- This article is about Bowser's appearance in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U. For other uses, see Bowser.
Bowser (クッパ, Koopa) is the main antagonist of the Mario series and is one of Nintendo's most recognizable characters, and arguably its most recognized villain. A veteran from Melee and Brawl, Bowser returns as a starter character in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U. He was announced on June 11, 2013 during E3 2013, and was the last veteran confirmed during the event. He was also one of the main subjects of the Developer Direct for Smash Bros. later during E3 2013, since he was the character with most changes from Brawl.
Bowser currently ranks 24th on the tier list. Despite being a heavy-weight character, he has a great grab game and fast ground and airspeed. He has very strong smash attacks and a variety of K.O moves. However, his size and weight make him easy to combo and juggle and he has a hard time landing, preventing him from going any higher on the tier list.
- Heaviest character in the game, resulting in massive launch resistance.
- Is quite agile on the ground, having the second highest dashing speed of all heavyweight characters, after Charizard.
- Has a passive Super Armor which allows him to shrug off attacks without flinching. Said attacks must inflict over 19 units of knockback in order to hit stun Bowser.
- Many of his attacks have intangibility frames, making Bowser extremely powerful when trading attacks with his opponents.
- All his Tilts have intangibility.
- Forward and Up Smashes have intangibility.
- Considerably fast for his size both on the ground and in the air.
- Most moves have huge knockback, especially his Smash Attacks, powerful enough to KO opponents at mid-low percentages.
- His high knockback combined with endurance makes him even more powerful under the effects of Rage.
- Has a Meteor Smash: Down Aerial. It is the second strongest in the game after Ganondorf's.
- Has the strongest Forward Smash in the game, followed by King Dedede's.
- It can KO light opponents at 0%-10% when fully charged near the ledge.
- Fire Breath can rack up damage quite fast, which, allied with its high range and considerable low ending lag allows Bowser to stay at safe range.
- It also has a windbox on its tip that can be situationally used to gimp opponents with poor recovery.
- Flying Slam is inescapable once Bowser grabs his opponents, and can KO opponents below 100% damage once he hits them on the ground.
- Can perform Bowsercide with this move, although some characters can escape it.
- Whirling Fortress gains altitude if the button is mashed, improving Bowser's recovery.
- Bowser Bomb grants him powerful super armor, and deals high knockback when used on the ground. It can also break shields easily hit.
- Has amazing out-of-shield options, like Whirling Fortress, which can easily pressure opponents and interrupt combos.
- His Up Throw is one of the best combo starters in the game, capable of leading to effective KO setups.
- Largest character in the game, which means big hurtboxes.
- High lag on some attacks, especially landing lag.
- Fire Breath counts as an energy projectile, which means it can be reflected/nullified and absorbed.
- Fire Breath also decreases in range and damage the more it is used.
- The very tip of Fire Breath will deal damage, but will not cause opponents to flinch at all.
- Bowsercide with Flying Slam will most of the time favor the opponent, meaning Bowser will be K.O'd first despite being on top of his opponent. In some stages, however, both will be K.O'd at the same time, leading to Sudden Death if both characters were at their last stocks.
- In addition, some characters can escape this move right after Bowser is K.O'd; meaning that those with high recovery can return to stage safely, resulting in Bowser losing a stock over nothing.
- The grabbed opponent can also steer the landing if they have a lower percentage.
- Mediocre and predictable recovery.
- Struggles against combo-oriented opponents that can juggle him, and projectile users that can zone him out.
- High knockback on his attacks means he can't pull off many combos.
Bowser is Grappler kind of character, also being based on Bait and Punish tactics. He is the heaviest character on the roster, and as a result is an utter powerhouse. Bowser is also surprisingly fast for a heavy character, imposing a huge presence in the battlefield with his quick dash speed. He is capable of dishing out large amounts of damage and knockback with few blows, and can KO many characters even at low percentages with his high KO potential. His heavyweight combined with his high rate of super armor frames on many moves makes him extremely difficult to launch; weaker attacks sometimes fail to make him flinch whatsoever due to his passive super armor.
