Takahiro Sakurai reprises his role as Cloud in all regions, albeit via recycled voice clips from Super Smash Bros. 4. This makes him the first character to remain fully voiced in Japanese in all regions despite having an existing English voice actor. In Sephiroth's reveal trailer, and as part of the version 10.1.0 update, Sakurai reprises his role as Cloud with new voice lines exclusively for the Advent Children costumes, albeit only for his aesthetically different Omnislash Ver. 5.
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 middleweight swordsman, tied with Mii Swordfighter at 100 units of weight. Despite his weight class, Cloud boasts high mobility on the ground and in the air. 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.
However, Cloud's Limit Break status improves his already impressive mobility. His traction slightly improves, his dashing speed becomes even faster, his falling speed becomes 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 autocanceling some of his aerial attacks (notably back aerial and up aerial) as easily. As a result, Cloud's 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: neutral aerial, despite having its range decreased noticeably in the transition to Ultimate, still 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 with 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.
Up aerial has a rather large hitbox, overall decent speed, a long duration, and decent damage and knockback; altogether, these traits make it effective at juggling and denying landings. 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 autocancels from a short hop; altogether, these traits allow him to edgeguard and space effectively, and even perform a wall of pain at low percentages. However, it can often miss low opponents due to its minimal vertical range. Forward aerial is very strong when its clean, hitbox connects, and its sweetspot is a powerful meteor smash on aerial opponents. Like down aerial, it autocancels from a 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 one to use regardless.
Cloud's grounded moveset, while much less effective than his aerial moveset, nevertheless has its own merits. Neutral attack is his fastest attack, has decent overall range, and its third hit can force a tech-chase. Forward tilt has reasonable speed and respectable power, which make it a decent KO option at high percentages. However, its moderate ending lag and very low base knockback make it unsafe on hit at low percentages if it not spaced sufficiently. Down tilt is a low-profile sliding kick and is reasonably quick; while these traits make it useful primarily for avoiding projectiles and putting the opponent into a disadvantageous state, its final frames also allow it to combo into his neutral and up aerials at low percentages. Up tilt is a reliable combo starter, as it can combo into itself at low percentages and into neutral, back and up aerials at medium percentages. While it can even combo into up smash at low to medium percentages, this combo is heavily dependent on the opponent's reaction.
Dash attack is a quick punishing option from a distance, and its respectable power enables its clean hit to either KO at reasonable percentages or, at worst, put an opponent in an unfavorable position. However, like forward tilt, it is easily punished when shielded or avoided. In regard to Cloud's smash attacks, up smash covers a very large arc, has decent speed, and rather high knockback despite its middling damage output. As a result, it is among his best and least risky KOing options out of his standard moveset. Forward smash is Cloud's most powerful non-Limit Break move, though to compensate it also takes the longest to start and is very punishable if it whiffs. 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, with 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 the duration and has rather high endlag, which hampers its otherwise useful utility. It also stalls Cloud in the air, giving it additional, albeit situational, utility in guard breaking. Cross Slash is similar to Dancing Blade and Double-Edge Dance, as it requires 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 is indicated by the Limit Gauge, which is displayed above his damage meter and becomes visible while charging it to show its progress, similarly to the Power Meter. Cloud can charge his Limit Gauge by inflicting 150%, receiving 100%, or by manually charging it for 5.58 seconds with his down special, Limit Charge. Unlike most other chargeable special moves, it can be canceled with a simple special move button press. When the Limit Gauge is full, Cloud gets a boost to 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 gains 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 notable flaws. The most prominent one is his poor 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 among 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). 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 of Cloud's glaring flaws 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. 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, and/or is at the edge upon performing them. Back throw can be used as a situational tech-chase option, but even then is largely ineffective in this role. 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 to set up combos reliably, while down throw lacks reliable combos at low percentages and loses all of its combo potential past low percentages if the opponent DIs properly due to its more horizontal angle. Ironically, it is also Cloud's only throw that can KO below 200% with exception of up throw KOing slightly earlier on platform stages.
