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Bowser (SSB4)

From SmashWiki, the Super Smash Bros. wiki
This article is about Bowser's appearance in Super Smash Bros. 4. For the character in other contexts, see Bowser.
in Super Smash Bros. 4
Bowser SSB4.png
Universe Mario
Other Smash Bros. appearances in Melee
in Brawl
in Ultimate
Availability Starter
Final Smash Giga Bowser
Tier C (24)

Bowser (クッパ, Koopa) is a playable character in Super Smash Bros. 4. His return to the series was indirectly announced during the E3 Nintendo Direct on June 11th, 2013.[1] Instead of using his voice actor Kenny James who has voiced Bowser since Super Mario Galaxy in 2007, Bowser retains his realistic roar voice clips from Super Smash Bros. Brawl, although they have been heavily altered.

Bowser is ranked 24th out of 55 on the tier list, placing him in the C tier. This is a significant improvement over his bottom-tier placement in Brawl, where he was ranked 33rd out of 38, and is the first time in the series that Bowser has not been ranked as a bottom-tier character, thus resulting in his best placement in the series yet. Many of Bowser's previous weaknesses have been remedied: he is much more mobile,[2] has much greater range, and has noticeably improved combo and grab games. Aside from his new benefits, he retains his excellent endurance, overall high damage output, and very strong KOing options. Lastly, the implementation of rage supplements his already outstanding power.

However, Bowser retains an extremely poor defensive game, despite the addition of universal armor in Tough Guy and it is considered among the worst in SSB4; Bowser's only effective out of shield option is Whirling Fortress, and both his rolls and sidesteps are short-distanced and grant a minimal amount of intangibility frames. His large size and status as a super heavyweight also make him extremely susceptible to combos, which is further compounded by his lack of effective combo breakers. Although Bowser retains Fire Breath as a projectile, his large size nevertheless makes him vulnerable to camping. Bowser's recovery is also unimpressive, as Whirling Fortress' general linearity and predictability make him vulnerable to gimping.

Bowser's perception in the metagame has fluctuated over SSB4's lifespan. He was initially considered a poor character in the first year of release for SSB4, but after update 1.1.3 re-purposed his up throw into a potent combo starter, even leading into kills at certain percentages when comboed into up aerial, Bowser began to experience greater tournament success and a larger playerbase. Greward has won a few regional and national tournaments, while LordMix and Nairo have been able to win difficult matchups against high-level players of top-tier characters; LordMix has defeated Vinnie's Rosalina & Luma and VoiD's Sheik, while Nairo has defeated ZeRo's Diddy Kong, Tweek's Cloud, Zinoto's Diddy Kong, and Mr.E's Marth. However, Bowser’s current tier placement is debatable, as his representation and results noticeably declined after Nairo stopped using the character.


Bowser's pivot grab is infamous for its range.

Unlike in Melee and Brawl, Bowser boasts a respectable level of speed to go alongside his renowned power.[2] While he retains a slow walking speed, average air speed, slow air acceleration and the slowest jumpsquat, and while his falling speed is much lower relative to the cast compared to Brawl (the 42nd fastest out of 58 characters as opposed to the 19th-20th fastest out of 38), his dashing speed and double jump's height have both been significantly increased, and he also retains high gravity. This grants him mobility that is average overall, yet fairly balanced compared to most other heavy characters. As the heaviest character in the game, Bowser has the best horizontal endurance of them all, although due to his slow falling speed, his vertical endurance is not the best, but rather the third best, being surpassed only by his fellow super heavies King Dedede and Donkey Kong.

Bowser's greatest strength is his immense power. Since most of his attacks are highly damaging, Bowser has an easy time racking up damage, especially when compared to combo-oriented characters like Luigi and Sheik. In addition, most of his moves have high knockback, granting him numerous (if not the largest number of) KOing options. Some of his moves are among the strongest of the cast, including the one of the strongest meteor smashes in his down aerial, one of the strongest semi-spikes in his back aerial and the second-strongest forward smash, which is surpassed only marginally by King Dedede and maximum Aura Lucario's. The introduction of rage further amplifies the power of his moves without reducing the efficiency of his combos. Bowser's great endurance can also allow him to take full advantage of it, as it is very difficult to KO him without a strong attack. Furthermore, Bowser has great range in many of his attacks, allowing him to space opponents more easily than many other characters. Combined with the aforementioned perks, Bowser is proficient at edgeguarding.

Bowser also has a formidable grab game. While not particularly fast, his grabs have among the longest ranges in the game, with his pivot grab being notoriously effective, making it easy for him to grab opponents that are not right next to him. His pummel and his forward, back and down throws deal respectable damage. His up throw's low damage output is counterbalanced by its low knockback, which grants Bowser many reliable follow-ups until around 75%, depending mostly on the opponent's falling speed. His down throw is the optimal choice for either forcing opponents off-stage for an edgeguard or preventing his other throws from becoming stale. His back throw is among the strongest, being surpassed only by Ness, Toon Link, Mewtwo, Villager, Lucas, Dr. Mario, and Mario's, and can KO at 180% from center-stage. His forward throw is the strongest of its kind in the game, reliably KOing any character at 180% from center-stage.

Lastly, Bowser has a versatile special moveset. Fire Breath is Bowser's only projectile, which can be used to fend off opponents or gimp recoveries due to it ability to be angled, while the nerf to SDI makes it quite difficult to escape when caught up close. Flying Slam is a grab, allowing it to ignore shields and counterattacks. Upon a successful grab, Bowser is invincible up until he jumps to perform a flipping belly-to-belly suplex that deals enough knockback to KO around 120% or even earlier if he lands on a platform. After getting grabbed, the opponent cannot do anything other than slightly alter the move's trajectory. Whirling Fortress is Bowser's primary means of recovery, granting below average vertical distance but good horizontal distance; button mashing increases the move's vertical distance if done close to the end of the move, while shortening it if done at the start. Whirling Fortress is also a phenomenal out of shield option, as well as Bowser's fastest attack. Lastly, Bowser Bomb is very powerful and can be used as an alternative to fast-falling, making it useful for grabbing the ledge while at the same time threatening edgeguarders. It also deals additional shield damage, meaning that a shield break will occur if both of its hits connect.

