Joker, Hero, and Pichu have something in common: all three characters were accessed months before their official release date. We’ve had a couple of weeks in advance to train Joker, and we’re now ready to forward everything we’ve learned to our wonderful readers! Extravagant statements aside, Joker is much better than we thought. His AI actually understands how to use each and every one of its special moves… which is actually a great accomplishment by Figure Player-standards!
Joker has finally broken the mold. Ever since the beginning of Super Smash Bros. 4’s amiibo metagame, combo-based characters have suffered. And Super Smash Bros. Ultimate hasn’t broken free of this restriction — until now. Joker’s AI is really good, save for a few small quirks. Generally speaking, though, Ultimate’s newcomers and DLC characters seem to have stronger AI than “older” fighters, and Joker’s AI helps confirm this theory.
Let’s talk about a few of those small quirks: Joker’s AI occasionally recovers high when Arsène is active. Prior to Ultimate’s 9.0.0 patch, it would sometimes use its up special on-stage for no discernible reason. This is thought to have been fixed now, so no worries! Joker struggles with a few other problems, though; for one, he’s pretty tall, so his hurtbox is rather large too. This means he’s susceptible to falling into multi-hit moves such as Ness’s PK Fire. His hard-coded dragdown combos don’t always work against AI opponents, which limits one of his otherwise-reliable methods of racking up damage. Most of all, though, Joker is a bit lacking in range, and nothing in his kit can reliably contend against established top-tiers like Bowser and Incineroar.
Even so, Joker’s AI has impressed just about everybody who’s trained him. He’s certainly got the potential to take on a good portion of the cast, granted he prioritizes the right moves. We’ve got a wiki page on Joker, too, so be sure to give that a look if you have a moment.
Joker doesn’t benefit from the “big five” as heavily as other fighters do. Super Armor works – especially when Arsène’s been summoned – but is better used on heavyweights otherwise. This leaves Armor Knight as a potential top option; when paired with Trade-Off Ability ↑, Joker will receive a huge boost to his Attack and Defense stats.
Big five aside, there are a few additional options you could consider for Joker. Weapon Attack ↑, Move Speed ↑, and Hyper Smash Attacks are going to be your next best picks, as they’ll increase Joker’s attack power and movement speed. Trade-Off Ability ↑ could be considered, too, as its damage penalty actually fills Joker’s Rebellion Gauge.
As with most fighters, a balanced spread of 2100 / 2100 is most optimal. Given Joker’s poor survivability, though, you might want to lean more into Defense to give him that extra padding. And don’t worry if you can’t get your Figure Player’s stats to an even 2100 / 2100, either. That’s just a general ballpark range.
You’ll want to mirror match your Joker amiibo all the way to Level 50. In the (somewhat bizarre) situation that you own a Joker amiibo but not the Joker DLC… it can still work, but it’s going to be harder. This guide assumes that you’re playing as Joker. While training, be sure to heavily prioritize the following attacks:
- Forward smash: Joker’s strongest kill move. A small benefit is that Joker steps back a bit before executing the attack, which can trick AI opponents into trying to intercept it. But then they get hit and receive the full force of the attack. Make sure to use forward smash as your primary grounded kill move when your FP is at high percentages!
- Up smash: A great anti-air move and another solid kill option. Joker’s got some hard-coded combos that involve this move, too, so if your FP knows to use its up smash, it’ll be more likely to execute said combos without being specifically taught to.
- Forward tilt: It’s fast and strikes twice! Figure Players tend to parry the first hit of an attack and then drop their guard, so prioritizing forward tilts can help Joker rack up free damage.
- Dash attack: Similar to forward tilt in that its two hits can exploit Ultimate’s AI. This makes it an excellent burst option.
- Neutral special: Joker’s AI can use its Gun in midair to great effect. It can Gun dash, edgeguard, and strike opponents underneath with ease. Use it to ensure a safe landing!
- Down tilt: A fast combo starter that can also slide underneath projectiles. Follow up with aerial moves.
- Up aerial: Joker has a lot of hard-coded combos involving up air, so attack and juggle your FP with it whenever possible. Most of those hard-coded combos are actually dragdown combos that the AI links into a smash attack! They don’t always work against opposing FPs, but they do work against human players. Use up aerials even more often if you’re training your Joker amiibo as a sparring partner.
- Forward aerial: Another useful combo starter. The AI will sometimes attack with the first hit of its forward air and then follow up with another move.
- Back aerial: A large hitbox and big launching power make this a great move to use! With Arsène active, this move becomes absurdly deadly.
- Neutral aerial: Covers a wide arc around Joker, making it a great “get-off-me” move and an even better landing option.
- Down aerial: Becomes a meteor smash with Arsène present. It’s a risk, though, because Joker’s AI sometimes misses its Grappling Hook recovery by waiting too long to fire it off. If you’re going to go off-stage, don’t do it often, and only do it with Arsène active.
- Grab & throws: Don’t spam these, but use them reasonably often. Grabs help Joker rack up damage and get through opponents’ shields. Grabbing too much will cause the AI’s focus to drift away from its smash attacks, though.
The moves listed above are absolutely essential to Joker’s game plan and thus should be heavily prioritized during training. There are a few more moves you can fix it, albeit more infrequently. Here they are:
- Down special: This is one move Joker’s AI won’t use to its fullest potential. It prefers to activate Rebel’s Guard to counter incoming projectiles (which is most likely because the AI doesn’t know when Arsène is active). It can be helpful to teach, but don’t expect the AI to use it flawlessly. This one’s up to you.
- Up tilt: The move itself is very good, but up smash covers the same area and with more power. If you’re going to use up tilt, make sure your Joker amiibo knows to use its up smash too.
- Side special: This one’s up to you, too. It racks up damage over time and it’s Joker’s only true projectile. Some trainers might enjoy having Eiha in their FP’s kit as a combo extender or projectile mixup, and some trainers might not like that it interrupts his normal game plan. It’s entirely dependent on your preference!
There’s just one move to avoid here: Grappling Hook. Outside of recovery purposes, of course. Joker’s AI sometimes has trouble determining when Arsène is out, meaning it can get its two up specials confused. In general, Figure Players shouldn’t be using their up specials to attack, though there are a few exceptions to this rule.
Thank you so much for reading! It’s been a long time since we’ve had new characters to cover, so we hope this guide sets you on the right track to training the strongest Joker amiibo! If you have any questions during training, please feel free to join our Discord server and ask — we’ll be happy to help you out! Happy training, and until next time!
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