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Official BBR Recommended Rule List 3.1

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Relic of the Past
Sep 14, 2002
The Netherlands
For discussion, go here: http://www.smashboards.com/showthread.php?t=283142

Official BBR Recommended Rule List 3<hr size="1" style="color:; background-color:" />This is the official rule set version 3.1 of the Smash Back Room: Brawl (BBR). The rules at any particular tournament are always at the discretion of the tournament organizer, but we recommend this rule set as a base guideline for all tournament organizers to use.

<table id="bbr_menu" class="tborder" cellpadding="1" cellspacing="2" border="0" width="200"><tr class="alt1"><td colspan="3"> BBR Ruleset
<table cellpadding="10" cellspacing="0" border="0"><tr><td><a href="#bbr_intro">- Public Statement</a>
<a href="#bbr_gen">- General Rules</a>
<a href="#bbr_set">- Set Format</a>
<a href="#bbr_doubles">- Doubles Subset</a>
<a href="#bbr_optional">- Optional Rules</a></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr class="alt2"><td colspan="3"> Stage List
<table cellpadding="10" cellspacing="0" border="0"><tr><td><a href="#bbr_start">- Starters</a>
<a href="#bbr_counter">- Counter Picks</a>
<a href="#bbr_ban">- Banned</a></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr class="alt1"><td colspan="3"> Extra
<table cellpadding="10" cellspacing="0" border="0"><tr><td><a href="#bbr_notes">- Notes</a>
<a href="#bbr_con">- Considerations</a>
<a href="#bbr_add">- Addressed Issues</a></td></tr></table></td></tr></table>

<table border="0" id="bbr_intro" width="100%"><tr><td align="left">Foreword and Public Statement on 3.1</td><td align="right"><a href="#bbr_menu">[ Top ]</a></td></tr></table><hr size="1" style="color:; background-color:" />The negative backlash following the release of our latest rule set warrants a public statement and an alteration, so please read this thoroughly.

Let me start out by saying the entire rule set was made in good conscience and in that sense, a lot of the criticism is unjust and hardly exceeds malicious 4chan behaviour. People fail to realise there is no worldwide consensus because there are several, equally viable approaches to turning a party game into a competitive fighter. The BBR is a collection of individuals from all over the world, which is why no single philosophy has been chosen other than "to remove what is broken". The rule set project is an ungrateful one in the sense that people will shop for what they like and ignore or even condemn what doesn't fit their idea of how the game should be played. However, when enough people share the same opinion, that becomes a "truth".

A mistake we've been making with our rule sets and particularly this one, is that we haven't attempted to bridge the disconnect between what stages can be consistently played on and what stages are actually used. We succeeded in trimming the fat, but failed in making a stage list (new) TOs can copy and paste to at least a certain extent. While we strongly encourage TOs to think for themselves, we do want them to look at our rule set and trust it. We used to put more dubious stages in the counter/banned category, but this time around our voting process moved pretty much all of those in the counter pick category. We treated the counter/banned category as a place to put the stages the BBR itself was torn on, rather than the stages the community is torn on. To fix this, we went through several noteworthy rule sets looking for overlap and, while also considering the BBR votes, grouped counter picks into three tiers based on actual usage and BBR consensus.

The revamped stage list doesn't compromise on what we've established, but the typical TO seems to want a little more guidance regarding counter picks and that is something we as the BBR will have to acknowledge by changing our presentation. We strongly encourage TOs to go beyond the beaten path, but consider this our way of marking the difference between what is typically used and what could be used in a more liberal environment. It's very understandable that TOs cater to their respective scenes and it's impossible for the BBR to cater to all of them with a list that is set in stone. We can provide TOs with a range, but it is imperative (and not to mention, healthy) that they look into things for themselves. This is about as easy as we can make it, as you can slap the APEX stage list together by combining the starter set with counter pick tier 1, get close to MLG stages by adding tier 2 and have fun times throwing your opponent in front of cars with tier 3.

