Please post in the Guide Discussion Thread if you have anything that you would like to add or change. Thank you :3
This is a guide for Cloud, everybody's favourite slightly sulky soldier. The point is to explain how to use his attacks and Cloud's gameplay for PVP or the single player modes. I'm not writing this as the greatest Cloud player in history, but as someone who know's the "ins and outs" of Cloud. I will continue to update this guide for as long as necessary, which may be as long as we keep on getting better as Cloud. As previously stated, if you feel that I'm wrong or that I've missed something integral to Cloud's gameplay then feel free to point it in the Guide Discussion Thread. As one last point, this guide is for Final Fantasy Dissidia Duodecim, not it's predecessor.
Part I - Getting to know Cloud - The Basics
Part II - The Good, The Bad and The AWESOME - Pros 'n' Cons
Part III - The Movelist - Duh
Part IV - The Ultimate Weapon - Ex Mode
Part V - Assisting the Buster Basher - Using Assists
Part VI - A Soldier's Equipment - Cloud's Exclusives
Part VII - Fight Like a SOLDIER - Strategy
Part VIII - Miscellaneous Stuff - Miscellaneous Stuff
Part I - Getting to Know CloudThe Basics
Name: Cloud Strife (in English) or クラウド・ストライフ (in Japanese)
Age: Anywhere from 14-24. Presumably 21 during Dissidia's story
Place of Birth: Nibelheim
Starsign: Leo - The Lion
Weapon of Choice: Broadswords, particularly the famous Buster Sword
Dissidian Title: Buster Basher
Cloud is the Primary protagonist of The Final Fantasy VII Compilation.
An arrogant and proud swordsman at first, believing himself to be a member of an elite warrior unit called SOLDIER, Cloud discovers that the memories of who he was were not his own and, with the help of his friends, learns that there is more to being a hero than possessing physical strength and fame.
From the FFwiki
In Dissidia Cloud is a quiet and contemplative Warrior with immense strength and some skill with magic. He was originally summoned by Chaos until he is seen to be worthy and summoned by Cosmos for the 13th Cycle. During his time in the final battle he travels with various groups searching for a reason to fight.
Everything else: (from Left:2p,3p,DLC1)
Cloud's 1p in ExMode:
Cloud's 2p in Exmode:
Cloud's 3p in ExMode:
Part II - The Good, The Bad and The AwesomePros 'n' Cons
In general Cloud is a powerful, moderately faster and versatile player. He is good at building assist and has a range of useful HP attacks and Melee and Magical Brave attacks.
Cloud can be suited well to either offensive or defensive gameplay. Defensively Cloud's attacks can be used to punish blocked or missed attacks for devistating damage. Defensive Cloud tends to be somewhat easier to play from the ground. Offensively Cloud can use his assist building powers and extremely quick double cut attacks to force opponents into dangerous positions and then punish them with powerful combos and assists. Offensive Cloud can be played well in the air or on the ground, unlike DFF where Cloud's aerial game was significantly worse.
In Duodecim Cloud's main strategy is all about assists. He can deal massive amounts of HP and Brave damage using assists and with the right set up can even pull off an infinite(ish) assist combo.
*High Damage on the ground or in the air.
*Both versions of Double Cut are very fast.
*Many of his moves can be combo'd with assists without the use of wallrush.
*Firaga and Blade Beam can be guard staggering, firaga always is, blade beam guard staggers if the opponent is very close.
*He has 2 HP links, one for ground and one for air.
*Several of his HP attacks have strong tracking and are difficult to dodge.
*All of his attacks generate a fairly high amount of Assist and he can easily build assist quickly.
*Cloud is easy to pick up as a first time player and has no major difficulty dealing out alot of damage against CPU opponents.
*Cloud's Ex Mode makes all his melee attacks High Priority, so he can literally attack through enemies.
*He has a virtually infinite number of possibilities for assist combos.
*If he has full HP when using it, Cloud's Ex Burst is one of the strongest in the game (The strongest in DFF).
*Cloud is capable of doing more than one double assist combo.
*Cloud remains an easily punished player, with some of his staple moves being fairly slow and easy to block.
