Joker (ジョーカー, Joker) is a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and the third third-party representative from Sega, after Sonic and Bayonetta. He was officially announced at The Game Awards 2018 on December 6th, 2018 as the first downloadable character from the Fighters Pass. He was released as part of Challenger Pack 1 on April 17th, 2019 and is classified as fighter #71.
Xander Mobus, who voiced Joker in Persona 5 in English as well as the announcer, Master Hand, and Crazy Hand in Ultimate, reprises his role as the character in the English version of the game, while Jun Fukuyama, who previously voiced the character in Japanese and also voices Roy, reprises his role in Japanese.
Joker is a middleweight who can wall jump. He has a fast dashing speed, but his initial dash, walking and air speeds are merely average. He specializes in a mixed tricky/rushdown style gameplay, as the majority of his arsenal boasts powerful traits, though the range on his standard attacks can be a bit lacking without Arsene available. Joker also has a relatively short and thin hurtbox compared to other humanoid characters, a lot of his attacks can cross up on shield or just cross up on opponents in general, and he has a quick and long-distance roll dodge, which when combined with his quick speed makes him slippery and hard to hit.
Due to his quick overall mobility, low-knockback attacks and frame data, Joker possesses a strong combo game. He has several moves in his toolkit to start combos at low percents, such as down throw, down tilt, up tilt, up special, and the first hit of his forward aerial, and last well into later percentages. His terrific grab data makes him especially effective at punishing shields (particularly from empty jumps).
Joker boasts versatile special attacks. His neutral special, Gun, is an efficient way of dealing damage while also avoiding it, as he can dodge in between shots. Eiha, Joker's side special, is a slow-moving, medium range projectile that deals weak damage upon contact, but curses opponents for what is eventually 11% damage on a successful hit. His up special, Grappling Hook, is a tether recovery with high vertical reach, allowing him to safely edgeguard opponents far below the stage. It can be used as a combo starter on foes above him and also doubles as a combo extender as well. His down special, Rebel's Guard, can be used to negate knockback and halve the damage he takes while filling up his Rebellion Gauge. As it can knock opponents away, it also doubles as a counterattack, albeit a very weak one.
Joker's biggest strength is when his Rebellion Gauge is full, in which Joker summons his Persona, Arsene, to aid him in battle. With Arsene present, Joker's regular attacks gain a boost in damage, range, and knockback. Similarly to Cloud's Limit Break, Joker's special moves also become more powerful under Arsene's influence. Gun becomes Gun Special, which can shoot multiple times quickly and deals twice as much damage. Eiha becomes Eigaon, a fast projectile that has a much larger area of impact and deals considerably more curse damage. Joker's up special becomes the Wings of Rebellion, which functions similarly to Pit's Power of Flight, granting Joker high vertical distance and possessing invincibility at the start of the move, though it loses Grappling Hook's attack presence. His down special becomes a very effective counter/reflector in the form of Tetrakarn/Makarakarn, similar to Palutena's down special. Both counters are stronger than comparative moves as well; Tetrakarn hits for a minimum of 12% damage regardless of the attack, with an incredibly strong 1.6 multiplier, while Makarakarn greatly increases the speed and damage of reflected projectiles. Arsene is also invincible, which means opponents can't make him disappear before the depletion of the Rebellion Gauge.
However, Joker is not without any weaknesses, most of which are noticeable when he does not have Arsene active. While Joker's moves provide a lot of combo potential at lower percentages, they tend to be lackluster or underwhelming in terms of KO power and individual damage, with the exception of his forward smash. His short knife, while disjointed, also lacks range, especially when compared to the weapons of other fighters such as Ike and Lucina. Joker's range issues can cause him to struggle against certain small and fast characters, such as Inkling and Pikachu, as it's difficult for him to consistently apply pressure against them. When it comes to his normal recovery, Joker is reliant on his Grappling Hook, which gives him an outstanding vertical recovery, his overall horizontal recovery is lackluster as a result since the move can't be aimed horizontally. Its lack of safety makes Joker easier to gimp. This can be remedied somewhat by using the dashes from his Gun move to achieve sizable horizontal distance before employing the Grappling Hook, however, these dashes have considerable ending lag, so they must be used wisely, or it will be too late to deploy the Grappling Hook. Additionally, while Arsene is active, Joker's recovery (despite covering significantly more distance than his regular up special) is more exploitable, as the lack of hitbox and vulnerability at the end of the moves makes it easy for opponents to intercept Joker before he reaches the ledges. In fact, Joker becomes notoriously prone to two-framing. Additionally, despite Arsene's incredible power and strengths, if an opponent is able to attack Joker while Arsene is active, the Rebellion Gauge depletes very quickly and causes Arsene to disappear as a result, which removes Joker's advantage. If Joker gets Arsene at the wrong time or is unable to capitalize with Arsene, he may be at a disadvantage.
