Tournament rulesets (SSBB)
Tournament legal describes the rules and settings that are accepted for use in competitive Smash tournaments by the American and Canadian Smash communities. In Brawl, the competitive community is extremely divided on what constitutes a proper ruleset (particularly about the legal stagelist), and many players in the community have been vehemently opposed to attempts to create a standardized ruleset from the Brawl Back Room and Unity Ruleset Committee. So unlike Melee and Smash 4, there is no "standard ruleset" that is consistently seen across all Brawl tournaments. While the general format remains the same (3 stock, no items, no broken stages), the specific rules of Brawl tournaments differ from tournament to tournament.
General universal rules
*Some tournaments use a 10 minute timer instead.
**This rule isn't strictly enforced, and as such, a rule regarding accidental pausing is enacted.
***The ledge grab limit is typically between 30 to 50 ledge grabs, and sometimes Meta Knight is given a lower ledge grab limit of around 10 to 15 less ledge grabs (though is usually only done in tournaments that run a higher ledge grab limit).
Universal Doubles rules
The following are miscellaneous gameplay rules that see usage at tournaments.
Tournament sets typically progress in the following manner.
*Stage striking either proceeds in a 1-2-1-2-etc. order, or a 1-2-2-1 order, with the players each getting one more initial strike for every 2 stage increase in the starter list.
**Tournaments will occasionally implement two stage bans, especially if a larger stage list is being used and/or Dave's Stupid Rule isn't being implemented.
***Known as Dave's Stupid Rule, a player cannot choose a stage they won on prior. While often used, sometimes an additional stage ban is used instead of enforcing Dave's Stupid Rule.
The team that initiates the stage-striking procedure is always the team that did not initiate the controller port selection. If there is a dispute over who does which, then either rock-paper-scissors, a coin flip, or seeing which player gets the higher number from Judge in-game, will determine it - the winner gets to choose whether they wish to pick ports or start the stage striking.
The stagelist is the most heavily disputed area of Brawl rulesets, with there being little universal agreement on what constitutes a legal or starter stage, with some stages more heavily disputed than others. As such, this section will categorise stages based on their status across various different Brawl tournaments.
Stages are divided up in tournaments into starter, counterpick, and banned. Starter stages are the only stages that are used in the first game of a match. After that, the loser may pick any stage, starter or counterpick, that is not banned. Each player also gets to ban the opponent from choosing a stage throughout the whole set, as explained prior in the set procedure.
Some tournaments throw out the idea of starters and counterpicks, and instead just have players strike from the entire legal stagelist for game 1, though such tournaments are uncommon and this is never done in major tournaments.
The following three stages are on the starter lists of virtually all tournaments, and if a tournament runs a three-stage starter list, such as in the Japanese ruleset, it will typically contain these three stages (though Final Destination is occasionally swapped for Yoshi's Island on three-stage starter lists and is relegated to being a counterpick).
Near-universal starter/Universal counterpick
Yoshi's Island is universally seen in five stage starter lists, though Final Destination is often chosen over it in the less common three stage starter lists. If it isn't a starter, it's still always allowed as a counterpick, leaving the stage universally legal.
Other common starters/Universal counterpick
One of the following two stages is often seen in the common five stage starter lists in conjunction with the above stages (with Lylat Cruise being the more common fifth starter stage), and both stages are universally seen on the starter lists of the less common seven stage starter lists. When not a starter, both of these stages are always allowed as a counterpick, leaving these stages universally legal.
Uncommon starter/Near-universal counterpick
Castle Siege is never seen as a starter stage on three and five stage starter lists, though when tournaments run a seven stage starter list, Castle Siege is the universal seventh starter. If not a starter, it's a near-universal counterpick that is very common to see legal, though especially restrictive stagelists, such as the Japanese ruleset, may ban it.
The following three stages are common counterpicks that are seen legal in most tournaments, though especially restrictive stagelists may ban them. Noteworthy is that many consider Meta Knight too powerful on these stages, and so Meta Knight-banned tournaments tend to keep these stages universally legal (as the main reason for banning these stages is Meta Knight's prowess on them). In tournaments that keep Meta Knight legal, the TO may opt to ban one or two of these stages (thus allowing players opposing Meta Knight to use their stage ban on the remaining stage to prevent Meta Knight from exploiting it, while still allowing the stage to be used in other matches). Alternatively, the TO may state that Meta Knight is banned on the remaining stage(s) (thus allowing Meta Knight users to use their stage ban on it, to prevent their opponent from choosing it and forcing them to change characters).
Pokémon Stadium 2 is perhaps the most disputed stage in Brawl, with the competitive community's views on it sharply divided. While it is almost never seen legal in more stage conservative regions such as the Tristate Area, as many players in these regions see it on the level of many universally banned stages, it often sees usage in more stage liberal regions such as the midwest and Canada, where it is seen as a perfectly fine and neutral stage, and some TOs, who vehemently support it, will keep it legal.
Legality dependent on Meta Knight's legality
Whether the two stages are legal or not is dependent on whether Meta Knight is legal. As Meta Knight is seen to have such an extreme advantage on these stages, they are universally banned in tournaments that keep Meta Knight legal. Tournaments that ban Meta Knight may have these stages as legal counterpicks, though even when Meta Knight is banned, they aren't too common.
The following stages are never seen in major tournaments nowadays, and are almost never seen even in locals. Some smaller tournaments though may have one or some of these stages legal, whether to experiment, or the TO being inexperienced/having a more liberal definition of what constitutes a legal counterpick.
The following stages are never legal in any serious tournament, and are only ever seen legal in explicitly casual events (such as All Brawl side events).
Additionally, the sample stages included with Brawl to demonstrate the Stage Builder are not considered official stages, and are thus banned by default. (Nevertheless, it is very easy to reason why the stages would be banned anyway were they to be competitively considered.)
General universal player conduct rules
The following are general rules tournaments have regarding player conduct. How strictly they're enforced depends on the TO however.
Other player conduct rules
The following rules are commonly seen in tournaments, though TOs may opt against implementing one or some of them however.
General handling of pool ties
In the event two or more players are tied at the conclusion of a round of pools at a tournament, the following is the typical procedure TOs follow: