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Discussion in 'Ice Climbers' started by Fly_Amanita, Jan 18, 2012.

  1. Fly_Amanita

    Fly_Amanita
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    Master of Caribou

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2007
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    Location:
    Claremont, CA

    Introduction

    The ICs are extremely different from most other characters in many respects. Experienced players looking to pick them up may hence have a hard time getting a sense of how to play them; newer players will be less affected by these differences, yet they have the disadvantage of needing to learn much nonetheless.

    This guide does not seek to give general advice about improving as a player (improving execution, becoming more adaptive, etc.) and it does not seek to list a huge amount of situational data. Rather, it aims to to give the reader a very general sense of how ICs function so that they are well-suited to deduce such information on their own. That said, there is still a good deal of useful, basic information that will be plainly presented, and a few things that will be discussed won't be ICs-specific.

    This guide is divided into eight main topics. There is inevitably some overlap between them, but I attempted to keep any repetition to a minimum. At the end is a "situations and options" section. For each of the first eight sections, this lists one to three relevant in-game situations and later discusses a few possible options you have there. View these as an opportunity to see how well you are able to apply what you've learned about the character. I also make no claims that the options I present are the only or best ones, but merely ones that appeal to me and are at the very least reasonable.

    Expectations of the Reader


    I assume the reader is familiar with and proficient at all of the basic techniques that any competitive player should be well-acquainted with. I direct those of you who already know you aren't familiar with these or are confused by any terminology I use to the everything thread.

    I also assume the reader is at least marginally familiar with the ICs' moveset and physics.


    Table of Contents

    I. Nana
    II. Motion
    III. Stage control and zoning
    IV. Confrontation
    V. Punishment
    VI. Desynching
    VII. Recovery
    VIII: Edgeguarding
    IX: Situations and Options

    ----------------------------------

    I. Nana

    The biggest factor that sets ICs apart from the rest of the cast is Nana, Popo's occasionally AI-controlled accomplice. Her mind is a strange and confusing place, but understanding it is crucial to success with ICs. This section provides some basic properties of her AI and other quirks that are good to be aware of, and also gives some advice on keeping her safe.

    When Nana is very close to you, her AI is not in effect; you can experiment around with various desynchs listed in section VI. to get a sense of precisely how far Nana can be for her to still be under your command. When near, she simply responds to the same inputs you give to Popo, although her actions are delayed by 6 frames. When far, her AI kicks in. Most of the time, her top priority will be to get back to you. Getting back in sync should often be your top priority as well, since she does a very poor job at fending for herself: she doesn't attack often, she has terrible DI, and she recovers very poorly. To elaborate on the last part of that list, she is unable to side-B or up-B on her own and she won't airdodge, so her sole recovery option is to double jump, which she always does predictably and she never protects herself with a move in the process. Hence, many characters will be able to quickly KO her if they get her away from you, and the solo Popo (commonly called "Sopo") you will be left with is not a very threatening character.

    You thus want to keep Nana close by the vast majority of the time. Other reasons for keeping the ICs together include that ICs' strongest punishments are possible when they are together and having Nana present provides some resistance to a lot of other characters' common approaches. There are times when it is okay to briefly break this trend that will be covered in section VI.

    The Art of Protecting Nana

    As noted above, Nana does a lousy job of protecting herself. As Popo, there is a variety of things you can do to help her get back to you. The most obvious and most common option is to hit the opponent away with Popo. If your opponent is too focused on KOing Nana, this should be easy. If competent, however, your opponent will consistently keep Popo in consideration whenever in danger and will actively try to bat you away or discourage you from rushing in. In this case, simply being near the opponent can provide some assistance to Nana, since your presence will make the enemy more cautious about what s/he does to Nana. However, it is still unlikely that Nana will make it back to you completely unaided, so you will usually want to do /something/ eventually. When choosing how to approach, it's good to keep in mind that your top priority is not to give your enemy the beating of a lifetime, but merely to deter him/her; hence, instead of prioritizing approach options that will have heavy payoffs, priotize options that will simply knock the opponent away. Good examples of this include fsmash, ftilt, and bair, although other more peculiar options are occassionally good, such as blizzard, which can be decent since it's easy to land and will generally stun the opponent for a while. Approaching in general will be covered more thoroughly in section IV.

    It is worth noting that sometimes you will be able to land a decent combo with Sopo when Nana is away, and going for this can sometimes be a good idea even if it delays your reunion with Nana. Whether it's worth it ultimately depends on whether you can get safely back in sync before the opponent is no longer incapacitated.

    An odd tool for saving Nana in certain circumstances is to simply teleport her out of danger. Provided that she's in a state in which she is able to do the synced version of up-B or side-B (for example, if she is standing, walking, or running, or if she is airborne and not in tumble or doing a move), doing either of those moves with Popo while sufficiently close to Nana will cause her to appear where Popo is. Up-B can save Nana from a farther distance than side-B can and it also provides some invulnerability frames for her whereas side-B does not, yet up-B takes much longer than side-B and still leaves the ICs separated. Up-B is primarily used for saving Nana when she is too far from the stage to recover with her double jump, but is not in tumble. It is worth noting that saving her this way isn't always worth it since the opponent can often easily knock her off-stage again before you're able to do anything about it, but if you think the opponent will mess this up or is not in a position to quickly KO her after return, then it is worth trying. Side-B is mainly used for very quickly getting her out of the way of an incoming attack on-stage.

    Other Traits

    Nana has some other quirks that are good to be aware of:

    -She can't pivot if you try to dash-dance with Popo, which results in a strange, but powerful desynch that will be discussed more in section VI. Oddly enough, she can do empty pivots, which can also lead to desynchs a la a Brawl-esque pivot ice block.
    -There is a strange force that Popo exerts on Nana when nearby which causes her to be pulled towards him. This actually has some decent applications. For example, if Nana is doing blizzard and nearby Popo, you can move forward or backwards with Popo and cause her to slide along the ground while doing the move. This can be used to retreat if you're concerned about the opponent approaching from above and can also be used to pull her forward, which can trick the enemy since it causes the blizzard to reach farther forward than s/he might have expected.
    -When Nana gets a grab, she will either immediately throw or do a small, random number of headbutts and then throw. The direction she throws is random under most circumstances, but in some important conditions, is predictable. For example, if Nana is near an edge, she will always throw towards it(if she is on a small platform and hence near two edges, she favors bthrow). This enables the handoff, a very powerful CG that will be discussed more in section V.
    -If Nana becomes re-synced with Popo while he is doing blizzard, she will blizzard in the opposite direction under almost all circumstances. This is generally very inconvenient and should be avoided, but it can be used as a bait.


    II. Motion

    The way ICs move is pretty unusual amongst Melee characters. They are very sluggish in the air, yet they are extremely fast on ground. The way they move on the ground is very different than the way most characters with good ground speed move, though. Characters like Fox and Falcon have a great DD that allows them to move incredibly flexibly and quickly. ICs, however, rely heavily on their excellent wavedash for ground motion. While quick, wavedashing does have significant flaws that always must be taken into account, so ICs still must make significant use of their dash and occasionally their walk.

    As stated above, ICs' wavedash is very good, but it is important to be aware of its drawbacks. To start with the positive aspects, ICs start moving very quickly when they wavedash since they are airborne on frame 4 after jumping, and the wavedash itself is very fast and takes ICs far because of their low traction. This makes wavedashing excellent for covering a large distance quickly; more specifically, it is good for quick retreats and approaches from a distance. However, wavedashing still must be used with caution. The most important drawback of wavedashing is that you can't act very quickly after doing one. After landing during the air-dodge, you have ten frames of landing lag. Together with the start-up of the jump, this means that even with a frame perfect wavedash, you will need to wait almost a fourth of a second before you can act again after starting the wavedash. This is not a short period of time by Melee standards, and it's often not difficult for characters to punish you if they read your wavedash. Of course, just how punishable the wavedash is varies a lot by the circumstances. For example, if you start the wavedash from a distance, you will probably no longer be in lag by the time you get near an opponent, so this isn't generally that huge an issue in this case. On the other hand, if you start the wavedash while close to the opponent, you likely are putting yourself in significant risk. This isn't to say that this can't work, and it indeed often will if the opponent himself/herself is in lag or is caught off-guard. There is generally much less risk associated with wavedashing backwards, which is an excellent retreating tool, but other characters that are very quick on the ground, like Fox, Falcon, and Luigi are still able to punish you while you are lagging, although all of these punishments require a heavy commitment and can be countered easily if read.

    Another important aspect of wavedashing is that it is the only way of moving on the ground out of shield that doesn't require waiting through the long shield animation aside from rolling. Hence, once you put yourself in your shield, you are effectively limiting your movement options to wavedashing and rolling, yet you still need to worry about the faults of these options. For example, if you shield and are near your opponent and you decide that you want to approach on the ground, you need to be wary of the opponent hitting you during the landing lag. Wavedashing backwards, on the other hand, is considerably safer, so ICs' ability to retreat after being in their shield is much better than their ability to approach after raising their shield, which isn't really unusual amongst Melee characters. Rolling is generally worse than wavedashing; it does have a couple advantages, though, such as that you have invulnerability frames for much of the roll, and it leads to a bread-and-butter desynch which will be discussed in section VI. The ICs' OoS game will be discussed in greater detail in section V.

