Event rules

Last updated 03/08/2022

Tournament Rules Direct link to this section

Table of Contents Direct link to this section

Motivation Direct link to this section

Tournaments are about more than just winning. They are an opportunity to meet people from different countries and different walks of life who share a passion for competing. They also serve as a place where you can hang out with friends from thousands of miles away, who you met playing games online. Nevertheless, a major part of tournaments is about determining a champion. We all enter tournaments because we have a competitive spirit within us, we want to test ourselves and earn accolades. As the stakes are raised, so is the pressure to perform.

This document is an attempt to codify every rule that will be in effect at Evo. Our goal is not to make things overly complicated but rather to make sure everyone is treated fairly because they know what to expect and how to act. In the event of a conflict, strict adherence to these rules will ensure that things don't become personal and everyone can have a good time. All tournament competitors are responsible for knowing these rules in advance.

Terminology Direct link to this section

The following terms will be used at Evo:


A game is a single head-to-head competition between 2 players, ending with a special win screen for the victorious player. There are multiple games in a set.


A set is a match between two competitors in the tournament. The two competitors play each other in a series of games until a winner is determined. Most tournament sets at Evo 2022 are Best 2 out of 3 games (Bo3), also known as "first to 2 games" (FT2), unless otherwise specified. For all Evo 2022 tournaments, the sets that determine the top 3 placements in the tournament—known as Winners Finals, Losers Finals, and Grand Finals—are Best 3 out of 5 games (Bo5), also known as "first to 3 games" (FT3). Due to how double elimination brackets work, Grand Finals can contain two Sets of games in the Match.


A round is a unit of measurement that exists within games for certain titles. In general, players need to win a certain number of rounds in order to be declared the winner of the game. The number of rounds required to win the game can vary by title. Not all titles featured at Evo will have rounds.

General Manager

The person ultimately responsible for running the event.

Tournament Director

The person managing the brackets, tournament staff, and tournament experience.

Tournament Official

Assistants to the Tournament Director. Officials will monitor tournaments as they run and will resolve conflicts or make rulings as needed.

Bracket Referees

Bracket Referee are staff members, often volunteers, tasked with running sections of tournament brackets – also known as pools. Referees will be in possession of a paper copy of the bracket for the pool they are running. Referees are tasked with checking competitors into the pool to verify their presence, and with telling the players in the pool where and when they need to play their tournament Sets. Bracket Referees aim to run their bracket to completion in a reasonable timeframe. They are not tasked with making any decisions regarding conflict resolution or tournament rules.

Registration Direct link to this section

All participants must register online before the close of online registration in order to participate in the tournament. Entry into the tournament after the registration period expires is not permitted except at the discretion of the General Manager.

There should only be one registration per person. If a player is found to have registered multiple times in order to allow them multiple tournament entries into any title, they will be disqualified and removed from the event entirely.

Entry fees are non-refundable and non-transferrable. Players may not assume the identity of people they know are not attending in order to compete in a tournament. Any players found to have assumed an identity that isn't their own will be disqualified and removed from the event entirely.

Tournament Format Direct link to this section

Double Elimination Direct link to this section

All tournaments at EVO 2022 are double-elimination tournaments. Double-elimination is a tournament format where players remain in the tournament until they have lost two sets, at which point they are eliminated. A double-elimination bracket is a structured flowchart that determines which competitors face off against which other competitors, and in what order.

Double-elimination tournaments are divided into 2 brackets. The 2 brackets that make up a double-elimination tournament are known as the Winners Bracket and Losers Bracket.

The Winners Bracket is so named because it consists of all the players with 0 set losses in the tournament. All players in a double-elimination tournament start in Round 1 of the Winners Bracket. Players who win their sets in Winners Bracket advance to the next round of Winners Bracket. Players who lose their sets in Winners Bracket will be placed in a designated spot in the Losers Bracket.

All players in the Losers Bracket have 1 set loss in the tournament. Players who win their sets in the Losers Bracket advance to the next round of Losers Bracket, while the players who lose are eliminated from the tournament.

