Clinkeroth is the term used as a shorthand to when talking about the three most powerful characters in Contest history:
In poetic terms, you could say that Clinkeroth forms the Triforce of Power at the top of the Noble Nine. The term was developed after the Summer 2003 Contest when it became apparent that these three Final Fantasy 7/Zelda stars were in a league of their own in terms of Contest strength, and were not likely to be defeated by outside competition anytime soon.
After Cloud and Link proved this theory by dominating their way to the Finals of the 2004 Contest, Clinkeroth was removed from the Character Battles of 2005 (through the creation of a separate Tournament of Champions) and 2006 (through the creation of a separate Battle Royale). Due to the odd 4-way format, all three were allowed to return to the main bracket in 2007 and 2008.
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The Clinkeroth beast has only been defeated by outside competition thrice in site-wide 1v1 battles, but has faced several hardships in the 4-way setting (especially when Cloud and Sephiroth LFF each other) or against the ultimate joke characters.
- Mario stunned the world by defeating Cloud with 50.11% of the vote in their 2002 Elite Eight matchup. Many still consider this the strangest result in Contest history based on everything these two characters have shown us outside of this one match, while others call it the luckiest draw ever in that Mario surely couldn't have prevailed had Super Mario Sunshine not been released on the exact day of the poll. However Mario and Cloud have never faced each other in 1v1 since.
- Solid Snake managed to just barely survive Day 3 of the '06 Battle Royale and defeated Sephiroth in the process. The win couldn't have happened without Cloud being in the match or a very suspicious final update... but oh well!
- Jay Solano did just the opposite of what was originally intended by upsetting Link with 51.85% of the vote in an "Ultimate Battle!" held as a bonus after the 2006 Contest. TRE had invented the Solano phenomenon as an attempt to top Tanner as the weakest character ever, but because the Ultimate voting was limited to only Board 8, a major Clinkeroth backlash resulted in Jay instead becoming the most powerful character in history, based on strict stats. Whoops!
- Samus beat Sephiroth for a pointless third place finish in the Summer 2007 Semifinals due to Cloud being in the match, though she herself had to stand up to Link being in the match.
- L-Block completed the most shocking run in GameFAQs history by upsetting both Link and Cloud in the 4-way 2007 Final. The Block had so much momentum going for him by the end of his amazing streak that not even the combined forces of Clink + Solid Snake could stop him.
- Kirby finished above Sephiroth for a pointless third place finish in the Summer 2008 Semifinals due to Cloud being in the match
- Snake was also able to not only finish above Cloud and Sephiroth in the Summer 2008 Semifinals, but he also finished second in the 2008 Finals-- above Cloud, but behind Link. Not only that, but for the first six hours of the match, he was in first place. Snake had a huge boost thanks to MGS4 and SSBB, which made for arguably his best performance in contest history.
- With the return of the 1-on-1 format in 2010, Snake finally became the first to defeat a member of the trio in eight years, with a 52.96% percent against Sephiroth in the Quarterfinals. He lost to Cloud by nearly the same total, but this shows both an increase for Snake's strength and a possible fall for the FFVII duo.
- The Summer 2013 Contest drifted to 3-way battles. With this, all of the trio fell to anti-voting and outside rallying to keep jokes alive. First, Link got a close defeat by Reddit voting en masse on Draven and the site crashing while the Zelda hero was on the rise. Then, Cloud was beaten by Squirtle. And finally, in the semifinals Sephiroth was killed by both Draven and Mewtwo (the former having Reddit support, the latter both a Pokémon boost and the support of anyone who though he better to defeat Draven than the decaying Sephy).
- The Fall 2018 Contest was 1-on-1 again. Sephiroth, after doing his job in the regular bracket to join the other Noble Niners in the quarterfinals, showed that he has still decayed while Nintendo was on the rise, as Mario beat him with an impressive 59.25%. The plumber has now two wins over the trio, while Seph became the first one to lose twice to outsiders in 1-on-1s.
- Making the above even worse, those who lost in the 2018 Finals Division entered a double-elimination Loser Bracket. Right away Sephiroth lost to fellow FFVII character Tifa Lockhart (who he beat in two previous contests) by 52.33% to be fully eliminated from the contest.
Overall, Clinkeroth is 57-4 against outside competition in 1v1 site-wide Contest matches.