Stages legality and character balance are deeply connected, so Balanced Brawl addresses stages as a point of its core design. We have built the game around 28 stages that we suggest for balanced play. Of course, gameplay is still enjoyable on the other stages as well; we just keep those 28 as the central focus for matchup balancing.

First, here’s a list of stage mechanic changes in Balanced Brawl. Stages not listed have no changes.

Stage changes

Luigi’s Mansion takes twice as long to respawn after being broken (40 seconds from 20 seconds).
Mushroomy Kingdom 1-1 now scrolls at half speed. Additionally, both Mushroomy Kingdom stages have higher ceilings.
Pirate Ship bombs do less damage. The direct hit now does 10% damage (from 20%) while the explosion now does 15% damage (from 35%).
Norfair lava pillars now inflict less knockback growth (100 -> 45).
Port Town Aero Dive cars now inflict less knockback growth (100 -> 45).
Castle Siege now has significantly improved loading time; the transformation form barely exists at all.
Flat Zone 2 lion tamers now inflict fixed knockback (base 60 -> 70, 60 -> 0 growth).
PictoChat has a few weakened hazards. The arrows and cart both inflict less knockback growth (100 -> 50 and 60 respectively) while the bombs inflict less base knockback (70 -> 50).
Corneria has larger blast zones in general.
Green Greens  blocks now spawn less frequently. Bomb blocks now do 10% damage (from 20%).

Also, as a general dynamic to keep in mind for stages, character movesets have been adjusted to account for stage diversity. Ceilings, water, multitude ledges, walls, and walk-off edges are considerably less abuseable than in standard Brawl.

Stage selection

Balanced Brawl is designed to be played on a wide variety of stages; different characters do well on diferent stages, and the design of each character is built on this understanding. That being said, Brawl itself never suggested a method for picking stages, and as such neither do we. What we did do is balance the game around a set of 28 stages. These stages are stages we can vouch are fair, and any stage selection system that incorporates all of them will itself be at least close to fair. The other 14 stages are assumed not to be taken seriously as matters of balance; many of them are fundamentally unfair, and while a few are fair in some matchups, they are not fair in all of them the way the 28 stages we designed around are.


Final Destination
Delfino Plaza
Luigi’s Mansion
Mushroomy Kingdom 1-1 [hold X or Y]
Mario Circuit
Pirate Ship
Frigate Orpheon
Yoshi’s Island [Brawl]
Lylat Cruise
Pokémon Stadium 2
Port Town Aero Dive
Castle Siege
Distant Planet
Flat Zone 2
Green Hill Zone
Yoshi’s Island [Melee]
Jungle Japes
Rainbow Cruise
Green Greens
Pokémon Stadium

Not Balanced

Mushroomy Kindgom 1-2 [hold L or R]
Rumble Falls
Bridge of Eldin
Spear Pillar
WarioWare Inc.
New Pork City
Mario Bros.
Shadow Moses Island
Big Blue