Cloud (クラウド, Cloud) is a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. He was confirmed on June 12th, 2018 and is classified as Fighter #61.
In all regions, Cloud is voiced by Takahiro Sakurai, his longtime Japanese voice actor, albeit via recycled voice clips from Smash 4. This makes him the first character to remain fully voiced in Japanese in all regions despite having an existing English voice actor.
How to unlock
Complete one of the following:
With the exception of the third method, Cloud must then be defeated on Midgar.
Cloud is a semi-heavyweight swordsman with surprisingly quick mobility overall. He has average walking speed, very fast dashing speed, above average air speed and average air acceleration, granting him both quick ground and aerial mobility. He has above average falling speed and high gravity, however, preventing him from staying in the air for long despite his good aerial maneuverability. Under Limit Break status, his mobility is even better; his traction slightly improves, his dashing speed becomes even faster, his falling speed the fourth fastest, and his air speed becomes the fastest in the game under normal circumstances. His increased gravity and falling speed, however, make his jumps slightly lower and prevent him from auto-cancelling some of his aerial attacks (notably back aerial and up aerial) as easily. As a result, his Limit Break status only marginally benefits his aerial mobility, but it can nevertheless help him move along the ground better.
Cloud's greatest asset is his effective range, courtesy of his Buster Sword; Cloud's attacks have among the longest reaches in the game, and can space out the opponent quite easily, snuff out opposing approaches and adeptly punish most careless attacks due to his speed and range. A prime example of this trait is Cloud's aerial attacks: his neutral aerial covers Cloud's hurtbox well, making it a go-to option for spacing or air-to-ground transition movement. It is also very fast on both ends, can autocancel from a short hop, and has a low launching angle, all of which make it a good edgeguarding and spacing tool despite its below-average knockback. His up aerial has a rather large hitbox, overall decent speed, a long duration, and decent damage and knockback, which makes it effective at juggling and denying landings. His down aerial is not only a very strong meteor smash when sweetspotted, but also possesses a long-lasting late hitbox, which grants it good anti-juggling potential and allows him to follow up into another move if it connects while he is falling. Like up aerial, it also has a long autocancel window, being able to autocancel from a jump regardless of his Limit Break status. Back aerial has tremendous range, decent power, very low landing lag, and also autocancels from a short hop, allowing him to edgeguard and space effectively, though it can often miss low opponents due to it having little vertical range. Forward aerial is very strong when hit clean, and is also a meteor smash on aerial opponents when sweetspotted. Like down aerial, it autocancels from a full jump and has low landing lag in relation to its range and power, however, it has the slowest startup of his aerials, making it his riskiest aerial to use regardless.
His grounded moveset is not quite as overwhelming. His neutral attack is his fastest attack, and the third hit can force a tech-chase. His down tilt is a low-profile slide, and can be a great tool to put the opponent at a disadvantage. His up tilt is a reliable combo starter until high percentages, chaining into itself at low percentages, and comboing into up smash or his neutral, back and up aerials. His up smash, in particular, covers a very large arc, has decent speed, and rather high knockback despite its surprisingly low damage, making it among his best and least risky KOing options out of his standard moveset. His forward tilt has decent power and speed, but has little utility aside from as a quick punish, or being used as a KOing option at extreme percentages. His dash attack is a fast punishing tool from a distance and, due to its power, can put opponents in a bad position. It is easily punished when shielded or avoided, however. Cloud's forward smash is his most powerful non-Limit Break move, though to compensate it also takes the longest to start and is very punishable if it whiffs. His down smash is also prone to punishment if the front hit is avoided, but it drags the opponent into the back hit if it connects, the latter being a strong semi-spike.
Cloud's special moveset also offers interesting options. Blade Beam is a projectile with good range and activity, making it useful for forcing approaches, though it gets weakened over duration and has rather high endlag, which hampers its otherwise useful utility. It also stalls Cloud in the air, giving it additional, if situational, utility in guard breaking. Cross Slash is very similar to Dancing Blade and Double-Edge Dance, requiring additional inputs from the player to initiate the remaining slashes. In contrast, it has wider input windows, but the full move is only allowed to continue if all hits connect. It can also stall Cloud in the air, just like Blade Beam, though much more briefly. Climhazzard is similar to Aether and Final Cutter, as it is an ascending slash, but differs from them in that it can be followed by an optional descending slash. This allows Cloud to mix-up his recovery and enables Climhazzard to function as his fastest out of shield option, though it is very risky to use.
