Cloud (Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy)

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Revision as of 08:33, 22 May 2021 by Muggshotter (talk | contribs) (Added rest of braveries and HPs. Maybe add gifs for moves? Add match-ups, preferred equipment, link to speed tier lists on character table once available.)

Cloud.png
Info
Name Cloud Strife
Original game Final Fantasy VII
Weapon Sword, Greatsword, Katana, Spear
Armor Shields, Bangles, Hats, Helms, Clothing, Light Armor, Large Shields, Chestplates
Run Speed tier 7
Dash Speed 77F
Fall Speed 87F
Fall Speed Ratio After Dodge 39
Exclusive weapons Buster Sword, Force Stealer, Butterfly Edge, Fenrir

Overview

Cloud Strife (Japanese: クラウド ストライフ) is the main protagonist in Final Fantasy VII. Primarily a close range fighter, Cloud utilises a variety of pokes, projectiles and large sword swings to establish his advantage. Akin to an all-rounder with an emphasis on damage output, Cloud has something for many situations, although his mileage will vary.

Cloud is recommended to players who

  • are new to the game
  • wish to learn more about Duodecim's many gameplay elements with a single, easy to understand character.
  • enjoy doing a lot of damage with a single combo

Strengths

  • Unreactable bravery pokes in Double Cut that recover fast on whiff, generate a good amount of EX and can be converted to HP damage with assist
  • Can safely attempt to generate assist meter with Double Cut
  • HP links with great wall rush potential, allowing good independent damage output which is then greatly bolstered by assist and Side by Side
  • Solid, straightforward ground game with Double Cut pokes, Climhazzard punishes, Sonic Break HP link starter, four different projectiles and average running and dash speed
  • Mid priority projectile in Firaga that can hinder or wall off melee fighters in their approaches
  • Flexible assist and build synergy
  • Can punish opponents below and above him with relative ease, latter being stronger with Rising Fang's range and wall rush potential
  • All of his melee priority moves become high priority (same as HP moves) during EX mode
  • EX Burst baseline strength is among the strongest in the game when at full health
  • High base defense of 112 at LV100, reducing bravery damage taken more than majority of the cast

Weaknesses

  • Both HP link follow-ups, Finishing Touch and Omnislash Version 5 are long animations that are susceptible to punishment after Assist Change. Against stronger characters that can reliably build an assist meter and make it difficult for Cloud to connect hits, this can greatly neuter Cloud's damage output.
  • Average fall speed, resulting in floaty aerial dodges that can make them unsafe against many characters
  • No move to perform out of dodge that can consistently threaten dodge punish attempts, fastest being Double Cut that relies on clashing with an opponent's low priority bravery move.
  • In addition, as most of his key moves involve sequences of melee priority attacks, LV2 Assist Change can be exploited against Cloud to a good effect.
  • His good (and only) bravery projectiles can only be accessed on the ground, which greatly reduce their effective application in stages and matchups that favor aerial combat.
  • Barring a linear aerial Meteorain, Cloud's aerial approaches are limited to close range physical attacks, with no utility properties on moves to bypass mid / high priority projectiles and traps without notable risk.
  • While capable of punishing with braveries vertically with Rising Fang and Aerial Fang, they are flawed enough to justify omitting Slashing Blow or aerial Double Cut for. Both are somewhat slow moves with either a notable start-up, end lag or lack of notable reward on hit, mainly in consistent assist conversion opportunities.


Bravery Moves

Double Cut (ground) (連斬り (地上))

Damage multiplier Startup frame Type Priority EX Force Effects CP (Mastered)
7,13 (20) 13 Physical Melee Low 90 Chase 30 (15)

[Close] Quick slash. Low power, fast execution.
A quick sword slash, with a second hit as a followup. This is one of Cloud's staple moves, fast start-up animation and low end lag make it ideal catching a cautious opponent as well as building assist meter on whiff.
90 ex for finishing the move is almost 1/10 of an EX bar which is quite good. Anti airing an opponent with the first hit can also lead to a Cross Slash due to landing lag, although the timing is precise.
On top of that, it allows assist follow ups on the first hit or even the second hit if you use Kuja assist near a wall. It's fast and versatile.