There are concerns about the amount of people who have actually voted on the stages. I'll start out by saying there's a somewhat skewed image as we've had many polls to narrow things down. The consensus order was constructed by including slightly older polls as well, effectively taking roughly 50 individual votes per stage into account. This is more than half the current membership. But yes, it's true that not all BBR members had a part in the creation of the rule set. The BBR frequently purges inactive members, but the weight lies with posts and reasoning rather than votes. The activity level isn't unhealthy by any stretch of the imagination, but it's always been true that there's a strong core group and that people don't join in on every project or ultimately vote when they do. Forcing the latter isn't expected to benefit the quality of debates and the decision-making process. Between the rule set, weekly character discussion, the upcoming tier list and other discussions without public releases, a large part of the member base does contribute frequently. We can only aim to remove the in-actives and draw in new active members.

Stages aside, I strongly encourage people to read the explanations alongside our choices T-Block is updating on a daily basis. There is a lot of misinformation out there regarding match up-specific infinites and suicide moves, the treatment of which has never been a widespread standard. Catering to individual characters is an arbitrary influence on the metagame the BBR does not want to partake in. If your scene at large feels Bowser should have a better match up against Dedede, you are free to restrict the usage of the infinite, but be warned that this is a very gray area and that it's close to impossible to be entirely consistent with this, considering the plethora of match up-specific exploits in Brawl. In the same vein, granting characters an auto-win because they forced a simultaneous death, rather than treating it as the tie it is, isn't something the BBR wishes to encourage. We listen and we care, but you can't expect us to feed back to you what you want to hear as some form of justification.

The ledge grab limit is commonly applied, which ironically makes it harder for us to judge whether it is warranted or not. It too is an influence on the metagame, as it not only nerfs Meta Knight and his planking ability, but also weakens the viability of several other characters. Banning something based on early fears destroys any and all chance of collecting proof supporting that ban. The LGL is very much pre-emptive, as only Meta Knight has potentially unbeatable planking when done perfectly (based on frame data). Intensive usage of the ledge by other characters might not fit in peoples' ideas of "fun", but has not been proven to be unbeatable. Taking all this into consideration, the majority of the BBR does NOT recommend a ledge grab limit, but this perspective is prone to updating in future revisions of the rule set. However, as long as people don't put our recommendations to the test, we can't say anything about them for better or for worse.

I'd like to conclude by saying that in the future we will update and fine tune this rule set rather than release a new one altogether, as is made evident by this first revision. We sincerely wish for a better relation with the public, but it has to come from both sides.

- Marc (BBR Co-Leader and Approver of Revision One)

<a href="#bbr_menu">[ Top ]</a>​

I would just like to add that through this revision we are saying to the public we not only see and read your issues, but we also want to justify our decisions to you. Classifications of stages in this revision also took into consideration past voting (we had several revisions of voting blocks for stages). I personally was not a big contributor to the later stages of 3.0, however there was, over all, more than half of the BBR active in this rule set at one stage or another. My work has been in separating counter picks into tiers and representing it all to you in this current format, I hope you like it.

Revisions are possible, and I hope you can see we're listening to the community. The issues brought up will be considered, and if appropriate further revisions will be made in due course. Further clarifications like those provided (below) will be made in the future if we feel they a required.

Also, finally, I would like to thank the following for their contributions in not just the rule set, but the revision in general.
Ankoku for managing stages to be discussed and voted on, as well as spear-heading the new rule set; Crow! for his hard work in finding and helping to resolve issues in the rule set (and like everything else too!); MetalMusicMan for bringing it all together; and T-Block for his excellent write ups and commentary. Kudos to both Marc and Pierce7d for their assistance in revision specific issues.
MetalMusicMan and T-Block are recent additions to the BBR, their hard work is most definitely admired.
Finally I would also like to credit the other 62 BBR members past and present who participated in discussion and voting required to release this to you.

