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Dave's Stupid Rule

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Dave's Stupid Rule (DSR) is a regulation that is in effect at most tournaments. While there are minor variations of the rule, they all have the same intention: to prevent a player from having an unfair advantage by playing the same stage multiple times in a set. Typically, DSR refers to the Winner's Variation as opposed to the original rule or any other variation. Dave's Stupid Rule is reportedly named after Scamp, a player that was active in the early Melee metagame.


Original Ruling[edit]

At the rule's simplest level, the player cannot pick the last stage they have won on during a set, while any stages of previous wins are fair game.

For example, in a Falco and Ike set, Ike wins on Battlefield and Lylat Cruise for two back-to-back matches, followed by Falco winning a match on Final Destination. The Ike player can select Battlefield, but they cannot select Lylat Cruise.

This version of the rule came under scrutiny as tournament rulesets became more stage-restricted, and players such as Mew2King would counterpick strongly favorable stages multiple times during a set (such as counterpicking space animals to Final Destination twice in one set while using Marth).

Modified DSR[edit]

"Modified DSR" has referred to several variations on DSR, but presently it most commonly refers to the original implementation of the rule. Discussions following the controversy at Revival of Melee 5 and rule changes in the Apex series led to informal redefinitions within the community. At various points in time, "Modified DSR" has referred to both the Game-Restricted and Winner's variations described below.


Variations of Dave's Stupid Rule have appeared at multiple tournaments, often in order to provide better options for players or to fix perceived balance issues with the default ruling.

Winner's Variation[edit]

The most common variation of Dave's Stupid Rule is that a player cannot pick any stage they have won on during the set in question. Therefore, under this variation, the Ike player would not be allowed to choose Battlefield or Lylat Cruise, as they won on both stages.

Game-Restricted Variation[edit]

This variation of DSR states that no stage that has already been played in a set may be picked for another game in the same set, regardless of what the results of the previous game were. In the previous example with Falco and Ike, if Final Destination was the first stage selected and the Falco player lost, Modified DSR would not allow the Falco player to pick Final Destination, despite the stage's flat shape giving Falco the ability to pressure with his Blaster.

According to AlphaZealot, this rule was used in Major League Gaming tournaments at some point prior to 2009.

Random Rulings[edit]

Another variation to Dave's Stupid Rule states that if the counterpicking player chooses Random and ends up selecting a stage they weren't allowed to choose, the match may continue unfettered. In some tournaments, where only three or four stages are allowed, this is often a viable strategy to get the same stage twice in one match. In most modern tournaments, however, Random is not considered a valid counterpick.

"Stage Dismissal Rule"[edit]

Amid criticism of Dave's Stupid Rule, the German Smash community elected to modify Dave's Stupid Rule again to rectify the perceived flaws of the previous ruling. Jokingly called "Tero's Smart Rule" after tournament organiser Tero and later renamed the "Stage Dismissal Rule" (SDR) as a visual pun on DSR, the ruling states that players cannot pick a counterpick stage again if they have previously counterpicked and won on it. Initially obscure, the rule was given greater exposure after top professional smashers Scar and Armada praised it in a Melee It On Me podcast; it is now commonplace within the European Smash scene.

"Bones' Stupid Rule"[edit]

In Bones' Ruleset, stage bans are temporary, chosen after character picks and are the only limited to stage selection. Bones's Stupid Rule states players need to change their temporary stage ban after every won match.

Gentleman's Rule[edit]

The Gentleman's Rule, sometimes called the Gentleman's Clause, is an addendum to Dave's Stupid Rule used in some tournaments. According to the rule, any stage can be played on regardless of legality, provided all players consent to the stage's use. Assuming this is the case, Dave's Stupid Rule is ignored, potentially allowing for players to use counterpick stages that they have already used, as well as allowing for players to use stages that are generally banned in tournaments. The Gentleman's Rule is frequently invoked to skip the process of stage striking. The rule is also sometimes invoked in cases of sandbagging, where higher-skilled players might allow their opponent to choose whatever stage they desire.

The Gentleman's Rule is commonly used by players regardless of its formal inclusion in a given tournament's ruleset. Typically, tournament organisers will maintain a right to nullify it regardless of whether both players consent to a specific stage. This may be done as to preserve the integrity of the tournament, or for logistics reasons, such as by preventing an excessively large stage like 75m or Temple from being picked in order to prevent a match from taking unnaturally long to complete.


  • For unknown reasons, the rulings and definitions for DSR and Modified DSR were swapped around by various members of the community for a long period of time, even when Scamp himself commented otherwise.