The Official SRK "Item Standard Play" Thread (Update 10/26/11! That's Right! An Update!)

Welcome to the official project thread for ‘Item Standard Play’!
This is a moderator-approved thread. This is the v2.0 thread; the old v1.0 thread is archived at the following thread.



It is now possible to (kind of) control spawn points of items! Allow me to explain. Early in this thread, there was a big debate over whether Brawl had a hard-coded list of spawn points for items on each stage, or if the game randomly/procedurally determined where an item will spawn. I’m happy to report that the answer is…


See, in each stage PAC file, there is a section called ModelData[100], and nested deep within this file is a list of bones for each stage, some of which are assigned to item spawns. Using the positions of these bones (stored in (X, Y, Z) format under “Translation”), we can create boxes of areas where the game will allow items to spawn, at which point the game will randomly select a point inside this valid area to spawn items.

This is VERY important. This means that, with hacking, we can find the most balanced and fair areas to spawn items on each stage and restrict item spawns to only those areas!

In order to test this, anyone with Homebrew can download my hacked test PAC for Final Destination. This file restricts item spawns to the diamond in the middle of FD, high above the respawn platforms. Go ahead; turn Gooey Bombs on and see if any spawn on top of your Smash attacks now! The added height means you can react to item spawns, and the small central spawn area means that stage control is actually TOTALLY important (plus, the time it takes to go get an item and return to edgeguard means players recovering have a fairer time).

Test this out, and maybe we can hack all the spawn points to be fair and balanced on each stage!


For a little while, I have been working on a side-project in my spare time for fun, but it’s turned into something I think TO’s would actually like. So, I’m going ahead and releasing what I’m tentatively calling a “TO Tools Pack.” The pack includes a custom-built and large-monitor/projector optimized Powerpoint that can be edited and tweaked from my template to allow tournament rules to be continuously and efficiently circulated to a large group of players, something every TO I’m sure will appreciate. Also included is a picture pack that was designed to be used either separately or (optimally) in conjunction with the powerpoint. The included picture pack allows a TO to make his stage (or item, for ISP) listing and custom build a picture of a Neutral/Counterpick/Banned color-coded stage/item select screen that allows players to quickly identify tournament-legal stages/items. What’s better is that it’s all easy to use (I use it with MS Paint) and it allows you to use ANY combination of stages/items and stages of legality.

You can grab the .rar, complete with Readme files, at the following link:

Click here to visit Jack’s other thread where he discusses the ruleset he has created to accompany this item list. This is the original SWF thread where ISP all started! Head inside to see the beginning of 4 years of competitive Brawl item play.

[NOTE: This thread concerns offical rulesets and playstyle discussion for the creation of a unified approved item listing for item-based tournament play. This thread is NOT for:

*discussion of whether items (in general) are tournament viable
*discussion concerning the ‘randomness’ of items
*trying to replace any form or facet of current, established tournament play

All of the above will not be tolerated. If you are looking to discuss whether items should be allowed in tournaments, you have come to the wrong place.]

Mission Statement:

This mission of the ‘Item Standard Play’ project is :

A ) To experiment to find a unified list of items that are ‘approved’ for item-based tournament play, as well as ‘approved’ playstyles and rulesets for the creation of item-based tournaments. As in any tournament format, final discretion is always in the hands of the tournament organizer.

B ) To create a scene that can/will act as a stepping stone for the introduction of casual players into the traditional tournament scene without forcing them to ‘abandon’ all of the conventions of casual play.

C ) To create a scene that current tournament players can go to, if they so choose, that has an alternate style of play than what they are used to.

D ) To create a unified place that tournament organizers can come to discuss, create, and advertise item-based tournament events.


This thread’s purpose is to catalog all of the information, theoretical and real-world, concerning formalized competitive item play. Just like how tier lists and rulesets go through iterations, ISP is ever-evolving as well. New advancements in Brawl’s metagame can cause future changes to ISP rulesets; nothing in this thread is “set in stone”. This means that we would hope that, although we currently have a formalized (and widely accepted) ruleset, more testing must always be done.

In order to be as open-minded and thorough as possible, all items must be tested in a range of various circumstances (1v1, 2v2, and FFA; all of which Online and Offline). Prior knowledge from Melee must, for the sake of accuracy and true balance, must be discarded, especially in light of the inclusion of a new physics engine (Havok). To accomplish this, we ask that those who would like to contribute to the project post in this thread details pertaining to item experimentation; the results of numerous experiments will ultimately determine future versions of our final item list.

[NOTE: Simply stating that Item A is broken is not enough; sufficient testing must occur.]

We ask that your post include:

*Number of rounds (the more rounds played, the more accuracy; note that each round must be identical, i.e., the same players, the same items, the same stage, the same characters, etc.)
*Stage played on
*Rules of match (Time/amount, stock/amount, special rules, etc.)
*Characters played
*Number of wins for each player/character
*Number of kills for each player/character
*Any other information you deem important

Also, if possible, note the relative skill of all players; for instance, if P1 is much more skilled than P2 and P3, make note.

If you have any questions/concerns/requests for the project, please contact me (JackKieser) either by PM or by AIM. Your support and encouragement is appreciated.


As of 10/26/09 at 11:45 PM:

Thanks to the testing, balancing, research, and discussion of many, many people, we finally have a draft for a balanced and fair item listing, as well as a ruleset for use in tournaments. Speaking for everyone a part of the ‘ISP’ project, we can’t thank everyone enough for their help and support; this would have never happened if the community around SWF hadn’t put (at least some) of their support behind it. Special thanks go out to those who don’t even agree with competitive item play, but still discussed and debated with us to work towards a consensus.
Here is the result of nearly two months of extensive testing, balancing, and discussion:


**(Sandbag) (Food) (Warp Star) (Bunny Hood) (Beam Sword) (Lip’s Stick) (Star Rod) (Super Scope) (Fire Flower) (Motion Sensor Bomb) (Freezie) (Smoke Ball) (Pitfall) (Mr. Saturn) (Banana Peel) (Franklin Badge) (Screw Attack) **


(Assist Trophy) (Dragoon) (Metal Box) (Home-Run Bat) (Hammer) (Ray Gun) (Cracker Launcher) (Gooey Bomb) (Hothead) (Unira)


(Smash Ball) (Pokeball) (Containers) (Blast Box) (Maxim Tomato) (Heart Container) (Super Mushroom) (Poison Mushroom) (Starman) (Superspicy Curry) (Lightning) (Fan) (Golden Hammer) (Bob-Omb) (Smart Bomb) (Deku Nut) (Green Shell) (Bumper) (Soccer Ball) (Spring)


Item Spawn Rate – Changed to ‘Medium’
(Team Healer) - Neutral
(Smash Ball) – Moved to Counterpick
(Superspicy Curry) – Moved to Counterpick
(Cracker Launcher) – Moved to Neutral


  1. 3 Stocks
  2. 8 Minute Time Limit
  3. Items set to “Low”
  4. Pause set to “Off”
  5. All infinites and chain grabs are legal.
  6. The act of stalling is banned: stalling is intentionally making the game unplayable: Such as becoming invisible, continuing infinites, chain grabs, or uninterruptible moves past 300%, and reaching a position that your opponent can never reach you.
  7. 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.
  8. The winner will be declared by what the game says in all situations, except for when players are presented with sudden death:
    o 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).
    o 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.


  1. Team Attack set to “On”
  2. Life stealing is allowed.
  3. In the event of a game going to time, if both teams have an equal amount of combined stocks, then whichever team has a lower combined percent is declared the winner.
  4. If a player is using the character Pokemon Trainer, Lucario, or Sonic, either team may request that team colors be changed to make it easier to tell the difference between team players.


