Ice Climbers (SSBB)

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This article is about the Ice Climbers' appearance in Brawl. For the characters in general, see Ice Climbers. For other uses of "Ice Climber", see Ice Climber.
Ice Climbers
in Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Ice Climbers
IceClimbersSymbol.svg
Universe Ice Climber
Other Smash Bros. appearance in Melee

Availability Starter
Final Smash Iceberg
Tier S (2)
#default:
A pair that hits one after the other. Popo is in blue and Nana is in pink.
Brawl instruction manual

The Ice Climbers (アイス クライマー, Ice Climber) return as playable charatcers from Melee. They were confirmed on the Smash Bros. DOJO!! website on September 14, 2007.

They rank 2nd on the current tier list, making them the highest-ranking veteran in the game. This is primarily due to their extensive and intricate grab game that can completely shut down opponents once it begins. Professional Ice Climbers players are known to chain grab opponents from 0% to a KO inescapably. The partner mechanism of the character also forces opponents to rethink their approach, as one target can easily break combos and chain grabs. The duo also have two decent projectiles, and they are armed with a relatively powerful meteor smash along with one of the largest disjointed up aerials in the game. However, if the partner is KO'd, the leader cannot use special moves correctly and is somewhat helpless during recovery; a lone Ice Climber also has drastically lowered damage output and KO potential, especially due to its inability to perform a meteor smash, and is considerably more open to chain grabs and combos. Regardless, the Ice Climbers have very strong matchups (losing to only four characters, with Meta Knight being the only top tier they lose to), and very strong tournament results.

Attributes[edit]

The Ice Climbers are lightweight characters that have the unique property of being a "two in one" character, wherein the game considers each Climber to be a unique character in its own right. The follower is always slightly weaker than the leader, but only the follower can meteor smash with his/her forward aerial. The Ice Climbers are able to grab two different items and are even able to grab two separate characters. In addition, their unique property also makes them much harder to grab and throw effectively (when one Ice Climber gets grabbed, the partner can simply counterattack, making them immune to chain-grabs), and conversely allows them to have a superior grab game entirely unique to them (see "chain-grabbing and desynching" below). However, they can easily be separated by strong enough attacks. In this scenario, it is advisable to stick to and protect the partner, even if it puts the player in additional danger. 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 loses 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. Blizzard, the down special move, can freeze opponents and even cover both sides if the partner is present, or alternatively can be made to cover one side if performed while jumping with the partner, giving the attack more power. 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. Belay, the up special, is a powerful KO move 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. A unique addition to their character is that the Ice Climbers are not affected by the conditions of slippery surfaces such as ice, and they won't slide on it. This is due to the fact that they are wearing cleats. Oddly, their cleats do not affect their traction on normal surfaces, as it is second-lowest in the game (Luigi has the lowest).

The Ice Climbers are not very good at using their standard arsenal of attacks for continuous hits, normally speaking. With weak throws, small hammers, and slow movement in general (slow falling, air, and dash speed), the Ice Climbers can usually only manage one or two good hits in close before they need to resort to Ice Shots or Blizzard again. With both Climbers present, KOing generally is not too much of a problem, although their smashes are generally better at racking up the damage than at KOing.

Chaingrabbing and desynching[edit]

Japanese Smasher 9B using a combination of the IC's down throw and back throw to perform a 0 to death infinite chain grab on Selcia's Meta Knight. The throw is setup using a combination of Blizzard and the Climbers' forward aerial and is finished using the Ice Climbers' up smash.

Many players consider the Ice Climbers to be "the King and Queen of all chain grabs" due to the fact that their two-in-one property allows for a variety of infinite chain-grab options that can combo into kill moves. For example, the lead Ice Climber can grab onto one opponent and use the forward throw. In the middle of the throw animation, the player can gain control of the CPU Climber, commanding him/her into performing a forward aerial spike, or grabbing again with the CPU Climber. while once again bringing the original, player-controlled Climber in for a new grab. Infinite chain grabs of this nature can be performed at any percent, on any character, on nearly any stage. One hindrance to this strategy is the Ice Climbers' short grab range and low traction, making it almost impossible to grab an opponent when they hit the player's shield(s) unless the Climbers powershield the attack.

