- So how do you play Cloudians?
- Hail, Caesar!: The Key Clouds
- The Darkened Sky: Supporting Clouds
- Take Shelter!: Non-Cloud Support
- Thunderstruck: Spells & Traps
- Rain Dance: Additional Tech
- Summary & Conclusion
- Cumuloregalis: Sample Decklists
Cloudians, one of the many Archetypes spawned during the GX era - and in my opinion, one of the most underrated.
Despite their fragile appearances, these misty monsters have the potential to cause extreme headaches for any opponent of the duelist skilled enough to wield them. Here, I will delve into how to play this archetype, so that you may be able to as well.
So, how do you play Cloudians?
To the untrained eye, a Cloudian looks very weak. His ATK points are usually never over 1500, he'll be lucky if his DEF ever exceeds 0, and - this is the cruncher - if the Cloudian is ever in face-up Defence Position, he combusts.
A Cloudian's true strength is measured in Fog Counters. These Counters are generated by Cloudians and can by manipulated by them for various means, from Summoning to drawing to destruction. The key to victory lies with these Fog Counters, so you need to know how to maximise them, and how to utilise them.
For Smoke Ball Synchro variants, you use your Fog Counters to constantly Summon and re-Summon Smoke Balls to use as Synchro Material (ah, the subtleties of deck-naming...) For more Classic builds, your Fog Counters are going to be your main means of maintaing your card advantage - by getting rid of your opponent's cards. As such, you need means of generating lots of them quickly. This is where the Key Cloudians come in.
Hail, Caesar!: The Key Clouds
[spoiler]Of all the Clouds in the Archetype, there are 3 that no Cloudian Deck should leave the atmosphere without.
Each one of these shares some common traits:
- when Normal Summoned, they gain Fog Counters equal to the number of face-up Cloudians on the field. Therefore, it follows that the more Cloudians you Normal Summon, the more Fog Counters you will have, and the more havoc you can wreck.
- none of their effects are bound by the 'once per turn' rule, allowing for mass destruction.
In a Cloudian Deck, you should run 2-3 of each of the following:
1.Cloudian - Cirrostratus
At a cost of 2 Fog Counters, destroy 1 monster your opponent controls. Handy for taking out bullies like Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon.
2.Cloudian - Acid Cloud
For 2 Fog Counters, destroy 1 Spell/Trap. Because sometimes Heavy Storm and MST at 3 isn't overkill enough..
3.Cloudian - Altus
For 3 Counters, force a random discard. While it seems expensive, bear in mind he can take his cost from any Monster with a Counter on it, including your opponent's.
In a Classic Cloudian deck, these 3 Clouds will make the core of your deck, as such you should be trying to make the most of each of them in your path to victory.[/spoiler]
The Darkened Sky: Supporting Clouds
[spoiler]Of course, you can't run a deck with just 9 Monsters, so let's now look at some of the other Cloudians that could support you.
Cloudian - Storm Dragon
One of the most useful support cards. The extra Counter he grants can 'double' the effects of any one Cloudian. Plus he can be easily Summoned simply by switching a Cloudian into Defence Position.
Run 2-3 in any build.
Cloudian - Turbulence & Cloudian - Smoke Ball
In a Classic build, Turbulence has limited use. Granted, he can use his Counters to bring out Smoke Balls and up the number of Cloudians on your field for Fog Counters or Tributes, but nine times out of ten you'd want an Acid Cloud to bust that Trap.
For Synchro builds however, these two are your bread and butter Clouds, and you want to be able to bring them out at every available opportunity - Smoke Ball in particular, so that you can revive Fishborg Blaster.
Run 0 in Classic builds, 2-3 of both in Synchro builds.
Cloudian - Poison Cloud
In every Archetype there's always that one card that makes you think '...what were you smoking, Konami?' Not only does Poison Cloud contribute zip to Fog Counter production/manipulation, his effect requires him to battle - NEVER a good idea for an Archetype that needs to be constantly in Attack Position.
Cloudian - Sheep Cloud
When destroyed in battle, it leaves behind 2 'Cloudian Tokens' - good way to boost field presence for Tributes, or Fog Counter production. It does, however, have to be in battle.
Cloudian - Ghost Fog
In a game currently dominated by high level Fusions and Synchros, this guy's effect seems pretty good. However, when Exceeds are released he'll be next to useless. Plus, like the two before him, he does squat if he doesn't battle.
Cloudian Nimbusman & Cloudian - Eye of the Typhoon
You're going to need one of these beatsticks to run over Stardust etc - do NOT run both, or you'll be in some trouble. My personal preference lies with Nimbusman, being remarkably easier to Summon and potentially able to go toe-to-toe with any of the Aesir.
Run 1-2 of either one.[/spoiler]
Take Shelter!: Non-Cloud Support
[spoiler]Whilst the Cloudians take centre stage, the deck really could not run without these guys waiting in the wings.
Arguably the best card in the Deck. Awesome stats, Cloudian retrieval, and built-in Oppression? Cloudians have excellent grave control, so you should have no excuse not to run this.
The driving force behind Smoke Ball Synchro. Can sync with Smoke Ball for Formula Synchron, or any other Level 4 Cloudian for Hyper Librarian. Using him in cojunction with Turbulence, Smoke Ball and Storm Dragon, it's fairly simple to synch into T.G. Halberd Blaster within a single turn.
Run 3 in Smoke Ball Synchro.
Zeradius, the Herald of Heaven
If you're running The Sanctuary in the Sky to give you Clouds a little backbone, Zeradius is needed as well. Not only can he search the Field Spell, if duty calls he can double as an emergency beatstick.