- Shaya (BBR Scrub / Revision Manager)

<table border="0" id="bbr_gen" width="100%"><tr><td align="left">General Rules</td><td align="right"><a href="#bbr_menu">[ Top ]</a></td></tr></table><hr size="1" style="color:; background-color:" />
3 Stock
8 minute timer
Items are set to "off" and "none"

  • If the timer runs out, the victor is determined first by stock and then by percentage.

  • Resolving Ties: If percents are the same or both players die simultaneously, there will be a 1 stock, 3 minute, same characters, same stage rematch.

  • All sets with the exception of winner's finals, loser's finals, and the championship are best of 3 matches (best of 5 and above should be played out for any "finals" matches)

  • In the event of a dispute, controller ports will be selected by Rock-Paper-Scissors.

  • You are responsible for your own controller and name tag. Any malfunctions or errors that occur are your responsibility, so bring an extra controller if possible and always check to make sure you're using the correct settings BEFORE a match is played. If a match is to be restarted due to controller functions, it must be agreed upon by both parties.

  • Extending Meta Knight's Dimensional Cape by leaving the ground and returning to it while invisible is banned. (For example, flicking the C-Stick up while holding down on the control stick during the move will cause this to happen.)

  • Stalling is banned.
    Stalling: The act of deliberately avoiding any and all conflict so that one may make the game unplayable. Running away from an opponent to reach a better position is not stalling, while using an infinite to run out the timer rather than to score a KO is. As such, any infinite chain-grabs, locks, etc. cannot exceed 300%.

  • Any action which prevents the game from continuing (i.e. by causing the game to crash or causing all characters to freeze indefinitely) is banned. If the Tournament Organizer or a judge can conclusively determine the player responsible for the failure, that player loses the interrupted game. Players are expected to know their characters and prevent this from happening.

  • Some interactions (for example, a throw with a wind attack) can cause one character to become frozen until being hit. If this happens, the free character is expected to capitalize on this in a timely manner; a failure to do so is stalling.

<table border="0" id="bbr_set" width="100%"><tr><td align="left">Set Format</td><td align="right"><a href="#bbr_menu">[ Top ]</a></td></tr></table><hr size="1" style="color:; background-color:" />
1. Opponents make their character select screen choices for the first match. *

2. Opponents start the stage striking procedure.

The stage striking order changes depending on the number of stages allowed. When reading this order, “1” is player 1 and “2” is player 2. The optimal striking orders are as follows:

  • 3 Stages: 2-1
  • 5 Stages: 1-2-2-1
  • 7 Stages: 1-1-2-2-2-1
  • 9 Stages: 1-1-1-2-2-2-2-1
3. Each player may announce one stage to be banned for counterpicks of the set.

4. The first game is played, using the stage chosen during step 2.

5. The loser of the previous match announces the next match's stage from either the Starter Stage List or the Counter Stage List. **

6. The winner of the previous match chooses their character.

7. The loser of the previous match chooses their character.

8. Repeat steps 5-7 for all proceeding matches.

*Double blind character selection may be called for the first match. Also, the choices made here include the character's color and whether the player will start as Samus or Zero Suit Samus, as Zelda or Sheik, or as a particular Pokemon for Pokemon Trainer.

**No player may choose a stage they have already won on in that set unless agreed upon by both players.​

<table border="0" id="bbr_doubles" width="100%"><tr><td align="left">Additional rules for Doubles play</td><td align="right"><a href="#bbr_menu">[ Top ]</a></td></tr></table><hr size="1" style="color:; background-color:" />Team Attack must be set to ON.
Sharing stocks is allowed.

The controller ports will be determined in a 1221 fashion; whoever wins the RPS will choose first, then the opposing team will get their ports, and then the teammate of the RPS winner will get the last port.

If the clock expires in a team match and the total number of stocks of each team is equal, use the sum of the final percentage of players on each team as the tiebreaker; whichever team has a lower sum wins. (A player who has been eliminated has no stocks and 0%).