However, Bowser has some glaring flaws. One of his biggest problems is air-to-ground transitioning. All of his aerials have at least 20 frames of landing lag, with his back and down aerials having 40 frames each. As none of his aerials have favorable autocancel windows, returning to the ground is very difficult for him, or even impossible without air dodging and/or fast-falling, due to his slow aerial mobility. As a result, Bowser is quite vulnerable to combos and heavily susceptible to juggling, making it easy for opponents to rack up damage on him, further worsened by his large size. His down aerial is his only move that can help mitigate these issues, but its aforementioned landing lag and stall-then-fall status can make it quite unreliable most of the time. His moveset, while fast compared to most heavyweights, is slow when compared to the rest of the cast, limiting his combo starters to only up throw and jab canceled neutral attack, and making it difficult for him to keep up with faster opponents, such as Sonic. This also compounds another noticeable problem: his ability to escape pressure. Due to his slow rolls and sidestep, with the former also being short-distanced, Bowser's only real method of dealing with pressure is Whirling Fortress, which can be punished if executed too late. Some of his moves are also inevitable KOs if used off-stage, namely his two stall-then-falls, down aerial and Bowser Bomb, as well as Flying Slam. Lastly, despite his recovery being rather long-distanced, it is among the slowest of the cast, making aggressive edgeguarding more than enough to KO Bowser.

Bowser benefits greatly from custom moves. Compared to Fire Breath, Fire Shot is slower and has noticeable intervals between each fireball, but has more range and deals consistent damage, which make it better for Bowser's neutral and edgeguarding games. Dash Slam is drastically weaker, but has a lower launch angle and propels Bowser forward, making it easier for him to grab opponents. Dash Slash deals less damage, but deals high knockback, hits throughout most of its animation and maintains the default version's autocanceling, granting Bowser a very reliable move for approaching and setting up combos. Both Flying Slam alternatives can also improve his recovery. Lastly, Flying Fortress cannot be used out of shield, but grants twice as much vertical distance at high speed, significantly improving Bowser's vertical recovery.

Overall, Bowser is a surprisingly speedy powerhouse who relies on a defensive, bait and punish-oriented playstyle. As such, he requires timing his attacks carefully or focusing on punishing his opponents' mistakes in order to avoid serious punishment himself. While Bowser's overall representation in high-level and top-level play has been smaller than higher tiered characters, players such as LordMix and Nairo have managed to achieve notable results, with many players arguing his tier placement should be higher. The most notable instance of this is ZeRo, who considers Bowser to be a high-tier character.

Changes from Super Smash Bros. Brawl[edit]

Bowser has been buffed significantly in the transition to SSB4. Most of his moveset and animations have been completely revamped for the better: his range has been increased and his mobility is much faster overall.[2] His endurance and recovery have also been greatly improved, which improves his survivability, whereas his attacks have become even more powerful than they were in Melee. Lastly, Bowser now sports a significantly more reliable combo game thanks to his up throw being heavily altered in update 1.1.3 giving it excellent combo potential. All of these improvements have rendered his disadvantage state and punishment games safer and more rewarding, respectively, than in previous games, while also remedying many of his flaws.

The changes to gameplay physics and mechanics brought about by SSB4 also significantly aid Bowser. The universal nerfing of campable projectiles significantly helps his approach, although he still susceptible to it because of his larger size. The removal of chain grabbing eliminates the zero-to-death or otherwise heavily damaging combos that plagued Bowser in Melee and Brawl. The changes to shield mechanics, namely the bonus shield damage and the increased shieldstun makes his attacks safer and harder to punish, as well as allowing him to shatter a shield more easily. Lastly, the introduction of the rage mechanic results in his outstanding endurance and power becoming even more useful than ever before.

Bowser has, however, received a few nerfs. While helping his endurance, his increased weight and the changes to hitstun canceling now render him more vulnerable to combos, similarly to in Melee. Bowser's grab release animation now has 10 extra frames of ending lag to match the rest of the cast which when combined with the general changes to aerial grab releases and the removal of chain grabbing completely removes his grab release's utility. The frame data on his attacks is also slightly slower in general to compensate for the increased power in many of his moves. Lastly, Flying Slam also now causes Bowser to be KO'd first while the opponent does not go through their grab released animation, making Bowsercide a less viable tactic to KO an opponent. He also lost his Koopa hopping technique further hindering Flying Slam's utility. His overall damage output has also been decreased. To compound these nerfs, a great number of Brawl veterans, namely his fellow bottom-tier characters Mario and Captain Falcon, have been buffed to more drastic degrees than him in their transitions.

These changes, however, are notably offset by the very useful buffs Bowser has received. When combined with the mechanics benefiting him more than they harmed him, this has resulted in him faring much better than he ever did in previous installments. He is widely agreed to be a viable character, and is overall one of the characters to be buffed the most in the transition to Smash 4, alongside Mario, Luigi, Captain Falcon, Ness, Lucas, Sheik, Mewtwo, Sonic, and Link.


  • Change Due to the aesthetic used in SSB4, Bowser has a sleeker design, and his overall color scheme is significantly more vibrant. Unlike in previous installments, he now stands upright, and his pupils are smaller. Altogether, these changes make Bowser virtually identical to his appearance in Super Mario 3D Land.
  • Change Bowser's charcoal-colored alternate costume has been slightly updated. His hair is now orange instead of red. Bowser has also received five new alternate costumes, one of which is based on Blue Bowser.
  • Change Dash, roll, double jump, air dodge, crouch, and crawl's animations have changed. Bowser now dashes on both legs instead of shuttling along the ground, and he remains upright instead of retreating into his shell when rolling, jumping, or air dodging. Bowser's crouch also appears similar to his crouching defensive stance from Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story.
  • Change A shadow has been added to the interior of Bowser's shell, which obscures his face (except for his eyes) whenever he withdraws into his shell.
  • Change Bowser is significantly less vocal. He no longer vocalizes when jumping or performing aerials.
  • Change Bowser's body now faces the screen regardless of whether he's facing left or right.


  • Change Like other large characters, such as Donkey Kong and King Dedede, Bowser's general size in proportion to the other playable characters is also greater than in previous installments. This improves his range, but makes his hurtbox larger.
  • Change Bowser's new upright posture has translated into his moveset, be it through a tweaked animation or a completely new move.
  • Buff Bowser now has a unique attribute, Tough Guy. It is universal armor against attacks that deal less than 19 units of knockback, such as the first hit of many neutral attacks. It is amplified if he has low damage and/or is crouching, but not while attacking or crawling. Its effectiveness wanes as Bowser receives more damage, to the point that it will eventually become unusable.
  • Change Bowser is heavier (120 → 130). This improves his endurance, but makes him more susceptible to combos.
  • Buff Bowser walks faster (0.8 → 0.858). His walking speed while carrying heavy items also now surpasses Donkey Kong's, although DK still surpasses him in regard to jumping or falling with them.
  • Buff Bowser dashes much faster (1.527 → 1.792), going from merely just average in Brawl to the 17th fastest in Smash 4.
  • Buff Like all characters returning from Brawl, Bowser’s fast-falling speed is faster (1.946 → 2.224). This improves his aerial mobility and leaves him less susceptible to juggling.
    • Nerf However, since his regular falling speed remains unchanged, it is much lower relative to the cast, going from average to largely below average.
  • Nerf Bowser's air speed is slower (1.034 → 1.0), especially relative to the cast, now being just average.
  • Change Bowser’s gravity is higher (0.1027 → 0.11). When combined with his faster fast-falling speed, this allows him to land more safely, but makes him more susceptible to combos, which is further suggested by the changes made to hitstun canceling.
  • Buff Double jump is significantly higher.
  • Buff Item throw is stronger (1.31432 → 1.33432).
  • Change The changes to hitstun canceling both help and hinder Bowser. They significantly improve his combo potential, but make him more susceptible to combos.
  • Buff The removal of chain grabbing significantly improves Bowser's endurance.
  • Buff Rolls have less startup (frame 5 → 4) and ending lag (FAF 40 → 34).
  • Buff Air dodge has less ending lag (FAF 50 → 35).
  • Nerf Air dodge has a slightly shorter duration (frames 4-30 → 4-29).
  • Buff Spot dodge has less ending lag (FAF 33 → 29).
  • Nerf Spot dodge has more startup lag with a shorter duration (frames 3-24 → 4-19).
  • Buff The 19% damage increase to shields and the increase to shieldstun make some of Bowser's attacks much better at pressuring shields.
  • Nerf Bowser's grab release animation is much longer (19 frames → 40) and its IASA frames were not fully compensated (FAF 20 → 30), now matching the rest of the cast. He now has no frame advantage out of a grounded grab release and only a 10 frame advantage out of an aerial grab release (compared to 11 and 31 frames respectively). This removes all of his guaranteed followups out of a grab release which is further exacerbated by the removal of chain grabbing.

Ground attacks[edit]

  • Neutral attack:
    • Change Bowser has a new neutral attack: an alternating pair of punches.
    • Buff Compared to the previous neutral attack, its second hit deals more damage (5% → 6.5%).
  • Forward tilt:
    • Buff Forward tilt deals more damage (11% → 12%), slightly improving its KO potential.
    • Nerf Forward tilt no longer has a 40% bonus trip chance when angled down.
  • Up tilt:
    • Buff Up tilt has larger coverage around Bowser, no longer whiffing against opponents right in front of him. It also has decreased ending lag (FAF 51 → 41), giving it better combo potential.
    • Nerf Up tilt deals less damage (12% → 9%), hindering its KO potential. It also has increased start-up lag (frame 8 → 11).
  • Down tilt:
    • Change Down tilt has an altered animation. It is now an alternating pair of hooks rather than an alternating pair of claw swipes.
    • Buff Compared to the previous down tilt, this new animation properly matches its hitboxes' placements, and the second hit has more range.
  • Dash attack:
    • Change Bowser has a new dash attack, a side kick, similar to Meta Knight’s dash attack.
    • Buff Compared to the previous dash attack, it deals more damage (11% (clean)/8% (late) → 12%/10%) and has significantly more range. It also has different knockback (120 (base)/30 (scaling) → 110/35) compared to the previous dash attack.
    • Nerf Dash attack has more start-up lag (frame 10 → 11) and much smaller hitboxes compared to the previous dash attack.
  • Forward smash:
    • Change Bowser has a new forward smash: a dropkick.
    • Buff Compared to the previous forward smash, its sweetspots have more knockback scaling (81 → 98), making it much better at KOing. It also has less start-up lag (frame 27 → 22) and significantly more range. It has late hitboxes that cannot rebound, making it safer, while its sourspots have increased knockback (22 (base)/81 (scaling) → 10/103) and launch at the same angle as the sweetspots (60° → 361°).
    • Nerf Forward smash only hits once, reducing its overall damage potential (33%/31% → 23%/20%). It also has more ending lag (FAF 67 → 70).
  • Up smash:
    • Buff Up smash has increased knockback scaling (80 (sweetspot)/90 (sourspot) → 90/100), improving its KO potential. Additionally, its first hit has a longer duration (frames 16-22 → 16-23) and its sweetspot can now hit grounded opponents. Lastly, the first hit cannot rebound, preventing it from being canceled out by opposing attacks.
    • Nerf Up smash's landing hit has more startup (frame 31 → 37), and deals less damage (12%/10% → 6%) with its base knockback only slightly compensated (60 → 80), hindering its KO potential. The move also has more ending lag (FAF 53 → 58).
  • Down smash:
    • Buff Down smash's first hit has been transitioned into a separate hitbox that is active right before Bowser starts spinning, giving it faster startup (frame 14 → 10). The weakening of SDI also makes the move significantly more difficult to escape from.
    • Nerf Down smash has more ending lag (FAF 69 → 72), and its second to sixth hits deal less damage (2% → 1%), reducing its total damage output (21% → 16%). It also has decreased knockback scaling (140 → 130), hindering its KO potential.
    • Change Down smash's angle was altered (65° → 48°).

Aerial attacks[edit]

