On Cloud in Doubles

Zephyr - August 25, 2017

So a lot of people have been wond--

... Wait, I'm not ZeRo. Let me try that again.

It seems like more and more people are clamoring to ban Cloud in doubles - either a ban on double Cloud, or a ban on the character entirely. People state all the time that "Double Cloud is OP", or "Cloud is ruining the doubles meta". I'm here to offer my opinions (and do keep in mind that these are my opinions - agree or disagree as you will, but be respectful).

First off, let's begin with the concept of double Cloud. Actually, let's broaden it out a bit, and go with double of any character. The biggest problem that teams run into when they play duplicated characters is that they don't cover each other's weaknesses anywhere near as well as other characters would. I know what argument people will make to that - "Cloud is too strong in doubles, he doesn't have any weaknesses" - but that's just not true. Cloud can struggle in doubles against characters who don't allow him to easily land, or who edgeguard well, or who can zone him out effectively with projectiles. Having two Clouds on a team can be nice, to either juggle opponents and rack up damage, or hit Finishing Touch confirms, or whatever. But consider this for a second - these are all things that Cloud can likely do (and sometimes do better) with other teammates.

Hypothetically, let's say that double Cloud is OP and, by far, the best combination anyone could ever pick in doubles. Why is it, then, that only one team of double Clouds has been doing exceptionally well lately? Furthermore, it's not like the two players in question are new to Cloud - both MKLeo and Komorikiri are well-known for their Cloud usage in singles, as well as doubles. If double Cloud was truly overpowered, we'd see teams of double Clouds exceeding their bracket predictions left and right, and beating teams of a higher skill consistently. I haven't seen that. Yes, double Cloud can be a really good team when both Clouds are playing at a high level. But that can be said of other teams, too. Salem/Mistake could be an insane Bayo team. Promaelia/Vivid got 17th at Shine 2017 with double Corrin.

Now, let's focus on the statement "Cloud is broken in doubles", in general. First off, let me clarify this for people - Cloud isn't broken in doubles. Cloud can be really, really good in doubles, and is possibly even the best doubles character in the game. That being said, he isn't broken.  Broken means that there's little to no counterplay, and that realistically, the character will defeat any other character, assuming the two players are of equal skill. Again, if this were true, we'd see a Cloud on every single doubles team. We see a lot of Clouds lately, yes - but not on every team. Let's look at Smash Con's top 16 teams:

1. MKLeo (Cloud) / Komorikiri (Cloud)
2. VoiD (Sheik) / NAKAT (Ness)
3. ZeRo (Diddy) / Nairo (Cloud)
4. Ryuga (Corrin) / Salem (Bayonetta)
5. Tweek (Cloud) / Samsora (Peach)
5. Larry Lurr (Fox) / JK (Bayonetta)
7. Ally (Mario) / Blacktwins (Cloud)
7. ESAM (Pikachu) / MVD (Cloud)
9. Xzax (Fox) / Mr. E (Lucina)
9. Luhtie (ZSS) / Mistake (Bayonetta)
9. Rideae (Pikachu) / Cashmere (Captain Falcon)
9. Abadango (Bayonetta) / Kameme (Cloud)
13. Nom (Sheik) / Miloni (Cloud)
13. Locus (Ryu) / Cosmos (Corrin)
13. Tyroy (Bayonetta) / Hackoru (Mario)
13. Dark Wizzy (Mario) / WaDi (Mewtwo)

For those of you who don't want to do the math, I'll list individual character usage below:
Cloud: 7
Bayonetta: 4
Mario: 3
Sheik: 2
Corrin: 2
Pikachu: 2
Ness: 1
Diddy: 1
Fox: 1
Lucina: 1
ZSS: 1
Captain Falcon: 1
Ryu: 1
Mewtwo: 1

So, yes, obviously, Cloud was the most used character in top 16 doubles. But it should be noted that he makes up 7/16 characters used in doubles. If we remove MKLeo/Komo, that means that 5/15 (or one-third of the remaining teams) had a Cloud on their team. This supports the data that he's a really good doubles character... and also that he's not broken. The simplest thing to see is this - VoiD and NAKAT beat ZeRo and Nairo to get 2nd place. No one can deny that ZeRo and Nairo are two of the best players in Smash 4, and they even had a Cloud on their team - and yet, they didn't win. Consider, also, that Ryuga and Salem outplaced multiple teams containing a Cloud. So... is Cloud a good doubles character, and potentially incredibly deadly in the hands of people who are good with him? Absolutely so. Is he broken? Nah. I think that too many people see top players, who have invested insane amounts of time into their characters (lately, MKLeo and Komo), perform well and automatically assume that what they're doing is easy.

Cloud can be really scary. Double Cloud can be really scary. They're not broken.

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Comments

Not necessarily a bad argument. I'm personally of the opinion that the real problem with doubles is just Smash 4's mechanics in general don't lend to a compelling meta, and Cloud is only one example of the bigger problem. He's probably the best character in doubles, but banning him wouldn't really remove the linear strategies that he's simply the best at.
A2ZOMG - August 27, 2017

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