Bowser is one of the most notorious characters in competitive amiibo training. He was banned from amiibo tournaments in December 2019, as he was considered the strongest fighter at the time. Surprisingly, Bowser’s strength carries over to the Raid Boss format too. His AI is top-notch, and his signature strength can rather easily overwhelm a human opponent. If you’d like to learn more about Bowser’s strengths and weaknesses, you can check his wiki page. Otherwise, let’s jump right into training!
Please note that this particular training guide targets the amiibo-versus-human format. If you’d like to learn how to train a competitive Bowser amiibo (amiibo-versus-amiibo), feel free to check out our corresponding guide instead.
Raid Boss-format Figure Players usually make use of a Spirit team to add a bit of an extra challenge. If you don’t know this already, you should give your Bowser amiibo its full Spirit set before you start training it. If your Bowser amiibo already has Spirits and you’re here because you want to improve it, that’s fine too — in that case, you can skip ahead to the next section and use the training information provided to play some matches against it. If you need a crash course on how Spirits work in this game, be sure to check out our full-fledged Spirits guide. Now then, here are some Spirit recommendations that would work well with Bowser!
Super Armor is certainly Bowser’s strongest Spirit effect, as it stacks with his startup armor and makes him tough to launch. This bonus can be only obtained from the summon-only Gold Mario Support Spirit, and it takes up all three slots. You could also use Great Autoheal, which also occupies all three slots but allows Bowser to restore health over time. Which is perfect for harassing human opponents!
Some other options include Physical Attack ↑, Move Speed ↑, and Landing Lag ↓. Of these bonuses, Move Speed ↑ is particularly fearsome on Bowser, as he very much benefits from increased horizontal movement — especially while recovering. For stats, try to balance them between attack and defense, but any setup is fine, really! Make sure your FP’s Spirit-type is Neutral so that it doesn’t lose any Spirit-type matchups.
Many new amiibo trainers start their journey by training Bowser. And it’s easy to see why! There’s always been a lot of hype surrounding Bowser in the context of amiibo training, so why not start with Bowser? If you’re new to amiibo training too, here are a few general tips for you. First, you should mirror match your FP until it reaches Level 50, which means you’ll have to play as Bowser. Next, don’t charge any of your smash attacks, even if you break your FP’s shield. The AI can learn to overcharge all of its smash attacks, which winds up being a disaster! Finally, don’t taunt too often and don’t worry about matchup experience (because FPs don’t save any).
Bowser’s optimal playstyle is aggressive (as with most characters). His tilts and smash attacks have damage-based armor, which means that as long as Bowser doesn’t take too much damage during the move’s startup, he’s protected from flinching. This unique trait means he’s free to throw out powerful attacks as needed — especially if you gave him the Super Armor Spirit bonus. During training, you can go off-stage, but don’t go too far away from the ledge. Here are all the moves you should use during training, then:
- Neutral attack: It might sound lame to use lots of jabs, but Bowser’s is great! It’s really strong, and it’s one of his faster moves. Use it at close range to keep opponents away.
- Forward tilt: A fast forward punch with startup armor. It’s quite powerful, especially at the edge, and can be used to catch rolls too. Use lots of forward tilts!
- Grab & throws: Bowser has a solid set of throws. The AI will most often use its down throw, as that’s the one that deals the most damage. Forward and back throw work at the edge too! Use all of these throws during training.
- Up tilt: A great anti-air option, and a fast one at that! Up tilt can link into itself, and you could even follow up with an up air at higher percentages. Bowser isn’t really a character to combo with, though — at least, not in the context of amiibo training.
- Forward aerial: You should stay grounded for the most part, but you can use some aerials every so often. Forward air is one of Bowser’s best, and can be used while falling or off-stage.
- Up smash: A super-strong smash attack that grants Bowser’s shell full invincibility. Use it to KO! This move is great at punishing landings.
- Whirling Fortress: You can use this move out of shield every so often. When attacking with Whirling Fortress, only use it on the ground. Try to avoid hitting your FP with it while you’re in the air, if possible.
- Down smash: Use this at the ledge if you choose not to go off-stage. It covers both sides, so it can catch neutral get-ups and get-up rolls!
- Flying Slam: A fast command grab that you can mix in every so often. Don’t use it too often, though, as an FP that spams Flying Slam can get really predictable. As a side note, Bowser FPs can’t learn to Bowsercide. In fact, amiibo in general can’t learn to KO themselves on purpose, so if you try to teach your Bowser to, it won’t work very well.
Bowser can also use his back air, up air, and forward smash every so often, but they’re a bit laggy and thus should only be used infrequently. Fire Breath is a tough one; the AI sometimes only uses it for a moment and thus doesn’t rack up enough damage with it. In terms of moves to avoid, stay away from neutral air. For whatever reason, Bowser’s AI is hard-coded with a high usage rate of this move, and so it can wind up spamming it if left unchecked. Don’t use too many down airs either, as they can get predictable as well.
Bowser’s Raid Boss playstyle is similar to his optimal style in competitive amiibo tournaments, as both of them rely on armored tilts and smash attacks. This means that you could train a Bowser amiibo that’s strong against humans and other FPs. But if you’d like to take a look at our competitive Bowser amiibo guide anyway, you can do so right here.
Thanks so much for sticking around until the end! As long as you avoid neutral airs at all costs, you should be good to go with Bowser. If any part of this guide was confusing – or if you’re new to Smash and need something explained – you’re always welcome to join our Discord server and ask as many questions as you want! Until next time — happy training!
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