Although Cloud's range, combo options and Blade Beam collectively grant him a strong neutral game, he has a below-average approach at best. His approach options are linear: dash attack is easily punishable, neutral aerial's hitbox starts from behind him, and up aerial is very predictable as well as surprisingly punishable on shield if it is not spaced properly. This is further compounded by his other attacks lacking the frame data or the utility to be used as reliable approach options, such as his poor grab game.
Cloud also lacks a reliable means of escaping pressure. His neutral attack and down tilt are his fastest ground options, while Climhazzard is a great out of shield option. However, they are noticeably unsafe on shield, while none of his fast aerial attacks start from in 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.
Although Cloud also possesses an abundance of strong finishers, his KO potential 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. In comparison, his weaker finishers, such as forward tilt and back aerial, require good positioning to KO reliably. Cloud's KO potential is further compounded by his lack of reliable set-ups to combo into his strongest or best finishers.
Aside from Limit Charge, Cloud's 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, all of which make it less effective for spamming. 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 because of its reliability as a very reliable damage racking option. In addition to its aforementioned weaknesses in regard to recovery, Climhazzard is also can be punishable if shielded and 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 can still be blocked 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 be depleted if it is 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, Cloud has all the tools required to be successful, yet the player must manage these resources to the best of their ability, and they must avoid being thrown off the stage at all times. These abilities also, more often then not, force the player to be vulnerable before they can be used effectively. 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, much like Ike, Lucina and Palutena.
Changes from Super Smash Bros. 4
Cloud was previously considered to be one of the best characters in SSB4, 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 SSB4 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 noticeably 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 reintroduction 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 or improve their KO potential, such as his neutral attack (which connects better and can now lock) and dash attack (which has increased knockback). The ability to dash cancel into any ground move and the introduction of spot dodge canceling also allows Cloud to make even better use of his ground attacks, such as neutral attack for tech-chasing, down tilt for approaching, or forward tilt for KOing.
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 giving Cloud 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 when he inflicts damage, and is now displayed above his damage meter.
Although Cloud can no longer store his Limit indefinitely, the combination his Limit Gauge filling faster via inflicting damage and especially via Limit Charge actually means that Cloud can use his Limit Breaks much more frequently than in SSB4. Finally, Finishing Touch is an even more potent finishing move: it has less startup, noticeably more knockback, and its grounded version's late hit had its vertical range increased to the point that it can hit opponents on the bottom platforms of Battlefield form stages.
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. These 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: its increased startup with no animation change significantly reduced its range in front of him, it has smaller hitboxes on the Buster Sword, reduced power and a lowered autocancel window. Altogether, these changes worsen its versatility by almost completely 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 he is not as overpowered as he was in SSB4 due to his nerfs toning down the incredible utility his moveset had at his disposal. Due to this, Cloud is considered to be worse than his iteration in SSB4.
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 RAIN and ZeRo, 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.
Cloud would later start to achieve increasingly noteworthy results once more, thanks to the efforts of several players including akasa, Cheeks, CurryGovernor, Diabeo, Dietsoda, Kola, Masashi, 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 would later drop Cloud, whereas akasa and Kola have relegated him to being a secondary, and Sparg0 would take a hiatus from the game, all of which hurt his tournament presence once again.
Cloud would then receive noteworthy buffs in 7.0.0, and while they do not fully compensate for the nerfs he gained in the transition from SSB4 to Ultimate, these buffs were nevertheless sufficient to improve his perception among many professionals. As a result of these buffs allowing his players to achieve much stronger results, Cloud's overall perception has remained positive: the general consensus is that he is firmly in the high tier, while Dabuz has even claimed that Cloud has reclaimed his position as a top tier character.
Although Cloud is still universally agreed to be worse than in SSB4, his retained strengths alongside the strong results of players such as Sparg0 and Kola have proven that he is still a very potent character despite his nerfs. Regardless, Cloud is one of the few SSB4 top tier characters alongside Fox, Zero Suit Samus, Sonic and Mario who continues to earn great representation and has placed consistently well at tournaments overall.
