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Who is Cloud?[]

He is Cloud Strife, former SOLDIER First Class, and the main character of the site that made GameFAQs famous: Final Fantasy 7. Cloud believes that he knows what his true past is, but he is constantly plagues by flashbacks and always has voices inside of his head calling him, taunting him, torturing him, and at certain times, the voices even guide him. Cloud soon begins to question the very reality that he has come to known as "truth", and soon wonders if everything he has believed is his true life, or merely an illusion placed there by an unknown force.

As Final Fantasy 7 progresses, Cloud listens to one mission, and one mission only: find Sephiroth, and get his revenge against him for the torture that Sephiroth has caused Cloud for what is seemingly the entire span of his own existence. But as Cloud progresses on his quest, is Cloud truly accomplishing anything, or is his very goal of finding the real Sephiroth playing right into Sephiroth's desires as well? All members of SOLDIER are infused with Jenova cells, as was Sephiroth. Are Cloud's desires his own free will, or is it his destiny? Is Cloud no different from the other soulless dregs whose soul purpose is to find Sephiroth and transmutate their power unto his own?

But that is no matter. Cloud is a proud man, a former SOLDIER, and be it fate or free will, he will see through his role to the end no matter the cost.

"Sephiroth... I... I have to settle the score..." -Cloud Strife

Contest History[]

Win-Loss Record: 40-10

Summer 2002 Contest - North Division - 2 seed

  • Northern Round 1 --- Defeated (15) Fox McCloud, 54643 [74.61%] - 18599 [25.39%]
  • Northern Quarterfinal --- Defeated (7) Pikachu, 59926 [79.51%] - 15445 [20.49%]
  • Northern Semifinal --- Defeated (6) Alucard, 51787 [69.64%] - 22578 [30.36%]
  • Northern Final --- Lost to (1) Mario, 64713 [49.89%] - 64990 [50.11%]
  • Extrapolated Strength --- 8th Place [37.39%]


Summer 2003 Contest - East Division - 1 seed

  • Eastern Round 1 --- Defeated (16) CATS, 94086 [86.91%] - 14168 [13.09%]
  • Eastern Quarterfinal --- Defeated (8) Auron, 81716 [72.2%] - 31470 [27.8%]
  • Eastern Semifinal --- Defeated (5) Bowser, 77991 [70.03%] - 33381 [29.97%]
  • Eastern Final --- Defeated (2) Sonic the Hedgehog, 71651 [66.21%] - 36571 [33.79%]
  • Contest Semifinal --- Defeated (1) Link, 76199 [51.61%] - 71438 [48.39%]
  • Contest Final --- Defeated (2) Sephiroth, 64578 [51.89%] - 59865 [48.11%]
  • Extrapolated Strength --- 1st Place [50.00%]


Summer 2004 Contest - Midgar Division - 1 seed

  • Midgar Round 1 --- Defeated (16) Duke Nukem, 71329 [80.19%] - 17624 [19.81%]
  • Midgar Quarterfinal --- Defeated (8) Vyse, 74199 [81.41%] - 16947 [18.59%]
  • Midgar Semifinal --- Defeated (4) Squall, 68050 [76.21%] - 21240 [23.79%]
  • Midgar Final --- Defeated (2) Sephiroth, 51179 [56.00%] - 40211 [44.00%]
  • Contest Semifinal --- Defeated (2) Samus Aran, 59867 [59.01%] - 41584 [40.99%]
  • Contest Final --- Lost to (1) Link, 59910 [48.18%] - 64443 [51.82%]
  • Extrapolated Strength --- 2nd Place [48.18%]

With the sole exception of Cloud's slip-up against Mario in 2002, Cloud has been one of the two biggest forces in the entire contest setting. And even in that contest, the argument can be made that Cloud would have won the match had there not been three major factors going against him. One, Super Mario Sunshine was released on the day of the match. Two, Cloud was up by 1000 votes when www.planetgamecube.com posted a link to the poll. And finally, there was a mysterious 500 vote jump in Mario's vote total that was never looked into despite photo evidence that someone may have done something fishy in Mario's favor. The 2002 stats are misleading in that Cloud surely would have finished at least second in the Xsts had he won that match.

With the sole exception of that one match in that one contest, only Link could possibly be considered more dominant than Cloud. Link is the only character to have beaten Cloud in the past two contests, and has a better win-loss record at 16-1. But with that said, it is a marvel to look at Cloud's numbers. In the three Summer Contests, Cloud has managed to score at least 80% three times, at least 70% eight times, and at least 60% ten times. He is not only the only character to ever beat Link, but he is the only character aside from Sephiroth to even break 40% on Link. He is the only character to have ever held Sonic the Hedgehog under 40%, and he is the only character aside from Link to have ever held Sephiroth under 45%.