In reference to Final Fantasy VII, Cloud possesses a unique Limit Break mechanic. It manifests itself in the form of a gauge, which becomes visible while charging it to show its progress, similarly to Little Mac's Power Meter. Cloud can charge Limit Break by dealing 150% damage, receiving 100% damage, or by manually charging it for 6.5 seconds with his down special, Limit Charge. Unlike most other chargeable special moves, it can be canceled with a simple special move button press. After it is full, Cloud gets a boost in all of his movement attributes except for attack speed, allowing him to move very quickly across the stage and in the air, with his overall mobility almost rivaling that of Captain Falcon and Sonic. In addition, all of Cloud's special attacks are given a single-use power boost, with all of them dealing more damage and high knockback to the point of KOing reliably around 90%-120%. Limit Charge is also converted to Finishing Touch, a spinning slash with such tremendous knockback that can KO most characters around 60%-70%. It also emits a whirlwind that pushes away opponents, making it harder to punish and providing Cloud a situational method of gimping weak recoveries. With the exception of Finishing Touch, all Limit Break specials are also granted brief intangibility upon start-up, as well as additional properties: Blade Beam is faster, stronger, and has transcendent priority; Cross Slash requires no additional button inputs and strikes five times immediately, has very low ending lag in relation to its immense power, and stalls him completely in the air; and Climhazzard grants more vertical distance and much more horizontal momentum, as well as having the ability to edge sweetspot at any time. With all these benefits underneath the Limit Break status, players must be wary of this, as one small slip-up from the opponent can give Cloud the perfect opportunity to strike and turn the tide of battle instantaneously, making Cloud's Limit Break a mechanic that should not be taken lightly when in the hands of a competent player.
However, Cloud has some severe flaws. The most prominent one is his very lackluster recovery; despite his aerial mobility and jump height being arguably better than most sword-wielding characters, his diagonal speed remains slow when compared to them, making him prone to edgeguarding and gimping, and making it mandatory to stay a safe distance within reaching the edge. Climhazzard is also a bad recovery move for many reasons: it grants below average vertical distance, little horizontal momentum, its ascending hit is completely incapable of edge sweetspotting, and its descending hit cannot edge sweetspot until it covers slight distance. These factors make Cloud's recovery somewhat comparable to that of Chrom and Ganondorf, in the sense that it is one of the riskiest and most ineffective without use of his wall jump or Limit Break Climhazzard (which loses the active hitbox near the end of his ascent, making it less safe than the regular Climhazzard in some situations). Cloud can stall his descent with Blade Beam and Cross Slash, although they only do so after one use. Additionally, the former's slower start-up and ending lag can make its use problematic against opponents already close to the edge or in prime position to reflect it, while the latter slows down his air speed significantly. The last problem about his recovery is that if he gets grabbed near the edge without his double jump and gets air released, he will not be able to return to the stage unless he properly times a Blade Beam to stall towards the edge, uses aerials or air dodges to reset his momentum, or possesses a Limit Break.
Another glaring flaw is his terrible grab game, being among the worst in the game: Cloud's grabs' ranges are abysmally short, his throws' damage outputs are mediocre and, barring down throw, they lack combo potentials. His forward and back throws' decent speed are significantly offset by the problematic combination of their virtual lack of combo potential and low knockback scaling, both failing to KO before 300%, unless the opponent is light, Cloud has rage or is at the edge upon performing them. His up and down throws both have misleading power, with the former failing to KO until well beyond 200%. Up throw has too much ending lag for reliably comboing, while down throw doesn't have reliable combos at low percentages and loses all of its combo potential past low-mid percentages if the opponent DIs properly due to its more horizontal angle. Ironically, it's also Cloud's only throw that can KO below 200%. Despite his huge range, projectile and combo options granting him a strong neutral game, Cloud has a below average approach at best. His approach options are linear, with dash attack being easily punishable, neutral aerial having a hitbox that starts from behind, up aerial being very predictable and being surprisingly punishable on shield if not spaced well, and having other attacks that either lack the frame data or the utility to be used as reliable options for approaching such as his poor grab game. Cloud also has no reliable means of escaping pressure. His neutral attack and down tilt are his fastest ground options, while Climhazzard can work as an out of shield option. However, they are noticeably unsafe on shield, while none of his fast aerial attacks start from the front or below him. Down aerial's late hitbox can be used to escape juggling directly from below him, but its otherwise narrow hitbox allows opponents to hit Cloud laterally. Thus, Cloud is fairly easy to combo, and is just as easily forced on the defensive if his attacks are improperly spaced. While Cloud also possesses an abundance of strong finishers, his KOing ability is somewhat inconsistent. None of his strongest finishers are easy to land in the neutral game and they can be easily punished if avoided or shielded, his weaker moves such as his forward tilt and back aerial require good positioning to KO reliably, and he lacks reliable set-ups to combo his strongest or best finishers.