*He has limited ranged attacks, with no attacks that directly appear on the enemy, like the various Thunder and Thundaga attacks.
*Cloud's movement is generally fairly slow.
*His non-link HP attacks are mostly easy to predict and dodge.
*Cloud has no guard crushing brave attacks (except in Ex Mode) and his 2 guard staggering attacks are inconsistent.
*Most of his melee attacks, and some of his magic attacks, are easy to punish with assists or in person.
Changelist from DFF to D012
Part III - The MovelistThe Movelist
Damage: 8,12,25 (45) Startup: 21F Priority: Low ExForce: 30
Sonic Break is Cloud's basic high damaging attack. It has strong knockback so it's likely to wall rush and is such great for assist combos. It has major absorb, which is helpful in various situations, including block and dodge punishing. Major disadvantage is that it's predictable and slow (although faster than before, at 25F). Best used after an assist.
Links to Finishing Touch
Damage: 3x 4,8,15 (35) Startup: 27F Priority: Low ExForce: 30
Long reaching and quick moving, after the slow startup. Very likely to wall rush and can be combo'd into Slashing Blow, although the timing is very strict (literally 1F). With the combo it has very high damage, but it is slow and very easy to block. It is best used with Fire (to apply pressure). Probably Cloud's best move for punishing ground dodges.
Damage: 10 Startup: 25F Priority: Low ExForce: 0
A slow magic attack with poor damage but strong tracking. Very useful for pressure and central to most strategies from DFF, although not as necessary now thanks to speed upgrades and Assists. It can be very effective when combo'd with Climhazzard or when used to start an Assist combo.
Damage: 5x3 (15) Startup: 25F Priority: Low ExForce: 0
A quick magic attack with medium damage and weak tracking. It's almost exactly the same as fire but it moves alot faster. It can be used to confuse enemies in conjunction with Fire and interupt slow attacks. Overall not that useful as it's pressure uses are poor compared to Fire and it almost moves too quickly to combo with. It can however be used to build assist at a long distance, but it is outclassed by Double Cut for this.
Damage: Each (7,10) Startup: 25F Priority: Mid ExForce: 0
A medium speed, short range magic attack. 3 fireballs are thrown at the same time with a slight spread. This attack is poor on its own or on a large map, but in a smaller map (such as Phantom train) it can be used as pressure or simply for devestating damage. It is very useful for extra damage during an assist attack. With the right assist it can be used with enough time left to Assist Chase or monopolize on the wall rush. At the edge of its range this attack can usually be safely blocked without being hit by the other projectiles, but if the opponent is between them they will still get hit.
Damage: 15,5,10 (30) Startup: 37F Priority: Melee Mid, Range Low ExForce: 90
A quick medium to long ranged magic attack. This attack moves quickly, guard staggers at close range and the opponent must stop moving to block the attack. It also produces the most ExForce of Cloud's attacks and is a good way to get your opponent into chase. It can be used for pressure or interrupting your opponent's attacks, however it can be punished fairly easily with Assists (although this is potentially a problem with all of Cloud's magic attacks). An excellent punisher for longer moves, especially when you can't get close enough to us another move. Safer than most of Cloud's other magical attacks, thanks to the Mid Priority at close range.
Damage: 7,13 (20) Startup: 13F Priority: Low ExForce: 90
An extremely quick, short range melee attack. Double Cut is really the basis of any proffesional SOLDIER's game. At 13F it is one of the quickest attacks in the game and as such has myriad uses, from dodge/block punishing, to Assist combo start-ups, to generating Assist. The aerial version is a new edition in D012 and is pretty much a requirement for Cloud, making him much more dangerous in the air. With quicker Assists it is possible to combo from the first hit, and with some the second hit can be carried on. It can be combo'd into Cross-Slash or Sonic Break. It is also equal with Blade Beam as the highest producer of ExForce and is a very easy way to get your opponent into chase, useful for building ExForce as well.