By the end of the tournament, there will be 1 player remaining in Winners Bracket and 1 player remaining in Losers Bracket. These two remaining players will play in a set known as Grand Finals. If the player from Winners Bracket wins this set, they are the tournament champion. If the player from Losers Bracket wins this set, the two will play another set, known as a Grand Finals Reset, which will determine the tournament champion.

Tournament Pools & Phases Direct link to this section

Tournaments at Evo 2022 will have hundreds or thousands of competitors. To make these tournaments manageable to organize, the double-elimination brackets are sectioned up into smaller double-elimination brackets. These smaller sectioned double-elimination brackets are known as pools.

Each pool will have between 16 and 32 players in it. Pools will take place in 2-hour blocks throughout the Friday and Saturday of Evo 2022. Players who make it far enough in their pool will advance in the tournament. Advancing players will be asked to return at a specified later time to continue with the tournament. At least 3 players will advance out of each pool, with at least 1 player advancing from Winners Bracket, and at least 2 advancing from Losers Bracket. Losses will carry over for players who advance out of a pool in Losers Bracket, meaning those players will remain in Losers Bracket. Players may need to advance through several rounds of pools—known as tournament phases—as they compete in the tournament.

Eventually, after enough rounds of pools, players that remain alive in the tournament will be combined into a single double-elimination bracket of 64 or fewer people, with half of the remaining players placed in the Winners Bracket and half placed in the Losers Bracket. This single combined double-elimination bracket is known as the semifinal phase of the tournament. The semifinal phase proceeds in the same manner as the pools do, except that it will be complete once there are only 8 players remaining in the tournament: 4 players in the Winners Bracket and 4 in the Losers Bracket. These last 8 players will compete in the final phase of the tournament, also known as the Top 8. The players who make the Top 8 will play on the main stage of the event, and receive medals and tournament prizing based on their ultimate placement.

Regional Separation Direct link to this section

All players in the tournament will be "separated by region." To the best of our ability, we will place players in the bracket in a manner that minimizes the chances of them playing against someone who lives in close physical proximity to them. This increases the likelihood that you will play against players whom you have never played against before.

Check-In Protocol Direct link to this section

Check-in for tournament pools begins 10 minutes before the start time for the pool. For example, players in a 2pm pool can check in with the pool's Bracket Referee by 1:50pm. Players are responsible for checking in to their pools on time.

Every pool will have a Bracket Referee, who will be wearing an official Evo 2022 Bracket Referee jacket in order to help identify them. When players arrive at the pool station before the designated pool start time, they should find the Bracket Referee and introduce themselves, giving their name and handle. The Bracket Referee will then verbally confirm to the player that they have checked-in for the pool. Players who have not checked in with the Bracket Referee by the time the pool starts risk being disqualified from the tournament.

Players will be scheduled for pools in such a way as to avoid being in multiple tournament pools at the same time. However, there are cases especially in later phases of the tournament where a player may be competing in multiple tournaments simultaneously. Players must notify their Bracket Referee of any official Evo tournament-related conflicts they may be subject to.

Players in the tournament who have not yet been eliminated must remain by their pool station while the pool is running. If a player needs to leave the vicinity for any reason, such as needing to use the bathroom, they must ask the Bracket Referee for permission prior to leaving. Players who leave the area without informing the Bracket Referee first may be disqualified from the tournament. Players who are away from the pool area for an extended period of time may also be disqualified if the reason for their absence isn't related to another official Evo tournament.

Players are free to leave the pool station area once they have been eliminated. Players who have advanced to the next phase of the tournament may also leave the station area after reporting their last Set result to the Bracket Referee.

Set Procedures Direct link to this section

These rules will be in effect when tournament sets are played. If you are playing in the tournament, be sure to study this section carefully, especially if you have no prior tournament experience.