  • Neutral aerial:
    • Change Bowser has a new neutral aerial: an aerial cartwheel.
    • Buff Compared to the previous neutral aerial, it consists of multiple hitboxes instead of a clean hit and late hit, increasing its overall damage potential (13% → 24%), has more range, a longer duration (frames 8-23 → 8-29), and less landing lag (24 frames → 20).
    • Nerf Neutral aerial autocancels later (frame 40 → 45) compared to the previous neutral aerial.
    • Change Neutral aerial launches at a higher angle (361° → 75°). This grants it combo potential, but removes its edgeguarding potential.
  • Forward aerial:
    • Buff Forward aerial has increased range. Its sweetspot also covers a significantly larger portion of Bowser's arm. These changes significantly improve its spacing, edgeguarding, and KO potential.
    • Nerf Forward aerial has increased start-up lag (frame 8 → 11).
      • Buff Despite this, its duration has been increased (frames 8-10 → 11-14).
  • Back aerial:
    • Change Bowser has a new back aerial, a dropkick.
    • Buff Compared to the previous back aerial, it deals more damage (15%/7% → 19%) and has slightly higher knockback (25 (base)/83 (scaling) → 20/88), making it significantly more powerful. It also has less ending lag (FAF 50 → 45), more horizontal range, and can autocancel from a short hop (frame 45 → 31).
    • Nerf Back aerial has smaller hitboxes (9u/5u → 7u/5.5u), a shorter duration (frames 9-16 → 9-11), it incurs more landing lag (35 frames → 40), and has less vertical range compared to the previous back aerial. It also no longer grants invincibility on Bowser's shell.
  • Up aerial:
    • Buff Up aerial has significantly decreased start-up lag (frame 16 → 9), improving its utility as a combo finisher.
      • Nerf However, its total duration remains unchanged, giving it more ending lag.
    • Nerf Up aerial deals less damage (17% → 15%) and has decreased knockback scaling (93 → 85), hindering its KO potential, although it’s still one of the strongest up aerials in the game. It also has a smaller hitbox (7u → 6u).
  • Down aerial:
    • Buff Down aerial is now a stall-then-fall that deals a single, highly damaging hit (3% (hits 1-9) → 16%), has a larger hitbox (4u → 7u), increased base knockback (10 → 30), and now meteor smashes during its first few frames (80° → 275°), while launching vertically during its later frames (270° → 56°). Altogether, these changes grant it KO, edgeguarding and anti-juggling potential, and improve its safety while on-stage. Due to being a stall-then-fall, it can also be used to down air stall.
    • Nerf Due to consisting of one hit instead of nine, down aerial deals less total damage (29% → 18%). It also has slightly increased start-up lag (frame 14 → 17) and is much riskier to use off-stage, causing Bowser to self-destruct if initiated from ground height.

Throws/other attacks[edit]

  • Buff All grabs have increased ranges, now among the longest ranged non-tether grabs in the game.
  • Buff Dash grab has decreased ending lag (FAF 50 → 48).
  • Nerf Pivot grab has increased start-up (frame 9 → 11) and ending lag (FAF 40 → 46).
  • Change Bowser now grabs and holds the opponent with one arm, similarly to Koopa Klaw, instead of clinching them with his arms and mouth. Bowser also no longer falls over when he whiffs a dash grab.
    • Nerf This new grabbing animation holds opponents lower to the ground, preventing Bowser from forcing smaller characters into an aerial grab release unless he grabs them in mid-air.
  • Pummel:
    • Buff Pummel deals slightly more damage (3% → 3.1%).
  • Forward throw:
    • Buff Forward throw deals more damage (10% → 12%) and has increased knockback scaling (50 → 66), granting it KO potential.
    • Change Forward throw's animation has slightly changed. Bowser now rears his head to the side and sways it upward to throw the opponent, instead of rearing his head downward and then whipping it upward.
  • Back throw:
    • Change Bowser has a new back throw: a one-armed throw, similar to Donkey Kong's back throw.
    • Buff Compared to the previous back throw, it deals more damage (10% → 12%) and has more knockback scaling (50 → 66), granting it KO potential.
  • Up throw:
    • Buff Up throw has reduced knockback (120 (set)/100 (scaling) → 25 (base)/180 (scaling)), less ending lag (FAF 69 → 64) and launches at a higher angle (70° → 82°). Coupled with the changes to hitstun canceling, this grants it significant combo potential. Its first seven hits also have a lower hitlag multiplier (1× → 0.5×), allowing the move to progress faster, while its eight hit has drastically increased knockback against bystanders (0 (base)/100 (scaling) → 80/200).
    • Nerf Up throw's first seven hits deal less damage (1% → 0.5%), reducing the move's total damage output (10% → 6.5%).
  • Down throw:
    • Buff Down throw has increased knockback (75 (base)/30 (scaling) → 90/80).
    • Change Down throw's damage output has been altered (12% (hit 1)/— (throw) → 10%/2%). While this further increases the knockback of the throw, it reduces the move's utility in doubles play, as the first hit deals less damage and knockback to bystanders.
  • Floor attack:
    • Buff Floor attacks deal more damage (6% → 7%) and shield damage (1 → 8) per hit, with minimally compensated knockback scaling (50 → 48).
    • Change Floor attacks' angles have been altered (361° → 48°).
  • Edge attack:
    • Change Bowser has a new edge attack, an inward slash similar to his 100%+ edge attack in previous installments.
    • Nerf This new edge attack deals less damage (8% → 7%), has less range, and drastically more startup with a shorter duration (frames 8-17 → 22-24) in comparison to the previous edge attack. This significantly reduces its utility, no longer being one of the best edge attacks in the game.
    • Buff Edge attack grants more intangibility (frames 1-4 → 1-19) compared to the previous edge attack, and no longer has set knockback (110 (set)/100 (scaling) → 90 (base)/20 (scaling)).

Special moves[edit]

