Ice Climbers (SSBM)
in Super Smash Bros. Melee
|Other playable appearances||in Brawl|
|Tier||B+ (8) (North America)|
C (8) (Europe)
They rank 8th on the tier list (in the B+ tier). Among the Ice Climbers' strengths are their devastating grab game. When both Popo and Nana are alive, the Ice Climbers can land a zero-to-death on any character in the game off of a grab through wobbling, and can perform hand-offs in settings where wobbling is banned to achieve nearly as punishing results. They are immune to chain grabs and some other combo setups, as if one Climber gets grabbed, the partner can hit them out of the grab at any time. The Ice Climbers have access to fast and powerful smash attacks, great disjoint on their hammer moves, such as up aerial and back aerial, and one of the longest wavedashes in the game, aiding their offensive capabilities. They also can perform various techniques through desyncing, which allows the player to control both Climbers at different times; when combined with their Blizzard projectile, this makes the Ice Climbers especially difficult to break through defensively. Their unique attributes and threat of an instant KO off of a grab forces other characters to adopt unique and often frustrating playstyles against the Ice Climbers.
However, the Ice Climbers are crippled by the difficulty of keeping both Climbers together at the same time. The Ice Climbers can easily be separated when hit by most attacks, which gives the opponent an opportunity to freely KO the CPU-controlled Climber, leaving the player with just one Ice Climber until they lose a stock. A single Ice Climber, known as "Sopo", loses access to its grab punishes and has one of the lowest damage outputs and worst recoveries in Melee. The Ice Climbers also are hindered by their low traction, which causes them to slide farther across the stage when hit in shield, limiting their ability to land shieldgrabs and other punishes. Despite their threat of a zero-death, the Ice Climbers tend to lose against most other top tiers, as opponents can KO the partner climber to make wobbling difficult. This includes an especially poor matchup against Peach, as her float canceling techniques allows her to attack the Ice Climbers from the air without much fear of getting punished. Additionally, the Ice Climbers' low gravity and air speed makes them vulnerable to air stalling and evasion tactics, such as by the aforementioned Peach or Jigglypuff. Regardless, the Ice Climbers have strong matchups against the majority of the cast, and can hold their own against most high and top-tiers.
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 this quirk, 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. Their most powerful tool on the ground is their grab; despite having 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 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 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.
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, among 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, they have a difficult aerial approach. 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 slightly below-average 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 require Ice Climbers players to be situationally aware and abuse their powerful ground and grab games to prevent their Climbers from being separated and KOed.
- Fixed the Ice Climbers on fire glitch.
- Fixed the Freeze glitch.
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.
|Neutral attack||1-2%||A horizontal swipe followed by an upward swing.|
|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. Can wobble in conjunction with back air.|
|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. Can wobble if staled.|
|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. Can wobble if staled.|
|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. Can wobble in conjunction with back air..|
|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. Can wobble.|
|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||8% (collateral), 7% (throw)||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 Climber fires 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 Climber 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.|
- Points their hammers diagonally upwards and shout "Yup!". A "howling wind" sound effect accompanies the leading Climber's taunt.
- Shakes hammers.
|Pitch||Group chant||Group chant|
- 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.
In competitive play
Most historically significant players
- ARMY (#26) - Currently one of the three best Ice Climbers players in the world. Placed 4th at DreamHack Anaheim 2020 and 7th at Mainstage and GENESIS 7. Has beaten Mang0, Plup, and n0ne.
- Bananas (#28) - Currently one of the three best Ice Climbers players in the world. Placed 5th at The Big House 8, Smash 'N' Splash 5, and GENESIS 6 with wins over Fiction, iBDW, and Mew2King.
- Boyd (#78) - Placed 17th at Full Bloom 5, 25th at Shine 2019, and 33rd at Pound 2019.
- ChuDat (#23) - The best Ice Climbers player of all time and currently one of the three best. Took sets off Mang0, Hungrybox, and Mew2King, and is the only Ice Climbers player to ever take a game off Armada. Recently placed 17th at GENESIS 6, 13th at Smash 'N' Splash 5, and 7th at Pound 2019.
- Däumling - One of the best Ice Climbers players in Europe before retiring. Placed 13th at Syndicate 2016 and 17th at B.E.A.S.T 7. Ranked 2nd on the 2017 German Power Rankings and 17th in European Melee Power Rankings.