After whiffing the first hit, you can cancel it into a block to trick the opponent into thinking you were wide open. Despite this, it is not possible to cancel it into a dash to perform Dash feints. However, this trait is not shared among all quick pokes like this one, making it a vital trick in Cloud's arsenal as the competition improves. Think of a situation where a Cloud whiffs Double Cut and then dodges, in which the opponent swiftly dashes in and punishes Cloud for dodging at all. Guards also block dashes, so opting to block instead of dodging in this situation could turn the tide in Cloud's favor. Use it carefully.



However, if you have to choose between the ground or aerial version, it is recommended to drop the ground version. Without the aerial Double Cut, Cloud's aerial combat is severely lacking in safety and meter building. Grounded combat will suffer from the lack of a proper, unreactable move but Firaga, Sonic Break and jumps can compensate.

Sonic Break (ソニックブレイク)

Damage multiplier Startup frame Type Priority EX Force Effects CP (Mastered)
8,12,25 (45) 21 Physical Melee Low 30 Wall Rush, Absorb 30 (15)
  • Branches: Finishing Touch (HP)

[Close] Strike with three powerful blows. Sends foe flying.

Another staple move, a fairly fast bravery attack with wall rush potential which by itself does a decent amount of damage. The move has a vacuum effect on it's start-up, making it easier to land this attack out in the open, but what really sells this move is the HP attack it can branch into after the second hit, Finishing Touch. In any match-ups that can be commonly played on the ground, this a must-have.


This move is not used for poking, but as means to initiate a head-on assault or a punish. It's fast, but errs on the side of being reactable, especially with the effects that signify the vacuum properties. It gives leeway in Sonic Break's effective range and each attack being confirmed with a separate button input makes it fairly easy to call the assist for a combo, if the opponent can punish Finishing Touch after escaping from it.


If the opponent is playing passively, you can use Sonic Break and Double Cut in succession to build assist meter.

Climhazzard (クライムハザード)

Damage multiplier Startup frame Type Priority EX Force Effects CP (Mastered)
3 x4,8,15 (35) 27 Physical Melee Low 30 Wall Rush 30 (15)

[Mid] Charging attack. Slow strikes, easy to wall rush.

If Sonic Break is used as a starter for offense or a damaging combo, Climhazzard doubles down on it at the cost of slower, reactable start-up and lack of HP branches. The combo opportunities with the move are above average due to the second hit inflicting a lot of hit stun and the third hit causing a guaranteed wall rush on the ground.


These points will be explored in greater detail under the combo section, but a stand-out trait for Climhazzard is the ability to link an aerial Double Cut or a Slashing Blow with precise timing after letting the second hit's animation end naturally, essentially turning Climhazzard into a bravery attack with an HP link in practice.


And while not as a notable trait, Climhazzard starting with a forward lunge lets Cloud build assist meter with this move while moving in any direction he is facing, as long as Lock On is not active.


If the player has a full EX gauge, Climhazzard's slow start-up can be used to it's advantage by activating EX mode to turn the move into a Melee High priority during the lunging motion. Considering the aforementioned follow-ups, it can be a useful trick against people who have gotten comfortable blocking Climhazzard.


In many ways, this is what could be called a "combo move". A move whose aspects primarily (or only) complement combos, either during it or as a starter. Picking this move is a matter of preference and is usually influenced by the assist the player is using for Cloud.

Blade Beam (破晄撃)

Damage multiplier Startup frame Type Priority EX Force Effects CP (Mastered)
15,5,10 (30) 37 Magical Melee Mid, Ranged Low 90 Chase 30 (15)

[Mid] Launch shockwave. Fast, but has weak homing.

One of Cloud's four projectiles on the ground. Due to the low priority it's not as useful as a flat out zoning tool, but the projectile's range can catch people falling to the ground after a dodge, providing a Chase afterwards. And if you are confident in using it up close, the Mid priority on the sword slash itself can win clashes, generating the prescribed 90 ex and then some due to the stagger the attack caused.