  1. Player Priority is determined if it cannot be agreed on. (See below for details)
  2. Each Team selects one controller port to use for each Player.
  3. Each Team selects one character for each Player. A double blind pick may be called by any player.
  4. The first game is played on a Stage selected from the Starter Stage List either by mutual consent or through the Stage Striking Method. The order of stage striking will be 2-3-1 (Team 1 strikes two stages, followed by Team 2 striking three stages, with Team 1 then striking one of the two remaining stages).
  5. The first match is played.
  6. The team that lost the previous match may opt to re-pick controller ports (with themselves picking first).
  7. The Team that won the previous match may announce one “Stage Ban” and/or one “Item Ban” if they have not already done so in this set.
  8. The Team that lost the previous match announces the stage for the next match from either the Starter or the Counterpick Stage List. Any Stage named as a “Stage Ban” by the either Team may not be selected. No Stage may be used by a Team that has already won on that Stage in this set.
  9. The Team that won the previous match chooses one character for each Player.
  10. The Team that lost the previous match chooses one character for each Player.
  11. The Team that lost may counterpick any one item from the “Starter” and “Counterpick” item lists not already announced as an “Item Ban” by changing the On/Off status of the item.
  12. If the Team that lost chose to counterpick an item, the Team that won may now choose to counterpick any one item not banned.
  13. If the Team that won chose to counterpick an item, the Team that lost may now choose to counterpick any one item not banned.
  14. The next match is played.
  15. Repeat steps 6-15 for all proceeding matches.

Determining Player Priority
If there is a dispute in controller port selection or initiating Stage Strike use the following method:
Teams will use a random method such as Rock-Paper-Scissors, Coin Flip, or Game and Watch Judgment, where the winner selects either first choice in port selection or first choice in stage striking. Whichever team does not receive first choice in port selection will be compensated with first choice in stage striking.
Note: In Doubles, port selection is ordered 1-2-2-1 fashion (with Team-1 having first choice in controller slot select, Team-2 having both second and third choice, and the final slot going to Team-1).



Castle Siege
Lylat Cruise
Pokemon Stadium 1
Pokemon Stadium 2
Yoshi’s Island (Brawl)


Final Destination
Delfino Plaza
Frigate Orpheon
Distant Planet
Rainbow Cruise
Jungle Japes
Yoshi’s Island (Pipes)
Green Greens
Port Town Aero Dive

Any stage not listed above is counted as “BANNED” for the purposes of tournament play.

Any rule-list that closely follows this guideline may include a note in its opening post (suggested beneath the tournaments title in smaller font) that reads “ISP Certified”.

ADDED MAY 24th, 2009: Alternate Rulesets

The following rulesets have been suggested for use and tested in a tournament setting.

DugFinn / Houston 2v2 ISP:

Item List:


(Smash Ball) (Sandbag) (Food) (Warp Star) (Bunny Hood) (Beam Sword) (Lip’s Stick) (Star Rod) (Hammer) (Golden Hammer) (Super Scope) (Fire Flower) (Motion Sensor Bomb) (Freezie) (Smoke Ball) (Pitfall) (Mr. Saturn) (Green Shell) (Banana Peel) (Franklin Badge) (Screw Attack) (Team Healer)


(Assist Trophy) (Dragoon) (Metal Box) (Home-Run Bat) (Ray Gun) (Cracker Launcher) (Gooey Bomb) (Hothead) (Spring) (Unira)


(Pokeball) (Containers) (Blast Box) (Maxim Tomato) (Heart Container) (Super Mushroom) (Poison Mushroom) (Starman) (Superspicy Curry) (Lightning) (Fan) (Bob-Omb) (Smart Bomb) (Deku Nut) (Bumper) (Soccer Ball)

TESTED AT WHOBO: WHOBO Post in this thread.

(PS: DF, if I made any mistakes here, please let me know.)


These are the results of item testing that the ‘Item Standard Play’ project has been working on for the past two months. The goal of the project is to create standardized and accepted formats for item play in tournaments and in order to do this, certain criterion were established. For the sake of understanding, I will set out these criterions now:

Preservation of Risk/Reward: The basic concept of ‘punishment’ in a fighting game. Every move has a risk/reward value that affects its usefulness and effectiveness in any given situation, and acceptable items must preserve this vital relationship. If an item has too little risk for too much of a reward, then the item is to be deemed ‘broken’ and must be disabled from play; conversely, if an item has too much risk for a very small amount of reward, then the item shall be deemed ‘redundant’ and should be removed from play in an attempt to condense item listings (this is not as important as removing ‘broken’ items, however).

Acceptable Counter Systems in Place: Every move must have a counter; if there is no counter, than strategically there is no reason not to use it at all times. For an item to be considered ‘balanced’ it must always have at least one counter at all times. If an item does not have at least one global strategic counter, then it shall be deemed ‘broken’ and banned from play.

Acceptable Level of Effect on Match Outcome: Applicable to both items and stages. If an item has a dramatic effect on battle to the extent that an entire match can ride on the item’s use, then the item should be considered ‘broken’ and banned from play. This criterion has the most grey area because items in and of themselves are designed to effect the outcome of a match. Thus, acceptable levels of interference must be maintained; small changes in match dynamics are acceptable, while items promoting ‘spawn camping’ and like strategies should be banned. As a corollary to this, we must also take into account if an item forces its effects on a player (for instance, by spawning on top of a player); items of lower effect can have more leeway on this rule, while items with vast effects must only be usable by player decision.

A recent addition to this list is the ‘counterpick’ list of items; previously, items were either deemed ‘approved’ or ‘banned’. This allows for a few very important changes to item play. Introductory matches in a set must maintain a certain level of integrity, and having an approved ‘neutral’ list of items, much like in the case of neutral stage picks and double-blind character selection, ensures that a significant advantage is not enjoyed by either competitor during the first match. This also allows for greater congruency with established tournament play, further bridging the divide between ‘casual’ players who are looking to enter the tournament scene and seasoned tournament players looking for new and fresh competition (both players and styles).

Using these criterions, these are the ‘ISP’ project’s impressions on each of the 49 items available for Brawl tournament play. These are, by no means, set in stone, at least for now; however, because I wished to make a decision on each of the items at least once, I have laid out our impressions below. There will be three possible outcomes for any given item: Neutral (and accepted for round 1 play), Counterpick (and thus only available in round 2 and onward) or Banned (unavailable for the entirety of the set).

As of 7/3, this list will apply to both 1v1 and 2v2 play. Many of the items function more or less the same, regardless of ruleset. There are, however, a few key items that have significant functional differences when used in 2v2 play. In these cases, I will have a supplementary paragraph following the standard 1v1 ruling for 2v2 play. For all 2v2 rulings, assume that Friendly Fire is active. If there is not a separate paragraph for any item, assume the ruling is the same for 2v2 as it is for 1v1.

Please feel free to contest any of the below impressions with solid data that does not contradict the above stated criterion:

Smash Ball [BANNED] - Unfortunately, there isn’t much that can be said about Smash Balls in 1v1 play. With most items, regardless of the character you are using, the effect of the item remains the same; Smash Balls were not designed with this in mind, however, and as such are not balanced in such a way as to give each character an equally powerful or effective Final Smash. This, in combination with frames of varying invincibility, wildly differing ranges, and the ability to change the outcome of a match in a single fell swoop renders Smash Balls out of the question for 1v1 play.

Smash Ball 2v2 [COUNTERPICK] – Smash Balls actually function quite differently in 2v2 play than in 1v1, and the reason is that you are now able to hit your teammate. The biggest flaw with Smash Balls in 1v1 was that there is little to no downfall to activating a Final Smash at any time; if all else fails, one could simply activate the move to gain invincibility frames in order to dodge a hit, and even if the move misses, nothing is really lost. If a teammate and Friendly Fire is added in, things become more complicated. No Final Smash is unable to be dodged, but many of the more ‘overpowered’ Final Smashes are quite hard to dodge indeed; this, however, counts for both your enemies and your friends, meaning that if a team isn’t well coordinated a badly placed Final Smash can (and probably will) seriously injure a teammate (the Landmaster is an excellent example of this). As noted earlier, however, every Final Smash, be it DK’s or Marth’s, is able to be dodged, so a team that has practiced around each other’s Final Smashes is at a significant advantage; even Pit’s or Dedede’s Final Smashes (which now homes in on teammates due to Friendly Fire) can be easily dodged if one practices his timing enough. It is for these reasons that we move Smash Balls to the counterpick list for 2v2 play.

