Any Smash players who have chosen Joker as a main in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate should be on the lookout right about now. The character’s been very popular in the Smash community as of late, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate player Leffen has commented on the matter.
Now, balancing in fighting games is a tricky business. Even with a modest roster of twenty or so characters, constant updates and patches are needed over a game’s lifetime to try and keep the cast on an even keel. The whole point of the genre is to provide a range of very different characters to cater to everybody’s playstyles, so it can take time to see particular issues.
In a game like Super Smash Bros., all of this is compounded by the sheer size of the roster. The competitive scene changes over time as technology develops and match-up knowledge improves, so the metagame becomes very dynamic as a result. Smash may be less technical than your average fighting game, but competitive matches are taken very seriously and broken characters are a big issue. Fighters that come to mind here are those such as Super Smash Bros. Brawl's Meta Knight.
Characters that appear later in a game’s life throw another spanner in the works. The most recent addition to the Ultimate line-up, the Hero of Dragon Quest fame, has already proven very controversial with his RNG-based shenanigans. Thus, while the question of the Hero's power in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is being debated by the Ultimate community, the necessity for Joker's nerfing may be a whole new discussion.
MKLeo is a name that’s sure to be familiar to everyone who follows competitive Smash. Since Joker was added to Ultimate, he’s been MKLeo’s character of choice, and that’s been working out well for him. He’s just won EVO 2019 as the leader of the Phantom Thieves, in fact. The inevitable concern that arises, then, is whether this is due to Leo’s skill or Joker’s sheer strength as a fighter. After Leo’s victory, fellow Smash player Leffen chimed in with a somewhat snarky Tweet:
I sincerely hope Joker doesn't get nerfed just because Leo is better than everyone else. Not only is joker an entertaining character to watch but he is also exposing the ultimate players inability to adopt even basic countermeasures to the char who consistently wins the majors.— L3ff3rd (@TSM_Leffen) August 5, 2019
Joker is still somewhat of an unknown quantity, so it’s tough to say just how much truth there is to this. Remember, though, that it’s easy to declare something broken and howl for nerfs before you’ve digested the counter-strategies. The community does love to make knee-jerk reactions, as was the case when the sluggish and slow King K. Rool was considered overpowered.