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A Guide to the King of the Koopas

A Guide to the King of the Koopas

Game Versions
Smash 3DS, Smash Wii U
Hello everybody, this is my guide to Bowser for Super Smash bros. Wii U & the 3DS.

  • Fire Breath
    • B-Reverse
    • Wave bounce
  • Ledge Trump
    • Follow-ups
  • The Neutral
    • Misc. Information
  • Whirling Fortress
  • Flying Slam
  • Frame Data

Moveset - 0:16
Fire Breath - 1:19
Ledge Trump - 2:01
The Neutral - 3:35
Whirling Fortress - 5:35
Flying Slam - 6:29

As expected, Bowser is one of the strongest characters in SSB4, if not the strongest, in terms of damage and knockback, as well as the heaviest and largest. Surprisingly enough, Bowser is among the fastest of the heavyweights, making him a dangerous fighter to be reckoned with.

As aforementioned, Bowser greatest strength is his damage and knockback output; not only are his attack able to deal damage that would normally require comboing from other characters to attain, nearly all of them can KO at low to mid damage percentages, granting Bowser the most KO options of all characters. An example of his power is his side smash, which can KO any fighter from the center of Final Destination at 36-40% at full charge, and deals 32% of damage at full charge itself. His forward and back throws are among the strongest in the game, being equally capable of KOing at around 120% near the edge, similar to Donkey Kong's back throw. Even his jab can KO around 150% near the edge. Thanks to being the heaviest fighter, Bowser himself can survive more KOs than all other characters, and KOing Bowser is more difficult than in previous installment as Bowser now possesses a minimal amount of universal launch resistance that prevents him from taking any knockback from attacks that deal negligible knockback (such as the first hit of a weak jab) until reaching a certain damage percentage (which is often around the 70s to 100s). Because of all this, Bowser is perhaps the fighter who benefits the most from the new rage mechanic, which grants Bowser even greater launching power than he already boasts with the more damage he takes and his survivability can ensure that he makes longer use of it than any other characters.

Despite his raw strength and heavy weight, Bowser is a rather fast character for a heavyweight, as a number of his attacks come out quickly and end much faster than most other heavyweights, and he possesses the 15th fastest running speed in the game. This, along with having the greatest physicalreach in the game, allows Bowser to perform combos and rack up damage more easily than in past games, and further aids his already insane damage output.

Bowser's specials are also useful for his damage and KOing games; his Fire Breath can rack up damage quickly and opponents too close to Bowser while he's performing the move on them will constantly push himself back, allowing distance for follow-ups. His Bowser Bomb can break full shields if all of its hitboxes connect, allowing Bowser to stun opponents and dish out serious punishment. The special itself is also one of Bowser's greater finishers and even when used in the air it can leave fighters with barely any shield energy left. His Flying Slam is another of his greater finishers and can aid in his recovery (though this use of it is situational). As it is acknowledged as a grab, the Flying Slam can also ignore shields. His Whirling Fortress can both rack up damage and act as a great out of shield option. Its main use is for horizontal recovery however and while its vertical distance is lackluster, repeatedly pressing the special button while performing it in the air will give Bowser a small, but noticeable boost at the end of it.

For all his power and survivability, however, Bowser has a couple of weaknesses that can be quite glaring. His large size is one of his biggest weaknesses: being the largest fighter also makes Bowser the largest and easiest target in the games, thus allowing other fighter to rack up damage on Bowser quite easily. His heavy weight, one of his greatest strengths, is also one of his greatest weaknesses as it can make him susceptible to juggling, which is made even more glaring when one takes into account of his decent falling speed and low air speed (which can hinder his escape from being juggled). His lack of a low knockback move outside of his first jab can also hinder whatever combo game he may have. His moveset, while still much faster than the other heavyweights, is one of the more laggy movesets in the games, such as the high end lag of Bowser Bomb, down aerial, and his side smash. One of Bowser's worst flaws is his difficulty getting back onstage after being knocked up into the air; he has severe landing lag on all his aerials, and none of them autocancel particularly early. His two stall-then-falls (Bowser Bomb and down aerial) are very predictable and have higher ending lag than most others, meaning that his only real reliable method of escaping juggles is through aerial maneuvering and fastfalling, neither of which are fast enough for Bowser to reliably use against lighter characters. His specials can also hinder him as his Fire Breath can potentially push him back off the stage, his Whirling Fortress is a somewhat subpar recovery move with slow gain that can be easily acted upon, his Bowser Bomb is an inescapable self-destruct if used off-stage if not used near a ledge, and his Flying Slam has lost its Bowsercide ability as attempting to do so will result in Bowser getting KOed first and his victim being released from the grab, allowing them to potentially recover back on to the stage.

Overall, Bowser is a living tank: boasting dangerous power and defense along with moderate speed and great recovery, but is very well open to attack from all sides and tends to give out opportunities to be attacked, as well as being easy to juggle due to his very predictable anti-juggling moves and extreme landing lag on all his aerials. Nonetheless, Bowser is undoubtedly much better than in previous installments and is guaranteed to be able to handle and survive against any character he faces more easily than before.

