Ice Climbers (SSBU)
in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
|Other playable appearances||in Melee|
The Ice Climbers (アイスクライマー, Ice Climber) are playable fighters in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Alongside the rest of the veterans, they were confirmed on June 12th, 2018. Unlike Ultimate's predecessors, the Ice Climbers are now unlockable, instead of being available from the start. Although they are a tag-team, the Ice Climbers are collectively classified as Fighter #15.
The Ice Climbers are ranked 56th out of 82 on the Ultimate tier list, placing them at the end of B- tier. This is an extreme drop from their previous placement in Brawl, ranking 2nd out of 38, and is by far their worst placement in the series to date. The Ice Climbers are known for having some of the greatest damage output across the cast, which is supplemented by their quick frame-data and excellent KO potential. Their relatively small size and low crouch also makes him rather hard to hit; their crouch especially allows them to avoid most grabs and some attacks. Even then, their hammers are disjointed hitboxes, giving them good range for their size. Their grab game still remains among the best across the cast; forward throw and back throw can leave the opponent in very unfavorable positions, while up throw and down throw can start combos at lower precents and KO at very high precents. Finally, their special moveset boasts flexible versatility: Squall Hammer and Blizzard can both start/extend combos, Ice Shot is a decent zoning tool, and Belay is an excellent recovery for both climbers.
However, if the partner is gone, the remaining climber will be drastically weakened, especially in terms of raw power and recovery. The fact that the partner has less endurance and flawed artificial intelligence compared to the leader further amplifies this issue. In addition, the Ice Climbers both have rather poor endurance, as their moderately light weight makes them susceptible to early KOs. Their poor mobility, as well as a lack of reliable projectiles, hoists a lot of problems in the neutral game. Despite having disjoints, their range is still relatively lackluster, giving them trouble approaching and fighting those that can outrange him. Finally, while covering considerable distance, their recovery is rather predictable and situational, as Belay and Squall Hammer travel rather linear distances, while their poor air speed and floatiness make them vulnerable to edgeguarding.
Overall, while not as dominating as before, the duo still retain the tools to beat out every matchup once their desynced combos and zero-to-deaths have been fully mastered. As such, they still maintain excellent success in competitive play due to the efforts of players such as Harasen, Futari no Kiwami Ah~! and especially Big D.
How to unlock
Complete one of the following:
- Play VS. matches, with the Ice Climbers being the 10th characters to be unlocked.
- Clear Classic Mode with Link or any character in his unlock tree, being the 2nd character unlocked after King K. Rool.
- Have the Ice Climbers join the player's party in World of Light.
The Ice Climbers are a pair of middleweights, (weighing the same as Lucario, Wolf, Villager, Mythra, and Steve), with a moderately short height, above average jumps, average air speed and air acceleration, with low gravity and slow falling speed. Unique to a majority of the roster, they are the archetypical tag team fighters, though each Climber is a unique character in their own right. The partner (Nana by default) is controlled by a CPU and mimics what the leader (Popo by default) does with a seven frame delay. As such, the player is essentially controlling two characters at the same time with slight tweaks; the partner has slightly higher mobility attributes, they will deal less damage, receive more damage, and are knocked back farther than the leader. When separated, the partner's AI takes control over their movement, and guides them back to the leader, ignoring most opponents in their path. While one Ice Climber deals respectable damage on their own, the two's power combined can make them formidable.
Most of the Ice Climbers' grounded moveset is fairly quick and disjointed, allowing for versatile use. Their neutral attack is fast, hits twice, and launches at a low angle, making this attack fairly good at guaranteeing follow-ups at lower percentages, giving the duo a reliable stun-lock, and allowing the Ice Climbers a quick option to keep opponents away from them. Forward tilt can be angled, and has a chance to trip opponents. It has impressive knockback growth, and can KO fellow middleweights at about 135% at the edge of Final Destination. Up tilt is short ranged, but one of the Ice Climbers' most useful moves, hitting multiple times with low knockback and dealing excellent damage. It also allows for a direct chain into a series of up aerials until about 115%, making it paramount in initiating combos. Down tilt is one of their quickest grounded moves, acting as a strong semi-spike at high percentages, and making follow-ups into dash attack or similar very easy. Dash attack starts off moderately slow, but sends opponents above the leader for quick transitions into Up aerials, similarly to up tilt. However, it has very low knockback growth, making it only useful in starting aerial combos.
Complimenting their tilts, the Ice Climbers' smash attacks are also very useful and excellent KO options. Forward smash is the duo's strongest smash, dealing impressive damage despite it's quick speed, and respectable knockback even at lower percentages, reliably KOing at about 70% at edge of the stage. Up smash is similarly powerful, sending opponents flying quite early, but is particularly slower in it's start-up and ending, making it situational. It hits in a wide area directly above the Ice Climbers, and can KO at about 120%. Down smash launches opponents at a diagonal angle, and is the weakest of the duo's smash attacks. Each Climber swings in one direction, allowing this move to catch rolls and surprise opponents who may be approaching from behind. However, if only the leader is currently on stage, they become vulnerable to rolls due to the lack of a hitbox from behind.
The Ice Climbers' aerials are all strong options and are the basis of most of their combos. Neutral aerial is short ranged, and has weak knockback, but is also quick to start and has a long-lasting hitbox, making it passable as a gimping tool. When an opponent is launched upward, it also can add on some extra damage when using up tilt is unfavorable, or launch opponents directly forward. Forward aerial is a disjointed hammer swing, which deals heavy damage and has moderate ending lag. The partner's version of the move has a sweetspot that hides a very strong spike that can net a KO impressively early if used at mid percentages, and acts as the Ice Climbers' main edgeguarding tool. Back aerial can be a useful move for its quickness, large, disjointed hitbox, and respectable knockback. It is deceptively strong offstage as such, and when used properly, it can allow for a stage spike and particularly useful edgeguard. It also is safe on shield, the partner Climber's attack actually being positive on shield. Up aerial is the duo's strongest aerial and one of their best KO options when on the stage. The move has excellent juggling capabilities at low percent, and KO's most opponents at around 110-125% when used out of a down throw. Down aerial is a stall-then-fall that covers the entirety of the Ice Climbers' underside, and moves slightly diagonally forward, making it excellent at punishing opponents who are trying to juggle them. Despite having little KO potential outside of very high percentages, it can be effectively used out of a short hop to attack opponents directly in front of the Ice Climbers, while also being quick to act out of makes it situational for edgeguards.
The Ice Climbers' specials all have somewhat versatile uses. Neutral special has the duo each create a slab of ice that slides across the stage, shrinking as they melt. Unlike most projectiles, the ice acts more like a container or soccer ball in that the incoming projectile is completely stop, allowing the Ice Climbers to counter most projectile spam playstyles more easily. At extremely high percents it can also freeze opponents, allowing use of setups or reads. If attacked with a strong enough attack, the projectile's ownership will change, allowing it to harm the Ice Climbers if collided with. Their side special, Squall Hammer, is a respectable move for racking up damage and is relatively safe on shield or cross-ups. With continued presses, the attack can also be used for recovery purposes, which puts them into a helpless state. It is also one of the easiest desync methods available to the player. Up special, Belay, covers an excellent amount of air, the partner Climber is completely intangible until pulling up the leader, and auto-grabs any ledges within range. The leader also has a very situational, but strong hitbox on the way up, allowing for a KO from the top blast zones, or a means to apply extra damage at the end of an aerial combo. Finally, down special, Blizzard, is a slow, read-based punish tool that freezes opponents in their tracks and deals significant amounts of damage at point blank range. Using the attack while an enemy is already frozen increases the freeze time slightly and can allow the duo to make space between them and their opponent if need be, or tack on extra damage while frozen. Specifically, this move is very useful when near the ledge, as freezing an opponent near the edges of a stage can make it easy to nudge them off without any means to escape. It also has priority over some other projectiles and can cancel them if the two collide. Overall, the duo's specials are all useful in specific situations and can help to create openings for additional combos or surprise KO's.
An extremely important part of playing Ice Climbers is learning how to consistently perform a tech called desynching. Desynching is an advanced technique that allows a player to manipulate the partner Ice Climber into acting slower than usual. At its most basic form, anytime the partner Ice Climber is not within a specific range of the leader, the partner's AI will take manual control of the partner and return it to the leader. During this time, none of the leader's inputs are read by the partner and it's AI inputs are prioritized until it has returned to the leader, and may act independently of the leader's current movements being performed. Using desyncs can allow for some remarkable combos and setups that are completely impossible with other fighters.
