List of Common Yet Subtle Techniques

Pause Buffering

Pause buffering is useful to perform inputs on specific frames. Press + to pause the game. Then, to advance a single frame, you need to unpause the game with B or + and then press + exactly 7 frames later (this is frame perfect). If you press + a frame too early the game will not repause. If you press + a frame too late 2 frames will advance instead of 1. It is possible to tell if you have advanced only a single frame by looking to see if the rupee counter stayed blurred. If it flashed you advanced 2 frames. Once you have paused on the correct frame (using a visual cue), the following inputs can be held out of an unpause to make them come out on the very next frame the game is unpaused: Pressing ZL, Pressing ZR, releasing any button, an analog stick direction. Otherwise if you wanted an input to come out frame perfectly you would have to time it frame perfectly after unpausing (such as pressing A to perform a roll or B to perform a sword slash).

Examples of uses:

  1. Buffering alternating analog stick directions for manual superswim
  2. Buffering ZL for one frame to enter upcharge for manual superswim
  3. Buffering analog stick direction changes to navigate a superswim at high speeds
  4. Buffering holding up for one frame to turn 180 degrees while upcharging
  5. Buffering to the correct speed to press target on for door clip
  6. Buffering quick arrow shots on the switches to open dark portal with gyro without boomerang

Home Buffering

When the home button is pressed, it completely freezes the game from running while the home screen stays up. This allows for buffering any button to come out on the next frame by simply pressing home again and holding the button (such as A for rolling or B for slashing the sword which is not possible with regular pause buffering). Home buffering cannot advance frames due to a huge delay between home buffers. It is very useful for performing several inputs on the same frame.

Mashing Text

For regular text mash both A and B. For quick text (text that appears on the screen in one frame when you press B) hold B and mash A

Dry Rolling

A dry roll is when Link does a roll while he has 0 speed. This is done by holding ZL and pressing A with the control stick in the neutral position or by pressing A within 2 frames of starting to move. Dry roll speed is 20 whereas normal roll speed is 26.

Buffering Spin Attacks

When you perform either a jumpslash or a backflip if you spin the stick while midair link will perform a spin attack upon landing on the ground (for a backflip you need to be holding sword for the spin to happen).

Jumpslash Quickspin

A jumpslash quickspin is a technique that does a significant amount of damage to an enemy and kills most small- or medium-sized ones within roughly 1 second. To perform this technique, do a jumpslash and then spin the control stick in a circular motion while Link is in the air. Pressing B is not required, the spin attack portion should automatically happen once Link is on the ground again. On the HD version specifically, this spin attack is special because it does twice the damage of a normal spin attack, which is in total 4 times the damage of a regular hit. If used correctly, an enemy can get hit by both the jumpslash and the quickspin portions of the attack. If both portions hit, which totals to 6 damage dealt to the enemy if using the hero's sword, 12 if you're using the Master Sword and 24 if you're using the Master Sword with Elixir Soup. If you do a jumpsin with an enemy weapon after jumping off a ledge, the spin will do only double the damage of a regular hit. Note that if you are too close to an enemy and attempt this technique, it's likely that the enemy will only get hit by the jumpslash portion. Make sure you have enough distance between you and the enemy before performing it.

Ledge Hanging

If you've watched a speedrun of TWW or TWWHD you may have noticed times when, after rolling off of a ledge, Link won't jump, but will instead hang or simply fall instead. This is achieved by letting go of the control stick before Link makes it to the ledge and is commonly used to setup Ledge Clipping in a quick manner by ledge hanging off of the ledge used to clip.

Ledge Hang Jumpslash

After hanging on a ledge it is possible to get up faster by performing a jumpslash up the ledge. To do this, first make sure you have sword in hand, and then fall off of a ledge. After he hangs on the ledge, hold a direction to get him to shift his hands and then quickly press A and then B to jumpslash up.

Wall Targeting

If Link is facing a flat wall and is right up against it and not moving, you can use ZL to target up against it and obtain an angle perpendicular to the plane of the wall. Some parts of walls cannot be targeted, requiring shifting to a slightly different part of the wall.

Pulling Out Your Sword

While more of a game mechanic than a technique, it should be noted that if Link does not have an item in his hand and you are not currently targeting and press B, Link will simply draw his sword. However, if Link is passively holding an item in his hand (Leaf, Bow, Hookshot, etc.) OR if you're targeting with ZL (regardless of if there's an item in his hand) and you attempt to draw your sword, you will do a slash instead of just pulling your sword.