By itself, Blade Beam is not a priority pick for Cloud. It is linear, low priority and thus easily maneuvered around at it's intended range. Other moves in his arsenal like Firaga and Double Cut complement it, but it's EX generation and assist followups at the wall may be it's strongest assets, something his other moves can already do well.

Fire (ファイア)

Damage multiplier Startup frame Type Priority EX Force Effects CP (Mastered)
10 (10) 25 Magical Ranged Low 0 None 30 (15)

[Long] Hurl fireball. Slowly tracks opponent.

A low priority, slow, homing fireball not used as means to fight from a distance, but to create a stronger presence in the following approach, however fickle it may seem.


Fire is most notably used in combos involving Climhazzard and Aerith assist, allowing Cloud to link two or more bravery attacks in succession with the help of Fire holding the opponent in between the attacks. This can result in extraordinary bravery damage but it is not something that he can necessarily go for in all match-ups.


Much like Climhazzard and Blade Beam, Fire is not an essential pick by itself. It's easily nullified, the bravery damage is not noteworthy and it shares the same start-up time with Firaga, a move that arguably does more on average whenever applied in combat. It caters to specific desires of a player and the lingering projectile can interrupt an otherwise unfavorable interaction on an occasion. If you carelessly play with fire, you will only get burned.

Fira (ファイラ)

Damage multiplier Startup frame Type Priority EX Force Effects CP (Mastered)
5 x3 (15) 25 Magical Ranged Low 0 None 30 (15)

[Long] Hurl fireball. Faster than Fire.

Fire with slightly improved damage, greatly increased speed and reduced travel duration. Out of all of Cloud's projectiles this may be the least effective one. It loses out on combo opportunities and presence duration of Fire, it does not keep moving opponents in check like Firaga nor does it generate ex on hit nor allow for consistent followups.


It is stuck between a rock and a hard place, being different from other moves of it's caliber while also not filling any of the practical niches better or as well as them. As a result, it rarely sees action at intermediate / high levels of play. Choosing this move over any of other Cloud's key moves may be asking to get burned, but there can be value in unorthodox choices.

Firaga (ファイガ)

Damage multiplier Startup frame Type Priority EX Force Effects CP (Mastered)
each (7,10) 25 Magical Ranged Mid 0 None 30 (15)

[Long] Shoot three fireballs. Short range, but can restrain opponent with explosions.

Arguably Cloud's strongest bravery projectile. The mid priority and it's slight vertical tracking allow this move to halt nearby loitering opponents in their tracks, while also deflecting any low priority projectiles that the opponent may attempt to utilise. And of course, blocking any of the fireballs will result in a stagger, allowing Cloud to convert it to damage with the help of assist or even by himself if the stagger happens late enough in the animation.


Each fireball has a base damage multiplier of 17 and with the help of assist followups after Omnislash Version 5, it edges out as the single highest bravery damage move at 51 and as a result, also has merit in combos.


The somewhat lengthy end lag on the move is a notable con, however. Fast ground assists like Jecht or Squall can punish the move on reaction and an aerial opponent can dodge through the fireballs and at the very least apply pressure if not punish Cloud outright for using it.


Firaga also does not generate any EX on hit, losing out on a long term plan that the EX meter provides which is unfortunate, as it can be applied fairly often to varying degrees of success.

Slashing Blow (スラッシュブロウ)

Damage multiplier Startup frame Type Priority EX Force Effects CP (Mastered)
5,10,25 (40) 21 Physical Melee Low 30 Wall Rush 30 (15)
  • Branches: Omnislash Version 5 (HP)


[Close] Powerful slashes. Change combo with analog stick.

The de facto Cloud move with good speed, damage and an HP link to conveniently cash out damage. In some respects, it can be likened to an aerial Sonic Break in terms of general application. You use it to go in and cause havoc for the opponent, with Omnislash Version 5 giving the leg up it needs to function as a serious threat.


