Wobbling is an infinite combo exclusive to the Ice Climbers in Super Smash Bros. Melee. Opponents cannot break out of Popo's grab and will continuously get hit by Nana. The technique can be performed on all characters in the game except against another pair of Ice Climbers. Wobbling received its name as a reference to American smasher and Ice Climbers main Wobbles, with Ken coining the term after Wobbles claimed 9th place in NCT2 with considerable use of the technique.
While his name is attached to the technique, Wobbles did not actually discover Wobbling; he learned of the technique's existence after watching videos of Japanese Ice Climbers players.
Although only the Ice Climbers can perform true wobbling, the term "wobble" is sometimes used by competitive players as a pejorative term for any guaranteed, powerful combo that is very easy to perform.
In team games, a team wobble can be performed by having one player grab the enemy while the teammate attacks, in a similar fashion to the normal wobble. However, this can only be done reliably in a 2 vs. 1 situation and requires good spacing from the attacker; it is therefore uncommon.
In Super Smash Bros. Melee
Wobbling begins with a grab by Popo. Following this, the Ice Climbers player must use one of many methods to desynch the Ice Climbers, and have Popo pummel while Nana forward tilts or down tilts. If done correctly, Popo and Nana will hit the enemy repeatedly in an alternating rhythm which cannot be escaped. This will lead to a KO if Nana performs a smash attack after sufficient damage has been inflicted.
In addition to standard Wobbling, a variation called Blizzobbling can also be performed, where Nana instead uses Blizzard to attack opponents instead of using a tilt. Like Wobbling, it is also inescapable.
Wobbling works by the existence of a mechanics exploit in Melee. When an opponent is grabbed, they cannot mash out of the grab if the character grabbing them is performing an attack. This is the basis behind how pummeling works; opponents cannot mash out when a pummel connects but pummels are not fast enough to stop them from escaping in-between them. However, Popo and Nana are treated as the same character when attacking. Thus, players can exploit desynching to force them to attack in an alternating manner that does not allow enough time for any character to escape from the grab. The delay between the pummel and the tilt is minuscule with proper timing and is impossible to escape from.
In Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Wobbling is impossible to perform in Brawl, due to changes in the game's grab mechanics. Despite this, the Ice Climbers gained a new, infinite chain grab that, while more difficult to perform, still guarantees a KO if properly performed. As such, the loss of Wobbling is an inconsequential nerf to the Ice Climbers.
In competitive play
Due to its perceived overpowering potential, Wobbling has been a controversial technique within the Melee community, and there is debate over whether or not the technique should be banned. Stalling is universally banned when done to explicitly delay tournaments, and as such, wobbling performed past a percent which guarantees a kill is forbidden.
Supporters of a ban claim that the technique is too powerful, as it is inescapable and almost always leads to a KO; supporters of a ban also note that there are other ways for the Ice Climbers to punish off a grab, such as their hand-off chain grabs. They also claim that Wobbling is an uninteresting technique to watch in matches, potentially deterring spectators from wanting to view streamed matches where Wobbling is taking place.
Opponents of a ban claim that Wobbling is a legitimate tactic, acting no different from infinite combos found in other fighting games, such as those found in Marvel vs. Capcom 2, or even Melee's other chain grabs. As Wobbling itself requires falling into the Ice Climbers' below-average grab range, consistently being Wobbled or losing matches solely to Wobbling also reflects poor fundamental play and match-up experience. Opponents of the ban also argue that Wobbling does not compensate for the many weaknesses that the Ice Climbers have at top-level play, such as their poor aerial combat, and that all characters, Ice Climbers included, should be allowed to have as many advantages as possible to succeed. They also note that while the Ice Climbers do have other options as to punish via a grab, these techniques are extremely difficult to reliably perform. Opponents of a ban also point out that Wobbling can allow for upsets to occur in tournaments, improving character diversity at top-level play; at EVO 2013, for instance, Wobbles defeated several top-level players en route to a second-place finish, including Lord, Shroomed, PPMD, Hungrybox, and Mango.
The most recent Smash Back Room ruleset for Melee does not have a specific rule dealing with Wobbling; as such, it is generally up to the discretion of the tournament organizer to decide whether or not to ban the technique. That said, most tournaments have allowed Wobbling, as seen in the Apex and Avalon series, and some tournaments that have previously banned Wobbling, such as the Big House series, now allow the technique.
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