  • The Bracket Referee instructs two players to play a set against each other at an open console
  • Before both players sit down at the console, they must come to an agreement which side they will play on (who will be 1 player side and who will be 2 player side)
    • If an agreement cannot be reached, a game of paper-scissors-rock will determine who gets to pick their side
  • After players sit down and connect their controllers, one of the two players should go to the console menu and remove any existing bluetooth-connected devices that are shown as paired to the console
    • This is a very important step, as it is necessary to avoid the possibility that tournament sets are interrupted
  • Back in the game, players enter offline Versus Mode and ensure their buttons are set up correctly.
  • After both players confirm their buttons are set, they enter offline Versus Mode again and pick their character or characters from the select screen
    • Either player may request a Double-Blind character selection, which consists of the following steps:
      • The player on the left side (1 player side) decides their character(s) and whispers their choices to the Bracket Referee
      • The player on the right side (2 player side) then picks their character(s) directly on the select screen
      • The player on the left (1 player side) then picks their character(s) while the Bracket Referee confirms that their selections are consistent with their whispered choice.
    • Double-Blind selection can only be requested before either player has selected a character on the select screen.
  • Players play out the first game of the set.
  • After each game in a set ends, the loser of that game has the option to change their character(s) and/or the stage prior to the next game in the set
    • Specific changes the loser of the prior game can make vary depending on the tournament
    • The winner of the prior game is not allowed to change characters unless otherwise specified in the tournament-specific rules
      • If the winner of the prior game selected "Random" for their character, they must return to the character select screen and select "Random" again before the next game
    • Players should not exceed 60 seconds between games in a set. Players who repeatedly take excessive time before continuing with a set may be subject to disqualification.
  • The set continues until one player wins the required number of games (either 2 or 3 games) to win the set
    • If a game ends in a draw, it will be replayed. It will not count as a game win for either player.
  • Players unplug their controllers, stand up from the console, and report the set result to the Bracket Referee, who will update the bracket accordingly

Prizing Direct link to this section

Think you can place in the money? Good. That's the spirit that Evo is here to celebrate. Evo awards cash prizes to the top eight places at a rate proportional to the number of attendees. Each competitor in the tournament pays ten dollars that goes into the tournament prize pool, which is awarded to the top finishers at a 42/20/13/7/5/5/4/4 split. For example, if 300 people enter a tournament, the total prize pool for that tournament will be $3,000 ($300 x 10), paying out $1,260 to first place (42% of $3,000), $600 to second place (20% of $3,000) and $390 to third place (13% of $3,000), and so on.

Controllers & Equipment Direct link to this section

Evo 2022 tournaments are all Bring Your Own Controller (BYOC). Players are responsible for having a tournament-legal controller, arcade stick, or other input device on which to compete. More details about what constitutes a tournament-legal controller are listed below. Players must be in possession of such a device when they are called to play in a tournament set. Players in a tournament pool may not ask to borrow controllers from any other competitors who are also active in a pool, except in the event of mid-set equipment failure. Players who are active in a tournament pool should also not lend out their controllers to others in the pool, except in the event of mid-set equipment failure.

Definition of Terms Direct link to this section

Controller: The device a player manipulates to interact with the game. Examples of controllers include:

  • Game pads
  • Fight sticks
  • Home-brew controllers developed by players

Input Mechanism: Any device on the controller which the player interacts with to play the game. Example input mechanisms include:

  • A digital pushbutton
  • A lever (i.e. joystick) used to activate one or more push buttons simultaneously (e.g. those typically found on fight sticks)
  • A lever designed to sweep across a sensor, generating a range of analog inputs (e.g. the L-stick typically found on console controllers)

Game Input: A signal sent from the controller to the game in reaction to the player manipulating some input mechanism. Example game inputs include

  • The X button is pressed
  • The L button is pressed
  • The analog R2 button is pressed 85% of the way

Input Rules Direct link to this section

Controllers at Evo are tournament legal, so long as they abide by the rules below.

