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Lynels (ライネル Raineru?) are recurring enemies in the Legend of Zelda series. They are usually portrayed as centaur-like beasts, with the body of a horse, the torso of a human and the head of a lion, complete with a mane of long hair.

Appearances

The Legend of Zelda

Blue Lynel (The Legend of Zelda) Lynels inhabit the mountainous terrain surrounding Death Mountain. They come in two varieties, red and blue, with the latter being stronger. Lynels are depicted in artwork as wielding a sword and a shield, however, the in-game sprites appear to dual-wield swords. They can shoot beams from their swords in the same way Link can at full health. These sword beams do significant damage and can only be blocked with the Magical Shield.

One specific blue Lynel is found guarding the cave where the Old Man who gives Link the White Sword resides.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

Lynel (A Link to the Past)

Similar to their earlier installment appearance, Lynels are considered to be among the hardest enemies in the game. There are, however, only three encountered in the entire game. Lynels spew fireballs at Link rather than throwing swords at him, and they also maintain their distance. The sword and the Magic Hammer are two of the few items able to damage them, and only the Mirror Shield can block their fireballs. Lynels can be killed with a single Silver Arrow, however.

The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons

Red Lynel (Oracle of Ages & Oracle of Seasons)

They are very similar to their The Legend of Zelda counterparts, with minor discrepancies in their appearance. Once again, they appear in the blue and red variety, with the blue variety being more powerful than the red. Their main methods of attack are charging at Link and firing sword beams in his direction that can only be blocked with the Mirror Shield. Among the common enemies in the game, they are generally considered the most dangerous along with Ball & Chain Troopers. There is a special Lynel in Oracle of Seasons known as the Golden Lynel. It is one of the four golden beasts Link must defeat in order to obtain the Red Ring. The Golden Lynel appears only in the Tarm Ruins during the winter.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

They are very similar to their The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past counterparts, appearing in only the red variety. Their main methods of attack are blowing streams of fire at Link, for which the Hylian Shield is an effective defense. The damage dealt by the fire is very heavy, especially in Hero Mode. The Fire and Ice Rods, as well as the upgraded Spin Attack, are good tools for avoiding Lynels.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Lynels appear in Breath of the Wild as strong enemies. They are formidable giant creatures resembling the Lynel depicted in the artwork from The Legend of Zelda, however Breath of the Wild is their first 3D game appearance. There are five variants: the eponymous red-maned Lynels, the Blue-Maned Lynels, the White-Maned Lynels, the stronger Silver Lynels, which sometimes drop rare gems and even Star Fragments when killed, and the strongest Golden Lynels exclusive to the Master Mode. They are able to move very quickly, even being able to keep up with Link on horseback. Lynels drop Lynel Hooves, Lynel Horns, and Lynel Guts when killed. While not true mini-bosses as they do not have health bars, they are some of the strongest non-bosses in the game and in Hyrule Castle two function as mini-bosses. The type of Lynel on the bottom floor of the Coliseum Ruins levels up to a stronger variant based on the number of Divine Beasts freed. Other Lynels level up depending on the number of enemies Link has defeated as he progresses through the game. Some Lynels do not level up at all and remain the same tier regardless of Link's progress.

There are over twenty of them scattered across Hyrule (excluding Golden variants), each equipped with various, self-crafted melee weapons, shields, and bows. The melee weapon can either be a sword, spear, or crusher, and the melee weapons, shields, and bows can be from one of three different archetypes. Lynel weapons are the weakest, Mighty Lynel weapons are stronger than regular Lynel weapons, and Savage Lynel weapons are the strongest of the three archetypes, as well as some of the deadliest weapons in the game. Red-maned eponymous Lynels use the regular Lynel weapons, Blue-Maned Lynels use the Mighty Lynel weapons, and White-Maned Lynels and Silver Lynels both use the Savage Lynel gear, However very rarely White-Maned Lynels carry certain pieces of Mighty Lynel Gear. In addition to their strength and combat abilities Lynels are some of the smartest monsters in Hyrule as the Lynel Mask and Majora's Mask can only fool them temporarily as they will eventually see through Link's disguise and attack. They are also the best weapon craftsmen among monsters as their gear is extremely well-made.