Crawling vs Shielding

Much like the last technique described, if Link does not have an item in his hand and you press ZR, he will duck down and begin to crawl if you move the control stick. However, if you are holding an item in your hand (including the sword) OR if you're targeting with ZL (regardless of if there's an item in his hand) and press ZR, then Link will put his shield in front of him. An example of when new runners can get confused by this is when performing Helmaroc Skip. After doing the walk clip portion of the trick and needing to crawl under the arena's spikes, many new runners will shield instead of crawling because they do not realize that they still have the Wind Waker in Link's hands and that they need to put it away.

Putting Away an Item Faster

This method only works if you do not have a shield. Whenever link crouches the item in his hand disappears. Thus it is possible to put away the item you are holding in as small as a single frame by tapping ZR.

Double Stabbing

In TWWHD some enemies can be hit twice using a single stab attack (and ONLY a stab attack, other sword attacks will not double hit). This is done if Link is very close to the enemy he stabs and becomes easier when the Master Sword is obtained as its hitbox is longer than that of the Hero's Sword.

Canceling Link's Animation after a Barred Door

Oftentimes in a speedrun, Link will run through doors that get barred or locked behind him, which he then turns back to look at. It is possible to cancel this animation and save a second by pulling out a bomb right before opening any door that leads into this animation.

Sail Pumping

By putting away the sail and then taking it out again immediately after, you can get a small speed boost. By doing it repeatedly, you can save around 3s per quadrant. If you have the Swift Sail, then mashing A in order to put it away and then pull it again repeatedly is the fastest way to sail through the ocean (swift sail pumping).

Sailing faster near Islands with the Swift Sail

If you sail with the Swift Sail near an island, the game will make you sail at normal sail speed. This can be avoided by taking out the wind waker while having the Swift Sail out and immediately cancelling it (within a few frames). In addition, during a jump, the boat retains the speed it had in the water the entirity of the time it spends airborne, preserving speed pretty well. This is especially useful in 100% speedruns in order to sail faster inside reefs.

Jump turning with the boat

After performing a jump, the boat turns especially quickly after entering the water. If the jump was performed while the swift sail was out, it is optimal to press A to put away the swift sail upon landing to get an even bigger turn upon landing.

Superswim Stalling

At very high speeds in the water, it is possible to begin charging a superswim by simply holding Up on the left control stick IF the free-cam is not active. This will allow Link to effectively stall in place and can be used to prevent splooshing on certain islands that need more time to load the water in their quadrants. This can also give smaller islands a chance to load so that Link does not swim through their facades.

Killing Superswim Speed

If you need to kill your superswim speed at any island, this can be done by holding ZL to target and then holding the direction which will make Link go backward (usually Down) on the left control stick. This will set Link's speed value to 0.
Note: Doing this on land will not work. On land, it will simply make Link's speed positive instead of negative.

Preventing Slow Save

The first save of the run can be sped up by starting the file in place of a freshly deleted savefile. This must be done every single time you reset. So whenever a run is reset, make sure you have saved at least once before quitting to the title screen. Then, delete the save you have just made and start a new run. If you forgot to save and quit, you can simply copy another file over which can then be deleted.

Vulnerability Resetting

There are times when you need to damage down and can speed up the process by repetitively resetting vulnerability. To do this, go to a damage source that does not deal knockback (such as the spikes in FF2). Move while getting hit so that link bends over forwards while getting hit instead of bending backwards. Then immediately after getting hit, pull an item to reset link's vulnerability, resulting in him getting hit much earlier than he normally would if this technique was not performed. Then put the item away and repeat the previous steps until you have damaged down as much as you want. If you have sword you can get hit 3 times in a row rapidly before having to put away the item and repeat. If you have sword you can while holding forward: get hit, pull sword to get hit again, then pull another item to get hit a 3rd time.

Facing Angle Storage

Whenever you unleash a charged spin attack or press ZL to target, the angle link was facing is stored. The next time you pull skull hammer or bombs after item sliding, link will face the angle that was last stored.

Jumpslashing up ledges

Many climbable ledges are low enough that link's jumpslash gets enough height to make it up the ledge. For these ledges, performing a jumpslash is faster than the normal climbing animation.

Quick turnaround

While grounded if you hold directly in the opposite direction link is facing, link will perform a 4 frame turnaround to the opposite direction. While performing a sidehop, if you hold directly in the direction link is sidehopping in, link will perform a 2 frame turn in the direction you are holding. These strategies save frames over slower turns.

Last updated 08/31/2021 – mralberto