  • Fire Breath:
    • Change Fire Breath now deals consistent damage (2% (near)/1% (far) → 1.2%).
    • Buff Fire Breath has larger hitboxes, and the weakening of SDI also makes the move significantly more difficult to escape from.
    • Change Fire Breath now slightly pushes Bowser back while slightly pushing the opponent away, similarly to neutral infinites. This improves its safety, but hinders its damage racking ability.
  • Flying Slam:
    • Buff Grounded Flying Slam is now capable of grabbing aerial opponents, although the move has much smaller grabboxes (2u/2u) against aerial opponents.
    • Buff Upon grabbing an opponent, Flying Slam now grants Bowser 23 frames of intangibility after he grabs his opponent, making it harder to intercept.
      • Nerf However, the move has more lag before Bowser jumps (22 frames → 25), theoretically making it easier to DI.
    • Buff Bowser and his opponent have greater initial aerial acceleration when Bowser jumps (0.15 → 0.21 (Bowser), 0.18 → 0.19 (Opponent)). This gives Bowser more control over Flying Slam's trajectory.
    • Buff Flying Slam has received a hitbox while Bowser is falling that can hit bystanders.
      • Buff Altogether, these changes significantly improve its safety.
    • Buff When Bowser lands with Flying Slam after grabbing an opponent, he jumps higher, falls faster and retains much more momentum. This allows him to control his trajectory when he lands and he can now land on platforms above him to reduce its ending lag.
      • Nerf However, Bowser now lands before he can double jump when used on a flat surface. This makes it more difficult for Bowser to utilise his aerial followups if he is at center stage, away from platforms.
    • Buff Flying Slam's throw has increased knockback scaling (50 → 60), improving its KO potential.
    • Buff Flying Slam's throw release hitbox has increased base knockback (30 → 60).
    • Change Bowser releases his opponent sooner from Flying Slam's throw (frame 14 → 8).
      • Buff This makes Flying Slam harder to DI despite its longer startup animation.
      • Nerf However, this increases its ending lag as its total duration was unchanged.
    • Nerf Flying Slam's grab has a shorter duration (frames 8-10 (grounded)/17-19 (aerial) → 8/17).
    • Nerf Flying Slam's grabboxes are smaller (6u/4u → 5u/4u (grounded), 9u/8u/8u → 6u/4.5u (aerial) and the far grabbox does not reach as far (z offset: 20 → 17.5 (grounded), 18 → 15.5 (aerial)), reducing its range, especially the aerial version.
    • Nerf Flying Slam's grab has more ending lag (FAF 38 (grounded)/44 (aerial) → 43/49).
    • Nerf Aerial Flying Slam's grab no longer restores Bowser double jump if he performs a double jump near the ground, removing Koopa hopping.
    • Nerf Bowsercide now always KOes Bowser first and the opponent is released from Flying Slam when this occurs, significantly hindering its utility.
  • Whirling Fortress:
    • Buff Aerial Whirling Fortress covers significantly more distance, especially vertically, as mashing the special move button now increases its height. It also ascends faster and can now grab edges from behind. Altogether, these changes significantly improve its recovery potential.
    • Nerf Grounded Whirling Fortress now consists of eight hits instead of two, with the first seven hits having a different angle (180°), set knockback (50/70 (set)/100 (scaling)) and a lower SDI multiplier (0.8×) to allow them to connect reliably. However, the move still deals less damage overall (11% (hit 1)/5% (hit 2, clean)/3% (hit 2, late) → 1% (hits 1-7)/4% (hit 8)), and the last hit launches at a lower angle (80° → 60°), hindering its KO potential compared to the first hit in Brawl, despite its higher knockback scaling (80 → 150). Furthermore, it no longer deals shield damage and no longer grants intangibility on frames 1-5 upon start up.
  • Bowser Bomb:
    • Buff The 19% damage increase to shields drastically improves Bowser Bomb's shield pressuring ability, as due to its shield damage, it can now break even full shields in a single use if both the drop and landing hitbox connect. Bowser Bomb also descends faster, and the changes to hitstun canceling allow for the grounded version's first hit to true combo into the second hit.
  • Giga Bowser:
    • Buff Some of Giga Bowser's attacks have decreased start-up lag and increased knockback.
    • Nerf Some of Giga Bowser's attacks deal less damage. He also has a shorter duration (11 seconds → 8).

Update history[edit]

Bowser has received numerous buffs from game updates. However, he received one major nerf in update 1.0.4, as Flying Slam no longer KOs the opponent first if a Bowsercide is performed. On the flipside, Flying Slam has been significantly compensated for, as Bowser now has more control of its trajectory, it transitions faster, has a larger grab range, and now has invincibility frames before he leaves the ground. His up tilt, neutral aerial and Fire Shot have also been improved to varying degrees, while he significantly benefits from the changes on shield mechanics in updates 1.1.0 and 1.1.1; the changes grant his attacks even more chances of breaking a character's shield and give him an open attacking opportunity, but weakens his out of shield punishes with his Whirling Fortress. Update 1.1.3 heavily buffed his grab game by re-purposing his up throw into a very reliable combo starter, though this was toned down somewhat in update 1.1.4.

Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS 1.0.4

  • Nerf Self-destructs using Flying Slam now KO Bowser first instead of the opponent. When Bowser is KO'd, the opponent is released from the grab, potentially allowing them to recover back onto the stage.
  • Change Certain properties of Fire Breath have been adjusted.

Super Smash Bros. 4 1.0.6

  • Buff Bowser has more control over Flying Slam's trajectory.

Super Smash Bros. 4 1.0.8

  • Nerf Up tilt deals 1% less damage: 10% → 9%, slightly hindering its KO potential.
  • Buff Up tilt's start-up: frame 12 → 11 and ending lag decreased: frame 51 → 41.

Super Smash Bros. 4 1.1.0

  • Change Down smash's angle altered: 60° → 48°.

Super Smash Bros. 4 1.1.1

  • Buff Neutral aerial deals more damage: 5% (hits 1-4) → 6% and its landing lag decreased
  • Buff Fire Shot deals 1% more damage: 5% (clean)/4% (late) → 6%/5%; its base knockback increased: 25 → 35; its hit radius increased: 4u (clean)/3.5u (late) → 5u (both); its late hit's duration increased: 15 frames → 20; and its ending lag now matches Fire Breath's. Altogether, these changes improve its spacing potential.

Super Smash Bros. 4 1.1.3

  • Buff Up throw's knockback and angle altered: 90 base/80 growth → 25 base/155 growth, 70° → 82°. These changes repurpose it into a combo starter, which can be performed even up to high percents.
  • Buff Up throw's ending lag decreased: 69 frames → 64.
  • Nerf Up throw's loop hits deal 0.5% less damage: 1% → 0.5%.
  • Change Up throw's loop hits' hitlag multiplier decreased: 1x → 0.5x.
  • Change Up throw's final hit's knockback increased: 0 → 80 (base), 100 → 200 (growth).
  • Buff Flying Slam's grab to slam transition speed increased. This makes it function similarly to how it did in Brawl.
  • Buff All variations of Flying Slam now have invincibility frames before Bowser leaves the ground.
  • Buff All variations of Whirling Fortress can now grab ledges from behind.

Super Smash Bros. 4 1.1.4

  • Buff Dash attack damage: 10%/8% → 12%/10%.
  • Nerf Up throw knockback growth increased: 155 → 180, reducing its combo potential at high percentages.
  • Buff All variations of Flying Slam's grab range increased.

Technical changelist 1.1.4

Change Old value New value
Ground Hand Hitbox Size 4/3 5/4
Large Hitbox X Position 17 17.5
Ground to Air Hand Hitbox 1/1 2/2
Outer Hitbox X Position 17 17.5
Air Hand Hitbox 5/3.5 6/4.5
Large Hitbox X Position 15 15.5

Super Smash Bros. 4 1.1.5

  • Buff Air speed: 0.98 → 1
  • Buff Weight: 128 → 130
  • Buff Max Walk speed with heavy items increased: 1.31432 → 1.33432


  • Bowser has a unique attribute called Tough Guy. It is universal armor against attacks that deal less than 19 units of knockback. This is most apparent when Bowser has low damage, and it can be amplified by crouching, but not while crawling or attacking. It will decrease as Bowser starts taking more damage.[3]
  • Bowser can crawl, although it has no practical use because of his large hurtbox.

For a gallery of Bowser's hitboxes, see here.