  1. The controller may not activate multiple game inputs from a single input mechanism. This includes both chorded (i.e. A and B together) and sequential (i.e. A followed by B) inputs. In-game assignment of multiple inputs to a single button is, of course, allowed. Cardinal directions (Up, Down, Left, and Right) are specifically excluded from this ruling, except as noted in Rule 3 (below).
  • OK. A lever which sends the Down+Right inputs when held in a certain position. Down and Right are both cardinal directions and therefore can be activated simultaneously by a single input mechanism.
  • OK. Using the in-game controller settings for a game to assign a multi-game input function to a single button on a player controller (e.g. push R2 to activate PPP)
  • NOT OK. Re-wiring a push-button inside the controller to simultaneously push three other buttons to send three punch inputs. One input mechanism activation may not send multiple game inputs.
  • NOT OK. A push-button that activates a hardware macro which sends a series of game inputs at a specific timing.
  • NOT OK. A slider that when moved from left to right will send a series of inputs, one after the other. One input mechanism activation may not send multiple game inputs.
  • NOT OK. An analog push-button which sends either game input A or input B depending on how hard it is pressed.
  1. The controller may send analog game inputs from analog input mechanisms or digital input mechanisms, so long as it does not violate Rule 1.
  • OK. A push-button that when pressed sends a game input that the analog stick is 75% to the right.
  • OK. Two push-buttons (A and B) that produce different analog outputs depending on whether one, the other, or both are held (e.g. the R2 analog game input is at 25% held when A is pressed, 50% held when B is pressed, and 100% held when both A and B are pressed).
  • NOT OK. A push-button that when pressed will sweep the analog stick from 100% left to 100% right over 1 second. This violates Rule 1 by sending multiple analog game inputs from a single input mechanism activation.
  1. The controller may not send simultaneous opposite cardinal directions (SOCD) game inputs. SOCD inputs include Left+Right and Up+Down. This is typically enforced by adding "cleaning" firmware to the controller which removes one of the inputs before passing to the game. "Stock" gamepads (e.g. the Playstation DUALSHOCK®4) are explicitly exempt from this rule.
  • OK. A lever which sends the D+R inputs when held in a certain position. D+R are not opposite cardinal directions and can be bound to a single input.
  • NOT OK. A push-button that when pressed sends L+R inputs. L+R are opposite cardinal directions and therefore cannot be bound to a single input.
  • NOT OK. A player mods his fight stick to add an additional button to press R without adding a SOCD cleaner. The player can hold L on the lever and hold this new button to also send the R game input. Since this results in sending SOCD inputs to the game, this stick is not tournament legal in 2020.

Regardless of any specific rules that Evo suggests that fighting game developers take these rules into account when designing their game. For example:

  • A game designer may determine that going from D to U should require at least 1 frame in neutral and add game logic to enforce this. (i.e. the sequence D, D, D, U, U, U is transformed to D, D, D, (neutral), U U by software in the game)
  • A game designer may conclude that holding L and R simultaneously is not a valid input for their game. When processing game inputs, the designer decides to treat L and R simultaneous inputs as if neither input were present (i.e. neutral).

Converters Direct link to this section

For players that require a converter in order to use their controller on tournament consoles, the only currently tournament legal converters are Brook Converters. The Chronus Max Plus and Titan One converters are outright banned. Other converters may be permitted for tournament use following a review.

Players are responsible for ensuring that their controller works on the tournament consoles.

Wireless Controllers Direct link to this section

All controllers, even those for casual play only, are required to be wired to a console. Wireless controllers, of all kinds, are not eligible for play unless specified as legal in a game's individual rules. A wireless controller with the batteries removed and powered exclusively through a USB connector will be considered legal. Wireless controllers that operate exclusively through a USB dongle will also be considered "Wired" controllers.

Players are responsible for their controllers and their functionality. If a controller's wireless sync interferes with tournament matches, it will be confiscated. Players who are found to be using an unapproved wireless controller will be disqualified from the tournament and have their controller confiscated until the end of the event.

PlayStation 4 Exception: The PlayStation DualShock 4 controller is legal for tournaments contested on the PlayStation 4.

Clarity For Existing Devices Direct link to this section

If you have questions about Controller legality at Evo 2022, please contact support@evo.gg.

