Once upon a time, the Ice Climbers were one of the worst Figure Players available, both as a competitive fighter and as a Raid Boss. After posting several long essays discussing the Ice Climbers and their numerous AI problems – including self-destructs at 0% and the leading climber being unaware of its partners’ existence – the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate developers updated the game and made the Ice Climbers much better. Now they’re a rather interesting Raid Boss, and one that’s well worth your time. If you’d like to learn even more about the Ice Climbers’ strengths and weaknesses before we continue, you can do so here.
Please note that this particular training guide targets the amiibo-versus-human format. If you’d like to learn how to train a competitive Ice Climbers amiibo (amiibo-versus-amiibo), feel free to check out our corresponding guide instead.
Most Raid Boss-formatted Figure Players utilize a Spirit team to make them more challenging opponents. If you don’t know this already, every time you give an FP a Spirit, its training data is shuffled. So if you’ve already trained your Ice Climbers amiibo and want to give them a Spirit, their training data will be adjusted. Regardless of whether your FP is Level 1 or Level 50, after you give it Spirits you’ll need to play some brush-up matches afterwards! For more information, be sure to read our in-depth Spirits guide. Otherwise, let’s talk about some specific Ice Climbers-friendly Spirits you could use.
Most Raid Boss amiibo utilize Super Armor and Great Autoheal. The Ice Climbers are an exception, however, as these bonuses are only applied to the leader (and not the partner climber). This means your best option is Armor Knight, which will increase the leader’s attack and defense by quite a bit (1.15x and 1.8x, respectively). You can pair Armor Knight with Trade-Off Ability ↑ for a super-strong bonus combination! This build will also make the leader slightly slower than the partner (thanks to Armor Knight’s slight speed penalty), which will give the partner more time to catch up when separated.
And if you want to use a more unique setup, there are other options available too! Weapon Attack ↑ boosts each one of the Ice Climbers’ moves (except for Belay and Blizzard) by 1.1x, making it a worthwhile investment. Toss & Meteor increases the strength of attacks that launch opponents upwards or downwards, and the climbers have several moves that fit that description (up tilt, up air, up smash, and so on). Landing Lag ↓ makes landing aerials a bit safer, as the bonus reduces its user’s landing lag by 30%. Move Speed ↑ is acceptable as well; just keep in mind that the movement boost doesn’t apply to the partner climber, so it will be more difficult for them to catch up if they’re separated. In terms of stats, anything’s fine as long as your FP’s Spirit type is Neutral (as opposed to Attack-, Shield-, or Grab-type).
If you’re new to amiibo training and are starting with the Ice Climbers, you might feel a bit intimidated. Perhaps you’ve seen some of the crazy combos top players can pull off using Popo and Nana in tandem with each other. Unfortunately, the FP can’t learn this – believe it or not, it’s unaware that the partner climber even exists – so they can’t learn to desync or perform complicated combos. In fact, the most complex combo they can learn is probably down throw into up air. Yikes. It’s not all bad, though, as the AI’s relative simplicity makes it easier to raise the Ice Climbers amiibo to its highest potential.
In short, you’ll want to mirror match your Ice Climbers amiibo until it reaches Level 50. If your FP is already Level 50, you can use the training tips below and play a few games against it to hone its skills. Remember, the leader climber is the character you’re training. The partner runs on a separate AI that can’t be trained, and the FP itself can’t “see” that it has a partner. Do what you will with this information; in the meantime, here are all of the moves you should be using during training (in descending order of priority):
- Forward tilt: This is arguably the Ice Climbers’ most important attack as a Raid Boss. Forward tilt is relatively quick and launches opponents at an awkward angle, especially if the partner’s attack connects as well. This angle can make it hard for certain characters to recover, so be sure to focus on forward tilt as a primary neutral option.
- Up tilt: One of the Ice Climbers’ main damage builders. It hits multiple times, and the AI can learn to follow up with an up air, up smash, or another up tilt, depending on the enemy’s current damage level.
- Up aerial: A fast (and surprisingly powerful) hammer swing. It can be used after an up tilt or as a general anti-air option. It can kill rather easily at high percentages. Use lots of up airs and juggle your FP to rack up damage fast!
- Blizzard: You should teach your Ice Climbers to use their down special every so often (infrequently). This move destroys opponents’ shields, which can then open up an opportunity for a shield break. If you’d like, you can even use a Shield Damage ↑ Spirit effect to increase Blizzard’s shield-shattering capabilities.
- Neutral aerial: This move is a much-needed landing option. Don’t use it for anything other than securing a landing, though.
- Forward aerial: Deals lots of damage, is safe on shield, and can even break shields. It can also be used to spike high recoveries. It’s best used out of a short hop on the edge, as going off-stage is risky. If you really want to, you can go off-stage to use a forward air, but don’t go too far out.
- Squall Hammer: It’s a great pressuring tool, but when using this move, never mash the special-move button to gain height. The FP will start mashing its side specials at the ledge, and it’ll fall right off and self-destruct! Use this move sparingly.
- Back aerial: Another strong move and a very threatening landing option. It shouldn’t be prioritized over forward tilt and up tilt, but should still be somewhere in your FP’s arsenal.
As mentioned earlier, you should make a point to stay on-stage as often as possible. If the leading climber is launched away, it might not wait for its partner before using an up special, which would result in a self-destruct. Forward airs are risky, but if you’re comfortable with taking that risk, that’s fine. Otherwise, there’s just two moves to specifically avoid: down air and Belay. The former doesn’t deal much damage and leaves the Ice Climbers vulnerable if missed, and the latter should only be used to recover and not to attack.
The Ice Climbers’ optimal playstyle in the competitive amiibo metagame is slightly different. When training an Ice Climbers amiibo to fight AI opponents, trainers generally place a higher emphasis on smash attacks and neutral special spam (yes, you read that right). If you’d prefer to train your FP for online tournaments, you’re welcome to check out our competitive Ice Climbers training guide right here instead.
Thanks so much for reading until the end! The Ice Climbers amiibo is a tad disappointing, as it can’t perform any complicated combos or setups. As far as Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Figure Players go, here’s an important rule of thumb: human players will always be more threatening opponents. Even so, training a strong Ice Climbers Raid Boss is totally doable, and we hope you found this guide helpful. If you have any additional questions, you’re always welcome to join our Discord server! Until next time, happy training!
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