Welcome to the second chapter of Amiibo Training Analysis! I’d like to extend thanks to Supernova for writing up today’s entry. If you’re a trainer who wants to raise a great Cloud amiibo, you’re in luck: we’re going to take an in-depth look at what makes this character work.
History of Cloud in the Amiibo Metagame
Cloud’s amiibo was released on July 21st, 2017. As one of the most recent newcomers to the metagame, Cloud doesn’t have much history. Essentially, Cloud’s amiibo rose to top-tier status as soon as it was made available, and hasn’t declined since. In fact, the Cloud amiibo is considered so powerful that the community has placed equipment restrictions on it: in tournaments, Cloud amiibo are not permitted more than sixty points in Attack, and only one Attack-boosting bonus. This is because a single forward smash can shatter a full shield.
- Neutral attack: Cloud’s jab consists of a quick set of kicks that ends with a small swing of his sword. It’s one of his best options due to how fast and strong it is. One thing it lacks is range, so it’s only optimal to use at point blank.
- Forward tilt: A quick, powerful sword swing with decent range. It can KO easily at high percentages, but is usually outclassed by other moves.
- Up tilt: A sword swipe that starts behind Cloud. It lacks both range and power, and should be avoided during training.
- Down tilt: Cloud slides across the ground, kind of like a second dash attack. One of his best tilts when its power, range, and speed are taken into consideration. On top of that, Cloud’s legs are intangible for the duration of the attack.
- Dash attack: Cloud tends to use this move out of a jab if the opponent is launched far enough. In most cases, the amiibo properly times and spaces it.
- Forward smash: A series of three sword swings with incredible range and power. With enough Attack investment, it has the potential to break shields. Unfortunately, it also has a lot of startup and ending lag, leaving Cloud vulnerable to punishes should he miss. Despite being a literal double-edged sword, forward smash should be used as Cloud’s primary KO move.
- Up smash: A fast upward sword swing. It’s especially useful for punishing aerials, and packs a lot of damage and KO potential. It should be used as a secondary KO move.
- Down smash: The least useful of Cloud’s smash attacks. It starts in front of him, covers both sides, and launches opponents backward. It lacks range and power, and Cloud has a tendency to spam this move. It should be avoided at all costs during training.
- Neutral aerial: Under most circumstances, aerials should be avoided. However, Cloud will sometimes use them on his own, even if he wasn’t explicitly taught to. While it has excellent range, neutral aerial tends to be Cloud’s least effective aerial attack. Block or dodge your amiibo’s aerial moves, and then respond with an up smash.
- Forward aerial: Cloud amiibo will occasionally try to use forward aerial out of a short hop. This leaves him open to punishment. If it does hit, the move possesses decent KO power and range, with an added bonus of having a meteor smash on the tip of the Buster Sword.
- Back aerial: Arguably Cloud’s best aerial. Should your amiibo ever decide to use it, it’s fast enough to be used out of a short hop. Furthermore, it packs decent knockback and range.
- Up aerial: A fast, upward push with good range and power. When properly trained, Cloud will rarely use this move (if at all).
- Down aerial: Similarly to forward aerial, Cloud amiibo will try using down aerial out of a short hop. This leaves him vulnerable, as the move lacks utility outside of a situational meteor smash.
- Forward throw: Cloud’s throws aren’t very useful. Forward throw lacks launch power and inflicts negligible damage.
- Back throw: As with forward throw, it lacks damage and launch power, and should be avoided as a result.
- Up throw: Cloud’s most useful throw is his up throw. It can juggle opponents and lead into an up smash. Although it’s Cloud’s most useful throw, it should still be avoided during training.
- Down throw: Down throw lacks power and range as well, but can occasionally combo into a back aerial. That being said, down throw’s low combo potential isn’t worth it, and should be avoided.
Important: Cloud has a unique Limit Break mechanic that can give his special moves an extra boost. It also slightly increases his movement speed and recovery potential. Take extra care to teach your Cloud amiibo how to properly charge, hold, and execute his Limit Break mechanic.
- Blade Beam: Blade Beam is a Cloud amiibo’s favorite move. That is to say, it loves spamming it. It’s a slow projectile that covers a wide area, and strikes multiple times with the aid of a full Limit Charge. It’s best to avoid this move during training so that your amiibo doesn’t waste its Limit Charge on it.