(Taken from SSB Wiki) If you want to read up on the moves percentages, check it out.

Let’s about talk his neutral special, aka his Fire Breath. This move is useful for gimping your opponent off stage, but we’ll talk about that later. Bowser can move his head to better angle the Fire Breath. Over time, it becomes weaker, and it takes a while before it recharges.

This move can be used normally or B-reversed.

It’s especially important to learn how to B-reverse with Bowser to bait your opponent into an air dodge when they think you’re going for a back air. This will force them lower and allow you to take their jumps.

You can also use wave bounce if the situation calls for it, by tilting the control stick the other way and B-reversing the move.

After your opponent is under the stage, the magic begins.

Bowser has a very effective ledge trump method that involves his Down-B. If you’re spaced properly away from the ledge and use Bowser’s down b, you will immediately grab the ledge. If you’re lucky, you could hit your opponent while they are vulnerable while they’re trying to grab the ledge.

This is why it’s important to use fire breath to force your opponent down. The move will also push you away and allow you to be spaced perfectly, in addition to the momentum of a B-reverse or a wave bounce.

You can follow up a ledge trump with:

  • Back air
  • Down tilt
  • Down B again
  • Angled down forward tilt
  • Or my particular favorite, down air.

The initial part of down air is a spike. It’s harder to get the spike on some characters then it is on others. Also, you cannot wait and do a down air even a little air time, you must do an immediate down air for it to spike.

For example with Captain Falcon his hand is the only thing that’s touching the ledge, so it’s hard to hit compared to characters like Charizard whose entire head is above the stage.

The down B is a very safe move when spaced correctly. It offers you a way to hit opponents going high, or low.

You can trump with the down B

Spacing yourself, similar to Yoshi’s down B

Accurately positioning yourself next to the ledge if you’re faced away from it

Doing a RAR down-B

Or By b-reversing

The Neutral

If your opponent ends up on a platform like those in Battlefield or Miiverse, Bowser’s up tilt can completely cover it.

This is also the same case for :4yoshi:Yoshi’s up smash.

When an opponent approaches Bowser, it is important to space yourself with pivot forward tilts and pivot grabs.

Oddly enough, Bowser reaches out farther during a pivot grab then he does during a normal grab.

To do a pivot grab or pivot tilt, immediately dash in one direction, then go the other, at the same time input either grab, or forward tilt.

You can use the first jab to grab your opponent immediately after.

You can also Jab to down-tilt

Down tilt can cause your opponent to slip

In some situations, you can even jab to down special.

Also, Down special can break a full shield. Forward smash can break a weak shield, but if used on a full shield it’ll push back the opponent quite a bit.

Bowser also has some throw combos at low percent.

Up throw>Forward air

Up throw>Neutral air

Bowser’s forward air and back air can both be auto canceled from a short hop. One particular thing I like to do is go for a RAR back air and immediately pivot forward tilting or pivot grabbing.

To use RAR, or Reverse Aerial Rushing, you first dash in one direction and then input the opposite. Immediately after, jump and you will be facing the opposite direction of which you were initially going.

This is one of bowser’s best out of shield option. This has been the case ever since super smash bros. Melee. If an opponent attacks your shield, this move will hit your opponent multiple times and tack on some damage. At higher percent this move can even kill.

For recovery, when using the Whirling Fortress you can gain slightly extra height by mashing Up-B. Regardless, the magnet to the ledge is ridiculous, and Bowser will grab the ledge even if you don’t think he will.

It is imperative that you try to sweet spot the ledge almost every time you attempt to recover low with Bowser, because if your hit box goes above the ledge, you’ll be punished for it.

While in the neutral, this move is amazing to chase down opponents. After throwing your opponent up into the air, you can follow their landing and chase down with shield, if they just land or if they try to attack your shield, you can immediately do an up-b again.

If you find them off stage, you know what to do.

Bowser has a command grab with his side-B called the flying slam.

This move can be used in the air as well as the ground. With this move you can body slam your opponent on the stage, or fly with them off stage. This is known as the bowsercide. This is generally used when you are above one stock, as it will end the game with your win. The move kills you first, so make sure to only use it if that’s the case.

The side-b also has no landing lag, meaning you can follow up the move into anything you want.

Bowser also has super armor on his Upsmash (frame 14-27, hitbox starts frame 16)

He also has a small armor for weak moves all the time on low percents.

This is all the Frame data you'll need for Bowser
(Thanks Kurogane Hammer)

Thank you all for watching/reading. I hope this helped, let me know if there are things you'd like me to add.

I hope you all enjoyed this guide. Please discuss, and also please help support my channels, I would really appreciate it!

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I'm new to Smashboards and this guide is a great help. I'm glad I'm not the only Bowser main in the world.
Love it! Great to see more guides on a character I'm developing for myself!
Thanks! Not a lot of people look into Bowser, but he's got some pretty cool stuff.
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