If you’ve read many of our amiibo training guides, you might be aware of the fact that some Figure Players just aren’t very good. They aren’t bad, per se; they just lack the definitive strengths needed to make them stand out among the crowd. Unfortunately, Bowser Jr. is the epitome of this archetype — and is perhaps the character who best fits this description. If you’d like to learn more about Bowser Jr.’s metagame history, you can read up over at his wiki page. Otherwise, let’s jump right into today’s training!
Special thanks to Riparo for contributing Bowser Jr.’s training information!
Bowser Jr. is about as strong in a Spirits metagame as he is in a vanilla (non-Spirits) one. If you’re wondering whether to give him Spirits or not, the choice is yours! Ideally, a given amiibo trainer would have access to some FPs with Spirits and some without. That way, you’ll be able to enter any kind of tournament. You can check out our full Spirits guide if you’re looking for more information. In the meantime, here are some character-specific setups you can use:
- Banned bonuses: Super Armor and Armor Knight are both excellent bonuses that work really well with Bowser Jr.. They can’t both be used at the same time, so you’ll have to pick the one you’d rather use. Super Armor is a perfect fit for Bowser Jr., as its universal armor compliments his heavy weight and high endurance. If you go with Armor Knight instead, use Trade-Off Ability ↑ to fill the third slot.
- Tournament-legal bonuses: Two Weapon Attack ↑ Support skills plus Move Speed ↑ is a viable build that bolsters Bowser Jr.’s attack power and movement speed. Air Defense ↑, Trade-Off Ability ↑, and especially Critical Healing & Metal are worth considering too. If you use the Trade-Off Ability ↑ bonus, invest a bit more heavily into Bowser Jr.’s defense with a setup of 1900 attack and 2300 defense.
- Raid Boss bonuses: For Raid Boss FPs, a setup including Weapon Attack ↑, Move Speed ↑, and Landing Lag ↓ works great! Otherwise, each of the bonuses listed above (plus Great Autoheal) applies well to a Raid Boss.
Regarding stat distribution, you should give Bowser Jr. a balanced spread (2100 / 2100). As mentioned earlier, there’s one exception to this — if you give your FP the Trade-Off Ability ↑ Spirit effect, go with a more defensive build instead (1900 / 2300). Make sure the FP’s Spirit-type is Neutral before you start training it — that way it won’t lose any Spirit-type matchups it encounters later on.
As with most competitive-trained FPs, you should teach your Bowser Jr. to walk instead of run. That’s important because walking will let it more easily react to incoming attacks at later levels. You’re welcome to go off-stage while training Bowser Jr., and the following list includes information on the aerials you should use after leaving the ledge. Here’s what an optimal Bowser Jr. looks like:
- Neutral attack is one of Bowser Jr,’s best grounded moves. Its rapid jab strikes multiple times, and most FPs won’t be able to properly block the final hit. Use it rather often at close range! You can also mix in some grabs in this instance — at the ledge, use a down throw to set up for an edgeguard. At any other part of the stage, use an up throw to start a chain of up airs.
- Clown Kart Dash is another excellent choice, as it combos into a neutral air, up air, or down air. Be careful, though: if your FP uses the spin portion of Clown Kart Dash, you have to reset the match. When the AI learns to use the dash’s spin attack, it’ll fling itself off-stage and self-destruct. So when you use this move, always cancel it into a jump and then follow up with one of the aerials listed above.
- Forward smash KOs extremely early, plus opposing FPs often drop their shield and take damage that would have otherwise been avoidable. Overall, you’ll want to use a balance of jabs, grabs, Clown Kart Dash combos, and forward smashes.
- Up smash is your go-to anti-air, and it’s best taught on stages with platforms. As we noted a few paragraphs ago, up air juggling chains help rack on damage and are key to winning tournament matches. Down tilt and dash attack can be included too, but should be used very sparingly.
- When your FP is launched off-stage, follow it and try to attack! Neutral air and down air are Bowser Jr.’s best edgeguarding options, but a ledge-dropped back air works too. You can also use down air on-stage to secure a safe landing — but make sure you use more up airs than you do down airs.
It’s important to note that you really have to aggressively edgeguard your FP during its training sessions. The moment you forget to go off-stage, so too will your FP — in other words, edgeguarding is important, but it’s a pain to teach. As of Smash Ultimate’s 9.0.0 patch, Bowser Jr.’s AI knows how to combo Abandon Ship! into a well-timed hammer attack. Let the FP hit you with Abandon Ship! off-stage exactly once during training so that it retains that knowledge later on. One last thing: avoid using or getting hit by Clown Cannon or Mechakoopa!
Raid Boss Training
As always, you should mirror match your Bowser Jr. amiibo all the way to Level 50, or until you feel satisfied with its playstyle. If you’re all good with its behavior at around Level 30, feel free to switch its learning off and have it fight CPUs for the rest of the way. Since you’re training a Raid Boss, you’re free to dash and jump as often as you’d like. You’ll still want to keep taunting and smash attack charging to a minimum, though. It’s also a good idea to keep Bowser Jr. on-stage, as his recovery patterns are predictable and can leave him vulnerable against human players. Here are all the moves to focus on:
- Grabs are important to Bowser Jr.’s success as a Raid Boss, so be sure to use them often! You can use an up throw to start juggling the FP with up air. Otherwise, you can use a down throw instead.
- Forward air and back air are some of Bowser Jr.’s strongest air attacks. They deal good damage and knockback and have decent speed and range. Use them both to rack on damage and KO!
- When your FP draws near, poke it with a forward tilt or neutral attack. Both moves deal decent damage and knockback, and the former can be angled as well!
- Up tilt boasts a quick startup and a decent damage output. It launches enemies upwards, so you could follow up with an up smash or repeated up airs.
- Most of our Raid Boss guides don’t recommend you use many smash attacks, but Bowser Jr.’s are surprisingly fast! Forward smash doesn’t have much ending lag, which makes it a viable kill move. Go light on forward smash usage, though, as the AI is known to overuse it at times.
- Neutral aerial is a fantastic landing option and not much else. Feel free to use it out of a short hop every once in a while, though!
You can also sprinkle in a little bit of Abandon Ship! and Clown Kart Dash (but don’t use its finishing spin attack). A Raid Boss Bowser Jr. FP doesn’t have much use for down air, down tilt, or Clown Cannon, so you can safely avoid those moves. If you’d like to learn even more about amiibo training, check out our general guide if you haven’t done so already. It’s tailored to beginners!
Bowser Jr. is certainly a finicky fighter, and in the same vein as his father, his AI isn’t always cooperative. If you have any questions along the way, feel free to join our Discord community and ask away. Once you’re ready to enter a tournament, check out our setup guide to learn how to participate. We also appreciate donations of any kind to help keep new content coming out on a consistent basis. Alternatively, we have a Patreon you could use instead. Thank you so much for reading! Until next time — happy training!
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