Overall, Joker is a character who excels in quick movement and combos. His primary goal in each match is to rack up as much damage as possible with his devastating throw combos, and gain an early stock lead in order to massively widen the gap between him and his opponent. Arsene will greatly help Joker in dealing damage or securing the stock whenever he is out, but actively filling up the Rebellion Gauge by using Rebel's Guard to capitalize on reading an opponent's attack can be absolutely devastating for the opponent, as it gives Arsene more opportunity to see play. His viability in the competitive scene has shown to be very promising, despite his recent addition to the metagame. Joker has seen early success with dyr and Tsu placing 5th at Come to Papa 3 and Umebura Japan Major 2019 respectively using the character. Particularly, MkLeo's victories at MomoCon 2019, Smash 'N' Splash 5, CEO 2019, EVO 2019, Super Smash Con 2019, Smash Ultimate Summit 2, and 2GG: Kongo Saga, as well as Zackray's victories at The Big House 9 and Umebura SP 7 serve as a demonstration of Joker's potential as a top-tier character.
Joker has been mostly unchanged in game updates. In patch 3.1.0 a few game bugs were fixed, and Eigaon's hits now connect more reliably. With Update 4.0.0, Joker's Makarakarn was given a buff and a nerf. This nerf gave Makarakarn a damage cap for reflecting projectiles, being the usual 50% that others have. However, the searchbox became much more rounded, enabling it to catch projectiles that would otherwise fly right over Joker. Overall, Joker has become a more stable character with the changes received, with no definitive, meta-changing alterations despite his reception as one of the best characters in the game.
For a gallery of Joker's hitboxes, see here.
For simplicity, damage values for Joker and Arsene's individual attacks are separated by a slash (/). With Arsene active, the total damage of a move is the sum of both listed values.
Note: All numbers are listed as base damage, without the 1v1 multiplier.
If Joker is involved in a fight with more than four fighters, Morgana will not appear during his taunts.
Notes: In all three of his victory poses, the transition to the victory screen will showcase a puff of cartoony smoke with star decals, and ending screen will always result in Joker moving continuously to the left with the results background being dimmed down, replicating the victory screen from Persona 5. Upon accessing the results screen, Joker will say "Begone.", "Nice.", or "Hah!" If there are three or more players, the color scheme will match the player's port (CPUs are always red). In Team Battles, the color will match the player's team color. If Joker wins on Mementos, the color of the victory screen will match the color of the stage, and the victory music will be replaced with the corresponding victory fanfare from the game Mementos' design is currently derived from.
When transitioning to the results screen, one of the Phantom Thieves will say one of the following quotes in place of the announcer's usual "[character] wins!"
In competitive play
Joker has always had a very promising showing in competitive play ever since his release; his combination of quick movement and combos, alongside the devastating power of Arsene giving him a powerful advantage state, has granted him a large following, with many high level players solo maining him or using him as a secondary. MkLeo, considered the best Ultimate player in the world, is one such example, using Joker's traits to great effect to win multiple S-Tier tournaments, while Zackray has also won one co-maining him with R.O.B. and Wolf, including being able to 3-stock Maister. However, some argue against Joker's strengths due to MkLeo's skill as a player allowing him to push the character extremely far, as not many players have come close to his achievements with the character. Regardless, Joker is commonly considered a high tier at the absolute least, and many top players go as far to name him the single best character in Ultimate at most.
Any number following the Smasher name indicates placement on the Spring 2019 PGRU, which recognizes the official top 50 players in the world in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate from February 1st, 2019 to July 7th, 2019.
Classic Mode: Shadows
Joker mainly fights opponents relating to shadows. On every round, the former enemy fighter becomes an ally to him under a new alternate costume, referencing how in Persona 5, Joker can negotiate with the Shadows and recruit them as Personas, freeing the corrupted demon in the process. Additionally, some items and Assist Trophies are references to Persona 5, such as the Kapp'n Assist Trophy referencing the Morgana Bus. The final boss makes reference to the god Yaldabaoth, the final boss of Persona 5, with the final boss theme Our Beginning also present. In addition, all rounds aside from the second round take place on Mementos.
Credits roll after completing Classic Mode. Completing it as Joker has Wake Up, Get Up, Get Out There accompany the credits. As a downloadable character, Joker uses the same character unlock tree as Mario.
Role in World of Light
Due to his status as downloadable content, Joker does not have a legitimate role in World of Light. Instead, he is unlocked for use in the mode after freeing 10 fighters from Galeem's control. If loading an existing save file that meets this condition prior to downloading Joker, he is immediately unlocked.
Joker's Fighter Spirits can be obtained by completing Classic Mode. They are also available periodically for purchase in the shop for 500 coins, but only after Joker has been downloaded. Unlocking Joker in World of Light allows the player to preview the first spirit below in the Spirit List under the name "???". As Fighter Spirits, they cannot be used in Spirit Battles and are purely aesthetic. Each Fighter Spirit has an alternate version that replaces them with their artwork in Ultimate. Arsene also makes an appearance in Joker's Fighter Spirits, having a unique render when shown with Joker's Ultimate artwork. Because of this, Joker's Ultimate renders in his Fighter Spirits will show him without his mask/glasses on.
Additionally, he appears in the Phantom Thieves of Hearts Spirit.
In Spirit Battles
As the main opponent