Ice Climbers (SSBM)

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This article is about the Ice Climbers' appearance in Melee. For the characters more generally, see Ice Climbers; for the CPU Mode, see NANA; and for other uses of "Ice Climber", see Ice Climber.
Ice Climbers
in Super Smash Bros. Melee
Ice Climbers
IceClimbersSymbol.svg
Universe Ice Climber
Other Smash Bros. appearance in Brawl

Availability Starter
Tier B (7) (North America)
C (8) (Europe)
#default:
A mallet-swinging duo from the icy peaks.
—Melee's instruction manual

Announced at E3 2001, the Ice Climbers (アイスクライマー, Ice Climber) are playable characters in Super Smash Bros. Melee.

They rank 7th on the tier list (in the B tier), highly accredited to the usage of Wobbling and Desynching and the fact that the fighter is literally "two-in-one", which helps the climbers rack up damage, combo, and KO opponents; this gives the Ice Climbers one of the best grab games in Melee. Additionally, good players can quickly rack up damage with the two, and they have good approach options on the ground, due to disjointed hitboxes and two decent projectiles. The two also have a very long and floaty wavedash, aiding their approach tremendously. The Ice Climbers, however, have a poor air game, and their floatiness causes them to be vulnerable to juggling and combos. Another vulnerability is that many of their benefits are lost if the second Climber is KO'ed.

Attributes[edit]

The Ice Climbers have arguably the most unusual fighting style in all of Melee; the player is tasked with controlling two characters at once, and their fighting potential becomes considerably worse should Nana (or Popo depending on which costume is selected) be KOed. Outside of this, their unique physics make them difficult to use; they boast an above average jumping height alongside low air and falling speed, and their traction is also among the lowest in the game.

As a result of their unusual gimmick, the Ice Climbers have among the most powerful ground-based approaches in the game. Disjointed hitboxes, a variety of useful tilts and smashes, and a long, floaty wavedash give the Ice Climbers a wide variety of options on the ground, especially in approaching. Arguably their most powerful tool on the ground is their grab; despite having a below-average grab range, they boast low knockback throws, giving them significant chain throwing potential. They can also perform the Wobbling infinite out of a grab, which is arguably the most powerful single technique in the game if players can master it. In addition, the presence of Nana allows players to significantly rack up damage on opponents when they grab them. The presence of Nana also makes grabs and chain throws against Popo difficult to utilize, as she can potentially attack opponents during their grab to break it. Furthermore, the Ice Climbers have among the best projectiles in the game, Ice Shot; it is a ground-based projectile that limits the opponent's approach options, and falls off edges very quickly, allowing it to cover various low recovery options. While short-ranged, Blizzard can also have approaching applications, as Popo and Nana face the same direction when the attack is used during a short-hop; it can also be used as a reliable tool to rack up damage off a grab if Nana uses it while Popo pummels.

The Ice Climbers' desynching techniques also have powerful ground-based applications. Since it essentially allows the control of both Climbers to some degree, experienced players can force Nana to perform certain tasks while Popo is occupied. This includes grabbing opponents immediately after Popo has thrown them (known as a hand-off) and attacking them while Popo keeps them locked in place, amongst other powerful benefits. Desynching, however, requires significant practice to use consistently, making the Ice Climbers one of the most technically demanding characters in the game.

Despite a powerful ground-based approach, aerial approaches can prove to be difficult. A high jumping height, low falling speed, slow, laggy aerials, and the second lowest air speed in the game (behind only Luigi) give the Ice Climbers a poor SHFFL. Their low aerial and falling speeds also make pursuing airborne enemies extremely difficult. Some of the Ice Climbers' aerials have powerful applications; their down aerial keeps the enemy mostly in place due to its set knockback, allowing Popo to regrab if Nana uses it after a throw, and their neutral and back aerials are good spacing tools, with the latter having reliable KOing ability under 150%. However, due to their poor air speed and falling speed, and only one situational meteor (their forward aerial), their air game does not complement their powerful ground game overall. These various traits also give the Ice Climbers a below-average edgeguarding game, and they lack an extremely effective off-stage option. In addition, the Ice Climbers have the second worst traction in the game; similar to Luigi, this makes them highly reliant on wavedashing to approach, and technical errors, such as mistimed air dodges, can set them up for significant punishment. Owing to their light weight and low falling speed, the Ice Climbers are also highly vulnerable to being KOed from the upper blast line.

