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Super Smash Bros. Brawl/Tournaments/The Unity Ruleset

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The Unity Ruleset

The following is the unity ruleset, created through lots of discussion among Brawl Back Room members and the top Tournament Organizers called the Unity Ruleset Committee. Tournaments that do not use this ruleset isn't egligible for stickies on Smash World Forums or featured coverage on All is Brawl. This is version 2.1 that is current as of January 18, 2012.

General rules

  • Metaknight is banned. If he is chosen through random character select, the match will be restarted on the same stage until Metaknight is no longer present.
  • 3 stock.
  • 8 minutes.
  • Items are turned to off and none.
  • Pause is disabled.
  • All infinites and chain grabs are legal.
  • There is an edge grab limit of 50. If the time limit expires and one player has gone over their limit, they lose the game. If both players go over the limit this rule is ignored.
  • Stalling is banned. Stalling is intentionally making the game unplayable; examples include becoming invisible, continuing infinites, chain grabs, or uninterruptible moves past 300%, and reaching a position that your opponent can never reach you.
  • Any action that can prevent the game from continuing (i.e., freezing, disappearing characters, game reset, etc.) will result in a forfeit of that match for the player that initiated the action. You are responsible for knowing your own character, and must be wary about accidentally triggering one of these effects.
  • If the Ledge Grab Limit does not declare one player the winner, the winner will be declared by what the game says in all situations, except for when players are presented with sudden death:
    • In the event of a match going to time, the winner will be determined by who has less percent (stock difference still takes priority but will be shown in the results screen).
    • If the match ends with both players dying at the same time (either coincidentally or via suicide move) or if time ran out with both players at equal percent, a one stock three minute rematch will be played on the same stage. For a tie-breaker match, a Ledge Grab Limit of 18 is used.

Doubles play

  • Team attack is on.
  • Sharing stocks is allowed.
  • If time runs out and either player on a team breaks their edge grab limit, their team loses. If players on both teams exceed the limit this rule is ignored.
  • If the clock expires 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 0 stocks and 0%).
  • It may be requested by either team to change team colours in order to prevent any unnecessary confusion, if one of the players is Pokémon Trainer, Lucario, or Sonic.

Set format

  1. Player priority is agreed on (or determined).
  2. Each team selects players' controller ports. In doubles, the teammate of the player that picks first must pick last (i.e. selection is in the order 1-2-2-1).
  3. Each team selects a character. Any player may request a double-blind pick.
  4. The first stage is selected from the list of starter stages, either through mutual agremeent, or by stage striking. The stage-striking order is 1-1-2-2-2-1 (where 1 is one team and 2 is the other team).
  5. The first game is played.
  6. The team that lost the previous match may opt to re-pick controller ports (with themselves picking first).
  7. The winner of the game may ban a stage if they have not already done so in the set.
  8. The loser of the game chooses a stage from the list of starter and counterpick stages. A stage cannot be chosen if the other side has banned it or the chooser has already won on the stage in this match.
  9. The winner selects their character.
  10. The loser selects their character.
  11. The next game is played.
  12. Repeat from step 6.

Player priority

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 or a coin flip will determine it - the winner gets to choose whether they wish to pick ports or start the stage striking.


Stages are divided up 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. Players may also ban stages as explained in the set procedure.



  • Brinstar (Melee)
  • Delfino Plaza
  • Frigate Orpheon
  • Halberd
  • Pokemon Stadium 2
  • Rainbow Cruise (Melee)


  • 75m
  • Big Blue (Melee)
  • Bridge of Eldin
  • Corneria (Melee)
  • Distant Planet
  • Flat Zone 2
  • Green Greens (Melee)
  • Green Hill Zone
  • Hanenbow
  • Jungle Japes (Melee)
  • Luigi's Mansion
  • Mario Bros.
  • Mario Circuit
  • Mushroomy Kingdom (both 1-1 and 1-2)
  • New Pork City
  • Norfair
  • Onett (Melee)
  • Pictochat
  • Pirate Ship
  • Port Town Aero Dive
  • Rumble Falls
  • Shadow Moses Island
  • Skyworld
  • Spear Pillar
  • Summit
  • Temple (Melee)
  • WarioWare, Inc.
  • Yoshi's Island (Melee)

Also, the sample stages included with Brawl to demonstrate the Stage Builder are not rated, and as a result, they are banned from tournaments.

