Joker (ジョーカー, Joker) is a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and the third fighter 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 Fighters Pass Vol. 1. Joker 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. Despite Arsène being voiced by the same respective voice actors in Joker's initial reveal trailer, he remains completely silent during gameplay.
Joker is a middleweight who can wall jump. He boasts very quick mobility, with a fast dashing speed; above-average walking, air, and falling speeds; the 4th highest fast fall speed; above-average air acceleration; and high gravity, though his initial dash is merely average. His slender frame gives him a thinner and slightly shorter hurtbox compared to other humanoid characters, which, in conjunction with his quick speed makes Joker hard to punish, and hard to hit.
One of Joker's biggest strengths is his frame data. Many of Joker's attacks possess fast startup and, with the exception of his smash attacks, low ending lag. This synergizes well with his excellent mobility and thin hurtbox since a lot of his attacks can cross up on shield or just cross up on opponents in general thanks to this. Due to his quick overall mobility, low-knockback attacks, and frame data, Joker possesses a strong and varied combo game. He has several moves in his toolkit to start combos at low percents, such as his up and down throws, a late down tilt, up tilt, his Grappling Hook, the first hit of his forward aerial and the looping hits of up aerial. Some of these combo starters last well into later percentages. Joker also possesses among the best grab frame data (comparable to that of Mario), which makes him especially adept at punishing shields (particularly from empty jumps).
Thanks to his fast frame data, most aspects of Joker's moveset are tailored towards comboing, giving him an overall solid regular kit. His grounded game possesses the overall faster frame data around his moveset, with his neutral attack, all tilt attacks, and dash attack all coming out before frame 10. Neutral attack is his fastest punishing option, serving as well as a "get off me" move. Forward tilt has the highest power of his tilt attacks and, while still weak, has the lowest ending lag of them, making it hard to punish. His up and down tilt serve similar purposes: placing the opponent in the air to start a combo. Down tilt also serves well as a long-ranged punish option (similarly to Cloud's own down-tilt), whereas up tilt is also one of Joker's many anti-air moves. None of Joker's smash attacks come out before frame 10, though they nevertheless remain decently fast. Forward smash has the highest power of them (although its hitboxes can be quite misleading as it will only hit in front of Joker), and up smash is his fastest smash attack as well as his strongest anti-air move. Down smash is somewhat less versatile than his other smash attacks, although it hits on both sides and can serve as a faster alternative to forward smash.
Joker's aerial game is comparably effective as his grounded game, with a variety of different options at his disposal. Back aerial serves as Joker's most versatile aerial, functioning as his best defensive aerial due to its effectiveness out of shield, as a spacing tool due to its good range, and as his best aerial pressuring and KOing move thanks to its very low lag. Both forward and up aerials are among his best combo moves, the former's first hit leading into other moves due to its high base knockback, most notably granting him a kill confirm, whereas the latter's looping hits can set up for another grab at medium percentages or an up or down smash at high ones. Both moves' finishing hits also serve as good combo finishers outside of these ranges, with forward aerial also leading into RAR back aerial, and up aerial putting the opponent in the perfect position to be hit by Grappling Hook they do not react in time. Up aerial can also serve as a useful anti-air move and is Joker's fastest out of shield option, making him surprisingly harder to cross-up. Neutral and down aerials have the slowest startup of his aerial moves, although they have decently low landing lag and can lead to other moves when used appropriately. Neutral aerial, in particular, has the best range and combo ability of the two, both covering a wide area around Joker and sending at a high enough angle for followups. It's also Joker's best crossup tool, allowing him to pressure shields and be safe against most opponents if he manages to land behind them.
His grab game is similar in terms of utility, with a lack of raw KOing options but fantastic for combos. Both up and down throws serve as combo throws, the former leading into up aerial, while the latter is slightly more versatile as it can lead into forward and up aerials or a RAR back aerial. Surprisingly, this is also Joker's strongest throw, though it doesn't KO until well past realistic percentages. Nonetheless, it's useful in a pinch, should Joker find himself in a situation where he struggles to finish off an opponent after dealing considerable damage. His forward throw is the least useful of his throws, serving primarily for setting up and edgeguard and/or putting the opponent at a disadvantage from where Joker can capitalize. Back throw has aspects of both his forward and down throws, mainly used to set up and edgeguard or put the opponent in a disadvantageous position at low percentages, while KOing near the edge at very high percentages.
