It’s fun enough to play regular old timed or stock matches in Smash, but players have also been making their own weird, super-hard, or just plain wacky rule sets for years. Smash Ultimate allows players to codify their rule sets as saved settings. I asked readers to tell me their Ultimate rule sets, and here are some of my favourites.
Twitter user Talcys recommended the Pro Set, with which people may be familiar. They described it as, “no items, no final smash balls or meter, battlefield variants only, first to 3 victories wins (best of 5), and 3 stock + 5 minute timer. Very fun for just raw skill.”
It’s considered by many to be the definitive way to see who’s actually the best at Smash.
But let’s get a little weirder.
Jonathan Dersch plays a mode he calls Treasure Hunt, which is a “3 minute time battle, launch rate at 0.5%, show damage off, score display on. Only stage is The Great Cave Offensive, the only item is Special Flag.”
I really hate the Great Cave Offensive, so this would probably make me lose my shit. “It’s just a mad dash to score as many flags as possible. The more players the better,” he went on.
Another player, Todd, emailed me a similar scenario playing Capture the Flag in Smash. It’s got some specific differences, so I’ll show you the rules he sent me.
Each team attempts to find Score Flags hidden in the chests in Great Cave Offensive
KOs don’t count towards the final score, which will reveal how many flags each player activated
Everything else is just normal Smash
Works best with two balanced teams
No Sonic (he’s just TOO fast)
He even sent in a clip for people who want to see it in action:
Jon Ellsworth gets even weirder with a rule set he calls Big Boy Hunting. It’s a 1v3 team match on Omega stages with no items. Three players play as Jigglypuff, and that character is then also restricted to only using up special and down special. The remaining player is a “big boy” like Bowser or Donkey Kong. It sounds maddening, and I’m here for it.
Other players just want to watch the world burn. May I introduce Not The Bees, a rule set submitted by OhNoDeepCrow on Twitter? It’s a timed stock match. The only item is beehives, set to high. Oh god, they’re in my eyes.
Some players like to theme matches around the games that the characters they’re playing originate from. Twitter user Oni-Link likes to play Street Fighter in Smash by only using Ken and Ryu with 150 HP and the Final Smash Meter on, and playing best of three.
June plays Pokémon in Smash by setting the only items to be Pokéballs and Masterballs on high and changing the launch to 1.5. Players can only attack each other by grabbing and throwing Pokéballs in a 3 minute match.
My personal favourite rule set, at least of the ones that I’ve seen so far, is Don’t Hit Isabelle, surprising no one. In this version of the game, you’re playing a regular stock battle with up to seven players. The only catch is that there’s a level one Isabelle CPU player on the battlefield too.
If anyone hits her, they have to self destruct. That self-destruct rule works based on the honour system, and if we ever play this mode in my house, I will guarantee that rule gets followed. If anyone ever hits Isabelle, I am coming for them.
This last one isn’t a ruleset per se, but this story Will sent to me is just too cute not to share:
“I have a friend who runs a restaurant and his wife works from 9am-5pm, so me and my partner sometimes babysit their son, Evan. He’s a very sweet kid, and one day he was over at our place and we decided to place Smash Bros on the Wii,” Will wrote. Evan didn’t really play games, but he loved Pokémon, and so Will came up with a hyper-specific way of playing Smash.
“In lieu of actually playing the game I turned off all the items except pokéballs, set the item frequency to max, and I just ran around throwing all the pokéballs so that he could watch the pokémon come out,” Will wrote. “I have scarce witnessed such unbridled joy.”
What are your favourite rule sets?