    Overall, wavedashing is good OoS and is good for quick motion that covers a broad distance, but needs to be used with caution whenever the opponent can punish you before you can act.

    Other ground movement options:


    ICs' walk has limited, although not negligible, applications, which generally aren't that different from most other characters' usages of walking. It's most commonly used for slightly and quickly repositioning yourself, since ICs' wavedash generally isn't great for covering short distances and the options you have out of an initial dash are limited. Another more quirky application of walking is to cut down the distance of a long or medium-length wavedash backwards: you walk forward after a backwards so that you will come to a halt faster, which is occasionally nice when you want to wavedash backwards, but you don't want to go too far and you don't want to do a short wavedash, which isn't that great with ICs since the ICs must move very slowly in order to wavedash a short distance due to their traction. Walking sees little use outside of precise positioning; precision is important, however, so this use should not be neglected.

    Dashing is considerably more useful than walking and sees a lot of use when you are near the opponent. Even though the options out of an initial dash are fewer than those out of a wavedash, that you can act immediately out of a dash is a huge advantage over wavedashing, and the options that ICs have out of a dash are still quite good. To list a few such options, you have dash attack, short hop/full jump -> any aerial, usmash, shield, and grab. Another plus of dashing is that you can immediately reverse your direction during an initial dash, so you have access to many of the traditional applications of dashdancing that other characters possess. For example, you can dash backwards to narrowly avoid an attack and then dash back in and punish. A peculiar and previously noted aspect of dashdancing is that Nana can't pivot as Popo dashdances, so be wary of her not cooperating if you try complex dash patterns. This is a non-issue when Nana is away, of course.


    III. Stage Control and Zoning

    As with all other characters, ICs are stronger in some positions than others due to the way they move, the properties of their moves, and the collective traits of the opponent's character, amongst other things. This section is devoted to explaining how you should try to position yourself with respect to the stage and your opponent, and how you should act in a variety of common positions.

    As noted in the previous section, ICs have quite formidable motion on the ground and are rather sluggish in the air. It is reasonable to infer from this that ICs should stick to surfaces and not spend a lot of time airborne. More specifically, ICs should generally stay on the ground, as platforms are unsafe. It conveniently isn't difficult to see why this is the case:

    ICs descend slowly in the air and have lackluster horizontal speed in the air; furthermore, ICs' aerials don't provide great protection when descending. Bair is generally pretty decent for protecting yourself from the back, but if the opponent is directly below you or is below and in front of you, then if you want to challenge the opponent, you need to rely on fair or dair. Fair is unreliable because of its long start-up and dair has a small hitbox and is punishable when CC'd. Hence, against a significant majority of the cast, you do not want to find yourself stuck on platforms, so it's best to frequently stick to the ground.

    Much like most other characters, controlling center stage is generally very powerful. What I mean by "controlling center stage" here is that you are either in the center or have immediate access to the center whereas the opponent does not. Most of what follows in this paragraph isn't specific to ICs, but is still important to understand. There are numerous reasons why controlling the center is good. One reason is that you readily have access to a lot of space on the ground. If you want to retreat on the ground, you can often do so with little risk. Of course, doing this repeatedly will eventually put you by the edge and give the opponent control of center stage, which is a particularly lousy position for ICs to be in for reasons that will be listed shortly, but having the option to retreat at least a few times is always nice. If you're in control of center stage, then the opponent also is less able to retreat. For example, if you have the opponent right by the edge, the only way most characters will be able to retreat is to go to the ledge, which is a fine position for some characters in some situations, but is overall quite poor. Another reason controlling the center is nice is that you will generally be farther from the blastzones than the opponent is.

    As noted above, the edge is generally a poor position, but it is especially poor for ICs. One reason this is the case is that both ICs cannot occupy the ledge at the same time. Hence, if you want to occupy the edge and the ICs are synced, retreating to the edge will only result in Popo grabbing the edge, which puts Nana in a very vulnerable position. Thus, ICs' ability to retreat here is notably worse than most other characters when synced. When you are Sopo, being on the ledge is not as bad relatively speaking since you don't need to worry about leaving Nana vulnerable, and Popo does have a very good waveland from the edge that can catch people off-guard. In any case, when by the edge, you will have to confront or cleverly maneuver around the opponent in order to get a better position.

    One option is to simply bat the opponent away with something like ftilt or fsmash. How good this is varies a lot depending on the exact circumstances, but it's never bad to be able to get closer to the center even if you don't necessarily regain control of it. It is important to keep in mind that the risk of throwing out an attack in this position generally heavily outweighs the reward, and in my opinion, actively trying to fight the opponent in such a way is not one of the ICs' better options here. Another common option is to try to maneuver around the opponent. It is very difficult to do this on the ground, but if you read an attack from the opponent, you can often roll around him/her. However, be aware that many good players know that ICs like to roll in this position, so roll with caution. Another option that ICs have on stages that have platforms by the outer edges is to jump and waveland forward onto the platform above you. Even though ICs are generally terrible on platforms, ICs' quick waveland means that you spend little time on it. You usually will want to descend to the floor afterwards; if the character you're fighting against doesn't generally outrange you, you can often protect yourself mid-descent with bair, but otherwise, you might want to simply air-dodge to the ground to avoid the opponent's probable attack. The last major option I'll list is to put the opponent at the edge. The easiest way to do this is with a grab. If you can grab the opponent, then one option that always works decently well is bthrow. If the ICs are synced and you land a grab with Popo, there are a variety of other options you have that will be discussed in section V. However, landing a grab can be very difficult. Another move that is good for putting the opponent by the edge is utilt, which doesn't directly put the opponent there, but easily leads to moves that will.

    Since ICs are lousy on platforms, it's good to know how to descend from them as well. This is easy when the opponent isn't in the immediate vicinity, but if s/he gets below you, then you need to be cautious. It's often tempting to try to get to the ground by wavedashing off one of the sides, but be aware that many people will expect this. You can still trick people by mixing up the precise details about how you go about descending this way, though. For example, you can delay your fastfall to throw the opponent off. Instead of dropping off the edge, you could stop at it and light-shield angled toward the edge, so that if you think the opponent will try to hit you, you will fall off instead, in which case the opponent will be lagging, which may let you punish him/her, or at least descend safely. You can also try short hopping on the platform to narrowly dodge an attack from below and fastfall through, or simply shield drop to the surface. Against slow, floaty characters, you could also run away to an even higher platform if one is nearby and delay your descent until a little while later. None of these options are very good per se, but that's simply part of why platforms are a poor position for ICs in the first place.

    With all of that said, the precise details of how the ICs should position themselves with the respect to the opponent vary greatly by match-up. Against characters with poor approaches, being far enough to safely set up a desynch is often a good position, since ICs are very good at shutting down a variety of approaches with blizzard desynchs. Conversely, being point-blank can be good since you can land grabs there, but only if you're in control of the situation or if the opponent isn't technically proficient, since most good characters can wail on the ICs shield pretty safely. A position that is almost always good is to be below the opponent. With usmash, utilt, and uair, ICs have moves that are very difficult for a significant majority of the characters in this game to get around, and all of these moves have good payoffs as well, which will further be discussed in section V. Hence, if you are able to put the opponent above you or get under the opponent, it's often a good idea to do so. Be wary of being below the opponent if s/he is on a platform by the edge, however, because if s/he manages to descend towards the center, s/he will suddenly have control of the center. Also be wary of jumping after the opponent with uair, because while the payoff is good, if you miss, you risk putting yourself in a very bad situation.


    IV. Confrontation

    Although the previous sections have featured many individual instances of confrontations with the opponent, little has been said about actually fighting the enemy in general. This section focuses on successfully engaging the opponent.

    There is a huge variety of ways in which you can confront the opponent and it is difficult to make meaningful observations that apply to all of them. This section is hence divide into several subsections detailing common ways of engaging the enemy.

    i. Approaching an opponent on the ground

    Approaching with ICs can be difficult. You will often need to catch the opponent off-guard or get close to them and harass them into doing something punishable. Approaching from the air is generally terrible due to the ICs' slow falling speed, poor aerial mobility, and the properties of their aerials. On the ground, you will often approach with a wavedash followed by some move; this is often punishable due to the ten frames of landing lag plus the start-up of the move, but is still overall very solid for approaching from a distance. Here is a non-comprehensive list of some moves commonly used to approach after a wavedash together with some pros and cons:

    -Fsmash

    Fsmash's biggest fault is that it has a somewhat long start-up and also takes a while to end, so that getting hit before or after the move is a significant risk. However, the move does have a pretty large hitbox that will straight-up beat many things. It's an excellent KO move at high percentages, and even at lower percentages can be decent since it can push the opponent to the edge. Overall, though, ICs do have other options with significantly higher payoffs at low percentages, but fsmash's size still renders it useful then in spite of its lesser rewards.

