No amiibo in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has to rose to glory quite like the Ice Climbers have. When their figurine was first released in February 2019, the Ice Climbers were awful. Their AI was relatively primitive and would self-destruct over and over and over again (since the leading climber would be launched off-stage, use an up special before the partner caught up, and then die). Thankfully, the game’s developers heard our desperate pleas and enhanced the Ice Climbers’ AI via a game update. Now the Ice Climbers have climbed up from bottom-tier to mid-tier, which is a really impressive improvement! if you’d like to learn more about the Ice Climbers’ metagame progression, you can find all of that information on their wiki page. If not, then let’s jump into today’s training routines!
Please note that this particular training guide targets the amiibo-versus-amiibo format. If you’d like to learn how to train a Raid Boss Ice Climbers amiibo (amiibo-versus-human), feel free to check out our corresponding guide instead.
There aren’t many competitive tournaments out there that allow Spirits, but we’ve got a section here anyway just in case you’re looking to enter one. If you’re new to amiibo training, but chose to jump into the competitive version of our Ice Climbers training guide first, then we recommend you read our in-depth guide on how Spirits work in this game.
Keep in mind that Spirit effects only apply to the leading climber (but Spirit stats apply to both). With this in mind, the Ice Climbers’ strongest setup is Armor Knight and Trade-Off Ability ↑. With this build, the leading climber will hit harder and take less damage at the cost of slightly reduced movement speed. This speed penalty will make it easier for the partner to catch up. Unfortunately, Armor Knight is banned from most tournaments, so if you want to enter one that doesn’t allow Armor Knight, try using Weapon Attack ↑, Toss & Meteor, and Hyper Smash Attacks. As always, stats should be balanced between attack and defense and the FP’s Spirit type should be Neutral.
As always, you’re going to want to mirror match your Ice Climbers until it reaches Level 50. In terms of movement, the Ice Climbers can employ both walking and running, though walking is a slightly stronger option (since it gives the Ice Climbers faster access to shielding and spot dodging). Off-stage play should be avoided at all costs; simply using Ice Shot repeatedly at the edge will yield far greater results. Here’s a full list of moves to use against your FP during mirror matches, in descending order of priority:
- Forward smash: Arguably the Ice’ Climbers strongest tool against AI opponents. It deals lots of damage and can kill fairly early, especially when used close to the edge of the stage. Place heavy emphasis on forward smashes!
- Up tilt: When your FP is in the air, catch its landing with an up tilt and then juggle it with repeated up airs.
- Up aerial: On that note, feel free to use full-hopped up airs if your FP is launched that high. Up air can kill at high percentages, too!
- Dash attack: A fast moving hammer attack. A solid burst option, and it can be used to combo into an up air!
- Ice Shot: When your FP is launched off-stage, run up to the ledge and shoot repeated Ice Shots at it! Ice Shot should also be used on-stage from a distance. The projectile moves along the ground, forcing the opponent to block or jump over it. Ice Shot is a really important move, so be sure to attack with it often!
- Up smash: It’s basically forward smash, but aimed at the sky. It deals less damage than forward smash, but is great for catching landings!
- Forward tilt: A great “get-off-me” move. The Ice Climbers tend to catch rolls with this move, and they do that rather well. Forward tilt also launches its victims at a horizontal angle. When used at the edge, that angle might make recovery difficult for characters like Little Mac and Dr. Mario.
- Down smash: This move covers both sides as long as both climbers are present. It can intercept an opponent’s roll, too! Down smash launches opponents upwards, so it can be used to set up more up air juggling strings.
- Down tilt: It’s quite similar to forward tilt, but it launches enemies at a lower angle, which makes recovery even more difficult for opponents who are hit by this move at the edge.
- Blizzard: It’s rather slow, but boasts incredible shield-shattering power. Despite its low speed, Blizzard is a low-risk, high-reward move. Use it somewhat often during training!
- Back aerial: This move can be used every so often after an up tilt, but up airs are generally better damage-rackers.
- Neutral aerial: Only use this move to secure a landing. Don’t use it out of a short hop, either! The Ice Climbers’ AI can get a bit spammy with its neutral aerial, so keep your usage of this move low.
- Forward aerial: It’s super risky, especially off-stage (so don’t go off-stage to use this move). Use forward air as an infrequent landing option.
- Squall Hammer: A decent move, but you should only use it occasionally, and then follow it up with an up air. Do not mash while using Squall Hammer, as the FP will learn to mash the move, which will cause it to gain vertical height even when used on the ground. This tendency, in turn, makes the Ice Climbers’ AI prone to self-destructing when using Squall Hammer by the edge.
There’s two moves you should never use when training the Ice Climbers. First up is down air. It’s rather weak, and if the Ice Climbers use it too close to the ground, they’ll suffer a large landing lag penalty. The other move to avoid is the Ice Climbers’ up special, Belay. Only use it to recover, and never as an attack! As a final note, if you’re new to competitive amiibo training and want to learn more about it, be sure to read our introduction guide tailored for new trainers!
The Ice Climbers have enjoyed one of the largest AI buffs we’ve ever seen. Even so, they’ve still got weaknesses, but they have significantly improved over time. And that’s all thanks to our community – spending time training the characters, writing about their flaws, representing them in tournaments – that all added up to a fantastic patch that made these characters viable! If you have any further questions after reading this guide, you’re welcome to ask them on our Discord server. Thanks so much for reading! Best of luck during training!
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