How will the Ice Climbers cope without their signature infinite chain grabs in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate?

Ironically, zero-to-death combos aren't enough to be the best on the tier lists

Posted by Justin 'AdaptiveTrigger' Gordon • June 28, 2018 at 9:33 a.m. PDT

The announcement that Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will feature the return of every character that has ever been playable in Super Smash Bros. history was quite the surprise. No doubt the players that mained Snake, Pokémon Trainer, Young Link, Pichu, Wolf, and Ice Climbers were especially happy for this surprise as they would finally be able to "reunite" with their favorite brawlers and melee combatants.

In the case of Ice Climbers, the duo was actually cut from Super Smash Bros. 4 as a result of the Nintendo 3DS's technical limitations. This marks the only time that a fighter that has been playable in two or more Smash Bros. entries has ever been cut.

Evidently this must've been a difficult decision for Masahiro Sakurai to make as he has compared the act of cutting fan favorite characters as being "stressful to the brink of death." Luckily, Nintendo has reported that he's been in good health during the development of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate -- it probably helps that he's limiting his schedule to 50 hours per week.

For the two Super Smash Bros. entries that Ice Climbers appeared in, Super Smash Bros. Melee and Super Smash Bros. Brawl, this duo has been in the upper part of the tiers. They were the cause of a lot of salt at high level play in both titles.

This was thanks to the fact that they had infinites revolving around their grabs and throws. If you really think about it, it actually says a lot about the fighters that ranked above them in both games considering that they had access to zero-to-death combos that were guaranteed with any grab and proper execution (as long as both Climbers were present, of course).

The Ice Climbers ranked seventh in Melee under Princess Peach, Jigglypuff, Sheik, Marth, Falco, and Fox. As for Brawl, they are considered to be the second best after Meta Knight.

Ice Climbers in tier lists image #1 Ice Climbers in tier lists image #2
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Super Smash Bros. Melee allowed the Ice Climbers to make use of a special technique called "Wobbling." After Popo grabs the opponent, Nana will assist in continuously pummeling the opponent. This cannot be escaped.

While Wobbling was impossible in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, the two Ice Climbers are capable of throwing then regrabbing the opposition as they are launched. This could be done infinitely until it was time to use Nana's smash attack for the knock out.

It's no wonder they the duo is humorously coined as the "Ice Grabbers." Their meta games for both titles revolved around grabs and throws.


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There's no doubt that the development team behind Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has taken numerous precautions in order to prevent this from happening in the future title. While the Ice Climbers moveset appears to be largely the same, these changes will completely alter their playstyle.

Introduced in Super Smash Bros. 4, characters can no longer be regrabbed after a brief period of time. This completely removes chain grabs.

It has also been reported that Nana is no longer capable of even attempting a grab (assuming Popo is the player controlled character). Only one of the Ice Climbers will be allowed to do this.

Finally, when the player controlled Ice Climber performs their throw, the other will perform a taunt. Nana won't even assist with pummeling or do anything when Popo is disabled.

For the record, I've never been an Ice Climbers player. Nor have I ever even attempted to do a Wobble in Melee or a chain grab with the duo in Brawl.

I'm not going to go full "Cyrax player" (Mortal Kombat 9 reference) and say that they "need it." There's very little justification behind stating a character needs a zero-to-death combo.

With all that said, it does seem like the Ice Climbers may have an uphill battle in front of them. Despite only needing one read per stock to win a match, they were not the absolute best fighters.

They've always been held back by having a poor neutral game. If Nana were ever knocked out, then solo Popo or "Sopo" was considered to be the worst combatant in both games.

It's not like the Rosalina and Luma situation where Luma would revive given enough time. Rosalina also didn't have her recovery completely gimped in the same way that Popo did after Nana was defeated.

Only time will tell if the two will be able to adjust to the new meta that will be Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Who knows? Maybe with the speed increase and mechanical changes, they might not even need their old tricks to succeed.

Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments section.

Sources: GameArenaCo, Super Smash Bros. YouTube channel, VideoGameBootCamp.

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