- dizzkidboogie - Formerly ranked 27th on the 2017 SSBMRank. Has wins over players such as Mew2King, Wizzrobe, and SFAT.
- Fly Amanita - One of the best Ice Climbers players in the world before retiring. Placed 7th at EVO 2014 and 17th at Apex 2014 and EVO 2015. Formerly ranked 30th on the 2015 SSBMRank.
- Nintendude (#81) - Co-mains Ice Climbers along with Marth. Has beaten Mew2King, Westballz, and Shroomed with Ice Climbers.
- Sharkz (#93) - Placed 17th at CEO 2019 and 25th at GENESIS 6 and The Big House 8. Has wins over Zain and Ginger.
- Wobbles - Formerly regarded as the best solo Ice Climbers main and helped to popularize "Wobbling". Placed 2nd at EVO 2013.
Tier placement and history
The Ice Climbers were once a middle to low-middle tiered character, as in the beginning of Melee, professionals did not discover their powerful grounded presence and threatening wobbling techniques, as their flaws, such as their poor aerial approach and difficulty in maintaining both climbers, were highlighted more often. With the discovery of the Ice Climbers' desynching combos and wobbling, more players advocated for their potential, showcased in ChuDat, Wobbles and Fly Amanita’s discoveries. 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 the thirteenth tier list, the Ice Climbers are ranked 8th, however this placement was determined with the assumption that wobbling is not banned; their viability without wobbling allowed is yet to be assessed. Also, the major advancements for other characters like Marth and Jigglypuff have indirectly worsened the potency of the Ice Climbers due to the increasing gap in potential, especially after the ban on wobbling.
Wobbling is an advanced technique exclusive to Ice Climbers in Melee where desyncing the pair, grabbing an opponent, then slightly tilting the control stick forward or down and mashing the attack button at exactly 200 bpm will create an infinite combo that the opponent cannot escape from. This is possible due to the opponent being alternately pummeled and hit with a tilt attack to reset the escape mashing. Techniques with similar effects exist in future installments, but they have different activation prerequisites and are harder to execute. The name was coined by Ken after seeing fellow smasher Wobbles place 9th in NCT2 after discovering the technique from Japanese tutorial videos online and using it extensively in the tournament. "Wobbler" is a slang term used to refer to an Ice Climbers player who relies heavily on landing a grab to wobble their opponent.
The technique has been controversial since its inception due to its relative ease of use and low risk, high reward nature that would bring whole games to a halt and upset competitors and spectators alike. However, the early Melee communities were more scattered, with every tournament having their own stance on wobbling; some tournaments allowed the technique, while others banned it. Following EVO 2013 (where wobbling was legal), and competitive Melee's ensuing resurgance in mainstream popularity, tournament rulesets generally became more unified, and as a result, wobbling was legal at nearly all tournaments from 2013 to the beginning of 2019. Juggleguy was well-known as a fierce opposer of legalizing wobbling, and he banned it at his events in Michigan, including The Big House. He eventually decided to allow wobbling at his events, arguing that Michigan smashers needed practice fighting against the technique should they choose to compete in other regions.
In 2018, around the time of the release of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, the discussion regarding wobbling started to grow again, and more and more Melee community members began to support a wobbling ban, beginning to outnumber those that opposed a ban for the first time. The "Platinum Age" saw an increasing amount of top-level Ice Climbers mains using wobbling to make deep bracket runs at major tournaments, including ChuDat, Nintendude, dizzkidboogie, InfiniteNumbers, Bananas, and ARMY, upsetting many players on their way. As wobbling's presence in Melee grew, many players were concerned about the long-term health of the game, arguing that the unpopularity of wobbling would both discourage players from competing and turn away spectators at major tournaments; top players were known to often grow extremely frustrated when fighting the Ice Climbers. Many top players, including Axe and n0ne, openly supported a wobbling ban.
In early 2019, the pro-ban movement gradually began to take off as local and regional tournament scenes began banning wobbling at their events. On February 8th, 2019, the Tennessee Smash Community made a reddit post announcing that wobbling would be banned at tournaments in several Tennessee cities. The official ruleset limited the Ice Climbers, upon grabbing the opponent, to eight separate attacks before regrabbing; violating these rules would result in a warning, game loss, or set loss at the tournament organizer's discretion. As news of the ban spread around the Melee community, other regions began announcing their own bans of various degrees, including Georgia, Maryland/Virginia, Mississippi, Chicago, and the United Kingdom.