Assist Trophy/Pokeball [COUNTERPICK] / [BANNED] - I wanted to keep these items separate in this assessment, but I just couldn’t; they work the same, have the same faults, and affect the match in the same way. Assists and Pokeballs break all three of the criterion for a balanced item: there is no risk to using them (as all you have to do is pick them up and you gain their effects), the Assist/Pokemon summoned is invincible and in many cases can chase you down, and a single Assist/Pokemon can net even low % kills (especially in the case of the Legends and Isaac). It should be noted, however, that Assist Trophies and Pokeballs have a very distinct difference in activation methods, namely that Assists are activated upon acquisition (and thus have an accompanying animation), while Pokeballs double as a mid-strength projectile. Because of this difference, a player activating an Assist Trophy can be punished in a way that a player throwing a Pokeball cannot; this makes Assist Trophies a little less broken than Pokeballs. [As it stands, there are a few Pokemon and Assist Trophies that are vastly more powerful than the rest (the Legends and Issac come to mind), but as Keits demonstrates, even the more powerful Assists are able to be dodged. It should be noted that these overpowered Pokemon/Assists are very rare, indeed; this does not excuse them from our balance criterion, however, which is why we have decided to make them counterpick pending further tournament evidence; if it is demonstrated that uber Pokemon/Assists degenerate item play, they will be disabled. Current item players must remember that these items will not be active unless they are activated by a player, however, so whoever activates them takes these risks into account willingly. Keeping this in mind, though, powerful Pokemon spawn more frequently than powerful Assists, so Pokeballs remain banned.]

Containers [BANNED] - This refers to the Crate, Barrel, Capsule, and Party Ball items collectively. These items, on the surface, seem to be balanced. There is a large risk to using the Crate, Barrel, and Party Ball items because of the drastic movement reduction received while holding them, the only reward being another item (possibly a heavier hit on the opponent), each item has a basic counter (the large containers have abysmal range, while the capsule is easily air/spot dodged), and they usually only effect the match by releasing another item… but this isn’t always the case. A rigged container will always do massive damage and knockback, and there is no way of telling which containers are rigged and which aren’t. While this seems like it should be included with ‘Risk/Reward’, containers, by their very nature, have a higher probability than other items to spawn, and because of their bulk there is a decent chance that they can (and will) spawn in the range of an attack in progress; if this happens, a player may take damage through no fault of his/her own, damage that can and, in many cases, will kill in one shot. This happens frequently enough that these items break the third criterion by a large margin, and thus must be disabled.

Blast Box [BANNED] - This container-like item operates completely different than normal containers in that it always causes a massive explosion, but can only be triggered by a strong attack or anything with the fire/explosive property (for instance, Red Pikmin, Link’s Bombs, and Din’s Fire). This item shares the container’s main fault, though, in that the explosion caused by it is relatively easy to set off (and can be done at a distance with many characters) and causes low % kills with ease (a dummy Mario was killed from the center of FD at ~50%). The effect that these boxes can have on a match is immense; enough to where it’s risk of use cannot outweigh its effect. Blast Boxes, for this reason, must also be disabled.

Sandbag [NEUTRAL] - Sandbag is an interesting item in that, out of all of the items on this list, I would wager that it has the least impact on the outcome of a match; Sandbag’s only purpose is to be hit with attacks, and it cannot cause any direct harm to players. When hit, Sandbag has a chance to spawn a separate item randomly beneath it, but this happens rarely on the ‘Low’ spawn rate. The only other effect that Sandbag can directly have on a match is that the game considers Sandbag a character, and thus tries to keep any and all spawned Sandbags on screen at all times, sometimes causing the screen to rapidly change focus upon a spawning Sandbag. Sandbags have the very useful strategic purpose of being a wall to attacks, however, and this strategy lends itself to a great usefulness. Because of the strategic value and the fact that it does not violate any of our three criterions, Sandbags are balanced enough for item play.

Food [NEUTRAL] - Small items that replenish anywhere between 1-10% damage, food can have a drastic impact on matches… but only when used in conjunction with containers capable of spawning multiple food items at once. On a singular basis, food can, at most, recover a single hit’s worth of health, and are usually not worth fighting over. These items inhabit a grey area in item play because they have such a small influence on battle in general, but influence the greatest part of a fight (amount of health). They have little risk to use, but also little reward. There is no ‘counter’ in the traditional sense, but a single hit can negate any advantage gained by using the item, which could be considered a counter. Single food items cannot have a drastic effect on battle simply by virtue of the small amount by which they heal. Items do, however, have two important uses outside of battle. Activating food for tournament play adds another item at which the game must use to calculate probability for spawning; effectively diluting the item pool and reducing the effect other items have on the outcome of a fight. Activating food also allows certain stage’s background effects to be used in battle (Smashville’s balloons and Yoshi’s Island’s Shy Guys, for example), allowing certain stages to operate at their fullest. I see no reason why food items should not be allowed for tournament play, but this may very well be an item left up to tournament director’s discretion.

Maxim Tomato/Heart Container [BANNED] - These two items, much like Assists/Pokeballs, operate so similarly that it would not be prudent for me to make a distinction between the two. These items break all three of the established criterion of balance in very obvious ways. There is literally no viable risk/reward system in place, as the risk to use these items is very small, but the reward is very high (50% or 100% healed, respectively), and in a fight where every % counts, this is simply too much. There is no way to counter the use of these items, other than perhaps to prevent their usage, but this is not an acceptable counter by any means. The effect that these items can have on battle should be obvious; in many cases, each of these items could provide anywhere from a half to full heal, effectively giving a player an extra stock to work with, and this is unacceptable. These items must be banned.

Dragoon [COUNTERPICK] - This item is a tough one to nail down because it skirts the line with all three of the balance criterion. Risk/reward is in place, if only in the sense that you have to actively gather all three parts to use the Dragoon, and if the opponent happens to be holding one of the parts, you are forced to engage him/her in order to complete the Dragoon. Once the item is used, however, risk/reward breaks down, as there is no reason not to use it (and usage is automatic, so even if there was a risk, you’d have to use it anyway), and firing it launches a OHKO shot that you cannot be knocked out of. The Dragoon has many counters to its completion, but only one counter to its use: air/spot dodging and even this counter can be quite ineffective. Like any other move, prediction is key when dodging (and using) the Dragoon; any move with lag can be punished, but a smart player will refrain from this and stay mobile. The dominant strategy when using the Dragoon is to gather all three pieces (in some for) on the field, then KO the opponent without using the Dragoon, opting to KO him/her with the Dragoon after he/she re-spawns, gaining a 0% KO; this is a powerful strategy, but holds the same fault that a shot must be aimed properly and must connect. This is a good strategy, but diminishes in usefulness the better a player is a dodging and being mobile. This item will be allowed on the counterpick list to determine whether it is truly broken or if players simply haven’t learned how to dodge it effectively.

Super/Poison Mushroom [BANNED] - These items are the only two items that affect each other’s viability as balanced items, which makes them unique. Alone, there is no risk/reward system in place; if only Super Mushrooms are on, there is no reason not to use them, as they give significant buffs, while if only Poison Mushrooms are activated, there is no reason to ever use them as they only give negative effects to the player. Together, however, a risk/reward system is evident. Because there is little graphical difference between them, even on a high-definition TV it is easy to mistake one for the other, and so there is a definite risk to using the mushrooms, as a player could easily be mistaken and get drastically reduced effectiveness in battle when he thought he would be getting improved effectiveness. Regardless of the mushroom, the effects are rather simply countered, as well. Poison Mushrooms may make someone easier to kill when hit, but it also makes them a harder target to hit and running away from your opponent is just as easy as it normally is; on the same token, an opponent in Super form is easy to combo due to their size and low knockback, so pressure is a very effective counter to use on a Super opponent. The main drawback of these mushrooms is that they activate on physical contact, which means that, more so than any other items (save Lightning), these items cause the most problems in terms of spawning on top of players. Both items interrupt all animations, meaning that a bad spawn can stop any attack (even a recovery attempt) dead in its tracks, which is, unfortunately, a very large problem. As it stands, both of these items have such an effect on battle that, as of now, they must be banned in tournament play.

Warp Star [NEUTRAL] - Simply put, a perfectly balanced item. The Warp Star has an interesting take on the risk/reward system, as it is a low-risk/high-reward item, but its inherent properties allow it to still maintain a semblance of R/R balance; this is due to the aiming mechanism providing a natural counter to the item’s use at all times: ease of dodging. The Warp Star has a limited range of aiming, which means that many times a player can simply run out of range of the star, but even if this is not an option, all it takes is a simple well-timed air dodge for a player to completely negate the Warp Star. A great pressure item, the Warp Star is highly recommended for item play.

