Bowser is a playable character in both Super Smash Bros. 4 and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. The Super Smash Bros. series Bowser amiibo was released on February 19, 2015. Bowser is considered top-tier in both Super Smash Bros. 4 and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
Super Smash Bros. 4
Bowser is ranked in the S tier in the final revision of our Super Smash Bros. 4 tier list, making him one of the strongest fighters in the game. Bowser’s claim to fame is his side special, Flying Slam. It’s an extremely fast command grab with decent range and high power. Smash 4’s AI either cannot see Flying Slam coming or cannot react in time to avoid it, resulting in games where Bowser repeatedly slams his opponent until they are KOed. In fact, Flying Slam is considered one of the best moves in the game, and is responsible for much of his tournament success. Additionally, Bowser boasts a powerful set of smash attacks (which benefit highly from Critical-hit capability), the highest weight in the game, and a “Tough Guy” ability that lets him shrug off knockback from weak attacks.
Despite his notable advantages, Bowser is not held back by any major flaws. It is clear that Figure Players were never intended to become part of a metagame, and so the game’s AI was never “fixed” to dodge moves like Flying Slam more often. As a result, top Bowser trainers taught their Bowser FPs to take advantage of this universal AI flaw to win games. Many Bowser versus Bowser FP matches came down to which Bowser used Flying Slam more often. This is grasping at straws, but Bowser’s AI is sometimes too jumpy and uses its forward air at inappropriate times.
Overall, Bowser is one of the most successful characters in Super Smash Bros. 4 and was also one of two fighters that could give Little Mac (the best character in early Smash 4) trouble. He accrued stellar tournament results and representation; Glenn, Cloud, FarmingSim, Supernova, Arklaine, and many others have found success with the character. If you would like to learn how to train a Bowser amiibo in Smash 4, check out our training guide.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Despite his top-tier placement in Super Smash Bros. 4, Bowser has been significantly buffed for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and is now arguably the best character in the game (alongside Incineroar). His AI no longer spams Flying Slam, and instead uses the entirety of its kit. Ultimate’s AI struggles to deal with super armor, and many of Bowser’s attacks include it. His smash attacks have percentage-based super armor on startup; when Bowser tries one, the enemy will often try to intercept with a jab or tilt but get hit anyway. Between its super armor and power, Bowser’s up smash can be considered the strongest aerial punish in the entire game. Furthermore, Bowser’s down air and down special go through projectiles, granting him great matchups against top-tiers such as Ness. Lastly, Bowser’s “Tough Guy” ability has been buffed; he can now shrug off knockback from even stronger attacks.
Bowser received no direct nerfs during his transition to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. His only clearly disadvantageous matchup is against Incineroar; Incineroar’s Alolan Whip move outprioritizes Bowser’s super armor and forces him to take damage. Furthermore, Alolan Whip’s horizontal launch angle makes it difficult for Bowser to properly recover at mid-to-high percents. That being said, Bowser performs ridiculously well against the rest of the cast. He was unanimously banned from online amiibo tournaments in December 2019, making him the first character to be banned from Ultimate’s metagame. For more information on why Bowser was banned, check his initial ban post (which includes an informative explanation video courtesy of Splice).
Overall, Bowser has accrued amazing tournament results and representation in Ultimate. Incineroar has since arrived to claim the title of “most representation”, but Bowser is still the second best character in the game and is still considered broken by most of the amiibo training community. Blank’s Bowser amiibo, Redbull, is considered the strongest Bowser amiibo and perhaps the strongest Figure Player in existence. If you would like to learn how to train a Bowser amiibo, please check our training guide!
Raid Boss Training
If you would like to train a Raid Boss Bowser amiibo (which is when you equip an FP with Spirits and train it to fight human opponents), we have included a short section with tips and tricks! Its optimal Spirit effects are either Super Armor or Great Autoheal. Physical Attack ↑ buffs Bowser’s entire kit, Move Speed ↑ helps him keep up with human opponents playing as fast characters, and Landing Lag ↓ makes Bowser’s air-to-ground transition a bit smoother.
Bowser’s moveset is quite extensive as a Raid Boss, as the “Tough Guy” mechanic gives him plenty of options. His best moves to use in neutral are jab, forward tilt, grab, and up tilt — in that order. Barring down air, all of his aerials are solid. Neutral air serves as a good landing option, though be careful not to spam it. Forward air has a large hitbox, and the AI can learn to use it quite well! Side special is another neutral option to consider, but should not be heavily prioritized. Forward and down smash have their uses (reading rolls and edge getups), but up smash is a fantastic move, especially out of shield.
To summarize, a Bowser Raid Boss should use forward tilt, jab, grab, and up tilt as neutral options, with the latter serving as an anti-air. Forward, back, up, and neutral air should be used too, though the latter should only be used to land. Up smash, forward smash, down smash, and Flying Slam should be used occasionally as well. If you need some more information, please check our Bowser training guide. If you’re new to amiibo training and need a place to start, try our general training guide.
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