A complete summary of Bowser’s performance in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate can be found on the character’s information page. It includes strengths and weaknesses, AI quirks, and an archive of tournament representation and results.
Stats & Spirit Effects
Using a balanced spread (2100 / 2100) or a more defensive one (1000 / 3200) are both fine options that work well on the character. It all comes down to your personal preference.
In terms of Spirit effects, Bowser is undeniably strongest with Super Armor; however, this bonus is banned in most tournaments, leaving him with Armor Knight and Move Speed ↑. This is by no means a compromise, however, as Armor Knight grants incredible boosts to attack and defense. Other options include Physical Attack ↑, Special-Move Power ↑, and Toss & Meteor; however, using Armor Knight and Move Speed ↑ is highly recommended and is currently Bowser’s most optimal setup.
A Figure Player becomes strongest if it is mirror matched all the way to Level 50 with its Learn button switched on. Training will take several hours, but match rules can be interchangeably switched between Stock and Timed.
Bowser benefits from a grounded, punish-based playstyle. Use his jab and tilts to rack up damage (as well as his forward and back throws). Against aerial opponents, usage of up smash is key; Bowser’s up smash is essentially incontestable against any opponent’s aerial options. Down smash should also be used as a ledge trap. Here is a complete breakdown of Bowser’s moveset and which attacks to focus on during training:
- Neutral attack: A short, snappy set of punches that deal high damage. A great neutral option and one of Bowser’s fastest moves. Use it frequently.
- Forward tilt: A forward punch that inflicts a lot of knockback and serves as a kill move at the edge. Use this one frequently too.
- Up tilt: Situational combo starter that links into itself and can lead into an up smash. Spam it against aerial opponents who are at low percentages and then hit them with an up smash.
- Down tilt: Best used at the ledge, as it can strike opponents hanging from it. Doesn’t have too much use otherwise.
- Dash attack: Avoid this one. Bowser has much better options at his disposal, and dash attack doesn’t rank very high among them.
- Forward smash: A powerful dropkick. Use it to read landings and rolls. Difficult to connect with, but worth it. Best used infrequently.
- Up smash: One of Bowser’s best moves. Use it against aerial opponents at medium to high percentages. It can even be spammed and it will still yield great effects. Serves as Bowser’s primary KO move.
- Down smash: Newly changed from Smash 4 and hits on both sides in quick succession. Use it at the ledge to cover getup options or to read rolls.
- Neutral aerial: The AI has a tendency to spam this, so don’t go out of your way to use it; in fact, avoid it entirely if possible. Neutral aerial distracts the AI from its superior grounded options.
- Forward aerial: Powerful, but Bowser shouldn’t be in the air much. Use it infrequently if needed, but don’t go out of your way to connect it.
- Back aerial: Another strong aerial, but it has a lot of ending lag. Try to avoid this one if you can.
- Up aerial: It can juggle aerial opponents but is outclassed by up smash, so use that move instead.
- Down aerial: If you are launched upward, you can return to the stage with a down aerial. This may seem like a poor strategy, but it works much better against AI than it does against human players. Use it often.
- Forward throw: The strongest forward throw in the game. Use it at the edge to get early KOs.
- Back throw: See above.
- Up throw: It can be used as a combo throw, but don’t bother. Bowser’s forward and back throws generally yield greater results.
- Down throw: In terms of damage, this is Bowser’s strongest throw. Use it every once in a while to rack up damage.
- Neutral special (Fire Breath): Useless. It can be used at the edge to rack up a spot of damage, but is outclassed by other ledge options such as down smash.
- Side special (Flying Slam): Use it every once in a while to get some free damage. Best used on stages with platforms.
- Up special (Whirling Fortress): Good out of shield, but should be used for recovery purposes only. Don’t bother attacking with it.
- Down special (Bowser Bomb): In a similar vein as down aerial, it should be used to return to the stage. Only use it in the air; don’t use it on the ground.
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