By all accounts, Bowser was one of the strongest contenders in the Super Smash Bros. 4 amiibo metagame. With more tournament wins under his belt than any other character, Bowser was a metagame-defining force, and his reign of terror continues in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Bowser is no longer one of the best amiibo in the game — he is the best amiibo in the game, and serves as a great point of entry for new trainers.
Bowser is a powerful heavy-hitter with surprisingly potent mobility. He’s the heaviest fighter in Ultimate and is the only one with universal super armor that protects against weak attacks (examples include Greninja’s rapid jab and Ness’ PK Fire). His tilt and smash attacks have super armor on startup, making them great neutral options that boast above-average power and range. Bowser’s up smash, in particular, is one of the strongest aerial punishes in the game; his shell is rendered intangible throughout the attack’s duration which helps protect the Koopa King against incoming attacks. His aerials and throws are just as ferocious, possessing a high damage output and stellar KO potential.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has strengthened Bowser’s kit in almost every possible way; his Tough Guy armor is more resilient and his mobility has been enhanced across the board. He was already top-tiered in the previous title; as a result, Ultimate’s buffs have cemented his status as the best amiibo in the game. Bowser is so potent, in fact, that trainers who enter him are frowned upon for submitting such an easily-trained character. He has had excellent tournament results and representation since the day Ultimate was released.
Stats & Spirit Effects
At the time of writing, a vast majority of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate amiibo tournaments have enacted a blanket ban on Spirits. Within only a few months of the game’s release, competitions that allowed Spirits became stale; this is because almost every entry utilized heavily defensive Spirits and stats. For more information, check the Spirits & Equipment page.
For Spirit effects, Bowser is undeniably strongest with Super Armor; however, this effect is banned in most tournaments, leaving him to run Armor Knight and Move Speed ↑. This is by no means a compromise, however, as Armor Knight provides an incredible boost to attack and defense. Other options include Physical Attack ↑, Special-Move Power ↑, and Toss & Meteor; however, using Armor Knight and Move Speed ↑ is highly recommended and is currently Bowser’s most optimal setup.
An amiibo becomes strongest if it is mirror matched all the way to Level 50 with its Learn button switched on. Playing a best-of-five match (configurable via the rules menu) will cause it to level up much faster.
Bowser benefits most from a grounded, punish-based playstyle; using his jab and tilts to rack up damage (as well as his forward and back throws) comes highly recommended. Against aerial opponents, usage of up smash is key; Bowser’s up smash is essentially incontestable against any character’s aerial options. His down smash should also be used as a ledge trap. Here is a complete breakdown of Bowser’s moveset and which attacks to focus on during training.
- Neutral attack: A short, snappy set of punches that deals high damage. A great neutral option and one of Bowser’s fastest moves. Use it frequently.
- Forward tilt: A side punch that inflicts a lot of knockback and can serve as a kill move at the edge. Use this one frequently too.
- Up tilt: Situational combo starter that links into itself and can lead into an up smash. Spam it against aerial opponents who are at low percentages and then hit them with an up smash.
- Down tilt: Best used at the ledge, as it can strike opponents hanging from it. Doesn’t have too much use otherwise.
- Dash attack: Avoid this one. Bowser has much better options at his disposal, and dash attack doesn’t rank very high among them.
- Forward smash: A powerful dropkick. Use it to read landings and rolls. Difficult to land, but worth it. Best used infrequently.
- Up smash: One of Bowser’s best moves. Use it against aerial opponents at medium to high percentages. It can even be spammed repeatedly and it will still yield great effects. Serves as Bowser’s primary KO move.
- Down smash: Newly changed from Smash 4 and hits on both sides in quick succession. Use it at the ledge to cover getup options or to read rolls.
- Neutral aerial: The AI has a tendency to spam this, so don’t go out of your way to use it; in fact, avoid it entirely if possible. Neutral aerial distracts the AI from its superior grounded options.
- Forward aerial: Powerful, but Bowser shouldn’t be in the air very much. Use it infrequently if needed, but don’t go out of your way to connect it.
- Back aerial: Another strong aerial, but it has a lot of ending lag. Try to avoid this one if you can.
- Up aerial: It can juggle aerial opponents but is outclassed by up smash, so use that move instead.
- Down aerial: If you are launched upward, you can return to the stage with a down aerial. Seems like a poor strategy, but it works much better against AI than it does against human players.
- Forward throw: The strongest forward throw in the game. Use it at the edge to get early KOs.
- Back throw: One of the strongest back throws in the game. Use it at the edge to get early KOs.
- Up throw: It can be used as a combo throw, but don’t bother teaching it to the amiibo. The AI will teach itself by the time it reaches Level 50. Use forward and back throws instead.
- Down throw: Bowser’s strongest throw in terms of damage. Use it every so often to rack up extra damage.
- Neutral special (Fire Breath): Useless. It can be used at the edge to rack up damage, but is outclassed by other ledge options such as down smash.
- Side special (Flying Slam): Not as efficient as it used to be. There isn’t any reason to spam it, so only use it every once in a while as needed. Not necessary to Bowser’s success.
- Up special (Whirling Fortress): Good out of shield, but should be used for recovery purposes only. Don’t bother attacking with it.
- Down special (Bowser Bomb): In a similar vein as down aerial, it should be used to return to the stage. Only use it in the air; don’t use it on the ground.
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