Starman [BANNED] - The Starman has been the subject of contention ever since the original Smash Bros. and this Starman is no different. Many view the Starman as broken because it is perceived to be a low-risk/high-reward item, but is it really? The only thing that a Starman guarantees is that the player using it becomes invincible for 10 seconds; it is still up to the player to make the most of this invincibility. If the player is unable to connect a hit within those 10 seconds, then the most that has been done is prolong the battle for 10 seconds, hardly a significant effect unless the player is purposefully trying to run down the clock. This is the inherent counter to the Starman; simply not getting hit, which is purely in the hands of the opposing player. A skilled player can easily dodge a non-invincible player for ten seconds, and should be able to do so to a player under the effect of the Starman. However, the Starman does have the disadvantage of activating upon contact, meaning that fast characters (ones that are inherently harder to dodge anyway) have the upper hand in reaching and activating the Starman first. Also of note is the fact that, because of gained invincibility, it is impossible to knock a Starman-effected player out of attack animations, thus creating another disadvantage for the opponent. As it stands, though runaway tactics are the norm now, this cannot be guaranteed in the future and seeing as this is the only counter to a Starman-effected opponent, the Starman must be banned in official play.

Metal Box [COUNTERPICK] - Causes the user to gain the ‘metal’ property, reducing knockback taken but also increasing fall speed and limiting the usefulness of jumps. The Metal Box puts its risk/reward right out there by giving obvious strengths and weaknesses to the user. Lateral movement properties (such as running speed) and general strength (and knockback given) are unaffected by the Metal transformation, which allows for a very balanced set of advantages and disadvantages. The Metal Box may be activated accidentally if it spawns on a player performing an attack, but this is most certainly an exception, not the rule, and thus does not affect the item’s balancing very much. Does not break any of our tenants of balance, and is an overall average item. [Although this item does not break any of our criterions completely, the fact remains that this item may be activated by random spawn without the intent of either player. This property is common of the items that are on the Counterpick list.]

Bunny Hood [NEUTRAL] - The logical opposite of the Metal Box, the Bunny Hood increases lateral speed (while on the ground only) and a dramatic boost to jumping height. The Bunny Hood does not alter fall speed, character weight, or knockback given/taken, but does come with the obvious disadvantage of reduced character control due to the increased speed. For certain characters, the Bunny Ears can be a godsend while for others they can make a character nearly unplayable. A very situational item, yet the lack of character control can very visibly reduce the reward of speed, and rarely effects battle in a way that gives one player a dominant and uncounterable advantage over another. Approved for item play.

Superspicy Curry [BANNED] - Another point of contention in the Smash community, the Superspicy Curry ultimately cannot stand to the test of balance. There is no visible risk to using Curry, as the only effect on player control that it has is forcing a player to always run, which isn’t enough of a disadvantage (if it can even be considered one at all) to outweigh the very great advantage of constant and hard-to-avoid damage given to the opponent. Incredible at accumulating damage, edge guarding, preventing combos and approaches, and creating a variety of setups, the Curry can be a fatal weapon even in the hands of a non-skilled player. The Curry does not provide invulnerability, however, which makes a Curry user just as susceptible to long range attacks and projectiles as ever; this one small weakness, however, does not outweigh the very powerful strengths of the item, and as such it has been deemed too ‘broken’ to be allowed in item play.

Superspicy Curry 2v2 [COUNTERPICK] – One of the greatest faults of the SSC was that, although Smash DI could help one escape from it, it was overpowered in the sense that its range and versatility allowed for edgeguards and setups without requiring an adequate amount of skill in return; much in the same way for Smash Balls, the inclusion of Friendly Fire changes things in 2v2. In 2v2, it is just as easy to catch a friend in your flames as it is a foe, especially if the opposing team is coordinated enough to keep close to your teammate. Great care has to be taken when using the SSC in 2v2, so we will move it to the counterpick list.

Timer [BANNED] - The Timer has the Super/Poison Mushroom’s risk/reward system condensed into a single item, and as such creates its own inherent balance, but the effect of the Timer on the course of the battle outweighs that balance. The risk to using the Timer is that, on occasion, the Timer will slow all combatants down or slow only the user down, whereas the reward is the possibility of being able to drastically out speed the opponent; unfortunately, the rate of backfire is quite low, and there is no way to predict a backfire (it was once thought that the direction of the clock hand’s movement hinted at the outcome of picking up a Timer, but that has since been disproven). Luckily, a player under the effect of the Timer gets the added bonus of increased air dodge length, meaning that skilled players will spend the majority of their time under the effect of the Timer spamming air dodges; even if hit one or two times, so much time is spent in air dodge invincibility animation that the user can only get a small number of hits in before the effect is over (it should be noted, however, that the length of cooldown time between air dodges is increased, as well, so strategy must be employed when dodging attacks in slowdown mode). A recent discovery, however, has yielded the finding that anyone possessing an ‘electric’ property attack can use the Timer to exploit the ‘slowdown’ effect (dramatic animation that freezes the target of an electrical attack in extra stun frames) of electrical attacks to freeze a target in place with no way for the target to move, racking updamage in a variety of ways. Because so many characters can exploit this technique, it falls out of the realm of balance and must be outright banned.

Lightning [BANNED] - Lightning has many of the same problems that the Timer does, and as such share a lot of the same sentiment. The main difference (and the point that elevates Lightning above the Timer) is that the tiny status effect is not nearly as destructive as being slowed to a crawl; at least you still have full control of your character. All of the same theories that apply to Poison Mushrooms apply to Lightning, with the added bonus of having the Lightning able to backfire on its own (much like the Timer). The level of risk involved in using Lightning is roughly 50/50 (or more accurately, 33/33/33, as there seems to be a roughly even chance that the previously mentioned effects, as well as the effect of making every player on the field tiny, will occur), and you can’t get more balanced than that. Unfortunately, the killing blow to the Lightning item is the fact that it is touch activated, and thus can affect play on spawn, potentially causing a player to activate it without wanting to. As such, the Lightning will have to be banned in tournament play.

Bludgeoning Items

Because most bludgeoning items operate in generally the same way, I am going to make a general statement about this type of item and cover the individual aspects in detail afterwards.

Bludgeons all share some common characteristics that make them ideally balanced items at their core. These items, more so than most others, require a level of skill to use above and beyond what most items call for in that these items have a very finite range (when not thrown, of course). Risk/reward is usually preserved well in bludgeons because a whiffed attack usually leave the user open enough for counterattack, and a single hit from one of these weapons is usually not powerful enough to kill, unless at very high percentages. Range is their primary counter, as are all of the usual conventions for dodging attacks (because bludgeons operate, at a basic level, just like any other physical attack). As most bludgeons change the available moveset of the operating character (altered nairs, F-Smash, and dashes), they are able to change the dynamic of a fight without being the primary cause for a win.

Beam Sword [NEUTRAL] - The Beam Sword is a very balanced item, weak in knockback while still providing advantages and incentives to the holder. The extension of the Beam Sword’s range upon charging a Smash attack is very useful for faking out opponents, and gives the user enough room so that even if the attack whiffs, as long as the opponent is at maximum range there is little chance of punishment. This comes at the cost of power, as the Beam Sword takes large amounts of accumulated damage and full charges in order to really shine as a KO item; once a player reaches KO point with this item, it is much more efficient to just throw the sword than to try to land a final slash (or even better, use another move to KO). Weak without being useless, the Beam Sword is great for item play and is approved.

Home-Run Bat [COUNTERPICK] - Make no mistake: when used for its F-Smash, the Home-Run Bat is a very high-risk weapon. The conservation of risk/reward simply means that the higher reward something has, the higher risk it must have as well, and the Home-Run Bat delivers on this promise. As a projectile, it is much more efficient at causing damage and kills, but it is just as easy to dodge as any other thrown projectile, be it a boomerang or a turnip. [It must be noted and considered, however, that even when used as a simple thrown item, the Home-Run Bat has one of the highest amounts of knockback in the game, and can turn the tides very easily. To allow this in the first fight of a set, the match designed to be the most equal, could cause complications in the future. This item will be moved to the counterpick list.]

Fan [BANNED] - On the opposite side of the coin, the fan is a low-risk, high-reward nightmare. Not only does cut through shields like a hot knife through Kirby, but it also traps the opponent in a near-infinite of repeated jabs that is so difficult to DI out of, you might as well call it impossible. It is beyond easy to get someone over 200% with this item and as such has been banned from play.