Players who use the Ice Climbers must also know how to prevent themselves from losing Nana, as when she is KOed, Popo cannot fight nearly as effectively. As the Ice Climbers' attacks were designed to be two-in-one, Popo's attacks alone lack damage racking ability, making it much harder to accumulate percentage on the opponent despite the power of his smash attacks. Popo also cannot perform nearly as many chaingrabs without Nana, and cannot Wobble by himself, greatly reducing the threatening nature of their usual grabs. In return, Popo is left vulnerable to chaingrabs and throw setups himself due to his low air speed and falling speed, and is limited in his recovery options; he is forced to recover with Squall Hammer, which travels only horizontally. Unfortunately, most high-tiered characters have attacks, such as Fox's shine and Peach's forward aerial, that can easily separate Popo from Nana. Their recovery, while long, is prone to endangering Nana, as she can either miss the ledge entirely or be left vulnerable against edgeguarders. All of these flaws force Ice Climbers players to be situationally aware and abuse their powerful ground and grab games to prevent their Climbers from being separated and KOed.

The Ice Climbers also have the ability to perform the Freeze glitch, which prevents their opponent from moving in any capacity when performed. Due to its game-breaking potential, the tactic is banned in tournaments.

Moveset[edit]

The Ice Climbers' aerial attacks.

For a gallery of the Ice Climbers' hitboxes, see here.

Note: A majority of the move summaries refer to the combined damage of the both Ice Climbers; with the partner usually dealing 1% less than the leader due to stale move negation.
Note: Although both Ice Climbers can perform a ledge attack, they cannot perform it at the same time, as only one character is allowed on the ledge at a time.
  Name Damage Description
Neutral attack   1-2% A horizontal swipe followed by an upward swing.
3-4%
Forward tilt   7-8% Does a side swing with their hammers with long reach. Can wobble. Can be angled up or down, but deals the same damage regardless.
Up tilt   0-1% (hits 1-6), 6-7% (hit 7) Twirl their hammers above themselves, being short-ranged, but highly damaging. Can deal up to 21% damage if both Ice Climbers connect all hits and if the move is used fresh.
Down tilt   4-5% Swings their hammer low across the ground. One of the Ice Climbers' less damaging moves even with both their damages combined. Can wobble.
Dash attack   8-9% Sweeps upwards with their hammers while coming to a stop. Has some ending lag, but both Ice Climbers' hits add up to an impressive damage output for a dash attack.
Forward smash   12%-14% (head), 9%-10% (handle) Lifts their hammers over their heads, then smash them straight down. Great damage and knockback if both Ice Climbers' connect.
Up smash   10%-11% Swings their hammers in an arc over their heads. Excellent for getting KOs at higher percentages.
Down smash   11%-12% Spins around and sweeps the ground with their hammers. Fast, but somewhat short ranged, good for tight spacing. Good horizontal knockback.
Neutral aerial   7-8% Twirls around in the air, hammers extended. Short ranged, but good for aerial spacing and following up with another neutral aerial if predicted right.
Forward aerial   9-11% (leader), 8-10% (partner) Hold their hammers up, then bring them down in a similar fashion to their forward smash. Can meteor smash if sweetspotted, which is located at the handle of their hammers.
Back aerial   11-12% (head), 10-11% (handle) Turn around and does a backswing with their hammers.
Up aerial   8-9% (clean), 7% (late) Thrust their hammers above themselves just like their up tilt, but with only one hitbox per Ice Climber.
Down aerial   8-9% Hold their hammers below themselves and fall downwards. Has long duration and some landing lag (though L-cancelling helps). This attack has extremely low set knockback, and therefore cannot KO grounded opponents at any percentage. It can help prevent air juggling a bit due to the slightly increased falling speed.
Grab   Grabs the opponent. While the lead Ice Climber is holding the opponent, the partner can attack the grabbed opponent, but will take less damage from their attacks (attacks deal half the damage they usually do).
Pummel   3% The lead climber headbutts the opponent, whereas the player has some control over the partner while pummeling. The damage adds up quickly due to desynching.
Forward throw   6% (hit 1), 5% (throw) Hits opponent forward with their hammer.
Back throw   7% Takes opponent and flings them behind with one hand.
Up throw   6% (hit 1), 5% (throw) Throw opponent upwards, then hits them with their hammer. Powerful, though it's power costs them combo follow ups, for a throw. One of the strongest throws in the game.
Down throw   6% Spins and then slams the opponent on the ground. The attack deals little damage, but the opponent is usually knocked right in front them, leading into many quick combos and chaingrabs.
Floor attack (front)   6% Gets up and spins their hammers.
Floor attack (back)   6% Gets up and swipes their hammers on both sides.
Edge attack (fast)   6% (body), 8% (hammer) Quickly gets up and slams their hammers on the ground.
Edge attack (slow)   8% (body), 10% (hammer) Slowly gets up and thrusts their hammers forward.
Neutral special Ice Shot 8-9% (hammer), 5%/4% (ice block ground/air) Each Ice Climbers fire off a block of ice that travel along the ground, bouncing off walls. If used in mid-air, the ice block falls fast until it hits the ground, and they travel very fast down slopes. It's possible for an opponent to become frozen if they have high damage. Using Ice Shot at very close range can catch enemies with both the ice blocks and the hammers. The ice block can be reflected and absorbed. If one ice block gets reflected, the other one can cancel it out.
Side special Squall Hammer 1-4% (loop) Both Ice Climbers spin around together while moving along the ground, both their hammers extended. Hits multiple times. It can also be used as a recovery move by mashing the B button, this causes them to rise in the air. It gains more distance if both Ice Climbers are present, though with only one Ice Climber, it's their only viable recovery option.
Up special Belay 16% The leading Ice Climber throws the partner in the air with a rope. The partner then pulls the leader upwards, covering great vertical distance. Each Ice Climber will become helpless after using the move. If only one climber is present, the move gives next to no distance, meaning Squall Hammer should be used instead.
Down special Blizzard 1-2% (loop) Each Ice Climbers blows icy wind from their hands, damaging nearby opponents. When the move is used on the ground, the partner will shoot in the direction opposite of the leader. Can rack up damage and freeze opponents for a small amount of time. The move can be used to perform Blizzobbling, a variation of Wobbling performed with Blizzard; instead of a tilt, the partner uses Blizzard to damage the opponent while the leader pummels. This attack has transcendent priority.

