Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (SSBU)

Bowser Guide: Matchup Chart and Combos

July 2022 Major Tier List Update!
13.0 Best Character Tier List

Patch Notes and Updates
All Update and Patch Note History
Ver. 13.0.1 Patch Notes and Balance Changes

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Bowser Guide

This is a guide to Bowser in the game Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Everything about Bowser, including how to unlock them, bread and butter combos, frame data, alt costumes and skins, as well as Bowser matchups and counters, can be found here.

Bowser Tier and Overview

Stats and General Info

Bowser Image
Game Series Super Mario Bros.
Smash Bros. Debut Super Smash Bros. Melee
Fighter Number 14
Unlock Order 3
Number of Jumps 2
Weight 135 Units (1/87)
Dash Speed 1.971 (22/87)
Air Speed 1.155 (20/87)
Fast Fall Speed 2.832 (20/87)
Special Attributes Crouch Walk

Tier List Placement

SSBU Bowser Icon B Tier Tier

Extremely high KO power lets him steal stocks early

Smash Ultimate Bowser is perhaps the best the character has ever been. As always, he has access to a ton of KO moves, which can take opponents stocks extremely early. While his moves are all rather slow, he is immune to rapid jabs, and several of his attacks have super armor on them, allowing him to tank many opponent attacks and win interactions. He also boasts very high dash speed, and can edgeguard with B and use his command grab (side B) to clean up stocks.

Being a heavyweight, he is a target for projectiles, so he will have to make use of his speed to avoid getting camped. He also has a terrible disadvantage state, and mediocre recovery, which can make it tough for Bowser when he is getting comboed by an opponent. Although he has rather slow moves, each one of them hits like a truck, and Bowser is one of the easier character to pick up and play as.

See Our Tier List Here!

Bowser's Strengths and Weaknesses

Strengths ・Lots of damage on all moves
・Can KO with his command grab (Side B), which can also be used midair
・Very high endurance, thanks to his weight class
・Powerful smash attacks which kill early and have armor
・Does not flinch when hit with a rapid jab
Weaknesses ・Very large body, and big target for projectiles and combos
・Mediocre recovery (Up B) and poor disadvantage state
・Slow startup on most moves

Bowser Matchup Chart

Matchup Chart

Bowser Image
Bowser Jr.Captain FalconDiddy KongDuck HuntFalcoGreninjaJokerLinkLucinaLuigiMarioMega ManMii GunnerMin MinMr. Game & WatchNessPalutenaPiranha PlantPokemon TrainerR.O.B.RobinSamus/Dark SamusShulkSonicToon LinkWarioYoung LinkZero Suit Samus
Banjo & KazooieBayonettaBylethChromIce ClimbersIkeInklingIsabelleJigglypuffKenKing DededeKing K. RoolKirbyLucasMarthMeta KnightMii BrawlerOlimarPac-ManPichuRidleyRosalina & LumaRoySephirothSheikSimon/RichterSnakeSteveTerryVillagerWii Fit TrainerWolfYoshiZelda
CloudCorrinDonkey KongDr. MarioFoxGanondorfHeroIncineroarLittle MacLucarioMewtwoMii SwordfighterPit/Dark PitRyu

Notes About Matchup Chart

1. -2 = Disadvantage. -1 = Slight Disadvantage or Even. 0 = Even. +1 = Slight Advantage or Even. +2 = Advantage.
2. The matchup chart was based around both the opinions of professional players of each character, as well as our own experience through playing Bowser.
3. Characters within each tier are unordered
4. Pokemon Trainer's individual Pokemon (Squirtle, Ivysaur, and Charizard) as well as Echo fighters with no significant difference than their regular counterpart are not shown.
5. For other characters who are not shown here, we are still investigating the matchup.

Bowser Combos

Combo List
Up Throw→Jump→Up Special
N-air→Fast Fall→Up Tilt
Forward Air→Forward Tilt

Combo Explanation

Combo 1
Combo 2
Combo 3
Up Throw→Jump→Up Special
This combo can be used on low percentage opponents. It can cause up to 36% in damage and is an easy combo, so be sure to remember it.
N-air→Fast Fall→Up Tilt
This combo can be used on low percentage opponents. Perform a neutral air while fast falling to make this combo work.
Forward Air→Forward Tilt
This combo can be used on low percentage opponents.

Bowser Frame Data and Moveset

Best Out of Shield Options

Move Frames
Up B 6 Frames
Jump > Side B 9 Frames
Neutral Air 11 Frames
Shield Grab 12 Frames

Bowser's go to out of shield option is his up special, which comes out at 6 frames, has a long lasting hitbox, and can be moved around. If an opponent's attack was very safe, whiffing this move will lead to a punish, so be careful not to get baited into doing so. If the opponent has a habit of hitting your shield and then shielding, you can jump and use side b, which will grab a shielded opponent, and comes out in 9 frames, making it even faster than a shield grab.

Jab (Neutral Attack)

1v1 Damage (%) Startup Frames
Jab 1
4.8 7
Jab 2 7.2 9


Since Bowser doesn't have a ton of moves that come out super quick, his jab is a good get-off-me tool to use at close range to put some space between you and an opponent.

