Hey, guys! Arklaine here, and welcome to Cloud Nine’s competitive Cloud amiibo training guide!
The protagonist of FINAL FANTASY VII, Cloud wields the enormous Buster Sword, a memento from his comrade Zack. Once a SOLDIER of Shinra, he now fights as a mercenary against the corporation he originally served. His decision to join AVALANCHE’s insurgence, however, will transform his destiny.
This guide is up-to-date as of version 1.1.7 of Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and Nintendo 3DS.
Table of Contents
- Section 1: Amiibo Overview / Pros & Cons
- Section 2: Recommended Equipment
- Section 3: Leveling up your Amiibo
- Section 4: Post Level-50 Training
- Section 5: Conclusion & Credits
Judging by the large size of Cloud’s Buster Sword, you can imagine that just one swing of it would hurt a lot. This is exactly the case; Cloud’s smash attacks are his defining traits, and all inflict huge damage on his opponents. His forward smash, which is his strongest smash attacl, hits three times in quick succession for massive amounts of damage and can greatly wear down shields. In fact, with the right amount of points allocated into his attack stat, it can even break full shields! His up smash is just as useful, as it covers a wide radius around Cloud and is a great way to catch aerial amiibo off-guard. Cloud also packs an always-helpful set of tilts and a jab, with both coming out extremely quick and having decent power to boot. Since Cloud is a swordfighter, and thus will be fighting in close proximity to his opponent most of the time, these moves’ varied speed and power are essential to his success during combat.
Cloud has some weaknesses that hinder or even destroy his chances of winning, with the most notable of which being his poor usage of Limit Break, Cloud’s unique trait. The amiibo can be taught to manually charge up its Limit Gauge, but has problems registering when it has reached full charge – more often than not, it’ll waste its Limit Gauge by firing the Limit Break variant of Blade Beam, his only projectile and a move that the amiibo often spams to no end. Cloud’s AI is unusually jumpy as well, and given the relative difficulty of punishing his aerial attacks, it can be hard to train him grounded at times. And though Cloud’s best attacks are undoubtedly his smash attacks, they are quite slow in startup time – his forward and up smashes may be powerful, but opponents will have the chance to easily avoid them. Cloud also has one of the worst recoveries in the game, with his non-Limit Break up special, Climhazzard, having average vertical range and even poorer horizontal range with the added hindrance of it having trouble snapping to the ledge, making him susceptible to gimps.
Though Cloud has a slew of flaws that may make him a challenging amiibo to train, the payoff is worth it – you’ll have a strong tournament contender on your hands, given you prepare him with proper training.
Cloud – Recommended Stats & Bonuses
It’s time to train up your own tournament champion! Let’s begin by planning out what equipment your amiibo will have. To many new trainers starting out their journey, this step can be quite difficult due to the many complexities it contains – luckily, this section is dedicated to providing recommended stat spreads and bonuses for your amiibo. Here is my recommended loadout for Cloud:
Point Distribution: +200 Attack / +120 Defense / -200 Speed
Known as “Overload Attack”, this setup maximizes Cloud’s damage output and provides a hefty boost to his defenses. -200 points in Speed absolutely trashes Cloud’s already-poor recovery, but allows him to hit like a truck. It’s arguably the best setup Cloud can run, but be warned – should he be launched far enough, he won’t be able to return back to the stage, even with Limit Break active.
- Hyper smash attacks
- Improved escapability
Hyper smash attacks grants a flat 30% increase in power to Cloud’s already-powerful smash attacks, giving his sword’s swings even more oomph – this allows Cloud to nab early kills with fully-charged forward smashes. Lifesteal pairs exceptionally well with Cloud’s strong blows, recovering half of the damage he deals in a single hit half of the time. Improved escapability lets Cloud escape grabs and kill throws twice as much, meaning that the chances of him getting thrown off-stage and falling to his death are drastically reduced.
If you feel that you aren’t confident in the stat spread and bonus combination listed above, there’s another page here at Cloud Nine that goes more in-depth on several different setups you could potentially use on your Cloud amiibo, which you can check out by following this link.