Taunt[edit]

  • Points their hammers diagonally upwards and shout "Yup!".
IceClimbers-Taunt-SSBM.gif

Idle pose[edit]

  • Shakes hammers.
Ice Climbers Idle Pose Melee.gif

Crowd cheer[edit]

English Japanese
Cheer
Ice Climbers Cheer NTSC Melee.ogg
Ice Climbers Cheer JP Melee.ogg
Description Ice-Climber! Ice-Climber! Ice-Climber!
Pitch Group chant Group chant

Victory poses[edit]

A cover of the music that played whenever the Ice Climbers grabbed the feet of the Condor at the end of a bonus level in Ice Climber.
  • Both Ice Climbers excitedly jump up and down five times before stopping in midair.
  • Both Ice Climbers nod to each other, then give each other a high five.
  • 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 alternate.
Climbers-Victory1-SSBM.gif Climbers-Victory2-SSBM.gif Climbers-Victory3-SSBM.gif

In Competitive play[edit]

Matchups[edit]

Super Smash Bros. Melee Character Matchups
  FoxHeadSSBM.png FalcoHeadSSBM.png MarthHeadSSBM.png SheikHeadSSBM.png JigglypuffHeadSSBM.png PeachHeadSSBM.png IceClimbersHeadSSBM.png CaptainFalconHeadSSBM.png PikachuHeadSSBM.png SamusHeadSSBM.png DrMarioHeadSSBM.png YoshiHeadSSBM.png LuigiHeadSSBM.png GanondorfHeadSSBM.png MarioHeadSSBM.png YoungLinkHeadSSBM.png DonkeyKongHeadSSBM.png LinkHeadSSBM.png MrGame&WatchHeadSSBM.png RoyHeadSSBM.png MewtwoHeadSSBM.png ZeldaHeadSSBM.png NessHeadSSBM.png PichuHeadSSBM.png BowserHeadSSBM.png KirbyHeadSSBM.png Avg.
IceClimbersHeadSSBM.png -1 ±0 -1 +1 ±0 -2 Mirror match ±0 +1 -1 ±0 +2 ±0 -2 +1 +1 +1 ±0 +1 +3 +1 +1 +2 +3 +2 +2 +1

The Ice Climbers have good matchups all around. They are countered by two characters, soft countered by 3, have 6 even matchups, soft counter 8, counter 4, and hard counter 2. The Ice Climbers generally do well against characters who are overly reliant on grabs to start their punishes, have a weight class that makes them susceptible to their own grab and wobbling setups, or do not have the appropriate tools to safely separate the two Climbers, such as Sheik, Samus, and Pikachu. They also do well against lower-tiered characters who do not have the tools to challenge their grounded mobility.

