We’re assuming this is vanilla, because I’m a vanilla trainer.
Since Melee, the Ice Climbers have been a
complete pain in the ass unique and interesting character that has consistently been a metagame-defining threat. In Melee, their ability to “wobble” has caused (and is currently causing) entire rule changes so as to protect the fairness of the metagame. In Brawl, they were considered S tier, only being topped by Meta Knight due to their incredible 0-death chaingrabs. In Ultimate, they… exist.
The amiibo metagame may be their time to shine in Ultimate. While I have yet to truly delve into their behavior, it seems like on their surface they stand to be a wild card in most matches. This is more due to their character than their AI, more specifically the gimmick they’ve had for years.
The Ice Climbers have a lot of things going for them:
- If they’re together and an opponent attacks them, only one of them has to parry for the opponent to freeze. The small desync leaves the opponent open for the other Ice Climber to attack
- Their recovery is as good as Inkling’s, if not better. They can also recover with Squall Hammer, a move that they innately know to use for recovery.
- They can defend from above using their down air. One of Link’s biggest advantages is that on flat stages, he only needs to use his up smash to keep them above them and in an easy position to get up smashed again. Nearly every character has no way to defend below them, with the exception of Bowser and the Ice Climbers.
- Amiibo opponents may not know which Climber to attack. While killing Nana is still beneficial to them, it’s more efficient to target Popo. Nana is faster than Popo but weaker, with her knockback multiplier being about x1.05. Popo can also still land KOs on his own, as their forward smash is surprisingly powerful.
That first and last point is the one really worth looking at. A properly-trained offensive Ice Climbers would theoretically be a demon when put on defense: hit one, get hit by the other. While the Icies do get separated from time to time, moves like Belay and Squall Hammer will reconnect them if they’re within a reasonable distance from each other. I have to go back through and train them again to confirm some of this, but a lot of it has already been evidenced in my newest Youtube video. We saw their excellent recovery and formidable Sopo fighting in a few of these matches already.
I’m supposed to get Piranha Plant in the mail today, so I’ll train him next. I’d like to research the Ice Climbers in the future, but we’ll put them on hold so I can get to Piranha Plant first.