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This article is about the Ice Climber's appearance in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. For other uses, see Ice Climbers.
Back in the battle after a ten-year absence! There are two of them, so does that make them twice as strong as other fighters?
—Description from the Super Smash Blog.

The Ice Climbers (アイスクライマー Aisu Kuraimā?) (respectively known as Popo and Nana) are veteran fighters in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, first playable in Super Smash Bros. Melee. They were confirmed in June 12, 2018 along with the remaining roster. They are classed as #15. While Nana is the follower, Popo is the leader.

When unlocked, they are fought at Summit.

Attributes

Strengths

  • The Ice Climbers can be desynched to execute attacks in a manner that makes them difficult to dodge or make combos more difficult to escape.
  • During their Final Smash, they can attack the opponents to lure them to the iceberg in order to KO.
  • Blizzard freezes the opponent, allowing them to punish with one of their attacks.
  • High jumping height.
  • They are playable as a duo instead of individual, making them twice as strong than the other fighters.
  • Forward aerial is a strong meteor-smash.
  • High damage output to opponents.
  • Belay is a great vertical recovery in the game.
  • Belay covers a high distance and can tether to ledges.
  • Squall Hammer is a form of horizontal recovery.
  • Ice shot can be used for spacing and zoning as well as to hit opponents from above.
  • It is impossible for opponents to determine what percentage Nana is at.

Weaknesses

  • Despite being middleweights, they are sometimes OHKO'd by various attacks: like Mr. Game & Watch's Judge, Kirby's hammer and Jigglypuff's Rest, making them somewhat light and therefore are very easy to launch.
  • Poor horizontal air movement.
  • Recovery is easy to gimp and is severely weakened if Nana is defeated.
  • Squall Hammer leaves them helpless after use.
  • Neutral special projectile decreases in size over time and distance and can be affected by sloping platforms.
  • If Nana gets KO'd, Popo will be all on his own, being very vunerable to characters that can KO him relatively early, like Mr. Game & Watch, Pac-Man and Ganondorf.
  • If Popo dies, Nana will too. Likewise, if Nana dies while she is the leader, Popo will too.
  • They can still move while Iceberg is active and this can cause careless players to walk off a ledge unexpectedly. This, in any case, reduces the iceberg's sideways mobility.
  • Down aerial is incapable of being a meteor-smash and is a weak-knockbacking stall-then-fall move, so if it is used off the ledge, it will result in a significant self-destruct.
  • Nana is unable to grab, and is also not in correct control due to being a follower.
  • Iceberg is rather very easy to avoid by being KO'd, by characters to have great super jumps like Mr. Game & Watch and Isabelle, or a high amount of jumps like Kirby and Jigglypuff.

Summary

The Ice Climbers are a pair of middleweights (weighing the same as Lucario, Wolf, Villager, Mythra, and Steve) that are the archetypical tag team characters, though each Climber is a unique character in their own right. The partner (Nana, by default) has higher mobility attributes (walking, dashing, air and fall speeds, gravity, and air acceleration), but at the same time takes more damage and knockback than the leader (Popo, by default). Another unique trait that the partner possesses is their forward aerial's ability to meteor smash. Due to technically being two characters, the Ice Climbers are able to grab two different items. Unlike in previous installments, they are no longer hard to grab and throw unless the partner is the one being grabbed (when the leader is grabbed, the partner will panic). When separated, AI takes control of the partner, and guides them back to the leader. In this scenario, it is advisable to stick to and protect the partner. Should the CPU Climber get KO'd during the stock, the remaining Climber will have drastically reduced damage output, KO ability, and recovery, with Belay becoming practically useless and Squall Hammer losing a good deal of distance (whereas with both Climbers they are excellent recovery moves).

The Ice Climbers are great at dealing damage when together, have decent attack speed, and possess a few interesting attacks in their arsenal. Their neutral special move, Ice Shot, is a projectile fired by each Ice Climber which slides along the ground, making it impossible to avoid by crouching/crawling, though it can damage the Climbers themselves if the blocks are attacked. Blizzard, their down special move, can freeze opponents and has both Ice Climbers attacking one side whether on the ground or in midair. Squall Hammer is a decent approach attack with good damage and speed, spinning the Ice Climbers around each other in a forward-moving hammer attack. By mashing the button, they can gain a little height, making it a potential recovery option (albeit not an effective one). Belay, the up special, is a powerful KO move (though not as powerful as in Brawl) should the second Climber connect with the opponent, but it is generally a risky use of the move given that it separates the Climbers and puts them into a helpless animation. It is much more suited for recovery, as well as for saving the separated partner from falling offstage. Although minor, the Ice Climbers nevertheless have a unique fighter ability: their traction is not affected by the conditions of slippery surfaces such as ice, whereas they will slide somewhat on non-slippery surfaces.