Damage: 5,10,25 (40) Startup: 21F Priority: Low ExForce: 30
A medium range and powerful, wallrushing attack. It also has a slight absorb and medium speed and by pushing the analogue stick up it changes to an upward hit. This is the staple of Cloud's gameplay and arguably the most used attack in the game. As an attack it is fairly easy to predict and deal with, but with assists it can become one of the most devastating attacks in the game. The damage is high and it can be linked into Omnislash Version 5 which is almost certain to wallrush, the perfect opportunity to use an assist and another Slashing Blow. It can potentially be used for dodge and block punishing and with the correct timing it can be used for a Double Assist Combo.
Damage: 25 Startup: 25F Priority: Low ExForce: 0
A quick dropping attack that wallrushes. Aerial Fang is the perfect punishing tool. It is just fast enough to punish blocks, dodges and most HP attacks, so long as you can get above your opponent or are already above them. It's main disadvantage is that it only has horizontal tracking when your opponent is far below you, otherwise you simply rotate in the air. It also cannot hit opponents above you. However, it can be used to hit your opponent during an Assist for some extra damage, or to start an Assist with a wallrush.
Damage: 3,1x10,17 (30) Startup: 21F Priority: Low ExForce: 33
A quick rising attack with medium damage. Rising Fang is useful for fighting opponents with strong aerial game, in fact it is pretty much the only move Cloud has for quickly punishing high up opponents. It is likely to wallrush and so is helpful for starting Assist combos. However, it is really only useful against opponents that like to get above you or in maps with low ceilings. This and Aerial Fang are interchangeable depending on the opponent.
Damage: 5,5 (10) Startup: 41F Priority: High ExForce: 30
A 3 hit HP attack with very strong knockback. Cross-Slash used to be a very limited attack, but now it has ridiculous tracking. This means that the only way to dodge it is to dodge over Cloud. The arc of the last hit is also very wide, so it is only easy to punish from right behind Cloud. Thanks to the very strong wallrushing effects it is very useful for starting Assist combos or with wallrush builds. It is too slow to punish most brave attacks but it can be useful for staggering slower HP attacks.
Damage: Each Meteor 10 Startup: Up 21F Down 81F Priority: Mid(rising) > High ExForce: 60 each
A long ranged HP attack that fires many meteors at the opponent. The ground version has very strong tracking and as such is difficult to dodge. The aerial version has poor tracking but spreads enough to still be difficult to dodge and is very useful on opponents directly below you who cannot see you. The brave hits will stun the enemy long enough to hit them with an Assist. Both versions of the attack can be truely devastating in small to medium spaces. If more than one of the meteors hit it can be the attack that produces the most ExForce for Cloud.
Damage: 2, 1xN (4+) Startup: 47F Priority: High ExForce: Each hit 15
A medium range HP attack that slams your opponent into the ground or banish trap. Braver has been heavily nerfed since DFF and only moves about 60% as far as it used to, however it now continues past the enemy if it misses, making it harder to punish. Braver's main use is now simply hitting opponents that block or dodge too much. It is also very useful for Assist combos as it will regularly wall rush and it can be useful for reducing the brave of stronger opponents because if used over a banish trap the opponent will be warped. Braver is very important as a Cloud player for 1 particular reason, it is very safe. If it hits any ranged attack (low/mid/high) the ranged attack will be reflected but Braver wont continue, however if the first part hits a mid or low priority melee attack the opponent will be staggered and hit by the second part of the attack. Braver can be used to reflect the ice block from Firion's long range Shield Bash, along with any other ranged HP attack, such as Meltdown or Blue Flare. This attack can be very hard to punish on a succesful hit, second only to Cross Slash.
Damage: 1x4,2x5 (+20=34) Startup: -- Priority: High ExForce: 27
A whirlwind cutting attack that rises and then wallrushes. Finishing Touch is the HP link for Sonic Break and has strong wallrushing powers. The damage is fairly high and if used with Assists can deal very high damage, however it can also be used to start Assist combos without wallrush (very useful in stages without much to wallrush on) by summoning the Assist during the spinning attack. This move is a must for any PVP player, simply because (like any HP link) it makes it easier to hit with HP attacks and it really boosts Cloud's Assist game.