The removal of chain grabs (and by extension, wobbling) means that the duo's grab game has become more situational and in-line with the rest of the roster, limiting it's effectiveness. However, while it is not as potent as it once was, the Ice Climber's grab game is still respectable. The Ice Climber's grab itself has been vastly changed. For starters, only the leader grabs opponents, while the partner cheers. This means that the duo can no longer grab more than one opponent at a time. Additionally, the Ice Climber's grab is the shortest ranged grab in the game, making it risky to attempt to grab in the first place. Forward throw is a basic throw that has moderately strong base knockback and causes tumble from 0%, which allows it to open options for a tech chase. Back throw has very strong base knockback, while it's knockback scaling has been decreased, making it difficult to use in either combos or as a KO option, but useful in desyncs. Up throw is similar, in which it has very limited uses, but notably allows quick access to juggling with up aerial. Down throw is by far the duo's best grab. It's main use is to initiate aerial combos, desync combos, and juggles, all of which can be devastating. The Ice Climbers' neutral, forward, back, and up aerials can all be used for combos out of down throw and the opponent's placement in air can make it difficult for them to escape from a combo once it has been started, especially if desynced.
Despite all their strengths, the Ice Climbers have a few glaring flaws, mainly coming from the vulnerability of the partner Ice Climber and the loss of a few important tools between the transition from Brawl to Ultimate. While having decent damage output and KO potential, it becomes heavily diminished if the partner is KO'd, and the fact that the partner takes more damage and knockback further compounds this problem. When separated, the AI guides the partner back to the leader and the partner is unable to act and defend themselves from any threats. When the leader is grabbed by an opponent, the partner will act shocked or scared and cannot attack until the leader has escaped or been thrown, which makes previously near-guaranteed grab escapes no longer possible. The partner also has their own hidden percentage that racks up separately of the leader's and can make it easy for an opponent to KO them first. Because of this, it is important for the leader to hurry back to the partner in an attempt at defending them, though this can potentially lead the leader into dangerous situations as well. Their main recovery method, Belay, is also incredibly situational. If the partner is unable to reach the ledge, it can put the leader at a disadvantage, even if they make it back to the stage. Since the partner flings the leader much higher, it is possible to overshoot the ledge, leaving the leader unable to defend themselves while descending helplessly onstage. Should the CPU Ice Climber get KO'd during the stock, the remaining Ice Climber will have drastically reduced damage output, KO ability, and recovery, with Belay becoming practically useless and Squall Hammer losing a good deal of distance (whereas with both Ice Climbers they are excellent recovery moves).
Outside of the issues of the partner Ice Climber, the duo's moveset comes with it's own problems. Barring their situational projectile from Ice Shot, the Ice Climbers have no reliable projectile and can be easily camped out or their projectiles turned against them. The range of their moves is not great—despite being disjointed, their hammers' range can still come up short and can make for some bad matchups, specifically against the likes of Marth or Sephiroth, while Blizzard's range has been nerfed significantly and is dangerous to use liberally. Arguably, the changes that hurt the Ice Climbers most are the changes to grab mechanics in Ultimate. The added period of grab intangibility between grabs and the partner's lack of a grab makes the Ice Climbers' previously most potent tool, chain grabbing, impossible. This significantly impedes their damage output compared to Brawl or Melee and no longer gives the Ice Climbers an almost guaranteed stock off of a single grab. Desyncing in itself can also have it's own drawbacks. An accidental desync off of up tilt or down throw may make it more difficult to follow-up with the duo's combos, or can even cause the partner's attack to miss entirely, hindering the duo's damage-racking capabilities. Desyncing can also leave the partner Ice Climber vulnerable because of the increase in reaction time between the leader and the partner; in particular, abilities such as dodging, and jumping are significantly delayed, giving the opponent ample time to counterattack if properly read. Finally, the Ice Climbers suffer from being rather predictable and are forced to endure a severely poor disadvantage state. Because of their reliance on mid-air combos and some situational oddities, the general playstyle of the Ice Climbers can be easily picked apart and exploited early on in a match. In cases like this, it can be come difficult, if not impossible to return to neutral or even win trade offs without having to take serious risks.
Overall, the Ice Climbers are among the least beginner friendly characters on the roster, but offer amazing potential with practice. The inherent complexity of controlling two characters at once can be difficult to understand for new players, and combined with their low traction, somewhat situational moveset, and severe handicaps when the partner is lost are also considerable barriers of entry. However, learning the quirks of the pair, especially desynching, can open an incredibly potent and powerful game plan. This includes long and relatively free-form combos, many being zero-to-death options—some even being true—as well as other unique setups and mix-ups that very few characters have any proper answers for.
Changes from Super Smash Bros. Brawl
The Ice Climbers were previously infamous for having some of (if not) the most powerful damage racking capabilities thanks to wobbling in Melee and infinite chain grabs in Brawl, with these even allowing them to achieve a KO from them. Most likely owing to this, the Ice Climbers were drastically nerfed in the transition from Brawl to Ultimate.
The Ice Climbers' grab game was significantly impacted the most; the partner climber can no longer grab the opponent or act when the leader is grabbed or throwing someone (except when in the air). This dramatically changes the way their combo game works, as it removes the Climbers' extremely powerful chain grabs they were capable of, instead forcing them to rely on desynching in order to combo the opponent. Moreover, the leader's grabs have noticeably more startup and ending lag, and much less range, now being the shortest grabs in the game.
Outside of this, 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 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. The partner climber also no longer performs Blizzard behind the leader when used on the ground, and the move itself is less effective as a spacing tool due to its lack of knockback at max range. 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, the Ice Climbers have received some useful 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 deal higher damage with proportional KO power. The Ice Climbers also have superior combo potential on their own due to the removal of hitstun canceling, the weakening of SDI, and desynching remaining mostly intact. Thanks to improved freezing properties, the Ice Climbers can also freeze opponents easier and longer, which can lead to high damage, KOs while edgeguarding, shield pressure, and follow-ups if performed correctly.
Overall, the Ice Climbers are significantly less effective than in Brawl. Their learning curve has become drastically more steep, as the removal of chaingrabbing and weakening of miscellaneous moves forces them to rely on desynching to perform at full capacity. Even with the changes to game mechanics and late game updates giving them multiple benefits, the Ice Climbers perform worse than in Brawl, and are by far the most nerfed characters in the transition to Ultimate.
- Due to Ultimate's graphical improvements, combined with the aesthetic being used in Ultimate (and SSB4), the Ice Climbers gain a sleeker design with more subtle detailing in their hair and parkas, and their overall color scheme is significantly more vibrant and subdued. The duo wear coats with detailed furry lining, similar to Melee. The duo have slightly smaller and more proportionate headshapes, more faint, blurred and slightly larger blushes on their cheeks, and slightly thinner eyes on top of losing the purple hue in their eyes, being replaced with small white hues underneath their white pupils. Additionally, their lips are shown to be more visible and prominent, similar to Ness and Lucas. Altogether, these changes make their designs have a more close resemblance to Kirby's and more closely resembles their sprite in Ice Climber. Their boots and hammers also appear to be covered in light powdered snow.
- Both Ice Climbers face the foreground at an angle, instead of facing directly forward. In addition, they always face the screen regardless of which direction either of them turn, making all of their animations mirrored while altering some.
- The Ice Climbers have a new idle pose: the duo turn back and look behind themselves curiously. It replaces the animation of them looking at their left side with a concered expression before returning to their idling stance.
- Like the rest of the other characters, the Ice Climbers are more expressive than in Melee and Brawl. In turn, the duo become excited when using their special moves and forward smash, appear alerted when releasing their smash attacks (sans forward smash) and using down aerial, scowl when shielding and charging their up and down smash, and the following Ice Climber will also panic when the leader is grabbed, and will cheer when the leader is throwing an opponent vice versa.
- In addition, the following Ice Climber will have a worried expression and wince periodically when the leading Ice Climber gets frozen, dizzy, or gets attacked. Moreover, the Ice Climbers will become periodically alerted when sustaining knockback before wincing, the leader will become astonished when missing a grab, and the duo will become concerned when jumping or using their dodges.
- Nana has received new voice-clips for a few of her moveset, such as her smash attacks.
- The Ice Climbers' spot dodging, air dodging and ledge-hanging animations have changed.