Get On My Level 2019 was the first major to officially announce a wobbling ban. Throughout 2019 and 2020, various majors announced their own bans of the technique, including Low Tier City 7, The Big House 9, Pound 2020, and Smash World Tour. Today, wobbling is banned at most tournaments, although some smaller events may choose to legalize the technique at their own discretion.
In single player modes
In Classic Mode
The Ice Climbers can appear in a one-on-one, as an ally, on a team with Kirby, or as a metal opponent. The Ice Climbers are fought on Icicle Mountain except in the metal battle.
In Adventure Mode
The 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 pairs to proceed to the next stage.
In All-Star Mode
The Ice Climbers and their allies are fought on Icicle Mountain.
In Event Matches
The 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 in a one-stock match. The Ice Climbers mainly jump, but they recover if they are knocked off the stage. KOing Popo anytime results in a failure.
- Event 30: All-Star Match 3: The Ice Climbers are 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 a stock of two lives while the Ice Climbers have one. 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.
- 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 Climber
- 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.
- 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.
Nana becomes the leading, player-controlled character when using the 3rd and 4th costumes shown below. The stock icon and character select portraits for these costumes change to reflect this.
- 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. 
- 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 western versions, their chant still says "Ice Climber" (the Japanese name of the character).
- When in the magnifying glass while playing as Nana, she'll have Popo's hair instead of hers.
- Nana's 4th costume has her wear a red coat in her portrait, but it is purple in-game.
- With a total of sixteen years and ten months (at the time of Melee's release), the Ice Climbers held the record for the longest time gap between their debut as a playable character in Smash and their last appearance in their home series (which was also the only appearance), until R.O.B. took the record in Brawl. R.O.B.'s record would in turn be surpassed by Duck Hunt in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS.
- In the poll for possible new characters for Melee, the Ice Climbers ranked ninth among characters from miscellaneous Nintendo games, with only 4 votes, tied with Samurai Goroh from F-Zero and the Balloon Fight protagonist at the bottom of the list.
- The Ice Climbers' voice actress, Sanae Kobayashi, was only 21 years old when she recorded her audio for Melee. This makes her the youngest member of the game's voice cast.
- Nintendude's "wobbler" tweet.
- Juggleguy unbans wobbling.
- Top 10 Salty Ice Climber Moments in Smash.
- dizzkidboogie (ICs) vs. ALG.EMG.
- n0ne's tweet after his set vs. dizzkidboogie.
- reddit post on Axe's tweet supporting a wobbling ban.
- reddit post on n0ne's tweet supporting a wobbling ban.
- Tennessee Wobbling Ban: Official Post.
- Wobbling has been banned in Tennessee. We hope many more will follow suit.
- The Wobbling Issue: A Recap.
- Georgia Bans Wobbling.
- MD/VA Votes on Wobbling Ban Implementation.
- Mississippi partially bans wobbling.
- Chicago has banned wobbling (Explanation in comments).
- Wobbling has been banned in the United Kingdom.
- USA Wobble Map.
- GOML 2019 becomes first major tournament to ban wobbling..
- Wobbling will be banned at LTC7!.
- Wobbling banned at TBH9.
- Wobbling is banned at Pound 2020.
- Smash World Tour Bans Wobbling.
|Fighters in Super Smash Bros. Melee|
|Veterans||Captain Falcon · Donkey Kong · Fox · Jigglypuff · Kirby · Link · Luigi · Mario · Ness · Pikachu · Samus · Yoshi|
|Newcomers||Bowser · Dr. Mario · Falco · Ganondorf · Ice Climbers · Marth · Mewtwo · Mr. Game & Watch · Peach · Pichu · Roy · Young Link · Zelda (Sheik)|
|Ice Climber universe|
|Fighter||Ice Climbers (SSBM · SSBB · SSBU)|
|Stages||Icicle Mountain · Summit|
|Enemies||Polar Bear · Topi|
|Trophies, Stickers and Spirits||Trophies (SSBM · SSBB) · Stickers · Spirits|
|Music||Brawl · Ultimate|