With the last wave of announced amiibo releasing in a few days and both of their AIs already cracked – as well as them both being echo fighters – speculation has begun on the AI of the 4 announced DLC fighters. Joker is a mystery right now, and I’m sure he’s happy about that reputation, but I decided it was high time I give my own interpretation of the first DLC fighter’s potential in the amiibo metagame.
The main argument against Joker’s amiibo is that he is a combo character, and as we at the Dojo love to say: Amiibo can’t combo. Well, at least, not intentionally. Sadly, Joker is going to have a rough time in this regard. A lot of his combos did not come prepackaged in his AI, based on the Level 9 CPU, and there’s not much we as trainers will be able to pass on in that regard. I completely agree that if Joker were to play as a combo character in the amiibo metagame, he would land somewhere beside Sheik – maybe higher tier purely due to the existence of Arsene and having a knife.
But that’s where my interpretation comes in: Joker won’t be a combo character..
Let’s talk about his AI a bit, or the portion of it we’ve seen – his Level 9 CPU. Considering Joker is fairly widely regarded as the best character in Smash Ultimate, seeing his AI perform so poorly is a bit confusing, and it’s mostly due to the complexity of the character and lack of meta-awareness on the part of the CPUs. In any case, what I noticed while watching his AI was an exceptional poor usage of his special moves, but that mostly got him killed or punished. This is where his amiibo will differ: If he is not programmed to use these moves well, we can just simply remove them from the pool entirely. Characters like Zelda and Young Link had their potential skyrocketed by the prospect of simply never touching the B button, and Joker will be no different.
If you remove Specials from the equation, you’re left with a melee fighter with a disjointed hitbox, decent speed, not too shabby firepower, and a wildcard in the form of Arsene. Not to say these characters are the same in any way, but Lucina just so happens to rest at about A tier with similar, albeit slightly better attributes. Let me break into his moveset a bit and talk about what I think are his moves of interest.
Uptilt – This move strikes above and in front of him, and I worry that the amiibo will not realize it only hits on one side – an issue many amiibo have. However, seeing characters like Shulk and Mii Gunner use theirs just fine gives me hope this move will be a solid anti-air option, and a massive damage racking move if he can learn simple followups.
Up Smash – This move has the exact same problem as above – I am not sure if he will realize this move does not hit behind him. Specifically for Up Smash, I think it is the make or break on if he is really good, or just kinda good.
Back Air – This move, paired with dropping from the ledge, is going to absolutely prey on the exploitable recovery habits of amiibo – At a certain point, they have to choose to get back to the ledge, and that’s where this move is going to come in real handy.
Down Air – Despite not exactly being a good move, we’ve seen moves like this be insanely popular and effective with amiibo – Marcina and the Pits come to mind especially, as this move is their bread and butter offstage and on Battlefield stages, netting them free damage and KOs pretty often – not spiking is going to be a huge setback in comparison to the other two, however I don’t see Joker fighting too far offstage anyways.
So, he’s a fast sword character with acceptable kill power and some decent damage options throughout the whole game – B tier, right?
And then Arsene awakens.
In competitive play, Arsene changes the game – Now Joker is on the offensive, and the opponent has to camp him out to prevent him from getting loads of value during this time. This will not happen in amiibo. The opposing Figure Player will not know to camp Joker out and wait for Arsene to disappear, because they will not even understand Arsene exists. Arsene is more than just a wildcard, however – Arsene is a clock. Unless he is gimped, Joker is going to get Arsene, and he is going to get value out of it since the opponent won’t know to camp. Because of this, he suddenly has a brief period where he has no real issues as a character and has insane damage and kill power. Due to it’s inevitability and the general potential of the character, I am going to make a prediction on the record here:
Joker will be A tier – and remember, that’s assuming his amiibo uses all of their specials poorly.
Thanks so much for reading, and remember – these are my personal predictions, they do not represent Exion’s predictions as a whole, nor that of the amiibo community. See you in the next article where I’ll be doing the same for Hero!