This article is about Bowser's appearance in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. For other uses, see Bowser.

Bowser (クッパ, Koopa) is the primary antagonist of the “Super Mario” series. His debut in the Super Smash Bros. series was in Super Smash Bros. Melee, returning in Super Smash Bros. Brawl as was conformed on the Dojo on July 3, 2007.

Currently, he is 33rd on the tier list, improving slightly from his position in Melee. The Koopa King still has his trademark high power and range, but also maintains his mediocre tournament results, vulnerability to infinite chain grabs, and very poor match-ups, which together put Bowser into the F tier once again.



  • Heavyweight, having high survivability and being difficult to K.O.
  • High priority on smash attacks
  • Good horizontal range in recovery
  • Wide variety of powerful attacks both on the ground and in the air that are capable of killing opponents
  • Fire Breath is useful for spacing and edge guarding
  • Short grab release animation allows him to regrab and chain grab easily
  • Flying Slam side special can be used for sacrificial K.O.s and is a command grab, making it useful against shields
  • Whirling Fortress is a good out of shield option as it stays near the ground and can be maneuvered in either direction, carrying opponents across a stage and then launching them


  • Has large hurtboxes that make him easy to combo and juggle
  • Extremely vulnerable to chain-grabs because of his heavyweight
  • Poor vertical recovery
  • Poor evasive options on the ground, with a slow spot dodge and a slow roll
  • Crawl is useless for avoiding and approaching
  • High starting and ending lag on most moves
  • Lacks reliable ways to rack damage up on opponents


Bowser is notable for having the blessing/curse (more the latter than the former) of being both the largest and heaviest character in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. This makes him difficult to KO as always, yet an easier target to hit. Because of his heavyweight, Bowser's recovery has significant horizontal range but marginal vertical movement. He has a very poor ground shield game, the second slowest roll in the game, and the slowest spot dodge in the game. He has the ability to crawl, but due to his large size, this is very inefficient at avoiding incoming projectiles or other attacks. As with other large characters, Bowser's strengths lie in his KO prowess and not his speed. He sports a wide variety of powerful attacks both in the air and on the ground. For example, Bowser's forward smash is a high-priority KO move that has such high knockback that it is able to eat through almost any super armor frames save for Wario's Forward Smash, Pikmin Order or Donkey Kong's fully-charged Giant Punch. However, this KO ability comes at the price of high lag, both on startup and ending.

Due to his average speed and reliance on power KOs, Bowser can struggle somewhat in the low damage game as he lacks diverse ways of racking up damage on the opponent. Bowser's best option in that regard is his neutral special Fire Breath, and his advantages of 10 frames when ground releasing and 30 frames when air releasing make him able to do great chain grabs or combos into his strongest attacks. He can also re-grab nearly anyone by ground releasing- only Donkey Kong is exempt, due to his unusually short ground release animation. The Fire Breath serves multiple purposes for Bowser, such as racking up damage on the opponent, preventing an opponent's approach, and its notable functionality as a decent edge guard. Bowser also has a potent sacrificial KO, the Flying Slam. This move allows Bowser to grab an opponent, then leap into the air and fall back to the ground with Bowser on top of them. Thus, the opponent will always be KOed first. If this move is used through a blast line (the off-screen border that marks where KOs occur), both Bowser and the opponent will be KOed. It's also useful in the Classic and All-Star Modes, making for an easy KO when only one opponent is left. Given Bowser's difficulty racking up damage, this can be a useful move when the opponent is far ahead of Bowser in the damage count. However, opponents can control Flying Slam when Bowser is at higher or even equal damage, preventing "Bowsercide", or forcing it. Bowser's standard attack can even cancel out incoming projectiles, including Samus' and Lucario's standard specials. This is effective as it allows the player to conserve Bowser's shield as well as provide quicker reaction times after blocking enemy projectiles.

However, given Bowser's extreme heavyweight and decent falling speed it makes him also open for infinite chain grabs like Wario and Dedede's infinite chain grab due to his extremely large size and weight. His horizontal recovery, Whirling Fortress, is worse than Donkey Kong's Spinning Kong and it also gives poor vertical distance. In addition, his primary recovery, Whirling Fortress, is worse than Donkey Kong's Spinning Kong and gives poor vertical and horizontal distance, although it is a very good out-of-shield move, though it can be shielded if read. His poor mobility also severely hinders his approach and allows many characters to easily camp him and rack up damage. He also lacks an effective aerial game due to a combination of low jumps and having mostly laggy or easily avoidable aerial attacks. All of his aerials have high landing lag and all of them except for forward aerial are incapable of auto-cancelling in a short hop, resulting in Bowser's aerials being extremely ineffective for approaching and spacing, except for forward aerial.

