Back at The Game Awards in December, everyone got blown away by a surprise, and we never saw it coming. In the next few hours, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate would be hitting the shelves, and Nintendo took this opportunity to announce the first DLC character of the game’s Fighter Pass. Persona 5’s Joker joins the brawl. A surprising reveal considering that Persona 5 isn’t on any Nintendo platforms.
The hype surrounding this character was huge. The Persona franchise is a beloved JRPG series that managed to hit the mainstream audience with its fifth entry. Now it manages to hit the Smash community and with it, a whole new audience.
Now after long months of waiting, Persona 5’s Joker is joining the main cast. On April 17, both update 3.0.0 and Joker released. Let’s go over the initial impressions regarding the character.
Dash Attack – Frame 6 – 9.6%
A great tool to whiff punish enemies. Joker propels forward and offers the opponent two swift kicks.
Neutral Air – Frame 12 – 7.1%
An excellent out of shield option that comes out on frame 12. Offering the player two different hitboxes: one in the front of the character and another behind it.
Forward Air – Frame 7 – 7.1%
This particular move has a bunch of uses because of its multi-hit properties. Visually, it looks like a Zero Suit forward air, but after the first hit, it can be canceled leaving the enemy vulnerable for a small amount of time. Joker then gains a window of opportunity where he can capitalize and confirm the enemy’s stock.
Back Air – Frame 7 – 9.1%
Pretty quick and safe option on shields and out of shields. It doesn’t lead into any proper followups, but is a great move by itself.
Up Air – Frame 5 – 6.1%
One of Joker’s core juggling moves. It combos out of up throw from zero to seventy percent or higher (depending on the character).
A combo that leads to a falling up air that leads into another grab. Nonetheless, it leads to a following up air as mentioned before.
Perfect for comboing at low percentages. It bounces the opponent in a way where Joker can hit with either forward air or back air.
Great mid range zoning tool. It doesn’t work like the standard projectile as it deals most of its damage over time. Minimal knockback happens after the move connects, but it still opens a small punish window.
Joker’s recovery is a tether that can help him come back from shallow places. On the stage, it works in a very different way. It latches on to opponents and pulls them in, giving Joker another way to extend his combos.
Jokers counter helps him build his Rebellion gauge. A meter that allows for his second for to pop up and shine.
The Persona: Arsene
In Persona 5, Aresene is Joker’s original Persona. However, in Smash, it is a huge overall buff for the character. When his rebellion gauge fills up, Arsene joins Joker and together they become a powerhouse.
Major Arsene Changes
Arsene changes most of the Joker’s moves by adding more damage and knockback. His specials benefit the most out of this as some of them change entirely.
Side special gains a lingering hitbox, and a higher amount of knockback.
Up special changes completely as Arsene opens his wings and carries Joker to the stage. It now offers 29 frames of invincibility but has minimal angles.
Down special becomes both a reflect and a counter.
Joker also gains a variety of kill setups. Down air now spikes and sends the opponent in a way where up smash can perfectly link into it. This is not to mention that all of Joker’s moves gain a lot of more potential with additional damage and knockback output.
Joker has been out for less than a week, but his potential is there. A lack of damage without Arsene makes his standalone development a current priority. His combos should only get crazier as players start actively experimenting and seeing where they can take him.
At the moment Joker should rank in between high and mid-tier. His lack of high damaging moves makes it, so he has trouble securing kills without Arsene. However, as his metagame develops, he should climb the tier list and reside as one of the best high tiers.
There is still a lot of data missing on this character, but his kit shows a lot of promise. So where he ends up depends on the passionate community that will carry his metagame.