A complete summary of the Ice Climbers’ performance in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate can be found on the character’s information page. It includes strengths and weaknesses, AI quirks, and an archive of tournament representation and results.
Stats & Spirit Effects
There are two main options for the Ice Climbers: a balanced setup (2100 / 2100) or a more defensive one (0 / 4200). Investing heavily into Popo’s defense will help prevent him from getting knocked off-stage, which works wonders for his longevity.
The current leading setup for Ice Climbers is Armor Knight and Weapon Attack ↑. Armor Knight increases Popo’s attack and defense stats while lowering his speed; this actually allows Nana to catch up more easily when Popo is knocked away. Hence its name, Weapon Attack ↑ increases the power of the Ice Climbers’ weapon attacks.
An amiibo becomes strongest if it is mirror matched all the way to Level 50 with its Learn button switched on. Playing a best-of-five match (configurable via the rules menu) will cause it to level up much faster.
The Ice Climbers benefit most from a rush-down playstyle that overwhelms opponents with consecutive attacks. In general, the Ice Climbers want to be below their opponent at all times so they can punish with an up smash (which is generally their best kill move). This entails relying on up throws and up aerials to keep enemies in the air. Here is a full breakdown of the Ice Climbers’ moveset and how each attack should be prioritized during training:
- Neutral attack: A two-hit jab. It should be used rather often as a neutral option, as it is one of the Ice Climbers’ fastest moves.
- Forward tilt: A horizontal hammer sweep with decent range. Most effective when used frequently against nearby opponents.
- Up tilt: Situational at best, but can lead into an up aerial or another up tilt. Use it infrequently during training.
- Down tilt: A grounded attack that covers a small area. A short hop neutral aerial can link into a down tilt at lower percentages, which is a nice combo to teach.
- Dash attack: A forward leap that serves as a surprisingly useful disruption. Its launch angle can combo into an aerial move at lower percentages.
- Forward smash: A powerful overhead swing. Serves as a reliable kill move that can catch opponents out of direction air dodges. Its range is rather short, making it a risky move. Use it decisively as a secondary kill move.
- Up smash: An upward swing. Powerful and can punish an aerial opponent. A strong kill move that should be prioritized during training.
- Down smash (Hammer Sweep): Each Ice Climber will sweep their hammer across the ground in a different direction. If Nana has been KO’d, the attack will only strike on one side. Try using it to punish rolls or cover getup options.
- Neutral aerial: A quick aerial spin with weak knockback. It can combo into a down tilt, and is otherwise a solid neutral option to use out of a short hop.
- Forward aerial (Hammer Slam): A spinning slam. If Nana’s hammer connects with the opponent, it will result in a powerful meteor smash. Down throw can combo into a forward aerial, which is a solid finisher. Other than that, forward aerial is a great KO move on its own and should be prioritized. Don’t go off-stage to land it and be wary of its high startup.
- Back aerial: A fast backwards hammer strike. It can be used after an up tilt depending on the angle the opponent is launched. Can also be used out of a short hop to great effect.
- Up aerial: Another one of the Ice Climbers’ best moves. If both Popo and Nana successfully land the attack, it can KO rather early. If the opponent is above you, go for an up aerial.
- Down aerial: A stall-then-fall that descends relatively slowly and deals decent damage. The move really does not accomplish much, so it is best to avoid it during training.
- Forward throw: A rather weak throw that doesn’t have many follow-ups. It can be used in a pinch to rack up damage.
- Back throw: Another weak throw. It is difficult to grab the amiibo during training due to the presence of two Popos and two Nanas (since mirror matches should be played while leveling).
- Up throw: The Ice Climbers’ most useful throw and one of the only throws you should be using. Grab as often as you can, use up throw, and then follow up with up aerials and up smashes.
- Down throw: Combos into a forward or up aerial at low to medium percentages. Definitely a throw to focus on, as its forward aerial follow-up can end stocks early.
- Ice Shot: The Ice Climbers send two small ice projectiles along the ground. Its only use is to gimp off-stage opponents. Firing Ice Shot off-stage is the best technique to use when the amiibo is off-stage.
- Squall Hammer: Avoid Squall Hammer at all costs, as the Ice Climbers tend to use it too close to a ledge and self-destruct.
- Belay: For recovery purposes only. There is no reason to use it as an attack. Can be used at the edge to reunite separated climbers.
- Blizzard: It can freeze opponents, but only at point blank. At maximum range, the attack deals abysmal damage and almost no knockback. Might be okay to use it every once in a blue moon, but is not at all an essential move.
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