Unless you've been lost in Mementos for the past day (or avoiding Smash Bros because of this), you probably know that there's a new Smasher on the scene. Joker, the heart-stealing protagonist of Persona 5, makes his stylish entrance into Super Smash Bros. Ultimate with the 3.0 patch.
Joker brings a knife, a gun, and his trademark Persona to battle. This gives him a mix of swiftness and range similar to that of Bayonetta, a special metered ability reminiscent of Cloud, and play style that rewards reading opponents like Robin. Joker's also got a counter that doubles as a reflector. As you can see, his kit has a lot to unpack. Let's break it down.
Joker's Neutral B is a simple fire of his gun. One button press fires a bullet, holding it down fires more. That already makes for a decent pestering projectile, think Bayonetta or Fox's guns, but it gets more complex in that Joker can dodge while shooting. We'll get more into that later, but you should get comfortable with shooting on the go.
Joker's Side B is Eiha, a fireball of sorts that travels at a downward angle. It acts a lot like Robin's side special, but with a twist. You don't want to hit the opponent directly with Eiha. Instead, you want to hit them with the burst of the fireball hitting the ground. This inflicts a status effect that damages opponents over time.
Joker's Up B tosses out a grappling hook. It's pretty self-explanatory, grabbing the edge of the stage like Simon or Toon Link's grapples. Joker's grappling hook can also function as an upward grab that pulls opponents towards him.
Joker's Down B is his bread and butter. It's called Rebel's Guard, and using it has Joker stand and pose while an aura surrounds him. If timed well, this pose will absorb the next attack or even series of attacks aimed at Joker. He'll still take the damage, but he won't be knocked back. More importantly, taking damage will fill up Joker's Rebellion Gauge. Once the meter is full, Joker's next use of Rebel's Guard will summon his Persona Arsene.
Once Joker's Persona comes out, he becomes a different fighter. Arsene follows him around and attacks with him, adding extra range and power to Joker's regular strikes. Arsene also changes all of Joker's special moves.
The Gun fires faster with Arsene, making it a much better harassment tool.
Eiha, the Side B fireball, becomes Eigaon. This one really feels like Robin's Arcfire, but better. It now launches opponents further and does more damage. The damage over time also lasts longer.
The Up B Grappling Hook changes entirely into Wings of Rebellion. This new recovery move doesn't do any damage, but it also shoots Joker upwards much faster. It also makes Joker entirely invincible during its duration. Overall it's an amazing recovery move.
The Down B with Arsene becomes straight-up ridiculous. Now, instead of absorbing damage, Arsene calls upon Tetrakarn and Makarakarn. This creates an all-purpose counter that works on both melee and ranged attacks. Yes, it's a counter and a reflector all in one. It also packs a serious punch, making it a great kill option. There's not much of a downside to this move, and its something opponents will fear when they see Arsene come out.
Get Good With Gun Maneuvers
Joker's Neutral B, the gun, looks to be a standard projectile at first glance. Players will soon learn, however, that they can move while shooting by tilting the control stick. This allows Joker some flexibility that other projectile users, such as Link, don't have. He can keep away from opponents or close distance after a successful shot. Joker can also mix it up by shooting in the air, allowing him to fire directly above and below him.
While players are still workshopping Joker to learn his full capabilities, his gun is looking to be something skilled players will take advantage of. For one, it can disrupt certain moves, creating opportunities to start combos. With Arsene out, it also builds up damage quickly. Also, well-timed gun dodges add some options to Joker's edge game.
Joker's KO Moves Require Reading The Opponent
This is true of pretty much every character in every fighting game ever. But Joker really needs a clear opening to unleash a finishing move. That's because a lot of his kill moves have obvious tells, giving opponents time to get away. His forward tilt is perhaps the exception, it comes out fast and knocks back at high percents. His up smash and forward smash are also great launchers, but come out too slowly to just throw out.
Joker's greatest resource for landing KOs is Arsene. With so many moves powered up, Joker suddenly finds himself with many options to take a stock. The counter, as mentioned before, is the greatest. The fact that it can counter any kind of attack with bolstered force makes it very dangerous. It can also KO at low percents, low enough that even the most confident opponents will be backing off. That also makes Arsene Joker's greatest weakness.
Calling forth a giant floating avatar is like shouting that you're going in for the kill. Many opponents will probably respond by playing keep away until Arsene disappears. Therefore, you'll want to be prepared when you do summon the Persona. You should have the opponent cornered or try to bait them into attacking you for the counter opportunity.
A Flashy Final Smash
Joker's Final Smash calls the other Phantom Thieves to beat up on opponents. It's triggered by Joker dashing at the foe (or foes, it can hit multiple fighers). The one thing to note is that Joker gets a second chance if he fails. If you find the dash attack misses, quickly move your stick in the opposite direction. Joker will dash a second time, giving you another opportunity to land the Final Smash.
That's all you need to know to get started with Joker. Have you found out any other secrets to playing the Phantom Thief? If so, let us know in the comments!