Overall, Bowser can dish out large amounts of damage to opponents in minimal hits, complemented with a useful sacrificial KO and a strong OoS game due to his Whirling Fortress and high weight. This often allows him to not be KO'd until late percentages. However, most of his stats work against him; he is extremely vulnerable to chain grabs due to his large size, high weight and gravity, and his primary recovery Whirling Fortress can easily be gimped. Without committal reads, Bowser’s lack of speed means he will usually be unable to break the opposition between him and his foe, meaning he can be overwhelmed with fast attacks and/or mobility, or he will be forced to play in a disadvantageous situation throughout a game.

Changes from Melee

Bowser has been buffed from SSBM to SSBB. He is about the same in speed, and he is now slightly stronger. Bowser also became lighter, so he has much higher mobility than in Melee. However, even with the reduced weight, Bowser remains the heaviest character in the game. His up aerial is faster but has a shorter range. His side tilt and up smash both have increased range. His side smash now hits twice as well as doing 14% more damage. On the downside, its knockback has decreased slightly, and it boasts very little damage or knockback if it hits from very close or from very far. Bowser's airspeed and jump height have both increased. His down smash is much easier to trap with. As for specials, Bowser Bomb hits while leaping upwards and has a faster falling speed. Whirling Fortress goes higher in midair, and Fire Breath can be tilted up and down. Lastly (in terms of special moves), Bowser has a new side special move, the Flying Slam.

Bowser's purely cosmetic changes are a new set of voice clips (rather than having recycled voice clips from Super Mario 64), different sounds in his tilts and jab, a different sound for Fire Breath, and more realistic roaring sounds (as opposed to his usual cartoonish roars). He also has two new palette swaps: brown and a palette swap that resembles Dry Bowser from the Mario series. Overall, while Bowser is better than he previously was, his tournament results and representation have not significantly improved, due to most of his severe flaws still remaining intact and some of them being exacerbated (most notably his aerials being much more unsafe on landing due to the loss of L-cancelling.) As such, he still remains as a bottom tier character with a multitude of poor matchups and extremely scarce tournament representation.


Ground Attacks

  • Standard Attack - Two quick claw swipes. 5% per swipe. Good priority cancels out many projectiles, helping out against campy characters.
  • Dash Attack - Running tackle. Has good vertical knockback. 11%. Horrid ending lag makes this move easily punishable.
  • Strong Side - Punches while leaning his body forward. Can be aimed up or down. Similar to Wario 11%. Has decent KO potential at later percentages.
  • Strong Up - Swats the air above him. A decent juggling move given its priority. 12%. This is also a very powerful KO move and can KO lightweights at about 70% given its surprising speed.
  • Strong Down - Swipes with claws while crouched. Two hits. First hit deals 14%, second deals 11%. High knockback and speed uncommon for a move of this type make this another speedy KO move.
  • Side Smash - Rears back and then performs a very strong headbutt. Both the rear back and the headbutt hit. Fully charged first hit does 14% damage, second hit right after does 32% for a possible total of 46% damage. This makes it the highest damaging side smash in the game. If used correctly this can prevent shield grabbing. A highly shield damaging move with enough shield stun to help prevent countering.
  • Up Smash - Pounces on all fours and jumps straight up, hitting with his shell. Opponents who only shield his jump will be hit by his landing. Very high knockback. Fully charged, it will deal 28% damage.
  • Down Smash - Bowser retracts into his shell and spins around. Limited suction. Multi-hit attack that does up to 29% damage fully charged. Very high knockback.
  • Ledge attack - Quickly spins onto the stage, then retreats back a bit. 8% damage.
  • 100% ledge attack - Slowly climbs onto stage, and does a quick claw jab. 10% damage.
  • Floor attack - Slams body forward, then back. Does two hits. Both hits do 6% damage for a potential of 12%.
  • Trip attack - Gets up while facing backwards, and executes a claw swipe that brings him facing forward. 6% damage.