Throws and other attacks
Aside from a single nerf to Blade Beam in update 3.0.0, Cloud has been buffed via game updates. While updates 2.0.0 and 3.1.0 provided only very minor buffs, update 7.0.0 improved Cloud much more in comparison. Most notably, his inconsistent KO potential (one of his biggest weaknesses) was alleviated in a few ways: clean dash attack's higher knockback scaling makes it a viable KOing option, up smash is faster and its sweetspot is stronger, and Limit Charge fills the Limit Gauge much faster. In addition, Cloud received a few quality of life buffs: forward smash's hits connect more reliably, Climhazzard snaps edges earlier, and his shield was enlarged as part of a near-universal buff.
Overall, Cloud fares better than he did at Ultimate's launch.
For a gallery of Cloud's hitboxes, see here.
Note: All numbers are listed as base damage, without the 1v1 multiplier.
In competitive play
While Cloud was initially considered to be an extremely potent character, his results have fallen off over time 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 KOing, the shortened Limit Gauge time, 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, VoiD has noted that Cloud has had some success at top level and that he should be closer to the middle of high tier. Furthermore, Cloud has received noteworthy buffs in update 7.0.0 changing Cloud's overall perception for the better, so much so that almost every other professional now considers Cloud to be a solid high tier. While it is still widely agreed that Cloud is worse than he was in SSB4, he has remained as a fairly popular character and continues to achieve great results.
Currently, because of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic causing most tournament play to shift to an online setting, Cloud has a stronger presence in the Wi-Fi meta, with many Cloud players performing well in online tournaments, such as The Quarantine Series and other regionals. Kola, Sparg0, and MkLeo have demonstrated Cloud's viability in that spectrum.
Most historically significant players
Any number following the Smasher name indicates placement on the Fall 2019 PGRU, which recognizes the official top 50 players in the world in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate from July 13th, 2019 to December 15th, 2019.
See also: Category:Cloud professionals (SSBU)
Classic Mode: A Ride? Not Interested.
All of Cloud's battles occur on vehicular stages and his opponents are characters associated with them. This is a reference to the fact that he suffers from motion sickness, while his Classic Mode route's title is a direct reference to his catchphrase, "Not interested."
Role in World of Light
Although Cloud does not appear in the World of Light opening cutscene, he was vaporized and later imprisoned alongside the rest of the fighters (With the exception of 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.
In Sephiroth's reveal trailer, Cloud is seen in his Advent Children design (specifically the P6 variant as indicated by the ribbon on his left arm) with the other fighters trying to fend off Galeem. When Sephiroth arrives and disposes of Galeem, Cloud recognizes him, and later fights him one-on-one in a manner similar to their final battle in Advent Children. After hitting Sephiroth with Omnislash Ver. 5, he and Sephiroth have an exchange - word-for-word from Advent Children - before Sephiroth transforms into Safer Sephiroth as a prelude to his own Final Smash.
Cloud's default fighter spirit can be obtained by completing Classic Mode. It is also available periodically for purchase in the shop for 300 Gold, but only after Cloud has been unlocked. 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, it cannot be used in Spirit Battles and is purely aesthetic. This fighter spirit has an alternate version that replaces them with their artwork in Ultimate. Originally, only Ultimate's render of Cloud's default appearance was available for his default fighter spirit. However, update 10.1.0 added artwork of him from Final Fantasy VII for his default fighter spirit.
Cloud's Advent Children outfit also has a fighter spirit of its own, available through the shop, or by completing a challenge (Smash: As Cloud, hit an opponent with his side special, Cross Slash, while the Limit Gauge is charged). Unlike his default fighter spirit, his Advent Children fighter spirit only uses his Ultimate P2 render instead of also featuring alternative artwork from a previous appearance.
In Spirit battles
As the main opponent
As a minion
Cloud's default costume is based on his appearance in Final Fantasy VII while accomodating some changes to his design originating from Dissidia Final Fantasy, namely the redesigned SOLDIER logo on his belt and a redesigned pauldron. He has an alternate costume based on his appearance in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, known as "Cloudy Wolf" in Dissidia Final Fantasy, which replaces the Buster Sword with the Fusion Sword. It has two minor variants: one with a long sleeve covering Cloud's left arm to hide the visible signs of his Geostigma, and the other revealing Cloud's left arm after he has been cured of Geostigma, as well as a pink ribbon wrapped around it, which he and his party wear in memory of Aerith Gainsborough.
Fighter Showcase Video