At the time of this writing, the Joker amiibo is C+ on the amiibo tier list. I’d say that’s a bit generous, all things considered, but we can at least rest assured that Joker’s not going any higher without some sort of amiibo training breakthrough. Here’s why the Joker amiibo is low on the amiibo tier list.
Joker is light
Joker’s a “middleweight”, but he weighs 93 units. Dude weighs like 120 pounds soaking wet, what a nerd.
Joker’s lack of weight gives him several issues in amiibo, the most obvious of which being that he dies very early from attacks with low knockback scaling. Many smash attacks that normally wouldn’t be optimal have low knockback scaling, so an inoptimally-trained amiibo could steal beat the lightweight Joker amiibo.
That’s one of the benefits of being heavy: optimal amiibo that use smashes with high knockback scaling can still get kills on you, but you survive against the inoptimal ones. Joker doesn’t have that.
Joker hits softly about 66% of the time
People look at Arsene and think “Oh, Joker’s going to have no problem getting kills”. That’s actually true: when he’s aggressive enough, Joker will hit like a truck with Arsene. But he only has Arsene maybe a third of the time, and the amiibo doesn’t use Rebel Gauge as effectively as a human player would. So he’s got to take or deal damage without Arsene in order to get Arsene… which makes him easier to kill since he’s so light.
The fact of the matter is that Joker basically can’t kill an opponent without Arsene unless they’re at high, 120+ percents or he lands a Forward smash. Back air is his best offstage move, and that’s not very useful overall anyway.
Joker is inconsistent
There’s a lot of amiibo that, when they’re at their shining moments, compete at an A+ or S tier level, but are normally below that. The B tier is littered with these amiibo, such as Lucina, Yoshi, Luigi and more. They all have great moments but it doesn’t happen enough to bump them up a few tiers.
Joker is that, but worse. Joker has a lot of pre-programmed combos, especially his Up air dragdowns, and sometimes he has Arsene active. However, when he’s doing his dragdowns, he’s not killing, and when he’s got Arsene, he should be killing. So we’re left with a rock and a hard place – we want Joker to get free damage with Up air dragdowns, and we want him to get kills, but we don’t want those two to line up.
So Joker is horribly inconsitent – sometimes those variables are perfectly in sync, wasting his Arsene KO potential, and sometimes they’re completely separate, giving him a few moments of brilliance.
Persona is dumb
Wha- how did that get in here? Oh well, let’s move on.
Fortunately for Joker, there are a few reasons that he’s not rock-bottom on the tier list. He’s not completely worthless, just bad.
Arsene grants him KO power
When he does have Arsene, Joker’s actually a pretty good amiibo, on par with, say, low B+ tier amiibo. He’s got unstoppable recovery, great KO and damage abilities, and many of his combos still function pretty well.
Joker has a lot of pre-programmed combos
Up air dragdowns and Up tilt -> Up Air (with Up Smash -> Up air being an alternate option) are the basis of a lot of Joker’s pre-programmed combos. (Do remember that amiibo can’t combo, the video previously linked explains how this works.) He’s a very vertical fighter in a very horizontal meta, which puts him at a disadvantage in some cases, but it grants him massive advantage on platformed stages. That’s where his pre-programmed combos are most effective – Up air dragdowns that end with Joker dropping through a platform often allow him to follow up with something else for free.
Joker has a great recovery
With or without Arsene, Joker’s got a pretty awesome recovery. Obviously, it’s better with Arsene – you still need that horizontal movement that Grappling Hook can’t provide – but Joker can still go deeper than most amiibo opponents and come back just fine. It’s fast, it’s difficult to edgeguard or 2-frame, and amiibo having pixel-perfect recovery AI mean that he’s going to get all the mileage out of it that he can.
Ultimately, I think Joker deserves to be capped at C+ tier. He’s already been given an AI buff in 9.0, which is far more love than any other amiibo has ever received. If nobody can figure him out beyond what we’ve got, then he’s fine where he is.