In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, the Ice Climbers are 2 people - Popo, the blue one the player controls, and Nana, the pink one controlled by the AI.

Nana will usually follow Popo, but sometimes gets stuck. This isn't very helpful when you're fighting two or three other people, as you can't escape to get Nana unstuck.

I thought I saw myself controlling Nana at one point while using the white color scheme (both have white parkas and colored gloves), but I'm not sure if that was something I did or just the color scheme.

Is it possible to control Nana, so I can unstick her or use her for a quick getaway?

  • Pretty sure it isn't possible to control her
    – JonK
    Dec 20, 2015 at 21:54
  • @JonK I thought I saw myself controlling her at one point, but it may have been the colors I was using. Dec 20, 2015 at 23:03
  • I don't think it's possible to control her properly and continuously, but I did find this
    – MC ΔT
    Dec 21, 2015 at 3:01

2 Answers 2


There is no way to directly control the secondary Ice Climber, although some of the alternate costumes will feature Nana as the lead Ice Climber, including the white costume that you mentioned. Popo will always appear to be the lead in the character portrait, but Nana is actually the lead for every other costume (shown second, fourth, and sixth below):

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As the Ice Climbers character, the player controls only the lead Ice Climber, while the secondary Ice Climber mimics the lead. It is possible to grab a different item with each Ice Climber, and possible to de-sync the two Ice Climbers in order to chain attacks or grabs together in rapid succession.

The best way to get the secondary Ice Climber unstuck is to reunite the two of them so that they can move together again.

  • So to unstick, I should just head in the direction of the secondary Ice Climber? Dec 22, 2015 at 2:43
  • 1
    @ASCIIThenANSI Yes. The AI should be able to get the secondary Ice Climber unstuck, but if that isn't working or is too slow, then you should move the lead to the secondary since the secondary will copy the lead's movements when they're together.
    – Brian
    Dec 22, 2015 at 17:09

While the above answer is correct, for the curious here's a more technical answer on how to control the secondary Climber:

Assuming that Popo is the lead and you want to control Nana. You control Popo as you would a normal character, and when close to him, Nana performs moves with a roughly 1/10th of a second delay, as if the input was issued a bit late to her. Generally speaking, whenever Nana is not within close range, her AI kicks in and does actions in a fairly predictable manner.

When you are preoccupied by an action and press a button, the input is buffered. If that action ends within ten frames (1/6th of a second), the buffered input is executed and you will perform the action specified by it without delay. Due to the timing difference between the two Climbers, it is possible to buffer a move in a way that only Popo will execute it, allowing you to de-sync the Climbers' movements and do completely different actions with them. This can be utilized to essentially control them separately as long as they are close to each other.

It can sometimes happen by accident, and you might for example see only Nana perform a special move, even though normally both Climbers would do it. However, it is fairly uncommon and any prolonged de-sync between their actions require deliberate and accurate movement.

However, there are some situations where you are able to control Nana separately from Popo. Most notably, when Popo is grabbed or holding the opponent, and Nana is within range, it is possible to issue commands to her without Popo being able to move. This could lead to an illusion that you are controlling Nana directly. Similarly, grabbing a ledge renders Popo unable to move for a moment, while Nana can still do actions if she is close enough and not grabbing the ledge herself.

Additionally, there is a very short period of time after Popo losing a stock where Nana can be controlled at will, regardless of distance. You can see an example of the behavior in this video, where the Ice Climbers player was able to use forward air as Nana on command after Popo had died. Note that Nana's AI will never try to use forward air while off-stage and close to the ledge.

There are also some very specific situations where Nana can be controlled directly, but they are difficult to pull off even deliberately, are extremely rare in top-level competetive play and most likely never come up in casual games. The situations described here do happen often though, and a good understanding of their application is essential for competetive Ice Climbers players.

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