Ruling: bangback when not technically draining?

I would say because of potential damage to the lockdown bar/receiver. Also I always figured bangbacks and deathsaves were illegal because they could potentially result in very long ball-times in competition. Plus even though it is definitely a skill, it does kind of feel like a cheat if they take an outlane out of the equation.

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Actually even with the kicker unqualified it is not out of play. Depending on the SBM, you can flap the flipper as the ball travels under it and get the ball to rebound back up as you are using the underside of the flipper to hit the ball into the wireform and bounce it up off the wireform and back into play.

Even if it doesn’t violate the specific verbiage of the rule (and I’m not convinced that it doesn’t), it seems pretty clearly to violate the spirit of the rule. In the eternal words of the Supreme Court: “I know a bangback when I see it. And that’s a damn bangback.”


No gray, that’s a bang back. Aren’t those biff bars removed on most SBM’s?

Potential damage argument is no good. Good players can do smooth bang backs or kick death saves without hurting a game. Bang backs and death saves are illegal because they’re both essentially cheating. All is fair on location, but not in competition.

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Still sounds like a good argument to me since you’re probably not only going to get good players who can do smooth bang backs

That’s a bang back for sure. Ball save mechanism or no, that is technically in an outlane and should be treated as such by the rules in my opinion. Just because the ball is expected to return to play doesn’t mean that’s automatically an inlane; there’s no insurance against a faulty save in the rules (learned that the hard way in Split flipper finals on FT).

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I’ve played around a dozen SBMs and have never seen them removed. YMMV

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Sorry, but I disagree with that assessment. Bang backs/death saves might be against a particular event’s rules, but IMHO they’re not cheating, any more than an outlane shimmy save is cheating.

Related question: has anyone ever personally seen a game damaged by a bang back or death save?

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I have absolutely seen legs bent up from death saves.

Thanks, I haven’t played many. Looking again, they aren’t biff bars. They’re lane guides made with biff bar-like metal.

I’ve seen bent legs after the fact. Nine out of ten were the right front leg. I figured most of those for rage kicks rather than kick death saves.

I’ve seen very smooth kick death saves and smooth foot slide death saves on concrete (after last league night). My death saves resemble Elaine on Seinfeld dancing (hard to watch), but don’t hurt the game.

Whether or not it’s damaging the machine is moot- our events use IFPA rules without an exception for bangbacks/death saves, so if it’s a bangback it’s illegal. Take it up with those guys if you think it should be allowed and maybe we can watch some 3-hour games at Pinburgh next year.

My take is that it if you showed it to most players, they would say it was a bangback. The minor distinction that the ball isn’t on the apron doesn’t hold water.

As for damage to the machine, I don’t think bangbacks are particularly bad for the games, although they aren’t great for your wrists if you’re not careful. Allowing players to pound on games tends to escalate very quickly though and should be discouraged.

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Yes bent legs from death saves and I’ve seen two different Twilight Zones have the lock down bar broken off with a bangback (the welds broke that hold the top part of the bar to the part that is latched in)

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Yes, I’ve done this on a TZ back before I decided I’d rather have my hand instead of an extra ball


On DE era games, usually you would just pop the lockdown bar out of its lock. I know I was stuck holding a bar from R&B once, and have heard many other stories. Probably preferable to the welds snapping though.

Hmmm. I guess I do bang backs differently from other people. When I do them (infrequently, and only on my home games), I strike the cabinet just below the lockdown bar… should be no way to damage or displace the lockdown bar.