Tournament legal (SSBM)

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This is the ruleset for Super Smash Bros. Melee tournaments. For other rulesets and general info on tournament legal settings, see Tournament legal.

Tournament legal describes the rules and settings that are accepted for use in competitive Smash tournaments. The following is the current SBR ruleset for Super Smash Bros. Melee, as officially written on the SmashBoards.


Neutral Stage: A neutral stage is any stage allowed in the initial random select for the first game of a match (e.g. Battlefield).
Banned Stage: A banned stage is any stage that is not allowed either in the initial random select or by choice in games two and three (e.g. Temple). In order to play on a banned stage both players must agree to it.
Counter-Pick Stage: An counter-pick stage (or "available stage") is any stage that can be chosen by a player in games two and three. These include all of the neutral stages, but exclude all banned stages. Therefore, all neutral stages are available stages, but not all available stages are neutral. Pokémon Stadium is currently the only counter-pick stage that is not a neutral stage.


  • Usually, sets between players are played best 2 out of 3 matches (using 3 out of 5 or 4 out of 7 for final rounds).
  • Double Elimination.
  • Each match is played with timed stock, with 4 lives and 8 minutes.
  • In the case that time runs out and both characters have an equal amount of lives, the character with less damage wins the match. If both characters have equal lives and damage, the match must be replayed; Sudden Death is strictly not to be played.
  • Items are turned off.
  • The first match is played with a Random Stage.
  • The random select is comprised of neutral stages:
  • Players are given the option to "strike" stages from the random select.
  • For the first match, characters are chosen double-blind - at the same time, so that neither player knows his opponent's character beforehand. In practice, this rule is often ignored, but players always reserve the option to force a double-blind pick.
  • The loser of the first match (and of successive matches) chooses the next stage, and then the winner chooses his character, and then the loser chooses his character. This series of choices is called slob picks.
  • The loser can pick either a neutral stage or a counterpick stage, this list is based on MBR recommended ruleset:
  • The loser can also not choose any stage that has already been played earlier that round. This rule is known as "Dave's Stupid Rule", named after Scamp.
  • The winner can ban stages from the opponent's selection, except in best-of-5 sets.


  • Rules that apply to singles apply to team tournaments as well.
  • Neutral stages (different from singles):
  • Yoshi's Story
  • Pokémon Stadium
  • Battlefield
  • Final Destination
  • Dream Land (N64)
  • Counterpick:
  • Kongo Jungle 64
  • Friendly Fire (also called "team attack") is on.
  • Players are allowed to steal stock from their teammates by pressing start after they lose all of their stock.


In order to prevent degenerate gameplay techniques, many tournaments ban exploitation of the game that gives one character an unintended and unfair advantage over others.

  • N.B. The rising pound and Peach Bomber on the wall are only banned if they are being used to stall. Using them to recover is acceptable.


Many casual smashers notice that the accepted tournament ruleset demands highly specific conditions under which they would rarely play, and believe that these rules are restrictive and make competitive play less fun. However, most tournament Smashers are of the opinion that the ruleset prevents "degenerate" gameplay, and that this makes competitive play more enriching and fun.

Acknowledging this, many players do argue about specific tournament rules. During the first few years of Melee existence, items were a major point of contention amongst Smashers - generally, East Coast Smashers did not want them used in tournaments, but West Coast Smashers wanted them turned on. Those in favour stated that the use of items required skill and did not reduce the depth of the game, while those against argued that items were unfair because of the element of randomness involved when they were turned on, particularly the unpredictability of their spawning in relation to explosive items such as Bob-ombs and capsules. Eventually, the community reached a consensus that items should be turned off in tournaments, due to the element of randomness.

Another controversial topic is the legality and categorization of stages - debate over which stages should be classified as legal or banned. While there was universal agreement over the banning of some stages, such as Hyrule Temple, other stages were questioned; Final Destination, for instance, has been criticised as giving an unfair advantage to characters with many projectiles, such as Link and Fox. Some smashers wanted to reduce the legal stage list to simple stages, and remove all moving and irregular ones, while others believed it was better to to allow all stages that did not foster any unfair advantage to one strategy or character. As of late, there is a generally accepted standard for legal and banned stages, but the lists still vary between tournaments. Competitions in which all stages are permitted are very rare, and are not considered SBR certified.

External Links[edit]

  1. MBR Recommended RuleSet for SSBM
  2. EVO 2015 ruleset
  3. Apex 2015 Official Rulebook (PDF)

See also[edit]