Ice Climbers may be the most unique characters in the entire Melee sandbox. Like their name suggests you control not one but two characters at the exact same time leading to an entirely different playstyle from the baseline Melee player. In this article, I’ll break down the pros, cons, and competitive viability of the Ice Climbing duo.
While it may be more difficult to control the dynamic duo, their strength ultimately lies in their numbers. The Climbers recent movement up the power rankings can be attributed to several factors which include: wobbling, de-synching, and high damage potential.
“Wobbling” is a very powerful move which involves grabbing an enemy and de-synching Popo and Nana to continuously melee the enemy. When performed correctly the opponent cannot escape and can lead to a KO.
“De-synching” is the basic act of splitting the Ice Climbers to let a player control each character individually. This is best used to escape from a grab or to maximize the potential of the Ice Climbers duality as it is hard to target two characters at once.
The Climbers have a very high potential for damage when used properly. Their ability to chain grab on the ground gives them one of the best ground games in-game complemented by a long wavedash allowing for quick approaches.
With upsides come downsides and the Ice Climbers are far from perfect. Their ground game may be top notch, but it is beset by an extremely weak aerial game due to combination of speed and laggy aerial attacks.
One of the biggest benefits of fighting with the Ice Climbers is having two characters at once. Higher tier characters such as Fox and Peach can make easy work of that advantage and having just one Climber in the game is a major disadvantage.
The Climbers are easily most vulnerable in the air and their flaws require constant attention from the player. Due to their weak recovery game, the Ice Climbers feature the most threat from quicker, more mobile air oriented players.
Even with their various flaws, the Ice Climbers only have two counters and three soft counters (negative matchups) while they are able to boast numerous even and positive matchups. The Ice Climbers gradual rise has been attributed to player Wobbles who used Ice Climbers as his main at EVO 2013 and was able to place second after defeating big names such as Mang0 and hungrybox in the leadup to the grand finals where he lost in a Mang0 rematch.
Currently pro players such as Nintendude, ChuDat, and Fly Amanita use Ice Climbers as their main character and use them to varying success.
Being ranked seventh puts Ice Climber players into a unique position. Due to relative lack of exposure, Ice Climbers have a lot of untapped potential for competitive play. With their unique dual character setup and insanely strong ground game, Ice Climbers give tournament goers a viable counter to the Fox/Falco heavy tournaments.
As always, please give Smashboards and Smash Wiki some love if you would like to see all the details on players like Ice Climbers!