Slashing Blow can move towards the opponent if they are roughly on the same vertical axis or slightly below them on the ground, but conversely can almost appear static if used below aerial opponents. While the end lag is short, the move has a decent active duration which can be blocked. Cloud misses reliable options to make his aerial dodges safe, so throwing this move around carelessly can give the opponent enough time to initiate their own offense.


By default, the third circle input will send the opponent in a downward angle, but holding up will send the opponent upwards instead. The primary reason you would opt for either of these enders is to inflict bravery damage due to lack of assist meter or to keep yourself safe from an Assist Change situation that could otherwise occur by opting for Omnislash 5. If you do have an assist bar ready, using Slashing Blow to confirm a combo with wall rush and assist can be safer than going for an HP link.


That being said, some opponents may attempt to escape from Omnislash 5 prematurely as soon as they see Slashing Blow going off, so using the bravery ender can keep Cloud safe in such an event.


Always have this move equipped. It is part of the foundation for the newest, latest and greatest Cloud players alike.

Aerial Fang (空牙)

Damage multiplier Startup frame Type Priority EX Force Effects CP (Mastered)
25 (25) 25 Physical Melee Low 0 Wall Rush 30 (15)

Diving attack, scooping foe with sword. Useful from above.

One of Cloud's vertical bravery moves. This one is used from above to strike opponents who are below Cloud or to build assist meter while staying in place if he is not above the opponent.


Aerial Fang can typically see use in match-ups where the opponent plays on the ground, but it's not a vital move. While the wall rush can happen, it relies on cornering an opponent as well as punishing a whiffed attack, both of which can be challenging to do in larger stages. In smaller stages like M.S. Prima Vista or Edge of Madness however, Aerial Fang's effective range can be applied much more consistently.

Rising Fang (月牙天昇)

Damage multiplier Startup frame Type Priority EX Force Effects CP (Mastered)
3, 1 x10, 17 (30 21 Physical Melee Low 33 Wall Rush 30 (15)

Powerful upward lunge. Effective near ceiling.

Cloud's other vertical bravery move, used to attack opponents above him. Despite the notable start-up of 21 frames, due to the distances it's used from it often connects later than that, reducing it's potential to catch an opponent off guard.


Much like Aerial Fang, it's most common use is for punishing inappropriate behavior. The long recovery time on Rising Fang does mean Cloud's positioning for this attack can be used against him, but in aerial focused match-ups the ceiling wall rush is also more likely to happen, allowing for an assist combo.


A lesser used application for this move is to simply gain height after dodging against grounded characters. Characters such as Golbez, Squall and Firion can attempt to snipe Cloud with a mid range move and by using Rising Fang, Cloud can move out of the effective range of such attacks.


Use this move sparingly and you can rise to the top.

Double Cut (midair) (連斬り(空中))

Damage multiplier Startup frame Type Priority EX Force Effects CP (Mastered)
7,13 (20) 13 Physical Melee Low 90 Chase 30 (15)

[Close] Quick slash. Low power, fast execution.

An aerial version of Double Cut that shares all of it's properties with the grounded version, including the block cancel window. However, because it is an aerial move it can be applied in every match-up to some degree. This is the go-to move for feeling out aerial interactions as well as building assist meter in the air, usually in conjunction with Dash feinting and / or Slashing Blow.


Even in the air Double Cut retains much of it's combo potential for both hits alike. First hit has enough hit stun to confirm an assist or a second hit, which can also be used for assist follow-ups, namely with Aerith, Onion Knight or Ultimecia assist. Latter two requiring a wall to work effectively, of course.


This is another staple move and should be bundled with Slashing Blow at all times. While certain match-ups do not always favor Double Cut in terms of reward, it's still practical in the neutral and minor punishments.

HP Attacks

Cross Slash (凶斬り)

Damage multiplier Startup frame Type Priority EX Force Effects CP (Mastered)
5,5 (10) 41 Physical Melee High 30 Wall Rush 30 (15)

[Close] Break through defenses with cross-shaped slashes.