Player conduct

  • Players are expected to bring their own controller and be prepared for every tournament set.
  • If pausing is left on, and a player pauses, a TO must resolve the situation in the following way. Unpausing before a TO arrives will result in a loss of stock for the unpauser.
    • If the situation is neutral, the match will be resumed with no further action.
    • If the player who puased is at a disadvantage, once the game resumes they are to be placed either on the edge of the stage or in an opponent's grab.
    • If the player who paused is in a "death situation", their current stock is forfeited immediately.
  • Players who use the Wii Remote must take the batteries out of the Wii Remote when not playing; lingering Wiimotes may disrupt a match. If problems persist, the offender may be disqualified.
  • You are responsible for your own controller and name tag. Any malfunctions or errors that occur are your responsibility (including battery issues with a Wii Remote), so bring an extra controller if possible and always check to make sure you're using the correct settings BEFORE a match is played. Both parties need to agree if a match is to be paused or restarted because of these problems.
  • Intentional forfeiting, match fixing, splitting, and any other forms of bracket manipulation is not allowed and punishable by the TO.
  • No substitutions are allowed for singles or doubles.
  • During gameplay, any coaching parties must remain a finite distance determined by the TO away from the players in order to give players equal access to all coached information. Ear-side coaching is prohibited during games but acceptable between games. Failure to adhere to this will lead to punishment at the TO's discretion, which could include the coach's removal from the venue or a call to replay the game that the coaching interfered with.
  • DQ Rule: Arriving too late for a match will result in a DQ. Player(s) will have 5 minutes to show up before a loss of the first match. 5 more minutes results in a loss of the set. For doubles, both players on a team need to be present in order to play.
  • The tournament organizer has the right to save/record any tournament match if possible and has the right to upload said match.
  • Disrupting your opponent physically or intending to disrupt their play (through something such as screaming in a player's ear) will result in a warning. Repeated action will result in disqualification from the tournament and possibly ejection from the venue. Observers who physically disrupt players are to be dealt with as the Tournament Organiser sees fit. Disqualification is recommended if possible, and ejection from the venue is also a punishment.
  • Regarding textures and other game hacks:
    • Players may request that any texture, stage, or other hacks be disabled during a tournament set. If this is unable to be done, they may switch to a different setup if available.
    • The URC recommends players to not use intrusive texture and stage hacks.
    • Players are not allowed to use any game-altering hacks, such as no-tripping or model hacks. Someone caught setting up a system they brought with such hacks enabled can face punishment at the TO's discretion.

Pool Ties

In the event two or more players are tied at the conclusion of a round of pools at a Unity Ruleset tournament, the following process will be done:

  • Players will be compared with each other on various criteria in this ordered precedence: Set Wins, Head to Head, Wins, Losses, and One Game Rematch.
  • If players are still tied on a step, you move down to the next one. For instance, if Player A and B both go 3-2 in sets in a round of pools, you will then proceed to the Head to Head step (who won the set between those players). Whoever won vs the other will proceed at the top of the tie.
  • If Head to Head can not decide a tie, then you would move down to the Wins step. This may occur in a three way tie where all three players defeated each other (however note that if one person in a three way tie defeats both other players, then the Head to Head comparison will be used).
  • If the tie breaker reaches all the way to the One Game Rematch step, this game will play out similar to the first game of any set (though doing best of one), where users will stage strike for the stage, and may double blind characters.
  • If at any point a tie of three or more players is partially resolved, still leaving two or more players tied, the tie between the remaining players will be decided by starting the tie breaker process over for them. For instance, if in a three way tie in the Wins step, one player has six wins while the others have 5, the player with 6 wins will be the top of the 3. The remaining two players will start back at Sets Wins to determine who is higher between the two instead of proceeding onto the Losses step right away.

TO protection

  • These rules are subject to change leading up to the event date. The Tournament Organizer reserves the right to remove you from the venue at his or her discretion for any reason.
  • The Tournament Organizer and his or her assistants, and any persons helping run the event may not be held liable for any lost, stolen, or damaged goods during this event. Nor will the Tournament Organizer, the venue, its owners, affiliates, employees, members, sponsors, or volunteers be held liable or responsible for any injury or harm that may befall a person during the course of this event. By entering the venue during the posted date you are displaying your agreement with this policy.

Infraction system

Players that are found to be in contempt of the Unity Ruleset are subject to infractions. The infraction system involves giving time-limited yellow cards and/or red cards to players for certain actions; being given two active yellow cards in one category results in an automatic red card. The BBR-RC handles all infraction-related actions.

Players with an active yellow card are subject to being under "extra watch" by TOs for later offenses. Yellow cards are given expiry dates within the one-to-twelve month range. Players with an active red card are not allowed to participate in any Unity Ruleset tournaments. Red cards typically expire within two to either weeks.

Infraction categories include but are not limited to bracket manipulation (e.g. intentional forfeiting or prize splitting) and tournament conduct (e.g. disruption or destruction of property).

Experimental rulesets

Tournament organizers may choose to run experimental rulesets, designed to test out slightly different metagames while retaining the reputation of the Unity Ruleset. TOs must notify a member of the URC with the nature of the alteration for the tournament to be accepted as being part of the experiment system.

Recommended tests

  • Banning Brinstar and/or Rainbow Cruise
  • 1 or 2-stock matches with a different timer
  • 5 or 9-stage starter lists
  • 2 stage bans per player
  • Counterpicking characters before stages
  • Allowing Jungle Japes, Norfair, Pirate Ship, Green Greens, Port Town, Onett, Yoshi's Island (Melee), Luigi's Mansion, or Distant Planet