Dash Attack / Tilts

1v1 Damage (%) Startup Frames
Dash Attack (Regular)
14.4 11
Dash Attack (Late) 12 15
Forward Tilt
14.4 10
Up Tilt
13.2 11
Down Tilt (Hit 1)
8.4 10
Down Tilt (Hit 2) 9.6 15

Dash Attack

Bowser's dash attack has a long lasting hitbox and deals great damage. It is great for catching landings, or for whiff punishing a move while it is in endlag.

Forward Tilt

Bowser's ftilt has great range, as well as damage and knockback. It does have noticeable endlag though, so be careful not to whiff it.

Up Tilt

Bowser's up tilt has great knockback on it, and has a wide hitbox that damages anything above Bowser. The part of him attacking is also invulnerable, making it great for catching jumps, or as an anti-aerial.

Down Tilt

Bowser's down tilt deals good damage, and hits low, so it is great for edgeguarding an opponent, as it can two-frame recoveries.

Smash Attacks

1v1 Damage (%) Startup Frames
Forward Smash
(Smash ← or → + A)
27.6/24 22
Forward Smash (Late) 20.4/16.8 24
Up Smash
(Smash ↑ + A)
26.4/19.2/19.2 16
Up Smash (Landing) 14.4 37
Down Smash
(Hit 1)
(Smash ↓ + A)
19.2 12
Down Smash
(Hit 2)
18 28

Forward Smash

Bowser's forward smash has great range, deals a ton of damage, and has extremely high knockback. It has considerably slow startup and long endlag, but it can KO opponents at very low percents, so it is excellent as a shield break punish. All of Bowser's smash attacks have armor on them, so this is great for tanking an attack while KOing an opponent.

Up Smash

Like Fsmash, Bowser's up smash deals good damage and has high knockback. It is somewhat slow in its startup, but since Bowser's shell becomes invulnerable, it is an excellent anti-aerial for opponents who try to attack from disadvantage.

Down Smash

Down Smash is Bowser's quickest smash attack, and it is mostly used to catch an opponent's rolls.


1v1 Damage (%) Startup Frames
Neutral Air (Hit 1)
(A + no direction while airborne)
7.2 8
Neutral Air (Hit 2) 7.2 14
Neutral Air (Hit 3) 7.2 18
Neutral Air (Hit 4) 7.2 18
Forward Air
(Hold ← or → in the direction you are facing + A while airborne)
15.6/14.4/13.2 11
Back Air
(← or → Opposite of the direction you are facing + A while airborne)
22.8 9
Up Air 1
(↑ + A While Airborne)
18 9
Down Air
(↓ + A While Airborne)
19.2 17
Down Air (Late) 19.2 25
Down Air (Landing) 2.4 1

Neutral Air

Bowser's neutral air has a long lasting hitbox. It does have pretty quick startup, but it is rather slow at hitting grounded opponents, so it is not the best get-off-me tool. It is also unsafe to use on shield.

Forward Air

Bowser's forward air deals good damage and has excellent knockback. It has noticeable landing lag, but the move covers the entire 180° in front of him, so it is a decent poking option (-9/-10 on shield). It is also very good for edgeguarding.

Back Air

Back air is Bowser's strongest aerial. It doesn't have the range of forward air, but it is slightly faster, and deals more knockback. Note that it is very unsafe on shield.

Up Air

Bowser's up air deals great damage. While it is not the fastest up air, and its range is not all that big, hitting an opponent with it in the air is a good kill option.

Down Air

Bowser's down air has him slam down on the ground with his shell, dealing considerable damage and knockback. It is good for hitting an opponent recklessly trying to hit Bowser from above, but it has noticeable endlag, and is unsafe on shield, so it will be predictable if overused. The shockwaves just to the side of the attack will also make an opponent flinch even if the attack didn't directly hit them, which can prevent an opponent from punishing.


1v1 Damage (%) Startup Frames
Neutral Special
2.16 23/30/37/44
Side Special (Ground)
- 6
Side Special (Aerial) - 6
Side Special
21.6 9
Up Special (Ground, Multi Hit)
1.2 6
Up Special (Ground, Finisher) 7.2 39
Up Special (Aerial, Hit 1) 8.4 6
Up Special (Aerial, Hit 2-6) 1.2 8/12/16/20/24
Up Special (Aerial, Hit 7-11) 1.2 28/32/36/40/44
Up Special (Aerial, Hit 12) 2.4 48
Down Special (Ground, Hit 1) (↓+B) 4.8 11
Down Special (Ground, Hit 2) 24 37
Down Special (Aerial) 24 31
Down Special (Landing) 13.2 1

Neutral Special (Fire Breath)

Bowser's neutral special unleashes flames at an opponent, and can be shifted up or down to change direction mid-attack. If used on an opponent's shield, they will likely be unable to break out of it and punish, so their only option is to jump over it and attack Bowser from behind. Holding B allows you to extend the move, but it will gradually lose range before running out. In order for it to replenish, it needs to cooldown for 12 seconds.

When angled downward, this move is very good for preventing opponents from grabbing the ledge from offstage, as most characters don't have an easy way to deal with it.

