For as long as amiibo training has existed – even in Super Smash Bros. 4 – Bowser has been at the top. The King of Koopas made waves throughout the entirety of Smash 4’s metagame, and unfortunately, he was even further buffed in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. He’s so good now, in fact, that he’s been unanimously banned from the Exion amiibo metagame. You’re probably not going to find many tournaments that allow Bowser, but if you’re just looking to train an amiibo that can crush human opponents, you’ve come to the right place!
In the context of artificial intelligence battles, Bowser has almost no weaknesses. He possesses a gigantic list of advantages that simply overwhelms any (and every) other fighter. Given his status as a heavyweight, it’s no surprise that his attacks pack a punch. His tilts, smashes, and throws deal massive damage and knockback, which lets Bowser KO enemies at early percentages. His up smash, in particular, is extremely powerful; it exploits the AI’s poor landing routine and can intercept botched aerials or recoveries. His down smash is an effective ledge trap that limits the enemy’s options, and it’s got incredible power to boot. Furthermore, Bowser has a unique ability, “Tough Guy”, which prevents him from flinching when hit by a weak attack. Moves like Greninja’s grab and Ness’s PK Fire will deal damage, but won’t make him flinch.
Bowser’s only flaws are his somewhat unreliable recovery and slow moveset, but these are both offset by his unmatched strengths. Whirling Fortress grants decent distance, especially for a fighter of Bowser’s stature, while his sluggish attacks are nullified by their startup armor and Tough Guy ability. The Koopa King’s AI is notorious for spamming its neutral aerial; a well-trained Bowser can avoid this, though, and focus on its stronger moves.
By all accounts, Bowser is the best character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. As mentioned earlier, he’s been banned from most online tournaments. If you’d like to read more information as to why that is, feel free to look at his official ban announcement. We’ve got a wiki page on Bowser, too, and it goes into more detail on his position in our metagame (or, in this case, lack thereof).
Every one of the “big five” bonuses has merit on Bowser. Super Armor and Slow Super Armor make his already-powerful kit even scarier, Armor Knight gives him a massive stat boost, and Autoheal essentially negates the damage he might take through his Tough Guy ability. You could run any of these spreads and achieve good results, though Autoheal Bowser is probably the most unorthodox of them.
Hyper Smash Attacks is overkill on this character (in a good way), bolstering his smash attacks’ damage and knockback. Physical Attack ↑ buffs nearly every move in Bowser’s kit, making it another option to consider. All of the Trade-Off support Spirits are worth a slot on Bowser, though Trade-Off Defense ↑ is likely the most effective of them all (as it makes his Tough Guy armor even more potent).
Most Figure Players run a balanced spread (2100 / 2100), and this works on Bowser, too. Depending on what kind of fighter you want to train, you could invest more into Attack or Defense. Bowser’s stat spread doesn’t really matter as long as he has one at all.
Regular readers have come to expect this: you are best off mirror matching the FP until it reaches Level 50. Playing matches on Ω-form stages will help the AI focus on mastering its moveset without the threat of stage hazards. While training, be sure to focus on the following attacks:
- Up tilt: This move is fairly quick in comparison to the rest of Bowser’s kit, and its wide hitbox makes it absolutely vital to his success. Most (if not all) aerial assaults will lose to this move, and any grounded opponents hit by it will be launched directly above. This opens up another up tilt or even an up smash.
- Forward smash: Its armor paired with its kill power makes forward smash absolutely devastating. FPs will try to interrupt it with an attack of their own only to receive a slow and painful dropkick to the jaw.
- Up smash: Another armored smash attack. It beats any landing option and fills fairly early, so it should certainly be used often.
- Neutral attack: Bowser’s fastest tool, and should see a fair bit of use as a result. It can be used at point blank to keep enemies away, and can even KO at very high percentages.
- Forward tilt: While it doesn’t kill as quickly as his forward smash, Bowser’s forward tilt is much less susceptible to grabs. Use it frequently at close range.
- Forward aerial: Whether it’s edgeguarding an opponent or pursuing an airborne one, this move is fantastic. Its damage, knockback, and hitbox are absolutely devastating considering its surprising speed.
- Back aerial: A hefty – albeit situational – kill move that can surprise unsuspecting enemies. Its rare usage makes it difficult to prepare for, and its large hitbox makes it easy to land.
- Grab & throws: All of Bowser’s throws deal a lot of damage, and his up throw can even combo into his forward aerial at low-to-medium percentages.
The moves above are definitely Bowser’s most useful, but there’s one more to consider. His side special, Flying Slam, has been nerfed from Smash 4. It’s rather outclassed by his other options (which deal much more damage and are easier to land), but can still be used every once in a while to catch an opponent off-guard.
The only attack you should actively avoid is Bowser’s down special, Bowser Bomb. It does break shields and kill its victims at low percentages, but it’s risky and unnecessary compared to the rest of his kit. Again, it’s not a bad move, but if you’re trying to train an optimal Bowser, it is not needed.
If a move you’re thinking of wasn’t listed in this guide, its usage is not recommended, but isn’t advised against either. At the end of the day, you can train your amiibo however you see fit. Slight deviations from the “norm” aren’t always a bad thing — sometimes, they can even be game-changing!
Bowser might be the strongest Figure Player in the game (and he most certainly is), but this doesn’t mean training one is effortless. He still requires a good bit of work, though substantially less than other characters. Once again, there are a few more resources available on Bowser; you could read his official ban announcement or his wiki page if you’re interested in learning more. If you have any additional questions that haven’t been answered here, feel free to check out our Discord server! Thanks to Blank for helping out with the training section. Happy training, and until next time!
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