Aerial Attacks

  • Neutral Aerial - Spins around inside his shell. 15% damage with low knockback and low KO potential.
  • Forward Aerial - Slashes in the air in front rather quickly. 13% damage. Decent knockback with surprising speed. It resembles a move he fails to hit Mario within Super Mario RPG, when he falls from the chandelier.
  • Back Aerial - Thrusts out his shell behind him. High knockback. 15% damage. High ending lag on the ground.
  • Up Aerial - Swings his head upwards with minor yet evident startup lag, but little ending lag in the air. A respectable 17% damage and incredibly high knockback make it one of the best up aerials in the game in terms of power. High ending lag on the ground.
  • Down Aerial - Retracts into his shell and spins himself into the ground. Limited shockwave if hits the ground. It can Meteor Smash when hit by the last hit, but it is weak and overall not recommended. Multi-hit attack that does up to 23% damage. High aerial lag and ground lag.

Grabs & Throws

  • Pummel - Headbutts the opponent's head or body. 3% damage. Very slow for a pummel.
  • Forward Throw - Launches foe forward using his head. 10% damage. Decent knockback, but is not a reliable KO move.
  • Back Throw - Turns around, and tosses foe forward. 10% damage. Decent knockback. Has a better KO potential than the forward throw, but is still unreliable.
  • Up Throw - Bowser tosses foe upwards, retreats into his shell, and spins, damaging the foe with his spikes. 10% damage. Decent but set knockback.
  • Down Throw - Sets opponent on floor before performing a body slam on his opponent. 12% damage.

On-screen appearance

  • Emerges from a wall of flames.

Special Moves

Bowser's Special Moves
Melee Brawl SSBWU/3DS Ultimate
Standard Special Fire Breath
Side Special Koopa Klaw Flying Slam
Up Special Whirling Fortress
Down Special Bowser Bomb
Final Smash Giga Bowser Giga Bowser Punch


  • Up: Stomps, throws his head back, and roars.
  • Side: Snaps furiously forward five times.
  • Down: Balances precariously on one leg, accompanied by four small hops. Possibly referencing how Bowser loses in Mario games when the bridge is taken out from under him.

Bowser's Match-ups

Bowser has a terrible matchup spread overall. He only counters Jigglypuff, soft counters Ganondorf, and has 7 even matchups. However, he gets soft countered by 5 characters, countered by 16, hard countered by 4, and has 2 close to unwinnable matchups. Bowser struggles against characters who zone him out with projectiles, like Falco and Samus, and especially characters who can chaingrab him, like Wario, Yoshi, but most notoriously Ice Climbers, and King Dedede. Bowser was initially seen as a solid middle tier character, being ranked at 22nd on the first tier list. Bowser's speed and mobility buffs were immediately noticed, which when combined with his still great power and the slower, less combo-orientated pace of Brawl, allowed Bowser to compete decently with an inexperienced playerbase that could not effectively evade him and was still discovering the potential of other characters. Bowser still had the traits of a classic low tier character, however: he was still very slow compared to the rest of the cast, very large and thus heavily vulnerable to deadly chain throws and combos, had an easily gimpable recovery that compromised his endurance potential, and was vulnerable to camping while being incapable of camping himself, with a lack of any outstanding attributes to counteract this. Thus, as the metagame progressed, Bowser steadily declined, with Bowser players finding it difficult to keep up with the quickening pace of other advancing characters and having their weaknesses (most notably to chain throws and camping) more frequently exploited, while lacking any significant developments for Bowser's metagame outside of grab release followups. Through the second to fourth tier lists, Bowser fell no more than two spots at a time, but it was not until the fifth list that he saw a significant drop, falling five spaces to 32nd and formally entering the low tiers, though many players thought of Bowser as a low tier character well before then.

Bowser's decline additionally saw his playerbase diminish, and most of his top players, notably his best player KingKong, dropped Bowser or stopped playing Brawl competitively altogether, while fewer and fewer players used Bowser overall. By the end of the game’s competitive lifespan, Bowser was one of the most unpopular characters in Brawl tournaments, having almost no established active players who use him, and being rare at even locals with casual players, which has led to his poor tournament results. As such, Bowser has never risen on any tier list. However, despite Bowser's weak representation and tournament results, the characters below him are generally considered to be even worse by a noticeable margin.