In team play, causing both characters of a team to become frozen (i.e. by interrupting a throw with a wind attack) is to be treated the same way as freezing the opponent in singles. Leaving only one of your opponent's characters frozen is legal since the teammate can work to undo the freeze.​

<table border="0" id="bbr_optional" width="100%"><tr><td align="left">Optional Rules</td><td align="right"><a href="#bbr_menu">[ Top ]</a></td></tr></table><hr size="1" style="color:; background-color:" />
  • Port slob picks: On a player's counterpick, that player may opt to redo the port selection process with that player or team picking their port first.

  • The Mages DQ rule: After a match has been called, if a player is 2 minutes late he will receive a warning. At 4 minutes late, he will be given a loss for the first game of the set. After 6 minutes, he will be given a loss of the entire set.

  • Color Blind Rule: In team games, it may be requested that certain characters be assigned a specific team color in order to prevent any unnecessary confusion. For instance, Sonic, Lucario, or Falco may be requested to be assigned the blue team color.

<div id="bbr_start">Recommended Stage List</div>
The below Starter/Counter list has a list of three stages, followed by three sections of two stages each. In order to use this, start with the top three stages in the list, and adjust the starter list between 3 and 9 stages by going down the list and adding the next two stages until the desired number of stages is reached. Keep in mind that "Battlefield, Yoshi's Island, Smashville, Lylat Cruise, Pokémon Stadium" is a correct use of this, but "Battlefield, Yoshi's Island, Smashville, Lylat Cruise, Final Destination" is not. Go down the list; do not mix and match. Any remaining stages not used in the Starter list will be moved to the tournament's Counter list.

The Counter pick list is split into three "tiers" of stages. All counter picks listed should be considered and are preferably universally used. However stages of a higher tier (i.e. Frigate Orpheon / all unused starters) should be more prioritised in your tournament's rule set. The higher tier stages are more commonly seen in tournaments, each individual tier is explained further below.

The Banned list is a list of stages that should be universally banned from tournament play.

<table border="0" width="100%"><tr><td align="left">Starter / Counter Stages</td><td align="right"><a href="#bbr_menu">[ Top ]</a></td></tr></table><hr size="1" style="color:; background-color:" />
  • Battlefield
  • Yoshi's Island
  • Smashville
    Recommended for 3+ stage starter list

  • Lylat Cruise
  • Pokémon Stadium
    Recommended for 5+ stage starter list

  • Final Destination
  • Castle Siege
    Recommended for 7+ stage starter list

  • Delfino Plaza
  • Halberd
    Recommended for 9 stage starter list

<table border="0" id="bbr_counter" width="100%"><tr><td align="left">Counter-pick Stages</td><td align="right"><a href="#bbr_menu">[ Top ]</a></td></tr></table><hr size="1" style="color:; background-color:" />Counter Pick Group One
These stages are typically used as counter picks, alongside any starters that might not have been in the starter list. TOs looking for a reliable set of counter picks are recommended to at least include these.​
  • Frigate Orpheon
  • Brinstar

Counter Pick Group Two
These counter picks are less of a standard, but still relatively commonly used. They are considered to be perfectly playable in a competitive environment in the sense that they provide consistent results when used properly. However, they typically require extensive stage knowledge more so than the stages not in this category and have interfering or perhaps over-centralizing hazards which don't suit everyone's tastes. Note that they have been ordered in terms of overall acceptance in the BBR, which also holds true for tier three.​
  • Pictochat
  • Rainbow Cruise
  • Pokémon Stadium 2
  • Jungle Japes
  • Norfair

Counter Pick Group Three
These stages vary in the amount they're used in the competitive scene today. While some are adopted by MLG and the Midwest, others are rarely seen, if at all. The BBR itself is as split on their competitive viability as the scene at large. Otherwise, the same applies as with tier two stages.
  • Green Greens
  • Distant Planet
  • Luigi's Mansion
  • Pirate Ship
  • Port Town Aero Dive
  • Yoshi's Island (Melee)