Lip’s Stick [NEUTRAL] - Arguably the most balanced bludgeoning item in the game (possibly tying the Beam Sword, if not outright beating it), Lip’s Stick embodies all three of the balancing criterion established above. It is completely restricted by its range, having a smaller range than even some regular F-Smashes. The flower contact with this item causes may drain health, but the rate of drain is completely proportional to the strength of the connecting blow, which jives with risk/reward because the longer you charge the attack, the higher damage the flower will do at the price of having a greater chance of missing altogether (if the opponent can predict well). As a basic bludgeon, it is not powerful enough to KO at almost any decent percentage without being charged, and as such can hardly be blamed in many cases for the outcome of the match. An altogether great item, Lip’s Stick is approved for play.

Star Rod [NEUTRAL] - A unique item in that it is the only item in the game capable of acting as both a projectile and a bludgeon (without having to be thrown), the Star Rod opens up a lot of interesting strategies. The fact that different characters act differently when shooting stars (some characters can fire two stars in quick succession, while most are restricted to firing off one star at a time), as well as how a star can be launched from both tilts and Smashes, lends itself to a level of strategic value that other bludgeons can’t compare to. Add to that an average risk/reward, average strength, and average range and you have an item perfectly suited for tournament play. Accepted for play.

Hammer [COUNTERPICK] / Golden Hammer [BANNED] - Taking the concept of risk/reward and stretching it as thin as it can, these two items wildly fluctuate between ‘balanced’ and ‘broken’ depending on who you talk to. Both items can either be low- or high-risk items, only requiring that you pick them up to use, but also being two of the most easily gimpable items in the game (Golden less so, due to its floatation ability). They can either be very low- or very high-reward items in that one shot is usually all it takes to kill at higher percentages (‘higher percentages’ meaning the high 60-70’s for the Golden Hammer); ledgestalling, thanks to the increased amount of invincibility frames, almost always causes even the Golden Hammer to fail to connect. Hammers of the normal variety have additional weaknesses, as well. Because of the nature of the weapon, disjointed hitboxes are very effective counters (if timed properly), and certain characters (such as Luigi, for example) can even break through the Hammer to hit its user. Other projectiles seriously impede a Hammer user, making it difficult to approach, in addition to Hammer users being completely vulnerable from underneath. Characters with counter moves also out-prioritize the Hammer’s attack, and due to the item’s predictability means that counter-wielding characters will rarely get hit by a Hammer swing. [Even though the Hammer skirts the line of what constitutes a ‘broken item’, the sheer power behind the item should not be allowed in the first fight of a match. Similar to the Home-Run Bat’s ruling, it would be irresponsible to allow the Hammer to be activated in a neutral match, so it will be moved to the counterpick list.]

Super Scope [NEUTRAL] - The Super Scope is a very basic projectile item with a lot of added versatility, thanks to the new ability to move while firing. The ammo for this gun goes fast, as it is very easy to simply go semi-auto with it and use up half of your clip in a matter of seconds (which is significant because not every shot registers as a hit; on average, one out of every two shots will register if rapid firing, and the average drops to one every three if you are moving towards the target while firing). The ability to charge a shot to varying levels of power can be downright deadly thanks to the new movement mechanic (allowing charging and aiming at the same time, whereas before you had to hope that the enemy would fall or walk into a charged shot). Charged shots are signified by a loud noise, however, and thanks to multiple air dodges, it really isn’t that hard to dodge a charged shot. The charged firing speed is just slow enough to warrant such power behind a single shot, and so we have determined that this item is balanced enough for tournament play.

Ray Gun [COUNTERPICK] - The original Ray Gun had a fatal flaw: at almost any percentage, it was exceedingly easy to kill by carrying an opponent off the edge with a volley of shots. Thanks to altered timing, DI having more of an influence on physics, lowered hitstun, and Brawl’s general floatiness, the Ray Gun can now only do this at low percentages, and even then it is very possible to break out of a Ray Gun volley. Ray Gun ‘infinites’ notwithstanding, however, the Ray Gun is actually a very underpowered item. The shots, even at higher percentages, have a relatively low amount of knockback, and unless playing at 200%+ levels, a Ray Gun shot probably won’t KO. The shots are a little harder to dodge than most other projectile shots due to their elongated hitboxes, but they are still able to be circumvented by a skilled player (or one playing an agile character), although larger or heavier characters still have trouble. Unless used to carry the opponent off the stage or thrown at the enemy, the Ray Gun simply isn’t powerful enough to pose a serious threat to a competitor. [Although it is harder to do and more situational in nature, Ray Gun gimp kills do still exist, however, so this must be taken into account; as member Yuna is quick to point out, ‘If something is possible to do, people will master it.’ As such, we will move the Ray Gun to the counterpick list.]

Fire Flower [NEUTRAL] - The runt of the projectile game, the Fire Flower is a low-risk/medium-reward item that has some strategic uses and can apply pressure well in some situations. The Fire Flower has roughly the range of most of the bludgeon items (that is to say, slightly longer than the reach of a Smash attack), and the flame that it spews does little damage, but at a constant rate, which is able to trap enemies against walls. The flame knocks the opponent just far enough back to where the flame can only hit once or twice if both combatants are standing completely still. This amount of knockback is just enough to where most characters can jump over the flame, even if actively taking damage from it, and escape with relative ease. In most cases, the loss of nair and ‘A’ attacks outweighs the benefit of a constant volley of flame, and so this is a very situational item, nowhere near the level of unfairness to warrant a verdict of ‘broken’. The Fire Flower, thus, is approved for item play.

Cracker Launcher [COUNTERPICK] - Easily the most brutishly powerful of the projectile items, the Cracker Launcher only has one real strategy: land a shot and continue to try to juggle the opponent. The Cracker Launcher has a lot of strength behind its shots, but at a big price: it is notoriously difficult to aim, is slow, and forces the user to lose all other attacks for the duration of use, along with the loss of a second jump (while a second jump may be used after the Launcher has been discarded, the action of throwing the item takes time, precious time that may cause a death in certain situations). The Cracker Launcher’s true power comes in off-the-top kills, which are actually quite easy once a single hit has been landed (assuming the user fires fast enough). Projectile knockback is good, but not enough to place the target out of range of follow-up shots afterward, making juggling pretty easy. In addition to this, the item itself is large, lending itself two important properties: while traveling a shorter distance when thrown, throw-knockback is very, very good, and due to traveling speed (coupled with size) it is possible to be hit even when attempting to dodge (as the item may still inhabit space with the target after dodging animation is completed). The final straw, however, comes in how the Cracker Launcher’s shots interact with the user or more accurately how they don’t. With any other explosive-style attack, an object detonated at the user’s feet will harm the user as well. In the case of the Cracker Launcher, a player could fire an entire clip at his feet and not take a single percent of damage. [The Cracker Launcher has been a point of contention for a while now; we had banned it simply because we thought it would be better to be overly stern than overly lenient, but with the inclusion of a counterpick list, hopefully both sides will be satisfied; they aren’t a neutral item, but can be activated in subsequent matches.]

Cracker Launcher 2v2 [NEUTRAL] – The main weakness of the Cracker Launcher in 1v1 play is how spammable the projectile can be; once grabbed, there is practically no reason to refrain from firing. This dynamic changes in 2v2 play because of, like many items, the inclusion of a teammate target. Mindlessly firing shots can very well get your teammate killed, and like many other items in 2v2, this is a natural counter to its use, as a foe can stick close to your teammate to prevent you from risking catching him in the crossfire. The Cracker Launcher will be moved to the neutral list pending relevant tournament data on its use; it is very possible that this item may need to remain on the counterpick list for 2v2.

Bob-Omb [BANNED] - The main offender of risk/reward imbalance, the Bomb-Omb has a terrible habit of spawning in inopportune times and in inopportune places. The most volatile item in the game, Bomb-Ombs take very little skill to use (just throw and forget), have immense power (causing 35% damage and KO’ing at ~65%), and reward the user for a very basic action (throwing an item) by giving out extreme damage and even more extreme knockback. The very semblance of imbalance, the Bomb-Omb is banned from item play.