  Name Damage Description
Neutral attack   5% Two alternating punches. Both hits render Bowser's arms are intangible throughout their durations. The first hit has set knockback and can be jab canceled into other moves, such as a dash grab or Bowser Bomb. Conversely, the second hit deals more damage, and is strong enough to KO around 140% near the edge. This is similar to his defense punches from Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story.
Forward tilt   12% A backhanded punch. Fairly powerful with fast start-up and good range, it also renders Bowser's arm intangible throughout its duration. It is based on the second hit of his Drill Claw attack in Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars. Can KO at around 110% near the edge.
Up tilt   9% An overhead arcing swipe. It has respectable utility, as it can be a good combo option at low percentages either by starting and then chaining into itself, acting as a follow-up from up throw, or acting as a KOing option around 150%. It also renders his arm intangible throughout its duration. However, it has a blind spot right next to his torso.
Down tilt   14% (hit 1), 11% (hit 2) Lays in a prone position and throws two alternating hooks. Both hits render his arms intangible throughout their durations. It has a chance to trip at low percentages, but the first hit does not connect into the second hit past medium percentages. The first hit has slightly higher base knockback, whereas the second hit has slightly longer range, making it a decent KOing option near the edge, with the first hit KOing under 100% at the edge, and even hitting players hanging on the edge.
Dash attack   12% (clean), 10% (late) A side kick, similar to Meta Knight's dash attack. Good for hitting prone or tumbling opponents and has high base knockback.
Forward smash   23% (clean feet), 20% (clean body), 17% (late feet), 14% (late body) A dropkick. It is the third strongest forward smash in the game, being surpassed only by King Dedede and maximum Aura Lucario's. Its outstanding damage output also threatens shields, as they will receive severe damage from it. When spaced properly, it can even hit opponents hanging on an edge or lingering just below it. Its clean hitboxes render his legs intangible, whereas its late hitboxes have anti-rebounding priority. Even from the center of the stage, it can KO at 70% uncharged.
Up smash   20% (hit 1 center), 15% (hit 1 sides), 6% (hit 2) Lays in a prone position and then hops to thrust his shell's spikes upward. It renders his shell invincible and grants anti-rebounding priority throughout its duration, which make it all but impossible to challenge from above. However, it will still clank against a move that has invincibility frames. It also hits on both sides when Bowser lands from his hop, but these hits lack KO potential because of their significantly lower damage outputs. When sweetspotted, it can KO at 90% uncharged.
Down smash   2% (hit 1), 1% (hits 2-6), 9% (hit 7) Withdraws in his shell and then spins around rapidly. It hits multiple times, and is strong enough to function as a fairly reliable KOing option under 150% and while near the edge.
Neutral aerial   6% (hits 1-4) (occasionally, 2 or more of the hits can combine, dealing their combined damage in one attack) An aerial cartwheel. It can combo into forward and up aerials at low to medium percentages. It is a mechanically unusual attack, as both its third and fourth hits are present at once (on Bowser's top and bottom half respectively). As such, connecting with the fourth hit before the third hit will result in the third hit missing the opponent. Despite this quirk, it is the third most damaging aerial attack in the game, being surpassed only by maximum Aura Lucario's back aerial and Yoshi's down aerial.
Forward aerial   13% (hand), 12% (arm), 11% (body) Swipes downward with his claws. It has quick start-up, a respectable damage output, and great range, as it can even hit opponents below him. It can also autocancel from a short hop. Altogether, these traits make arguably Bowser's most useful aerial.
Back aerial   19% A dropkick. It is very powerful, as it can either KO around 100% from center-stage and as low as 60% at the edge, though it does not have much vertical range. The second strongest and most damaging back aerial in the game behind maximum Aura Lucario's back aerial. Autocancels from a short hop.
Up aerial   15% An upward headbutt. Although it is not as strong as in Brawl, it is still a viable KOing option due to KOing around 100% while near the upper blast line. By extension, it is a KO confirm follow-up from up throw at high percentages.
Down aerial   16% (drop), 2% (landing) Withdraws into his shell, turns upside down, and propels himself downward. A stall-then-fall, it emits a small shockwave on both sides when he lands. It meteor smashes during the first few frames and deals respectable diagonal knockback during its later frames. Due to its large hitbox, its meteor smashing hitbox can effectively edgeguard when near the edge. Like other stall-then-falls, it will almost certainly cause a self-destruct if used off-stage.
Grab   Reaches out. Bowser has a fairly large grab range for a non-disjointed or non-tether grab, especially when pivot grabbing, as his pivot grab can cover the entirety of a Battlefield platform.
Pummel   3.1% A headbutt. Moderately slow, but one of the most damaging pummels in the game.
Forward throw   12% Places the opponent in between his horns, rears his head back, and then powerfully sways his head forward to launch the opponent. It is the strongest forward throw in the game, KOing around 120% near the edge. However, its throw hitbox is not active until frame 36, which results in it taking longer to throw opponents than back throw.
Back throw   12% Throws the opponent backward in a sideways motion. It has the exact same damage output and knockback values as his forward throw, which make it a viable KOing option around 120% near the edge. However, its throw hitbox is active on frame 19, enabling it to throw opponents earlier than forward throw.
Up throw   0.5% (hits 1-7), 1% (hit 8), 2% (throw) Throws the opponent slightly upward, withdraws into his shell, and then spins rapidly in order to repeatedly stab them with his shell's spikes. While it is Bowser's least damaging throw (dealing up to 6.5% damage), it is also his best combo starter, as it can combo into up tilt, up smash, neutral aerial, up aerial, forward aerial, back aerial, and even Flying Slam. Its aerial combos are especially effective against fast-fallers, although its Flying Slam combo requires a hard read. The final hit before the throw deals very high knockback to fighters who are caught in the crossfire. On a side note, unlike in Brawl, instead of always dealing fixed knockback, the throw hitbox's knockback now grows stronger as the target's damage increases.
Down throw   10% (hit 1), 2% (throw) Places the opponent on the ground and splashes them. Its high base knockback, low knockback scaling, and high ending lag prevent it from having any follow-ups. Despite this, it actually has KO potential unlike in Brawl, thanks to its throw hitbox now dealing damage. Its first hit can also damage nearby bystanders. It KOs around 150% near the edge, and can be used as an alternative to his forward and back throws for setting up an edgeguard.
Floor attack (front)   7% Swipes his claws behind himself and in front of himself while stumbling to his feet.
Floor attack (back)   7% Swipes his claws around himself while getting up.
Floor attack (trip)   5% Swipes his claws around himself while getting up.
Edge attack   7% Swipes inward while climbing up. One of the longest ranged edge attacks in the game.
Neutral special Default Fire Breath 1.2% (loop) Expels a stream of fire from his mouth. It gradually loses strength and range, but will slowly regain its strength when not in use. It can be angled upward or downward, which can potentially gimp recovering opponents, although the flames at the very end of the stream do not cause flinching.
Custom 1 Fire Shot 6% (clean), 5% (late) Expels a large Fireball from his mouth instead of a stream of fire. The Fireball pierces opponents, similarly to Super Dragon's. Unlike Fire Breath, it will not weaken over time when used in succession.
Custom 2 Fire Roar 2.7% (clean), 1.8% (late) Deals more damage and has longer range, but loses range quickly and takes longer to recharge.
Side special Default Flying Slam 18% (throw), 15% (collateral) Grabs an opponent, jumps with them into the air and backflips repeatedly before belly-to-belly suplexing them onto the ground. It deals immense vertical knockback that can KO at 120%, making it a very reliable KOing option. Its power and launching angle makes it difficult to properly DI, especially if the user has high gravity. The suplex can also hit other opponents on the ground that it lands into for similarly powerful knockback. It can be used to dive off-stage with the opponent for a potential sacrificial KO.
Custom 1 Dash Slam 12% (throw), 10% (collateral) Dashes forward before performing the belly-to-belly suplex with less vertical distance, but deals less damage. Its angle is more horizontal than vertical.
Custom 2 Dash Slash 8% (clean), 6% (late) A dashing slash that covers a lot of ground, even in mid-air. It deals moderate knockback, but noticeably less than Flying Slam, along with being weaker, and can be blocked or countered. Despite this, it is considered one of the most useful special custom moves in the game, due to its complete autocancel property and pseudo-wavedash, which makes it a fairly safe approaching option and grants it combo potential. It is comparable to Koopa Klaw, albeit without the grab.
Up special Default Whirling Fortress 1% (grounded hits 1-7), 4% (grounded hit 8)
10% (aerial hit 1), 3% (aerial hits 2-6), 2% (aerial hits 7-11)
Withdraws into his shell and spins around rapidly, similarly to his down smash. It is capable of moving forward or backward while doing so, which makes it a very useful out of shield option. In the air, it propels Bowser diagonally upward, while button mashing enables it to cover more vertical distance. It can travel a deceptively long distance, but can be intercepted quite easily in the air.
Custom 1 Flying Fortress 4% Covers more vertical distance, but at the cost of horizontal distance. It deals less damage due to only hitting once (contrary to the in-game description saying it deals none), but its single hit launches opponents. If used immediately out of knockback, the move may not offer any vertical movement at all, drastically hindering Bowser's recovery. The move goes straight up on the ground.
Custom 2 Sliding Fortress 6% Covers more horizontal distance, but at the cost of vertical distance. It only hits once, deals less knockback, and has increased ending lag. Isn’t as effective in the air as on the ground.
Down special Default Bowser Bomb 4% (hop), 20% (Ground Pound), 11% (landing) A Ground Pound. It deals immense vertical knockback to anyone hit and can KO under 100%, making it one of Bowser's most reliable KOing options. On the ground, Bowser performs a weak headbutt that drags opponents into the main attack. If performed in the air, Bowser performs the Ground Pound after a brief pause instead of leaping first. Emits a shockwave upon landing and will break full shields if all of its grounded hitboxes connect. It will almost certainly cause a self-destruct if used off-stage due to its ending lag, though it can grab ledges if Bowser directly faces one while falling, and starts the move at a full-hop height.
Custom 1 Turbulent Bomb 4% (hop), 9% (Ground Pound), 9% (landing) The Ground Pound emits a gale instead of a shockwave at its impact, pushing away any opponents next to where Bowser lands instead of damaging them. It deals less overall damage and knockback. Bowser also leaps lower, but it covers more horizontal distance, making it useful for gimping opponents with poor recoveries, such as Little Mac and Captain Falcon.
Custom 2 Slip Bomb 18% (Ground Pound), 13% (landing), 2% (shockwave) The Ground Pound trips any opponents standing near Bowser at its impact, although its high ending lag means it can still be punished by those who trip near Bowser. Bowser also leaps higher, covering more vertical distance, but at the cost of horizontal distance and its leaping hitbox.
Final Smash Giga Bowser Transforms into Giga Bowser, the final boss of Melee's Adventure Mode. Giga Bowser has total flinch resistance during his transformation. Instead of using the moves that Bowser gained in SSB4, Giga Bowser reuses all of Bowser's moves and animations from Melee and Brawl, complete with his smash attacks inflicting elemental effects. The transformation lasts for 480 frames, but some of Giga Bowser's attacks are actually inferior to Bowser's attacks in terms of damage or knockback dealt, and the attacks are far less potent when compared to a Bowser who acquires a Super Mushroom, or is made giant-sized by a Lightning Bolt.