An iconic three-hit slash with great knockback potential for a wall rush. While the tracking on Cross Slash is good, it's unfortunately limited to ground and cannot be applied effectively outside of grounded situations with Double Cut or otherwise.


As a long attack sequence, Assist Change can leave Cloud open for a punishment. However, depending on the opponent's air-to-ground attacks and escape timing, their mileage can vary. And as a raw block punish or even a raw mixup it is still more reliable than Meteorain in terms of speed and damage potential. If you can only afford one grounded HP attack (that isn't Finishing Touch), this is the one to go for.

Meteorain (ground) (メテオレイン(地上))

Damage multiplier Startup frame Type Priority EX Force Effects CP (Mastered)
each (10) up: 21F, down: 81F Magical Ranged High each 60 None 30 (15)

[Long] Send countless meteors towards opponent.


One of Cloud's two HP projectiles that can generate a lot of EX on hit. The projectiles take a while to connect, so it cannot be used as a safe way to land HP damage after blocking an opponent who can LV2 Assist Change for a stagger. During the move's start-up the projectiles do have a Mid priority hit box, but they appear directly above Cloud and as such, are awkward to incorporate into the average gameplay. And despite having tracking, grounded Meteorain is always aligned to come at a specific downward angle which can be avoided with a couple jumps.


It's most consistent use would arguably be during assist combos where Cloud has enough time to initiate the move as well as continue after it ends. Another 60 ex during a combo may seem inferior to Double Cut's 90, but recovering from abnormally high bravery can take longer than a conventional assist combo would last.


With that in mind, Meteorain caters to a niche. In small stages with corners it is possible to land multiple Meteorain projectiles, generating an absurd amount of EX but this trick is commonly relegatd to the Aerith assist. Perhaps this could also be applied to an opponent using Aerith assist's Planet Protector in an attempt to quickly generate lots of EX on a stationary Aerith. It is worth noting that Cloud is still vulnerable to damage during this time, however.


Meteorain is a move that is nice to have, but is by no means necessary for competent Cloud play.

Finishing Touch (画竜点睛)

Damage multiplier Startup frame Type Priority EX Force Effects CP (Mastered)
1 x4, 2x5 (+=34) ?? Physical Melee High 27 Wall Rush 30 (15)
  • Branching from Sonic Break


[Combo] A whirlwind of attacks.


The "butter" in the "bread and butter" of Cloud's ground combat. This is what makes Sonic Break one of Cloud's more potent moves as it inflicts HP damage independently from any other resources in the game. As long as this is not done near a ledge, a wall rush on the floor is basically guaranteed, allowing for an assist to pick up and help Cloud secure a second HP in a row.


Using Assist Change to punish Finishing Touch is a notable weakness of the move, but the move's tracking changes depending on whether or not Cloud has Auto Assist Lock-On enabled or not.
If it is enabled, Cloud will stay in place while finishing the attack.
If it is not enabled, Cloud will continue to relentlessly pursue the opponent until the attack reaches it's peak.


As there is no way to tell this behavior apart before it happens in the match, Cloud can get away with using Finishing Touch the first time in a match. Either way, once the opponent is aware of the necessary countermeasure, they can try to hit Cloud during the move's ending or even LV2 Assist Change and stagger Cloud late in the animation for a stronger punish.


Much like with Slashing Blow and Omnislash Version 5, opting for Sonic Break's bravery ender instead of Finishing Touch can be safer to initiate a combo into an hp with the help of assist.


If Finishing Touch did not hit the assist during Assist Change, buffering a dodge to escape a punish is not on the cards. It's unavoidable, but the move is part of Cloud's core tools in any match-up that can be played on the ground.

Braver (ブレイバー)

Damage multiplier Startup frame Type Priority EX Force Effects CP (Mastered)
2, 1 xN (4+) 47 Physical Melee High each 15 Wall Rush 30 (15)

[Close] Midair charge. Effective against any height.


A homing charging attack with a dunk at the end. While the tracking of the move is not quite enough to consistently catch aerial dodges at all angles, it can still be applied as a mix up near a wall or as a combo ender. Out of his HP attacks, Braver is arguably the safest in terms of animation length, with the downward dunk only triggering upon making contact with the charging attack.