<table border="0" id="bbr_ban" width="100%"><tr><td align="left">Banned Stages</td><td align="right"><a href="#bbr_menu">[ Top ]</a></td></tr></table><hr size="1" style="color:; background-color:" />
  • Mushroomy Kingdom 1
  • Mushroomy Kingdom 2
  • Mario Circuit
  • Rumble Falls
  • Bridge of Eldin
  • Spear Pillar
  • Wario Ware
  • New Pork City
  • Summit
  • Skyworld
  • 75m
  • Mario Bros.
  • Flat Zone 2
  • Hanenbow
  • Shadow Moses Island
  • Green Hill Zone
  • Temple
  • Onett
  • Corneria
  • Big Blue

<div id="bbr_notes">Further Information</div>
<table border="0" width="100%"><tr><td align="left">Notes</td><td align="right"><a href="#bbr_menu">[ Top ]</a></td></tr></table><hr size="1" style="color:; background-color:" />This ruleset is the recommendation of the Brawl Back Room for how to run competitive Super Smash Brothers: Brawl tournaments. We do not condemn TOs for holding tournaments with alternative or even noncompetitive rulesets. It was through experimentation and open but critical thinking that we reached these recommendations, and we encourage TOs to continue the search for improvements and novelties.

However, there are rules which, after debate, we do not recommend for competitive tournaments:

  • Except as noted in the definition of stalling, the BBR is opposed to the banning or restriction of any character's infinites.

  • The Bowser suicide klaw rule present in the SBR Ruleset 2.0 has been removed.

    The BBR now recommends that the game's verdict should always be honored; a victory screen should decide the winner. Any Sudden Death (excluding time-outs) should be treated as a tie; which are resolved with a 1 stock, 3 minute, same characters, same stage rematch.

  • The BBR is opposed to the institution of a Ledge Grab Limit of any number (for any character) for use in determining the winner of a match by time out.

  • Athough the BBR disapproves of players "coaching" other players during a tournament match, the universal and fair enforcement of a rule to prevent it appears to be improbable.

<table border="0" id="bbr_con" width="100%"><tr><td align="left">Considerations / Other Notes</td><td align="right"><a href="#bbr_menu">[ Top ]</a></td></tr></table><hr size="1" style="color:; background-color:" />
  • Tournament Organizers should make their policy regarding the use of codes, file replacements, and the like clear. The BBR suggests that larger scale tournaments should have little to no tolerance for the use of cosmetic hacks. Those permitting use of such hacks should be advised that the uninformed use of even cosmetic changes might cause unintended gameplay changes, and even informed uses can affect the outcome of the game whenever the DVD's loading time becomes a factor.

  • Also, to avoid legal repercussions, to avoid loading time changes, and to deal with the uncertainty as to the existence of changes to the game, USB/SD loaders and DVDs not manufactured by Nintendo should not be used at tournaments.

  • Whenever time permits, pool play should precede double elimination bracket play. Pool results can eliminate players as necessary and should be used to seed the bracket. Also, the semi-final and championship sets should be in at least best of 5 format.

  • The use of wireless controllers should be discouraged because of interference, unreliability, and time hindrance, but wireless controllers should not be banned.

  • Wiimotes and Classic Controller users should know to take the batteries out of their controllers after finishing a set; not only will this save battery life, but it prevents accidental intereference and delay for tournament matches.

  • Drugs and alcohol should be prohibited due to minor involvement and potential legal issues.

A tournament whose rules follow these guidelines may include a note in its opening post (suggested beneath the tournaments title in smaller font) that reads "Follows BBR Recommended Ruleset 3.1".

<table border="0" id="bbr_add" width="100%"><tr><td align="left">Addressed Issues / FAQ</td><td align="right"><a href="#bbr_menu">[ Top ]</a></td></tr></table><hr size="1" style="color:; background-color:" />Please note that comments posted here are below are PERSONAL VIEWS, unless otherwise DIRECTLY STATED. They are from individuals who are in the BBR and are not necessarily BBR policy.

