Tournament Handbook

This page details the standardized rules and conduct for competitive TowerFall play. Tournament organizers may make any exceptions to these rules though they are advised to detail specific changes and conditions for their event ahead of time so that competitors may be prepared.


Each play station must be equipped for competitive play, preferably running the most up-to-date available version of the game with all content unlocked (see the Secrets page for an Unlock All code). Gameplay can be on either a PlayStation 4 console or PC setup; the Ouya version is now superseded and not recommended for competitive play.

Controllers may be supplied, though accommodations should be made for competitors who wish to use their own personally supplied controller with exceptions made at the tournament organizer's discretion.

All stations should run the game without modifications and using the default settings with the following exceptions:

  • Hold to Pause set to On
  • Gamepad Rumble generally disabled

Pools, Brackets and Seeding

Brackets can be easily created and maintained online using Challonge.

In tournaments players compete in sets. A set is comprised of x number of in-game matches, which in turn are comprised of y number of in-game rounds. Tournament sets are generally played best of 3 matches in pools and pre-finals and best of 5 matches in finals, though the number of matches may be adjusted according to time constraints.

Pools can be utilized if there is a large number of players at a single tournament. Players are separated into one or more even sized pools where they play round robin sets against each other (every player will face every other player in their pool once). Multiple rounds of pools may be utilized. When all the pools sets are finished players are seeded into a double elimination bracket based on rank determined by the number of sets they won. Pools can be used to eliminate the lowest ranking before entering into the main bracket play.

In bracketed tournaments without pools, players may be seeded randomly or according to preexisting league standings.

Double elimination is the most preferred bracket style which sees all players seeded into a winner's bracket to be moved to the loser's bracket on their first defeat, and a subsequent defeat in the loser's bracket resulting in elimination from the tournament.

Grand finals sees the overall victor of the winner's bracket compete against the remaining victor of the loser's bracket in 2 sets. If the player from the winner's bracket wins the first set then they are declared the champion with the loser's bracket player eliminated due to double elimination rules. Conversely, the player from the loser's bracket must win the first grand finals set, knocking the winner's bracket player into the loser's bracket (known as "resetting the bracket") after which the final set is played to determine the champion.

Game Rules

Standard tournament play uses only the Tournament Rules and Team Tournament Rules variants. These variants enable No Autobalance and Symmetrical Treasure, along with Team Revive in the case of Team Tournament Rules.

1 vs. 1 matches are played in Last Man Standing with the Tournament Rules variant enabled.

2 vs. 2 matches are played in Team Deathmatch with the Team Tournament Rules variant enabled.

Free-for-all matches of 3-4 players are not typically employed in competitive play, though they may be used in pools or in more casual round robin tournaments with points awarded to each player based on their end of match placement. Free-for-all matches are played in Headhunters with the Tournament Rules variant enabled.

The in-game match length (number of rounds) can vary according to time constraints, though Standard Match length is most often applied.

Stage Selection

Stage selection for the first match of a set is typically random, with successive stage selection (also known as counterpicking) given to the losing player(s) of the previous match. Free-for-all play may be limited to random only for the sake of expedience, or give stage selection to the lowest ranking player of each round.

Tournament organizers are free to specify additional stage selection rules which may include the following among others:

  • A subset of starter stages
  • Stage striking rules
  • Outright banning certain stages
  • Allowing specified custom stages
  • Limiting the number of times a given stage may be selected per game
  • Rules specific for Cataclysm selection, such as limiting it to counterpicks only, or using a predetermined seed as standard

Note that stages can be eliminated from the random selection pool by pressing the Left Trigger button when highlighted. This may be useful as indication of stage striking or banning. All random select eliminations persist until the game is reset and may be manually reset to default by pressing the Left Trigger button on the Random Stage icon.

Archer Selection

All archers and their alternates are legal as standard. In the event that two or more players wish to play as the same color archer it is common courtesy to have all conflicting players choose a different color archer in order to minimize character confusion.

Competitor's Clause

Exceptions to the game rules and settings may be made if all players in a match agree unanimously. Such exceptions defer to the tournament organizer's discretion as for final rulings.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License