To put it in simple terms, Cloud is one of two characters that has grown to be so dominant in these contests that there has been talk of retiring any and all contest winners. It isn't a matter of whether or not Cloud will win his matches anymore, but by how much. Mark my words, Cloud would have finished #2 in the Xsts in 2002 had he managed to take down Mario. Crono wouldn't have taken him down, and he would have beaten the percentage that Sephiroth managed to score on Link. And it is no coincidence that Mario and Cloud have gone in opposite directions since their fabled match in 2002. When there is talk of retiring you from all future contests, it speaks volumes about how damned good you are in polls. Cloud is so powerful that despite Board 8 and even the Final Fantasy 7 board itself not liking him at all, Cloud still manages to overcome any and all odds every single year. If that doesn't prove how good he is, then I don't know what does. No matter who Cloud faces in a match, they are virtually guaranteed to get the early lead simply because of how much Cloud is hated by two separate boards. I find that to be a compliment more than anything, because only those who have success wind up being hated in any competitive setting.

If your name isn't Link, then you will not beat Cloud. Period. This is why every character not named Link is hoping that winners are retired from future contests, because it means that they will not be fated to get their asses handed to them by the likes of Link or Cloud no matter how well they manage to do. But this is more of a compliment than a hate factor. Cloud has been so damned good in these contests that people want to see him gone. And that, I believe, is the biggest compliment that can be given to any character that has appeared in the contests.


Summer 2005 Contest - Tournament of Champions - 2 Seed

  • Tournament of Champions Semifinal --- Lost to (1) Link, 56724 [47.56%] - 62541 [52.44%]
  • Extrapolated Strength --- 2nd Place [47.56%]

Cloud has historically been one of those characters too dominant for the main bracket, and as such he was one of the characters taken out of the main bracket and put into the Tournament of Champions. This was a good idea, though Cloud was stuck facing Link in the first match in a year in which Nintendo had boosted all over the place. Cloud made a fight out of it, but was rolled over once the morning vote hit.

One could assume that Cloud would have gotten beaten down far worse than he did if Advent Children wasn't released during the Summer 2005 Contest. Link almost breaking 52.5% in a Link/Cloud match could be considered a blowout, but one could only imagine how strong Link would have been in this match without Cloud's AC support. It's a shame that Cloud is on a two match losing streak at the moment, and the bad news could continue for him is his destiny is to simply face Link in special matches every year. Cloud and Sephiroth really should have been switched around in the TOC bracket.


Summer 2006 Contest - Battle Royal

  • Battle Royale Day 1 --- Outlasted Samus, 37779 [23.71%] - 12335 [7.74%]
  • Battle Royale Day 2 --- Outlasted Mario, 34454 [24.27%] - 15878 [11.18%]
  • Battle Royale Day 3 --- Outlasted Sephiroth, 32131 [23.70%] - 22754 [16.79%]
  • Battle Royale Day 4 --- Outlasted Solid Snake, 54057 [35.71%] - 29733 [19.64%]
  • Battle Royale Final --- Lost to Link, 70195 [46.07%] - 82165 [53.93%]
  • Extrapolated Strength --- N/A

Unless Cloud and fellow beats get thrown back into the main bracket, get used to this being his only setting --- that is, beating everyone other than Link in some post-main bracket gimmick.


Summer 2007 Contest - Division 2 - Second Group

For the first time in three years, Cloud was inserted into the main bracket apart from Link, and he took full advantage of it. He was so dominant in his first four matches that people thought he might have a shot at Link himself, though he still fell short when the time came. The reason why we were so impressed with his dominance is that we've forgotten just how strong he is because this is the first time since 2004 that he's been involved in a match without Link in it. He may not still (or ever again) be up to par with the Legend of Zelda hero, but he proved that he's still untouched as this site's second strongest character.

...In a one-on-one format, that is. The L-Block is another story altogether.


Summer 2008 Contest - Division 6 - Third Group

  • Division 6 Round 1 --- 1st place, 78138 [59.80%] - Midna, 26617 [20.37%] - Miles Edgeworth, 16037 [12.27%] - Axel Steel, 9872 [7.56%]
  • Division 6 Round 2 --- 1st place, 67497 [53.49%] - Mewtwo, 21342 [16.91%] - Midna, 20386 [16.16%]] - Pac-Man, 16959 [13.44%]
  • Division 6 Final --- 1st place, 62857 [44.72%] - Mewtwo, 32551 [23.16%] - Squall Leonhart, 23037 [16.39%] - Sora, 22123 [15.74%]
  • Contest Quarterfinal --- 1st place, 52686 [38.41%] - Solid Snake, 39971 [29.14%] - W.C.C., 26314 [19.18%] - Mewtwo, 18206 [13.27%]
  • Contest Semifinal --- 2nd place, 41927 [30.50%] - Solid Snake, 42250 [30.74%] - Kirby, 31149 [22.66%] - Sephiroth, 22134 [16.10%]
  • Contest Final --- 3rd place, 38581 [26.33%] - Link, 49345 [33.68%] - Solid Snake, 40663 [27.76%] - Crono, 17916 [12.23%]

Despite most of the board agreeing that Cloud is the second strongest character this is the second contest in a row that he failed to reach that title. This time it was Solid Snake that picked up the bandwagon winning the final 48 hours over Cloud. I guess he learned a thing or two when he was against L-Block for half the contest. Anyway Cloud still remains as one of the most dominant forces in the entire contest.


