Joker might just be the ultimate Raid Boss amiibo — that is, in terms of versatility. This is thanks to his hard-coded combos, which are arguably the most impressive of any AI in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Joker can do it all: he can use dragdown up air combos, gun dashing, and guaranteed smash attack follow-ups. It’s clear that the developers wanted this FP to be flashy, and they’ve certainly achieved that goal. Joker isn’t quite as impressive in the competitive scene, but he’s still a solid mid-tier fighter who is well worth your time. Before we continue, we’ve got even more information on Joker’s strengths and weaknesses over at his wiki page, so be sure to bookmark it for later if you’re interested. Otherwise, let’s jump right into today’s training!
Special thanks to Dreamy Jay and Leeya for contributing Joker’s training information!
Many new amiibo trainers start out with Joker, and it’s easy to see why — he’s a cool character plus he’s one of the most stylish FPs in Ultimate. If you’re a new trainer yourself, you might be having some trouble wrapping your head around Spirits. If that’s the case, we’ve got a full-fledged Spirits guide you can either read before continuing or save for later. At any rate, here are some Spirit builds you can use on Joker:
- Banned bonuses: By all accounts, Joker’s strongest bonus setup is Armor Knight and Trade-Off Ability ↑. With this, he’ll enjoy a 1.15x attack boost and a 1.8x defense boost, and these stat increases go a long way in helping him survive over long periods of time. This build works well for Raid Bosses too!
- Tournament-legal bonuses: Most tournament-ready Joker FPs use Weapon Attack ↑ and Physical Attack ↑. For the third slot, you can go with Air Defense ↑, Toss & Meteor, Trade-Off Ability ↑ (which partially fills Joker’s Rebellion Gauge), or Critical-Health Stats ↑ (which often activates alongside Arsène).
- Raid Boss bonuses: Joker is already fast, but equipping him with Move Speed ↑ and Landing Lag ↓ makes him really fast. Human players might struggle to keep up with a mobility-boosted Joker FP, so it’s definitely an option worth considering. Use Weapon Attack ↑ to fill the third slot and you should be good to go! Other potential options include Instadrop, Critical Healing & Metal, and Transformation Duration ↑.
Regarding stat distribution, Joker is rather flexible. You can run a balanced build (2100 / 2100), an offensive build (2700 / 1500), or a defensive one (1500 / 2700) — the choice is all yours, and each spread is just as viable as the others. Make sure the FP’s Spirit-type is Neutral before you start training it!
As is the case with most competitive FPs, you’ll have to avoid dashing, jumping, taunting, and charging smash attacks as it levels up. This means that Joker’s optimal movement relies on walking, and you can find out why that is at the corresponding wiki page. Although Joker’s recovery is occasionally exploitable, we’re actually going to teach the FP to edgeguard off-stage. Shield and parry often during training, and be sure to let your FP hit you with the moves you want it to use. Here’s what an optimal Joker moveset looks like:
- Forward tilt is Joker’s most useful close-ranged option. It hits twice, and AI opponents often drop their guard after the first hit and take damage. Down smash is a great get-off-me move, as it packs high speed, power, and range. Use it to KO your FP when you’re right next to it. Both forward tilt and down smash are effective near the ledge as well!
- Up smash covers a wide arc, making it great for aerial punishes. Up tilt can lead into hard-coded dragdown up air combos, and should be occasionally used as an anti-air instead of up smash.
- Forward air’s primary use is off-stage, where it serves as an excellent edgeguarding option. Neutral air works well here too, and both aerials can secure a safe landing if used above-stage. Mix in a bit of off-stage down air as well — but keep in mind that Joker’s forward and neutral airs are more effective (as their knockback angles are consistent regardless of whether or not Arsène is present).
- When you’re a considerable distance away from your FP, you can use Eiha or Eigaon to inflict a curse status that racks up damage. Dash attack can be used to approach — and it’s the only time you should ever dash or run during training.
Though Gun / Gun Special has its uses in competitive play (human-versus-human), it’s essentially pointless against other FPs, who can block or dodge the bullets with ease (hey, that rhymes!). Joker’s neutral attack isn’t great either and should be avoided in favor of forward tilts. Rebel’s Guard, Tetrakarn, and Makarakarn are better off ignored as well — they’re too slow and committal to be worthwhile options. You could sprinkle in a tad of down tilt and forward smash, but there’s a chance that the AI begins spamming either move (or both) even though its other options are far more viable.
Raid Boss Training
For the best possible result, you’ll need to mirror match your Joker amiibo until it reaches Level 50. If you’d rather not train it for that long, you’re welcome to switch the FP’s learning off after Level 25 and then level it up against CPUs for the rest of the way. Since you’re raising a Raid Boss, you can jump and dash around as often as you’d like — just try to keep taunting and charged smash attacks to a minimum. Unlike in the previous section, we’re going to keep Joker on-stage; Ultimate’s AI has hard-coded recovery patterns that human players can easily pick up on and intercept. Here’s a full list of moves you should teach your FP:
- Forward tilt strikes twice and deals good damage. Joker’s neutral attack is actually rather good on a Raid Boss; its startup is slightly faster than forward tilt, making it a good interrupter at point-blank range. It doesn’t deal much damage, though.
- Mix in some grabs. Joker’s down throw can combo into his aerial moves, which in turn may activate the AI’s hard-coded dragdown up air strings. They’re cool to see, especially against human players!
- Gun or Gun Special can be used infrequently while grounded. When you’re in the air and above your FP, you can use Gun’s downward angle to rack on damage. Follow these instructions, and your FP will eventually teach itself to gun dash as a result. Fancy!
- Neutral air is a quick spin attack, and you can use it after a down throw or just out of a short hop. The AI can use up air and forward air’s initial hit as dragdowns, making them excellent combat tools. Back air and down air should see some use above-stage as well.
- Eiha and Eigaon are not to be relied on but can be fired off from afar every so often to inflict a curse status on your FP. More situationally, Eigaon can be used as a kill move.
- Finally, we’ve got Joker’s smash attacks. You can use all three sparingly, but their slightly slow speed makes them risky. Of the three, you should use up smash most of all. Human players are airborne way more often than competitive FPs, which is what makes up smash so effective!
The only moves you should specifically avoid are Grappling Hook, Rebel’s Guard, Tetrakarn, and Makarakarn. It’s okay to use Grappling Hook to recover, but don’t try to use it as an attack. The FP will often miss and wind up vulnerable instead. Joker’s AI isn’t very consistent with its counter moves, and sometimes initiates them too early and leaves itself open to attack. If you’d like to learn even more about amiibo training, you’re welcome to read our general training guide for extra tips and tricks that might help you out here!
Thanks so much for reading! We hope this guide helps set you on the right track to training the strongest-ever Joker amiibo. If you have any questions, please feel free to join our Discord community and ask. We’ll be happy to help you out! If you’re looking to submit your newly-trained Joker amiibo to a tournament, check out our tourney preparation guide. And if you like what you read today, we appreciate any and all donations to help fund the site’s upkeep. Alternatively, we’ve also got a Patreon with special benefits for members. Until next time — happy training!
If you would like to read more amiibo training guides, please follow this link.