- When spot dodging, the Ice Climbers look slightly below the ground, as opposed of looking towards the screen in Brawl.
- When air dodging, the Ice Climbers look behind themselves while lifting their arms behind their heads, as opposed of performing a T-posing stance while looking straightforward.
- When hanging onto a ledge, the Ice Climbers grab the ledge with their free hand, while they leave the corresponding one down, which is where their hammers are held onto.
- The Ice Climbers only jump once when using up taunt, as opposed to three times in Brawl. This is a more better reference to their victory during the results screen in Ice Climber.
- At the end of a solo-match, only the leading Ice Climber will be shown inside the losing pane on the results screen. Both Ice Climbers are still shown if the match ends in a No Contest.
- Their victory theme has been shortened to only contain the second half.
- The Ice Climbers' crowd cheer is "I scream, you scream, Ice Climbers!"
- Nana's crowd cheer is no longer the back-sound of the menu if she is currently the leader.
- The Ice Climbers' knockback-based voice-clips will no longer play if Nana is the leader.
- The Ice Climbers has been updated with universal features introduced in Smash 4.
- The Ice Climbers has a Boxing Ring title, a Palutena's Guidance conversation, and two additional alternate costumes.
- Their black costume has slightly been modified: Nana's parka is now brown instead of black. Additionally, their costumes have been re-ordered; the Nana-leading costumes now occupy the second half of their costumes instead of the even-numbered costumes, which is how their costumes were ordered in Melee
- The Ice Climbers' voice-clip numbers in Sound Test are numbered individually (i.e. "Popo: Voice [number]"/"Nana: Voice [number]"), similar to other team-based fighters as well as the Mii Fighters, Assist Trophies, Poké Ball Pokémon and bosses.
- The Ice Climbers has a Boxing Ring title, a Palutena's Guidance conversation, and two additional alternate costumes.
- The sound effects of the partner are quieter. This is best heard when they are either Star or Screen KO'd.
- Like all characters, both of the Ice Climbers' jumpsquat animations take 3 frames to complete (down from 4).
- The following Ice Climber is generally more mobile than the leader. This assists them in catching up if the duo are separated.
- If either Ice Climber lands a hit, the other one sustains a small amount of hitlag, regardless of whether their attack connects or not.
- This makes desynching slightly more difficult to perform.
- The following Ice Climber sustains 1.02x times the damage and knockback from attacks, making them slightly easier to separate and KO and worsening their overall endurance (to the point they are lighter than Kirby).
- The partner now stands slightly behind the leader, in addition to being slightly in the z-axis. This reduces their grounded moveset's range, minus down smash due to hitting behind the partner.
- The Ice Climbers walk faster (0.96 → 1.008 (leader), 1.1088 (partner)).
- The Ice Climbers run faster (1.388 → 1.53 (leader), 1.683 (partner)).
- Their initial dash is noticeably faster (1.4 → 1.68).
- The Ice Climbers' air speed is significantly faster (0.7708 → 0.83 (leader), 0.8715 (partner)), with the leader being on par with Kirby's air speed and the partner surpassing Olimar's.
- The Ice Climbers' falling speed is faster (1.2 → 1.3).
- The Ice Climbers' gravity is slightly higher (0.077 → 0.082), although it is lower relative to the cast.
- As with all returning veterans, the Ice Climbers have drastically more traction (0.035 → 0.077). This makes it significantly easier for them to punish out of shield, although it is still the second-lowest in the game.
- The following Ice Climber's air acceleration is slightly higher (0.09 → 0.0945).
- Forward roll has less ending lag (FAF 31 → 30).
- Forward roll grants less intangibility (frames 4-19 → 4-15).
- Back roll has more startup with less intangibility (frames 4-19 → 5-16) and more ending lag (FAF 31 → 35).
- Spot dodge has more startup with less intangibility (frames 2-20 → 3-17).
- Air dodge has significantly more ending lag (FAF 48 → 58), being tied with Yoshi and Isabelle for the fifth-slowest air dodge in the game duration-wise.
- Air dodge has less startup (4 → 3) with only one frame of less intangibility (frames 4-29 → 3-28).
- The reintroduction of directional air dodging benefits the Ice Climbers more than most of the other returning veterans, as the duo have access to using a secondary recovering option with them or can extend or mix-up their recovery by using one, especially when combined with Belay's long distance as a tether recovery.
- The following Ice Climber now performs a directional air dodge if off-stage when separated from the leader, instead of typically using Belay to recover.
- The introduction of air dodge landing lag glitch benefits the Ice Climbers more than any other returning veteran, as if the duo perform an uninterrupted air dodge and land on the floor in their helpless states after using Squall Hammer, their normal landing lag will get approximately reduced.
- The removal of chain grabbing hinders the Ice Climbers more than any other character, as it drastically reduces their damage-racking and KO abilities and zero-to-death potential. They also greatly suffer from the ability to tech footstools as it removes their guaranteed lock-based setups from grabs.
- The following Ice Climber's AI is worse as they have more difficulty recovering and making it back to the leader, which can lead to them self-destructing.
- The duration opponents are frozen from the Ice Climbers' icy attacks are much longer, allowing for easier unavoidable follow-ups at high percentages. At very high percentages, Blizzard and Ice Shot can even freeze them long enough to be unable to recover from near the ledge.
- Ice Climbers arguably benefit the most from the reintroduction of wavedashing because of their very low traction, significantly increasing their approach and mobility, as well as giving them more mix-ups with grabbing and attacking opponents.
- The following Ice Climber's attacks affect the duo's staleness queue; in previous games, they would use the queue, but could not alter it. This generally means that the duo's attacks will both stale and refresh twice as quickly.
- When the leader is KO'd by reaching 0 HP during their last stock in Stamina Mode, the partner climber instantly enters the defeat animation regardless of being hit or not, similar to Rosalina's Lumas.
- This consequently remove the following Ice Climber's ability to intervene the results of opponents, hindering their impact on Stamina battles.
- Neutral attack:
- Neutral attack can lock opponents and connect both hits together more consistently due to its altered angle (60° → 361°/180°).
- The partner's second hit deals more damage (2% → 2.6%) without full compensation on knockback (45 (base)/100 (scaling) → 60/95), improving its KO potential when combined with the second hit's lowered angle.
- The first hit transitions into the second hit earlier (frame 11 → 10).
- The first hit can be transitioned into the second hit by holding/tapping onto the attack input for 10-30 frames, or by holding onto the button until frame 13, as opposed to tapping the button until frame 11.
- The move deals less damage (3% → 2% (leader hit 1), 4% → 3.5% (leader hit 2), 2% → 1.5% (partner hit 1), 11% → 9.6% (total)).
- Second hit of neutral attack has more ending lag (FAF 20 → 30).
- Both hits have a shorter duration (frames 4-7 (hit 1), 4-6 (hit 2) → 4-5 (both)).
- The first hit has an increased hitlag multiplier (1.0× → 1.3×), giving the opponent more time to SDI it.
- The first hit has gained a hitstun multiplier of 2×. This allows it to stun opponents long enough to connect into the second hit, and thus pressure them more effectively (as well as improving both hits' previously poor linking abilities), but also gives them drastically more time to SDI it.
- The second hit depicts the Ice Climbers performing more of a hook instead of an outward swing with their hammers.
- Forward tilt:
- Forward tilt has less ending lag (FAF 33 → 30). Combined with the increased shieldstun for grounded attacks, this makes it much safer on shield.
- The introduction of rage and the loss of hitstun canceling further improve the move's KO potential.
- The partner's forward tilt deals less damage (7% (non angled) → 6.75%).
- The move has a shorter duration (frames 9-12 → 9-10).
- The partner's forward tilt has an increased hitlag multiplier (0.5× → 1×), matching the leader's.
- Up tilt:
- The final hit of up tilt has more combo potential due to the removal of hitstun canceling.
- The partner's final hit deals less base knockback and more knockback scaling (40 (base), 100 (scaling) → 38/118), allowing it to combo better from low/medium percents (especially when combined with the loss of hitstun canceling), while also improving its KO potential at very high percents.
- The move deals less damage (1% (loop hits) → 0.8% (leader loop hits), 0.6% (partner loop hits), 17% → 15.4% (total)).
- The final hit has more startup lag (frame 23 → 24).