Role in the Subspace Emissary

Bowser in the SSE

Bowser is one of the 2 secondary antagonists alongside Ganondorf in the SSE. Bowser first appears after Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong chase down some of Bowser's Koopa Troopa's who had stolen their bananas in order to lure them into a trap. Bowser confronts the two and transforms DK into a trophy with a shot from his Dark Cannon, but not before DK punches Diddy away as to prevent him being faced with the same fate. Bowser chases him down, and has a Shadowbug clone of himself fight Diddy Kong and Fox. After the clone is defeated, the real Bowser attempts to turn them into trophies, but they manage to dodge the shot. Although Diddy is eager to fight Bowser, Fox knows that they're at a clear disadvantage, so he grabs Diddy and they make their escape. Bowser later finds Peach/Zelda (depending on if you chose Mario or Kirby to start the campaign) alone and turns her into a trophy and, after having another Shadowbug clone of himself copy her, orders the new clone to attack Mario, Pit/Link, and Yoshi. He is later told by Ganondorf to hunt down King Dedede, who had stolen Wario's trophies. Bowser and his troops attack Dedede's castle, where Dedede is hiding, and when they break the roof of the castle a stone falls on Dedede's head, knocking him out and turning him into a trophy. The debris buries Dedede along with the trophies of Ness and Luigi. As such he only finds the trophy of Peach/Zelda. Bowser steals Peach/Zelda's trophy and evades Mario and Pit's following attacks, but when he dodges Pit's arrow he falls off a cliff, landing safely in his flying Clown Car (Bowser's personal transport) and flying away to the Halberd with the princess in tow. After this, he returns to the Swamp to attack Fox and Diddy Kong and transforms Diddy into a trophy. He then tries to shoot Fox and sends his Shadowbug clone to clone the Diddy Kong trophy much to fox's horror. He flees after Falco Lombardi attacks him and destroys his Dark Cannon.

He is next seen with Ganondorf on the deck of the Subspace Gunship. They shoot down the Halberd but fail to stop Kirby from obliterating the Subspace Gunship by flying through it with the mighty Dragoon. Fleeing into the realm of Subspace, Bowser is swiftly betrayed by Ganondorf and turned into a trophy by a surprise blast from a Dark Cannon. Master Hand then appears to them, but it is revealed that Master Hand is being controlled by the being Tabuu; Master Hand breaks free afterward, thanks to the livid Ganondorf's attempt to attack Tabuu, and attempts to attack him, but is defeated easily and left unconscious.

Upon being revived by King Dedede, Bowser awakens enraged by Ganon's treachery, and fights the hammer king out of anger, but is soundly defeated. He is turned back to normal once more, and (after Dedede humorously flicks him across the nose to calm down) learns the truth behind the Subspace mission and, upon taking in the situation, joins the heroes in the fight against Tabuu. Upon finding Ganondorf's trophy (just after Kirby's discovery of it), he furiously attacks it, as retribution for the treason of which he was victim earlier. The sight of Master Hand lying on the ground seems to trouble Bowser, assumedly because Bowser was really the only Fighter accomplice who was truly loyal to Master Hand, unlike Ganondorf (who planned to betray him to take control of the Subspace Army) and Wario (who did it just to enjoy himself). Eventually, Tabuu is defeated by the combined power of the heroes (inclueding Sonic), and they all return to the World of Trophies. The credits depict the entire group on a cliff, looking out at sea towards a large "X" formed out of light, the location of what once was the Isle of Ancients.

Cameo appearances

Playable appearances

Exclusive Stickers

These stickers may be used by only Bowser or a select few including Bowser:

  • 1-Up Mushroom: [Leg] attack +4
  • Bowser (DDR:Mario Mix): [Throwing] attack +20
  • Bowser (Mario Kart 64): [Weapon] attack +13
  • Bowser (Super Paper Mario): [Arm] attack +23
  • Coin: [Specials: Indirect] attack +4
  • Dice Block: [Arm] attack +8
  • Dr. Mario: [Head] attack +18
  • Koopa: [Body, Spin] attack +10
  • Lakitu (Mario Kart Super Circuit): [Leg] attack +13
  • Luigi & Baby Luigi: Launch power +5
  • Luigi (Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga): Launch power +23
  • Mario & Luigi: [Flame] resistance +19
  • Mario & Yoshi: [Specials: Indirect] attack +13
  • Mario (Mario Kart DS): [Leg] attack +22
  • Mega Rush Badge: [Specials: Direct] attack +8
  • Mushroom: [Arm, Leg] attack +5
  • Peach (Mario Superstars Baseball): [Slash] attack +5
  • Peach (Super Mario Bros. 2): Launch resistance +29
  • Peach (Super Princess Peach): [Weapon] attack +23
  • Rawk Hawk: [Arm] attack +5
  • Red Fire: [Flame] attack +26
  • Super Mario Bros.: [Arm, Leg] attack +15
  • Waluigi (Mario Superstar Baseball): [Specials: Indirect] attack +8
  • Waluigi (Super Mario Strikers): [Slash] attack +15
  • Yoshi (Mario Party 2): [Launch] resistance +35
  • Yoshi (Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door): [Throwing] attack +5
  • Yoshi (Yoshi Touch & Go): [Arm, Leg] attack +8

