[MU] Bowser


Smash Rookie
Mar 23, 2016
Spain, Catalonia
Recently I noticed that there wasn't a Bowser discussion so I will start it and bring my thoughts on the MU :3 I played a lot against good Bowsers and played himself a bit so I think I got enough experience to give some tips.

I think Link's main objectives should be not allowing bowser to get a grab , trying to keep him above you in order to punish the landings and keep him on disadvantatge as much as you can because Bowser has a tough time getting back to neutral.

Let's cover the objectives:
Bowser's best option to get a grab is his pivot grab. Standing grab and Dash grab are not good at all. To avoid the pivot grab try to not approach from the air too much (Zair is kinda good tho) and be careful on your landings. Bowser's Jab1 can lead to grab so keep that in mind. If you think he's going for this option try to buffer jab or roll.

When Bowser is in the air he can land with Dair, DownB, SideB (Autocancels when it touches the ground) or airdodge well timed into sideB or upB. Since our dthrow doesn't work really well against him I found that instead of grabbing the best options were catching the landing with a bomb or boomerang leading to some good combos or kill confirm. I don't go too much for Uair when he is on the air beacause of Dair and DownB. Usually you will beat his options with uair but sometimes the DownB will trade and it's not funny dying because of that. Most of the time I just position myself under him and try to react to his options. When he is high i try to bait the downB or Dair and react with dash->bomb or dash->jump with forward momentum->Boomerang. If he is near the ground i just move away and get a pivotgrab if I think he will shield or bomb if he is going for the sideB. I think Usmash and Utilt should win against Dair/DownB but I never tried :/

About grabbing the landing: Pivot grab is godlike to catch the landings but our rewards are meaningless. Everytime I get a grab I just send them upwards either with Uthrow or Dthrow. I use U-throw at low percents and D-throw beyond that. The point of the throws is to get Bowser above you where you can react to what he does, not to combo out of it, and you want to keep U-throw fresh for kills. Once he's above you, you can catch his landings as previously mentioned.

Bowser is kinda hard to gimp because his recovery is not bad at all. We can still get free damage on it tho (Just throw out a dair and hit him). I feel like his ledge getup options aren't good so I like to stay grounded and apply pressure on the getup. When he is forced to tech on the ground he will probably take the standard or attack getup option since the roll ones suck lol.

What to do in neutral:
Keep in mind the objectives. Try not to hit his shield with unsafe options because of his upB out of shield (Frame 6). And be aware of Bowser's speed (17th fastest character) when trying to wall him out. If you get a lead and he's not approaching at all just play lame

Bowser's best kill options:
Uthrow into Uair is his most reliable option. It will start killing on Final Destination at 92% with no-rage Bowser. true combo regardless of DI. You can DI in or DI away forcing him to react but if the Bowser is good he will get the confirm anyway. I suggest trying to DI in and airdodging since is the hardest way to get the confirm. If you DI the U-throw upwards it can force a 50/50 situation when you're on higher combo percents where you will be able to airdodge the Uair, but if you mess it up and do it at lower percents or you get hit anyway, you're just ensuring your death because Uair will hit you when you're higher up.

He can Uthrow into Bair at certain %. I think it's between 60-80%. If you get grabbed near the ledge be aware of this option. Mixing your DI is the best way to avoid it.

SideB will start killing more or less when the Koop-ha combo gets out of range. DI away if you get hit on a platform or DI towards the stage if you get hit near the ledge.

At high% Bthrow and Fthrow will also kill. Try not to DI off-stage or something near the edge thinking about DIing the Uthrow or they will kill you kinda soon.

Besides these options, Fsmash and UpSmash will kill too but you should never get hit by them... Don't bother airdodging Uthrow at mid%; Bowser has guaranteed follow ups anyway. If he reads an airdodge he may go for the Fsmash/Usmash read and **** your stock lol.

Last but not least, DownB can also kill and break your shield. Please FOCUS when he is above you!

You should go for stages without platforms since you can punish easier the landings and the SideB will kill later. Platforms are good to avoid the grab but i think catching his landing >> avoiding the grab.
S tier: Final Destination
A tier: Smashville and Duckhunt (E tier because it sucks lmao)
B tier: Town and City
C tier: Lylat
D tier: Battlefield and Dreamland
If you go to a stage with platforms try to drop bombs at them. Bowser is so big and will have trouble getting past them!

Sorry for my bad english XD
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Smash Apprentice
Feb 22, 2016
I also play Bowser nearly as much as Link. I'll give a little bit, but I'm bad at explaining. Most of the points were already hit, but there's a few things I'll mention.
Bowser has issues getting up off the ledge like said before. He's a huge target if he jumps, his roll doesn't go far, and jumping up with fair can get him punished. Sometimes they will jump up with side b. Do not let this happen, be mindful of what their options are limited to. Abuse different ledge traps.
Bowser can't land well. Like said before, his side b auto cancels to be mindful of that. Usually they'll throw a jab or upB out. He also may land with fire breath, sometimes reversed. But keep in mind Bowser's will often retreat to the ledge unless they're sure they can safely land.
Note with upthrow - upair, there is a way where Bowser will jump forward, double jump back to upair. He swings his head in a way that it's virtually unavoidable regardless of DI.
Good Bowsers like breaking shields when you're on platforms in shield. Don't wait around for that to happen.
It was mentioned to play lame. Do it. Bowser grabs are brutal. Most of Bowser's neutral revolves around jab, ftilt, and getting grabs. And watch out for the intangible limbs.
I'm not sure what else to add sorry
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