Side Special (Flying Slam)

Bowser's side B is the fastest command grab in the game, and can grab an opponent from the ground (even when shielded), or in the air. It is a very good mixup against opponents who have been conditioned to shield a lot, and can KO in the early 100% range, especially if it can be landed on a platform.

The move can be shifted left or right by both Bowser and the opponent, but whoever has lower % will have more influence. Grabbing an opponent and diving offstage with the move will allow you to trade stocks with the opponent, making it a good option when you have a stock lead on an opponent (Bowser will always die first when doing this). The move is fast and great for KOing, but it has rather smasll range and long endlag, so be careful not to whiff it.

Up Special (Whirling Fortress)

Bowser's up special makes him spin around in his shell and deal damage to whatever he hits. When grounded, the move can be moved around, and mashing the special button slightly increases damage output.

Its quick startup makes it an excellent out of shield option, allowing Bowser to get opponents who are pressuring his shield off of him quickly, so it is an essential part of his kit.

As a recovery, it is decent, and some characters may struggle to punish it, unless they have some kind of disjoint to hit it with.

Down Special (Bowser Bomb)

Bowser's down special can be used from the ground, or midair. From the ground, he will jump up and do a dive bomb, and when used mid air, he will drop down from where he already was. While it has long startup and endlag if whiffed, it can completely destroy a full shield if an opponent tries to shield the attack, which can allow Bowser to end their stock with a charged forward smash. If used repeatedly, you will get punished for it, but it is a great mixup against an opponent who shields a lot, and can be used after recovering to the stage when an opponent is shielded.

Grabs and Throws

1v1 Damage (%) Startup Frames
Pummel 1.92 2
Grab (Normal) - 8
Dash Grab - 11
Pivot Grab - 12
Forward Throw (Throw)
(← or → While Grabbing)
14.4 36
Back Throw (Throw)
(← or → While Grabbing)
14.4 19
Up Throw (Hit 1-7)
(↑ While Grabbing)
0.6 21/25/29/33/37/41/45
Up Throw (Hit 1-8) 2.4 49
Up Throw (Throw) 7.2 57
Down Throw (Hitbox)
(↓ While Grabbing)
12 35
Down Throw (Throw) 4.8 37

Forward Throw

Bowser's forward throw is used for gaining stage control or putting an opponent offstage. It can also KO an opponent near the ledge at higher percents.

Back Throw

Bowser's back throw is also used for gaining stage control or putting an opponent offstage. It KOs a bit earlier than Fthrow, if standing in front of the ledge.

Up Throw

Bowser's up throw puts an opponent directly above him. At low percents, it can combo into other moves like up special, forward air, or up air.

Down Throw

Bowser's down throw allows him to body slam an opponent and send them away. It doesn't lead to any combos, but it deals a ton of damage, so it is your best throw at mid percents for racking up damage.

Final Smash

Attack Name How to Use Effect
Giga Bowser Press B after obtaining the Smash Ball Bowser transforms into a giant ferocious version of himself. Select an area to aim and unleash a powerful punch. If an opponent is at a higher percent, it will instantly KO them.

Bowser Balance Changes

Version 7.0.0 Balance Patch

Other Increased shield size.

Version 4.0.0 Balance Patch

Down Air Attack Immediately descend when using the attack after being launched.

Version 3.0.0 Balance Patch

Up Special Made it so opponents cannot break their fall when continuously hit on the ground.

Version 2.0.0 Balance Patch

Neutral Attack Increased power.
Side Tilt Attack Increased power.
Down Smash Attack Extended launch distance.
Up Special Made it easier to hit multiple times.
Final Smash & FS Meter Crouching opponents will now be launched the same as standing opponents.

Major Changes From Smash 4

Down Smash
(↓ + A)
Now attacks on both sides of Bowser. KO Option = Buff.
Up Tilt
(↑ + A)
Endlag was reduced, increasing its utility. Buff
Up Throw
(Grab + ↑)
Now 2x stronger, but no longer a kill confirm = Nerf.

How to Unlock Bowser

Unlocking Via Smash Mode
3rd Fighter Unlocked
After unlocking Zelda, let 10 minutes pass OR play another battle in smash after soft-resetting OR return to the menu from World of Light
Unlocking via Classic Mode
Clear Classing Mode 1 time using Donkey Kong.
Unlocking via World of Light
Molten Castle

There are three ways to unlock Bowser. Completing any of these, then defeating Bowser when they appear in the “a New Challenger Appears” screen will allow you to use them afterward.

How to Unlock Characters Fast

Bowser Alt Costumes and Skins

Bowser Reveal Trailer

Smash Ultimate Character Guides

List of Fighters
Tier List
Tier List
Unlocking Characters
Unlocking Fighters

Character Stat Lists

Character Stats
Weights of All Characters Run Speeds of All Characters
Air Speeds of All Characters Fast Fall Speeds of All Characters


4 Anonymous9 months

Bowser is mid A tier at lowest

3 Anonymousalmost 1 year

Should be an A tier, with high mobility and good KO tools, this character, if played right, can dominate the field, I say A tier.


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