- The looping hits deal more knockback (10 (base), 20 (scaling) → (65/60/20)/10), this hinders the move's ability to connect all hits consistently, but makes the hits harder to escape when combined with the weakening of SDI and the increased hitlag multiplier of the partner's up tilt (0.3× → 0.5×).
- Down tilt:
- The partner's down tilt deals consistent damage (4%/5% → 4.5%), making it deal more damage at point-blank proximity at the expense of dealing less damage at the tip of the hammer.
- Due to the increased traction across the cast, opponents do not slide back as much upon tripping from down tilt, improving its reliability for starting combos.
- The move connects less consistently at higher percents when both climbers are present due to the reduction of hitlag.
- Dash attack:
- The partner's dash attack deals more damage (4% → 4.5%) and has increased knockback scaling (40 → 60), allowing it to KO more reliably near the upper blast zones.
- The move has a longer duration (frames 11-12 → 11-14).
- The outermost-hitbox has been extended forward (Y offset: 5u → 5u—7.5u), increasing its range.
- Forward smash:
- Forward smash has less startup lag with a longer duration (frames 12-13 → 11-13).
- It has less ending lag (FAF 49 → 47).
- It has more base knockback (30 → 50) and the partner's forward smash deals more knockback (118 → 126), drastically improving its KO potential.
- It has an altered animation where the Ice Climbers don't slam their hammers as far as horizontally, hindering its range.
- It no longer provides a sweetspot that deals more damage, reducing its overall maximum damage output (13% → 12% (leader), 10% → 9% (partner), 23% → 21% (both)).
- Up smash
- Up smash has less startup lag (frame 13 → 12).
- The partner's up smash deals more knockback (113 → 126), improving its KO potential.
- The loss of hitstun canceling improves the move's ability to lead into combos.
- The partner's up smash deals less damage (9% → 8.2%).
- It has more ending lag (FAF 48 → 50).
- The partner's up smash now has the properties of a sex kick (featuring an early, mid, late and latest hit).
- Down smash:
- Down smash has been reworked: each Ice Climber individually sweep their hammers at specific directions (with the leader sweeping in front, while the partner sweeps behind the leader).
- The move provides more horizontal coverage when together, making it more versatile for punishing rolls and approaches.
- The move covers both directions in a shorter amount of time, improving its utility as a burst punishing option.
- It deals more damage (12%/10% → 13% (leader), 9%/8% → 9.7% (partner)) and more knockback than the previous sweetspots (30 (base), 105 (leader scaling)/113 (partner scaling) → 50/(100/120)), drastically improving its KO potential.
- It has less ending lag (FAF 44 → 41).
- The move only hits on a single side with a solo-climber, making the remaining climber more vulnerable to rolls.
- Due to its altered animation, it is drastically harder to connect with both climbers.
- Even if it does, its maximum damage output is much lower as it no longer deals a pair of hits (42% → 22.7% (both)).
- All aerials have less landing lag (15 frames → 7 (neutral/back), 20 → 10 (forward), 30 → 14 (up), 42 → 20 (down).
- The Ice Climbers can no longer peform a pair of back/up aerials in a short hop due to their increased falling speed, as well as the latter having increased ending lag.
- Neutral aerial:
- The partner's neutral aerial deals more damage (5% → 5.25%) without full compensation on knockback (128 → 120), improving its KO potential.
- The move's lowered landing lag improves its utility in combos both desynced and synced.
- The move connects less consistently when both climbers are present due to the reduction of hitlag, especially at higher percents.
- Forward aerial:
- The partner's sourspotted forward aerial deals more damage (7% → 9%).
- The partner's forward aerial deals more increased knockback (100 → 114), improving its KO potential when both climbers are present.
- The removal of meteor canceling improves the reliability of the partner's sweetspotted forward aerial.
- The removal of teching for grounded meteor smashes improves the combo potential of the partner's sweetspotted forward aerial onstage, compounded further by its reduced landing lag.
- The hitboxes now match the visuals of the hammer instead of reaching deceptively far from them in the second frame, making it slightly more misleading and harder to land overall.
- The sourspots now out-prioritize the sweetspot (ID# 1 → 0), hindering its overall effectiveness.
- The sweetspot has been positioned at the tip of the hammer instead of the handle (ID# 1 → 4). The hitbox is also now rendered stationary, which makes it easier to land when spacing and makes it less vulnerable to 2 frame punishes (thus making it more reliable at edgeguarding), but makes it significantly harder to land at point-blank proximity.
- Back aerial:
- Back aerial deals more knockback (107 (leader), 128 (partner) → 115/138), improving its KO potential and making the partner's back aerial more in-line with the leader's, although it is still a bit weaker.
- It deals less damage (11% → 10% (leader), 8% → 7.5% (partner), 19% → 17.5% (both)), although with compensation on knockback.
- It connects less consistently when both climbers are present due to the reduction of hitlag, especially at higher percents.
- Up aerial:
- The Ice Climbers' up aerial has been reworked: an overhead hammer-swing in a horizontal arc. Compared to their previous up aerial, it provides much more horizontal range and hits in front of them, providing more efficient coverage than before.
- It deals more knockback (120 (leader), 142 (partner) → 129/154), improving its KO potential despite its lowered damage.
- It deals less damage (10%/9% → 9% (leader), 7%/6% → 5.75% (partner)).
- It has more startup lag with a shorter duration (frames 6-23 → 7-11) and more ending lag (FAF 30 → 36).
- It provides less vertical range compared to the previous one, making it much harder to connect against grounded opponents.
- Down aerial:
- The partner's down aerial deals more damage (5% → 6%).
- It auto-cancels earlier (frame 58 → 54), allowing it to be auto-canceled out of a full hop.
- The removal of the stall-then-fall glitch allows the Ice Climbers to land with the move more reliably out of hitstun.
- The Ice Climbers' faster air speed makes the descent less linear, allowing its direction to be influenced more quicker. This, along with the removal of the stall-then-fall glitch and its reduced landing lag, makes it harder to punish from below and makes it more reliable as a safe landing option.
- The move's stall has been increased, and its descent has been slowed down, giving it more safety off-stage and reducing its risk of self-destructs, but makes it slightly more difficult to throw out in order to land safely and escape juggles while making it more predictable.
- Its slower descent makes it safer for edgeguarding.
- The Ice Climbers bounce up before performing down aerial, similar to Sheik's down aerial.
- As a result, it has more startup with a shorter duration (frames 9-51 → 12-51).
- Its initial auto-cancel window has been removed.
Throws and other attacks
- If missing a grab, the leading Ice Climber will receive a surprised expression.
- Their dash grabs grant more horizontal momentum and substantial speed-boost, improving their approaching potential despite their increased ending lag.
- All grabs have more startup (frame 6 → 8 (standing), frame 8 → 10 (dash/pivot)) and ending lag (FAF 30 → 40 (standing), 40 → 48/41 (dash/pivot)), albeit they are still among the fastest in the game.
- All grabs have smaller hitboxes (4.5/3.5u → 3.6/1.8u (standing), 5.5/3.8u → 2.9/1.45u (dash), 5.5/3.8/3.8u → 3.6/1.8u).
- Standing and pivot grabs have less range (Z2 offset: 11.8u → 10.0u (standing), -12.0 → -11.4 (pivot), with the former being the shortest-ranged in Ultimate.
- The partner cannot act while the leader is held by an opponent's grab while on the ground, and enters a panicking animation instead (although this can be avoided with desyncs).
- The partner can no longer grab, and will taunt with a cheerful jump during the leader's throw while on the ground. This removes their chain grabs and locks the Ice Climbers were infamous for in previous titles.
- Pummel deals more hitlag (1 frame → 10 frames), but has drastically less startup (frame 11 → 1) and ending lag (FAF 19 → 7), shortening its effective duration and making it among the fastest pummels in the game, allowing it to substitute for the removal of wobbling.
- The hitbox has a shorter duration (frames 11-12 → 1).
- All throws no longer have SDI multipliers.
- Back throw and down throw are now weight-independent. This improves their combo ability against heavyweights, but worsens it against lightweights.
- Forward throw:
- The removal of hitstun canceling improves its utility in tech-chasing and setting up an edgeguard.
- The collateral hitbox now stacks knockback (0 → 50 (base)/60 (scaling)), making the throw portion slightly stronger and allowing it to KO near the edge at very high precents overall.
- The collateral hitbox has a significantly increased hitlag multiplier (0.3x → 1.2×), making it much easier to DI.