Finally, Joker boasts versatile special attacks. His neutral special, Gun, is an efficient way of dealing damage at long ranges while also avoiding it, as he can dash during the move to dodge in between shots, and its grounded jumping and downward aerial versions are notorious for their versatility, the former allowing Joker to combat rush downs and/or zone breaking, and the latter being used to combat juggling. Eiha, his side special, is Joker's only projectile, being medium-ranged and slow-moving, dealing weak damage upon contact while cursing opponents for reliable damage over time. It's excellent for spacing and forces the opponent to respect Joker by shielding, making it a useful tool for conditioning the opponent to shield, allowing him to appropriately punish with a grab. Grappling Hook, his up special, is fairly niche outside of recovery, but can still be used in an offensive manner; grounded, it's one of Joker's most effective anti-air moves, and while typically not guaranteed, opponents who aren't expecting it can be caught after an up throw loops. In the air, this is Joker's primary recovery move, being a tether recovery with very high vertical reach, allowing him to mix up his recovery and usually avoid edgeguarding attempts. It also allows him to safely edgeguard opponents far below the stage and recover without much issue.
Joker possesses a fighter ability unique to him in the form of Rebellion Gauge. This gauge fills up each time Joker takes damage, one of his teammates takes damage, or one of his teammates is KO'd (the latter two happenings during team battles). Joker will also respawn with some of the Rebellion Gauge filled up if he gets KO'd. His down special, Rebel's Guard, helps Joker during this, by negating the knockback he would receive from an attack and halving the damage he takes while filling up the Rebellion Gauge; this move also doubles as a counterattack, albeit a very weak one (similarly to Incineroar's Revenge) by knocking nearby opponents away. Once the Rebellion Gauge is filled up, Joker summons his Persona, Arsène, to aid him in battle, similarly to Rosalina's Luma. With Arsène present, Joker's regular attacks gain a significant boost in damage (and thus safety on shield) and knockback, as well as slightly more range, and his down aerial gains the ability to meteor smash, giving him an additional edgeguarding tool. Arsène is completely invincible during any move boosted by him, which means opponents can't make him disappear without hitting Joker, which is the only way to deplete the Rebellion Gauge faster. Similarly to Cloud's Limit Break, Joker's special moves also become more powerful under Arsène's influence. Gun becomes Gun Special, which can shoot multiple times quickly and deals more than twice as much damage. Eiha becomes Eigaon, a much faster projectile that travels further and has a larger area of impact, explodes on contact with an opponent or solid ground, and deals considerably more curse damage. Its speed and range make it effective for punishing opponents at a distance or pressuring opponents who attempt to edgeguard Joker. It also deals considerable damage as well, making it a highly potent punish tool. Grappling Hook is replaced with Wings of Rebellion, which functions similarly to Pit's Power of Flight, granting Joker high vertical distance and possessing long-lasting invincibility during startup (that starts on frame 1 on the ground), though it loses Grappling Hook's attack presence. Finally, his down special becomes Tetrakarn/Makarakarn, a very effective counterattack and reflector similar to Palutena's Counter/Reflect Barrier. Both counters are better than comparative moves as well; both have very low startup lag (with Tetrakarn having the fastest startup of any counterattack) and the lowest ending lag of any counterattack. Tetrakarn has a huge hitbox that completely covers Joker's body and a huge area around him, and has the strongest damage multiplier of any counterattack at 1.6x (while also hitting for a minimum of 12% damage regardless of the attack). Meanwhile, Makarakarn has the third-highest damage multiplier of any reflector at 1.6x, and also greatly increases the speed of reflected projectiles at 1.9x.
Despite all of these strengths, Joker is not without any weaknesses, most of which are noticeable when he does not have Arsène active. The most notable of these is the lack of strength on individual hits; as similarly to Sheik, most of Joker's default moveset is tailored towards extending his advantage through combos, most of them tend to be highly lackluster or underwhelming in terms of KO power and individual damage. Particularly, Joker's lack of KO power can often make him reliant on gimping the opponent at early percentages, and his smash attacks, while having enough power to secure a stock against light and middleweight characters, have high ending lag, and are heavily unsafe if shielded; as a result, Joker can be very susceptible to comebacks if he is not able to summon Arsène in time. His knife, while giving his attacks disjointed range, also renders said disjointed range short due to its length, especially when compared to the weapons of other fighters such as Marth and Ike. His range issues can also 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. He is also vulnerable to projectile-based pressure due to his lack of ways to deal with projectiles, with Eiha failing to properly compensate. Rebel's Guard can aid with this issue, but this can also render him predictable if the move is overused.