Omnislash Version 5
Damage: 2x4,5,7 (+15=35) Startup: -- Priority: High ExForce: 36
A multihit HP attack that is likely to wallrush. Omni V5 is the HP link for Slashing Blow and is one of the most useful tools in your arsenal as a Cloud player. It lasts long enough to be used for Assist combos with almost everyone and its wallrush is the perfect setup for Assists. But, the most important thing that Omni V5 can do is a Double Assist combo. This is done by activating the HP link near the end of the Assist's attack, this wallrushes your opponent without darkening the Assist guage so it can be used again. Omnislash also has the advantage of being difficult to Assist Change out of, if your opponent changes before the last few hits of the attack then it will follow them and hit anyway.
Note: Both of Cloud's links are very long and can be easily punished if the assist change is correctly timed, as such they are generally not worth pulling off against an opponent with 1 or 2 bars of assist.
Part IV - The Ultimate Weapon Ex Mode
*Regen - Cloud Regenerates HP (generic)
*Critical - Increases Chance of Brave attacks dealing criticals (generic)
*Ultima Weapon (CRUSH) Each attack becomes even heavier, crushing all attempts at blocking. Cloud's Melee attacks gain Melee High priority, thus crushing guards and staggering most Brave attacks.
*Ultima Weapon (ATK) The Higher the user's HP, the sharper the weapon's blade. The more health Cloud has, the more damage he deals. From 1x ~ 2x depending on the percentage health.
Omnislash - An attack slicing the opponent over and over. (Charge by mashing the O button) A video can be seen here.
Basically what makes Cloud's Ex Mode awesome, besides the fact that his ExBurst is very powerful, is Ultima Weapon (CRUSH). This makes all of his melee attacks High priority, so he can attack through most brave attacks and stagger(with himself) most HP attacks. This also means that any opponents that guard out of reflex are easily crushed and HP attacks that block before they attack (for example Delta Attack, Scintilla and Shield Bash) are easily punished. In a no-assist ruleset, this is easily the best ExMode.
Part V - Assisting The Buster BasherUsing Assists
You can use the Assists and Combos Thread for information on how to maximise your assists and which ones to use.
A Quick Summary
Cloud's most useful tool is Assists. They can extend his combos for insane damage and they even have potential to give him an OHKO combo. Assists are also useful for punishing attacks that Cloud can't and confounding the enemy so that you can pull off attacks that are harder to hit with.
Top 5 Assists
5. Sephiroth - Great damage potential, excellent range and interruption capabilities, both brave attacks lead to chase, can do DC First Hit combos, allows for openings, great for strong aerial opponents, basically good for any situation and a sure way to get combos (mostly thanks to AC), his attacks are all long enough such that Cloud can pull of either an Aerial Fang (in the air) or Firaga (on the ground) for some extra damage. Only downside is it can be difficult to connect with Braver afterwards.
4. Kuja - Highest damage output (behind Gilgamesh), great range, good at interrupting the opponent (especially during their ranged attacks), both ground and aerial braves lead to chase (for easy SB Omni V5). Can be hard to hit after assist chase if enemy is too high/too close to the ceiling. Easy to connect Braver making it reasonably safe. Very easy to lock though on whiff or assist change.
3. Tidus -Very quick aerial assist making it great for dodge punishing and DCFH combos. Very difficult to assist lock and can lead into safe Braver and Meteorain combos, leaving you at a safe distance. Only real disadvantages are a fairly average ground assist and very low damage/ex depletion.
2. Yuna - Fastest assist in the game (her aerial attack). Almost impossible to lock after air assist. Reasonable damage/ex depletion. Very easy to combo (thanks to speed and length of attack). Only character in top 5 that can't be locked through HP assist change. Has usable/pretty good HP attacks.Only real downside is a very average ground brave attack.
1. Aerith - Easy to use, has reliable combos off of DC (DC >Summon Aerith>Chase > Anything can go here).Basically just better at everything (besides damage). Only downside is that she can't really punish, in matchups where it is required she should not be considered.
Note: Both Kuja and Sephiroth can punish Aerial Dodges, but only Kuja can punish Ground Dodges (although it must be predicted).
Part VI - A Soldier's EquipmentCloud's Exclusives
Required Level: 1
Stats: Attack +22 Defence -2
How to get it: In a treasure chest in 013 Chapter 1 in the North Sanctuary Gateway.