Motion-Sensor Bomb [NEUTRAL] - The Motion-Sensor Bomb is the very semblance of strategic item usage. Incredibly simple to use, the MSB stays on the field for a preset amount of time; unlike in previous games, if a MSB has not been detonated after this period of time passes, then it simply disappears. The MSB has decent knockback (when detonated, not when thrown), and is usually considered a low-risk/medium-reward item; it is only low-risk if you remember where you placed it, and is usually not detonated in tournament play other than by extreme accident, as they are easy to spot and easy to fight around. If both combatants remember the position of the bomb, it more than likely will never be detonated, but it is very useful as an edgeguard when set on the side or edge of a stage. The MSB is also the only explosive item that cannot detonate until after it is thrown; this cannot be stressed enough. By its very design, the Motion Sensor Bomb cannot, under ANY circumstances, detonate until thrown. Disregard ANY anecdotal evidence you may have heard to the contrary; this point has been erroneously dredged up many times, and this thread has debunked this myth every time. Very balanced for a bomb item, the MSB is approved for item play.

Gooey Bomb [COUNTERPICK] - An altogether unique item, the Gooey Bomb can be unbalanced if two characters of greatly differing speeds are playing each other due to the ‘sticky grenade’ mechanic; luckily, the Gooey Bomb is a pretty weak item for a bomb, usually only threatening with a KO at ~85% on most characters and only causing 22% damage on detonation (the highest kill percentage and lowest damage percentage, respectively, out of all the traditional bomb-type items). Also able to act as a sort of impromptu timer bomb when thrown on the stage, the Gooey Bomb can be used to pressure an opponent into avoiding a certain part of the stage until the bomb detonates. [In all actuality, the real reason that the Gooey Bomb causes so many balance issues is because of how they can detonate on spawn, causing accidental kills. By moving this to the counterpick list, it ensures that the players have taken this possibility into consideration and places the responsibility for the outcome squarely on their shoulders. Time will tell whether people will use this responsibly.]

Smart Bomb [BANNED] - An item built off of the concept of chaos. The Smart Bomb is incredibly finicky, having marginal chance to either fail to detonate or to misfire. What truly unbalances this item is the Smart Bomb’s blast radius; it is entirely possible to miss the target but still have him/her get caught in the resulting blast, and so this item frequently rewards players who lack the skill to properly aim the bomb. Though it is possible to tap DI to the side of the explosion to save oneself from the brunt of the knockback, this item will do at about 33% damage if a player is caught in the blast, and though it cannot kill until the ~140% range, it causes dramatic effects on the battle. Due to the extreme ease of use and the disproportional amount of damage and knockback, this item has been deemed too ‘broken’ for item play.

Deku Nut [BANNED] - Another bomb item of disproportional power, the Deku Nut packs a serious punch for such a small item. This item has the added benefit of providing the user with a contingency plan should the nut miss the target but land nearby: instant stun status for the target. This item rewards the user whether he hits or not, causing ridiculous knockback if it connects; it is fully possible to KO with a Deku Nut at lower percentages, even around the 65-75% mark. On the flip side, it is very easy to miss with this item because of its small size (easily the smallest item in the game that can be thrown). However, the fact that even a miss can result in a stunned opponent, along with the disproportional knockback and the fact that a mis-spawned Deku Nut can result in either a kill or a stun means that this item should be banned from tournament play.

Freezie [NEUTRAL] - The Freezie is a very simple item that, considering the effect it has on a target, really isn’t very intrusive when observed closely. The Freezie is a (relatively) small projectile that is easily dodged, so careful aim is required to use properly. If it connects, the freezing effect doesn’t last long enough to cause a major advantage to one player, and actually has certain properties that cause it to be less broken than one would assume, mainly the fact that frozen characters take little knockback (aside from the initial knockback the item itself causes), unlike, for instance, the ‘buried’ effect al la DK’s side-B. At lower percentages, it is possible (by a small margin) to gimp KO an opponent by freezing him/her while recovering, but the more pressing question is how one would get someone so far off of the stage at low percentages. This item, while allowing a few free hits on an opponent, simply isn’t invasive enough of an item to truly be considered ‘broken’, and thus is approved for item play.

Smoke Ball [NEUTRAL] - A great mindgaming item. The Smoke Ball’s particle cloud is, most times, not thick enough to really hide the actions of a player unless the player(s)’ obstructed color is similar to the background color of the stage. The ability to ‘stick’ an opponent with this item is actually a bad thing for the player using the item, as only a strong blow will knock off an attached Smoke Ball and while covered by the cloud predicting the target player’s actions will become more difficult. Both players stand to gain the same rewards and risks from using this item no matter who throws it, and so this item can be deemed low-risk/low-reward (or at most medium reward, but that’s a stretch) and invades only a marginal amount on the battle. Recommended for item play.

Pitfall [NEUTRAL] - The Pitfall is an interesting item in that it is an extension of an already existing Smash Bros. move: DK’s side-B. The Pitfall’s effect of burying an opponent is very powerful, and as any Jigglypuff player can attest to, the reward of a free charged Smash attack is no laughing matter. However, because it is an extension of an approved Smash Bros. move, this on its own cannot be enough to consider the Pitfall broken. As far as the properties of the item itself, the Pitfall is invisible when set, but it is difficult, even on a large stage, to forget where a Pitfall has been placed. Pitfalls generally last in a set state for about the same amount of time as a Motion-Sensor Bomb before automatically disappearing from play, which can be useful as a pressure item to force a player away from a certain portion of the stage. It is also a useful gimp killing item, as the Pitfall has a Meteor Smash property when it connects with a mid-air target. All in all, the Pitfall is a borderline item but is easy to dodge and has varied strategic uses, and so this item is currently approved for tournament play.

Hothead [COUNTERPICK] - The Hothead is a largely situational item, but as a projectile it is pretty powerful. It is large, which makes it difficult (in proportion to most other projectiles) to dodge, but it does have flaws. The Hothead does terribly on stages with walk-off edges as it is unable to circle around the stage like it can do on floating levels, and even on some floating levels, the Hothead can be finicky and refuse to circle around the stage; this probably can be marked up to irregular level shapes confusing the item AI. If there are floating or secondary platforms on any level, the Hothead can be easily dodged by simply staying away from the main platform, rendering it useless (aside from a pressure item). Ultimately, though, the Hothead gives the player who deploys it the advantage; it can cover stages very quickly and efficiently, does decent knockback even at lower percentages, and can grow by touching it with anything possessing the fire, explosive, or electrical properties, in addition to the fact that the player that sets it is unaffected by it. It is, however, possible to reflect a deployed Hothead with certain moves (or by perfect shielding as it is thrown) and change its master. In addition to this, the Hothead gives any character with fire- or electric-based attacks a ‘mini-buff’ of sorts, as a Hothead’s contact with any attack with these properties causes it to grow in size, speed, and power. I would be remiss if I didn’t note, however, that there are many problems with reflected Hotheads, especially if they have already been fed Fire/Electrical/Explosive attacks in that glitches exist in a few situations with a few reflection moves (for instance, Pit’s Side-B) that cause even a tiny Hothead to become a OHKO killing machine, impossible to stop or reflect. The causes of these situations are currently unknown, and thus cannot be accounted for mid-fight. We will approve the Hothead for tournament play pending further review and input from the community, however we will move it to the counterpick list to reduce its possible effect on battle.

Mr. Saturn [NEUTRAL] - A (very) basic projectile with, Mr. Saturn, at first glance, is nothing to be impressed by. He does menial damage, nearly no knockback, and doesn’t have any discernable strategic uses besides possibly deterring an opponent from launching an attack; hardly a threatening item. Mr. Saturn does have one strength, though: he eats through shields like none other. This, however, is really his only real strength, completely negated by simply not shielding. Mr. Saturn would be great at pressuring an opponent, except for the fact that player’s can’t use any A moves while holding him (pressing A in combination with anything will result in him being thrown), and so he can’t really be used to force an opponent to eat an attack because of the lack of attack options a player has while holding him. Totally average in every way, Mr. Saturn simply isn’t a threat, and thus is approved for item play.

Green Shell [BANNED] - A powerful one-hit item, the Green Shell is the definition of the basic projectile item. The only strategy in using a Green Shell is to aim and fire, and so there isn’t much that can be said about it. In terms of risk/reward, the only real risk in using a Green Shell is that it may bounce off of a stage element and come careening back towards the thrower, but this is hardly a large threat, as it is restricted to ground movement (once it comes in contact with the ground once) until it is picked up again and is very easy to jump over, even for the heavier/larger members of the roster. This item relies solely on the thrower’s ability to aim and the target’s ability to dodge. Alas, the Green Shell has an Achilles’ Heel, balance wise and in this case, it is due to an exploit. If a player throws a Green Shell downwards and FF-Dairs the Shell, he will bounce off of the shell AND regarb it in the same motion, effectively allowing a player to have infinite jumps. The use of this offstage for stalling effectively kills this item’s chance for competitive play.

