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Ice Climbers (SSBB)

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This article is about the Ice Climbers' appearance in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. For other uses, see Ice Climbers.
Ice Climbers
Iceclimbers(white background)
IceClimbersSymbol
Universe Ice Climber
Appears in Super Smash Bros. Melee
Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Debut Ice Climber (1985)
Availability Starter
Tier S (2)

The Ice Climbers (also known as Ice Climber (アイス クライマー Aisu Kuraimā?) in the Japanese versions), the ice-climbing duo from Super Smash Bros. Melee, make a return in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. They have been given a significant texture boost to their character models. Although Popo and Nana fight as a duo, only one is directly controlled by the player. The other is computer-controlled, in a manner mimicking the player. In Melee, the player had the option to change the color of the costume and play as Nana, and the option still exists in Brawl, however the Climbers' positions on the character select screen portrait will not change.

They currently rank 2nd on the official tier list (the highest among veterans available at the start) thanks to their amazing camping game, solid aerial and ground game, but primarily due to their extensive and intricate grab game that can completely shut down opponents once it begins. Professional Ice Climbers players are known to chain grab opponents from 0% to a KO inescapably. However, if Nana is KO'd, Popo cannot use special moves correctly and is somewhat helpless during recovery.

Attributes

The Ice Climbers are midweight characters that have the unique property of being a "two in one" character, wherein the game considers each Climber to be a unique character in its own right. The follower is always slightly weaker than the leader, but only the follower can meteor smash with his/her forward aerial. The Ice Climbers are able to grab two different items and are even able to grab two separate characters. In addition, their unique property also makes them much harder to grab (when one Ice Climber gets grabbed, the partner can simply counterattack, making them immune to chain-grabs), and conversely allows them to have a superior grab game entirely unique to them (see "chain-grabbing and desynching" below). However, they can easily be separated by strong enough attacks. In this scenario, it is advisable to stick to and protect the partner, even if it puts the player in additional danger. Should the CPU Climber get KO'd during the stock, the remaining Climber will have drastically reduced damage output, KO ability, and recovery, with Belay becoming practically useless and Squall Hammer loses a good deal of distance (whereas with both Climbers they are excellent recovery moves).

The Ice Climbers are great at dealing damage when together, have decent attack speed, and possess a few interesting attacks in their arsenal. Their standard special move, Ice Shot, is a projectile fired by each Ice Climber which slides along the ground, making it impossible to avoid by crouching/crawling. Blizzard, the down special, can freeze opponents and even cover both sides if the partner is present, or alternatively can be made to cover one side if performed while jumping with the partner, giving the attack more power. Squall Hammer is a pretty decent approach attack with good damage and speed, spinning the Ice Climbers around each other in a forward-moving hammer attack. If a player is feeling adventurous, the Belay special is a powerful KO move should the second Climber connects with the opponent, but it is generally an ill-advised use of the move given that it separates the Climbers and puts them into a helpless animation. A creative little addition to their character is that the Ice Climbers are not affected by the conditions of slippery surfaces such as ice, and they won't slide on it. This is due to the fact that they are wearing cleats. Oddly, their cleats do not affect their traction on normal surfaces, as it's second-lowest in the game (Luigi has the lowest).

The Ice Climbers aren't very good at using their standard arsenal of attacks for continuous hits, normally speaking. With weak throws, small hammers, and slow movement in general (slow falling, air, and dash speed), the Ice Climbers can usually only manage one or two good hits in close before they need to resort to Ice Shots or Blizzard again. With both Climbers present, KOing generally isn't too much of a problem, although their Smashes are generally better at racking up the damage than at KOing. With all this in mind, they wouldn't seem like the best character choice, if it weren't for the following...

Chaingrabbing and Desynching

Many would consider the Ice Climbers to be "the King and Queen of all Chain Grabs" due to the fact that their two-in-one property allows a variety of chain-grab options. For example, the lead Ice Climber can grab onto one opponent and use the forward throw. In the middle of the throw animation, the player can gain control of the CPU Climber, commanding him/her into performing a forward-air spike, or grabbing again with the CPU Climber while once again bringing the original, player-controlled Climber in for a new grab. Such strings create long and extremely damaging chain grabs capable of being performed at nearly any percent, on nearly any stage. A down side is that the ice climbers don't have a very good grab range and because of how much they slide it's almost impossible to grab an opponent when they hit your shield unless you powershield his or her attack.

