Super Smash Bros. Melee/Ice Climbers

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They rank 8th on the tier list (in the B tier), highly accredited to the usage of Wobbling and Desynching and the fact that the fighter is literally "two-in-one", which helps the climbers rack up damage, combo, and KO opponents; this gives the Ice Climbers one of the best grab games in Melee. Additionally, good players can quickly rack up damage with the two, and they have good approach options on the ground, due to disjointed hitboxes and two decent projectiles. The two also have a very long and floaty wavedash, aiding their approach tremendously. The Ice Climbers, however, have a poor air game, and their floatiness causes them to be vulnerable to juggling and combos.

"A" Moves Analysis

Note: A majority of the move summaries refer to the combined damage of the two climbers; one of the climber's attack is usually 1% less than the leader's. Total damage refers if both the climber's hammers connect, and they both usually do the moves in sync.

Ground moves

  • Neutral attack- Two hammer swings in front. 1-2% first hit (usually adds up to 3%), then both Climbers do 4% on the next hit, for a total of 11% damage.
  • Dash attack- Leap and swing hammers in front. The landing has some end lag, but both climber's hits add up to an impressive 17%, for a dash attack.
  • Side tilt- A similar swinging motion in front as their Neutral Attack, only slightly slower with more knockback and damage. 7% and 8%, adds up to 15% if both Climber's hits connect.
  • Up tilt- The climbers twirl their hammers in a somewhat short-ranged by highly damaging way above themselves. Many hits, usually does around 18-21% damage if most or all hits connect.
  • Down tilt- A sluggish swing to the floor. One of the climber's less damaging moves even with both their damages combined; 4% then 5%, 9% total if both climbers connect.
Smash attacks
  • Side smash- Somewhat quickly brings their hammers up and brings them down. 14% and 12%, adds up to 26% uncharged; 19% and 17% fully, adding up to 36%. Great knockback.
  • Down smash- Swirl their hammers below them in a 360° style. Fast but somewhat short ranged, good for tight spacing. 12% and 11%, 23% total uncharged; 17% and 14% fully, adding up to 31%. Good horizontal knockback.
  • Up smash- Swings their hammer in an rapid arc over their heads. 10% and 11%, 21% total uncharged; 15% and 13%, 28% total fully charged. Excellent killer at higher damages.
Other attacks
Note: only the lead IC can use the ledge attack, because the computer IC cannot hang onto the ledge. The partner usually makes an additional jump to get back on stage, though.
  • Ledge attack- Brings him/herself up and swings his mallet in a similar way to their forward smash. 8% damage.
  • 100% ledge attack- Slowly gets up and thrusts his/her mallet forwards. 10% damage.
  • Floor attack- Gets up and spins their hammers. 6% for one IC.

Aerial attacks

  • Neutral aerial- Twirl around in the air. Short ranged, but good for air-spacing and following up with neutral aerial if predicted right. 8-15% damage.
  • Forward aerial- Hold their hammers up and bring them down in a similar fashion to their forward smash. Can spike if sweetspotted. 10% and 10%, adds up to 20%.
  • Back aerial- Turns around and swings their hammers in a similar fashion to their forward tilt. 12% and 10%, 22% total.
  • Up aerial- Thrust their hammers above them like their up tilt, only with one hitbox per climber. Both do around 8-9% each, adding up to 17%.
  • Down aerial- They hold their mallets below them and fall downwards. Can be angled, has long duration and some landing lag (though L-cancelling helps). 7-9% per climber, totaling 17% damage. This attack has extremely low set knockback and therefore cannot KO grounded opponents at any percentage.

Grabs & throws

  • Pummel- The lead climber pummel the foe for 1-2% per pummel, whereas the player has some control over the partner while pummeling. The damage adds up quickly due to desynching.
  • Forward throw- Takes the foe and swings their mallets in a Bat-like way, launching the foe forward. 11% in two indiscernible hits.
  • Up throw- Bash the foe above themselves. Powerful, though it's power costs them combo follow ups, for a throw. 11% in two hits.
  • Down throw- Takes foe and slams them harshly into the ground. Only the lead Ice Climber attacks, doing only 6% damage, though the foe is usually knocked right in front of the IC, leading into many quick combos.
  • Back throw- Takes foe and flings them behind with one hand. 7% damage.

"B" Moves List

Move Analysis


Frame Data


Desynching is an Ice Climbers technique that involves separating the two climbers' animations and controlling them individually. It is most commonly done during grabs to allow Nana to attack a captive opponent or regrab them, but the Ice Climbers can be desynched out of many attacks, allowing the player to perform an attack, move, jump, or wavedash with either Nana or Popo, whilst inputting a different command to the other Ice Climber.

Continuous desynch, as demonstrated in Two Climbers, Two Hands is a technique and strategy which involves keeping the the Climbers acting individually for extended periods of time. In addition to making the Climbers much more powerful offensively, they also become harder to approach with continuous desynch. Due to the extreme difficulty of timing and maintaining a continuous string of attacks, the in-combat potential of this approach is clearly substantial, but largely untapped.

Recently, due to the increased popularity of the Ice Climbers, desynching has quickly become a common tactic for a number of Ice Climber mains. Videos have been created solely for the purpose of demonstrating the possibilities of this technique.


Serious Advantage Match-ups

Roy, Kirby, Pichu

Advantage Match-ups

Shiek, Pikachu, Mario, DK, Y.Link, Mew2, Yoshi, G&W, Ness, Bowser

Fair Match-ups

Falco, C.Falcon, Doc, Link, Luigi, Zelda

Disadvantage Match-ups

Fox, Puff, Marth, Ganon, Samus

Serious Disadvantage Match-ups