- The collateral hitbox is smaller (7.2u → 5.0u), but with an altered positioning (YZ offset: 5.6/0u → 6.5/10.0u).
- Back throw:
- The removal of hitstun canceling allows back throw to lead into follow-ups both desynced and synced, as well as improving its ability to set up an edgeguard.
- The removal of chain grabing drastically hinders the move's utility.
- Up throw:
- Up throw deals more damage (2% (hit), 4% (throw), 6% (total) → 3%/5%/8%) without full compensation on the throw portion's knockback (28 → 26), making it more reliable for combos at lower precents when combined with the loss of histun canceling, while allowing it to KO slightly earlier at higher precents.
- The collateral hitbox now stacks knockback (0 → 75 (base)/60 (scaling)), making the throw portion slightly stronger and allowing it to KO at very high precents.
- The collateral hitbox lasts longer (frame 25 → 25-26).
- The collateral hitbox has a significantly increased hitlag multiplier (0.2x → 1.2×), giving the opponent much more time to DI.
- The collateral hitboxes are smaller (7.2/5.76u → 5.0/4.0u), but with altered positionings (Y offset: 5.6u → 6.0u).
- Down throw:
- The leading Ice Climber clinches the opponent with both hands, lift them up in the air before slamming them on the ground.
- The changes to hitstun canceling improve down throw's combo potential beyond lower percents with a solo-climber.
- It deals much more knockback (100 → 116). When combined with the introduction of rage, this allows it to KO middleweights at around 190% on Final Destination, without worsening its combo ability due to the changes to hitstun canceling.
- The removal of chain grabbing hinders down throw's damage-racking potential at lower percents, even with a solo-climber.
- Floor attack:
- The leader's floor attacks deals more damage (6% → 7%).
- The partner's floor attacks deals less damage (6% → 5.2% (front/back), 5% → 3.5% (trip)).
- Edge attack:
- The Ice Climbers ram their hammers horizontally in a straight line, similar to their slow ledge attack in Brawl.
- It deals consistent damage compared to their previous ledge attacks, even though the partner's is weaker (8% (hammer), 6% (body) → 8% (leader), 6% (partner)).
- It deals less damage compared to their old slow ledge attack (10% (hammer), 8% (body) → 8% (leader), 6% (body)).
- The Ice Climbers do not hunch over when performing it, making them easier to punish.
- Ice Shot:
- Ice Shot deals more damage (1%-3% → 2-2%-3.5%).
- It has less ending lag (FAF 60 → 56).
- Ice Shot can function as a projectile-blocker since the sliding ice chunks will not get destroyed by other projectiles, and will cancel them out regardless of the level of power within them.
- Ice Shot has more startup lag (frame 17 → 18).
- Reflected ice chunks can now damage the Ice Climbers.
- Ice Shot produces a different, more aesthetic sound effect.
- Squall Hammer:
- Solo Squall Hammer ends with a stronger hit that deals mild-diagonal damage and much more knockback (5 (base)/30 (scaling) → 50/100) and launches at an altered angle (30° → 361°).
- Solo Squall Hammer has less startup (frame 12 → 10).
- Squall Hammer covers distance in a shorter amount of time, improving its utility as a burst-movement option.
- Squall Hammer provides more manueverability (even with a solo-climber), improving its utility as a mobility-based tool.
- Desynced Squall Hammer has more consistent utility to trap opponents between both Ice Climbers.
- Squall Hammer's hits launch at altered angles (30° → 25/32°) and have altered knockback (5 (base)/80 (scaling) → 25/13/95). By extension, the move concludes a pair of hitboxes as the size of their hammers instead of only a single hitbox upon each hit. When combined with the weakening to SDI, this allows the move to connect all hits more consistently.
- Duo Squall Hammer deals more damage (2% (hits 1-7), 3% (final hit) → 2.2%/4%, 17% → 19.4% (maximum)). When combined with the introduction of the 1v1 multiplier, this improves the move's damage-racking ability and the final hit's KO potential.
- All of Duo Squall Hammer's hits come out earlier with slightly less gaps in between (frames 9, 13, 18, 22, 27, 32, 40, 53-54 → 10/14/18/23/28/34/40/51-52).
- All of Solo Squall Hammer's hits come out earlier (frames 12, 15, 18, 21, 24, 28, 32, 36, 42, 49, 56 (solo) → 10/15/21/28/37/49-50). Although it concludes slightly more gaps in between (combined with the fact that Solo Squall Hammer now has 6 hits instead of 11), it now includes back-hitboxes during the move which come out later than the frontal hits (frames 10, 15, 21, 28, 37 → 13/18/24/32/42) to offset that.
- Squall Hammer's final hit now concludes a late hit, which has more vertical range and retains much power as the clean hit.
- Squall Hammer grants much less vertical distance with button mashing, worsening its usage for recovery.
- Duo Squall Hammer has more startup (frame 9 → 10) and ending lag (FAF 70 → 78).
- Solo Squall Hammer deals less damage (2% → 1.3% (leader), 0.975%/1.5% (partner)).
- When combined with the fact that Solo Squall Hammer includes 6 hits instead of 11, this drastically reduces its maximum damage-output (22% → 8.5% (leader)/6.375% (partner)).
- Squall Hammer emits a twinkling sound effect when performed, especially with both Ice Climbers.
- If the partner is separated from the leader off-stage, the partner will perform a directional air dodge to reach the ledge's radius instead of typically using a Belay.
- Belay has increased tether recovering distance.
- The leader is no longer prevented from using the move if it is automatically performed by the partner.
- Belay covers slightly more distance with a solo-climber, and the solo-climber possesses more control while using it.
- Belay has less startup (frame 16 → 13), allowing it to execute faster.
- When both Ice Climbers are present, the solo-climber covers more vertical distance, but less horizontal distance, making their recovery slightly more linear.
- The duo's faster air speed and improved aerial mobility nevertheless makes Belay less linear, improving their recovery.
- Belay has a smaller hitbox (7.0u → 6.0u), making it harder to land against grounded opponents.
- Belay emits a new aesthetic squeaking sound effect instead of the Ice Climbers' jumping sound effect.
- Both Ice Climbers aim Blizzard forward while on the ground instead of aiming it in both respective directions, similar to their aerial version in previous installments. This critically increases its damage-output when performed on the ground, but this means that Blizzard can no longer hit the opponents behind them, hindering its spacing potential and overall coverage.
- The universal changes to freezing duration result in Blizzard freezing opponents for a much longer period overall, no longer allowing the opponent to thaw out almost immediately.
- Blizzard's altered animation improves its damage-racking potential, in combination of the previous point, drastically improves its follow-up potential.
- Blizzard has more ending lag (FAF 80 → 85).
- Blizzard deals less damage at point-blank proximity (2% → 1.7%).
- Blizzard also no longer causes hitstun or freezes opponents when further from point-blank proximity, both removing its ability to lock and hindering its spacing potential simultaneously.
- Iceberg spins and features a teetering Polar Bear that launches the opponents with greater knockback. During the move, a Condor will circle the Iceberg around the top of the screen, which the Ice Climbers can grab onto, and it will also deal damage to opponents that touch it, and will deal even more damage and knockback at the peak.
- Opponents can no longer damage the iceberg and make it recede.
- Iceberg lasts a shorter duration. While this does make it less obstructive to the following Ice Climber, this makes it overall much easier for opponents to stall out and avoid entirely, while other changes made to the move make it less likely to cause problems for the following Ice Climber anyway.
- When paired, the Ice Climbers no longer emit a whooshing sound upon activating Iceberg.
- The iceberg no longer has solid terrain, and instead utilizes stronger windboxes to push both opponents and the Ice Climbers out. This overall weakens the move's ability to interrupt recoveries, especially combined with the new vertical knockback, and prevents the Ice Climbers from standing on the peak. However, it also does not obstruct the Climbers as much, nor will it block ledges, making it less likely to cause the following climber to SD. In addition, it can no longer be performed to make the Ice Climbers clip through stage-objects, as this was caused by a pair of merging walls.
- The iceberg can be moved across the stage, although doing so can be risky if the Ice Climbers are not holding on to the Condor.
- Iceberg no longer freezes opponents.
- Iceberg no longer causes platforms to damage the opponents.
The Ice Climbers received a mix of buffs, nerfs and glitch fixes via game updates, but have been buffed slightly overall. Update 2.0.0 improved the partner climber's AI in order to make them follow the leading climber more reliably, though at the cost of making desyncing harder to perform. Aside from this, Belay's recovery potential was improved via its enlarged edge grabbox.