Violations Direct link to this section

Pauses & Stoppages Direct link to this section

If a game pauses during play, players should immediately signal for a Tournament Official. Unless the Inevitable Defeat condition is met (see below), the player whose controller paused the game will receive a Round loss. The round loss due to a pause could simultaneously result in a game loss if the pausing player's opponent is on game point, as well as a set loss if the opponent is on set point. If the game does not have rounds, such as in. Dragon Ball FighterZ, the pause results in a game loss, and could result in a set loss if the opponent is on set point.

In the event that the game pause is due to a legitimate malfunction with one of the players' controllers, the player will be allowed to find another controller prior to continuing the Set, if possible. The player will still receive the round or game loss penalty. If a replacement controller cannot be obtained in a timely manner, the player must continue to use their current equipment or forfeit the Set. Once a replacement controller is obtained, the player is allowed to use the remainder of the round time to configure their buttons and test their controller without gaining any in-game material advantage (e.g. building super meter). If the player gains an advantage in this way, the penalty for pausing will be increased to a game loss. Players are allowed to re-configure their buttons between games in the set, if needed.

In the event a game is interrupted for reasons beyond the players' control—such as in the event of an unexpected power outage—the Official and the players will make the best attempt possible to resume the game in as close to the same state as where it was when the interruption occurred. If the game state cannot be sufficiently recreated, the game will be replayed with both players picking the same character(s).

Inevitable Defeat Direct link to this section

The Inevitable Defeat condition comes into play if a pause occurs during a move or animation, and after the game has been unpaused, the round or game ends (i.e. a player is KOed) with no further inputs from either player. If this condition is met, the pausing player will not be penalized a round/game, and the set will continue as normal.

Bugs & Glitches Direct link to this section

If a player intentionally triggers a known bug or glitch that prevents the game from being played, the player will be penalized with a game loss. If a player unintentionally discovers a bug or glitch during the course of a tournament set, no penalty will be issued. It is at the Referee's discretion to determine culpability.

Disqualifications Direct link to this section

Players can be disqualified for not following general gameplay rules and/or an individual game's tournament rules. Players who are disqualified will be marked as having lost 2 sets and are eliminated from the tournament. Their opponents will automatically advance. Players who are disqualified from a tournament are not entitled to a refund.

Actions that may lead to a player receiving a disqualification include, but are not limited to:

  • Failure to check in to their tournament pool

  • Inability to be located at the time their set is called to play

  • Intentionally changing in-game settings on tournament consoles (e.g. lowering the timer, adjusting input delay) without informing a Tournament Official and without the consent of any opponent(s)

  • Tampering with tournament equipment (e.g. shutting off a console) unless instructed by a Tournament Official

  • Intentionally using a controller or input device that does not comply with tournament regulations

  • Assuming the identity and tournament entry of another player in order to compete

  • Colluding with other players and/or intentionally underperforming to manipulate tournament results (see below)

Collusion Direct link to this section

Collusion is intentionally under-performing in a tournament set in order to manipulate bracket results. Players who are determined to have colluded or collaborated in collusion will be disqualified from the tournament and forfeit all rights to any titles or prizes they might have otherwise earned. The determination as to whether collusion took place will be made at the sole discretion of the Tournament Director and General Manager. Tournament Officials and Bracket Referees cannot, and will not, make this determination.

Warnings & Removals Direct link to this section

For serious infractions, players may be removed from Evo for not following event rules. Depending on the severity, players may be allowed one (1) warning about their actions, and will be removed upon a second infraction. Players who are removed will be disqualified from all Evo tournaments they are entered in and escorted from the venue for the remainder of the event.

Actions that will lead to a player receiving a warning include:

  • Physically interfering with an ongoing tournament set in which they are not a participant
  • Excessive out-of-game misconduct during a tournament set, such as:
    • Repeatedly loading into and immediately quitting out of games to change characters
    • Leaving the pool station area between Games in a Set
    • Unsolicited & inappropriate physical contact with their opponent
  • Unintentionally damaging tournament equipment
  • Unintentionally tampering with or damaging other players' equipment
  • Excessive trash-talking personally directed at other players

Actions that will lead to a player being removed from the event include:

  • Repeat of actions following a warning
  • Physically attacking another tournament participant with the intent to harm
  • Theft
  • Other infractions detailed in the Code of Conduct

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