Bowser is notable for dealing massive damage with few attacks; one of his most efficient damaging moves is his Down Tilt, which can deal 25% on both hits. Some of his moves are among the strongest in the game, such as his Forward Smash Attack and Down Air Attack. With that in mind, Bowser greatly benefits from Rage, with every attack being potentially deadly. This, combined with great survivability, makes him a force to recognized and feared. In addition, many of his moves inflict high shield damage, meaning he can put high pressure and punish opponents accordingly.
In addition to his powerful moveset, Bowser has a formidable grab game. Despite not having the strongest or fastest throws, his grab range is one of the largest in the game, especially when pivoted. While his Throws are not very powerful in terms of knockback, they do high damage. Forward Throw is notable as for being the strongest throw in the game in terms of knockback (though it only KO opponents around 185%). In patch 1.1.3, his Up Throw received a massive buff that makes it a Combo Throw, being a very reliable option against opponents at any percentage, even above 100%. He can follow it up with Up Tilt, Up Smash, Neutral, Up, and even Forward Air Attack.
His moveset, while not being his strongest point, is very versatile. Fire Breath is good at easy damage rack and can trap opponents easily, being most useful for edge guarding. Flying Slam is a command grab, meaning it will ignore shields and counters, and can KO opponents above 135%, even earlier if he lands on a high platform such as the Battlefield's. In addition, he can perform in the infamous Bowsercide by grappling opponents and suiciding offstage, though it will favor the opponent most of the time, meaning Bowser will die first. Whrilling Fortress is Bowser's only means of recovery, moving him decent horizontal distance, and his vertical distance can be improved by mashing the button. Finally, Bowser Bomb can score earlier KOs, and the ground version can break shields in one go if both hits land. It is also an alternative for fast falling, being useful to latch on ledges and hit opponents holding it (assuming they lost their ledge invincibility).
Despite his massive power, Bowser suffers from many fatal flaws that greatly decreases his match-ups. One of his major problems, as in past games, is his massive size and high falling speed, which makes him an infamously easy target for faster characters that can pull off easy combos and juggles. He also has high lag on some moves, leaving him vulnerable and open to counterattacks. All his aerials have obscene landing lag, meaning he has great problems against characters with powerful anti-air abilities. Also, despite having a moveset that is fast for a heavy character, it is still considered slow compared to the rest of the cast, meaning he can easily be outmatched by faster characters. Lastly, while his recovery has improved from Brawl, it is still one of his biggest flaws, being an easy target for even the weakest edge-guarders.
Overall, Bowser is a very powerful character that can easily KO opponents at earlier percentages, while being capable of surviving at high percentages. However, due to his high lag and poor recovery, players must be careful and instead play defensively, punishing to not be punished.
Differences from Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Bowser has been subject to the most changes of all veteran characters. Pretty much all of his moveset and animations have been completely redone, with entire different attacks, as well receiving heavy buffs that makes him a more competitively viable character, overall greatly increasing his already high power. Among his buffs include greatly improved recovery, faster attacks with higher reach, incredibly improved combo game, as well more damage and knockback.
His design has been updated to properly reflect his appearance in the most recent Mario Bros. games since Luigi's Mansion. Details include his crouch animation being similar to the one used in Mario and Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story. Bowser now stands upright, in contrast to his previous appearances in Melee and Brawl, in which he was hunched over. His voice clips were all recycled from Brawl, with lower pitch to make him sound deeper and more menacing. Among his new animations, he now runs instead of cartwheeling.
- Physically larger and heavier, giving him more reach on all his attacks, however, this also increases his hurtbox. However, his shell is slightly smaller, resulting in a less salient hurtbox on his back.
- Heavier than Brawl.
- Has super armor on many moves, as well as overall higher launch and flinch resistance.
- He also has universal launch resistance for attacks that inflict very low knockback, such as the first hit of many grabs.
- Faster ground speed, especially for dashing, which now ranks him slightly above Marth.