Following this, the Ice Climbers would not receive any noteworthy changes until update 9.0.0. This update decreased the partner's damage and knockback multipliers, which made them less susceptible to being separated from the leader. Belay was also improved noticeably, thanks to its tether recovery distance being lengthened and the leader no longer being inadvertently prevented from using it if the partner used it. Aside from these improvements, a few moves received quality-of-life buffs: dash attack has slightly more range and improved consistency, down smash's knockback was increased, and Squall Hammer will sweetspot edges earlier.
Lastly, update 13.0.1 granted the Ice Climbers a few decent buffs. Belay's start-up lag was decreased, which improved both its recovery potential and utility as a follow-up from up tilt. On a similar note, dash attack's overall lag was decreased, which made it safer and improved its utility for setting up aerial pressure. Lastly, down smash's knockback was increased yet again like in update 9.0.0.
Overall, the Ice Climbers fare mildly better than they did at the launch of Ultimate.
- The Ice Climbers have been affected, although the changes are currently unknown.
- The partner Ice Climber's AI has been improved: the partner will now follow the main climber better.
- This makes desyncs even harder to perform.
- The ledgegrab-box for Belay has been increased (X offset: 0u → -1u).
- Fixed a bug that allowed the partner climber to survive after the leader runs out of stocks.
- Partner climber's AI was adjusted.
- The partner climber returns to the leader when grabbing an opponent.
- Scenarios where desyncs would occur have changed.
- The hitlag multiplier of the final hit of the partner climber's up tilt has been increased.
- Iceberg via the FS Meter deals more knockback.
- Ice Climbers recover midair jumps in the same way as other fighters.
- Partner climber will no longer jump when pressing the jump button right after a grab. This removes its combo and 0-to death potential.
- An unknown glitch that launches the partner climber at significant high knockback has been fixed.
- Partner climber is no longer able to ledge trump opponents.
- The partner can now ledge-trump opponents, fixing an issue introduced in 4.0.0.
- Fixed the Buster Wolf freeze glitch that cause Terry and the partner climber to become unable to move while intangible.
- Overall shield size has been increased.
- Pummel has a larger hitbox (4.8u → 5.8u) that is placed further horizontally (Z offset: 6.4u → 7.4u), allowing it to connect more consistently.
- Iceberg slows opponents more during startup.
- The Iceberg appears much faster, and the peak's hitbox size was increased.
- The Condor has a larger search radius (8u → 9.5u), making it easier to grab onto.
- The partner climber takes less damage and knockback (1.05× → 1.02×), making them harder to separate.
- The partner climber's AI behavior has been adjusted.
- Dash attack:
- The outer hitbox has been extended forward (Y offset: 5u → 5u—7.5u), increasing its range.
- It has increased hitlag (1× → 1.2×), allowing both climbers' dash attacks to connect more reliably.
- Down smash has more base knockback (45 → 50).
- Squall Hammer sweetspots edges earlier (frame 61/63 → 55/57).
- Belay has increased tether recovery distance.
- The player is no longer prevented from using the move if it is automatically used by the partner climber.
- Down smash has higher knockback scaling (100 → 105 (Popo), 120 → 126 (Nana)).
- Dash attack has less startup (frame 11 → 9, FAF 42 → 40).
- Belay has less startup (frame 16 → 14).
- Although the Ice Climbers have among the lowest traction in the game, their traction is completely unaffected by slippery terrain, such as ice.
- The partner Ice Climber will taunt whenever the leader throws an opponent.
- Additionally, when the leader Ice Climber is grabbed, the partner will panic.
For a gallery of the Ice Climbers' hitboxes, see here.
Note: All numbers are listed as base damage, without the 1v1 multiplier.
|Neutral attack||Right Sweep (右はらい) / Left Sweep (左はらい)||leader: 2%
|The Ice Climbers swing their hammers horizontally, and then vertically. A great "get off me" tool that does decent damage to boot.|
|Forward tilt||Side Strike (横たたき)||leader: 9%
|The Ice Climbers swing their hammers horizontally. Has high knockback growth, being able to KO at around 80%-90% at the ledge on most characters.|
|Up tilt||Hammer Spin (くるくるハンマー, Spinning Hammer)||leader: 0.8% (hits 1 - 6), 4% (hit 7)
partner: 0.6% (hits 1 - 6), 3% (hit 7)
|The Ice Climbers twirl their hammers over their heads. This creates a lingering hitbox that hits multiple times. A useful combo starter that can begin a chain of up aerials.|
|Down tilt||Shin Attack (スネたたき)||leader: 6%
|The Ice Climbers sweep their hammers across the ground in front of themselves. A steep semi-spike that functions very well as both a poking option in neutral and edgeguarding option, thanks to its quick startup, decent range, and low endlag.|
|Dash attack||Dash Strike (ダッシュたたき)||leader: 6%
|The Ice Climbers leap forward, swinging their hammers in front of themselves. It deals mostly vertical knockback that can start combos, but has weak knockback and is ineffective for KOing.|
|Forward smash||Stake Smash (クイ打ち)||leader: 12%
|The Ice Climbers swing their hammers down in front of themselves similar to their original attack in Ice Climber.|
|Up smash||Icicle Crasher (つらら割り)||leader: 11% (hammer), 9% (body)
partner: 8.25% (hammer), 6.25% (body)
|The Ice Climbers swing their hammers in an overhead arc. Useful for catching an opponent's landings.|
|Down smash||Hammer Sweep (足もと打ち, Leg Strike)||leader: 13%
|The Ice Climbers sweep their hammers across the ground in a specific direction (the leader attacks in front, while the partner attacks behind). If the partner is absent, however, this move will only hit on one side.|
|Neutral aerial||Climber Turn (クライマーターン)||leader: 7%
|The Ice Climbers spin in place with their hammers outstretched.|
|Forward aerial||Hammer Slam (ハンマードロップ, Hammer Drop)||leader: 12%
partner: 12% (sweetspot), 9% (sourspot)
|They perform a somersaulting overhead swing of their hammers in a manner similar to their forward smash. The partner's hammer has a sweetspot that can meteor smash opponents.|
|Back aerial||Reverse Strike (ふりむきたたき)||leader: 10%
|The Ice Climbers swing their hammers horizontally behind themselves. Both hits are extremely safe on shield, with the secondary climber's hit being one of the few moves that is positive on shield.|
|Up aerial||Overhead Sweep (頭上はらい)||leader: 9%
|The Ice Climbers swing their hammers above themselves in an arc. An excellent juggle tool that can quickly rack up damage both desynced and synced, and can even function as a KO confirm from down throw at around 70% on most characters.|
|Down aerial||Hammer Swoop (急降下ハンマー)||leader: 8%
|The Ice Climbers hold their hammers below themselves and fall downward. A stall-then-fall, though with a slower traveling speed than similar attacks of its kind; additionally, it is unable to meteor smash at all, unlike most attacks of its kind. The hitbox covers most of the Ice Climber's body, making it good for punishing opponents who attempt to juggle. As a result, it is usually used as a niche landing option.|
|Grab||Grab (つかみ)||—||The leader reaches in front of themselves with their free hand. The leader's grab range is the shortest in the game.|
|Pummel||Grab Headbutt (つかみ頭突き)||1%||A headbutt. The partner takes no action at all.|
|Forward throw||Hockey Shot (ホッケーショット)||3% (hit), 5% (throw)||The leader knocks the opponent away with their hammer.|
|Back throw||Snowy Mountain Throw (雪山投げ)||6%||The leader throws the opponent behind themselves.|
|Up throw||Grab Icicle Crasher (つかみつらら割り)||3% (hit), 5% (throw)||The leader tosses the opponent upward and hits them with their hammer. It has the second highest base knockback of any up throw, but the weakest knockback growth, rendering it incapable at KOing, even at very high percents.|
|Down throw||Avalanche Crusher (なだれつぶし)||6%||The leader lifts the opponent over their head with both hands and slams them on the ground. The Ice Climbers' only throw with KO potential, it can KO middleweights at around 214% on Final Destination. It is also effective for starting combos, especially when desynced.|
|Floor attack (front)||leader: 7%
|The Ice Climbers swing their hammers around themselves as they get up.|
|Floor attack (back)||leader: 7%
|Same as the frontal floor attack.|
|Floor attack (trip)||leader: 5%
|Gets up and spins around, hitting with their hammers.|
|Edge attack||leader: 8%
|The Ice Climbers climb up and slam their hammers in front of themselves.|
