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 Melee and 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 infinitely 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 noticeably 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 has 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 out prioritized, and its overall size is smaller, making it harder to connect against grounded opponents.
However, in terms of buffs, 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 complemented 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. Even with the game mechanics giving them multiple benefits, the changes have either weakened or entirely removed the tools that have made the Ice Climbers prominent. Despite this, players such as Big D, Daiki, and ???? have achieved respectable tournament results using them.
Throws and other attacks
The Ice Climbers have received a mix of buffs and nerfs via game updates.
For a gallery of the Ice Climbers' hitboxes, see here.
Note: All numbers are listed as base damage, without the 1v1 multiplier.
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 the Ice Climbers up and was able to place well even 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 mid to low-tier. The new advanced techniques, however, have helped their mains with how little match-up experience there has been from opponents to learn from.
Any number following the Smasher name indicates placement on the Fall 2019 PGRU, which recognizes the official top 50 players in the world in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate from July 13th, 2019 to December 15th, 2019.
Classic Mode: Duos for Days
The Ice Climbers fight two characters from a given universe in each stage. To fit with the theme, both Master Hand and Crazy Hand are fought regardless of the difficulty.
Role in World of Light
Although the Ice Climbers have been absent from 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
Their 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th costumes swap Popo and Nana, making Nana controllable. 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