    -Ftilt

    Ftilt is a good approach options since it comes out quickly and has decent reach. It is pretty safe since it comes out quickly and doesn't last long, but be aware that many characters can short hop over it. This can be remedied if you angle the ftilt upward, however. The biggest fault with the move is that it generally has a very low immediate payoff. It rarely KOs at anything less than very high percentages and it doesn't combo. However, even if the move doesn't directly lead to much, it is often very useful for shoving the opponent to a poor position.

    -Jab

    Jab is nice since it is fast and has very good follow-ups. Even if it doesn't always directly combo, it can often lead to a grab, ftilt, or dsmash/turn-around dsmash. It is extremely fast, which is a big plus, but it does have some noteworthy drawbacks. It loses to CC, which is sometimes a big deal depending on the match-up. If you see that the opponent does like to CC a lot, then be very wary of using jab often. It also has a small hitbox and hence many characters can simply hit you out of it with something more disjointed.

    -Bair

    Bair has pretty good reach, comes out quickly, and has little ending lag if autocanceled. It rarely directly combos, but it still will often put the opponent in a position in which you're able to chase them down and continue putting pressure on them. It requires that you are facing backwards and it requires that you go airborne, but these aren't very major faults. It's overall a very good and probably underutilized option.

    -Dsmash

    Dsmash is a favorite of many ICs. It comes out very quickly, has good knockback, decent reach, and doesn't last particularly long. However, its hitbox is very low to the ground, so it will miss many characters if they short hop. For example, Falcon and Ganon can short hop over it and dair you if you try to approach with dsmash, whereas fsmash would hit them out of their short hop. It's also important to keep in mind that while the move does come out quickly, it starts behind you and takes a bit of time to reach the front, so unless you're facing backwards, the fact that it comes out on frame 6 can be a little misleading.

    -Shield

    The ICs' shield game will be discussed later this section.


    You won't always be able to rely on an approach of the above fashion. For example, if you are near the enemy and hence would probably be relying on dashing for movement, then your main options would be limited a bit. To give a few examples, short hop nair, dash attack, shielding, and grabs are all decent or good here. To elaborate, short hop nair comes out quickly and has some combo potential, but has a small hitbox, often loses to CC, and requires going airborne. Dash attack combos very well, comes out pretty quickly, and has decent reach, but it has a small and odd hitbox that will lose to a lot of things, and the move is very punishable near its end. Grabs are good for reasons that will be elaborated on in section V.

    Another kooky, but surprisingly good option against many characters is the Nanapult, which will be discussed in detail in section VI.

    As noted earlier, it's also often a good idea to simply get close to the opponent and bait them into doing something punishable rather than to be directly initiating the confrontations.


    ii. Approaching an opponent on a platform

    Although having the opponent at a greater altitude is generally a good thing, attacking an enemy on a platform can be difficult and very risky. The biggest risk associated with chasing after an enemy on a platform is that it requires leaving the ground unless the platform is very low. Hence, you should be patient when dealing with somebody who sticks to platforms. Most people will come down eventually, especially if you stay near them and make yourself look vulnerable to an approach. However, if they are stubborn or if you are confident that you know just how the opponent likes to move around, then it is fine to chase after them. If you can catch them as they jump off of a platform, uair is extremely good. However, if they are standing on the platform, you must exercise caution since they can shield or sometimes CC this and sometimes punish you. If you think the opponent is going to shield, you have a variety of decent options. One option is to waveland onto the platform and grab the opponent. However, the grab won't connect until at least 17 frames after you land on the platform, and while quick, this is still long enough for people to react to on occasion. A bizarre option is to jump and shoot ice blocks so that you land right after passing through the platform. The hammer hitboxes of the ice blocks present some resiliance to CCing and induce some shieldstun. Against characters with limited OoS options behind them, you can approach with synced squall hammer and land right behind them, in which case you're in a good position to utilt/dsmash/etc. if you're facing away, or jab/grab/etc. if you're facing towards the opponent. There are many other options depending on what character the opponent is and how you are positioned with respect to him/her. Overall, though, I recommend being very picky about when you choose to board platforms because of the risk associated with doing so.


    iii. Defending yourself against an approach while on the ground

    ICs are generally pretty well-suited to stopping approaches. Defeating approaches from the air often boils down to using usmash, utilt, and uair, although you can also position yourself to hit the opponent as s/he lands. Shielding is also often fine. Dealing with ground-based approaches is generally a little more nuanced since ICs don't outclass most other characters on the ground the same way they outclass most other characters from below. If the character does not generally outrange ICs, fsmash, ftilt, and bair are good for reasons very similar the previously listed reasons why they are decent approach options following a wavedash. For other deeply spaced approaches or approaches with low-knockback, single hit moves, CCing is often good. Dealing with characters that outrange ICs can be tricky. Blizzard in general is useful for stopping approaches, but it is especially useful against characters with good reach since it rivals anybody's reach and is entirely disjointed. You also might find yourself shielding more often and looking for OoS punishes, but it's often very difficult to punish characters with good reach OoS, although it is certainly occasionally possible with something like wavedash OoS -> jab/dsmash or belay OoS -> blizzard (see section VI). Of course, you don't have to try to punish every possible approach and can simply retreat if you have the space to do so, primarily with a wavedash, but the roll -> blizzard desynch which will be discussed in section VI. is also very good for retreating and protecting yourself.


    iv. Defending yourself while airborne

    ICs are generally very poor at protecting themselves in the air for reasons that have already been discussed. That said, if you think the opponent is going to try to attack you from directly below, you can try to fastfall and dair; this will occasionally beat whatever the opponent tries to do as long as they slightly mistime or misspace an approach. You can try to descend with fair as well, but it's not hard for many characters to hit you before the move comes out, or after it ends if you did it high. Another option that is occasionally decent is to side-B and descend from there. Synced or not, the slight upwards momentum boost you get from the move can help you dodge an opponent's attack from below and descend to the surface. If there is a platform nearby, you can try to land on it as an intermediate goal, because while it is not a good position, it is still better than free-falling.


    v. Acting out of shield

    ICs don't have the greatest OoS game, but they can still fight OoS to a certain extent. Bair OoS is very good if the opponent ends up behind your shield, but your options are considerably more limited if the opponent is in front of you. If the opponent attacks your shield sloppily, you can land shield-grabs, and even good players will screw up shield pressure against ICs sometimes, but this isn't something you want to have to rely on. You'll generally want to wavedash OoS or roll in response to shield pressure. However, don't feel pressured to do this immediately. It's fine to wait in your shield for a while in an effort to keep your OoS action less predictable. If the opponent does something laggy, you may be able to wavedash towards them and punish; wavedashing away is reasonably safe as well. Rolling away is nice since you get invulnerability frames and also since you can immediately follow it up with Nana's blizzard for coverage (see section VI). Another option that is decent when the opponent is spacing attacks on your shield from a distance is belay OoS -> blizzard (see section VI).


    After all of this discussion of confrontation, it's good to keep in mind that you don't always have to confront the opponent. You don't have to act on every opening you see to attack the enemy, and it's often wise to simply wait.

    V. Punishment

    Section IV hopefully provided some idea of how to land hits on the opponent. This section focuses on making the most of the hits that you do land. Fortunately, many of the ICs' combos are fairly intuitive. It's not generally difficult to judge what you can do if the opponent is nearby and in hitstun, but I will present some basics nonetheless. What you should do off of a grab can be considerably harder to judge, so there will be a large subsection devoted to grab combos.

    Here is a list of some common follow-ups for a variety of moves:

    -Dash attack

    On most characters, dash attack will very frequently lead to uair or bair. On fastfallers, it often leads to grabs. At percentages at which fastfallers can double jump before you can grab, or are too far off-stage to land a grab, you can often land fsmash.

    -Jab

    Jab's follow-ups were already discussed in IV. i.

    -Usmash

    While usmash is a strong KO move in its own right at high percentages, at low percentages, it often leads to uair. On fastfallers at low percentages, it can sometimes combo into itself, utilt, or a grab.

    -Utilt

    Utilt's follow-ups are very similar to usmash's, except that since it pops up the opponent lower, it's generally slightly easier to combo out of. On fastfallers, it is a very good grab set-up. Be aware that in versions of the game aside from 1.0, it is not difficult for the opponent to SDI out of utilt.

    -Uair

    Uair frequently leads to itself and bair. Even if you are not able to directly follow it up, it is still often good simply because it pushes the opponent upwards and ICs generally like to be below their opponent.

    -Fair

    Fair is odd in that it can both meteor and pop the opponent up. An interesting property of synced fairs is that if you hit an opponent on the ground with one, then Nana's fair will usually spike the opponent into the ground. Many people won't tech this, so that you can jab or dsmash. Even if they do tech, you can still tech-chase. If the opponent is airborne above a platform, fair is also good for similar reasons; you can hit the opponent into the platform and tech-chase accordingly. Due to its lengthy start-up, it doesn't generally see much use in combos outside of these ones, although sometimes the hitboxes that don't meteor can lead into other things.

    -Dtilt

    Dtilt isn't a move that doesn't generally see much use, but it can lead to tech-chases on fastfallers, whom it can also combo into fsmash at high percentages with inwards DI.