Although Joker's moves are relegated to comboing, some of Joker's individual moves particularly lack much utility, with the most notable being his down aerial without Arsène. When it comes to his normal recovery, Joker is reliant on his Grappling Hook, which gives him an outstanding vertical recovery, though his overall horizontal recovery is somewhat exploitable due to its lack of horizontal range. Its lack of safety makes Joker easier to gimp as well, though Joker can mix up the timing when recovering to throw off edgeguarding attempts. He can also use 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.
Since the Rebellion Gauge encourages a different kind of playstyle, Joker loses on some of his weaknesses without Arsène (such as a vulnerability to projectile camping), but this creates new weaknesses in return, meaning that if Joker gets Arsène at the wrong time or is unable to capitalize with him, he may either lose his advantage or be at a disadvantage. Wings of Rebellion, despite reliably covering more distance than Grappling Hook, is more exploitable, as the lack of hitbox and vulnerability at the end of the move makes it easy for opponents to intercept Joker before he reaches the ledge; in fact, Joker becomes notoriously prone to getting 2-framed. Eigaon, while incredibly powerful and versatile, suffers from 10 more frames of endlag, making it (at times) riskier to use than Eiha. Lastly, despite Arsène's incredible power and strengths, the Rebellion Gauge can be depleted faster if an opponent is able to attack Joker; combined with his aforementioned vulnerability to combos, this can cause Arsène to disappear much faster until the Rebellion Gauge is filled again, removing Joker's advantage as a result.
Overall, Joker is a character whose playstyle is incredibly dynamic, but as with characters with many playstyles applicable, players should be expected to be able to smartly switch playstyles on the go. Without Arsène, Joker specializes in a hit-and-run, combo-oriented playstyle. Joker is particularly adept at conditioning the opponent to shield and has excellent grab frame data to take advantage of that, so players should be looking for opportunities to go for punishing grab combos whenever possible. He has notably short-range and low power overall on his standard attacks without Arsène available, and can struggle if he's a stock behind the opponent and unable to effectively make use of Arsène. His primary goal in each match is to rack up as much damage as possible through combos and gain an early stock in order to massively widen the gap between him and his opponent. Arsène greatly helps Joker in dealing damage or securing a stock whenever he is out, as he gains several powerful traits that allow him to play more rushdown-oriented when he gains the advantage, without forgoing his excellent mobility. Arsène is also notable for giving Joker an absurdly effective comeback factor, as Joker can quickly close to gap by dealing out extreme damage with Arsène out and can KO early when given the opportunity, such as with an Arsène boosted back air. By actively filling up the Rebellion Gauge by using Rebel's Guard to capitalize on reading an opponent's attack, this can be devastating for the opponent, as it gives Arsène more opportunity to be seen in-game. At the same time, Joker's vulnerability to combos means he will have to make use of his excellent mobility more often than not to avoid being put at a disadvantage. Ultimately, Joker is a character who encourages proactive play, and particularly shines when players are able to make the most of edgeguarding opportunities, maximize their damage through combos and effectively make use of Arsène. Joker's viability in the competitive scene has been excellent since his release, with many people citing him as a top tier character thanks to strong representation and results from smashers such as Eim, MkLeo, Tsu, Tweek, Wishes and Zackray.
Aside from glitch fixes, Joker was given a mix of buffs and nerfs via game updates, but he has been slightly nerfed overall. The first nerf was in update 4.0.0 to Makarakarn, which could now be broken by reflected projectiles inflicting more than 50% damage; however this nerf was compensated by a buff to its searchbox, which became more rounded, allowing Joker to reflect projectiles that would fly right over him. Update 6.0.0 fixed an issue with Joker's forward smash pushing opponents too far during its charging animation, now making so Joker can't blatantly avoid damage by exploiting the move's previously wonky detection. The most significant nerfs came with update 7.0.0; downward Gun's horizontal range was significantly reduced, while the Rebellion Gauge would now lose more time when Joker is hit by attacks. These nerfs noticeably affected his best landing and edgeguarding tool, and punishing him more for losing interactions while Arsene is active, which rewards in particular opponents with good damage racking capabilities. Version 11.0.0 would further affect the safety of his moves by making Eiha and his counters more punishable if they are used recklessly.