A Lynel's personal preference of attack is usually a Dash Attack or Jump Attack. They can also spew fireballs at Link, plunge, if equipped, their spear or crusher into the ground resulting in a fiery explosion, and sometimes even charge headfirst at Link on all fours, which will send Link flying up into the air if it hits. The fiery explosion attack, oddly enough, cannot roast meat. From a distance, Lynels shoot highly-damaging arrows at Link with their self-crafted bows, usually using Shock Arrows, which they also drop when killed. If Link tries to take cover from a Lynel's arrows behind a wall, the Lynel will shoot up into the air, causing their arrows to arc over the cover and strike Link from above.

To defeat them, getting up close to trigger their melee attacks is recommended, as they are much easier to dodge and do less damage then their arrows. Flurry Rush attacks are very effective as well as throwing a boulder on them that deals massive damage. Perfect Blocks and headshots are great ways to stun the Lynel, giving Link enough time to deal an attack such as the Spin Attack. Another effective method is to melee attack it while riding it; the player is able to mount the Lynel undetected or if the Lynel is stunned from a headshot. If Link strays too far from a Lynel mid-fight, it may teleport near him to continue the battle.

Lynels

Lynel

A Lynel

"These fearsome monsters have lived in Hyrule since ancient times. They possess intense intelligence, resilience, and strength, making them amongst the most dangerous monsters in all the land. This is compounded by the fact that they have a natural resistance to all elements. You would be wise to challenge a Lynel only if you're very well prepared."
Hyrule Compendium

Eponymous standard Lynels have a red mane and 2000 HP. One is found near the top of Ploymus Mountain; this Lynel is recommended by the Zora as a good place to obtain the Shock Arrows, which are lodged in trees around the area, necessary to enter the Divine Beast Vah Ruta, through fighting or sneaking past the Lynel can be avoided in order to get the shock arrows, however, Link cannot buy them from stores they would otherwise be sold at during the part of the quest where you acquire the shock arrows, meaning that they can only be found in chest, making it harder to find unless Link already has some in his inventory. Unlike others Lynels, this one is not replaced by a stronger variant if Link has defeated enough monsters to cause the Lynels to level up. However this is due to Link being required to take its picture by Laflat during "Lynel Safari" after which she rewards Link with the Zora Greaves. Laflat refers to the eponymous Lynels as Red-Maned Lynel. Her reason for requesting the picture is that she wishes to scare Zora away from going to Shatterback Point on Ploymus Mountain as a male Zora whom she describes as a "bottom feeder" has been daring Zora to dive off Shatterback Point. She fears innocent Zora will be hurt either by the Lynel or by diving off Shatterback Point thus wants to show them the dangerous beast living there in hopes of dissuading Zora from going there. After being shown the picture, Laflat cries out in terror before regaining her composer and apologies for acting so undignified though notes Lynel are terrifying and is certain the picture will scare Zora away from Ploymus Mountain.

According to the Zora Stone Monument and Mipha's Diary before the Great Calamity, Zora's Domain was terrorized by a Lynel from Ploymus Mountain. Princess Mipha informed Link about it during one of his visits. Link set out to confront the beast alone but Mipha followed him and refused to return to Zora's Domain when he noticed her. While they were distracted the Lynel attacked, but Link was prepared and skillfully slew the beast finishing it off with a Spin Attack. For a time, Link was honor as a hero by the Zora for his defeat of the Lynel. The Zora Helm was even enshrined within a temple in Toto Lake in honor of Link's heroism. However this was mostly forgotten as a result of the Great Calamity and all Zora monuments to this act of heroism became neglected and fell to ruin. It is unclear if the Lynel on Ploymus Mountain in the present is related to the one Link had slain in the past.

A Lynel appears inside the Coliseum Ruins on the bottom floor as long as no more than one Divine Beast has been freed. It appears by default when no Divine Beast has been freed.

Blue-Maned Lynel

Bl

A Blue Lynel

"These fearsome monsters have lived in Hyrule since ancient times. Compared to the standard Lynel, those with blue manes are much tougher and are equipped with much stronger weapons. Facing off a Lynel is ill-advised, but if you must, be sure you're well prepared."
— Hyrule Compendium

Blue-Maned Lynels have blue skin and hair, a mauve mane, and 3000 HP. They can be found in the Deep Akkala and Hyrule Field regions, as well as one found near the Hyrule Castle. As Link progresses and defeats enemies, many Blue-Maned Lynel are replaced by White-Maned Lynels, though one can still be found in the First Gatehouse of Hyrule Castle who respawn every Blood Moon. A Blue-Maned Lynel appears in the Coliseum Ruins on the bottom floor after two Divine Beasts have been freed.