One of the Ice Climbers' greatest weakness is their dependability on each other. While having decent damage output and KO potential, it becomes horribly diminished if the partner is KO'd, and the fact that the partner takes more damage and knockback further compounds this problem. When separated, while the AI guides the partner back to the leader, the partner is unable to act and defend themself from any other threats. Because of this, it is important for the leader to hurry back to the partner, though this can potentially lead the leader into dangerous situations as well.

Their main recovery method, Belay, is incredibly situational. If the partner is unable to reach the ledge, than it can put the leader at a disadvantage even if they make it back to the stage. Since the partner flings the leader much higher, it is possible to overshoot the ledge, leaving the leader unable to defend themselves while descending helplessly onstage.

Changes from Brawl

Attributes

  • Nana and Popo appear to stand more closely together.
  • Nana cannot act if Popo does a throw or if Popo has been grabbed.
    • She also has a unique expression for these animations.

Ground Attacks

  • Neutral attack can lock opponents due to its altered angle (60° → 361°/180°) and the partner's second hit deals more damage (2% → 2.6%).
  • Neutral attack does less damage (3% → 2% (leader hit 1), 4% → 3.5% (leader hit 2), 2% → 1.5% (partner hit 1), 11% → 9.6% (total)).
  • Second hit of neutral attack has more ending lag (frame 20 → 30) and both hits have a shorter duration (frames 4-7 (hit 1), 4-6 (hit 2) → 4-5 (both)).

Aerial Attacks

  • All aerials have less landing lag (15 frames → 7 (neutral/back), 20 → 10 (forward), 30 → 14 (up), 42 → 20 (down).
  • The Ice Climbers can no longer use two back or up aerials in a short hop due to their faster falling speed as well as the latter having increased ending lag.

Grabs and Throws

  • Nana is unable to grab opponents now, preventing the Ice Climbers from performing Wobbles or chain grabs that they were so well-known for in previous appearances.
  • New down throw.

Special Attacks

  • Belay travels a higher distance.
  • Blizzard now only goes in one direction rather than both.
  • The stalagmites from their Ice Shot move can be easily reflected, similar to King Dedede's Gordo
  • During their Final Smash, the iceberg will now spin constantly while a Condor flies around the stage that Popo/Nana can grab it's leg and ride (Nana/Popo can't grab the Condor's leg unlike Popo/Nana). The Iceberg can also be moved left and right with the joystick. The Polar Bear from the Ice Climber game also makes a cameo appearance.

Moveset

Ground Attacks

Normal

  • Neutral Attack: The Ice Climbers swing their hammers horizontally, and then vertically. A great "get off me" tool that does decent damage to boot.
  • Forward Tilt: The Ice Climbers swing their hammers horizontally. Has high knockback growth, being able to KO at around 80%-90% at the ledge on most characters, which is compared to Mr. Game & Watch's forward tilt.
  • Up Tilt: The Ice Climbers twirl their hammers over their heads. This creates a lingering hitbox that hits multiple times. A useful combo starter that can begin a chain of up aerials.
  • Down Tilt: The Ice Climbers sweep their hammers across the ground in front of themselves. A steep semi-spike that functions very well as both a poking option in neutral and edgeguarding option, thanks to its quick startup, decent range, and low endlag.
  • Dash Attack: The Ice Climbers leap forward, swinging their hammers in front of themselves. It deals mostly vertical knockback that can start combos, but has weak knockback and is ineffective for KOing.

Smash Attacks

  • Forward Smash: The Ice Climbers swing their hammers down in front of themselves similar to their original attack in Ice Climber.
  • Up Smash: The Ice Climbers swing their hammers in an overhead arc.
  • Down Smash (Hammer Sweep): The Ice Climbers sweep their hammers across the ground in a specific direction (the leader attacks in front, while the partner attacks behind). If the partner is absent, however, this move will only hit on one side.

Other attacks

  • Floor Attack (Front): The Ice Climbers swing their hammers around themselves as they get up.
  • Floor Attack (Back): Same as the frontal floor attack.
  • Floor Attack (Trip): Gets up and spins around, hitting with their hammers.
  • Ledge Attack: The Ice Climbers climb up and slam their hammers in front of themselves.

