- This is the ruleset for SSBM. 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 Smash World Forums.
Neutral Stage: A neutral stage is any stage allowed in the initial random select for the first game of a match (i.e. 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 (i.e. Temple).
Available Stage: An 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. For example, Brinstar is an available 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, usually 3 to 5 lives and 6 to 10 minutes.
- Items are turned off.
- The first match is played with a Random Stage.
- The random select is comprised of neutral stages:
- In some tournaments, 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 cannot pick any banned stages:
- 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.
- As with the first match, in some tournaments players can strike stages from the opponent's selection.
- Rules that apply to 1-on-1 apply to team tournaments as well
- Neutral stages (different from 1-on-1):
- Yoshi's Story
- Pokémon Stadium
- Dream Land (N64)
- Final Destination
- And sometimes:
- Rainbow Cruise
- Kongo Jungle 64
- Banned stages (different from 1-on-1):
- Friendly Fire (also called "team attack") is on.
- Usually, players are allowed to steal lives from their teammates by pressing start after they die.
In order to prevent degenerate gameplay techniques, many tournaments ban certain exploitations of the game that give one character an unintended and unfair advantage over others.
- Banned glitches
- Freeze Glitch
- Yo-yo glitch (sometimes)
- Banned Stalling Techniques
- N.B. The rising pound and peach bomber on the wall are only banned if they are being use 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 Smashboards' 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. 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 almost non-existent, and are not considered SBR certified.