energy back at the attacker, turning some parts of the final battle into a pong-esque minigame. More to the point, Link’s iconic weapon is the sword, and the Master Sword is a better version of whatever stick with which he starts. In some games, getting this ultimate weapon is the point of half (if not more) of the games themselves.
The Master Sword has become recognizable in the pantheon of blades. It keeps company with Excalibur, Masamune and the Sword of Omens. Depending on the game, it can shoot beams, sparkles or replica swords. It is so amazing, smiths litter the forest with fake versions just to mess with people. Many Links have wielded it, and I do not think we have seen the last of it. We can only hope some jerk does not get the pendants before we arrive.
Michaela: It makes sense that the Master Sword is the number one best item in the Zelda franchise. Not
only is it one of the most iconic items in the series, but its integration in the lore is important. Every time Link draws the Master Sword, the player feels empowered, and the fact that this can happen repeatedly and still impress players goes to show how great the Master Sword is.
Cary: In gaming, there’s an instance I like to refer to as the “F*** YEAH!” moment. It’s that moment when, after 60+ hours of quests and all the fetching and grinding you can handle, you receive a thing that’s superior in every way to anything else in the game. And at that you can’t help but proclaim to the highest authority “F*** YEAH!” Obtaining the Master Sword in The Ocarina of Time (the first time I encountered it) was that moment for me. When Link pulled that sword out of the Pedestal of Time, I felt unstoppable.
Though…do versions of the Master Sword count here? If so, then there’s no more F*** YEAH!-able moment for me in a Zelda game than getting the Phantom Sword in The Phantom Hourglass. Never did a set of fetch quests (as Link had to get three special metals to make the Phantom Sword) feel so enjoyable or meaningful. The resulting sword was extremely powerful and was necessary to defeat not only the game’s final boss (the bizarre, squid-y Bellum) but all the pain-in-the-ass Phantoms along the way.
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2 thoughts on “ATB’s Top 25 Zelda Items: (1) Master Sword”
I’m not too surprised by the eventual winner.
Yeah, I know what you mean. We could have gone for shock value and picked the Spinner at #1 (SEO boost!), but then I’d be ashamed to look at myself in the mirror. More ashamed.