On-screen appearance[edit]

  • Emerges from a wall of flames.


  • Up taunt: Throws his head back and spins it in a circle while roaring and with steam billowing out of his mouth.
  • Side taunt: Leans forward and furiously snaps his jaws five times.
  • Down taunt: Bounces precariously on one leg, as if he were teetering.
Up taunt Side taunt Down taunt
BowserUpTauntSSB4.jpg BowserSideTauntSSB4.jpg BowserDownTauntSSB4.jpg

Idle poses[edit]

  • Sways his head around and back while exhaling steam from his mouth and pretending to roar.
  • Clenches his fists and bashes them together, then bends over slightly and pretends to roar.
BowserIdlePose1WiiU.jpg BowserIdlePose2WiiU.jpg

Crowd cheer[edit]

English Japanese
Description Bow-ser! Koo-pa! *claps 3 times*
Pitch Group chant Male

Victory poses[edit]

A rock-based remix of the Course Clear Fanfare used in Super Mario Bros.
  • Takes a step forward while swiping his right hand's claws, then takes another step forward while swiping with his left hand's claws.
  • Leans forward and then rears back triumphantly.
  • Repeatedly spins around in his shell, similarly to his down smash, before emerging to strike a pose while grinning.
BowserPose1WiiU.gif BowserPose2WiiU.gif BowserPose3WiiU.gif

In competitive play[edit]

Official Custom Moveset Project[edit]

Character Custom sets available
BowserHeadSSB4-U.png Bowser 1211 1311 3211 3311 1212
1213 1312 1313 2211 2311

Notable players[edit]

Any number following the Smasher name indicates placement on the PGR 100, which recognizes the official top 100 players in Super Smash Bros. 4 of all time.



