Super Smash Bros. series
This article's title is unofficial.

Time out

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Not to be confused with pause.
A time out in Smash 64's Time mode. The winner will be decided via points.

A time out refers to the event of when the match timer reaches zero. When this happens, the screen will display "TIME" ("TIME UP" in the Japanese, Korean and Chinese versions as well as the original Super Smash Bros. in all regions) and the announcer will call it.


In order for a time out to occur, the timer must be turned on in the rules before a game starts. The amount of time on the timer can typically be adjusted. Time, Coin, and Bonus matches all require a game to end by time out because the game modes require the player to perform specific tasks within the time limit in order to win; though it is possible to play "unwinnable" matches via the setting for time battles. Stock battles (and Stamina Mode battles as of Ultimate) do not require a timer as a win condition already exists, again leading to matches that can theoretically last indefinitely if the timer is not active. That being said, a timer is still available as an option, but the game can end early if a player loses all of their stocks before a time out occurs.

In the final five seconds of a game, the announcer will audibly count down with large numbers appearing in the middle of the screen as a general announcement and a way to build tension. If there is a tie of percentages and sometimes points or stocks in all game modes when a time out takes place, Sudden Death occurs. However, Tourneys in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U instead grant the player who dealt the largest amount of damage overall the win instantly.

In competitive play[edit]

By default, the tournament ruleset for all games in the series requires a time limit in stock matches; as Super Smash Bros. lacks an ability to do this, such matches are often played with an observer using an external stopwatch, or an ordinary time match is played, with the match ending after one player has been KO'd a specific number of times. Some Smash 64 tournaments hack in a time limit.

Under most circumstances, a time out in tournament play causes the player with more stocks winning the match. If both players or teams have equivalent stocks, then the player or team with less damage is declared the winner. Under the rare circumstance that the players or teams have identical damage or otherwise tie a match outside of timing out, a tie breaker of some kind occurs. This tie breaker is typically a one stock game, and the winner of that game officially wins. However, some tournaments do not have such a ruling due to a lack of foresight, often leading to panic situations where tournament organizers scramble to figure out what to do.

Some players utilize a strategy of timing out their opponent, though doing this is controversial within the community. Intentionally attempting to waste time and go to a time out is known as stalling, which has a complicated and messy competitive history. While such a strategy is not necessarily against the rules and is practical and sometimes necessary with certain characters, doing so under certain conditions can be seen as breaking the rules. An example is using techniques that make characters impossible to reach or attack, which is often seen as poor sportsmanship at best and directly breaking the rules at worst. Some strategies such as camping or abusing intangibility are expressly banned or limited due to being degenerate to gameplay. Beyond these specific techniques, some players have claimed that stalling in general is a cheap tactic, utilizing methods that are considered annoying to deal with and boring to watch. Others claim that winning via time outs requires its own strategy to consistently pull off, and that characters with relatively poor KOing ability yet great defensive ability, such as Samus and Sonic in Brawl, require the use of timing out in order to remain competitive.

The time out issue in Smash 64 can be significant on stages like Hyrule Castle in certain matchups. A primary example of this is a match of Mew2King vs. Stranded, in which Mew2King manages to stall on the left side of the stage for nearly four minutes without either player taking any damage. This issue is significant in this position as it is extremely difficult for Captain Falcon to approach Kirby safely without getting lured into a combo, as long as the Kirby player keeps spacing up tilts and back airs. This is one of the main reasons Hyrule Castle has since been banned in most tournaments.

The effectiveness of timing out depends mostly on the length of time specified by the ruleset; the more time is allowed, the less viable timing out is. At the same time however, time limits longer than a certain point do nothing but make matches run longer than necessary; if a player is successfully camping out the opponent, an extra few minutes does nothing but lessen the opponent's drive to counter and delay the camper's win. Also, not all time out strategies are created equal, with some considered more egregious than others. While some are so antithetical to competitively play that they are banned outright, some are more tolerable to an extent and thus players are allowed to do a maximum amount of intervals before being penalized. The game developers have even addressed these timeout strategies, like repeatedly grabbing the edge in Ultimate without getting onto a platform will gradually decrease intangibility frames until none remain, with the character eventually no longer being able to grab the edge and self-destructing. This has led to less defined rules about stalling in later games, as doing such is inherently more risky and generally not worth the effort.