- Faster attack speed. Most of his moves also now have considerably less ending lag.
- Slightly slower airspeed.
- Second jump is higher.
- He is now faster than Donkey Kong when carrying heavy objects, though he cannot jump while holding them like Donkey Kong can.
- Neutral Attack has a slightly different animation, now being two punches instead of two claw swipes. It is faster and deals more damage and knockback, especially the second hit. It also covers more horizontal range, with Bowser's hands growing in each punch.
- Forward Tilt is faster, has a higher range and deals more damage and knockback.
- Up Tilt has a slightly different animation, with Bowser slashing in a wider arc, allowing him to hit enemies in front of him as well, similar to Donkey Kong's Up Tilt. It has slightly less startup and ending lag. However, it deals less damage.
- Down Tilt has a slightly different animation, now being two punches instead of two claw swipes. It has slightly more range, especially the second hit.
- Forward Smash has a different animation, where Bowser hops doing a dropkick instead of headbutting. It is now a single hit attack, with a more reliable hitbox placement. It is much faster and has a higher reach. It deals much higher knockback, now being the second strongest Forward Smash in game, after King Dedede's. The move also grants him few superframes. However, it has higher ending lag and deals much less damage, around 10% less, where the two hits contributed for high damage (46% to 32% when fully charged).
- Up Smash Attack has a slightly different animation, with Bowser hopping and spinning while hitting with his shell. Has larger hitboxes that allow Bowser to hit enemies on his sides. It has a faster startup and ending lag, as well as higher priority and damage, allowing Bowser to clang or out prioritize aerial attacks.
- Down Smash Attack now causes Bowser to spin in place rather than tilting to the sides, much like in Melee, resulting in slightly less range. It traps opponents better between hits, however, all hits deal less damage. Also, the final hit deals less knockback but sends opponents slightly more horizontally.
- Dash Attack has a different animation, now being a side flying kick instead of a headbutt, similar to Donkey Kong's Dash Attack in Brawl. It is faster, with less ending lag and covers more distance. However, it deals slightly less damage and knockback.
- Neutral Air Attack has a different animation, with Bowser spreading his arms and legs while spinning in the air, similar to Kirby and Diddy Kong's Neutral Aerials. It is now a multi-hit attack, with higher reach and more knockback, as well as lower ending and landing lag. Also, it deals much more damage than his previous Neutral Aerial, being now the strongest Neutral Aerial in the game if all hits connect.
- Forward Air Attack has a slightly different animation, with Bowser slashing diagonally, more in an arc, covering more range- including immediately above him. Additionally, its sweet spot is much larger, and has less ending and landing lag, now being able to auto-cancel in short hops.
- Backward Air Attack has a different animation, with Bowser dropkicking backwards, similar to Mario, Luigi and Dr. Mario's Back Aerials in Melee, instead of hitting with his shell. It is faster, with much less ending and landing lag, now being able to auto-cancel in short hops. Also, while it has decreased range and less active frames, it deals more damage and has much higher knockback scaling, enough to KO opponents below 100% near the ledge.
- Up Air Attack has a different animation, with Bowser doing a headbutt in an arc, similar to Donkey Kong's Up Air Attack, rather than swiping with his claw. It has slightly less range, but with less startup lag. However, it deals less damage and knockback.
- Down Air Attack is now a stall-then-fall move, capable of Meteor Smashing (the second strongest after Ganondorf's) opponents during the first frames, and causing diagonally vertical knockback on the other frames. Unlike in past games, this attack deals a single hit that causes more damage and much more knockback, as well slightly lower ending and landing lag. It is a risky Meteor Smash to use off-stage, due to the high self-destruction possibility, especially since it doesn't auto-sweet spot the ledge. Additionally, it has powerful pushboxes once it hits the ground, producing a shockwave, making it a much safer attack to use and keep enemies at bay. However, it deals much less damage and it does not sweet spot the ledge.
Grabs and Throws
- Grab and dashing grab have much higher reach, now having one of the highest ranges of all non-tether grabs. Bowser now grabs his opponent with one hand rather than using both to hold, similar to his old Koopa Klaw grab.