The Ice Climbers have many different options to perform an infinite chaingrab. They can use any combination of forward throw, down throw, and back throw, but each option has different timings for every character. For example, against Meta Knight it is most common for players to infinite using a combination of down throw and back throw, as these two throws have the largest time windows to achieve a regrab. Against large characters that are diffucult to chaingrab, like Snake and ROB, the down throw can be used in conjunction with the footstool hop and ice shots for another infinite: the hobble. A hobble is performed when the Ice Climbers' down throw sends opponents into the air, the second Ice Climber jumps and footstools the opponent back onto the ground, and as the opponent bounces, the first Ice Climber traps them with an ice shot causing a reset for another grab. The only possible break to a perfectly executed infinite is Brawl's random tripping, which can occur if either climber dashes for any length of time. This can be avoided by only performing infinite chaingrabs while walking. When a chain grab has raised an opponent's damage enough, the most typically used move to KO the opponent is their up smash, if a forward air meteor smash is inapplicable. All of these chain throws can be considered 0-KO combos.

For further two-in-one tricks, it is even possible to de-synchronize or "desync" the CPU partner by confusing it with erratic movement (such as dash-dancing), putting the player in control of both Climbers for as long as they are capable of maintaining it. Once the partner is desynced, the player can have it perform any move while the main Climber is in the middle of one, providing for all sorts of possible attack strategies that can be exceedingly difficult for opponents to escape from (alternating Blizzard, alternating Ice Shot). While desynced, the partner Climber has restrained movement within an invisible box around the main Climber; should he/she be separated or removed from this box, the CPU will take over again. This invisible box makes it so that if the player desyncs from the AI so that it charges a smash attack and they start walking or running away, the AI will slide in the player's direction while charging the smash. A unique thing that the player can do when desynced is that if they desync the AI to charge a smash attack, their Belay will cancel the AI's charging sequence and teleport it into the belaying sequence. Such techniques are extremely difficult to perform in combat, even for advanced players, due to the constant string of precise commands required for the Climbers to move/attack as intended. Nevertheless, these techniques are considered the backbone of playing the Ice Climbers at a competitive level.

Changes from Melee to Brawl[edit]

The Ice Climbers have received a mix of buffs and nerfs. Due to the changes in grab mechanics, they can no longer wobble, which previously played a part in their competitive viability. Additionally, the loss of wavedashing has also served to be problematic due to their already poor traction inhibiting their approach and mobility, though not as much as Luigi. However, due to the influence of chaingrabs, the Ice Climbers are considered to be overall buffed due to the improvements to their chaingrabbing ability in which makes them even more deadly than in Melee. As a result, they are one of the few characters considered to have been truly buffed from Melee to Brawl.

Aesthetics[edit]

  • Change As with all characters, the Ice Climbers have received a drastic boost in quality, with their parkas having higher quality textures.

Attributes[edit]

  • Buff The Ice Climbers' air speed is faster (0.7 → 0.7708) though it is still very low.
  • Nerf As the with returning veterans, The Ice Climbers' falling speed was reduced (1.6 → 1.2). Compared to the returning veterans, however, The Ice Climbers fall faster. While this improves their endurance, it worsens their recovery and makes them more vulnerable to combos and chain grabs.
  • Buff The Ice Climbers' traction has been unchanged (0.035). Comparing with the returning veterans, however, The Climbers' traction is higher, making it easier for them to punish out of shield.
  • Buff The Ice Climbers are heavier (88 → 92).
  • Buff Both Ice Climbers can now grab a ledge at the same time, improving their recovery.
  • Buff The AI level of the partner when separated has been increased, now being nearly equivalent to a level 9 CPU.
  • Nerf The Ice Climbers are easier to separate when attacked.
  • Nerf The removal of wavedashing has hindered the Ice Climbers' mobility and approach, though not enough to stop them from being viable.
  • Bug fix The freeze glitch has been completely removed.

