Ice Climbers (SSBU)
The Ice Climbers (アイスクライマー, Ice Climber) are playable characters in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. They were confirmed on June 12th, 2018. Although they are a team, the Ice Climbers are collectively classified as fighter #15.
The Ice Climbers are once again voiced by Sanae Kobayashi, with her portrayal from Brawl being repurposed for Ultimate.
How to unlock
Complete one of the following:
With the exception of the third method, the Ice Climbers must then be defeated on Summit.
Changes from Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Previously, the Ice Climbers were known for having some of the most infamously powerful damage racking capabilities thanks to their ability to wobble in Melee and infinite chain grab in Brawl, and additionally achieve a KO from them. Possibly as a result of this, in the transition from Brawl to Ultimate, the Ice Climbers were drastically nerfed. Their grab game was significantly impacted the most; the partner climber can no longer grab or act when the leader is grabbed or throwing someone (except when in the air), the leader's grabs have noticably more startup and ending lag, and their infamous chain grabs were completely removed.
Outside of this, the Ice Climbers have received a mixed bag. On the nerf side, the base damage output on many of their moves has decreased and many of their attacks connect less reliably when they are together due to reduced hitlag. The partner climber also no longer performs Blizzard behind the leader when used on the ground and Blizzard itself is less effective as a spacing tool due to it being almost useless when used at max range as well as it having increased ending lag. The partner climber is also launched much easier than the leader due to taking increased damage and knockback from attacks, and the AI's intelligence has been reduced leading to more likely self-destructs, making it harder for each of them to stay together. Finally, due to changes in Belay's hitboxes, the move can gain significantly less height if the hitbox is outprioritized, and its overall size is smaller, making it harder to connect against grounded opponents.
On the buff side of things, as with almost every other returning veteran, their mobility has been considerably increased and the partner climber is now faster than the leader, making it harder to separate them. Some of their moves, including forward smash, down smash, and forward aerial have higher damage and KO power, and the Ice Climbers have superior combo potential due to the removal of hitstun canceling and the weakening of SDI. This is further complimented by the fact that desynching remains a very powerful tool that gives the Ice Climbers highly effective combos. Thanks to improved freezing properties, the Ice Climbers can freeze opponents easier and longer, which can lead to high damage, KOs while edgeguarding, shield pressure, and follow-ups if performed correctly.
Nevertheless, the Ice Climbers are significantly less effective than in Brawl, although to what extent is unknown, especially since they are difficult to play at a high level and it is unknown how far their desync combos can be developed and be applied into competitive matches. Despite this, Big D has achieved respectable tournament results so far using the Ice Climbers.
Note: All numbers are listed as base damage, without the 1v1 multiplier.
In competitive play
When the Ice Climbers first popped up in the E3 demo build, players were immediately excited, and as such they became one of the possibly most played characters in the build. However, there wasn't much of an opportunity for the masses to play them long enough to figure out what made this iteration of the Ice Climbers special. Players knew nerfs from the Brawl iteration were inevitable, and the changes to gameplay mechanics were drastically negative for them, since they have lost their notorious zero-to-death potential and have much less damage racking potential with their chain grabs due to the removal of chain grabs after Brawl, with Nana being unable to act if Popo grabs an opponent or gets hit, and their attacks connecting less reliably because of the changes to hitlag caused them to have almost nonexistent representation.
It wasn't until a few months after Ultimate's release that the Ice Climbers' playerbase really made breakthroughs, with new tech and knowledge. Those few who have stuck with the character have found desync setups and high-damaging combos. The community is divided on the Ice Climbers' standing in the current metagame and the general perception of them is negative, as the character's complexity still sees them passed up in favor of easier characters, and are usually seen as a low tier character or among the worst in the game, which is also caused by their lack of representation. The new advanced techniques, however, have helped their mains with how little matchup experience there has been from opponents to learn from.
Classic Mode: Duos for Days
The Ice Climbers fight two characters from a given universe in each stage.
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 (sans 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.
The Ice Climbers' Fighter Spirit can be obtained by completing Classic Mode. It is also available periodically for purchase in the shop for 500 coins. Unlocking the Ice Climbers in World of Light allows the player to preview the spirit below in the Spirit List under the name "???". As a Fighter Spirit, it cannot be used in Spirit Battles and is purely aesthetic. Each Fighter Spirit has an alternate version that replaces them with their artwork in Ultimate.
In Spirit battles
As the main opponents
Nana becomes the leading, player-controlled character when using the 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th costumes shown below. The stock icons and character select portraits change to reflect this. Popo and Nana act separately in terms of their costume's color.
Character Showcase Video