    -Blizzard

    Blizzard has many hitboxes with low knockback, meaning that it holds people in place very well. Hence, if you land a blizzard with Nana, you can often follow it up with Popo. Blizzard can frequently lead to grab, usmash, uair, and dash attack, amongst other things. Be aware that if the opponent CCs blizzard, s/he can likely escape the attempted follow-up, and s/he may also be able to SDI upwards and jump to escape.

    Grabs

    With four throws and two characters, ICs inevitably have many excellent options out of grabs. There is a huge variety of options ICs have out of grabs, but I will list the ones I consider most important to know. I will first discuss chain-grabs: grab combos that lead to more grabs. Here are several important ones:

    -Dthrow -> Nana Dair

    If Popo dthrows the opponent, he can dthrow and Nana can jump and dair. Due to dair's low, set knockback, this can frequently lead to another grab. There are several variations of this. One commonly used version is to have Nana do a stationary short hop and then dair right as the dthrow ends, and then have Popo dash forward and dash or JC grab. This is very commonly used against fastfallers, particularly space animals. Another important variation is to have Nana full jump forward and dair, and then have Popo turn around and grab. This is useful against many characters. It is worth keeping in mind that dair CGs are very easily escapable. They may work very well on a vast majority of smashers, but good players familiar with ICs will generally be able to escape them very quickly with good SDI. For example, space animal players will often SDI down and away and buffer a roll to escape. Falcon and Ganon players will either SDI to the ground to escape or SDI very high and jump away. Most other characters can escape all varieties of dair CGs with some sort of DI upwards.

    -Dthrow/(dthrow -> Nana dtilt) -> Popo grab

    Popo can dthrow CG quite a few characters on his own to a certain extent. The most important character this CG works very well on is Sheik, whom you can dthrow -> dthrow on reaction provided that you are able to recognize how she DIs the throw quickly enough. You can also do this to Ganon for up until somewhere around 30%. Dthrow also CGs Falcon regardless of DI, but being able to do this on reaction is very difficult and guesswork is required. A variety of low tiers like Pikachu and Yoshi are also subject to dthrow CGs. It's worth noting that if the ICs are together, then you can have Nana dtilt during Popo's dthrow animation to rack up damage faster. You can do the same thing with dsmash provided that Nana's dsmash is not fresh. You can also dthrow CG Fox and Falco if he does not DI away, but space animals that know the match-up well will rarely DI dthrow this way. Falco is actually susceptible to a Popo dthrow CG past low percentages even if he DIs away, but the timing is extremely strict and you will likely get punished severely if you mess up.

    -Handoffs/Nana grab CGs

    If you dthrow or fthrow with Popo, you can grab the opponent with Nana just as they are released from Popo's grab. Recall that when near an edge, Nana will throw towards it (if near two edges, she favors bthrow). Hence, if Nana grabs the opponent near an edge that she is facing on a not-tiny platform, then she will fthrow. If Popo is a tiny bit in front of Nana, he can grab the opponent again right as the opponent is released from Nana's grab. Doing this Popo dthrow/fthrow (generally dthrow) -> Nana fthrow loop is known as the handoff. It is a very strong CG since it is inescapable provided that Nana doesn't randomly decide to do too many headbutts. This CG will very frequently lead to death and is the most powerful option the ICs have out of a grab on many characters aside from wobbling. It is worth becoming familiar with the timing for the handoff on the common characters. Wobbles' handoff guide is a useful reference containing more details.

    Even if you aren't in that particular position for a handoff, there are still uses for grabbing with Nana. Her throw will be random, but you have options out of all of Nana's throws. If Nana does fthrow or dthrow, you can grab again if you can react quickly enough, or you can just position yourself to do some other punishment with Popo while the enemy is still in hitstun. If Nana uthrows, you can often follow that up with Popo's uair; if the uthrow causes the opponent to land on the platform, you can waveland onto the platform with Popo and tech-chase from there. If Nana bthrows, you can tech-chase the opponent; lots of fastfallers will miss the tech, letting you dash attack them and then grab again or fsmash. If you are by an edge, but facing away, you can dthrow or fthrow with Popo, grab with Nana, and wait for her bthrow and follow that up. On fastfallers, the bthrow will often combo into a grab with Popo by the edge which then leads to a brief handoff, provided that the opponent doesn't DI the bthrow towards off-stage. If the opponent starts doing this, you can simply bair the opponent after Nana's bthrow to catch them with bad DI.

    -Wobbling

    While not strictly a CG in accordance with the definition I gave, this still is very similar to CGs and should be discussed alongside them. Wobbling works because of a peculiar property of being stunned in grabs. If a character is being grabbed and in stun and has mashed enough to escape, s/he will break out when s/he is no longer in stun from an attack. However, if you can perpetually keep the opponent stunned, s/he will never escape the grab. ICs have a few ways of doing precisely this. All of these start with a grab from Popo. The most common version is to have Popo do headbutts and have Nana do ftilts or dtilts evenly timed between them. The timing is fairly lenient: see this thread for more details. There are also versions that have Nana do blizzard or jabs instead of tilts, but they are notably more difficult and hence generally worthless since the payoff is exactly same as the easier varieties. The easiest way of KOing an opponent out of a wobble is to dsmash with Popo right after Nana's dtilt or ftilt connects; just hit down on the C-stick right as Nana's tilt connects.

    The only big downside of wobbling is that the opponent may be able to break out before you land the first headbutt with Popo. It's also frequently banned at tourneys. However, if it's legal and you are confident you can successfully start it up, it is the best option you have out of a grab.


    Other grab combos:

    -Dthrow -> Nana dair -> something else!

    Even though many characters can escape dthrow -> dair -> grab, you can often do something else in place of the grab that will work. For example, against characters like Peach and Samus, you can do dthrow -> reverse dair -> utilt, and then follow up the utilt accordingly. Against Marth, dthrow -> reverse dair -> fsmash is a solid tool for racking up damage and forcing Marth by the edge. Dthrow reverse -> dair -> dsmash is a good CG finisher that will occasionally mess up the opponent's DI.

    -Dthrow -> Nana usmash/utilt

    These are pretty straightforward grab combos that will put the opponent above you. They are particularly good if you think the opponent isn't going to DI away, so that it pops them up directly above you.

    Grab finishers:

    -Dthrow/uthrow -> Nana usmash

    At high percentages, this is a very good KO option. Try to charge the Nana usmash as long as possible for best results, unless you're trying to catch the opponent's DI off-guard with the usmash, in which case charging it would make your decision obvious to the enemy. The easiest way to charge a smash with Nana without making Popo throw is to have Popo headbutt and input the charge smash command in the meantime.

    -Dthrow -> Nana fsmash

    This is very similar to the above option, but with fsmash instead. In addition to being good for straightforward KOs at high percentages, if you think the opponent is going to DI away (e.g. if they expect dthrow - Nana dair and DI down and away in anticipation fo this), it can be used for putting the opponent offstage and getting KOs at moderately low percentages.

    Uthrow -> reverse fsmash

    This is a good trick for sending the opponent backwards, and is hence a good KO option if you grab the opponent when you're facing away from the nearest horizontal blastzone. There are slight variations of this, but the most common way to do it is to charge fsmash with Nana, uthrow with Popo, and quickly release the fsmash with Nana. This will send the opponent backwards. Against people who aren't familiar with this trick, you can use it to catch them with bad DI, but most people familiar with it will simply DI up so that their DI isn't terrible regardless of whether you send them forward or backwards with the fsmash.

    There are other ways of KOing an opponent out of a grab, but these are by far the most common.

    Popo grab combos:

    Even if not as good as the options available to two ICs, Popo still has some decent options out of grabs. It should be noted that the dthrow CG listed earlier also works perfectly fine with Popo; the only difference is that Nana isn't present to rack up damage faster or end the CG well. Here are a few other common Popo grab options:

    -Dthrow -> usmash/dash attack/nair

    All of these have some combo potential. Usmash and dash attack put the opponent above you and nair can occasionally lead to another grab or ground move.

    -Dthrow/bthrow -> tech-chase

    This is good against fastfallers. On Falcon in particular, if he DIs a bthrow in, you can often combo into fsmash or ftilt.

    -Uthrow -> dash attack

    This is very good on space animals at low percentages if there aren't any platforms in the way. In fact, even if Nana is around, this option is worth considering.


    VI: Desynching

    Desynching is essentially the act of controlling the ICs independently of each other. Unsurprisingly, there are many ways of getting the ICs out of sync with each other. I will list the desynchs that I perceive to be most useful, but before doing that, I will discuss some general applications of desynching and good rules of thumb to follow when desynched.

    Be very cautious about when you let the ICs get very far from each other. It can be tempting to do something like shoot an ice block with Nana and chase after it with Popo, but be aware that you are putting a lot of distance between the ICs and are letting Nana's AI take over. This isn't bad per se if your approach works and you can get back in sync by the time the opponent is a threat again, but you are still limiting yourself to a punish that only involves Popo, and if your approach doesn't work out as planned, you've already done a lot of work for the opponent by putting the ICs far apart. More often than not, it's better to try to keep the ICs together than it is to let them get far apart.