Ground attacks[edit]

Aerial attacks[edit]

  • Buff Down aerial no longer has set knockback. This gives the attack KO potential at percentages above 170%.
  • Nerf Down aerial now acts as a stall-then-fall attack, making it risky to use offstage.

Throws/other attacks[edit]

  • Buff The partner is now controlled by the player rather than the AI when grabbing a foe, enabling the player to effectively control the direction in which to throw the foe, significantly extending chaingrabs.
  • Change Wobbling can no longer be performed. Though this has been replaced by a zero to death chain grab which is also completely inescapable.
  • Nerf Forward throw has less KO power.
  • Buff Back throw is now a true infinite chaingrab. It can also be used in conjunction with footstool jumping and Ice Shot to lock the opponent.
  • Buff Down throw's angle and knockback were tweaked, making the attack more reliable for chain-grabbing.
  • Buff Down throw no longer requires the aid of Blizzard or down aerial to string chaingrabs.

Special moves[edit]

  • Buff Ice Shot is no longer absorbable.
  • Buff Belay now acts as a tether recovery when used close to a ledge; the partner will first shoot to the ledge, then the leader will immediately reach up to it.
  • Buff Lone Ice Climber's Belay covers slightly more distance.
  • Buff Blizzard does slightly more damage.
  • Change Squall Hammer now sends off flakes of ice if both Ice Climbers are present.

Moveset[edit]

Note: This assumes that both Ice Climbers are present.

  Name Damage Description
Neutral attack   3% (leader), 2% (partner) A horizontal swipe followed by an upward swing.
4% (leader), 2% (partner)
Forward tilt   9% (both) Does a side swing with their hammers. Can be angled up or down, with the partner dealing more damage if angled up or down.
9% (leader), 7% (partner)
9% (both)
Up tilt   1% (hits 1-6), 4% (hit 7 [leader]), 3% (hit 7 [partner]) Twirl their hammers over their heads, creating a lingering hitbox that deals multiple hits. Can often lead to a grab at low percents.
Down tilt   6% (leader), 4-5% (partner) Sweep their hammers across the ground in front of them. Used generally for gimping recoveries such as Snake's Cypher.
Dash attack   6% (leader), 4% (partner) Leaps forward and swings their hammers in front of themselves.
Forward smash   13%/12% (leader), 10%/9% (partner) Lifts their hammers over their heads, then smashes them straight down. Deals good knockback it both Ice Climbers' hammers connect. Deals less damage if the opponents hit the hilt of the hammers and more damage if they hit the head.
Up smash   11%/9% (leader), 9%/8% (partner) Swings their hammers in an arc over their heads. Good as a finisher from chain grabs. Deals more damage if the opponent hit the head of the hammer.
Down smash   12%/10% (leader), 9%/8% (partner) Spins around and sweeps the ground with their hammers. Can hit up to four times if the opponent is really close and at low percentages. The second most damaging down smash in the game if all four hits connect. Deals more damage if the opponent hits the head of the hammer.
Neutral aerial   7% (leader), 5% (partner) Spin in a circle with their hammers outstretched. Good for aerial spacing.
Forward aerial   12% (leader), 12% (partner sweetspot), 7% (partner sourspot) Holds their hammers up and bring them down in a similar fashion to their forward smash. The partner can meteor smash opponents if the move is sweetspotted.
Back aerial   11% (leader), 8% (partner) Turns around and does a backswing with their hammers.
Up aerial   10%/9% (leader clean), 7% (leader late), 7%/6% (partner clean), 5% (partner late) Thrust their hammers above themselves like their up tilt, but with only one hitbox per Ice Climber.
Down aerial   8% (leader), 5% (partner) Hold their hammers below themselves and falls downwards. A stall-then-fall move, with the stall being almost unnoticeable. Has very large landing lag if not auto-cancelled.
Grab    
Pummel   1% A headbutt. The leader pummels the opponent, whereas the player has some control over the partner while pummeling.
Forward throw   3% (hit 1), 5% (throw) Hits opponent forward with their hammers. If the player walks slightly forward with the partner before using, they can regrab the opponent again right after they use the attack, making this throw a chaingrab.
Back throw   6% Throws opponent behind. Usable in a chaingrab.
Up throw   2% (hit 1), 4% (throw) Throw opponent upwards then hits them with hammer.
Down throw   6% Spins and then throws the opponent to the ground. Can be used to chain grab infinitely with good timing if both Ice Climbers participate.
Floor attack (front)   6% Gets up and spins around, hitting with their hammers.
Floor attack (back)   6% Gets up and swipes their hammers on both sides.
Floor attack (trip)   5% Gets up and spins around, hitting with their hammers.
Edge attack (fast)   8% (hammer), 6% (body) Quickly gets up and slams his/her hammer on the ground.
Edge attack (slow)   10% (hammer), 8% (body) Slowly gets up and swipes his/her hammer forwards.
Neutral special Ice Shot 1-3% Each Ice Climbers fire a block of ice that travel along the ground, bouncing off walls. When used in midair, the Ice Climbers will gain a slight boost in the air, but it will only work once before landing on the ground.
Side special Squall Hammer 2-3% (loop) Both Ice Climbers spin around together while moving along the ground, consisting of many hits. It can also be used as a recovery move by mashing the B button, which causes both Ice Climbers to rise in the air. It gains more distance when both Ice Climbers are present.
Up special Belay 16% The leading Ice Climber throws the following Ice Climber in the air with a rope. The following Ice Climber then pulls the leader upwards. If there is a nearby edge, the following Climber will target it, leading to a safe recovery for both Ice Climbers. Each Ice Climber become helpless after the move is used.
Down special Blizzard 1-2% 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.
Final Smash Iceberg 2% (hit), 5% (frozen) The Ice Climbers summon a huge Iceberg into the middle of the field. Touching the iceberg results in freeze damage, and possibly becoming frozen. Being frozen when pushed off the edge can lead to a fatal death, as the frozen player falls with full speed.