|Neutral special||Ice Shot||3.5-2.2% (ice chunks), 3.5% (hammers)||Each Ice Climber summons a small stalagmite of ice and hits it with their hammer, causing it to slide along the ground, gradually shrinking as it travels. It bounces off walls and shields. If attacked by an opponent, the ice rebound and will hurt the Ice Climbers if they touch it. The ice can freeze opponents at high percents. The first midair use will pop the Ice Climbers up slightly.|
|Side special||Squall Hammer||both: 2.2% (loop), 4% (last)
leader: 1.3% (loop), 2% (last)
partner: 0.975% (loop), 1.5% (last)
|The Ice Climbers stand back-to-back while spinning around an axis with their hammers outstretched, hitting opponents multiple times. The attack is concluded with them swinging their hammers upward, which launches opponents away. By repeatedly tapping the special move button, the Ice Climbers will rise in the air, allowing them to recover. This, however, also renders them helpless. If only one Climber is present, the move deals less damage and reduced knockback, and gains less height. Squall Hammer is usually used as a method to begin desyncs, and can trap opponents between each Ice Climber once a desync is achieved.|
|Up special||Belay||16% (partner)||The leading Ice Climber throws the partner the air with a rope. The partner then pulls the leader upwards. If there is a nearby edge, the partner will target it, and then proceed to pull the leader to the ledge as well. While rising, the partner is invincible, allowing for a safe recovery for both Ice Climbers; additionally, the partner Ice Climber possesses a hitbox that deals powerful vertical knockback, though it is rather difficult to use as a combo finisher due to the difficulty of aiming the partner. Without a partner, the move will grant essentially no distance. Each Ice Climber becomes helpless after the move is used.|
|Down special||Blizzard||both: 1% (far loop), 1.8% (close loop)||The Ice Climbers blow a gust of cold air in front of themselves, potentially freezing opponents. If used on an already frozen opponent, they will remain frozen for slightly longer. With both Ice Climbers present, this move can deal a maximum of 31.5%, though it is also a risky move due to its duration.|
|Final Smash||Iceberg||13% (peak, rising), 11%/9%/7% (iceberg), 16% (Polar Bear), 5% (Condor)||The Ice Climbers summon a rotating iceberg to rise up from the center of the stage. For the duration of the Final Smash, it can be moved left and right. The range of how far it can move is shown by the mist. The iceberg deals damage to opponents who touch it: the closer they are towards the top, the more damage they take. Towards the base of the iceberg is a Polar Bear, which has high launching power. A Condor also appears, flying above, which the Ice Climbers can grab onto. This allows the iceberg to be more easily controlled without worry of self destruction, although the partner will be at risk of potentially being pushed offstage if they fail to grab it. Upon ending, the iceberg will lower itself, and the Condor will fly off to the side of the stage.|
|Stats||Weight||Dash speed||Walk speed||Traction||Air friction||Air speed||Air acceleration||Gravity||Falling speed||Jumpsquat||Jump Height||Double jump Height|
|Value||92||1.68 – Initial dash
1.53 – Run
|1.008||0.077||0.015||0.83||0.01 – Base
0.08 – Additional
|0.082||1.3 – Base
2.08 – Fast-fall
|3||34.69 - Base
16.75 - Short hop
|Stats||Weight||Dash speed||Walk speed||Traction||Air friction||Air speed||Air acceleration||Gravity||Falling speed||Jumpsquat||Jump Height||Double jump Height|
|Value||92||1.68 – Initial dash
1.683 – Run
|1.1088||0.0847||0.015||0.8715||0.0105 – Base
0.084 – Additional
|0.082||1.3 – Base
2.08 – Fast-fall
|3||34.69 - Base
16.75 - Short hop
- The Condor flies in with them hanging off its feet. They then jump off while high fiving each other, and the Condor flies off.
- Up taunt: They set down their hammers and jump up and down once. This is their victory animation during the results screen in Ice Climber.
- Side taunt: They point their hammers diagonally upward and shout "Yup!", as the wind blows behind them.
- Down taunt: They dance in a circle.
- Both twirl their hammers.
- Popo looks backward curiously.
|Cheer (English)||Cheer (Japanese/Chinese)||Cheer (Italian)||Cheer (Dutch)||Cheer (French)|
|Description||I scream, you scream, Ice Climb - ers!||Ice Climb - er!||Na - na! Po - po!||Ice - Ice - Climbers!||Na - na! Po - po!|
- Left: Both jump up and down infinitely. Based on their victory animation in Ice Climber, similar to their up taunt.
- Up: Both nod and high-five one another before facing the camera.
- Right: Nana hides behind Popo, only showing her face as Popo shifts from left to right.
In competitive play
Most historically significant players
See also: Category:Ice Climbers players (SSBU)
- Big D - The best Ice Climbers player of all-time and the only Ice Climbers player ever ranked top 100 on a global ranking, ranking as high as 19th on the UltRank 2022.
- Harasen - One of the best Ice Climber players in Japan since mid-2022, although he has lower activity and peaks than FNKA. He has placed well at several majors, including placing 13th at the supermajor Umebura SP 9 and 25th at the supermajor DELTA 4.
- Futari no Kiwami Ah~! - One of the all-time best Ice Climbers players in Japan who uses a more synced playstyle. Although inconsistent, he has the highest peaks out of any other Japanese Ice Climbers player, placing 5th at the majors Kagaribi 8 and Seibugeki 12.
- Kie - Co-mains Ice Climbers with Peach and was considered the best Ice Climbers player in Japan during the early metagame. Placed 2nd at Sumabato SP 3, 3rd at Sumabato SP 4, 4th at Sumabato SP 15, 7th at Sumabato SP 2, and 25th at Umebura Japan Major 2019. Ranked 52nd on the Japan Player Rankings.
- murasat - Known for his contributions to the Ice Climbers metagame. Although his performance isn't as good as other Japanese Ice Climbers players, he has still seen some respectable results including 25th at the superregionals Kagaribi and Seibugeki 8.
Tier placement and history
Prior to Ultimate's release, players were quick to notify that the Ice Climbers lost their most devastating attributes from Brawl and Melee: their infamous zero-to-death chain grabbing and wobbling, respectively. When combined with the changes to gameplay-based mechanics during the transition from Brawl to Ultimate that either heavily impaired or altogether removed several of their infamous tactics, this caused players to believe that the Ice Climbers wouldn't be viable, a belief that held on throughout the early metagame.
Upon Ultimate's release, the Ice Climbers' competitive perception, which was estimated to be poor, has dwindled even further and, in turn for worse, became more significant than most would think. Several of the cast have immediately acknowledged their retained weakness (which have also been more pronounced): the infamous difficulty of maintaining both climbers in a single stock, the partner's vulnerability, their steep learning curve, poor endurance, slow aerial mobility, their vulnerability to camping and the severe handicaps brought to the leader if the partner dies during the stock, as well as the removal of several quirky combos and zero-to-deaths involving the partner from previous installments. As such, the Ice Climbers’ representation was minuscule, and all the players who mained the duo in Brawl have completely dropped them in favour of other characters. As a result, the general consensus have widely perceived them to be either low or bottom-tier.
A few months after release, the duo's playerbase and competitive scene started to make surprising breakthroughs: with the few that stuck with them discovering new desynching setup and damaging combos, as well as new versatile zero-to-deaths off of desyncs. In turn, players such as Big D, Kie, murasat, Daiki and ???? have picked up the duo, received excellent results in tournaments using the character; the former, in particular, have mastered the duo enough to the point that the Ice Climbers can beat almost every match-up across the board once their desynced zero-to-deaths has been pulled off out of a grab. As a result, the Ice Climbers' improving results have gradually improved the community's perception on the duo, with the general consensus believing that the Ice Climbers are either upper mid-tier or high-tier at least, like in their days of Melee, which is a notable improvement compared to their initial low-tier status. Overall, the Ice Climbers remain as characters that should not be underestimated, although not to the extent of Melee and Brawl, ranking 56th on the first and current tier list.
Classic Mode: Duos for Days
Referencing themselves being duos, Ice Climbers fight two characters from a given universe in each stage. To go with the duo theme, both Master Hand and Crazy Hand are fought regardless of the difficulty.