Tier placement and history[edit]

Opinions on Bowser's viability have greatly fluctuated through SSB4's metagame, but the general opinion is that he has fared much better than in Melee or Brawl. Around the metagame's early lifespan, due to all of the top spots taken at early SSB4 tournaments (including a Bowser ditto for the Grand Finals in the pre-release San Diego Comic Con Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS tournament), Bowser was initially considered the best character in the game. Players took little time to notice the significant buffs he received, and to further compliment this, characters that were excessively challenging for him in Brawl, such as Marth, Meta Knight, Falco, the Ice Climbers and most notoriously King Dedede, were either heavily nerfed or, in the case of the Ice Climbers, removed entirely. However, as time went on, perception on Bowser's viability noticeably fell. The first instance of this came about from a significant nerf to vectoring in update 1.0.4, followed by his weaknesses starting to come afloat, which were the same as, and as exploitable as they were in previous installments. He also lacked any noteworthy results at high-level play in a heavy contrast compared to the early lifespan of the metagame, and his perception began declining much like in Brawl.

Despite his lowered perception within the community, update 1.1.3 brought immense buffs, the most notable of which were to Flying Slam, Whirling Fortress and his now-infamous up throw. These buffs allowed Bowser to perform considerably better at locals, as his playerbase managed to achieve a few placements at high-level play, largely thanks to players such as LordMix and KingKong. This ultimately culminated in Bowser being placed at 30th on the first 4BR tier list, resulting in him becoming the second lowest ranking mid-tier character; while a far cry compared to the positive opinions of his viability during the initial release, it was still his best placement in the series at the moment.

However, update 1.1.4 nerfed his infamous up throw by weakening its guaranteed KO set-ups, though it brought further buffs to Flying Slam. Update 1.1.5 also brought more buffs to his survivability and recovery by increasing his weight and air speed, respectively. Thanks to the recent results of his playerbase, Bowser only dropped slightly to 32nd on the second tier list. As the tiers were expanded for the second tier list, Bowser maintained his status as a mid-tier character despite his placement drop, with the drop being largely attributable to the inclusion of Corrin and Bayonetta into the game between the first and second tier lists.

In the current metagame, many argued that Bowser's tier placement was somewhat low, with ZeRo considering Bowser to be a high-tier character, and Nairo utilizing Bowser to great effect in a number of upsets. This was later reflected with Bowser's placement of 25th on the third tier list; in addition to becoming both the second highest ranking mid-tier character and surpassing Donkey Kong as the highest ranking super heavyweight, this tier rise was the fourth highest between the second and third tier lists. He then saw a slight rise to 24th on the fourth and current tier list; the expansion of the tiers have resulted on him now becoming a high-tier character, despite losing his status to the best super heavyweight to Donkey Kong once again.


Ntsc Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS The archenemy of Mario and the reason Peach spends more time kidnapped than in her own castle. His plans aren't always the best, and occasionally he even finds himself on Mario's side. In Smash Bros., he's a serious heavyweight who laughs off weaker attacks. Hit him hard to send him flying!
Ntsc Super Smash Bros. for Wii U Mario's archnemesis and the reason Peach spends more time in "another castle" than in her own. His plans almost never work out, and occasionally he 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!
Pal Mario's princess-kidnapping arch-enemy. Yes, he's quite the villain, but he can also be a bit of a buffoon, too. And sometimes, he even ends up on Mario's side! As a serious heavyweight, he's tough to launch, and using standard attacks on him will only make him laugh. If you want to send him flying, make sure to whack him really hard!
NES: Super Mario Bros. (10/1985)
N64: Super Mario 64 (09/1996)
Bowser (Alt.)
Ntsc Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS 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.
Ntsc Super Smash Bros. for Wii U Bowser makes good use of his heavy physique with his down special Bowser Bomb, slamming down with his backside. 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 his up special Whirling Fortress.
Pal Down special Bowser Bomb makes good use of Bowser's bulky physique to crush opponents. If you use it on the ground, he'll jump first, hitting anyone on the way up with his horns, then hit for a combo on the way down. When you use his Whirling Fortress up special in the air, press the button repeatedly to climb higher.
NES: Super Mario Bros. (10/1985)
N64: Super Mario 64 (09/1996)
Giga Bowser
Ntsc Prepare to behold Bowser in all his Koopa glory. This fearsome form first appeared all the way back in Melee. While transformed, Bowser deals extra damage, is better at launching foes, and even gains special effects on some of his attacks. He won't flinch and can't be thrown, but he does still take damage.
Pal The definitive way to prove that Bowser's the king. This fearsome form made its debut all the way back in Melee. While transformed, Bowser deals more damage, launches foes further, and certain attacks have extra effects like freezing opponents. He won't flinch, and he can't be thrown either, but he will still take damage.

In Event Matches[edit]

Solo Events[edit]

Co-op Events[edit]

  • A Lurking Menace: Mario and Luigi must defeat Bowser Jr., but if the match lasts too long, they must also defeat a giant Bowser.
  • A Royal Errand: Robin and Marth must collect 500G from Bowser and Wario in a Coin Battle.
  • Final Battle Team-Up: Bowser appears as an opponent to be defeated.
  • Peach in Peril: Bowser and Bowser Jr. must defeat all opponents except Peach, where KOing her results in a failure.
  • Solidarity: Olimar and Rosalina & Luma must defeat Mario and Luigi, and then they must defeat Bowser and Bowser Jr.
  • The Ultimate Battle: Two players select a character and must defeat the entire roster.

Alternate costumes[edit]

Bowser Palette (SSB4).png
BowserHeadSSB4-U.png BowserHeadBlackSSB4-U.png BowserHeadYellowSSB4-U.png BowserHeadGreenSSB4-U.png BowserHeadGreySSB4-U.png BowserHeadOrangeSSB4-U.png BowserHeadRedSSB4-U.png BowserHeadBlueSSB4-U.png



  • Although Bowser was the last veteran confirmed during the E3 2013 event, he was the first veteran to debut in Melee to be confirmed.
  • Bowser is the only veteran in SSB4 who has a new victory theme.
  • Bowser's alt. trophy in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U resembles his All-Star Mode trophy in Melee.
  • Bowser, Dr. Mario, and Lucina are the only characters who are not playable in a Solo Event unless selected.
    • Bowser is also the only one who isn't unlockable, or a clone.
  • Bowser's artwork in this game resembles his artwork in some Mario games, starting with Super Mario Galaxy, although with his head, arms, and feet posed differently.