On-screen appearance[edit]

  • The Condor flies in with them hanging off its feet, then they jump off.
IceClimbersOnScreenAppearanceSSBB.gif

Taunts[edit]

  • Up taunt: They set down their hammers and jump up and down. In the Ice Climber NES game, this is the victory celebration of the Ice Climbers during the results screen (albeit without the flag).
  • Side taunt: They will point their hammers diagonally upward shout "Yup!", as wind blows behind them (same as in Melee, only with different sound effects).
  • Down taunt: They dance in a circle.
Up taunt Side taunt Down taunt
IceClimbersUpTauntBrawl.gif IceClimbersSideTauntBrawl.gif IceClimbersDownTauntBrawl.gif

Idle poses[edit]

  • Spin their hammers.
  • Drops their hammers off their shoulders then picks them back up.
Ice Climbers Popo Idle Pose 1 Brawl.png Ice Climbers Popo Idle Pose 2 Brawl.png

Crowd cheer[edit]

English Japanese
Cheer
Ice Climbers Cheer NTSC Brawl.ogg
Ice Climbers Cheer JP Brawl.ogg
Description Na-Na! Po-po Ice-cli-mer!
Pitch High female, then Deep male Group chant
  • In the NTSC-U and PAL versions, when playing as Nana, the Back sound of the menu plays in lieu of the crowd chant.
    • The fact that the crowd chant changes (albeit in a glitchy manner) depending on which Climber is leading the pair might indicate that the lead Climber's name was intended to be chanted first by the crowd.

Wii Remote selection sound[edit]

  • An Ice Shot sound is heard and both Ice Climbers say "Youp!"
Ice Climbers' selection sound

Victory poses[edit]

A cover of the music that played when the Ice Climbers grabbed the feet of the Condor at the end of a bonus level in Ice Climber.
  • Both nod and high five one another.
  • Both jump up and down (their victory pose from Ice Climber).
  • Nana hides behind Popo, only showing her face as Popo shifts from left to right.
Ice Climbers VPs.png

In competitive play[edit]

Matchups[edit]