    Desynching is most frequently used as a defensive tool. Controlling the ICs independently of each other allows you to cover more potential approach options the opponent has. Also, if you hit the opponent with one IC's attack, then the other IC will often be free to follow it up. A common downside is that, since you do generally want to keep the ICs together, you often have to firmly plant yourself in one position or move slowly to avoid getting separated.

    There are ways of using desynching to approach, but most of those revolve around one desynch in particular that will be discussed more later.

    Here is a list of desynchs I consider useful and their applications:

    -GO! desynch

    If you have port 1 or 2 and you hold down an input for some move, Nana will do it at the start of the round. For example, if you hold down and B, Nana will blizzard when the game begins. The most common applications of this are to start the round with a blizzard or ice block. Since the text "GO!" momentarily blocks the screen, the projectile might catch the opponent off-guard if they try to approach you at the start, and you can often combo off of the blizzard/ice block with Popo.

    -Roll/spot dodge/whiffed grab -> Nana move

    If you roll, spot dodge, or whiff a grab and hold down the input for some move, Nana will do it afterwards. The most common desynch of this form is roll -> blizzard, whose uses have been discussed before. Spot dodge blizzard is a little faster, but it requires staying in place for a while. Whiffed grab takes longer than a spot dodge and also doesn't provide any invulnerability frames, so it's worse on paper, but it's arguably less conspicuous than a spot dodge desynch, and it's also less well-known amonst Melee players at large than the spot dodge desynch is.

    -Dashdance -> blizzard

    This is an interesting desynch that exists because Nana can't pivot during a DD and Popo can't crouch during an initial dash. The most common way of doing this desynch is to quickly dash forward, backward, and forward again, and then quickly hit down-B. Popo will do nothing and Nana will blizzard. This is a very powerful desynch for a variety of reasons. For one thing, you can opt out of the start-up at any time: if you are doing a dashdance to start a blizzard and change your mind, you can shield, jump/wavedash/etc. to cancel the set-up and get back in sync. Another strength is that the desynch is very fast provide you DD quickly enough. There are few faster ways of getting a desynched blizzard out. Because of blizzard's previously discussed strengths in terms of defense and follow-ups, this is hence an extremely useful desynch that I strongly recommend learning.

    -Pivot desynchs

    If you do pivot fsmash/dsmash with the C-stick, only Popo will do a move, leaving Nana free to do whatever you want. Since the timing for pivoting is strict, this desynch isn't easy, but it is noteworthy for being fast and also for being one of the few desynch where Popo throws out an attack first.

    -Short hop -> fastfall desynch

    Short hop, fastfall, and short hop immediately again upon landing. Only Popo will jump, and if you input a command after this jump, only Popo will respond to it. Like pivot desynchs, this is noteworthy for being another desynch in which Popo attacks first. Common applications of this include having Popo shoot an ice block and having Nana jump forward and blizzard.

    -Belay OoS

    This is an odd desynch that works because Nana isn't able to take part in a synced up-B while in her shield. If you are shielding with ICs and quickly input up-B, then Popo will do a solo up-B on the ground and Nana will jump. Popo is stuck in the up-B animation and Nana is free to do anything she is able to in the air. By far the most common application of this is to have Nana blizzard immediately after jumping. This is the fastest way of getting a desynched blizzard out when the ICs are shielding. It is a very nice defensive OoS option, but it is somewhat risky since Popo is incapacitated during most of it, which can also make it difficult for him to follow-up the blizzard. It's also noteworthy for being one of the only ways of desynch straight out of a shield; there does exist at least one other way (jump OoS and immediately side-B; only Popo will do it for reasons not unlike why this desynch works), but its applications are much more situational.

    -Ftilt guard desynch

    Wavedash, hold the direction opposite the way you're facing, and press A. If done quickly enough, Popo should ftilt and Nana will jab. Since jab doesn't last as long as ftilt, you can have Popo do another move while Popo is stuck in the ftilt animation. One common use of this is to get a Nana blizzard out quickly after a wavedash.


    Continuous desynching and the Nanapult:

    Continuous desynching refers to keeping the ICs out of sync for an extended period of time. This is generally done by having Popo do some move while Nana is lagging, then having Nana do a move while Popo is lagging from his move, and so on. The most common application of this to shoot alternating ice blocks with occasional blizzards from Nana. This can be a powerful camping tool in many match-ups. There are other continuous desynchs that can be used for similar purposes with decent success, such as alternating fsmashes.

    A jumping blizzard with Nana is known as a Nanapult ("Nanapult occasionally refers to jumping forward and using blizzard with just Nana, but I use it to refer to any jump -> blizzard with just Nana). Nanapults are excellent in many match-ups for a variety of reasons. Due to blizzard's great coverage, a Nanapult from a jump straight up can be a great tool for stopping approaches that aren't from directly above. A Nanapult moving forward can also be avery good approach option for similar reasons, as blizzard's reach is comparable to the range of characters like Marth and Ganon, which hence makes this good for breaking through many defenses. Popo can also frequently combo off of Nanapults quite well.


    VII: Recovery

    ICs overall don't have a great recovery, but edgeguarding them can be deceptively difficult. I will first discuss recovering when ICs are synced and Nana is not in tumble and then when Popo is alone (or Nana is in tumble without a double jump).

    When synced, ICs have two main options: side-B and up-B. Synced side-B is nice in that can cover a great deal of height and that it keeps the ICs together. However, it is very easily interrupted, and starting the synced side-B requires being decently close to Nana. If you're confident that you can evade the opponent's attempted edgeguard with this, then it is generally preferable to up-B, but it is difficult be sure about that. Up-B, on the other hand, can work even if Nana is fairly far from you. Since Nana rises before Popo and is invulnerable until just after the peak of her jump, this provides slightly better protection than side-B. The downside is that it puts the ICs fairly far apart, which leaves Nana vulnerable. There is a tricky version of up-B that is fairly safe for both ICs, however. If you're close enough to reach the edge with a double jump, you can double jump towards the edge; just as you're rising toward it, start an up-B. Popo should grab the edge and Nana should jump up with the invulnerability frames she gets from belay. This is a good way of getting both ICs back safely when you aren't knocked off too far.

    Popo's main recover tools are the solo versions of side-B and up-B, together with air-dodging. Up-B is not an option if you are far from the stage, but it can be used to sweetspot the edge, which Popo's other options can't do. Airdodging is nice since you have a lot of control over the direction you go and also get some invulnerability frames, although it's often not difficult for the opponent to react to. Solo side-B is oddly good. You might not be able to get a lot of height off of it, but you have a lot of control over your horizontal motion. Thus, you can often trick the edgeguarder by occasionally pulling back and then moving forward again. There are a variety of other tricks as well. For example, if the opponent thinks that you're going to go forward and side-B along the floor, s/he may pull back and try hit you near where he thinks you will end, but you can pull back as you land on the stage and then drop to the edge. Another trick that is occasionally decent is to use squall hammer while very high and mix up whether you stay high or drop down. For example, you can condition the opponent into thinking you'll always go high so that s/he always jumps high to intercept you, but if you simply tap B once to start squall hammer instead, you can drop low and go below the opponent.

    Something that is occasionally decent is to shoot an ice block while recovering. This can be an annoyance to the edgeguarder, albeit a very minor one. Doing this does open up an odd ledgehop hop option that works because of a strange property of ice blocks. If you shoot an ice block once, it pops you up a little. As many of you likely already know, using ice block again before landing gives you no such boost. However, only certain ways of landing give you such a boost: namely, landing with landfall or landfall special. Until you go through one of those two animations or lose a stock, shooting an ice block will not give you a vertical boost. Back to recovery: if you shoot an ice block and then grab the edge, you can then ledgehop -> ice block. This is normally terrible, but since the ice block won't give you vertical boost, you can simply land with it, which is also convenient since landing with ice blocks has very little lag. The ice block can distract the edgeguarder and give you a way in.

    Overall, the above trick is very situational, but worth being aware of. Another simpler option from the edge is ledgehop -> fair, which can beat some edgeguarding attempts, but also carries a notable risk.

    Generally speaking, the ICs best way of getting back on stage by far is an invulnerable waveland from the edge. For more advice on getting back to the center, see section III.


    VIII. Edgeguarding

    Many aspects of the ICs' edgeguarding are not very unusual. They generally stay by the edge and simply try to hit the opponent away again. However, they do have a variety of other tricks for edgeguarding.

    Oftentimes, you will be able to edgeguard people with a simple fsmash or dsmash, but these have evident faults. Unless you're standing on an elevated platform (in which case you only cover a select few options), you will only be covering recovery options near the edge. You also will miss many sweetspotted recoveries, and even those that aren't sweetspotted can frequently be teched nonetheless. Here are a variety of other options ICs have at their disposal:

    Ice blocks are functionally very similar to Sheik's needles for edgeguarding, although they are slower and a few recovery attacks, such as Fox's u-B, can cut right through them.. Their trajectory and low knockback still can overall provide a good amount of assistance, however. For example, you can use ice blocks to hit people right after they double jump, so they have to rely on their other recovery options (e.g. side-B and up-B) sooner. If you do interrupt a recovery with an ice block, you may be able to make the opponent have to recovery slightly differently. For example, if you hit a space animal out of an attempted side-B sweetspot, they will often have to use up-B from below the stage. You can also use ice blocks to hit space animals out of the start-up up their up-B, which doesn't change much if they immediately up-B again, but still makes their lives slightly more difficult.

