Dead Man's Volley

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Dead Man's Volley is a commonly reoccurring battle technique in the Zelda series. First appearing in A Link to the Past, the Dead Man's Volley involves what is essentially a game of Tennis between Link and an opponent. This opponent is usually Ganondorf, Phantom Ganon, or some other manifestation of the Evil King.

This battle practice was first seen in the battle with Agahnim in A Link to the Past, though its most iconic appearance was in the battle with Ganondorf in Ocarina of Time. The name "Dead Man's Volley" was not officially seen in-game until the Cubus Sisters in Phantom Hourglass used the title for their little "game."


In a Dead Man's Volley, the two characters will lob a damage-causing object (usually a ball of dark energy) back and forth. The volley will proceed at gradually faster rates until one character falters and is hit. In Link's case, this results in significant damage, but it is often the only way to defeat the enemy that initiates it. It almost always takes numerous volleys before one of the participants yields.

Most enemies that use the Volley will also use other attacks and tactics alongside it. For example, in Ocarina of Time, Ganondorf will occasionally release a flurry of energy balls that Link must deflect with a Spin Attack, and in Twilight Princess the possessed Zelda will perform a swooping attack with her sword between volleys.

Though it is intended for Link to use the Master Sword to deflect the volley, it has often been possible to use Bottles as well. This is an intentional inclusion by the developers in reference to A Link to the Past, where a glitch allowed the Bug Net to be used in the volley.

Appearance in Games

A Link to the Past

This is the first time the Dead Man's Volley appears in the Zelda series. When Link confronts the wizard Agahnim in Hyrule Castle after obtaining the Master Sword, their battle consists entirely of the Volley.

After charging energy in his hands, Agahnim releases one of three attacks. Two of his attacks cannot be repelled; they are are a spread of electricity from his hands and a cluster of energy that disperses when it hits Link or a wall. The third attack is a solid ball of energy that Link can bounce back with his sword. Unlike other enemies who battle using the Volley, Agahnim will not attempt to hit the ball back at Link.

Due to a glitch it is also possible to reflect Agahnim's volley with the Bug Net's swing, if timed correctly. Some players even prefer the net to the Master Sword.

Link's Awakening

Ocarina of Time

Oracle of Seasons

Oracle of Ages

Four Swords

The Wind Waker

Four Swords Adventures

The Minish Cap

Twilight Princess

Phantom Hourglass

Spirit Tracks

Skyward Sword