Bowser (SSBB)

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This article is about Bowser’s appearance in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. For other uses, see Bowser.
Universe Mario
Appears in Super Smash Bros. Melee
Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Super Smash Bros. (Wii U and 3DS)
Debut Super Mario Bros. (1985)
Availability Starter
Tier F (33)

Bowser (Koopa in Japanese (クッパ Kuppa)?) is the primary antagonist of the “Super Mario” series. His debut in the series was in Super Smash Bros. Melee and he returns in Super Smash Bros. Brawl.

Currently, he is 33rd on the tier list, improving slightly from his position in Melee, as he has great power and range, but his mediocre tournament results, vulnerability to infinite chain grabs, and very poor match-ups clocks him at the F Tier.


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

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

However, given Bowser's extreme heavyweight and decent falling speed it makes him also open for infinite chain grabs like Wario and Dedede's infinite chain grab due to his extremely large size and weight. His horizontal recovery, Whirling Fortress, is worse than Donkey Kong's Spinning Kong and it also gives poor vertical distance.

Changes from Melee to Brawl

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

Bowser's purely cosmetic changes are a new voice actor (Eric Newsome) rather than having recycled voice clips from Super Mario 64, different sounds in his tilts and jab, a different sound in his Neutral Special (Flame) and more realistic roars (as opposed to his usual cartoonish roars). He also has two new palette swaps: brown and a combination of black and white.


Ground Attacks

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

Aerial Attacks

  • Neutral Aerial - Spins around inside his shell. 15% damage with low knockback that has very low KO potential.
  • Forward Aerial - Slashes in the air in front rather quickly. 13% damage. Decent knockback with surprising speed.
  • Back Aerial - Thrusts out his shell behind him. High knockback. 15% damage. High ending lag on the ground.
  • Up Aerial - Swings his head upward with a little but noticeable startup lag but little ending lag in the air. 17% damage with incredibly high knockback make it one of the best up airs in the game in power. High ending lag on the ground.
  • Down Aerial - Retracts into his shell and spins himself into the ground. Limited shockwave if hits the ground. It can Meteor Smash when hit by the last hit, but it's weak and overall not recommended. Multi-hit attack that does up to 23% damage. High aerial lag and ground lag.

Grabs & Throws

  • Pummel - Headbutts to the opponent's head or body. 3% damage. Very slow pummel.
  • Forward Throw - Launches foe forward using his head. 10% damage. Decent knockback, but will rarely KO.
  • Back Throw - Turns around, and tosses foe forward. 10% damage. Decent knockback and better at KOs than forward throw, but still rarely KOs.
  • Up Throw - Bowser tosses foe upwards, retreats into his shell, and spins, damaging the foe with his spikes. 10% damage. Decent but set knockback.
  • Down Throw - Sets opponent on floor, then flings himself forward, performing a body slam on his opponent. 12% damage.

On-screen appearance

  • Emerges from a wall of flames.

Special Moves


  • Up: Throws his head back and roars.
  • Side: Snaps furiously forward five times.
  • Down: Balances precariously on one leg.

Bowser's Match-ups

Super Smash Bros. Brawl Character Matchups

Role in the Subspace Emissary

Bowser first appears after Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong chase down his troops, who had stolen their bananas in order to lure them to him as a trap. Bowser confronts the two and transforms DK into a trophy with a Dark Cannon, but not before DK punches Diddy away. Bowser chases him down, and has a Shadowbug clone of himself fight Diddy and Fox. After the clone is defeated, the real Bowser attempts to turn them into trophies, but they manage to dodge the shot. Although Diddy is
Subspace bowser

Bowser in the SSE

eager to fight Bowser, Fox knows that they're no match, so he grabs Diddy and makes their escape. He finds Peach/Zelda alone and turns her into a trophy, and after having another Shadowbug clone of him copy her, orders her Shadowbug clone to attack Mario and Pit/Link and Yoshi. After returning to his chase of Diddy and Fox, he is told by Ganondorf to hunt down King Dedede, who had stolen Wario's trophies. Bowser and his troops attack King Dedede's castle, where Dedede is hiding but when they broke the roof a stone fell on Dedede's head, knocking him out. Bowser steals Zelda/Peach's trophy and evades Mario and Pit's attacks, but when he dodges Pit's arrow he falls off a cliff, but is shown to be unharmed after he landed in his Clown Car. After this, he returns to the jungle and transforms Diddy into a trophy and sends his Shadowbug clone to clone the trophy. He flees after Falco Lombardi attacks him and destroys his Dark Cannon.

He is next seen with Ganondorf on the Subspace Gunship. They destroy the Halberd, but fail to stop Kirby from destroying the Gunship with the Dragoon. Fleeing into the Subspace, Bowser is betrayed by Ganondorf and turned into a trophy by a surprise blast by a dark cannon. He is eventually brought back to life, and after being defeated by King Dedede, beats up Ganondorf's trophy for revenge. Bowser then notices the downed Master Hand and decides to help the heroes take down Tabuu. The sight of Master Hand lying on the ground seems to trouble Bowser, probably because Bowser was really the only smasher accomplice who was loyal to Master Hand, unlike Ganondorf (who planned to betray him to take control of the Subspace Army) and Wario (who did it just to enjoy himself).

Exclusive Stickers

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

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

Palette Swaps


Bowser's palette swap in SSBB


  • Several deep male voices chanting "Bowww-serrr..."

Trophy Description


The Bowser Trophy

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

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


  • Possibly due to Bowser's heavy weight, when he lands, the screen shakes slightly.
  • Bowser and Marth are the only characters without a new piece of music used for the Credits; Bowser has Giga Bowser's battle theme, while Marth uses the Fire Emblem theme in Melee.
  • In the Subspace Emissary, Bowser can be harmed and even attacked by the Koopas and Goombas, despite being their leader.
  • Bowser's voice clip for his Wii Remote selection is a roar he uses from the end of a cut scene in Super Mario Sunshine.
  • For reasons unknown, when certain characters grab Bowser and attempt to pummel attack him while he is on a slope above him, the pummel does not hit him and deals him no damage.
  • Bowser is the only non-human character that is a representative of the main Mario series (in contrast to Wario).
  • Despite demonstrating the ability to run normally in some of the Mario sports games, Bowser appears to mimic Heavy Lobster of the Kirby series with his running animation in the Super Smash Bros. series.

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