    Another trick is to have one IC grab the edge and the other occupy it. While there are variations of this that involve having Popo grab the edge and Nana stand guard on stage, it's generally much better to have Popo be the one on stage since that role is more demanding and requires more versatility. There are many ways to get Nana to the edge. One is to roll to the edge, hold up so that Nana jumps afterwards, then hold down and away so that Popo crouches and Nana drifts to the edge. Another way is to sit in your shield facing away from the edge, belay OoS, and have Nana drift to the edge. There are many other similar tricks. Nana being on the edge will often force the opponent to recover onto the stage, which Popo can generally deal with pretty well. Be aware that Nana leaves the ledge right after getting on it, so you need to have her grab the ledge at a very particular time. Also be aware that Nana loves get-up attack, and if you aren't cautious about this, you might dsmash/fsmash the opponent with Popo only for Nana's get-up attack to halt their momentum. One way of dealing with this is to simply grab with Popo and then transition into a handoff once Nana gets back on stage.

    Invulnerable ledgehop aerials also have some legitimate uses for edgeguarding. Invulnerable ledgehop nair can be used to intercept characters recovering from below, and also characters recovering relatively high. For example, if you grab the edge against Marth when he is recovering low and if you think he is going to try to up-B on stage in response to this, you can fastfall from the ledge and double jump nair to hit him out of his up-B (be aware in this particular example that Marth can beat this particular trick by simply stalling longer). A weirder application that is okay against space animals is ledgehop dair. This can hit them out of their up-B and force them to up-B again. You can get back to the edge in time to go for another ledgehop dair. If the space animal is inexperienced against this, one ledgehop dair will often catch them off-guard and make them miss the sweetspot on their next attempt, making the edgeguard straightforward. More experienced space animals may try to avoid this by other going straight-up just outside of your dair range and then dropping to the edge, or by rising at a very low angle to dodge your dair and sweetspot the edge. The former approach requires going high, which is leaves them very vulnerable, whereas the latter one loses to simply staying on the edge and rolling up once the space animal gets close.

    While ICs for the most part don't go that far away from the stage when edgeguarding, they are very much capable of it; doing so just carries a heavy risk. It can still be very good when done sufficiently infrequently, though. For example, if Marth is recovering low, you can jump off or run off and hit him out of his side-B with nair. Against Falco, you can easily hit him out of up-B from below the stage as well in a similar fashion (be aware that the start-up of Fox's up-B, on the other hand, will likely hit you out of your nair). If you correctly guess that a space animal is going to recover high with up-B, you can often wavedash backwards towards the edge and jump and bair the enemy before the directional part of the move starts. Other examples include hitting Falcon and Ganon after their down-B with nair/bair/fair and nair'ing an enemy ICs' Nana after her double jump to gimp her.

    Unlike many other very good characters, ICs are not very good at gimping in the conventional sense. Popo can occasionally go for weird suicide gimps by chaining an enemy off-stage with a lot of aerials, which can sometimes be a decent way of bringing a round back to even or expand a lead, but this sort of trick is not frequently successful. Functionally, the closest thing ICs have to a traditional gimp is the handoff, in that it's a tactic that, if connected near the edge, can result in a KO regardless of percentage.

    An important situation that I view as a part of edgeguarding is preventing the opponent from getting back to a good position when on the edge. By virtue of desynching, ICs are very good at this. Many characters struggle with getting around a wall of desynched ice blocks and blizzards. In this case, you generally want to position yourself so that the tip of blizzard would hit the opponent should they get on stage. The blizzard makes merely standing on stage difficult and the ice blocks can make sitting on the edge dangerous. Be wary of characters that are able to ledgehop onto elevated platforms by the edge or have long, invulnerable wavelands that can pass through blizzard, however. Caution should also be exerted when dealing with characters that have good ledgehop projectiles that may pass through blizzard. In spite of some faults, this tactic is still very solid for keeping people at bay and it does force many characters to really on risky methods of return.

    IX. Situations and options

    I.

    Situations

    1. You are on FoD. Nana is standing by the left edge and Popo is falling in tumble from directly above, at a height about half-way between the top platform and the ground. The enemy, Falco, is walking up to Nana and you are confident he is going to try to fsmash or dsmash her. You do not think you can get a move out in time to hit Falco before he hits Nana, although you could hit him when he's lagging from his move. What do you do?

    2. The ICs are separated on FD and Peach is between them. Peach is at a medium percentage and just FC nair'd Nana, but Nana is at a relatively low percentage and is near the center of the stage, so she isn't lost yet. You see Peach start to float near the ground again and are about a medium length wavedash distance away from her. What do you?

    3. You are playing against a good Fox who is familiar with ICs on Battlefield. Nana is offstage, at a high-percentage, and just double-jumped. You see Fox jumping at her from above for a shine-spike. You are on-stage by the same edge with Popo. The only way you can see of saving her is to jump and up-B towards the stage. Do you do it?

    Options

    1. In this case, there are a couple main options you have. One of these is to let Nana take the hit and to position yourself with Popo to punish Falco when he's in lag. For example, if he's on his last stock and at a high percentage, and you're confident that you can drift behind him and bair him while he's in lag, doing so can probably get you the win. In most situations, however, the downside of this option must be taken into heavy consideration, because losing Nana is generally very significant. An alternative option that I generally view as preferable is to try to get close enough to Nana so that she is in range for a synced side-B, and then side-B towards the center right before the attack hits. This is nice since it saves Nana and puts you in a good position immediately afterwards.

    2. It can be tempting to rush in and try hit Peach as she chases Nana down, but it's worth keeping in mind that Peach's movement while floating can be very nuanced. For example, if you think she will continue chasing down Nana with nairs, but instead drifts in place and bairs, you will probably get hit and Peach will be in a good position to KO Nana. You need to not get overzealous in your efforts to save Nana and try to be realistic about what Peach is probably going to do. If you do read her movement correctly, you can probably hit her with an appropriately spaced wavedash -> ftilt/fsmash/bair or some other similarly disjointed move. Another option here is blizzard. This can be risky since if you space it close to Peach and she isn't at a high percentage, she can punish you afterwards, but if she is at a high percentage, blizzard will cause her to freeze and pop up, which may let you save Nana. Blizzard also covers much more space than the aforementioned moves and hence requires less precise spacing and a less precise read on Peach's movement. It does come with the downside that it likely won't hurt Peach as much as something like fsmash, but as noted earlier, harming the opponent often should not be your top priority when saving Nana.

    3. Recall that up-B leaves Nana and Popo significantly far apart. Unless you think the Fox will get hit by Nana if you attempt it, chances are he will simply wait for Nana to land and usmash her for the KO. In this case, the attempted save doesn't accomplish anything, and probably puts you in a fairly bad position as well. It's probably better to let Fox KO Nana here and then do what you can to punish Fox for being above you and off-stage.


    II.

    Situations

    1. You are playing against a Marth and you are pretty sure he is going to do a short hop stationary double fair. You are at roughly the maximum reach of his fair and you've decided that you want to punish him by moving forward a bit, shielding the first fair, and then wavedashing OoS past him and dsmashing him as the second fair comes out. How do you move forward to shield the first fair?

    2. You are at a low percentage and fighting a Fox who is crouching. You think he is going to dtilt you if you try to get close to him, and you are currently a little bit outside of his dtilt range. You want to move forward, CC the dtilt, and then grab him. How do you move forward to CC the dtilt?

    3. You are fighting a Sheik who likes to use lots of short hop fairs and bairs, and spaces them very well. You decide that you want to punish this by getting under her and hitting her with utilt and usmash. Generally speaking, how shoud you try to get under her?

    Options

    1. Your best bet in this case is probably to run forward. Walking forward won't take you very far when the fair comes out, and punishing a tipped fair OoS can be tricky. Due to wavedashing's landing lag, moving forward that way may result in you getting hit by the fair. It is worth noting that if you're not at a high percentage, you may also be able to wavedash forward, CC the fair, and then punish Marth with something like dsmash.

    2. You should walk forward in this case. Since you can't crouch out of an initial dash animation, running forward would be unreliable. Wavedashing forward would be similarly risky. Walking forward is good here since you still have access to CCing and don't need to worry about the landing lag of wavedashing.

    3. Getting under a Sheik that spaces well can be difficult due to the range of her fair and bair. The only way of moving you have that is fast enough to reliably squeeze underneath is wavedashing. The landing lag of wavedashing is largely a non-issue her since Sheik is in no position to punish you when rising in her short hop.


    III.

