Smash 4 DLC: Cloud Analysis
Now that Cloud has been out for a week, I have a better idea of what this character is all about. In this analysis, I’ll be talking about what he does well and where he struggles. An overview of his moveset, how he matches up against other characters, and my overall thoughts on Cloud’s potential. So, lets get into the analysis and discuss this newest addition to Smash 4.
First off, lets go over my initial thoughts on Cloud before I had ever even used him. During the smash direct, Sakurai went over most of Cloud’s moveset. Mainly his smash attacks and special abilities. I was impressed with his moveset, like I noted in my previous post on Cloud, he appears to play sort of like Ike does. After getting this more in depth look into his moveset, I realized that yes, he has some similar moves to Ike, but he is definitely different. The most interesting thing about Cloud is definitely his Limit Break ability. I’ll talk more about this later, but seeing all of its uses in the direct made me wonder just how good this move could be. Sakurai also covered his smash attacks. At first glance they didn’t appear to be anything too special, however, looks can be deceiving. I figured I’d learn more about his smashes and how powerful/useful they would be once I could test them out. So yeah, just watching Clouds portion of the Smash direct, I thought he looked very interesting and couldn’t wait to try him out for myself. I figured it would be stupid to assume that anything I saw from the direct to be cheap or make Cloud overpowered. You can never quite tell the potential of a character by just watching, so lets move on to the next section where I talk about my first hand experience using Cloud.
Okay, so lets take a look at Cloud’s move set. I’ll go over everything quickly then go back to a few specific moves that stood out to me. First, lets talk about his more basic attacks (jabs, dash, tilts, and aerials). So his jab attack is just a quick one two three sequence. nothing really special here, except that when using his jabs he seems to slide forward a lot. Great when anticipating pressure or for a quick punish to knock them away from you. Next thing is his dash attack, its very good for pressuring your opponent on landing. This move will also kill at higher percents, but its not that powerful so this shouldn’t be your first option unless theyre above 150% and you have decent rage. Now for tilts, his forward tilt covers good range while sliding him forward a bit, this can be a good killing option by the ledge at high percents. Up tilt can be good for combos and great if your opponent is directly above you. Down tilt is probably his best tilt, and is one that I’ll be going into more detail soon. For now I’ll say it’s like Megaman’s down tilt but better. Okay, next up are Cloud’s aerials, nothing really too special here. Neutral air is super quick and covers lots of space. His up air is great for juggling and also covers a good amount of space. Forward air is similar to Ikes, except it can spike. Back air is also similar to Ike’s, except it covers more range, but isn’t as strong. And lastly, down air is similar to Shulk’s, except not as much range, but lasts longer. That does it for these basic attacks, so lets move on.
For this section, I’ll quickly go over Cloud’s Grabs and Smash attacks. First off, his grabs, they’re decent but from what I can see he can’t really do a whole lot off of them. Pretty much his best option is down throwing at low percent for a forward tilt or dash attack follow up. At higher percents I’m not really sure how many if any true follow up options Cloud has. As his meta game advances I’m sure a lot of good 50/50’s will be discovered off of his throws but as for now just combo when you can and toss em off stage when you can’t. His smash attacks are very good, especially his forward smash. Cloud’s forward smash is his best one in my opinion, I’ll talk about it more later. His down smash is like Ganondorf’s, where it hits in front of you first then behind, and the first hit combos into the second hit. Up smash seems deceptively weak, what I mean by this is, it looks like it should be stronger than what it is. It is strong, but I’ve had opponents up to pretty high percents, certain that an up smash would kill, and yet it doesn’t. Nevertheless, it looks awesome and is by far my favorite looking Up smash in this game. I mean come on, it just looks vicious, a huge uppercut to the face with a gigantic deadly looking sword, you can’t beat that.
Time to get into Cloud’s Special moves. His neutral special is a really good range move that works well to zone and covers lots of space. Forward special is a combo move similar to Marth’s forward special. Only difference is, the only way to continue the combo is if you make contact with your opponent. So you can spam this move and wait for your opponent to run into it, once they do you can finish the combo by continuing to mash. Now for the up special, it’s not very good to say the least. It is a horrible recovery option that is pretty much only useful for vertical recoveries. It only moves you horizontal very slightly so make sure you’re close to the ledge when you use it. It has a hit box but it’s really not worth using as an attack given all the other options Cloud has. One last thing, make sure you don’t hit B twice while recovering, once you trigger the second hit you will no longer be able to grab the ledge. I’ve seen many Cloud’s make this mistake and fall to their death, so yeah, don’t be that person, it’s kind of embarrassing. Last but not least is Cloud’s down special, and I won’t say much about it here because once again, I will go into much more detail about this move in a bit. All I’ll say now is it may be the most important part of Cloud’s meta game.
So now that I’ve gone over all of Cloud’s moves and abilities, I want to talk about a few of his moves in more detail. The reason I’m doing this is because these are the moves that really stood out to me for one reason or another. The moves that will probably really make up most of his meta game as time goes on.
