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Cloudy Skies: Should We Ban Cloud in Doubles?

CTQ - February 28, 2018

For months, Cloud in doubles has been a pressing issue. His strong combos and immense killpower make him not just the best character in doubles, but the best by a fair margin. But should he be banned? That is a question on everybody's minds. While the idea of banning Bayo in singles has now come up, a doubles Cloud ban seems to have more support overall. Here, I'll analyze the pros and cons of a ban, and conclude by giving my opinion on the topic.


Arguments For a Ban

The main argument for banning him is due to his ridiculous strengths, coupled with the fact that his main weakness is lessened. In singles, Cloud is a very good character. Widely regarded as anywhere from 1st to 3rd best, he boasts extraordinary abilities. However, he has one very major weakness. His recovery is quite lackluster, offering him very little horizontal movement and mediocre vertical height. This, however, is greatly lessened in doubles. Due to the chaos of doubles, going offstage for an edgeguard is less common, as it means leaving your teammate behind. This means that his recovery can go unchallenged at times, and if he has his jump, he can likely make it back alright. In addition, the Cloud's teammate could save him by hitting him with a weak move to replenish his up-b. Both of these factors combine to take a good amount of his major weakness away, leaving only the superb strengths. Finishing Touch is one of these strengths. Using a teammate's throw (or any move, if the team is skilled enough), the Cloud can line up a Finishing Touch, which can kill at absurd percents. Another strength is that Cloud's nair, bair, and throws set up perfectly for a teammate to follow up on. Lastly, all of his other singles strengths carry over, such as his uair juggles, Limit Cross Slash, and Limit Charge to force approaches. All of these strengths lead to a character that is extremely good in doubles. These strengths are shown by how popular Cloud is in doubles. At a good amount of majors, usually around 2-4 teams in top 8 contain at least one Cloud.


Arguments Against a Ban

Those against a ban usually will argue that a ban is unjustified. 2-4 teams is perfectly fine for the best character to have. A key argument for the anti-ban side is that of these 2-4 teams, almost none of them have double Cloud, leaving only 3-4 Clouds out of 16. This number is roughly equivalent to the number of some other strong doubles characters, such as Bayo or Sheik. Despite his strengths, he is not banworthy. The gap between Cloud and the other top doubles characters is roughly the same as Melee Fox and the other top doubles characters of Melee. Melee doubles is still just as vibrant as ever, despite having a character just as good, if not better, than Cloud. Often, such as at Genesis 5, there will be more Foxes in top 8 of their respective game than Clouds (4 Clouds vs 5 Foxes). While this can be attributed to Melee's lack of character diversity when compared to SSB4, it shows that having a character that is very prevalent in top-level play will not kill a game. In fact, three of the top four teams at G5 had a Fox. These strong results for Fox prove that a character seeing that much action in high-level play is perfectly fine for competitive play.


Personal Opinion

For me, the comparison to Melee is the biggest point. SSB4 can learn a lot from Melee. After all, a game doesn't live on for seventeen years without doing a lot of things right. In Melee, Fox sees a lot of action in doubles, as he is far and away the best character. He is used more than Cloud in SSB4. However, the community fails to realize this because of one simple thing: Melee players don't complain about him. We, however, do complain, and complain vocally. I'm not saying there's nothing to complain about. I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel disgruntled after getting Finishing Touched at 60 and dying. However, by understanding that he is the best character, and that the best character is going to be cheap, I accept it. I hope that everyone can do the same. Only at a point where having Cloud on your team feels like a necessity (6-7 teams with Cloud make top 8 of every major, random teams with Cloud are constantly upsetting top teams without him, etc.) should we consider a ban.


Is he the best in the game? Absolutely. Is he the best by a wide margin? Yes again. However, being the best does not automatically mean he should be banned. Only when it becomes so polarizing that you need a Cloud to go more than 2-2 should we consider a ban. As long as teams like VoiD/NAKAT and Fatality/WaDi keep beating Cloud teams, the skies should stay partly cloudy.

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