Aside from Limit Charge, his special moves have some noticeable weaknesses. Blade Beam is relatively slow in regard to start-up and ending lag, as well as depreciating in damage over time or when used in the air, making it an ineffective projectile. Cross Slash is inconsistent with linking all five of its hits due to SDI or landing different parts of the hitboxes, along with being very vulnerable to stale-move negation due to being a very reliable damage racking option. In addition to its aforementioned weaknesses in regard to recovery, Climhazzard is also very punishable if shielded and easily DI'd out of, while all of his specials only boast KO power when they are boosted by the Limit Break. The Limit Break mechanic itself is also problematic. It acts as a double-edged sword, as it increases Cloud's fall speed and gravity at full charge, making recovery without the use of Climhazzard deceptively difficult, and rendering Cloud even easier to combo at medium percentages. It makes precise use of his special attacks mandatory, as his Limit Break specials are still blockable and possess limited range; while Limit Blade Beam can be used as a ranged KOing option, it can just as easily be reflected or otherwise avoided at the tip of its range, leaving Cloud wide open to punishment. Finishing Touch deals only 1% and has very high ending lag that renders Cloud vulnerable if the slash or whirlwind do not hit. Finally and most notably, his limit will go away if not used in 15 seconds, requiring Cloud to either "go big or go home" with the charge in a short amount of time, which could potentially be a huge turnabout on him at the wrong time.
Overall, while Cloud has all the tools required to be successful, the player is forced to manage his resources to the best of their ability, and they must avoid being thrown off the stage at all times. His combo game and KOing ability, while unique and powerful, can sometimes be inconsistent. Even though Cloud has many playstyles applicable to him, the combination of all of the traits above make him a fundamentals-oriented character most of the time.
Changes from Super Smash Bros. 4
Cloud was previously considered to be one of the best characters in Smash 4, alongside Bayonetta, due to a myriad of advantages, including deceptively lingering hitboxes, excellent speed-to-range ratio alongside generous autocancel windows, and a powerful advantage in the form of his Limit Gauge, which granted a lasting stat buff that boosted his already high overall mobility, allowed him to force approaches, and posed a constant threat during games due to the potential of a powerful Limit Break special attack. All these factors made him one of the most viable characters in the previous game overall, especially in doubles play, where teams containing at least one Cloud were notorious within the community for their prominence and disproportionate effectiveness (statistically, Cloud in doubles held more dominance than even Meta Knight in Brawl singles). Likely as a result of this, Cloud has been nerfed overall in his transition to Ultimate.
Cloud received a fair share of buffs, although most of these are universal throughout the cast. Like most other characters, he was given a boost to his already high stats, with faster movement speed, a frame 3 jumpsquat, and reductions to landing lag, all of which compliments his strong aerial spacing ability and continues to make him one of the most mobile swordfighters in the game. In particular, the reduction to landing lag on his aerials not only makes them much safer on shield due to their range, it also allows Cloud to follow up from them more consistently, most notably with his forward, back and up aerials; this improves his damage-racking game. The readdition of directional air dodges allow him to extend his notoriously weak horizontal recovery when his Limit Meter is not fully charged, and now make him much harder to gimp if he is grabbed during Climhazzard. Certain moves have been improved to make them more consistent, such as his neutral attack (which connects better and can now lock) and forward tilt (which keeps closer to the ground, preventing it from whiffing). The ability to dash cancel into any ground move also allows Cloud to make even better use of his ground attacks, such as down tilt as an approaching move, or forward tilt as a potential KO move.
Cloud's special moves have also been given some noteworthy improvements. Blade Beam's sluggishness has been improved by a reduction of ending lag, making it less punishable and allowing Cloud with a semi-reliable camping tool. Climhazzard can be teched at the end of the move, snaps to ledge faster when using the downward slash, has much lower landing lag, transitions quicker, and KOs more consistently if used offstage due to the changes to meteor smashes. This makes it safer for recovery, a much more reliable out of shield option, and consistent for sacrificial KOs. Limit Charge now allows Cloud to jump or air dodge out of it, charges significantly faster with damage dealt, and can now be tracked in the HUD. Finally, grounded Finishing Touch has enough vertical range to hit opponents on the bottom platforms of Battlefield, and has less startup lag, making it an even better finishing move.
However, these buffs are offset by an abundance of nerfs. One of Cloud's most significant changes are to his Limit Charge: it can no longer be instant charge-canceled since it incurs 7 frames of lag when canceling a charge, will have its charge reduced if Cloud is hit during the process of charging, and disappears entirely if not used up in 15 seconds. This changes result in Cloud's Limit Break mechanic no longer being a direct upside that can be kept for mindgames or a lasting stat boost, and forces him to be more cautious of both charging and activating his Limit, vastly reducing the sheer game changing abilities it once had in the previous game.