Aerial Attacks

  • Neutral aerial: The Ice Climbers spin in place with their hammers outstretched.
  • Forward aerial (Hammer Slam): Resembles the Ice Climbers' air attack from their original game. They perform a somersaulting overhead swing of their hammers in a manner similar to their forward smash. The partner's hammer has a sweetspot that can meteor-smash opponents.
  • Back aerial: The Ice Climbers swing their hammers horizontally behind themselves. Both hits are extremely safe on shield, with the secondary climber's hit being one of the few moves that is positive on shield.
  • Up aerial: The Ice Climbers swing their hammers above themselves in an arc. An excellent juggle tool that can quickly rack up damage both desynced and synced, and can even function as a KO confirm from down throw at around 70% on most characters.
  • Down aerial: The Ice Climbers hold their hammers below themselves and fall downward. A stall-then-fall, but it is unable to meteor smash at all, unlike most attacks of its kind. As a result, it is usually used as a niche landing option.

Grabs and Throws

Control of Nana is deactivated during throws and grabs.
  • Grab: The leader reaches in front of themselves with their free hand. The leader's grab range is the shortest in the game.
  • Pummel: The leader headbutts the opponent.
  • Forward Throw: The leader knocks the opponent away with their hammer.
  • Back Throw: The leader throws the opponent behind themselves.
  • Up Throw: The leader tosses the opponent upward and hits them with their hammer. It has the second highest base knockback of any up throw, but the weakest knockback growth, rendering it incapable at KOing, even at very high percents.
  • Down Throw: The leader lifts the opponent over their head with both hands and slams them on the ground. The Ice Climbers' only throw with KO potential, it can KO middleweights at around 214%. It is also effective for starting combos, especially when desynced.

Special Moves

Ice Climbers' Special Moves
Melee Brawl Ultimate
Standard Special Ice Shot
Side Special Squall Hammer
Up Special Belay
Down Special Blizzard
Final Smash - Iceberg

Taunts

  • Up Taunt: They set down their hammers and jump up and down once. This is their victory animation during the results screen in Ice Climber.
  • Down Taunt: They dance in a circle.
  • Side Taunt: They point their hammers diagonally upward and shout "Yup!", as wind blows behind them.

On-Screen Appearance

The Condor flies in with them hanging off its feet. They then jump off while high fiving each other, and the Condor flies off.


Idle Poses

  • Both twirl their hammers.
  • Both look backwards curiously.

Victory Poses

  • Both Ice Climbers nod to each other then give each other a high five.
  • Both Ice Climbers excitedly jump up and down.
  • Standing in front of each other, one Ice Climber moves their head to the left, while the other one moves their head to the right; they then spin their heads around.

In competitive play

Before release, players were quick to note that the Ice Climbers lost their most powerful tool from Brawl: their infamous zero-to-death chain grab. That, along with changes to gameplay mechanics removing several combo tools, caused players to believe that the Ice Climbers wouldn't be viable, a belief that held on throughout the early metagame. As such, the Ice Climbers’ representation was minuscule.

It wasn't until a few months after Ultimate's release that the Ice Climbers' playerbase started to make breakthroughs, with the few that stuck with them discovering new desync setups and high-damaging combos. This allowed the Ice Climbers to gain better representation as the metagame progressed, with Kie using them as a co-main in Japan. Most notably, Big D picked up the Ice Climbers up and was able to place well at a national level. Despite this success, many players believe that the character's playstyle is too complicated for them to be viable, and the general consensus agrees that the Ice Climbers are in the lower end of mid tier at best and low tier at worst. The new advanced techniques, however, have helped their mains with how little match-up experience there has been from opponents to learn from.

Classic Mode: Duos for Days

Ice Climbers' Classic Mode consists of them fighting two characters from each of their respective universes, referencing themselves being duos.

Round Opponent Stage Music Notes
1 Link and Zelda Great Plateau Tower Main Theme - The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
2 Ryu and Ken Green Greens Ryu Stage
3 Villager and Isabelle Smashville Title Theme - Animal Crossing: Wild World (Brawl)
4 Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong Jungle Japes Jungle Level (Melee)
5 Palutena and Pit Palutena's Temple Title Theme - Kid Icarus
6 Mario and Peach Princess Peach's Castle Main Theme - New Super Mario Bros.
7 Bonus Stage
Final Master Hand and Crazy Hand Final Destination Master Hand / Crazy Hand

Role in World of Light

Although the Ice Climbers do not appear in the World of Light opening cutscene, they were vaporized and later imprisoned alongside the rest of the fighters (except for Kirby) when Galeem unleashed his beams of light.

The Ice Climbers are unlocked in the southern portion of the snowy mountain area. Unlocking them eliminates the ice paths so they can be traversed in both directions as well as opening a path to the hidden forest. In the battle, you fight on the Omega form of Summit. Ice Climbers have a Grab Spirit in the battle with a power of 7,500.

In Spirit Battles

As the Main Opponents

As Minions

  • Condor

Palette Swaps

•Note: Nana becomes the leading, player-controlled character when using the 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th costumes shown above. The stock icons for these costumes change to reflect this, but the character select portraits always show Popo in front.

Gallery

External links

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