Winter 2010 Contest - Midgar Division - 1 Seed

  • Midgar Round 1 --- Defeated (16) Ridley, 39732 [71.72%] - 15666 [28.28%]
  • Midgar Round 2 --- Defeated (8) Chris Redfield, 40719 [71.99%] - 15844 [28.01%]
  • Midgar Semifinal --- Defeated (4) Captain Falcon, 37679 [69.93%] - 16200 [30.07%]
  • Midgar Final --- Defeated (7) Ryu, 54253 [65.98%] - 27969 [34.02%]
  • Contest Quarterfinal --- Defeated (1) Samus Aran, 31335 [52.81%] - 27999 [47.19%]
  • Contest Semifinal --- Defeated (1) Solid Snake, 65496 [52.09%] - 60240 [47.91%]
  • Contest Final --- Lost to (1) Link, 59944 [46.46%] - 69074 [53.54%]
  • Extrapolated Strength --- 2nd Place [46.46%]

At least Cloud was able to claim his rightful place at the second strongest character on GameFAQs. At first it was thought that Cloud's underperformances was caused by anti-blowoutFAQs and that since matches were only 12 hours Cloud didn't have enough time to dilute his anti-voted start. This was quickly dismissed when he failed to impress against Samus and Solid Snake. Lucky for him Link also dropped in strength in this contest leaving Cloud to have his best performance on Link since the 2005 contest. With Final Fantasy VII starting to age unless a remake is done Cloud may be at the mercy of other noble nine characters starting as early as next contest.


Summer 2013 Contest - Division 5 - 1 Seed

  • Division 5 Round 1 - 1st place, 17400 [66.06%] - (27) Prinny, 6219 [23.61%] - (18) Steven Armstrong, 2721 [10.33%]
  • Division 5 Round 2 - 1st place, 13484 [49.47%] - (13) Frog, 7563 [27.74%] - (19) Lugia, 6212 [22.79%]
  • Division 5 Final - 2nd place, 23369 [41.94%] - (5) Squirtle, 23908 [42.91%], (4) Leon Kennedy, 8444 [15.15%]

Even with the expectation that Final Fantasy VII characters would be weaker in this contest it is amazing to see what Cloud has been reduced to. His first round performance was okay though that was after we were prepared on the failings of Final Fantasy VII based on the performance of other characters from the game. The biggest piece of evidence that showed their weakness was Cloud's second round match where he barely outdid Bowser's performance back in 2010. While Squirtle was rallied quite hard to defeat Cloud in the third round it is not hard to imagine classic Cloud winning this match despite the rallies. What happens to Cloud next contest will be interesting to see.

Fall 2018 Contest - Legends Division - 4 Seed

  • Finals Division Round 1 --- Defeated Alucard, 17772 [60.4%] - 11654 [39.6% ]
  • Contest Quarterfinal --- Defeated (5) Crono, 16694 [56.73%] - 12731 [43.27%]
  • Contest Semifinal --- Lost to (1) Link, 11590 [39.48%] - 17763 [60.52%]
  • Loser Bracket Quarterfinals --- Defeated (5) Crono, 16563 [57.79%] - 12100 [42.21%]
  • Loser Bracket Semifinals --- Defeated (7) Mario, 14667 [50.24%] - 14526 [49.76% ]
  • Loser Bracket Finals --- Defeated Zelda, 14101 [51.06%] - 13517 [48.94%]
  • FINAL BATTLE --- Lost to (1) Link, 11375 [40.73%] - 16554 [59.27%]

A return to 1-on-1s showed that even with the humiliations of losing to a Tetris piece and a Pokémon, Cloud still holds his own in the classic format. For the third time split from the regular bracket, Cloud started with a rematch against a surprising Alucard, who he soundly beat again, and in his first match against Crono, showed that FFVII > CT is still a prevalent opinion. But then, came a matchup clearly set up to prevent the Legends Division from not ending in Link\Cloud... and the Zelda hero, boosted by Breath of the Wild (and possibly Smash Bros. hype, even if Cloud is also in that game), made Cloud suffer his first 60% defeat ever. The loser bracket then opened the path for Cloud to reach the ultimate final, and his first step was bashing Crono even more in spite of a lesser vote total. Then came the one match that would test Cloud, Mario in his most favorable conditions since 2002. The plumber easily took the lead, but Cloud had a clutch surge in the last five hours to finally avenge his defeat in a close bout. Next was Link's girlfriend who had amazing performances in the contest, and while Zelda lead for half the match, Cloud climbed back and never offered another break, marking two comebacks against Nintendo where the adversary had most of the registered vote. This set up yet another Link/Cloud final, and one where the ex-SOLDIER only managed to at least avert the 60% hit (which showing how depressingly low the vote total became, couldn't even break the 29000 votes of the semifinal match - and to think all previous contests had Link/Cloud with 100k!). Who knows what will become of Cloud once the announced FFVII remake actually gets released.

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