We usually start our Super Smash Bros. Ultimate veteran training guides by talking about how the character performed in Super Smash Bros. 4. Let’s continue that trend by saying Cloud was absolutely insane in Smash 4. He was one of two fighters to be completely banned from our metagame, though he was later allowed back under strict equipment restrictions. Cloud isn’t quite as strong in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate – in fact, at the time of writing, he’s only mid-to-high tier. Regardless, he’s still got tons of potential, and today we’re going to be talking about how to unlock it!
Cloud’s got a lot going for him. One thing he’s definitely got down is range. His Buster Sword is huge, and almost all of his attacks have a ton of reach. This allows him to fight close-ranged opponents with ease, as his sword can outrange most enemies. Not to mention that he’s got a projectile, a few spikes, and powerful aerials and finishers to boot. Though Cloud has several useful options, an optimally-trained Cloud amiibo will likely only focus on a few of them — particularly his forward smash, up smash, and neutral aerial moves.
It’s no secret that Cloud’s greatest weakness is his poor recovery. Even with his Limit Charge active, Climhazzard grants little horizontal distance and leaves Cloud vulnerable to gimps. That’s part of why Cloud is no longer top-tier: in Smash 4, Figure Players weren’t actually capable of going off-stage to gimp. Now they can, which leaves Cloud more open than ever. Furthermore, Cloud’s AI still hasn’t been fixed from 4; it still cannot tell when its Limit Gauge is full and will often waste its charge on a Blade Beam (which rarely actually connects).
Cloud’s tournament results lie somewhere between decent and good, so you’ve still got a great deal of potential to work with here. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have too many tools to deal with Bowser or Incineroar, as Blade Beam won’t keep them away for very long (and shouldn’t be spammed anyway). If you’d like to read more on Cloud’s metagame position, check out our wiki page on the character! We sure mention Bowser and Incineroar a lot in unrelated character guides, don’t we?
Cloud has shown strong tournament results with both Super Armor and Slow Super Armor, though the former tends to garner the best outcome. Armor Knight is also a solid choice, and it can be paired with Trade-Off Ability ↑ for a deadly bonus combination! Autoheal and Great Autoheal work fine, but the Spirit effects we’ve already mentioned tend to work out better.
The bonuses above are usually banned, though, so if you’re looking to enter a Spirits tournament that follows our ban list, here are some other options. Cloud benefits greatly from Weapon Attack ↑, as it buffs his entire moveset. Hyper Smash Attacks and Move Speed ↑ are two other options you could go with, with the latter buffing his recovery and making his aerial options even more threatening.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much variation between Cloud’s most optimal stat spreads. You pretty much have to go with a balanced build (2100 / 2100). Too much attack, and Cloud won’t have enough defense to stay on-stage at medium percentages. Too much defense means he won’t be able to KO opponents fast enough! So balanced is definitely the way to go here.
To train the best possible Cloud amiibo, you’re going to have to play as Cloud, too. New trainers might notice their Figure Players acting strange while leveling up. Don’t worry about this! To be frank, FPs that aren’t Level 50 are running off of a stupider AI. At Level 50, a Figure Player is running off of the strongest possible base AI and is using your training data to modify that AI. In other words, if your FP starts acting up, don’t worry about it until after it reaches Level 50. In the meantime, here are all the moves to focus on:
- Forward smash: Almost every FP’s favorite move, and it should be Cloud’s too! It strikes multiple times, does a lot of shield damage, and deals tons of damage! Prioritize this heavily.
- Up smash: It’s got a large hitbox, making it a great anti-air. Use it as an out-of-shield option, too!
- Up special: As with any up special, FPs aren’t too keen using this move, but Cloud’s AI seems more inclined than most. Use this out of shield every once in a while as well.
- Back aerial: Small hitbox, but the AI is good at landing it. Don’t use too many aerials, though, as we don’t want Cloud to get too jumpy.
- Neutral aerial: Solid range and power that protects Cloud from most incoming attacks. Use it to land if you’re knocked into the air.
So, those moves are definitely the most important ones here. There are a number of other moves you should be using, too, just less frequently. They’re a bit more situational, so be sure to prioritize the moves above more heavily than the moves below.
- Side special: Some Cloud trainers prefer to stay away from the B button (bar up specials). That being said, a few strong Cloud FPs have made use of their side specials. Don’t use this move too heavily, as its hitbox conflicts with forward smash, and you want the AI to use forward smash more often anyway. Even so, Cross Slash is a potent albeit situational option thanks to its strength and multi-hit nature.
- Neutral special: It’s a good move in theory, but can be spammed if used too often. Use it at the ledge or when your FP is far away. Never use it up close or the FP will start doing the same.
- Forward aerial: This move has a large hitbox and a chance to spike. It can be really useful in certain situations, but some trainers prefer to avoid it entirely. You should be staying on-stage wherever possible, so if you’re going to use this move at all, try to use it close to the ledge.
- Up aerial: It’s in a similar vein as forward air. Good move, but it encourages Cloud FPs to fight in the air, whereas we want them to be on the ground for the most part. It can set up juggles, though, so use it for damage every so often.
- Down tilt: A great combo starter, and Cloud’s AI knows a few hard-coded follow ups that you won’t have to worry about teaching. Use it sparingly (if at all).
- Forward tilt: This move would be essential to Cloud’s kit, but it covers a similar range as forward smash. If you do use forward tilt, do so very sparingly, and make sure your FP prioritizes its forward smash.
Just one move that you should specifically be avoiding: grabs. Cloud has one of the worst grab games in the entire amiibo metagame. His range is short, his throws are weak, and they don’t even combo into anything! He doesn’t have a reason to use grabs outside of extremely specific situations, so try to steer clear of them. Do note that FPs can’t tell if you’re not using a move, so they won’t learn to shield all the time even though you’re not grabbing.
If there’s a move you’re thinking of that wasn’t mentioned here, don’t worry! We didn’t forget — it’s just not important enough to be listed here for one reason or another. Experimentation is key, be sure to play around, etc., you know the drill!
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