    Situation

    1. You are in the center of Battlefield and a Fox is sitting by the edge SHDL camping you. What do you do?

    Options

    1. This is a situation that must be handled with caution. Fox can outcamp ICs pretty handily, so unless you already have a significant lead, you will have to approach him eventually. Approaching him, however, requires going by the edge, and if you aren't careful, he may be able to get around you and gain control of the center. Since lasers do damage slowly, I advise taking your time and learning how he responds when you get near before committing to any attempted punishments. If he stubbornly continues to SHDL, you can likely just wavedash in and fsmash/grab/etc. him. If he likes to rush in and attack you when you get close, you can either get close and start throwing out moves that will out-prioritize his approaches, such as fsmash, bair, probably ftilt angled up, and possibly dash attack. Since he's already by the edge, I'd advise sticking to first three since dash attacks big strength, namely combo potential, isn't as relatively excellent as it usually is since your other options could push Fox off-stage, which is poor for him. The hardest option to deal with is if he likes to board the platform when you get close. You can try to jump up after him and chase him, but if you go airborne or board the platform yourself and he doesn't, you just put yourself in a terrible position. A safer alternative is to try to figure out how he likes to descend from platforms and intercept him with a utilt, usmash, or short hop uair instead.

    IV.

    Situations

    1. You are fighting an aggressive Fox who likes to use a lot of running shines. How do you protect yourself against this?

    2. You are fighting a Samus who is stubbornly sticking near the edge and looking for lots of random dsmashes to knock Nana off-stage. How do you respond to this?

    3. A technically proficient Falcon is repeatedly kneeing your shield! How do you respond?

    Options

    1. Since Fox is able to approach on the ground very quickly and since shine comes out very quickly, it can be very difficult to intercept this approach. While moves with high payoffs are nice, the only ground moves that combo extremely well are jab, utilt, usmash, and dash attack, none of which are very reliable here (dash attack can work, but you need to start it early because of its start-up, and doing this is risky; jab has a tiny hitbox and can be CCed, which isn't improbable here since Fox is going to be holding down to shine utilt and usmash aren't well-equipped to beat this approach in general). It's hence easier to rely on moves that come out quickly and have decent reach. Ftilt in particular comes to mind. Fsmash also comes to mind; it may not be particular fast, but its large hitbox helps make up for that. Turn-around bair is also good here. If you're able to get a blizzard out via something like the dashdance desynch, then that may also work.

    2. Lots of Samus players actually like to do this since Nana dies very easily here. However, her dsmash is laggy, and you get a guaranteed wavedash OoS -> grab if you shield it. If you grab her by the edge, then you get a handoff on her, which can KO her. It's also worth noting that you don't really need to confront Samus in the first place here if you don't want to get involved with the high-risk, high-reward situation she is offering you. It's generally fine to stay near the center and shoot ice blocks at her if you would rather do that, although if you don't have the lead, you may eventually need to approach her.

    3. Punishing Falcon for doing this can be extremely difficult, and the ways he can counter your punishes generally hurt quite a bit. It's often better to try to retreat here. A long wavedash backwards OoS is good provided you have enough space to do that. If you don't, then you may just want to roll away. It should be noted that you need to be cautious about doing a roll desynch here, though, since Falcon is fast and mobile enough to punish those.


    V.

    Situations

    1. You're near an edge which you're facing and you've grabbed a character you aren't very good at doing the handoff on. What do you do?

    2. You are by the edge and you've grabbed Ganon, but you are facing away from it. What do you do?

    3. You landed a grab on the opponent with Popo, but Nana isn't quite close enough for her to be in your control. Do you wait for her to get synced or go for a Popo grab combo?

    Options

    1. Ideally, you could do handoffs on everybody perfectly all the time, but this isn't realistic. It's good to keep in mind that the opponent is still by the edge and on many stages won't be all that far from a horizontal blastzone. If the opponent is at a high percentage, you can likely KO with a dthrow -> charged Nana fsmash; dthrow/uthrow -> charged Nana usmash is also often fine, although this is less position dependent. At lower percentages, it's good to keep in mind that people will likely input survival DI. Against fastfallers, for example, you aren't likely to see them do extreme SDI down-and-away when they're right by the edge, so dthrow -> dair will likely work. It can be harder to get another grab on floatier characters since survival DI may put them high enough to avoid another grab, but it can still work sometimes. It's also worth noting that even you don't think it will KO, putting an opponent offstage with a simple dthrow -> fsmash does put him/her in a position to be edgeguarded, so that is still fine. Lastly, if wobbling is legal, then it is an excellent option, as per usual.

    2. In this case, you are not in an immediate position to start a handoff since you are facing the wrong way. However, you can use dthrow -> reverse dair to put him by the edge. Ganon is very capable of DIing out of this, so be cautious. Another weirder way of putting him behind you that is likely more reliable at low percentages is to have Nana nair instead of dair. As in the first situation, wobbling is also excellent if legal.

    3. First of all, if you can tell that the opponent isn't button mashing much, it's generally fine to just wait. If the person mashes more proficiently, then it's often not worthy taking the risk of waiting for Nana. Even if having her makes your grab punishes notably better, Popo's solo punishes are by no means bad, and having the opponent break out of the grab and suffer no serious punishment can be a very significant loss.

    VI.

    Situations

    1. You want to quickly retreat far back and get a Nana blizzard out. How might you go about doing this?

    2. The opponent is platform camping you and you decide that you want to approach with Nanapult. What might be some good ways of quickly setting up a Nanapult?

    Options

    1. There are many ways of doing this. One good way is to a long wavedash backwards immediately followed by a quick DD -> blizzard. Another good option is the ftilt guard desynch. Another option is to wavedash back and do a quick pivot desynch immediately afterwards. If getting a lot of distance isn't crucial, then roll back -> blizzard may also be fine.

    2. Desynchs that have Popo attack first are often good for setting up a Nanapult since you can have her jump forward > blizzard right after Popo starts his attack. For example, pivot desynchs and the short hop fastfall desynch can both set up Nanapults very quickly. Desynchs where Nana acts first are also often fine in practice, if a little slower. There are plenty of weirder options as well, such as belay OoS -> Nana wavedash in place -> Nanapult.

    VII.

    Situation

    1. You are trying to recover with Popo against Ganon on the left side of the neutral transformation of Stadium. He is below the elevated platform and you are right above the side of the stage at roughly the height of said platform. How do you recover?

    Options

    1. Side-B is often poor here since it can't reasonably be expected to challenge most of Ganon's moves. Since you're already near the edge, you don't have much incentive to use that in any case. Since you're already right by the stage, one option is to drift forward and blizzard; this can be decent since blizzard is one of the few moves you have that can reliably challenge Ganon's range. Another somewhat odd option is to airdodge down and away, fastfall, and drift towards the edge. The invulnerability frames of the airdodge plus the position this puts you in can make this hard to punish if the Ganon player does not anticipate it.

    VIII.

    Situations

    1. Luigi has just grabbed the ledge. You are roughly one blizzard's length away from the edge. What should you do?

    2. Peach is floating towards you from off-stage at roughly the height of your full jump on FD. How do you respond?

    Options

    1. If you already know in advance that the Luigi player doesn't have great wavelands from the ledge, then it's fine to do the usual ice block and blizzard camping. However, if the Luigi is very good at this, then blizzard is very unsafe in your current position, seeing as he can simply waveland straight through it and dsmash you. Being close to the edge against a Luigi proficient at this in general is unsafe, but you have a few decent options. If you want to aggressive keep him at bay, you can turn around and shield if you think he's going to attack your shield, in which case you can bair him off again. It's not uncommon for Luigi's to roll after doing ledge wavelands, so if you notice that the Luigi likes to do this, you can read it for a free grab. If there aren't any platforms hovering over the side of the stage, then a safer alternative is to simply go a little closer to the center and harass Luigi from there. It's very difficult for him to get around this, so you can still often keep him by the edge even if you can't easily force him offstage.

    2. On one hand, challenging Peach in this situation always a little bit dangerous, but it's still often worth it. One option is to wavedash towards her while facing away, jump, and bair. This loses to her fair, but if you can catch her off-guard with it, you will take her float and usually force to her rely on her up-B. Another option is to try to hit her when she descends to the floor. It's very hard to challenge Peach from the side as she descends, so you'll usually want to get below her. Utilt and usmash are your main options here; utilt combos a little better, but isn't difficult to escape in versions aside from 1.0, and it has also has a smaller hitbox, which admittedly isn't often a big issue against Peach since she can't protect herself well from directly below. Usmash is mostly nice for its KO potential, and if the reason Peach is floating offstage is that you hit her over there, then she's probably at a high enough percentage for usmash to be a significant threat. Be aware that if you utilt or usmash and Peach just keeps floating, then she can descend and punish you afterwards.


    This concludes the guide. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to post them.
     
    Samwonders5, Mornag, TrevR and 19 others like this.
  2. john!

    john!
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    YES fkn hype

    reading it now, thanks fly

    edit: you forgot to insert the link to the "everything thread"
     
  3. Fly_Amanita

    Fly_Amanita
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    Whoops, thanks for pointing that out. There's another thread I also forgot to link to, now that I think about it.
     