If you didn’t know by now, the bonuses “Critical-hit capability” and “Explosive perfect shield” are banned in the online competitive amiibo scene. That’s why these weren’t mentioned at all. While these two bonuses are banned online, some real-life tournaments, which are far and few in-between, don’t ban them. If you’re reading this guide because you want to prepare for a real-life tournament that allows all types of equipment, use this setup instead:
Point Distribution: +50 Attack / +50 Defense / +20 Speed
- Critical-hit capability
- Explosive perfect shield
- Improved escapability
This is, without a doubt, the greatest bonus combination in the game. Critical-hit capability and Explosive perfect shield are incredibly powerful in tandem with each other, as a single perfect shield can possibly inflict up to 45% on an opponent. With this setup, all you really have to do is teach your Cloud to block with perfect accuracy, and he wins – unless the opponent blocks better. Improved escapability rounds out the set, and it’s just as important in real-life tournaments as it is in the online scene.
Just be sure to carefully read the rules of any amiibo tournament you enter, whether it be online or real-life. As stated before, Critical-hit capability and Explosive perfect shield are both banned in online tourneys, so make sure to carefully read the rules before entering. You certainly don’t want your Cloud getting disqualified after all of your “hard work”! If you’d like to learn more about online amiibo tournaments and how to enter one, take a look at this page.
Feeding your Amiibo
Now you should know exactly what stats and bonuses you will want to equip your amiibo with. It’s time to go ahead with your plan and get your amiibo all set up with its proper equipment pieces! Once you’re ready to roll, boot up your copy of Super Smash Bros. for Wii U/3DS, navigate to the Games & More menu, and then go to the amiibo section. Scan in your Cloud amiibo (on Wii U, tap it to the left side of the Gamepad; on the Nintendo 3DS, you must use an NFC reader (sold separately); and on the New Nintendo 3DS, tap the figurine to the console’s bottom screen), and you’ll see a status menu that details its current stats and bonus effects.
Don’t worry about your amiibo’s current level or if you have trained him before. Don’t reset your Cloud just to use this guide – remember, it’s always possible to correct an amiibo’s bad habits.
Step 1: Equipping Three Bonus Effects
We’re going to begin by setting your amiibo up with its three bonus effects. From your amiibo’s status screen, go to the “Feed Equipment” option, and sort your equipment stash alphabetically. You’ll notice that each piece has a “prefix”, and this prefix determines what bonus effect it yields. Here’s a list of some common bonuses and the prefixes you should search for – find the three bonus effects you decided on from the list below, and then feed them to your amiibo in-game. The bonus effects I recommended for Cloud will be underlined.
- All-Around Trade-off (Improved trade-off ability)
- Auto-Healer (Auto-heal capability)
- Escape Artist (Improved escapability)
- Gluey Edge (Easier edge grabs)
- Hyper Smasher (Hyper smash attacks)
- Moon Launcher (Improved launch ability)
- Nimble Dodger (Improved dodge ability)
- Perfect-Shield Helper / Perfect-Shield Whiz (Easy perfect shield)
- Shield Healer / Healing-Shield (Health-restoring shield)
- Shield Reflector / Shield Counter (Mirror shield)
- Shield Regenerator / Speedy Shield Recharge (Improved shield regeneration)
- Trade-off Attacker (Improved trade-off attack)
- Trade-off Defender (Improved trade-off defense)
- Trade-off Speedster (Improved trade-off speed)
- Vampire (Lifesteal)
If you scroll up a bit, you’ll see a visual example image of what the equipment menu looks like, sorted alphabetically. If you find that you don’t have one of the bonuses you wanted to give to your amiibo, leave one of its bonus slots blank, and you can feed the missing bonus effect later. For more information on amiibo equipment, including how to farm for bonus effects and custom moves, check this page before moving on.
Step 2: Rounding Out Stat Values
For many, this is the most difficult step in feeding your amiibo: evenly distributing its stat points. If you decided to follow the recommended stat spread, your ultimate task is to give your amiibo 200 points in attack, 120 points in defense, and -200 points in speed. Don’t worry if your numbers aren’t exact – we’re aiming for a ballpark range with your Cloud’s stats. If you don’t know this already, each piece of equipment has one of three different colors: orange, blue, or green. Orange pieces will increase an amiibo’s attack power but decrease its defense. Blue pieces will increase its defense but lower its speed. A green piece will increase its speed, but lower its strength. You’ll need to use these equipment pieces to balance your amiibo’s stats to the values you want them to be.
Step 3: When Your Amiibo Gets Full
Your amiibo can only eat so much equipment before it becomes full and can’t eat anymore. It’s possible to feed your amiibo more equipment by battling it. You don’t want to formally start your training until your amiibo is complete with the correct stats and bonuses, so if your amiibo becomes full midway through the feeding process, hop into a quick 1-stock game as any character. When the match begins, run off the stage and KO yourself. Your amiibo’s tendencies and habits won’t be negatively affected, regardless of whether it is Level 1, Level 50, or anywhere in between. Your amiibo will then be ready to eat more equipment, and you’ll be one step closer to completing this whole process. Keep repeating this step until your amiibo has your desired stat spread.