- All his Throws are much more powerful and faster.
- Forward Throw has a different animation, where Bowser biting and swinging his enemy forward, similar to Charizard's Forward Throw. It deals more knockback, enough to KO at high percentages.
- Back Throw has a different animation, where Bowser tosses his opponent backwards in a side-way motion with his hand, looking similar to Donkey Kong's Back Throw. It deals more knockback, enough to KO at high percentages.
- Down Throw but it now has higher base knockback, as well as some super armor immediately before the body slam. It deals the highest damage of all his throws.
- Up Throw has become a combo throw in patch 1.1.3, being now one of the best combo throws in the game, working at nearly any percentage, allowing even for kill setups.
- Fire Breath has larger flames that cover more distance, with faster startup and ending lag. However, the flames can't flinch at furthest distance, at the later hitboxes. Also, connecting with the opponent will push both him/her and Bowser away, reducing the damage output the move can do, but also making the attack safer if the opponent DI from it.
- Flying Slam has a higher range, but a bit more startup lag after grabbing. It has higher knockback scaling, being able to KO at mid-high percentages, and Bowser has powerful super armor frames after grabbing the opponent. It can now hit enemies when descending and is much easier to control. However, when performing a suicide attack, Bowser will lose his stock before his opponent, making the Bowsercide technique much more situational and less advantageous, especially since his opponent will be released from his grasp and some can recover back. Also, the Koopa Hopping advanced technique is no longer possible.
- Whirling Fortress moves faster and goes much higher when used in mid-air. Has increased range for sweet spotting the ledge. Distance covered increases to an extent if the Special button is tapped repeatedly while Bowser is flying. Additionally, when used on the ground, the attack deals multi-hit damage, with powerful trapping hitboxes that make it useful to be used out of the shield.
- Bowser Bomb deals much more damage and boasts higher knockback. It deals much higher shield damage, now being able to break shields if both hits of the ground version connect, and inflicts larger hitlag. It is also much faster to descend, especially when used on the ground. It can auto-sweet spot the ledge.
- Giga Bowser lasts for a shorter amount of time, but his attacks cause higher knockback. Also, while in this form, Bowser's animations are the same as his Brawl animations.
- Neutral Attack: Punches twice in quick succession. Relatively high priority allows this move to cancel out some types of projectiles. 5% first hit, 7% second hit
- Forward Tilt: Shifts his weight forwards and delivers a powerful punch. Has decent horizontal knockback, making this move a possible KO option at higher percentages. 12%
- Up Tilt: Slashes his claws overhead. Has fairly good juggling potential. It has slightly lower KO potential than it had in Brawl, however it retains its speed. It has the potential to KO at higher percentages. Towards the end of this attack, it is possible to also hit opponents directly behind Bowser with the swipe. 10%
- Down Tilt: Performs two quick claw swipes across the ground. It has decent knockback and speed and has some KO potential at higher percentages. 14% first hit, 11% second hit
- Dash Attack: A running low kick. 10%
- Up Smash: Positions himself on all fours and leaps upwards, delivering a powerful blow with his shell. This attack has a hitbox positioned directly atop Bowser's shell that deals significantly more damage and knockback. This attack has incredible vertical KO potential, along with a relatively high priority. It has invincibility frames that makes him able to counter counters like Vision, Double Team and Slip Counter. 22-28%
- Forward Smash: Leaps forward and delivers a devastating drop kick. 25-33%
- Down Smash: Retreats inside his shell, and performs a rapid spinning attack along the ground. Multi-hits, 15-23% when all hits connect
- Ledge Attack: Slashes his claws along the ledge and climbs up.
- Get-Up Attack: Slashes his claws to each side.