If the move reaches ground prematurely, Cloud will send the opponent flying at an upward angle. If this is done higher in the air, Cloud will continue to descend for a maximum of approximately eight hits, with the final hit sending the opponent directly downwards for a wall rush.


In adddition, each downward hit produces 15 ex. With some altitude (or the help of Kuja assist), those eight hits will generate a noteworthy 120 ex. That is almost four times the amount of EX Omnislash Version 5 could generate, so if you are not using Side by Side and are not starved for base bravery or wall rush damage, Braver can do a lot here.

Meteorain (midair) (メテオレイン(空中))

Damage multiplier Startup frame Type Priority EX Force Effects CP (Mastered)
each (10) up: 21F, down: 81F Magical Ranged High each 60 None 30 (15)

[Long] Send countless meteors towards opponent.


An aerial version of Meteorain, that unfortunately shares many of it's traits with the grounded version. Being able to perform Meteorain in the air after an Aerith assist is probably it's strongest attribute as it helps Cloud bypass LV2 Assist Change without the fear of getting staggered and possibly punished for it.


Another key difference with the aerial Meteorain is that it has no tracking. Once the projectiles begin descending, they're on a linear path to destruction. This can be used to a similiar effect in small stages with corners (and an assist) to rapidly accumulate EX.


It is not crucial for Cloud to function, but it is more likely to see application purely because of it's nature as an aerial attack.

Omnislash Version 5 (超究武神覇斬 ver.5)

Damage multiplier Startup frame Type Priority EX Force Effects CP (Mastered)
2x4,5,7 (+=35) ?? Physical Melee High 36 Wall Rush 30 (15)
  • Branching from Slashing Blow

[Combo] Series of speedy slices.


Slashing Blow and Omnislash Version 5, name a more iconic duo. This is the HP link that enables Cloud to deal a ton of damage from Slashing Blow, with wall rush knockback so huge the wall rush damage can trigger from Order's Sanctuary's ceiling.


Much like Finishing Touch, the big damage does not come from the bravery damage it inflicts, but rather the wall rush and the assist follow-up it allows. It synergises very well with Side by Side and high base bravery, enabling an average of 3000-4000 damage off of a single hit with assist.


Performing this move close to the ground will cause Cloud to transition into a grounded state at the end, which is important for Aerith assist users as her attacks are based on the player's position instead of the opponent's. Even without the assist, the player can apply some sort of a guessing game to counteract the opponent's immediate action upon recovering from Omnislash 5 by dodging in backwards or towards his adversary.


As with his other HP link, Omnislash Version 5 suffers from long animation time and this being activated from one of Cloud's staple aerial moves, is a drawback Cloud players will inevitably become familiar with before long. Once the attack goes off, Cloud cannot cancel it with a dodge until it's done. Primary exception being if this move hits the assist during opponent's Assist Change, Cloud can attempt to cancel the hit stun he would otherwise receive from an enemy bravery attack afterwards.


This will not work against single hit HP attacks, but in the event Cloud has an assist bar available, he can use it to call the assist before taking the HP damage, have the assist hit the opponent and bravery break them and then using an assist chase prompt or his own movement to cash out the newly acquired bravery. This tactic may or may not work if the opponent has Auto Assist Lock-On enabled, but the timing plays a big role here as well.


Slashing Blow is a good move and Omnislash 5 turns it into an essential one. Playing Cloud without these two moves is like going outside without shoes. And any soldier worth their rank will wear boots to walk the path they have chosen. Be sure to enable this move as soon as you can.

double cut combo notes



The first hit has enough hit stun to visually react with the second hit or an assist. If the opponent is grounded and you have a slow ground assist like Kuja on during this moment, you will need to finish the attack near a wall to get a proper conversion with the assist. It is also possible to hit an airborne opponent with the grounded Double Cut. Should this occur, cancelling the end lag into Cross Slash can be a true follow up due to landing lag.