|Match Date||Wednesday, July 9th, 2003|
|Cloud - 94.91%|
After the North Division gave us a fairly good start to the Summer 2003 Contest, it was the East's turn to show its stuff. Tidus/Ganon especially gave the East a pretty high standard to live up to, though it took all of one match to give us the biggest laugh of the contest.
HISTORY LESSON omg: Cloud wasn't like other characters who had suffered tough losses in 2002. Board opinion of him (and Final Fantasy 7) has always been fairly split, oft going against FF7 whenever possible. A good microcosm of this was the fact that many a user fully expected Sonic to win this division over Cloud due to Sonic fans being out for blood after his 2002 loss to Samus. Never mind the fact that to this day, Cloud was the victim of the single biggest miracle in these contests.
Cloud has his fans, yes, but our board hasn't been in his corner in any regard since 2002. I think that this match was the beginning of this little trend. In 2002, CATS was little more than a joke. In 2003, someone (I think gotspork) created the CATS Army solely because a, the AYB fad is hilarious, and b, because it would have been hilarious to see CATS ahead of Cloud at any point in the match.
Cloud was a lock to win, but the unthinkable happened as this match began. CATS, a character whose fanbase consists almost entirely of people who haven't played his game, actually took the lead on Cloud at the beginning of the match! This wasn't like today in which we're all aware that we can see any character lead the beginning of a poll if the board agrees on where to vote, mind. This was back in the day where it was still widely believed that whoever was winning at the beginning of a match would win the match outright. To see CATS ahead of Cloud was almost unthinkable, and the legend of The Army™ was born. Many a coalition has been created since, but the CATS Army is the only one to have ever amounted to being worth a damn.
Cloud would eventually go on to absolutely slaughter everyone's favorite ZIG weapon, but the damage was done to him in terms of respect. He went from being a lock to defeat Mario to a guy that couldn't take the board vote from CATS in the span of a year, and Cloud has lost the board vote in virtually every match he's been involved in since. Not that this has much of a bearing on Cloud's wins and losses (he's only lost to Link since this contest), but to not be able to win the board vote against anyone is sad. He'd probably lose it to Sam Fisher.
The funniest thing of all however is the fact that people used Cloud's seconds-long blunder against CATS to preach that he was in trouble against Auron (who wasn't even a lock to beat Tails at the time). I guess some things never change :D </TRE>
Side Note: creativename claims that through extrapolation, Cloud's eventually winning this contest shouldn't have come as such a big surprise. Him preaching this, along with creative's dominance in solar's first Oracle Contest is a large reason for the eventual boom of X-Stat fanboyism.