For further two-in-one hi jinks, it is even possible to "desync" the CPU partner by confusing it with erratic movement (such as dash-dancing), putting the player in control of both Climbers for as long as they are capable of maintaining it. Once the partner is desynced, the player can have it perform any move while the main Climber is in the middle of one, providing for all sorts of possible attack strategies that can be exceedingly difficult for opponents to escape from (alternating Blizzard, alternating Ice Shot). While desynced, the partner Climber has restrained movement within an invisible box around the main Climber; should he/she be separated or removed from this box, the CPU will take over again. This invisible box makes it so that if you desync yourself from the AI so that it charges a smash attack and you start walking or running away, the AI will slide in your direction while charging the smash. A unique thing that you can do when desynced is that if you desync the AI to charge a smash attack, your belay will cancel the AI's charging sequence and teleport it into the belaying sequence.

It should be obvious that such techniques are almost impossible to perform in combat, regardless of the player's skill, due to the constant string of precise commands required for the Climbers to move/attack as intended. This level of obscene difficulty is what has prevented any seemingly-unfair IC techniques (outside of wobbling in Melee) from seeing competitive bans, especially given that very few professional players maintain or even use them at tournaments. This lack of appearance has made their tier ranking, and whether or not it should be higher, questionable for the time being. Nevertheless, these techniques are the backbone of playing a good pair of Ice Climber; without them, they aren't particularly great, so it's essential for players who plan on using the Ice Climbers to master them as they are not worthy of their tier placement without these.

Changes from Melee to Brawl

The Ice Climbers have been buffed from SSBM to SSBB. Both Ice Climbers can grab on to a ledge at the same time, and Belay can be a Tether Recovery if the partner grabs a ledge first, then the leader reaches up to the ledge. The Ice Climbers' have more attack power for their special moves (Blizzard is especially buffed if the Ice Climbers are next to the opponent), but they have less smash attack power for KOing. The Ice Climbers can become separated easier when attacked, but they are a bit stronger by themselves. The partner can now squall hammer and belay alone, and a lone Ice Climber's Belay gives some slight distance. If the partner hits another character while executing Belay, the move is still completed. The partner AI is significantly advanced (near level 9) so (s)he does not die as easily. The Freeze glitch no longer works, but their back throw can now infinitely hobble.

The Ice Climbers also had some purely cosmetic changes. Their orange costume was removed. With their blue costume, they can look almost exactly the same (one Ice Climber's parka has just a small shade difference). The white one is almost the same, but the gloves are different colors. Lastly, squall hammer now sends off flakes of ice if both Ice Climbers are present.

Moveset

This assumes the player is using a costume that doesn't switch Popo and Nana.

Ground Attacks

Normal
  • Standard Attack - Popo/Nana/the climbers swings his/her/their hammer(s) in front of himself/herself/themselves. Popo, first hit 3%, second hit 4%. Nana, 2% both hits. Total, 2%-11%.
  • Dash Attack - Popo/Nana/the climbers do/does a short jump and swing his/her/their hammer(s) in front of himself/herself/themselves. Popo, 6%. Nana, 4%. Total, 4%-11%.
  • Strong Side - Similar to neutral, but with one hand. Popo, 7%. Nana, 9%. Total, 7%-16%.
  • Strong Up - Popo/Nana/the climbers spin(s) his/her/their hammer(s) over his/her/their head(s), dealing multiple hits. Popo, 6 hits of 3%, then 4%. Nana, 4 hits of 1%, then 3%. Total, 1%-17%.
  • Strong Down - Popo/Nana/the climbers crouch(es) and sweep(s) his/her/their hammer(s) on the ground in front of him/her/them. Popo, 6%. Nana, 2%-5%. Total, 6%-11%.
Smash
  • Side Smash - Lift hammers over head, then smash straight down. It looks similar to how they attack in their own game. Leader, 11%-13% uncharged, 16%-18% fully charged. Partner, 9%-10% uncharged, 13%-14% fully charged. Total, 9%-23% uncharged, 13%-32% fully charged
  • Up Smash - Swing hammers upwards. Leader, 11% uncharged, 15% fully charged. Partner, 9% uncharged, 13% fully charged. Total, 9%-20% uncharged, 13%-28% fully charged.
  • Down Smash - Sweep hammers on the ground all the way around themselves. Because the back swipes' hitboxes extend a bit in front of the climbers and the back and forward swipes are two separate hits, this attack inflicts huge damage if the target is at close range and both climbers are present, making it ideal for Home-run Contest. This is the second most damaging d-smash in the game if both Ice Climbers hit, following Lucas who has the most damaging d-smash. Leader, 12% uncharged, 16% fully charged (-2% if facing opponent at close range). Partner, 8% uncharged, 12% fully charged (strangely, +1% to the back swipe). Total, 8%-41% uncharged, 11%-56% fully charged.
Other
  • Ledge Attack - Climbs up ledge and swings hammer(s) over their heads. 8% each hit.
  • 100% ledge attack- Slowly gets up and swings their hammer low to the ground. 10% each.
  • Floor Attack - Popo/Nana/they quickly get(s) up and hammer in both directions. This is surprisingly similar to their Down Smash, in that the back swipes' hitboxes extend a bit in front of them, and the back and forward swipes are two separate hits, making it shockingly powerful at close range (assuming both climbers fell and are in the same position). 6% each hit. Total, 6%-24%.
  • Trip Attack - Popo/Nana/they quickly get(s) up and spin(s) around with his/her/their hammer(s) extended. This is surprisingly similar to their Down Smash, in that the back swipes' hitboxes extend a bit in front of them, and the back and forward swipes are two separate hits, making it shockingly powerful at close range (assuming both climbers tripped and are in the same position). 5% each hit. Total, 5%-20%.