Completing the Feeding Process
Once your amiibo is set up with its stat points, bonus effects, and custom moves, you’ll be ready to begin your training. (Or continue it, if your amiibo is already Level 50 and will be using this guide for the first time.) It’s quite easy to make mistakes while feeding your amiibo, however, and if you run into a problem of some sort that you can’t resolve, you can always hop into the community Discord server to ask a question.
Raising your Amiibo to Level 50
Note: If your Cloud amiibo was trained prior to using this guide, do not reset it. This section does talk about raising your amiibo to Level 50, but it also contains helpful tips to use when mirror matching your amiibo. They’ll still be helpful to you even if your amiibo is already at Level 50. Take a look at Section 4 of the guide, which talks about additional post-Level 50 training techniques.
Raising an amiibo to Level 50 is possibly the most boring and tedious part of training that you will ever experience. Since aerial training is frowned upon in the competitive metagame due to how easy an amiibo can block an aerial opponent, you can’t go all-out against your amiibo with just combos and edgeguards and expect it to become great – you have to play against your Cloud amiibo very carefully. That’s why, for this step, you’ll be mirror matching your amiibo all the way to Level 50. A “mirror match”, known by some as a “ditto match”, is when you fight your amiibo while playing as its character – so in this case, you’ll need to play as Cloud against your Cloud amiibo. I recommend playing timed matches (anywhere from 3 to 5 minutes will do, but 5 is preferred) on Ω-form stages only.
We haven’t talked much about defense in this guide yet, have we? Well, it’s one of, if not the most important of components towards an amiibo’s success. In the competitive Super Smash Bros. metagame (human players vs. human players), success is all about getting off the strongest combos, playing a good neutral game, and outsmarting and predicting your opponent. But in the amiibo metagame, success is having your amiibo block, then counterattack. To support these components, I’ve put together a list of defensive training tips. Be sure to play by them at all times during your training.
Defensive Training Tips
- Do not jump or use aerials. Amiibo can be trained to block incoming attacks within a fraction of a second – faster than any human. If your Cloud is airborne, it can’t block at all, so if it misses an aerial move, it’ll be left vulnerable to a counterattack. Remaining grounded at all times is every amiibo’s best option and safest playstyle. There have been over 100 tournaments thus far, and each one has shown that amiibo who use or rely on their aerial attacks do not perform well at all.
- Block and dodge attacks as often as you can. Since amiibo can react so quickly, you shouldn’t teach yours to randomly throw out different attacks – instead, your amiibo’s approach should be calm and calculated. During training, block as many of your amiibo’s attacks as you can. After perfect shielding or dodging, respond with a move of your own. When your Cloud is at low damage, use tilts and jabs more often than smash attacks. When it’s taken a lot of damage, switch it up – start using more smash attacks than tilts and jabs.
- Do not make any attempt to combo. Amiibo can only use combos that are hard-coded into their AI, and even these combos aren’t very effective tools in the amiibo metagame. Plus, since amiibo can block and dodge with incredible accuracy, combos will usually be ineffective against them. Focus on well-timed blocks, dodges, and counterattacks instead.
- Don’t be too picky. If you mess up during training, don’t get frustrated and reset your amiibo. In fact, you should never reset your amiibo, because it’s always possible to correct bad habits. If you do make a mistake, shrug it off and just keep going. The level-up process isn’t too important; at the end of the day, it’s the training you execute on your amiibo after it has reached Level 50 that counts.
The defensive training tips apply to every amiibo character. However, there are some tips that apply specifically to Cloud that you will need to play by to ensure your amiibo’s success.
Cloud Training Tips
- Primary damage-racking moves: jab and tilts. Cloud’s jab and tilts are unarguably his best way to rack up damage quickly, with his jab coming out extremely fast and his tilts having a good mix of speed and power. For Cloud’s tilts, emphasize on his down tilt – it works almost like a dash attack and is his best move out of his fantastic arsenal of tilts.
- Primary KO moves: forward and up smash, and Limit Break Cross Slash. Cloud’s forward smash is a reliable kill move that has a high damage output and knockback, and thus should be utilized. Up smash is great for catching your amiibo if it jumps above you, and should be used just as much. And while Cloud isn’t the best at aiming his Limit Break Cross Slash, it’s a much better option for killing than his Limit Break Blade Beam. Try your best at hitting your amiibo with it.