Blue-Maned Lynels wield "Mighty Lynel" series equipment which eventually becomes unavailable once they are replaced by stronger variants. The one in the first gatehouse does not drop its equipment normally. However via a glitch, Link can acquire the First Gatehouse's Blue-Maned Lynel's sword, shield, and bow if he quickly presses the "Take" command as the Lynel dies and drops it spoils as the equipment is normal programmed to drop when it is killed but the Gatehouse Lynel's equipment disappears, however since it is dropped momentarily for a brief instant, Link can grab it before it disappears. If Link hasn't obtained said gear, then the test box pause will cause the Lynel's remaining equipment to not disappear. Thus only the Mighty Lynel Spear and Mighty Lynel Crusher are the only equipment that become truly unobtainable beyond a certain point.

White-Maned Lynel

WL

A White-Maned Lynel

"These fearsome monsters have lived in Hyrule since ancient times. Their ability to breathe fire makes White-Maned Lynels among the toughest of the species; each one of their attacks is an invitation to the grave. There are so few eyewitness accounts of this breed because a White-Maned Lynel is not one to let even simple passersby escape with their lives."
— Hyrule Compendium

White-Maned Lynels have gray hair, gray skin striped white, a white mane, and 4000 HP. They can be found in the Hebra Mountains and Hyrule Field regions. They wield a massive spear, a new more effective bow than the Lynel Bow and have multiple additional moves, including an attack in which it will jump into the air and smash down, creating a shockwave, and a roar that produces a sphere of flame around its general area. A White-Maned Lynel appears in the Coliseum Ruins on the bottom floor after three Divine Beasts have been killed.

As Link progresses and defeats enemies, many White-Maned Lynel level up and are replaced with Silver Lynels, though one can still be found in the Second Gatehouse of Hyrule Castle. Link can exploit the same drop glitch to acquire its bow, sword, and shield which are part of the "Savage Lynel" series gear. In very rare instances certain White Lynels carry Mighty Lynel Gear instead of Savage Lynel Gear, but this is a very rare occurence which ceases once they are replaced by Silver Lynels.

Silver Lynel

Lynel (Breath of the Wild)

A Silver Lynel

"Silver Lynels are not to be trifled with. They have been influenced by Ganon's fiendish magic, so they are the strongest among the Lynel species, surpassing even the strength of those with white manes. The term "silver" denotes not only their color but also their rarity. The purple stripes help them to stand out even more."
— Hyrule Compendium

Silver Lynels have white and purple skin and hair, a silver mane, and 5000 HP. A few Silver Lynels, which appears once Link has progressed past a certain point (it is not tied to the number of Divine Beasts freed and is actually influenced by the numbers of enemies Link has defeated over the course of the game as they can appear with no Divine Beasts freed), can be found in the Eldin, Gerudo and Hebra provinces, as well as one found around the Hyrule Castle. Silver Lynels eventually replace all lesser variants save for the Lynel on Ploymus Mountain, the Blue-Maned Lynel in the First Gatehouse, and White-Maned Lynel in the Second Gatehouse. Silver Lynels also drop gems such as Topazes, Rubies, Sapphires, Diamonds or Star Fragments.

A Silver Lynel appears in the Coliseum Ruins on the bottom floor after all four Divine Beasts have been freed.

Golden Lynel

"With brutal strength and extreme resilience, this type of Lynel somehow surpasses Silver Lynels in sheer power. It is said they are actually Silver Lynels who mysteriously transformed after being struck by lightning. If you see one, get away as fast as you can."
— Hyrule Compendium
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Link standing next to a Golden Lynel while wearing the Lynel Mask

Golden Lynels are added by activating the Master Mode of the DLC pack The Master Trials. Golden Lynels are the strongest variety of Lynel, with 7500 HP, and are generally considered the strongest of the non-boss enemies. Just like White-Maned Lynels and Silver Lynels, these carry the strongest Lynel gear (Savage Lynel Sword, Savage Lynel Bow and Savage Lynel Shield). In the DLC pack, Golden Lynels will start to appear more often as the Silver Lynels.