Conversely, they do not do well against characters who can zone them out, separate them, or combat their ground-based neutral game effectively, such as Fox, Marth, and Ganondorf. Peach is considered the Ice Climbers' hardest counter, as not only can she separate the Ice Climbers, but can also easily KO Nana with a string of float-cancelled aerials and stay out of harm's way by floating out of reach of the Ice Climbers' attacks and grabs. Regardless, the Ice Climbers still have one of the best matchup spreads in the game.

Notable players[edit]

See also: Category:Ice Climbers professionals (SSBM)

Active[edit]

Tier placement and history[edit]

The Ice Climbers were once a middle to low-middle tiered character, as in the beginning of Melee, professionals had not made significant discoveries with them. With the discovery of the Ice Climbers' desynching combos, as well as wobbling (which guarantees a stock if performed correctly), they started moving up the ranks. The growing dominance of Chu Dat and then Wobbles and Fly Amanita inched them first to the middle tier, then to a tier of their own between the top and high tiers, where they resided for more than two years. Wobbles's second place finish at EVO 2013 with the Ice Climbers did not change their tier position but finally pushed them into the S tier, where they are at last recognized as a viable character for tournaments alongside the top tiered characters. With the release of the twelfth tier list, they moved up one spot, above Captain Falcon, for the first time.

In single player modes[edit]

In Classic Mode[edit]

Ice Climbers can appear in a one-on-one, as an ally, on a team with Kirby, or as a metal opponent. Ice Climbers are fought on Icicle Mountain except in the metal battle.

In Adventure Mode[edit]

Ice Climbers' sole appearance is on Stage 10: Icicle Mountain. The player is initially tasked with navigating the stage for 51 seconds; following this, two pairs of Ice Climbers attack the player. The player must then KO both Ice Climbers to proceed to the next stage.

In All-Star Mode[edit]

Ice Climbers and their allies are fought on Icicle Mountain

In Event Matches[edit]

Ice Climbers appear in the following Events:

  • Event 11: King of the Mountain: The player must survive for 1 minute 2 seconds on Icicle Mountain. Two pairs of Ice Climbers will hinder the player and have unlimited lives.
  • Event 21: Ice Breaker: The player must KO two Nanas (the pink Ice Climber) in a 1 stock match. All the Ice Climbers do is jump but can recover. KOing Popo (the blue Ice Climber) anytime results in a failure.
  • Event 30: All-Star Match 3: Ice Climbers is the last opponent the player must fight in this series of staged battles. Their character battles them on the Icicle Mountain stage, and the player's character has 2 stock while Ice Climbers has 1. With a timer of four minutes, the player must defeat them and the other three characters with the overall time and life they have: Kirby, Pikachu and Ness.

Ending images[edit]

Trophies[edit]

Ice Climbers (Classic)
That's Popo in the blue and Nana in the pink. These two stars of the game Ice Climber have scaled many an ice summit in their mountaineering careers. Back in their glory days, they chased eggplants, cucumbers, and other vegetables that inexplicable fell from frosty summits where a condor reigned supreme. They're rarely seen apart.
Ice Climbers (Adventure)
This unique twosome fights together as a team. Your score will not be affected if the CPU-controlled character is KO'd, but a lone Ice Climber won't be able to use teamwork moves, which mini-glaciers out of their hammers, while Squall Hammer is at it's strongest when Nana and Popo combine their strength.
  • B: Ice Shot
  • Smash B: Squall Hammer
Ice Climbers (All-Star)
The colors of the Ice climbers' parkas denote who's in the lead: Nana's in pink and orange, while Popo's in green or blue. their hairstyles are also slightly different. Belay allows them to cover great distances, but doesn't give foes the chance to target their landing. Blizzard is best used in close quarters; in the fray, Nana and Popo sometimes freeze opponents.
  • Up & B: Belay
  • Down & B: Blizzard

Alternate costumes[edit]

The Ice Climbers' alternate costumes in Melee

Trivia[edit]

  • The CPU level of the trailing Ice Climber is equal to the percentage of the leader, divided by 20, rounded down, and then clamped to the interval 1-9. [1]
  • Changing the language to Japanese on an English copy of Melee changes the Ice Climbers name to "Ice Climber", as the Japanese language does not differentiate words as plural like in English.
  • The Ice Climbers are tied with Ganondorf for the world record in the Home-Run Contest, and are the only character other than Ganondorf to have reached the max distance. Unlike Ganondorf, however, the Ice Climbers have to exploit the Freeze glitch in order to be able to reach these distances in the Home-Run Contest.
  • The Ice Climbers are the only starter character from a newly represented universe.
  • Even though the Ice Climbers are called "Ice Climbers" in English, their English chant still says "Ice Climber" (the Japanese name of the character).