Go look at the amiibo tier list. Right now, Link is pretty high up there. He’s always been a top-tier amiibo, even since the beginning, thanks to his highly effective Up smash and other aerial attacks. As the Link amiibo developed, he went from the Smash 4-esque Up smash spam to Boomerang spam, with Up smash and Forward air thrown in.
That doesn’t work anymore.
In 9.0, Link got an AI change that’s really going to screw with the “optimal” Link. Link can now connect a handful of strings out of Boomerang, with the most notable being Boomerang -> (short hop) Bow -> Dash attack (the Dash attack isn’t guaranteed) and Boomerang -> Forward air. There’s a few others in there that I can spot, but those two seem to be the most common.
First, this makes it even easier for Link to KO, especially if he lands Forward air. Sure, he could still go with Up smash as his primary option, but now he has a more guaranteed path with Boomerang followups.
Unfortunately, this also means that an optimal Link will have to be redefined. Optimal Links previously spammed the hell out of Boomerang, as the opponent AI didn’t know how to handle it and would usually rack up upward of 30-40% per stock at a distance. Now, Boomerang spam will usually result in a Bow instead of another Boomerang, ending the chain of Boomerang hits at 1 in most cases. Losing that extra damage and gaining a kill option puts the Link amiibo in a verrry unusual spot – we’ve never had to redefine such a well-defined amiibo before, let alone one that’s top tier. This is akin to Ness no longer being able to spam PK Fire, or Incineroar losing access to Alolan Whip.
I think Link is still very viable in the meta, and is definitely still a high tier amiibo – he’s still got all the great options and varieties that he had before, he’s just switched out a great option for a different great one. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if this knocked him down to A tier. Being able to put out that much damage at a reliable distance was a major asset for Link, and it’s not like he’s short on KO options.
Stick around for more amiibo tier list updates, and pay careful attention to where Link goes in the future.