Run 3 if you run Sanctuary.
If destroyed in battle can search any Cloudian with 1500 ATK or less - that's ANY Cloudian other than Eye of the Typhoon. The Cloudian Summoned won't get any Fog Counters, so it's best to use Mother as an emergency means of getting out Nimbusman.
Run 0-2 if you run Nimbusman.
Gets a Cloud to yiour hand. 'nuff said.
Tethys the Goddess of Light
Cloudians tend to be quite slow, due to lack of Special Summoning. Tethys can fix that, as well as giving you some frontline beef.
Meklord Emperor Wisel
Credit to Oorari for this one. Wisel (or indeed, any of the Emperors) can be easily summoned by self-popping a Cloud, and can take care of the Synchro Monsters that are really going to cause you some trouble (a certain dragon covered in star dust springs to mind). And you don't need to worry too much about nobody else attacking. What sets Wisel apart from his brethren is his Spell negation, but there's no reason not to field the others if you so please.
Run 0-2 of any one Emperor.
Exclusively for the Synchro build:
Formula Synchron & T.G. Hyper Librarian
Fishborg's compatability with Smoke Ball makes Summoning either of these two easy as Pi. Not only that, but Summoning them gives you a huge amount of plusses, meaning you'll be able to draw into key cards such as Trunade and the like sooner for an OTK.
Run as many of each as your Extra Deck will allow.[/spoiler]
Thunderstruck: Spells & Traps
[spoiler]Since their release, Cloudians have had a plethora of dedicated Spells and Traps to support, some more helpful than others.
The best in Fog Counter distribution. Every Monster gets a Counter - including your opponent's Monsters! Very handy when combined with Altus or Nimbusman.
Sacrifice a Cloudian to gain some more Counters. The short-term benefits are understandable, and it's useful for dumping a Cloudian for Kristya or Storm Dragon.
Diamond Dust Cyclone
Yes, it's draw power, but 4 Fog Counters per card is a pretty steep price. Plus the ones with that many Counters are likely to be your own Monsters.
Lucky Cloud & Summon Cloud
In Classic builds, run 0 of either. Lucky Cloud requires too many resources to fully utilize, and Special Summoning any Cloudian won't give you the Fog Counters you need. For Synchro, they are a bit more ueful - Summon Cloud can bring out a Smoke Ball to start Fishborg abusing, whilst it is fairly easy to bring out multiple Smoke Balls in one turn thanks to Turbulence and Storm Dragon so Lucky can replenish your hand by the turn's end.
Run 0-2 of each in Synchro builds.
Some decent Spell/Trap hate on paper, until you realise that over half your Clouds have less than 1000 ATK, let alone 2000.
Anytime a Cloudian switches position should be voluntary - either for Kristya or Storm Dragon. Therefore, you don't want the Cloudian to come back.
Run 0, or side 2 for Level Limit Area - B.
Natural Disaster & Updraft
A Cloudian Burn is certainly an interesting idea, but not an ideal one. Disaster's effect, realistically, is only going to go off once or twice per turn, while Updraft's mass removal goes against the very principle of the deck.
Run 0 of either in classic builds.[/spoiler]
Rain Dance: Additional Tech
[spoiler]The Sanctuary in the Sky & Spirit Barrier
Either of these cards will counter the Cloudian's most obvious weakness - Battle Damage. Both each have their own advantages over the other - I prefer Sanctuary due to it being easily searched, not Trap Stunned and having an extra S/T slot.
Run Sanctuary at 3 if running Zeradius.
Almost every Cloudian can be brought back via this card, allowing more grave control and additional Normal Summonings. Also works well in Smoke Ball Synchro as it recycles discard fodder for Fishborg.
Pot of Duality
Cloudians need all the draw power they can get, and this card blesses them with it. Plus the classic builds aren't too affected by its drawback. Sadly it's not cheap these days, but there really is no getting around that, as Clouds are too weak to sub in Upstart.
Run 3 in classic.
More search power. Use this to get otherwise non-searchable cards, such as Kristya or Cloudian Squall.
Helps Fog Counter generation tremendously, but it does empty your hand fairly rapidly. Be careful not to overdo it - if your frontline gets blown up by a Torrential/Dark Hole, you may never recover.
Kristya's best attribute. Can be a dead draw if you're maxing out on Kristya but certainly worth the deck space.
Run 0-1 in classic builds.
Spiritual Water Art - Aoi
An alternative to Fog Control. Can be useful if you suspect a Gorz/Battle Fader/Exodia.
Lots of mass removal this format spells bad news for Cloudians. And a free Stardust is a good ally to have on your side.
A little tech I thought would probably work well in Classic builds. Something to throw the opponent off guard. Keep the swarms at bay, one Cloudian at a time.
Summary & Conclusion
- Fog Counters, Fog Counters, Fog Counters.
- In Classic builds, slow and steady wins the race. Remember that you don't have to attack during your turn, and that you can't be too careful when it comes to facedown cards.
- It can sometimes help to keep a running tally of how many Counters you have, so you can 'budget' what effects to use this turn.
- While Classic Clouds have a slow playing style, their decks should be fairly speedy. Search/draw cards are highly recommended - the more Clouds you can draw into, the better.
Cloudians certainly aren't the easiest deck to play - they're far slower than many more competitive decks today, and require a great deal of support to be able to work properly. However, in the right hands they can be a powerful decklist that rewards patience and skill.
If that sounds like you, or you want a new deckbuilding challenge, or just another way to crush your opponents, give Cloudians a go.
Cumuloregalis: Sample Decklists