Or trade for 9300 gil, Longsword, Figaro Gravel x1 and Soldier's Desire x5
Required Level: 30
Stats: Attack +42 Defence -2
Effects: Wallrush HP Damage +10%
How to get it: Trade for 61000 gil, Buster Sword, Scarletite x1, Soldier's Desire x5
Required Level: 90
Stats: Attack +64 Defence -1
Effects: Wallrush HP Damage +15%
How to get it: Trade for 158,000 gil, Force Stealer, Electrum x1, Soldier's Dream x5
Required Level: 100
Stats: Attack +69 Defence -1
Effects: Wallrush HP Damage +20% Minor Sneak Attack effect
How to get it: Trade for 182,800 gil, Butterfly Edge, True Past x1, Soldier's Hopes x5
Part VII - Fight Like a SOLDIERStrategy
Cloud is a fairly versatile character, but there are two sets of options that must be considered when playing as Cloud:
Ex Vs Assist
Offensive Vs Defensive
Cloud can happily play Assist-centric, Ex-centric, Offensive or Defensive and you have to decide which one suits you best. It has often been discussed which is most viable but I and many others believe that with practice and some measure of skill all of them can work.
*Having atleast one version of Double Cut is a must, preferably you should always have the aerial version, but both is best and the ground version is more central to ground play.
*It is always worth having Slashing Blow, especially if you tend to fight alot in the air. Omni V5 is also integral to most assist builds thanks to its high damage, wallrush and long attack time.
*It really helps to have one of Cloud's magic attacks equipped for pressure. Fire or Blade Beam are very necessary for Ex-centric builds where you don't have access to Assists.
*If you have the CP for it then it is well worth having Meteorain. It is very effective in smaller maps and can be a great way to deal out HP damage when nothing else is working.
*Braver is always well worth having, it is simply a staple of Cloud's air game and thanks to assists it still works very effectively, despite it's nerf. Plus, thanks to the fact that it no longer stops short if it misses, it is actually fairly safe now.
Ex Vs Assist
Spoiler:Offensive Vs Defensive
Decisions, Decisions, Decisions
So, which playstyle is the best to use? When it comes down to it, the choice should be based on preference. However, many people find that defensive gameplay mixed with Ex builds make the single player game alot easier. Mean while an offensive Cloud can work really well online, but he tends to work best with a mixture of Ex and Assist. This maximises his damage output and makes him safe (Assist change AND Ex Revenge) in many situations.
The thing to be remembered about Cloud in his Duodecim incarnation is that many of his different moves and strategies are situational. Before picking which style you would like to play with, or mixture of styles as the case may be, you should assess your opponent and the map you are fighting on. If the enemy has lots of unguardable attacks then a defensive build and playstyle are not the best choice. If the enemy is all about guarding (say for example ExDeath or an overly defensive Firion) then an Ex Build may actually be useful due to its guard crushing nature and a mixture between defensive and offensive may throw them off guard. A little bit of thought can make a good Cloud go a long way!
Part VIII - Miscellaneous StuffMiscellaneous Stuff
I'd like to thank these people for helping with the guide:
NeroMD for various bits of advice and help
Kaya for the same thing (also for her Firion guide which I totally copied :P)
Everyone mentioned in the Assists and Combos thread for their help there
The FFwiki for background and equipment info
Square Enix for making Duodecim and then making Cloud even more awesome
TWOxACROSS for some advice on how to make a guide.
SLKrn108 for compiling the changelist.
Kewldude475 for general advice and notes on punishing.
And most of all Ujhbn for all his awesome info on moves and stuff :3
Cloud's Dissidia page on the FFwiki
Ujhbn's Info Thread
The Guide Discussion Thread
The Matchups Thread
Discussion about choosing between Sonic Break and Climhazzard
Discussion about Cloud Playstyles
Discussion about Cloud's Magic Use
If you have any suggestions for the guide or think I'm wrong and need to change anything, please go to the Guide Discussion Thread. I appreciate any help I can get and any changes that need to be made will be made.
If you found this guide useful +rep me :3
I hope it helps
Last edited: 8th June 2012