This is a page giving in-depth strategy for the final fight against Bowser in Paper Mario.
The data was compiled by Fuzzey_Ninja after discussing strategies on #pmario.
Bowser has 99 HP and 2 Defense.
- Claw Swipe - Deals 8 damage. If you don't guard this, it will poison you. This is good in phase 1 if you want to reach peril. You should always guard it in phase 2.
- Butt Stomp - Deals 8 damage. If you don't guard this, it will disable your items, jump, or hammer for several turns. Always guard against this attack.
- Fire Breath - Deals 10 damage. Guarded, it will 9 damage and bring you into peril.
- Lightning Strike - Deals 10 damage, guarded it will 9 damage and bring you into peril. Signaled by bowser raising the star rod in the air and the sound of crackling energy. Hard to guard. Guard timing is approximately as the light around the star rod finishes dissipating.
- Circle Wave - Deals 6 damage to mario and 3 damage to your partner. There is no reason to guard this attack with mario. Only focus on guarding for your ally so they won't be stunned for 3 turns. When this attack deals damage (guarded or not) it will remove all of mario's buffs (item and ally boosts, jump charges, etc). If you are transparent from repel gel or Bow, you will keep your buffs. LEARN TO BLOCK THIS WITH PARTNER!
- Heal - Bowser heals 30 hp. The bane of any speedrun. Bowser will do this up to 3 times during the fight, but he won't cast it if Mario is in peril or danger. Manipulating this move is the key to defeating bowser quickly.
Phase 1 consists of 3 turns:
Bowser will use either his fire breath, claw swipe, or butt stomp; each has an equal probability of being used. Fire breath is the most ideal move because you reach peril, while the other 2 will only put you into danger unless you feel like using a life shroom (not guarding his claw swipe).
Bowser will always use Star Shield, before which you should have unloaded your Phase 1 damage onto him.
The Peach cutscene will begin when you use an unsuccessful Star Beam on him.
NOTE: Damage done on Bowser during Phase 1 carries over to Phase 2.
Phase 2 starts with Bowser under the effects of his star shield. Immediately following the Peach cutscene, Mario's buffs will be reset, and he will be at full HP, FP, and star power.
Mario must use Peach Beam or risk Bowser healing. If the shield is dispelled, Bowser will go against all his normal instincts and use fire breath, claw swipe, or butt stomp, just like in phase 1, witha heavy preference on fire breath over the other two (4/6 fire, 1/6 claw, 1/6 stomp approx). No matter what he does, you should guard. If you die, you will use up a life shroom, bringing you above danger. As a result, Bowser will heal the following turn.
From here on, Bowser has several different patterns he will use depending on the flow of battle
- Bowser uses his star shield every 3rd, 4th, 5th, or 6th turn, depending on certain conditions that we can predict. However, the longer the fight goes, the harder the predictions become. Because we aim to kill him on turn 10 at the longest, we will focus on the first 10 turns of the phase.
- Bowser's most common pattern is a combination of fire breath, claw swipe, and butt stomps on turns 1-3 and then star shield on turn 4. However, there are cases where he will then do either a fire breath, claw swipe, butt stomp, or circle wave on turn 4 instead. This will signal that Bowser is going to do a turn 5 star shield.
- Bowser will only ever ever do a 6th turn star shield if one of the five preceding moves was a heal.
- Bowser will never do a star shield back to back or with 1 turn between them.
- Bowser will never do lightning strike or circle wave back to back, but he may do them one after the other.
- Bowser always has at least a 2 turn gap between using circle waves UNLESS he used a star shield in between them; star shield seems to reset the wait timer on his other abilities.
- Once bowser has healed at least once, his patterns will vary based on pure rng
- After using star shield, if you have jump charges active, Bowser has a preference of using the circle wave. Plan around this if needed.
- Bowser's most common pattern is star shield every 4th turn (3 other attacks between star shields).
- If Bowser uses star shield on turn 3, he has a strong tendency to star shield again on turn 8.
- Bowser will never do a 3rd turn star shield back to back (or it is extremely inprobable).
- Bowser will not heal as long as you do not damage him after the first turn OR do not die (must be in danger or peril though).
Strategy (Fuzzey Ninja)Edit
- Start with Watt; have Mario super charge, and have Watt use a timed attack. Bowser then attacks with fire breath, claw, or stomp. In worst case scenario you are put into danger.
- Next turn, Mario uses power bounce to hit hopefully 5+ times (in danger 5 hits will deal 7~3=25 damage, peril will deal 9~5=35 damage), and then Watt will use another timed attack.
- Bowser should have taken between 35 and 45 damage (10 from watt and 25-35 from Mario).
- There are other general strategies for phase 1 requiring you start in peril and use Bow. However, come phase 2, everything lines up.
- Turn 1 - Mario will use Peach Beam to dispel Bowser's star shield. You should switch to Bow UNLESS you have a quick swap badge, in which case you will use free turns to hit with Watt. Bowser will attack, no matter what it is. Guard it. Worst case scenario, you are in danger.
- Turn 2 - Mario uses charge (1 charge). Bow uses outta sight. Bowser attacks and fails.
- Turn 3 - Mario uses repel gel. Bow will be unable to act. Bowser will attack/star shield
- Turn 4 - If needed, use Peach Beam. Otherwise, charge (2 charge). Swap to Watt and attack or have Bow do nothing. Bowser attacks/star shield.
- Turn 5 - Peach Beam, if needed. Otherwise, charge if bowser hasn't used a star shield at all yet (repel gel effect will be done, but bowser will always star shield in this case, so we are safe). Attack with Watt/Bow do nothing/outta sight if turn 3 star shield.
- Turn 6 - Peach Beam if needed, outta sight if needed, etc...
Basic concept of this is the following:
- You need to get in attacks with Watt wherever you can if you have quick swap.
- If after Mario is put into danger or peril turn 1, Mario is always invisible from a repel gel or Bow using outta sight unless you know he will star shield next turn.
- Charge until Mario can release a power bounce to finish Bowser or get him close enough to death that you can kill him with a hammer/power jump and maybe a hit from watt after the lifeshroom takes effect, but before Bowser can heal.
Assuming you can get 5 hits on bowser with power bounce (minimum amount to reasonably defeat Bowser with this strat), the following chart can help you predict when to go for it:
By using the chart plus keeping track of the damage from phase 1 and hits from Watt in phase 2, you can determine the best time to power bounce him. Most ideally, this will be on your 5th turn of phase 2.
You can find the strategy that Flare uses here.
His strategy disallows damaging Bowser until you Power Bounce (except for first turn). It also does not require Quick Change.