Here’s How to Play Super Smash Bros. Ultimate with Official Tournament Rules

Here’s How to Play Super Smash Bros. Ultimate with Official Tournament Rules

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate now has official tournament rules that you can use in your in-game tournament; check out the quick guide.

If you are anything like me, you’ve already gotten into some heated debates with friends about the “official” way to play Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Stock only? No items? Only Final Destination? Thankfully, an official ruleset from the premier Smash Bros. tournament Genesis gives you a quick guide on what rules to follow to determine who is the best.

In preparation for the upcoming Genesis 6 tournament, organizers have come together to create an official ruleset for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. While things are very much the same from previous rules from the franchise, there are notable differences to the fresh-faced fighting* game including new stages, Mii Fighters, and Spirits. So without further ado, this is how to play by official tournament rules.


Winner Determination for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Tournament:

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

  • 64 Players or Less: Best of five matches.
  • Over 64 Players: Best of three matches

While I doubt you are having as many people playing as a tournament would, if you are expecting over 64 players keep everything to a managable three match game. For everything else 64 players and under, you are playing a best of five matches.

Game Settings for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Tournament:

Genesis Tournament Rules Settings Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Nintendo Switch

  • Style: Stock
  • Stock: 3 Lives
  • Time Limit: 8:00
  • Final Smash Meter: Off
  • Spirits: Off
  • CPU Level: Any
  • Damage Handicap: Off
  • Stage Selection: Loser
  • Items: Off / None
  • Advanced Rules:
    • Damage Ratio1.0x
    • Pause: Off
    • Hazard Toggle: Off
  • Mii: All movesets legal

A quick scan of the above makes sense — most anyone playing competitively has been using three stock with a time limit for ages. Also, any opportunity for randomness — pausing, Spirits, and Items — have been disable to make sure that we are seeing talent over luck.

Permitted Stages for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Tournament:

Here's How to Play Super Smash Bros. Ultimate with Official Tournament Rules

  • Round 1:
    • Battlefield and Battlefield Forms
      • Excluding Battlefield Forms: Dream Land GB, Duck Hunt, Flat Zone X, Fountain of Dreams, Gamer, Hanenbow, Mario Maker, Mute City SNES, Pac-Land, Windy Hill Zone.
    • Final Destination and Omega Forms
      • Excluding Omega Forms: Dream Land GB, Duck Hunt, Flat Zone X, Fountain of Dreams, Gamer, Hanenbow, Mario Maker, Mute City SNES, Pac-Land, Windy Hill Zone.
    • Lylat Cruise
    • Pokemon Stadium 2
    • Smashville

Permitted Stages Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Tournament Guide Nintendo Switch

  • Round 2 to 5:
    • Battlefield and Battlefield Forms
      • Excluding Battlefield Forms: Dream Land GB, Duck Hunt, Flat Zone X, Fountain of Dreams, Gamer, Hanenbow, Mario Maker, Mute City SNES, Pac-Land, Windy Hill Zone.
    • Final Destination and Omega Forms
      • Excluding Omega Forms: Dream Land GB, Duck Hunt, Flat Zone X, Fountain of Dreams, Gamer, Hanenbow, Mario Maker, Mute City SNES, Pac-Land, Windy Hill Zone.
    • Lylat Cruise
    • Pokemon Stadium 2
    • Smashville
    • Castle Siege
    • Kalos Pokemon League
    • Town & City
    • Unova Pokemon League
    • Yoshi’s Island (Brawl)
    • Yoshi’s Story

Similar to the above, the list picks out the safest stages to start with to begin everything at a neutral starting point. Once the first game has completed and a winner and loser emerges, there is slightly more variety — with the loser getting pick over which stage to go with.

Permitted Controllers for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Tournament:

Smash Nintendo Switch GameCube

Make sure to ditch your third-party controller with Turbo features and macros; the only controllers that are okayed for tournament play are official permitted controllers. More importantly, any Super Smash Bros. Ultimate worth his salt will likely be playing on the tried-and-true GameCube controller. Oh, and if you find a way to play with a Wiimote circa Super Smash Bros. Brawl, totally not allowed.

Order of Events for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Tournament:

Dr. Mario

  1. Both players will play a game of rock-paper-scissors to determine striking order for stages.
  2. Beginning with the winner, players will eliminate one of the starter stages (above); the loser will then eliminate one of the starter stages. Players will alternate until there is one stage remaining.
  3. Both players will pick their characters.
  4. Play Game 1.
  5. After playing Game 1, the winner will strike two stages from the total stage list.
  6. The loser of Game 1 will pick a remaining stage.
  7. The winner of Game 1 selects his character for Game 2.
  8. The loser of Game 1 selects his character for Game 2.
  9. Play Game 2
  10. Repeat steps 5 through 8 until a majority (three) games have been won by either player.

Just like any tournament, there is a ton of formality to how everything is picked. You may notice a lot of balance here — while the loser always has picking advantage, the winner is able to make some changes to make sure he is not entirely out of luck.

Miscellaneous Rules for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Tournament:

Here's How to Play Super Smash Bros. Ultimate with Official Tournament Rules

  • Stage Agreement: Players may agree to choose any legal stages, as an alternative to normal rules.
  • Pausing: If pausing is not turned off, players may pause while either player remains on their own respawn platform.
  • Self-Destruct Moves: In the event of a self destruct move that ends a game, the winner is determined by the results screen.
  • Sudden Death: In the case of a sudden death match, the winner is whoever has more stock or less percentage (if stock is tied). If there is a percentage tie or there is a tie on stock, a one-stock tiebreaker will be played with a 3-minute time limit. Sudden Death results are not valid. This process is repeated until a winner is determined.
  • Stage Selection for Wins: A player cannot pick a stage that they previously won.

These rules are for the outliers and weird situations that you may fall in. While most game will not fall into these situatoins, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with them.


So there you have it — a total guide to at-home tournament style play. If you want to see the pros in action (or want to sign up yourself, there is still time to head to Genesis 6.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is available now, exclusively for Nintendo Switch. You can grab the game on Amazon if you haven’t already, which seems unlikely given it was 2018’s best selling game on that platform.


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