If you’ve read many of our amiibo training guides, you might be aware of the fact that many 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 via 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.
If you do decide to give your FP a Spirit team, 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 which 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, use Trade-Off Ability ↑ to fill the third slot.
The most widely accepted tournament rules do ban Super Armor and Armor Knight, so if you want to enter a Spirits tournament that keeps them banned, you’ll have to seek alternative options instead. For competitive FPs, you can use Weapon Attack ↑, Air Attack ↑, and Strong Throw. For Raid Boss FPs, use Weapon Attack ↑, Move Speed ↑, and Landing Lag ↓. Critical Healing & Metal is a rather new bonus effect that works great on heavyweight fighters, making it a good choice for Bowser Jr.. Keep the FP’s stats balanced, and make sure its Spirit-type is Neutral.
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 free 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 are all the attacks to focus on during training:
- Clown Kart Dash: Bowser Jr.’s premier grounded option. Hit your FP with Clown Kart Dash, and then follow up with neutral air, forward air, or up air. Don’t use Clown Kart Dash’s spin attack, as the AI sometimes flings itself off-stage and self-destructs. Use the normal hit, and you should be fine!
- Grab & throws: The Junior Clown Car’s grab range is above-average, and thus grabs should be used frequently during training. Use an up throw to start an up air juggle; at the ledge, use a down throw instead to set up a gimp.
- Forward tilt: Ready the pitchforks! Bowser Jr.’s forward tilt is strongest up close, so use it to attack your FP when it draws near.
- Neutral attack: You can use Bowser Jr.’s jab in the same situations you’d use his forward tilt. Connect as many hits of the attack as you can (and make sure you give slightly more priority to forward tilt).
- Up aerial: As mentioned earlier, an up throw can lead into an up air juggle, so make sure you do that frequently during training. If you’re playing as a Koopaling, you’ll notice its up air uses the magic wand first introduced in Super Mario Bros. 3. That’s a neat reference!
- Up smash: An upside-down propeller attack with decent kill power. After setting up a juggle, you can finish the string with a well-timed up smash.
- Forward smash: This move is a powerful finisher, but opponents will sometimes fall out of the attack’s multiple hits before they can take damage from the last strike. Only use forward smash to KO! Leave the damage-racking to Bowser Jr.’s other options. It’s worth mentioning that Junior’s AI sometimes uses its forward smash too often — this is a bad thing, so only use infrequent forward smashes during training.
- Neutral aerial: When your FP is launched off-stage, chase it and attack with a neutral or down air. They’re Bowser Jr.’s best gimping options thanks to their strong horizontal knockback. Neutral air is also a great landing option!
- Down aerial: Same as above, except down air hits opponents multiple times. Despite being a drill, the attack doesn’t have a meteor smash hitbox.
- Down tilt: The Junior Clown Car’s signature tongue attack works best when used at the ledge. It’s not very helpful otherwise, so make sure you only use down tilt at the edge.
- Abandon Ship!: Use this move extremely infrequently while grounded, and aim to hit your FP with either the Junior Clown Car explosion or the resulting hammer attack. If done correctly, you’ll activate a hard-coded combo you’ll see the AI use once it’s reached Level 43.
- Forward aerial: Though you should be relying primarily on off-stage neutral and down airs, you can mix in a small amount of forward and back aerials as well. Forward air can also be used to land every once in a while!
- Back aerial: Same as above! Bowser Jr.’s forward and back aerials are quite strong, though their slightly slower speed makes his neutral and down airs better options.
There are a few moves you’ll want to avoid while training Bowser Jr., and these include Clown Cannon and Mechakoopa. It’s important to note that Bowser Jr.’s AI has a few recovery quirks that cannot be changed; it doesn’t consistently use Clown Kart Dash to recover back, and it occasionally recovers high when using Abandon Ship! and leaves itself vulnerable as a result. If you encounter these behaviors during training, don’t worry — it’s not your fault!
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 seasoned opponents. Here are all the moves to focus on:
- Grab & throws: 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 aerial: One of Bowser Jr.’s strongest air attacks. It deals good damage and knockback and has decent speed and range. You can use it to rack on damage and KO!
- Back aerial: Bowser Jr.’s back air is just as strong as his forward air, making it another viable option to use out of a short hop or just to KO. This move is important — don’t neglect it!
- Forward tilt: When your FP draws near, poke it with a forward tilt. Deals decent damage and knockback, and can be angled too.
- Neutral attack: When using Bowser Jr.’s jab, connect with as many hits as you can. It’s mostly useful in the same situations that forward tilt is.
- Up tilt: This move boasts a fast startup and a decent damage output. It launches enemies upwards, so you could follow up with an up smash or up air.
- Forward smash: 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 sometimes.
- Up smash: Same as above. It’s rather fast, and boasts respectable power to boot. Attack your FP with an up smash whenever it’s above you!
- Up aerial: As mentioned earlier, you can use an up throw to combo into several up airs. The move is also good on its own!
- Neutral aerial: 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 Clown Kart Dash. If you want to teach your Bowser Jr. to edgeguard anyway (which is not recommended), you can mix in a few Abandon Ship! attacks off-stage. 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 during training. If you’d like to learn even more about amiibo training, check out our general training 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 with its trainer. If you have any questions along the way, feel free to join our Discord server and ask away. Once you’re ready to enter a tournament, check out our Powersaves guide or mobile backup guide to learn how to participate. We also appreciate donations of any kind to help keep new content coming out on a consistent basis. Thank you so much for reading! Until next time — happy training!
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