They currently rank 7th on the official tier list 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. However, if Nana is KO'd, Popo cannot use special moves correctly and is somewhat helpless during recovery.
The Ice Climbers have the unique property of being a "two in one" character, as Popo and Nana must work together very well in order to be an effective fighter. Nana can be unresponsive at times and killed at low damage when she is separated from Popo, but she can also be somewhat of a shield for some attacks. The Ice Climbers's attacks are generally fairly short-ranged. Even so, advanced players can do massive damage with the Ice Climbers due to their strong ground game. On the downside, the Ice Climbers are awkward when forced to fight in the air. The Ice Climbers's projectile, Ice Shot, is good for edgeguarding and can't be avoided by ducking because it is a ground hugging projectile. However, Popo and Nana are easily disrupted by opponents' projectiles.
The Ice Climbers have the second lowest traction when they aren't fighting on ice, where they have the highest. This makes them have a very long wavedash, but it also makes approaching difficult. The Ice Climbers have good, powerful juggling tactics, but they themselves are vulnerable to air combos and juggling due to being floaty. Their Up Special Move, Belay, travels great distance, but it can often kill Nana. The Ice Climbers can do an infinite grab known as Wobbling (which is generally tournament legal) and the freeze glitch (which is not tournament legal).
Where the Ice Climbers really shine is grabs. Although their grab range isn't impressive, they still have high-damage grab combos, including ones that can kill opponents from 0% damage. They also have some of the best chaingrabs in the game. The Ice Climbers themselves are difficult to grab because since only one can be grabbed, the one that isn't grabbed can interrupt the thrower. A professional Ice Climbers player should make the most of their grabs in order to perform well.
Note: A majority of the move summaries refer to the combined damage of the both Ice Climbers; with the partner usually dealing 1% less than the leader due to stale move negation.
Each Ice Climber performs a horizontal swipe followed by an upward swing.
Each Ice Climber does a side swing with their hammers. This attack can be aimed up or down.
0.91-1% (hits 1-6), 6.37-7%
Each Ice Climber twirls their hammer above their heads. Highly damaging when both Ice Climbers are present.
While crouching, each Ice Climber swings their hammer across the ground.
Each Ice Climber leaps forward and swings their hammers upward.
12.74%-14% (head), 9.1%-10% (handle)
Both Ice Climbers lift their hammers over their heads and smash them straight down. Deals great damage and knockback if both Ice Climbers connects
Both Ice Climbers swing their hammers in an arc above their head. An excellent move for getting KOs at higher percentages.
Both Ice Climbers spin around and sweep the ground with their hammers. Fast, but somewhat short-ranged, being a good attack for tight spacing.
Each Ice Climber twirls around in the air while extending their hammers.
9-11% (leader), 8.19-10.01% (partner)
Each Ice Climber holds their hammer up, then bring them down in a similar fashion to their forward smash. Can meteor smash if sweetspotted, which is located at the handle of their hammers.
10.92-12% (head), 10.01-11% (handle)
Both Ice Climbers turn around and swing with their hammers.
8.19-9% (clean), 6.37-7% (late)
Each Ice Climber thrusts their hammer upward. This move has a long lasting hitbox and decent range.
Each Ice Climber holds their hammer downward and falls towards the enemy. This attack has extremely low set knockback, meaning it cannot KO an opponent even at high percentages.
An Ice Climber grabs the opponent. While one Ice Climber is holding the opponent, the other one can attack the grabbed opponent, but their attacks will deals less damage than they usually do.
The grabbing Ice Climber headbutts the opponent.
6% (hit 1), 5% (throw)
The grabbing Ice Climber hits the opponent forward with their hammer.
The grabbing Ice Climber takes the opponent and flings them away with one hand.
6% (hit 1), 5% (throw)
The grabbing Ice Climber throws the opponent upwards, then hits them with their hammer.
The grabbing Ice Climber spins and slams the opponent on the ground. This throw doesn't deal much damage, but the opponent is usually knocked right in front of them, which can lead to a follow-up attack.
Floor attack (front)
Both Ice Climbers get up and spin their hammers across the ground.
Floor attack (back)
Each Ice Climber gets up and swipes their hammers on both sides.
Edge attack (fast)
6% (body), 8% (hammer)
One Ice Climber quickly climbs up and slams their hammer on the ground.
Edge attack (slow)
8% (body), 10% (hammer)
One Ice Climber slowly climbs up and thrusts their hammers forward.
Each Ice Climber fires off a block of ice that travels along the ground, bouncing off walls. When used in midair, the ice block will travel downward at a very high speed. One note is that the Ice Climbers' hammers can damage nearby enemies when hitting the ice block.
Both Ice Climbers extend their hammers and perform a multi-hitting spinning attack. It can also be used as a recovery move by mashing the B button while airborne, which will make them rise in the air. It gains more distance if both Ice Climbers are present.
The leading Ice Climber throws the partner in the air with a rope, who then pulls the leader upwards, covering great vertical distance. Both Ice Climbers will become helpless after using the move. If only one Ice Climber is present, the move gives little-to-no distance.
Each Ice Climbers blows icy wind from their hand, damaging nearby opponents. When this move is used on the ground, the partner will shoot in the direction opposite of the leader. This move can also freeze opponents if their damage is high enough.
Desynching is a technique that involves separating the two Climbers' animations and controlling them individually, allowing them to do different techniques at the same time.
In addition to the normal trophy about the Ice Climbers as a character, there are two trophies about them as a fighter, unlocked by completing the Adventure and All-Star modes respectively with the Ice Climbers on any difficulty.
That's Popo in the blue and Nana in the pink. These two stars of the game Ice Climber have scaled many an ice summit in their mountaineering careers. Back in their glory days, they chased eggplants, cucumbers, and other vegetables that inexplicably fell from frosty summits where a condor reigned supreme. They're rarely seen apart.
This unique twosome fights together as a team. Your score will not be affected if the CPU-controlled character is KO'd, but a lone Ice Climber won't be able to use teamwork moves, which will make for a tough and frantic solo fight. The Ice Shot fires mini-glaciers out of their hammers, while Squall Hammer is at its strongest when Nana and Popo combine their strength.
The colors of the Ice Climbers' parkas denote who's in the lead: Nana's in pink or orange, while Popo's in green or blue. Their hairstyles are also slightly different. Belay allows them to cover great distances, but doesn't give foes the chance to target their landing. Blizzard is best used in close quarters; in the fray, Nana and Popo sometimes freeze opponents.
Changing the language to Japanese changes the Ice Climbers name to "Ice Climber", taking out the 'S' at the end of their name. This happens because in Japanese language, there are no "plural" words.
The Ice Climbers are tied with Ganondorf for the world record in the Home-Run Contest and are the only character other than Ganondorf to reach the max distance. Unlike Ganondorf, however, the Ice Climbers have to exploit the freeze glitch in order to be able to reach these distances.
The Ice Climbers are the first fighters in Super Smash Bros. history to wield a weapon besides a sword.