- Cross Slash: Cloud amiibo have a difficult time aiming Cross Slash. With continued training, however, it can learn to space it properly. It inflicts respectable damage and has deceptive range. When powered by a full Limit Charge, Cross Slash becomes a powerful KO move.
- Climhazzard: Cloud can learn to use Climhazzard as a damage-racking move, but won’t use its second strike if it fails to connect or hits a shield. This leaves him vulnerable to attack. Climhazzard also doesn’t snap to the edge, which results in Cloud recovering low. A Limit Break-powered Climhazzard grants increased vertical distance and allows Cloud to control his horizontal momentum, making it a critical recovery technique.
- Limit Charge / Finishing Touch: This move has two functions. By default, Limit Charge fills up Cloud’s Limit Gauge. This technique should be used when your amiibo is far away from its opponent. With a full Limit Charge, down special becomes Finishing Touch. However, Cloud amiibo tend to whiff Finishing Touch – when using a fully charged Limit Break, either attack with Cross Slash or save it to recover with a boosted Climhazzard.
Cloud has several specific tendencies coded into his AI that are shared across all Cloud amiibo. For the most part, they can’t be changed or corrected with further training. Even so, it’s good to know what kind of knowledge your amiibo is working with.
We briefly touched on this earlier, but Cloud amiibo love spamming Blade Beam. At far distances, Blade Beam becomes its primary attack. Even if Cloud has a fully charged Limit Break ready, he will waste it on Blade Beam instead of saving it for Cross Slash or Climhazzard. It’s possible to decrease the frequency of this quirk, but it’s impossible to completely erase it.
Cloud is also kind of jumpy – when training him, be especially careful of aerial attacks. Even when trained fully grounded, the amiibo tends to use neutral aerials or forward aerials out of nowhere, which leaves it vulnerable against opponents.
Stats, Bonus Effects, & Custom Moves
Before feeding your Cloud amiibo, keep in mind the competitive ruleset. Cloud amiibo can’t have more than sixty points in Attack, and can only have one Attack-boosting bonus effect. Hyper smash attacks serves as that bonus, increasing the power of all smash attacks by 30%. It pairs nicely alongside Lifesteal, which allows your Cloud amiibo to restore its health by attacking. Improved escapability is necessary to help its user to quickly escape from grabs and throw.
Overall, Cloud’s matchups are quite solid, but he does struggle against certain top-tier characters. If you need to familiarize yourself with the current amiibo rankings, go ahead and do so now. Here are some of Cloud’s worst matchups – in other words, these are the characters you need to prepare for most of all.
- Marth & Lucina: By far Cloud’s worst possible matchup is against Marth and Lucina. Cloud relies on his forward and up smashes to secure a KO, but both of these options are rendered useless when faced against either of these fighters. Their side specials, Dancing Blade, come out so fast that Cloud can’t react in time. Due to the high power of Cloud’s smash attacks, he is also vulnerable to Marth and Lucina’s Counter moves.
- Ness: Cloud has an unfavorable matchup against Ness. Cloud amiibo love to spam Blade Beam, and opposing Ness amiibo will restore health by using PSI Magnet to absorb the projectiles. Coupled with PK Fire, Cloud can rarely get close enough to attack. That being said, the matchup isn’t entirely in Ness’ favor: Cloud can outrange Ness with jabs and smash attacks.
- Characters with counters: As with Marth and Lucina, Cloud’s high-damaging attacks make him vulnerable to counters. To his benefit, however, forward smash has a chance of hitting through certain counter moves.
- Characters with fast smash attacks: Cloud is at a huge disadvantage against fighters with quick forward smashes. Most characters that fall under this category are able to roll behind Cloud after he uses a forward smash, only to follow up with a forward smash of their own.
- Characters with projectiles: Cloud’s recovery is poor without Limit Break, and he is vulnerable to being gimped off-stage. Characters that can effectively edgeguard with projectiles – examples include Mario, Link, and King Dedede – have an advantage against Cloud.
Although Cloud has trouble against many different characters, he has fairly even matchups against most high-tier fighters (except Marth and Lucina). Cloud also has a positive matchup against most lower-tiered characters.
Thanks so much for reading! Once again, I’d like to thank Supernova for writing up this edition of Amiibo Training Analysis. It’s safe to say that he’s qualified to write this, as his own Cloud amiibo has won several tournament championships. If you ever need additional help training your Cloud amiibo, or want to ask a general question about the character, please don’t hesitate to fill out the Contact form or join the community Discord server. Happy training!