- Up Aerial: Delivers a swinging headbutt. Has good KO potential at higher percentages. 15%
- Down Aerial: Retreats inside his shell and drops directly downwards at a surprising speed. Has significant ending lag after Bowser hits the ground, but has very good KO potential at higher percentages. 16%, 2% landing
- Neutral Aerial: Spins vertically in the air, hitting with his fists and feet in a multi-hit attack. Has decent knockback. It has the potential to KO at higher percentages, although this move is primarily useful for combos. 15% when all hits connect
- Forward Aerial: Slashes directly in front of him. A very fast attack. A great move for performing combos. It has some KO potential at higher percentages. 13%
- Back Aerial: Delivers a powerful back dropkick. This attack has good horizontal knockback and is an excellent KO move. However, there is a significant ending lag. 19%
Grabs and Throws
- Pummel: Headbutts the opponent. A relatively slower pummel compared to some of the other fighters. 3% each hit
- Forward Throw: Places the opponent onto his horns and rears his head back, then swings it forwards, sending them flying. 12%
- Back Throw: Throws the opponent over his shoulder. Can KO opponents above 130%. It is Bowser's strongest throw in terms of knockback. 12%
- Down Throw: Places the opponent on the ground, and body-slams them with his full weight as they squirm in fear. Has low KO potential, but sends foes flying directly away from Bowser, leaving them open for another attack. 12%
- Up Throw – Throws the opponent on top of his shell and spins, slashing them with his spikes. Has mediocre vertical knockback, can combo into an aerial at higher percentages. 6%
|Bowser's Special Moves|
|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|
|Bowser's Custom Special Moves|
|Custom 1||Custom 2|
|Standard Special||Fire Shot||Fire Roar|
|Side Special||Dash Slam||Dash Slash|
|Up Special||Flying Fortress||Sliding Fortress|
|Down Special||Turbulent Bomb||Slip Bomb|
- Bowser walks out of a blaze of fire.
- Up Taunt: Roars and throws his head back.
- Side Taunt: Gnashes his teeth and bites the air in front of him.
- Down Taunt: Hops up on one foot and waves his arms around.
- Bowser takes two steps forward while slashing with his right claw and left.
- Bowser leans backwards and roars victoriously.
- Bowser spins rapidly clockwise in his shell until emerging into a pose.
In competitive play
To be added
To be added
Mario's archnemesis and the reason Peach spends more time in "another castle" than in her own. His plans almost never work out, and he occasionally even finds himself on Mario's side. In Smash Bros., he's a serious heavyweight who laughs off weaker attacks. You've gotta hit him hard to send him flying!
- Nintendo Entertainment System: Super Mario Bros. (10/1985)
- Nintendo 64: Super Mario 64 (09/1996)
Bowser makes good use of his heavy physique with his down special Bowser Bomb, slamming down with his bottom. If he's on the ground, he'll jump into the air before crashing down. Also, he can gain a bit of altitude if you press the special button repeatedly while executing Whirling Fortress, his up special.
Bowser + Standard Kart
Bowser has tricked out his kart exactly like Mario's. With a level playing field, it all comes down to the driver's skill. Well, and luck. And if the driver got a good night's sleep... Only the goddess of victory knows who will win. That's part of the fun of Mario Kart!
Bowser's defence team argues that considering his latent savageness and the promises of wish-granting power, it could only be expected that Bowser would try to grab the Sticker Comet. Who could resist something like that? Bowser was just a victim of circumstance!
Paper Bowser (Second Form)The Royal Stickers can grant wishes, both good and bad. One sticker enhanced Bowser's natural greediness and rage, making him so powerful that Mario had to beat him twice in a row--the recycled Bowser even bigger and more powerful than before!
- Bowser was the last veteran confirmed during the E3 2013 event, and also the first Melee veteran to be confirmed.
- Bowser is the only character to have his victory theme change between Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS/Wii U.
- He shares his victory theme with Bowser Jr.
- Bowser's alternate trophy in the Wii U version resembles his All-Star Mode trophy from Super Smash Bros. Melee.
- This is the first Super Smash Bros. game where Bowser is not placed at the bottom of the tier list.
- Bowser's page on the Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS/Wii U website
- Bowser's Frame Data on Kurogane Hammer
- Smash 4: Art of Bowser (by IzawSmash)