Role in World of Light
Although the Ice Climbers are 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.
|15||Ice Climbers||7,500||Summit (Ω form)||Ice Climber (Brawl)|
The Ice Climbers' fighter spirit can be obtained by completing Classic Mode. It is also available periodically for purchase in the shop for 300 Gold, but only after Ice Climbers have been unlocked. 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. Their fighter spirit has an alternate version that replaces it with their artwork in Ultimate.
In Spirit Battles
Conditions in italic aren't listed on the Spirit Battle preview screen.
As the main opponents
|114||Freezie||Mario Bros. Series||•Ice Climbers||1,600||Mario Bros. (Battlefield form)||•Item: Freezie||•The enemy starts the battle with a Freezie||Mario Bros.|
|373||Mr. Frosty||Kirby Series||•Ice Climbers (80 HP)||2,200||Dream Land (Battlefield form)||•Hazard: Ice Floor||•The floor is frozen
•The enemy's ice and water attacks have increased power
|Ice Cream Island|
|457||Lapras||Pokémon Series||•Ice Climbers||3,800||Wuhu Island (Rocks at sea)||•Buoyancy Reduced||•You can't swim||Pokémon Red / Pokémon Blue Medley|
|531||Kyurem||Pokémon Series||•Ice Climbers||4,700||Summit (Battlefield form)||•Hazard: Ice Floor||•The floor is frozen
•Timed battle (1:30)
•The enemy favors special moves
|Battle! (Reshiram / Zekrom)|
|860||Cyrus & Reese||Animal Crossing Series||•Ice Climbers||9,400||Smashville||•Item Tidal Wave
•Hazard: Low Gravity
|•Gravity is reduced
•Certain items will appear in large numbers after a little while
|2:00 a.m. - Animal Crossing: Wild World||Reese (Nana), Cyrus (Popo)|
|878||Ice Man||Mega Man Series||•Ice Climbers (140 HP)||4,600||Summit (Battlefield form)||•Hazard: Ice Floor||•The floor is frozen
•The enemy's ice and water attacks have increased power
•The enemy has super armor and is hard to launch or make flinch
|Ice Man Stage|
|1,099||Duon||Super Smash Bros. Series||•Giant Ice Climbers (150 HP)||4,100||Halberd (Ship deck)||•Item: Shooting Types||•Stamina battle
•The enemy's shooting items have increased power
•The enemy is giant
|Boss Battle Song 1||Duon's gun side (Nana) and sword side (Popo)|
|1,137||Olaf||Advance Wars Series||•Ice Climbers||2,200||Summit (Battlefield form)||•Move Speed ↓
•Hazard: Ice Floor
|•The floor is frozen
•You have reduced move speed after a little while
•The enemy starts the battle with a Steel Diver
|Filled with Hope|
|1,308||Caroline & Justine||Persona Series||•Ice Climbers||9,700||Kalos Pokémon League (hazards off)||•Sudden Damage||•You take serious damage after a little while
•Timed battle (1:00)
|Aria of the Soul|
|607||Condor||Ice Climber Series||•Ridley (80 HP)
•Ice Climbers (80 HP)
|4,500||Summit (Battlefield form)||•Hazard: Ice Floor||•Defeat the main fighter to win
•The floor is frozen
•Timed stamina battle (1:00)
|Ice Climber (Brawl)||Ice Climbers|
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.
Fighter Showcase Video
- One of the Ice Climbers' preview pictures shows them using Blizzard against a Metroid, referencing the species' weakness to cold in the Metroid series.
- When the lead climber is grabbing and pummeling an opponent, the partner's animation will lag for every pummel hit.
- Hitting the accompanying Ice Climber will not cause controllers to shake if the vibration setting is turned on. This applies to everything from normal attacks, throws, or Final Smashes.
- When played on the world map for World of Light, only the leading Ice Climber appears.
- If the partner is caught in a non-cutscene trapping Final Smash (such as Triforce Slash, Great Aether, or Omnislash) and the leader is KO'd, the partner will disappear, leaving the opponent attacking nothing. A similar situation occurs in Brawl.
- When getting hit from behind, the Ice Climbers' back-hitting/wall bounce hitstun animation causes them to freeze for a brief moment before going into their tumbling animation. This is due to additional frames being added past the final point of the animation.
- The animation itself mimics how hitstun animations worked from Smash 64 to Brawl.
- The freeze itself is a reference to the duo's dying animation in Ice Climber, in which they freeze for a brief moment after touching an enemy.
- When navigating the camera around the Ice Climbers during certain animations, such as their ledge hanging animations, the fur trim on the bottom of their coats and around their wrists seem to detach from their jacket, exposing multiple gaps. There are also gaps when looking at their face at certain angles between the fur trim.
- Additionally, zooming in on Popo's face reveals a gap between his hair and fur trim.
- Also, looking closely at Nana's hair reveals a small gap underneath between her hair and forehead.
- In a Stock or Stamina battle, if the leading Ice Climber gets KO'd, the vanishing effects of the partner do not appear whenever the leader respawns.
- If one looks closely at one of the Ice Climber's non-leading feet during their tech wall jump animation, it twists the other way during the move. This can be more easily seen if the match is currently slowed down.
- While most other characters have the announcer say "(character) wins!" at the victory screen, the Ice Climbers have the announcer say "Ice Climbers win!" The "(character) win!" audio clip is usually reserved for the Japanese version, though it is most likely used with the Ice Climbers because of their two-in-one nature and name. Rosalina & Luma and Banjo & Kazooie also share this distinction.
- In Spanish, French, German, and Italian, the name tag and voice clip from the announcer on the victory screen is slightly different from the one used on the character select screen, instead featuring a noticeable translation of "the" (los, les, die, and gli Ice Climbers, respectively). This trait is shared with Wii Fit Trainer, Pokémon Trainer, Villager, Inkling, Hero, Zombie, Enderman, and the Mii Fighters.
- In the Ice Climbers' battle portrait, the partner Ice Climber is slightly lower than they are in their full artwork, in order to make their face fully visible. Banjo & Kazooie are the only other fighter with such an edit.
- The AI level for the partner Ice Climber (Nana by default) is 77 out of 100, which is slightly higher than a level 8 CPU (75 out of 100); the non-standard number is likely a pun on Nana's name, as one of the ways to say seven in Japanese is "なな (nana)".
- While most characters have two different sets of knockback-based voice clips, the Ice Climbers are the only exception to this rule as they use either their low or high knockback voice clips or remain silent, regardless of their knockback speed.
- Additionally, the Ice Climbers are the only characters that retain their voice clips from Brawl but do not make use of their unused knockback voice clips, a trait shared with Link, Captain Falcon, and Ganondorf from Smash 4.
- The Ice Climbers are the only characters who have fewer dash-to-run frames when performing a pivot dash instead of a regular dash.
- When playing on a custom stage, there's a visual glitch in the Ice Climber's on-screen appearance where the Condor does not disappear and only does so once "GO!" appears on the screen.
- If both Ice Climbers perform a smash attack with the Home-Run Bat, Nana will vocalize first, which is during the windup rather than before the swing. This is a carryover from Brawl, where all characters will grunt during the windup animation. This is shared with Falco.
- If Nana is the leader, the Ice Climbers' knockback voice clips won't play for unknown reasons.
- The Ice Climbers' description on the North American amiibo website is based on their trophy description from Melee.
- Instead of being supported by a clear stand on their amiibo, the Ice Climbers are instead supported by a blue iceberg, which is not present in their official render.
- The Ice Climbers are the only characters who wield weapons at all times to be affected by stance mirroring.
- The Ice Climbers seen in Sora's reveal trailer after everyone has been turned back into trophies are actually two Popos.
- During Palutena's Guidance regarding the Ice Climbers, Pit assumes that their absence in SSB4 was due to illegal teaming. This dialogue is a humorous reference to the Ice Climbers being cut due to the consistent technical issues that Masahiro Sakurai and the development team faced when attempting to make them function properly in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS.
- When functioning as the partner climber, Popo and Nana are the only characters capable of dashing through other characters in Ultimate.
- When one Ice Climber gets KO'd off the top blast line, the other Ice Climber has a greater chance of being KO'd the same way. For example, if the leader were to get Screen KO'd, the partner likely would as well, instead of the usual completely random chance.
- If Sephiroth uses Shadow Flare against the AI-controlled Ice Climber, they will flinch and take the initial damage, but the shadowy orbs that normally follow from this attack will not appear.
|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|