- Moves to avoid: Blade Beam and Climhazzard. Cloud painfully spams Blade Beam to no end, which is a bad option since with this problem he’s more prone to wasting his Limit Break on this move. Cloud also uses his up special, Climhazzard, onstage as an attack, but more often than not he doesn’t use the second hit of it to safely land back on the ground. Avoid these two moves like the plague.
- Utilize Limit Charge. Though Limit usage is Cloud’s biggest flaw, it wouldn’t help at all to not have him manually charge it during breathers. Charge the Limit Gauge when there is a good distance between you and your amiibo.
If you started using this guide with a Level 1 amiibo, it will take some time for it to reach Level 50. If your Cloud began his training anywhere in between Level 1 and Level 50, it shouldn’t take too long to level him up depending on how much training he originally had. As long as you play by the tips provided, you’ll be well on your way to creating a strong foundation for your amiibo to build on later. Keep in mind that you can refer back to this list at any time in case you want to mirror match your amiibo to refresh its skills after it hits Level 50.
When your Cloud amiibo finally reaches Level 50, his training will truly begin. Much like a real player, amiibo need match experience and practice against different characters, stages, and situations. When you’re all done here, we’ll move on to the most important section of the guide – honing your Level 50 amiibo’s skills and turning it into a champion!
Now that your Cloud amiibo has reached Level 50, things finally get interesting. It’s time to really make him great. Defense and counterattacks are important to your amiibo’s success and all, but match experience is even more important. Your amiibo will need to be exposed to the many possible situations it could face in a tournament setting.
Your Amiibo’s Match Experience
Every character in the Super Smash Bros. roster has their own unique playstyle and a variety of different moves to use. It’s a good idea to expose your Cloud to as many different fighters as possible. The best way of doing this is to have your Cloud fight other amiibo characters. Set the stock to 2, the time to 6 minutes, and have them play three matches. The first character to win 2 matches wins the set, just like in a real tournament! Here at Cloud Nine, we have guides for every amiibo character, so if you have any other amiibo characters left untrained, train them up with their own personalized character guide.
Mirror Matches, Defense, and Counterattacks
As your amiibo’s knowledge of other characters expands, its knowledge of its own moveset will diminish – in other words, your Cloud’s fighting skills will wear down. Don’t get me wrong, match experience is great and all – but your Cloud will require your intervention now and then in order to be successful. Mirror matching your amiibo every so often is a great way to refresh its skills. Remember Section 3 of this guide, where we went over a list of tips you should use as you mirror match your amiibo? Refer back to that list, and also remember to stay on the ground at all times, and to play defensively.
Speaking of playing defensively, now that your amiibo is Level 50, you can put it through some advanced defensive training. The aptly-named defensive training session will help your amiibo to block incoming attacks and then counter with greater precision. It’s also another great way to refresh your amiibo’s skills, in addition to the mirror match above. To keep your amiibo fresh and at its best, repeat both mirror matches and the defensive training session as much as it’s needed.
Training a champion amiibo isn’t a simple feat, and it certainly isn’t as easy as following a step-by-step guide from start to finish – it requires innovation, creativity, and a lot of patience. Amiibo are finicky things at times, and yours will likely develop a habit you aren’t so fond of; it might use too many aerials or walk right into attacks, for one. Luckily, several resources at Cloud Nine exist to help you to correct these problems. The FAQ will answer most of your questions, but if your question isn’t there, you can join Cloud Nine’s Discord server for additional help.
Thanks for reading this guide all the way to the end! You toughed it out – good job! Though the guide may be wrapping up, your training won’t be done anytime soon. There’s always a way forward with an amiibo, and your Cloud amiibo is no exception to this rule. Again, if you run into any roadblocks along the way, check out Cloud Nine’s Discord server.
If your desire to read amiibo training guides and articles hasn’t been completely satisfied, there are some more posts here at Cloud Nine that you might like. The official amiibo tier list ranks every amiibo’s overall capabilities, and you might learn something new if you take a look at it. The FAQ is another good resource worth checking out. Alternatively, you can head to the master list of guides for even more amiibo training methods!
If you noticed any spelling, grammar, or formatting errors while reading this guide, please either join the aforementioned Discord server to tell us about the mistake. Your help is much appreciated – thank you in advance!
All images you see in this guide were taken in-game by Cloud (the writer, not the character).