In Event Matches

Solo Events

  • Event 1: Two Trouble Kings: As Mario, the player must defeat Bowser and King Dedede on Delfino Plaza.
  • Event 6: Super Bowser Bros.: As Bowser, the player must reach the flagpole in Mushroomy Kingdom without getting KO'd by the three Marios.
  • Event 27: Three-Beast Carnage: As a tiny R.O.B., the player must defeat a giant Bowser, a giant Donkey Kong, and a giant Charizard on New Pork City.
  • Event 34: All-Star Battle Melee: Bowser is one of the opponents fought in this event. All opponents are newcomers from Super Smash Bros Melee.
  • Event 40: The Final Battle: The player selects any character and must defeat Bowser, Ganondorf and King Dedede on Final Destination.

Co-op Events

  • Co-Op Event 8: ALL MINE!: Wario and Bowser must work together to collect 2000 coins together on Skyworld while fighting Mario and Luigi.
  • Co-Op Event 20: The Final Battle for Two: Both players select a character and must defeat Bowser, Wario, King Dedede, Wolf, Meta Knight, and Ganondorf on Final Destination.
  • Co-Op Event 21: The True All-Star Battle: Both players select a character and take on the entire roster on Battlefield.

Palette Swaps

Bowser's palette swap in SSBB


  • Several deep male voices chanting "Bow-ser, Bow-ser, Bow-ser..."

Trophy Description

The Bowser Trophy

The king of evil and Mario's eternal menace. He breathes fire, hurls hammers, attacks from vehicles like the Koopa Clown Car, and uses all sorts of weapons in hopes of destroying Mario. As his size suggests, he's immensely powerful. His son Bowser Jr. is a chip off the old block who spends his time creating trouble for Mario.

  • Super Mario Bros. (Nintendo)
  • Super Mario Sunshine (Nintendo GameCube)


  • Likely due to his heavyweight, the screen will shake slightly when Bowser lands on the ground.
  • Bowser and Marth are the only characters without a new piece of music used for the Credits; Bowser has Giga Bowser's battle theme, while Marth uses the Fire Emblem theme from Melee.
  • In the Subspace Emissary, Bowser can be attacked and harmed by the Koopas and Goombas, despite being their leader. This is probably because they were brainwashed by Tabbu to work for him after Bowser joined the heros in sunspace.
  • Bowser's voice clip for his Wii Remote selection is a roar he uses from the end of a cutscene in Super Mario Sunshine.
  • When certain characters grab Bowser and attempt to pummel attack him while on a slope above him, the pummel does not hit him and deals no damage. This could be related to Bowser's massive character model.
  • Bowser is the only non-human character that is a representative of the main Mario series (in contrast to perhaps Wario).
  • Bowser, Mario, Ganondorf, and Link are the only returning characters in Brawl to have at least one completely different special move. In this case, Bowser's side special is changed.
  • If Bowser jumps with a Screw Attack while in possession of a Smash Ball, the glow given off by the Smash Ball will glow in the areas where Bowser's head, arms, and legs would normally be.
    • Additionally, if Bowser performs a backwards double jump while in possession of a Smash Ball, his "Smash Ball" eyes will be shown in the position where his head would normally be—despite both his eyes being visible inside his shell—making it will look as if he has four eyes.
  • Bowser, Meta Knight, and Marth can all perform the floor glitch.
  • There exists a glitch on the Mushroomy Kingdom stage. If Bowser were to hit the first invisible block of the stage scrolling cycle to solidify it, jump backwards onto the stack of blocks to the right of the block, and get grabbed by King Dedede right before he lands, he will rapidly flip between his aerial grab and grounded grab animation.

External links

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Related universes Donkey Kong · Yoshi · Wario · Wrecking Crew