Cloud's aerials have also been toned down, making his infamous aerial game less effective despite their lowered landing lag and better combo potential. Neutral aerial's range has been significantly reduced due to an altered animation in which Cloud doesn't stretch his arm as much, making it less safe and effective for spacing. Down aerial's lingering hitbox ends earlier and has more ending lag, making it harder to follow up in midair and riskier to use an an anti-juggle move, although its lowered landing lag allows it to start combos if Cloud lands first. Finally, Cloud's notorious up aerial has been substantially nerfed due to its increased startup with no animation change, significantly reducing its range in front of him, smaller hitboxes on the sword, reduced power and lowered autocancel window; these changes worsen its versatility by removing its ability to start combos on grounded opponents, reducing its incontestability and toning down its previously respectable KO power, with its only buffs being its lowered landing lag and damage making it easier to chain several up aerials together with the aid of platforms.
Other nerfs Cloud has received are to his grounded KO ability being slightly nerfed, as his forward and up smash attacks have slightly higher ending lag, while down smash is weaker, making his average ground game even less imposing. Lastly, his already poor grab game has been further weakened, as his down throw has lost its already lacking combo potential and his grabs have been made slower and now have higher ending lag; although the latter point is synonymous with the rest of the cast, this notably hurts Cloud's options against shielding opponents. As a result of these nerfs, Cloud now has more defined weaknesses, with his weak grab game, exploitable recovery, and weakened tools necessitating him to be more precise and careful with optimizing his Limit or spacing, alongside making spacing with his aerials more difficult.
Overall, Cloud remains a fundamentally solid character with a relatively low learning curve and effective tools, although said learning curve has increased, and he is not as overpowering as he was in Smash 4 due to his nerfs toning down the incredible utility his moveset had at his disposal. Cloud's overall perception and tournament results have been wildly inconsistent over the course of Ultimate's metagame: though he was initially thought to still be a high/top tier character thanks to strong results from the efforts of players such as ZeRo, his results would somewhat diminish over time. RAIN would eventually drop him in favor of Wolf, and ZeRo would stop participating in tournaments altogether, which would lead to a downfall in results and representation. This led players who initially regarded him well to reassess their opinions of him to a mid-tier (or in the case of Mew2King, a low-tier) character. Cloud would later start to achieve increasingly noteworthy results once more thanks to the efforts of players including Cheeks, Masashi, Salt One, YOC, and especially Sparg0, which would lead multiple players to think of him as a high-tier once again. However, several players such as Cheeks and akasa have recently started to drop Cloud, whereas Sparg0 would take a hiatus from the game and once considered dropping Cloud, which has hurt his tournament presence once again. In the end, while Cloud remains a viable character, the extent of his viability relative to the rest of the cast remains up for debate. Regardless, he is still considered to be far worse than his iteration in Smash 4 in a similar manner to other Smash 4 top tiers.
Throws and other attacks
Aside from the non-Limit Break version of Blade Beam having its shield damage output decreased, Cloud has been slightly buffed overall via game updates.
For a gallery of Cloud's hitboxes, see here.
Note: All numbers are listed as base damage, without the 1v1 multiplier.
Falls from the sky and catches the Buster Sword with a flourish.
In competitive play
While Cloud was initially considered to be an extremely potent character, his results have fallen off overtime with some of his strongest players either not playing the game or dropping the character altogether. This is due to Cloud's noticeably worse toolkit and flaws becoming much more apparent in the current metagame. Such flaws include inconsistencies with killing, his linear recovery, his ability to edgeguard being lackluster at best, and his grab game being among the worst in the game. As such, top players ESAM, Raito, Tsu, Leffen, and Armada consider him to be amongst the lower half of mid-tier, with many of Cloud's top players agreeing that he belongs there. However, some other top players such as Dabuz and VoiD have noted that Cloud has had some success at top level and that he should be closer to the top of mid-tier or even at high tier. While this is debatable, it is still agreed that Cloud is worse than his Smash 4 iteration.
Classic Mode: A Ride? Not Interested.
All of Cloud's battles are done on vehicle stages and are against characters associated with them. This is a reference to the fact that he suffers from motion sickness.
Role in World of Light
Although Cloud does not appear in the World of Light opening cutscene, he was vaporized and later alongside the rest of the fighters (sans Kirby) when Galeem unleashed his beams of light.
Cloud was one of the many fighters that fell under Dharkon's control upon Galeem's first defeat. He is unlocked in the Sacred Land sub-area in the Dark Realm, guarding the Master Sword required to dispel the darkness clouding the top part of the land which makes up the Triforce of Power after Sonic has been awakened, making his unlocking mandatory.
Cloud's Fighter Spirits can be obtained by completing Classic Mode. They are also available periodically for purchase in the shop for 500 Gold. Unlocking Cloud in World of Light allows the player to preview the first spirit below in the Spirit List under the name "???". As a Fighter Spirit, they cannot be used in Spirit Battles and are purely aesthetic. Unlike most fighters, the Spirits for Cloud only use his artwork from Ultimate, rather than also having alternative artwork from a previous appearance.
In Spirit battles
As the main opponent
Character Showcase Video