Cloud’s down tilt is an extremely good option for so many situations.On landing, out of shield, rush down opponents, getting under enemy projectiles and more. This move is very quick to start up and has very little lag time. The space it covers is incredible, like I said before, it’s like Megaman’s down tilt but seems to cover twice the distance. Another good use for this move is setups, at low percents you can get combos off of it and at higher percents you knock them into the air. And trust me, you want your opponent to be airborne, Cloud strives in these situations. So knock them up and start camping their landing.
Like I previously stated, Cloud does best when he has his opponent up in the air. Once his opponent is above him, he can pressure with up air. Cloud’s up air covers tons of range and the hit box stays out for a decent amount of time. This is so good to juggle your opponents, and since cloud is so fast, you can easily track them down and throw out an up air. And not only is it good for juggling and racking up percent, but this move is very strong so you can use it as a killing option. Another great use for it is baiting, this up air has little to no lag after using it so you can force an air dodge and forward smash on landing.
Cloud’s forward smash is stupidly strong. For how fast this character is and the range this smash can cover, its pretty ridiculous how strong it is. And let’s not forget that its a 3 hit attack, so if you unblock during it your gonna get hit. It also seems to be pretty safe for the most part, on shield that is. Just make sure that if a Cloud is just throwing out this move, like its going out of style, that you be extra careful. I’ve ran into the last hit many times trying to punish it and died at early percents. As long as you respect this move you shouldn’t have to many issues, but it can definitely catch you off guard so just keep that in mind when fighting Cloud.
This is the power that I think will define Cloud and his meta game. It’s called limit break, Cloud has this meter that can be obtained by taking damage, dealing damage, or using this special move to charge it. Once charged, Cloud gains a blue aura around him making all of his base stats slightly better. Also, all of his special moves change, they all become A LOT better. Once cloud has this move charged, he becomes a killing machine. His neutral, side, and down special all become great killing options. Especially his down special, once charged it changes its properties to an insanely powerful whirlwind looking move that kills extremely early. I tested this move out and found that the earliest I could get it to kill was on Jigglypuff at 52% and Fox at 74%. Keep in mind that these tests were in practice mode with NO RAGE. I didn’t test every character, but only the ones that made sense in trying to find the lowest and highest percents this move would kill. So pretty much just look to get your opponent to 80%, then just keep charging your limit break and try to pull off this move for an easy kill. This move also covers lots of range and also hits if your above Cloud, the one side affect is that it can be blocked and punished. But hey, for a move this strong it’s definitely worth the risk. This ability is like a KO punch or Wario fart that you can charge manually, its pretty insane. I’ve lost many matches after dominating because I get hit by this move at 60%, it can be pretty heartbreaking. One more thing about this down special, it pretty much allows Cloud to recover from anything. Once he fills the meter, his up special goes from being one of the worst to easily one of the best.
Time to go into how Cloud matches up against the rest of the roster in Smash 4. From what I’ve seen, Cloud matches up against everyone else fairly well. He moves quick, is capable of zoning, can pressure opponents, and has lots of good killing options. His biggest weakness is his recovery, so characters that can fight off stage will be able to easily gimp him, unless he has limit break of course. But anyways, Cloud does great when he has stage control, as long as you got it try not to lose it. The second you get knocked off stage is when you get into trouble with Cloud.
What are my overall thoughts on Cloud in Smash 4? Well after playing Cloud, I can say that he’s one of the funnest characters for me to use in Smash 4. He’s quick and has lots of options for any situation that’s thrown at him. Recovering off stage is annoying though, and I wish he had a horizontal recovery option or a way to angle his up special. But oh well, every character needs a weakness and Cloud’s is recovery. He seems to be a very interesting character and I can’t wait to see his meta game evolve. I think Cloud has lots of potential and is definitely going to be a skill based character if you want to do well with him at high levels of play. Is he top tier? Nobody knows yet and I’m certainly not going to try to place him on a tier list at this point. He’s only just been released and it takes time to see a characters true potential. I will say this though, I believe Cloud has the tools to be top tier. But lets not worry about any of that, lets just be happy that Cloud made it into this game. He’s a character that many thought would never have a chance to be in Smash, but here we are, talking about him right now, pretty amazing. Cloud is a great addition to the roster and definitely deserving of a spot in Smash 4. I just wish I could say the same about Corrin and Bayonetta, but that’s a topic for another discussion. Anyways, that pretty much wraps up this analysis. Just one last thing though, be sure to check out how awesome Cloud’s up smash is if you haven’t already. Sword uppercut to the face, best thing in Smash 4 by far.
Thanks for checking out this in depth analysis on Cloud in Smash 4. I hope you learned a few things that will help you while using this character or fighting against him. If you’d like to share your thoughts on Cloud or have any questions for me about the character, feel free to use the comment section below. Also, be sure to check back in with AZBros.com whenever you get the chance. We’re always putting up new content, so make sure you stay up to date with all of it. I’m Lockjaw, and I’ll see you next time!