Banana Peel [NEUTRAL] - Unlike the Pitfall (which was based around an existing move), the Banana Peel has been introduced alongside Diddy Kong’s Down-B. Unlike the Pitfall, though, these operate in exactly the same way as Diddy’s bananas, having no strategic or operative differences. The easiest call out of all 49 items, the Banana Peel is approved for item tournaments.

Bumper [BANNED] - The Bumper is a highly contested item, very powerful and with simple, yet deadly uses. In terms of risk/reward, the Bumper is pretty even. Although the setter has a situational advantage in that he/she gets to choose the placement of the Bumper itself, the item does not distinguish between players, and so the setter can just as easily knock someone into a Bumper as he can be knocked into a Bumper. As an edgeguarding item, there is no equal. If set right at the edge, its hitbox denies access to the ledge while sending a possible recovery attempt back off the stage. Of course as previously noted, this strategy can backfire if the Bumper is placed before an enemy is launched (either making it harder to KO off the sides of a stage or, in extreme cases, allowing the opponent to knock the player off the stage and having the Bumper edgeguard the player instead). There is a great amount of strategy involved in using (and abusing) the Bumper, but the fact is that, when used as an edgeguard, the Bumper has no real counter, which breaks our second criterion completely. The Bumper will be banned for item play.

Spring [BANNED] - A much more balanced version of the Bumper, the Spring has a variety of uses, but unlike the Bumper, all of these uses have effective counters. The primary use of the Spring is for a vertical boost, which can assist in evading an enemy (or approaching an enemy already sent skyward by another attack). The Spring has a small chance to fall on its side, in which case it acts as an impromptu Bumper, sending players who come in contact with it careening off to the side, though not as fast nor as far as the Bumper would have. When the Spring has fallen on its side, it can be used as an edgeguarding device for opponents who approach the ledge from medium angles (when recovering from a high angle, the Spring can usually be jumped/Up-B’ed over, while low-angle approaches simply grab the ledge; the Spring’s hitbox is not large enough to cover the edge). As a thrown projectile, it has decent knockback, but is easily dodged; more interesting is the ability to KO off of the top by throwing upwards at a high enemy (in which case the Spring will cause the opponent to vault off the top of the screen). There is a problem with the Spring, though, in that some characters can use it to stall and/or spam attacks without punishment. This tactic only works as long as the Spring is out, though, and so it is not the end-all-be-all of tactics. Unfortunately, all of this depth is lost since the Spring is capable of allowing the same infinite-jump stalling exploit as the Green Shell. Regrettably, this means that the Spring must also be banned.

Unira [COUNTERPICK] - On the surface, the Unira seems like an average throwing item, but beneath the surface lies a lot of properties that give the user a stark advantage. The Unira is an item that ‘sets’ itself by ejecting spikes when thrown or hit by an attack (strike one, seeing as it can effect play on spawn without a player wanting to activate it), and is capable of (when thrown) killing a player at ~85-95%, a decent level indeed. When set, however, the Unira gains significant properties. After it has been set, the user is immune to damage by the Unira, meaning that he/she could conceivably stand on top of the Unira indefinitely without too much danger from retaliation outside of ranged or projectile attacks. A set Unira also possesses a ‘vacuum effect’, meaning that if a opposing player is simply standing near an Unira (but not close enough to take damage), the Unira will move the player into damage range itself. The Unira can be deactivated by striking it, retracting the spikes and readying it for another throw, but the vacuum effect makes this difficult for characters lacking disjointed hitboxes; it is, however, possible to deactivate a Unira with any character (even Jigglypuff, with the shortest arms in the game, can turn off a Unira with a well-timed Pound). Another strategy when dealing with activated Uniras is to simply hit them into the opponent, a la the Soccer Ball item. If hit by a strong enough attack, the Unira will fly off and the spikes will remain activated until the Unira comes in contact with the ground again. All in all, the Unira is a powerful item (about as powerful as a Gordo) that gives the user a small (yet noticeable) advantage, but can be countered by a smart player. Thus, for the sake of experimentation the Unira will be allowed, but we will move it to the counterpick list pending further review.

Soccer Ball [BANNED] - A unique item, the Soccer Ball cannot be picked up at all. To use this item, it must be hit with a strong attack, after which it will fly off in the trajectory that said strong attack would have sent a player. When the Soccer Ball does this, it gains a fire aura and does decent damage, but extreme knockback. If not hit, the item is completely useless and harmless. The Soccer Ball is very harm to aim due to its activation method, but a problem occurs when the Ball spawns in the vicinity of two players engaged in close-quarters combat; in this case, 9/10 times an attack will connect with the ball, sending it into the opponent without a player meaning to do so (many times causing a kill). While Soccer Balls have some strategic value (especially in terms of air-interception and edge-guarding), its power is simply too much to be ignored, especially when it can be activated upon spawn in such a random manner. Because of this, the Soccer Ball will be banned in tournament play.

Franklin Badge [NEUTRAL] - The Franklin Badge is a great item as far as balancing is concerned. There is no risk in terms of picking up or using the item, as its effect is automatic (reflection of any projectile as if a permanent Fox-style reflector is up), but its effect on battle is important: projectile camping is rendered useless by this item, effectively forcing close-quarters engagement. This is important, especially considering the current metagame. The Badge can also be knocked off of a player with a strong enough attack, allowing the opponent to pick it up instead. A very simple item with far reaching implications, the Franklin Badge will be allowed for tournament play.

Screw Attack [NEUTRAL] - Another very simple item, the Screw Attack shares a few important properties with the Franklin Badge. When picked up, effects are immediate and automatically activated, however in this case of the Screw Attack its effect (a spinning, lightly damaging, low-knockback attack) is only used when jumping. This allows for greater use of aerial approach and footstool jumping (as the attack keeps foes close until the last shot, it is easy to catch an opponent in the attack and spam ‘jump’ to activate a footstool jump as soon as the attack ends). The Screw Attack can also be knocked off of the user with a strong enough attack to be picked and used by the opponent. Overall, the Screw Attack does such small damage, has such little knockback, and has such low priority that it really isn’t too impressive an item and it certainly doesn’t seriously break any of our balance criterion. As such, the Screw Attack is approved for item play.

Team Healer (2v2 Only) [NEUTRAL] – (Thanks go out to Swordplay and MysticKenji for information regarding the Team Healer item) The Team Healer is the only item that has no effect in 1v1 play; as a matter of fact, it won’t even spawn unless Team Brawl is activated, regardless of item switch settings. Because of this, the Team Healer is arguably the least understood item out there, and as such there are some quirks to its use that must be understood. The Team Healer operates like most projectile items in that the item does not affect battle upon pickup; rather, the effects of the Team Healer are observed when it is thrown at another player. Unlike any other item, though, the Team Healer (as the name implies) heals whoever is hit by the thrown item… most of the time. Like many other items, there is inherent risk to using this item in that the effects it has on battle is randomized (in this case, between healing damage and causing damage). In normal team play, the Team Healer will always heal a partner, but will randomly heal or hurt if it contacts an enemy; due to Friendly Fire, this now applies to both friend and foe, and so the item will randomly either heal or hurt any player it contacts. Approved for 2v2 play, use caution with this item.