The Ice Climbers have one of the best matchup spreads. On the SmashBoards matchup chart the Ice Climbers have the third highest unweighted rank and the second highest weighted rank. The Ice Climbers are soft countered by four characters, have seven even matchups, soft counter 8 characters, counter 10 characters, hard counter 5, and have 2 nearly unloseable matchups. The Ice Climbers' 0-to-death chaingrabs give them an enormous advantage against the rest of the cast. The infinite chaingrab is the easiest and most consistent infinite to perform in the entire game. Their ability to camp from far away with their projectile and their desyncronization abilities make them a threat to any opponent. The Ice Climbers do well against characters that cannot approach while getting grabbed, like King Dedede, Falco, and Olimar. They also do well against heavy or slow characters, and as a result have nearly unloseable matchups against Bowser and Ganondorf. They perform more poorly against characters that have ranged KO moves, like Zero Suit Samus, who can sweetspot her Plasma Whip. The Ice Climbers also perform poorly against floaty characters or characters who specialize in zoning, such as Meta Knight, Toon Link, and Peach. Even the Ice Climber's disadvantageous matchups are debatable, as many are exaggerated against them due to their top-tier status.

Notable players[edit]

See also: Category:Ice Climbers professionals (SSBB)
  • Japan 9B - Widely considered the best Ice Climbers player in the world and the best player in Japan along with Edge, notably winning SKTAR 3.
  • USA DeLux - Placed 5th at WHOBO 5.
  • USA ESAM - Considered one of the best players in the United States during the game's later stages; although famous primarily for his Pikachu, has used an Ice Climbers co-main to great success, defeating players such as Kakera and ZeRo using them.
  • Japan Kakera - Known as one of the top players in Japan, placed 5th at Apex 2012.
  • USA lain - A nationally dominant player during his peak from 2009-2010.
  • Japan Miyacchi - Defeated players such as 9B, Smasher, Nagahari, Earth, OCEAN, Suinoko, Shu, Kei and Masashi.
  • USA Nakat - Quickly rose as a top Ice Climbers player in 2013, with a 4th place at SKTAR 2 and wins over Mew2King, Anti, Nairo, and ZeRo.
  • USA Vinnie - A nationally dominant player in the later stages of Brawl's life, after switching to Ice Climbers from Mr. Game & Watch.
  • Japan Yunon - Defeated players such as Shu, Kuroobi, and RAIN.

Tier placement and history[edit]

In the first few years of Brawl's metagame, the Ice Climbers were only ranked in mid-high tier, given their poor fighting abilities and vulnerability when the partner Climber dies, and their powerful grab tactics were unrecognized at the time. However, Ice Climber players soon began to utilize their infinite chaingrabs, giving them an extremely powerful zero-to-death option against any other character. Players soon found the technique difficult to handle, as it completely changed the way players fought the Ice Climbers. The Ice Climbers matchup now involved avoiding getting grabbed into a death, which can be difficult to avoid, and the Ice Climbers were able to completely shut down characters who lacked effective tactics to deal with the zero-death chaingrabs. Because of this, the Ice Climbers quickly shot up the ranks, rising to #5 in the fourth tier list (February 2010), and remaining in top tier; the Ice Climbers then rose to 2nd place on the current tier list, placed right underneath Meta Knight in their own tier above the rest of the characters. Some players even argue that since the Ice Climbers have access to a zero-death on every character that works at any percent, they could be tied for first place with Meta Knight, or could even be first place themselves. The Ice Climbers are among the most disliked characters in Brawl by both casual and competitive players, since they possess a zero-death option against any character, something no other character has access to, and they have been considered cheap and broken, with many players supporting the ban of the infinite chaingrabs in tournaments; however, with the definition of what construes an "infinite chaingrab" usually being rigid, players of the Ice Climbers have found many loopholes to avoid using it while still nearly securing stocks with each grab, making opponents' predicaments effectively the same. Many recent tournaments in the post-Smash-4 era, such as Glitch 2, have even banned the Ice Climbers altogether, due to their unpopularity among opponents and spectators alike.