Version 13.0.0, however, buffed Joker by removing ten frames of ending lag from his Final Smash, All-Out Attack.
Despite these nerfs, however, Joker is still considered a top tier character and a contender for best character in the game.
For a gallery of Joker's hitboxes, see here.
For simplicity, damage values for Joker and Arsène's individual attacks are separated by a slash (/). With Arsène 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 five or more fighters, Morgana will not appear during his taunts.
In all three of his victory poses, the transition to the victory screen will showcase a puff of cartoony smoke with star decals, and the 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 human players, the color scheme will match the player's port (CPUs and amiibo 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 (regardless of which team or port Joker is on), 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 had a mixed, albeit positive reception on his release. Many players praised his movement with his horizontal and vertical speed alongside his great combo ability, and noted how all these traits were supplemented when Arsène was activated, granting him much greater damage and kill potential. His downward-angled Gun and Eiha/Eigaon were also viewed as fantastic tools that allowed him to easily escape disadvantageous situations and rack up percentage, respectively. However, many also noted how Joker had difficulty killing when Arsène was not active, given that his kill setups are unsafe on shield and quite difficult to consistently land, as well as many of his moves outright having low base knockback or knockback growth, which resulted in players labeling his kill potential as "inconsistent". In addition, players also remarked base Joker's relatively low damage output per move, seemingly exploitable recoveries with and without Arsène, and lack of out of shield options. Thus, initial opinions on him were divided: players such as Tweek and CaptainZack labeled him as a potential top tier character while others such as Leffen and VoiD regarded him as a mid-tier and low-high tier character, respectively.
However, opinions regarding Joker's viability had improved substantially since MkLeo, the best Ultimate player in the world, started using the character. MkLeo utilized Joker's quick movement, remarkable frame data, combos such as the drag-down combos, and the powerful advantage state of Arsène to place in the top 2 at every tournament he has attended since MomoCon 2019. Thanks to MkLeo's success, several other top players have picked up Joker as a secondary or co-main. Most notably, Zackray had used Joker as a co-main to win several Japanese nationals and a supermajor and is considered to be the best player in Japan. Due to their success, many top players have named Joker as the single best character in the game. On the other hand, some argue that Joker's success largely relies on MkLeo's skill as a player, which allows him to push the character extremely far, as no players outside of Zackray have even come close to his achievements. Regardless, Joker is commonly considered a top tier and one of the best characters in the game.
However, in online tournaments, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, MkLeo has opted not to play Joker due to the nature of Smash Ultimate's netcode necessitating a different playstyle. Instead, he has opted to choose different characters, such as Byleth, Cloud and Pyra/Mythra. This has led to a perception that Joker is a significantly weaker character online, due to his more technical combos and reactionary playstyle becoming too hard to perform or unrewarding, which has reflected in his middling online tournament representation. However, Joker still possesses traits that are effective online, such as quick movements, a difficult to react to projectile, and powerful attacks when Arsène is active. Most recently, the success of players such as Sharp in online tournaments, such as their 13th placing at Frame Perfect Series 6: ONLINE, has challenged the perception that Joker is not well suited for the online metagame.
Following the return of offline play, Joker’s representation and results have somewhat dwindled in comparison to his incredible showing in 2019. This has been attributed to some of his most prominent players more often using counterpicks or outright relegating him to counterpick status in favor of other characters which is likely attributed to the significant matchup familiarity players developed due to his aforementioned presence in the metagame. That said, he is still unanimously considered top tier, with many still considering one of the best alongside Pyra/Mythra and Pikachu as he still possesses high peak results such as Zackray getting 2nd at Kagaribi 4, the first supermajor after COVID, and 1st at Kagaribi 6 using mostly Joker.
Most historically significant players
Any number following the Smasher name indicates placement on the Fall 2019 PGRU, which recognizes the official top 50 players in the world in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate from July 13th, 2019 to December 15th, 2019.
See also: Category:Joker professionals (SSBU)
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 enemy 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 of this route 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 Phantom Thief fighter spirit can be obtained by completing Classic Mode. It also available periodically for purchase in the shop for 300 Gold, 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 a fighter spirit, it cannot be used in Spirit Battles and is purely aesthetic. His student outfit has a fighter spirit of its own, available through the shop. Each fighter spirit has an alternate version that replaces them with their artwork in Ultimate. Arsène 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