There's a local tournament close to my town, and seeing the ruleset they posted on their site I think they are not familiarized enough with the game's competitive scene.

This ruleset lists stuff like "Stage will always be random omega" and "3 stocks 5 minutes". I don't want to blame anyone nor generate any conflict and I will attend anyway, but I would like to provide them some kind of ruleset used by more experienced tournament organizers.

  • What exactly is wrong with those rules? They seem pretty standard to me. Perhaps 5 minutes is a little short, but they probably just have less time available overall.
    – OrangeDog
    Commented Aug 29, 2017 at 16:50
  • @OrangeDog You are right, the rules I would change in this tournament are specifically the 5 minuts which should at least be 6 to play with 3 stocks (this is the point i would like to discuss with the TO) and the fact that it's only 1 match for set (not even best of 3).
    – Grirg
    Commented Aug 30, 2017 at 7:50

2 Answers 2


In the end, the ruleset is chosen by the TO of the tournament. I've attended a handful of tournaments with odd rules; 4 man free for all, last two alive move on, was probably the weirdest. Again, that was the decision of the TO. My buddy and I simply made sure we were in the same bracket, then played it like a 2 v 1 v 1. It was an easy win, and we agreed to split the prize!

This website lists some of the basic ground rules for a tournament;

  • 2 or 3 stocks (depending on region, european tends to do 3 stock)
  • 6 or 8 minutes (again, depends on stocks)
  • Items turned off
  • Pause disabled (to avoid a player accidentally pausing, which would end in a lost stock anyway)
  • Stalling is banned (again, TO preference)

As there is some confusion as to what stalling refers to, let me explain from what I've seen in multiple Melee and Smash 4 tournaments. When these tournaments are played, and especially when they are streamed, things need to go quickly. While people enjoy the tournament scene, no one wants to be there until 3AM.

Stalling could be one of two things; taking too long between sets/games, and stalling in the game. Most large scale Majors are limited to 30-60 seconds between matches, allowing some minimal time for coaching and stage striking, or a quick breather after an intense match.

Otherwise, stalling in game could be things like ledge camping. While wildly popular in Brawl and Project M, ledge camping is quite hard in Smash 4, as there is no invincibility frames after a ledge re-grab. Regardless, there is usually a limited number of times that a player can stall on the ledge before needing to get back into the action. To the best of my knowledge, there is no set in stone rule for this, and is largely up to the TO's discretion.

  • Best of 3 or 5, depending on size of tournament/TO preference

(best of 5 is typically reserved to top 32, but depending on the size of the tournament, could be top 16 or top 8).

Those are the basic rules. As for stage striking, the standards are usually Final Destination, Battlefield, Smashville, and Town and City. Other tournaments can allow stages like Dreamland, Duck Hunt, and Lylat Cruise. In an agreement between two players (a gentleman's agreement), a different stage may be picked if both players accept.

These are rules that are typically agreed upon by the community at large, and most of the large tournament organizers.

  • 4
    I have organized a couple of tournaments and made the experience that the basic ruleset which is presented here is also the most preferred by players. Trying to mix it up with special rules was disliked by anyone but casual players. So if you are hosting a competitive tournament, I suggest sticking to the basic rules. If you just want to have a fun time with friends, you are less likely to be blamed for anyones defeat because of your choice of rules.
    – Marv
    Commented Aug 29, 2017 at 13:05
  • How would one enforce "stalling is banned"? Unless stalling is some technique I don't know about, as opposed to just trying to make the game end with minimal interaction. Playing really defensive and stalling seem like they would be indistinguishable. That seems like a highly opinion based rule. Does everyone have to play aggressive under those rules?
    – JMac
    Commented Aug 29, 2017 at 13:39
  • 1
    Oh okay, stalling between games makes more sense. In-game stalling seemed like a legitimate strategy to me, given that it is still playing the game.
    – JMac
    Commented Aug 29, 2017 at 14:23
  • 1
    @JMac Correct! It's a viable strategy to run the timer down to win if you're ahead in stocks or percentage, if you choose. Commented Aug 29, 2017 at 14:29
  • 1
    More generally, stalling in a way where the opponent has no counterplay is illegal. SSBM infinite wobbling or peach bombering below the stage have no counterplay, so they are banned. Running from side to side on the stage leaves you open to attack (albeit with precise timing needed, but there absolutely is counterplay)
    – Kevin L
    Commented Aug 29, 2017 at 18:22


Ignoring stuff about map picks and bans these are the basic rules from EVO 2017:

Game Settings:

  • 4 Stock
  • 8 Minute Time Limit
  • No Items
  • Pause Disabled
  • 2/3 Game

As for the maps:

  • Battlefield (some tournaments allow the usage of Miiverse as an equivalent to Battlefield, while others disallow it completely)
  • Final Destination,
  • Most Ω forms,
  • Smashville,
  • Town and City.

Team damage should be on if this isn't 1v1s.

  • These look like the rules for doubles, I guess it's my fault for not specifying. The link to the wiki is useful though.
    – Grirg
    Commented Aug 29, 2017 at 12:46

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