SSBM Icon.png

Tournament rulesets (SSBM)

From SmashWiki, the Super Smash Bros. wiki
Jump to navigationJump to search
This is the ruleset for Super Smash Bros. Melee tournaments. For other rulesets and general info on tournament legal settings, see Tournament rulesets.

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.

Stage legality list[edit]

The following stages are neutral in singles:

The following stages are counterpick-only in singles:

The following stages are neutral in doubles:

The following stages are counterpick-only in doubles:

All other stages are banned.


  • Usually, sets between players are played best 2 out of 3 matches early on in bracket, and 3 out of 5 for late bracket or finals sets.
  • Double Elimination.
  • Each match is played with timed stock: 4 stocks, 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, or if both characters lose their last life on the same frame, the last stock of the game must be replayed, on the same stage with a 2 minute timer. Sudden Death is not to be played.
  • Items are turned off.
  • Pause is turned off.
  • If pause is left on, any player that pauses the match forfeits a stock.
  • The first match is played on one of the five neutral stages listed above. Which neutral stage is picked is determined by either stage striking, mutual agreement between players, random selection, or both.
  • For the first match, characters are chosen double-blind - at the same time, so that neither player knows their 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 their character, and then the loser chooses their character. This series of choices is called slob picks.
  • The loser can pick either a neutral stage or a counterpick stage.
  • The loser cannot choose any stage that they have already won on in the current set. This rule is known as "Dave's Stupid Rule", named after Scamp.
  • The winner may ban one stage from the opponent's selection, except in best-of-5 sets.


  • Rules that apply to singles apply to team tournaments as well.
  • Friendly Fire 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.

Banned glitches:[edit]

Banned Stalling Techniques:[edit]

  • 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.

Other techniques[edit]

  • Wobbling (discretion of tournament organizer)


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]