Aerial Attacks

  • Neutral Aerial - The Ice Climbers swing in a circle with hammers outstretched. Leader, 7%. Partner, 5%. Total, 5%-12%.
  • Forward Aerial - The Ice Climbers lift their hammers over head then swing forward, like their side smash. If the partner hits (regardless whether Nana or Popo is the partner), the attack will be a meteor smash if sweet-spotted (the sweet-spot is in timing, not area). Leader, 12%. Partner, 7% or 12% if sweet-spotted. Total, 7%-24%.
  • Back Aerial - Swing hammers behind themselves. Leader, 11%. Partner, 8%. Total, 8%-19%.
  • Up Aerial - Stick hammers above their head. Leader, 10% when it first comes out, 7% during the rest of the attack. Partner, 7% when it first comes out, 5% during the rest of the attack. Total, 5%-17%.
  • Down Aerial - A Stall-Then-Fall. Accelerate fall with hammers below themselves. Stall almost unnoticeable. Leader, 8%. Partner, 5%. Total, 5%-13%.

Grabs & Throws

  • Pummel - Headbutt. 1% per hit.
  • Forward Throw - Hit with hammer. If you walk slightly forward with the partner climber (see below) before using, he/she can grab the enemy again RIGHT after you use the attack, making this a chain grab. If used near the edge and combined with your partner using a short hop then Forward Air, it can kill at 50%. 8%.
  • Back Throw - Spin around and hit with hammer. The player can use the other Ice Climber to turn around and re-grab the enemy much in the fashion of the chain grab with the Forward Throw. This does not cause movement of the Ice Climbers like the latter chain grab as the enemy is thrown back and forth between the Ice Climbers. 6%.
  • Up Throw - Throw upwards then smash with hammer. 6%. Can K.O. at 469%. (Probably never going to take that long to K.O.)
  • Down Throw - Spike on ground. Is another chain grab, but you don't need both climbers to execute this one. With both climbers present the other Climber can quickly grab the enemy as they bounce off the ground which will last as long as the player can manage unlike the other chain grab with Down Throw which breaks after certain percents. 6%.

The Ice Climbers have many infinite chain grabs with their Forward Throw, Back Throw and Down Throw however these do not receive the attention of other infinite techniques due to the high difficulty of using them and the different timing required for every character and percent per character.

If the controls have been customized, it is possible for the Climbers to use a forward smash twice, making a "smash throw" gimp kill possible.

One unique thing about the Ice Climbers is that while one Ice Climber grabs the opponent, the other can use any move in their entire moveset to attack. And if the partner grabs the opponent and the leader's shield is broken during the grab, the partner is actually played as the leader recovers, though walking distance is limited.

Special Moves

Taunts

  • Up: They set down their hammers and jump up and down. In the Ice Climber NES game, this is the victory celebration of the Ice Climbers during the results screen (albeit without the flag). They also do the same when they reach the mountain top in Subspace Emissary.
  • Side: They will point their hammers diagonally upward shout "Yup!", as wind blows behind them (same as in Melee, only with different sound effects).
  • Down: They dance in a circle.

On-screen appearance

  • The Condor flies in with them hanging off its feet, then they jump off.

In competitive play

Super Smash Bros. Brawl Character Matchups
 MetaKnightHeadSnakeHeadDiddyHeadFalcoHeadIceClimbersHeadMarthHeadWarioHeadDededeHeadPikachuHeadOlimarHeadLucarioHeadGWHeadPitHeadToonLinkHeadZSSHeadKirbyHeadROBHeadDKHeadPeachHeadFoxHeadLuigiHeadWolfHeadSheikHeadPTHeadSquirtleHeadIvysaurHeadCharizardHeadSonicHeadNessHeadBowserHeadLucasHeadIkeHeadYoshiHeadMarioHeadCFalconHeadSamusHeadJigglypuffHeadZeldaHeadLinkHeadGanondorfHeadAvg. 
IceClimbersHeadMatchup40Matchup30Matchup45MatchupUnknownMatchupMirrorMatchup55Matchup40MatchupUnknownMatchupUnknownMatchup60MatchupUnknownMatchupUnknownMatchupUnknownMatchupUnknownMatchupUnknownMatchupUnknownMatchupUnknownMatchup60MatchupUnknownMatchupUnknownMatchupUnknownMatchupUnknownMatchup70MatchupUnknownMatchupUnknownMatchupUnknownMatchupUnknownMatchupUnknownMatchupUnknownMatchupUnknownMatchupUnknownMatchupUnknownMatchupUnknownMatchupUnknownMatchup80Matchup50Matchup65Matchup45Matchup45Matchup95Matchup55IceClimbersHead

Event Matches

Role In the Subspace Emissary

Subspace iceclimbers

Ice Climbers in the Subspace Emissary.

The Ice Climbers were first seen climbing up a mountain together, possibly in pursuit of the Halberd or they were just climbing, seeing as how they are climbers. When Meta Knight passed them going up the mountain, the Ice Climbers took it as a challenge and jumped up the mountain with Meta Knight. Once they reached the top, the Ice Climbers celebrated with their "victory" for getting up the mountain first, until they and Meta Knight found Lucario, who was looking for a fight with Meta Knight, so the Ice Climbers watch from the side nervously. After the fight, the Halberd crashes the Great Fox into the mountain. Although Meta Knight and Lucario managed to board the Halberd, the Ice Climbers (ironically) are thrown back to the ground towards Marth, Lucas, the Pokémon Trainer, and Ike. After facing some more Subspace Army troopers, the Ice Climbers teamed up with the other heroes as they journeyed into Subspace, only to be turned into trophies. They are later saved by Kirby, and all then go battle Tabuu, eventually defeating him.

Trophy description

RSBE01-337

The Ice Climbers Trophy

The one in blue is Popo, and the one in pink is Nana. They use their incredible jumping powers and hammers to break blocks and climb to the summit. They grab veggies, and if they can catch the condor at the end, they conquer the mountain. Other than breaking blocks, their hammers are good for sending foes flying, climbing down from blocks, and destroying icicles.
  • Ice Climber (Nintendo)

Costume Gallery

Alt-iceclimbers2

The Ice Climbers' palette swap in Brawl.

Cheers

  • A female voice says "Nana!", then a male voice says "Popo!" (when using Popo)
  • The rules menu cursor sound plays (when using Nana)

Trivia

  • Along with Pokémon Trainer, Diddy Kong, and Jigglypuff, the Ice Climbers are one of the only characters to have a unique "Defeated/No Contest" pose different from the traditional hand clapping, with their head down while rubbing their eyes, making it seem as if they are crying. This pose is a reference to the one they make in Ice Climber after failing in a bonus level.
  • In Stamina mode, it is possible for the partner to die before the leader. Regardless of whether this happens or not, the partner will lay on the ground motionless, but not blink red.
  • The partner can disappear during some Final Smashes if the leader is KO'd, leaving the opponent attacking nothing. Some examples are Ike's, Meta Knight's and, Link's, as seen here.
  • Both Ice Climbers must win a microgame in the WarioWare, Inc. stage to be rewarded.
  • The Ice Climbers are one of the only 2 characters (the other being King Dedede) that almost entirely depend on a weapon that isn't a sword (they use hammers).
  • Certain Final Smashes (especially trapping ones) can cause the trailing Ice Climber's special effects to be slowed down under the effect of a Timer (Nana's stays even after the Timer is done).
  • Sometimes, the CPU Popo will taunt when Nana is KO'd, regardless of the status of the rest of the fighters. The reverse can occur, but is rare as Nana will disappear shortly after the KO.
  • Popo and Nana's names both mean "grandmother" in two different languages (despite Popo being a male). Popo means "grandmother" in Chinese and Nana means it in Spanish.
  • The Ice Climbers may be the youngest characters in Brawl. Like the Pokémon Trainer, their exact age is not specified, as Toon Link is the only child whose age is known (12 years old). It is certain however, that they are children, due to their childish voices and appearance.

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