  4. Teczer0

    Teczer0
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    Omg thats a lot of information I need to read.

    *sticks*

    Wait, fly whats with the title of this guide?
     
  5. s2j

    s2j
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    pretty amazing guide, learned a butt load (will forget much of it in 10 minutes tho)

    How do you feel about approaching with up-tilt, perhaps vs those that short hop a lot? Think Wobbles got me with that a lot of times
     
  6. -LzR-

    -LzR-
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    Wtf at the title xD
    Too good.
     
  7. Эикельманн [РУС]

    Ей 22. Она красивая, стройная леди.

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    hahaha, funny title, amazing thread.
     
  8. Beat!

    Beat!
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    Cool stuff.
     
  9. Fly_Amanita

    Fly_Amanita
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    It means "Beware of thin ice".

    Oh yeah, that's pretty good on characters with high short hops. I briefly mentioned it in situation 3 for section 2, but it probably deserves its own little mention in section IV.
     
  10. -LzR-

    -LzR-
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  11. ♡ⓛⓞⓥⓔ♡

    ♡ⓛⓞⓥⓔ♡
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    Anti-Illuminati

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    That video ****ed up, I'm still afraid to walk on ice because I watched pikku kakkonen as a kid. And I still **** my pants at the end when the pedobear starts talking
     
  12. Эикельманн [РУС]

    Ей 22. Она красивая, стройная леди.

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    säveltäjällä ei oo ollu lääkitys kohallaan....

    VAROKAA HEIKKOA JÄÄTÄ, MMMMMMMM. :cool:
     
  13. shmeargle

    shmeargle
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    Is this Finnish? When does nana lose her AI when she's next to you. can she still do certain moves like fsmash when your grabbing someone? The situation is when she's far away and runs really close to you and stops is that when she loses her AI?

    :phone:
     
  14. Binx

    Binx
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    Nice guide fly, I even picked up a few spacing tricks.
     
  15. Fly_Amanita

    Fly_Amanita
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    If you want me to elaborate at all, let me know.

    Yes.
    Generally when she reaches a certain distance from you. There are weird circumstances when she doesn't respond properly even right next to you, e.g. she sometimes full jumps when you try to wavedash on a slanted surface, but for the most part, if she's close to, you can control her.
    Yes, this is a standard grab finisher.
    I'd say that's just when she fails at getting back in sync. Like, sometimes she'll be almost close enough to be in your control, but she just sits there outside of reach instead. This is fairly common when you grab an enemy with Popo and Nana is on the other side of the enemy.

    :phone:[/QUOTE]
     
  16. shmeargle

    shmeargle
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    So sometimes she can fail to resync with you? When nana runs back to you do you have to wait until she finishes her sliding motion in order to control her and won't do her own random stuff?

    :phone:
     
  17. Fly_Amanita

    Fly_Amanita
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    If she's sliding from finishing a dash and is right next to you, I'm pretty sure you can control her then, although since the things you can do out of that slide are limited, it's generally good to do something you can do out of a jump, like usmash or dair.
     
  18. Teczer0

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    The handoff cg is omg so hard. I only ever get maybe 1 repetition out of it.

    I also mess up the dthrow dair cg sometimes which is odd. I feel like I'm not running out of it ever, am I just trying to grab too soon?

    :phone:
     
  19. Vts

    Vts
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    post videos my husbando might be they are smash DI'ing out before you can regrab or your not delaying nana's dair
     
  20. Teczer0

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    Next tourney I'm going to, I'm gonna try to mess around with ICz in winners at least so I"ll try to get some vids =3
     
  21. PokemonMasterIRL

    PokemonMasterIRL
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    Are you Finish Jeremy? I thought you were Russian for some reason.

    Oh, and thank you for writing this, very informative.

    I think you could add in the Nana section that her attacks are based on her percent (at low percent she taunts or jabs and at higher percents she Smashes) How she will always taunt at 0% on a respawn so doing something that syncs you is prudent.
     
    hi im 47 likes this.
  22. choknater

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    wow, nana really does that miles? like changes her moves at diff %s
     
  23. john!

    john!
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    yes. believe it or not, nana's mind is almost as complicated and strange as that of an actual woman. rather impressive for 2001 AI
     
    hi im 47 likes this.
  24. Fly_Amanita

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    I think I'm roughly half Swedish, quarter German, and quarter Danish. I'm not Russian or Finnish; you probably thought the former since I always used to use the USSR tag.
    I wasn't aware of this, either. Are there are any detailed posts about this floating around anywhere? If not, I can dig up some details myself over the weekend and add them then.
     
  25. PokemonMasterIRL

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    I read it from someone at some point and I have just made observations over time.

    We all know some of her habits without being aware of it, such as the Taunt at 0% on a new stock, Taunting being the least aggressive thing she can do, since she has no damage.
     
  26. Turazrok

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    The handoff timing differs by character immensely? Or is it non-existent/unnoticeable?
     
  27. Fly_Amanita

    Fly_Amanita
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  28. Turazrok

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    Ok that helped a lot thanks.
     
  29. shmeargle

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    Can you elaborate on nairing marth as an edgeguard? I don't really understand jumping off and nairing him. Is it w/ nana or w/out?
     
  30. Fly_Amanita

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    Either with or without Nana is fine, although with her is better since you can afford to go farther out and since you'll do more damage/knockback.

    The idea is simple enough; when Marth is recovering (generally recovering low), if you guess that he is going to side-B, you can run off or jump off (depending on precise details about how he's positioned) and nair him before he can do anything about it. As noted in the guide, it's really risky, since if you don't succeed, he'll probably get to the edge before you do, putting you in a terrible position. I only advise trying this when you're very confident it'll work.

    The other use for nair against a recovering Marth I mentioned is grabbing the edge and doing an invulnerable ledgehop nair. There are a couple different situations when you may want to use this. One is when he's recovering high: if he's offstage and you don't want to jump out and nair/bair him since he might just fair you, you can sometimes just wavedash to the edge and immediately do a high ledgehop nair; you should be invulnerable for this. You typically won't always have time to do this sort of trick, though, and if Marth is recovering high and you don't think you can safely intercept him in time, it's probably better to just let him land and set up a desynched blizzard and keep him by the edge until you can knock him off again or KO him.

    When Marth is recovering low, on the other hand, if you grab the edge, he might try to up-B early to land onstage. This is a pretty common response from a lot of Marth players. If you immediately drop from the edge and fall somewhat far, but not so far that you can't land onstage with your double jump, and then double jump nair, then your nair will hit Marth out of his up-B and you will be unfazed. This sometimes will put him far enough so that you can just edgehog him. If not, it still does some damage and gives you enough time to try to edgeguard him again. Sometimes you can just do ledgehop nair this way over and over until the Marth dies, although repeating this trick so many times increases the likelihood that the Marth will realize how to beat it.
     
  31. Nintendude

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    Finally got around to reading / skimming this. This is great for proficient players who want to transition to ICs.

    I really should try using blizzard to save Nana more. For some reason I've completely overlooked this option and try for something more greedy like a f-smash or bair, which doesn't work most of the time.

    I'm not sure how much matchup-specific stuff you want to add but my favorite edgeguard against Marth is to desynch an ice block when hes at roughly a 45 degree angle below the edge and then wd to the edge. Half the time you either eat his 2nd jump or push him too far away to up-B back onto the stage. If neither of those 2 things happen, you'll end up interrupting his up-B in which case most of the time he'll panic and up-B onto the stage for a free grab or you can just edgehog him normally. I just thought I'd mention this specific tactic since it's a particularly failsafe edgeguard against a high tier character. For video reference, I did it A LOT in my sets with JesiahTEG.
     
  32. Fly_Amanita

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    That's definitely really good and is the edgeguard I do against Marth the most, too. Thanks for bringing it up. And yeah, while the guide itself isn't directed at match-up discussion, I see no harm in talking about such details in the replies.
     
  33. Turazrok

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    Do I have to time l-cancels differently for ice climbers (ex. later in the frame window ) in order for both nana and popo to l-cancel or does it not matter/make a difference?

    dumb question lol.
     
  34. Fly_Amanita

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    It generally doesn't matter. It is possible to do a really late L-cancel with Popo so that Nana lands before she L-cancels, resulting in a weird desynch with some okay applications, but aside from that one odd situation, timing the input so that Popo L-cancels should also cause Nana to L-cancel.
     
  35. GofG

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    This is the most well-written guide I've ever seen. Thank you so much!
     
  36. Cia

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    whoa.. subcribes.

    will read at some point during spring break :)
     
  37. Lovage

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    dude this is a fantastic guide, i'm gonna try to read every bit of it lol.

    edit: WTF @ no posts in 2 months. this should be the new IC discussion + q/a hosted by fly.
     
  38. PokemonMasterIRL

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    There are only like 2 IC mains, I exaggerate but not by much.
     
  39. Grim Tuesday

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    ICs board is one of the more active ones in my experience, despite the low numbers.
     
  40. iRobinhoood

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    Gonna try to conquer(in my terms means learn the basic of basics) the Ice CLimbers over the next month for funs.
     

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