New Suicide Ruling
The new suicide rule complies with a gap in our previous rule set which did not properly cover the occurrence of a draw in the two standard victory conditions.
For clarification, the two victory conditions that exist in competitive brawl are to take three stock from your opponent before they do the same to you or being further away from death (decided by stocks/percentage) than your opponent when a match reaches the 8 minute timer.

This rule covers any possible time out with two players at the same stock and percent, as well as the more common sudden death occurring due to the last stock of both players being lost at the same time. The BBR feels that this rule fairly applies to all situations which result in sudden death that the previous ruleset did not cover. Arbitrarily giving Bowser an advantage was deemed inappropriate, regardless of his position on the tier list. Ignoring the result of the end-game screen through a character specific rule in the case of Ganondorf follows suit.

The BBR's LGL Ruling
Some tournaments have adoputed rules known as "Ledge Grab Limits," the most common form of which punishes players for snapping to ledges greater than some number of times by giving the player an automatic loss if the game goes to time. The BBR's formal stance is that Ledge Grab Limit rules should not be used in any of their various forms.

Most arguments that were made in favor of instituting a Ledge Grab Limit essentially appeal to the entertainment factor; it is alledged that extensively utilizing the ledge is either "gay," "boring," "stupid," or something similar. This, of course, is a matter of opinion, and similar allegations could be made regarding chaingrabs, projectile spam, and other strategies. In terms of competitive play, the BBR does not believe that any of these factors constitute bannable offenses.

A more serious allegation is that ledge play breaks the game; debate here continued, for example through the stage discussions, with the degree to which Meta Knight is (un)beatable when playing near each ledge consistently appearing in the discussions. However, the BBR finds that ledge based play is not fundamentally any different or "worse" than stage based play, and there is no reason for tournaments to prefer one type of play over the other. If ledge based play breaks Meta Knight, then that means that Meta Knight is broken, not that the ledges themselves are broken, and as such attempts to ban the use of the ledges is out of line.

Even if the above points are ignored, the BBR disapproves of Ledge Grab Limits as a practical matter; if too small, one can achieve victory by forcing his opponent to grab the ledge and then running the timer, even if he is behind in stocks. If it is too large, it is ineffective at its goal, allowing ledge play to continue for minutes. Some of us believe that these thresholds overlap, such that the "ideal" number causes both problems rather than neither.

Worse still are editions of the rule which target all characters rather than Meta Knight specifically; we do not find any other character to be unfair when repetitively regrabbing the ledge, and subjecting those characters for whom ledge-based play is an essential part of their game (notably ROB and Pit) to harsh penalties for playing properly is unacceptable.
~Crow! (Co-Manager of Version 3.0)



Infinites are defined as a sequence of moves performed against an opponent which, once initiated upon said opponent, may be continued indefinitely regardless of the opponent's actions. The BBR's formal stance on infinites, determined by a majority of greater than 90%, is that they should not be banned. All forms of infinites are legal, but must end before 300%.

The only problem the BBR sees with infinites is their capacity to be used for stalling purposes. To combat this, we maintain the condition that infinites must end before 300%. There was discussion about lowering the damage cap or adopting a new anti-stalling system altogether, but the majority view was that the 300% limit works well enough not to warrant a change.

The technical difficulty of an infinite is not a factor to be considered in rules discussions; whether the infinite "takes skill" is irrelevant, and "it's too easy" is not a legitimate reason to ban infinites. Nor do we support catering to the spectator with the creation of this ruleset - we do not believe that changing the game so that matches will be more enjoyable to watch is, in general, justified. They are part of the match-up, and should not be removed for the sake of making the player work harder for a win, or for the sake of making it easier on the victim. Within the context of the game, a win through use of infinites is still a legitimate win.

Rules against infinites also raise enforceability questions. If we were to ban infinites, what happens if a player is in a position to initiate one? Is he allowed to perform the infinite for five seconds? For 20%? Or is he allowed no iterations at all? Banning infinites would either leave too much to interpretation for a ruleset, or would involve setting arbitrary stop points or limitations. Neither of these is something we wish to do.
~ T-Block
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