Role in The Subspace Emissary[edit]

Ice Climbers in SSE
The Ice Climbers were first seen climbing up a mountain together, possibly in pursuit of the Halberd or they were just climbing. When Meta Knight passed them going up the mountain, the Ice Climbers took it as a challenge and jumped up the mountain with Meta Knight. Once they reached the top, the Ice Climbers celebrated with their "victory" for getting up the mountain first, until they and Meta Knight found Lucario, who was looking for a fight with Meta Knight, so the Ice Climbers watch from the side nervously. After the fight, the Halberd crashes the Great Fox into the mountain. Although Meta Knight and Lucario managed to board the Halberd, the Ice Climbers (ironically) are thrown back to the ground towards Marth, Lucas, the Pokémon Trainer, and Ike. After facing some more Subspace Army troopers (with help from Mario and Link's group), the Ice Climbers teamed up with the other heroes as they journeyed into Subspace but are turned into trophies by Tabuu. Ice Climbers are then revived by King Dedede, Luigi, Ness, and Kirby and help the other smashers defeat Tabuu and restore the World Of Trophies to normal.

Playable appearances[edit]

Exclusive stickers[edit]

These stickers can only be used by the Ice Climbers, or a select few including them:

  • Balloon Fight Enemy: [Specials: Indirect] Attack +4
  • Donbe: [Slash] Resistance +26
  • Duck: Launch Resistance +20
  • Fat Hockey Player: [Specials: Indirect] Attack +12
  • F-Type: [Throwing] Attack +22
  • Nana: [Specials: Direct] Attack +29
  • Wild Gunman: [Specials: Indirect] Attack +5
  • Yakuman Player: [Electric] Resistance +28

In Event Matches[edit]

Solo Events[edit]

Co-Op Events[edit]

Trophies[edit]

The Ice Climbers' main and Final Smash trophies can be obtained by clearing Classic Mode and All-Star mode respectively with the Ice Climbers.

Trophy descriptions[edit]

Ice Climbers
The one in blue is Popo, and the one in pink is Nana. They use their incredible jumping powers and hammers to break blocks and climb to the summit. They grab veggies, and if they can catch the condor at the end, they conquer the mountain. Other than breaking blocks, their hammers are good for sending foes flying, climbing down from blocks, and destroying icicles.
NES: Ice Climber
Iceberg
The Ice Climbers' Final Smash. This giant ice mountain appears in the middle of a stage—it's incredibly slippery, so it's hard to control yourself when traversing it. In addition to being slick, this ice is also COLD, so opponents will take damage just from touching it. Attack the ice, and it will take damage and slowly shrink. Is it actually useful? That's a mystery.
Wii: Super Smash Bros. Brawl

Alternate costumes[edit]

Note: Nana leads the pair in battle for their 2nd, 4th, and 6th costumes shown below, but they do not switch positions on the selection screen like they did in Melee.

Ice Climbers Palette (SSBB).png
IceClimbersHeadSSBB.png IceClimbersHeadRedSSBB.png IceClimbersHeadBlueSSBB.png IceClimbersHeadBlackSSBB.png IceClimbersHeadGreenSSBB.png IceClimbersHeadWhiteSSBB.png

Trivia[edit]

  • Along with Pokémon Trainer, Diddy Kong, and Jigglypuff, the Ice Climbers are one of the only characters to have a unique "Defeated/No Contest" pose different from the traditional hand clapping, with their head down while rubbing their eyes, making it seem as if they are crying. This pose is a reference to the one they make in Ice Climber after failing in a bonus level.
  • In Stamina mode, it is possible for the partner to die before the leader. Regardless of whether this happens or not, the partner will lay on the ground motionless, but not blink red.
  • If the partner is caught in a trapping Final Smash and the leader is KO'd, the partner will disappear, leaving the opponent attacking nothing. Some examples are Ike's, Meta Knight's, Link's, and Toon Link's, and as seen here.
  • Both Ice Climbers must win a microgame in the WarioWare, Inc. stage to be rewarded.
  • Certain Final Smashes, especially trapping ones, can cause the trailing Ice Climber's special effects to be slowed down under the effect of a Timer (Nana's stays even after the Timer is done). The effects end when one or both of the Ice Climbers are KO'd.
  • When CPU controlled, if one Ice Climber is Star KO'd, the partner will sometimes taunt.

External links[edit]

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