**(Sandbag) (Food) (Warp Star) (Bunny Hood) (Beam Sword) (Lip’s Stick) (Star Rod) (Super Scope) (Fire Flower) (Motion Sensor Bomb) (Freezie) (Smoke Ball) (Pitfall) (Mr. Saturn) (Banana Peel) (Franklin Badge) (Screw Attack) **


(Assist Trophy) (Dragoon) (Metal Box) (Home-Run Bat) (Hammer) (Ray Gun) (Cracker Launcher) (Gooey Bomb) (Hothead) (Unira)


(Smash Ball) (Pokeball) (Containers) (Blast Box) (Maxim Tomato) (Heart Container) (Super Mushroom) (Poison Mushroom) (Starman) (Superspicy Curry) (Lightning) (Fan) (Golden Hammer) (Bob-Omb) (Smart Bomb) (Deku Nut) (Green Shell) (Bumper) (Soccer Ball) (Spring)


Item Spawn Rate – Changed to ‘Medium’
(Team Healer) - Neutral
(Smash Ball) – Moved to Counterpick
(Superspicy Curry) – Moved to Counterpick
(Cracker Launcher) – Moved to Neutral

Other Important Info:


Jack Kieser (Phaze): 3566-1264-7112
Sephi_hatu (Sephi): 0087-1978-8381
Metallic_Igloo: 3523-1714-9284
nesdude: 2492-3777-7739
Rich: 0860-3024-9262
Trexxen (Trexn): 0774-3925-3469


Jack Kieser Item Test 1
nesdude Test 1
nesdude Tests 2 & 3
Jack Kieser 2v2 Test 1
Jack Kieser 1v1 Test 2
Jack Kieser Human 1v1 Test #1
’Item Standard Play’ Online Tournament (4/19/08)
‘Item Standard Play’ 5/24 1v1 Tournament


Bombs / Pokeballs:
nesdude Test 1 (feat. Dragoon):
nesdude Test 2:
nesdude Test 3 (feat. multiple Smash Balls):

So, a bit of news. I wanted to do an update to the SRK thread, since it was SO HORRIBLY out-of-date… but, I had been inactive for so long that my account was deleted, and I lost control of the original thread! :frowning: So, after talking with the mods, we came to the conclusion that the only real option we had was to re-make the thread and just re-sticky it. So, here’s the new v2.0 thread; I’ll try to help make this thread more active (at least active enough to not be deleted… :P).

As for the changes… there have been a few. Just a taste:

1 ) No Ledge Grab Limit of any kind. Frankly, the LGL was a retarded, scrubby thing in the first place, but there is NO DATA to suggest that it’s even necessary in ISP, with OR without MK. Not necessary, so it’s out.

2 ) Item Counterpicks have been retooled. Just a little bit. It should work the same in principle, but allow for a bit more variety in CP’ing.

3 ) Altered Stage Lists. This is probably going to blow some minds, but ISP is pretty liberal compared to vBrawl. Shocking, I know. With that in mind, I edited to stage lists to include any stage that’s not just pants-on-head retardedly broken. Yes, PTAD is legal. Yes, you can CP to Norfair. Indeed, you are seeing Distant Planet. The fact of the matter is that items change the game so much from vBrawl’s ruleset that we honestly don’t know what is “too gay” and what isn’t… although we DO know what is just flat-out broken. So, I took the liberty to add back in any stage that isn’t just completely broken until the PROOF of broken-ness is shown.


4 ) FD is a counterpick. FD isn’t neutral. Certainly not with items. Deal with it.

…among other things, like editing the Green Shell / Spring impressions to reflect the new stalling exploits that have been found. If you have questions / comments / problems / ideas, feel free to post.

Also, this project has been going on since February of 2008, which means in a couple of months, we’ll be hitting the 4 year mark of providing players and TOs a legitimate outlet for competitive item play. That being said, it’d be a really cool thing if players and TOs posted stories of their experiences either playing in or hosting ISP events. If I get enough, maybe I’ll make an anniversary edit to the OP? Either way, I’m just plain curious to see what’s been going on with the format in 4 years, so please, let us all know with a post. And, tell your friends to post! Them, too. We don’t discriminate. Much.

I may be missing something here, but regardless…

Under “General Gameplay Rules” in the first post, #3 states, "Items set to ‘Off’ and “None’.” I can only assume you copy-pasta’d this from a vBrawl ruleset or typed it in out of rote or something, but…yeah, this is a bit contradictory, to say the least LOL. Also, it replaces what should be there, which I assume to be, “Items set to ‘On’ and ‘Low’,” given that 2v2 changes them to Medium spawn rate. Again, maybe I’m missing something (I don’t actually own Brawl) or maybe that’s why you linked to other threads (because they would be more up-to-date over time), but I figured I’d point it out.

Also, I have a question about #7 in General Gameplay Rules:

Say I’m playing a “Best 3 out of 5” set. I win the first match, and choose to ban Battlefield, but I don’t ban an item. If I win a subsequent match, am I still allowed to ban an item (and vice-versa if I banned an item first, but not a stage), since I passed before? The rules do state, “and/or,” so there’s a tiny shred of ambiguity there.

Otherwise, this a great thread and it really makes me feel better about playing this game in a casual setting; it gives me the ability to secretly sneak in a set of rules that will “totally destroy the fun of the game by making it more ‘balanced’ and ‘fair’” without anyone noticing LOL! Thanks for gracing SRK with this ruleset, as well as your time and attention.

I will definitely try to bring this ruleset to the next Brawl get-together I go to. I’ll see if I can get people to play some 2v2s (or 1v1s, but that might be stretching it >_>) and try to record the matches with my camera to give you some feedback.

Speaking of which, is any of this stuff meant to be balanced in FFA? Or at least, do you think it would help strike more of a balance in FFA play?

(P.S. I really want a Wii now >_>)

Hey! Got your message, thanks for bringing me back. So… yeah!

1 ) I don’t know what you’re talking about. The post clearly says “Low”. :trollface: Heh, yeah, that was a noob mistake when I was updating the thread, but it’s fixed now.

2 ) Every time I’ve been involved in Brawl tournaments, I’ve held the view that if someone doesn’t announce the ban at the proscribed time in the set, then they forfeit their privilege to ban. Not all TOs agree, however. I’ve left the wording how it is, intentionally vague, o that TOs can decide for themselves whether they want to allow ban announcements after the proscribed point in the set. I don’t recommend it, because I think that allowing them later in the set gives players more information than would be fair on which to make their ban decision, but… that’s just my view.

Anyway, thanks for the kind words! Many people, not just me, worked very hard to make this ruleset a possibility. Hopefully, having this ruleset in already place will give intelligent item play more of a fighting chance when SSB4 comes out.

So I’m new to this whole discussion about items in Smash, but I want to give my two cents:

Items in smash take out a lot of the skill in the game. Why? I can think of a few reasons.

For one, there’s not a single game out there that’s competitive that forces you to use whatever random variable is thrown at you. Poker, for example, has a good amount of chance in the game due to the fact that the cards are shuffled and are re-dealt every hand. However, you don’t have to play your cards in Poker, unless you’re being blinded out which you could say you’re being forced to play

The second is that while items in themselves I think could be really neat to add some flavor to the game, how and when they spawn is completely random. If a random item were to spawn at in a certain position at a certain point (every 1:00 or 1:30), then I think items should always be turned on. While the item itself may be random, at least players can practice and depend on the fact that at this time in this position, and item will appear. Kind of like the runes in DotA/Heroes of Newerth - Random rune, but spawns in the same place every time, with a countdown timer once it is grabbed. The same could be said about Halo 3 and a plethora of other games.

The third is that there are some items I think that need to be taken out, and I’m sure everyone agrees that things like the homerun bat (maybe, takes a bit of skill to nail perfectly), the hearth, the maxim tomato, the star and a few others should be taken out unless they were nerfed a bit. The idea that someone can instantly die or instantly reverse their 100+% situation is kind of lame, but I think I may only feel that way because of the fact that items randomly spawn. I’m sure if it was a set time and position, these items wouldn’t seem so OP, and would actually add an interesting variable. Or perhaps they should deteriorate faster than other items.

In the first post, they mentioned hacking the PAC files of the stages to manipulate item spawns, so with some work, they can be controlled. For the most part, though, the items included in ISP work around the random spawning locations to give a better balance. They wouldn’t include something potentially unbalanced in neutral situations because they know that you can sometimes randomly get an item with no work. In neutral/1st game of a set, the items allowed are:

(Sandbag) (Food) (Warp Star) (Bunny Hood) (Beam Sword) (Lip’s Stick) (Star Rod) (Super Scope) (Fire Flower) (Motion Sensor Bomb) (Freezie) (Smoke Ball) (Pitfall) (Mr. Saturn) (Banana Peel) (Franklin Badge) (Screw Attack)

The most destructive items I can see are the Warp Star and the Motion Sensor Bomb, but their ability to score OHKOs is severely gimped by the fact that they are easily dodged and avoided, respectively.

Posts #2-#5 go into heavy detail about this. Believe me, the ISP people know that the Heart Container and Maxim Tomato are broken.