The "Assisted Death Save" . . .

For anyone that watched the Buffalo stream, there was some awesome rule discussion activity that went down! I love when this stuff happens and it ISN’T my tournament! :slight_smile:

For those that missed it . . .

Go to the 16:15 mark.

You’ll see Zen playing Avatar, and after the ball drains down the left outlane he gives it a nice shove forward resulting in the ball in Link moving back to trip the switch, and starting Link Multiball (since he only needed one more shot to start).

The debate that ensued in chat is whether that was a legal move or not based on the current written rules . . . and then whether it SHOULD be something that is legal or not.

Obviously the IFPAPA rules cover Death Saves and Bangbacks, but both of those techniques involve bringing the drained ball back into play. IMO that verbiage doesn’t cover this situation.

Then there’s the Bowen Addams GREED letter paragraph to handle deliberately tilting or slam tilting the machine to derive some benefit to his/her own play. Zen clearly didn’t tilt or slam tilt, so tough to pin this paragraph as anything useful here.

This situation is obviously a close cousin (maybe 2nd cousin once removed on the mother’s side) to the Drac Mist situation. Shove the game to get the Mist ball off the track . . . Mist MB starts.

Bowen brought up in chat that the difference in this case is that once the ball passes the outlane switch, that is beyond the “shove line” for either the BSD case or now the Avatar case, and that this wasn’t a legal move according to the current rules. Do you know where that is in the verbiage Bowen?

I couldn’t seem to find it anywhere, and while I didn’t share my opinion in the chat, IMO the move was legal based on the written rules that I read through.

Doesn’t mean it SHOULD BE, but that does bring up the next question . . . should it be? :slight_smile:

If we want to add a rule that you’re not allowed to shake the game after the ball has gone below the outlane switch, that certainly puts the TD in a tough situation of calling that ‘fair/foul’ line, especially in a situation they didn’t see, and the offending player says they are confident it was ABOVE the fair/foul line.


The walking dead pro “well walker shove bomb” is one of my favorites :wink:


Greg Poverelli was the first one who mentioned this to me, and it sort of got passed around throughout the day that you can nudge the game to start Link if it’s 1-shot. Obviously you can do it while your ball is in play, so I guess the point where it comes into question is when the ball goes below the outlane switch. From the tone of the commentators I don’t think they notice at first, and nobody in the room seemed to be concerned about what was going on. I don’t think any warning was given at the time at the event.

From the replay you can clearly see the the ball is well below the outlane switch when Zen makes the shove. I don’t remember suspecting anything was foul about this technique, probably because of how easy it was to get the ball off the switch. Is this why sometimes the link lock will be disabled?

To me it’s on the TD. Cayle’s NW tourney had BSD with no tilt warning for that reason. Games with beneficial shoves should have Twilight Zone on a stage type tilt :wink:


Yeah I don’t think the “no shoves below the outlane” rule has any place in the guide. It is too open to judgment and would be impossible to enforce, and I’m totally against rules that can’t be enforced being in the official ruleset.


All well and good, but there is also the case (first cousin, once removed) where a ball drains down an outlane with some momentum and the player just “helps” it a smidge to bump “itself” back into play - a mini deathsave lite, if you will… Is that shove (or even just a bit of a nudge is sometimes all that is needed) legal ? Just because a rule is difficult to administer doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be a rule… As the great Rick Stetta once said when asked about this very situation (that may or may not have happened in Pinbrawl 2006). “Even cheating a little bit is still cheating”. Well said, my friend! :slight_smile:

I think the rule here is your plead the 5th, and ask that the TD talk to your council Lefkoff & Associates. I hear they can push this either way depending on the amount of retainer you pay :wink:


When you call this the “Assisted Death Save,” I can’t help but think of Dr. Kevorkian.


I think “Kevorkian” could make a strong case for The New Pinball Dictionary. @FunWithBonus


… And so it was named!! I’ll use it in a sentence:

Is “The Kevorkian” legal in tournaments and if not, where in the current rules does it say this ?



So the move is legal . . .but only in Oregon, Montana, Washington, Vermont and California (according to Wikipedia) :slight_smile:


There should be a rule about death saves, because there are still a ton of instances where a death save is quite obvious and easy to rule on. In general the rule is not difficult to administer, and while there are occasions where it is, that is true of any rule.

I feel like this case is a lot more tricky. It contains a “when you cross this line” rule which would be very difficult to judge without cameras or some other observation method happening continuously on the field of play to even verify for the most blatant infractions. I guess we could only enforce it when we have that observation in place, but that just leaves it open for abuse any other time. Then for tough calls, do we really want TDs going for the instant replay? I can’t really think of any other rules we have which rely on that level of exactness to be determined on the fly.

Thumbs down.


Best response.

Gotta have your walker dialed though :wink:

Has anyone been disqualified for deliberately tilting on Addams for the additional GREED letter (or another game with similar benefits to tilting). I would imagine that’s tough to enforce unless the person tilts so late it couldn’t be an attempt to save the ball.


Ah… the Kevorkian Nuances are really fun. How about this one (that I actually saw happen at Pinburgh this year) A player on Wheel of Fortune drains down the left outlane with the bottom Free Spin lit, but the top Free Spin unlit. The ball, of course, goes through the top, unlit Free spin lane but is then expertly nudged off the bottom of the left center drain rubber and backs its way up the lit Free Spin lane for a “well deserved ball save” ? or a "well deserved DQ " ?? for an illegal Kevorkian ? You make the call.


To me, this feels exactly like shaking the Mist ball off on BSD. It’s a known thing, and a properly set up tournament machine will not allow this (e.g., set to only one tilt warning).

I don’t see a difference between abusing a physical setup vs. abusing code to gain an advantage. For example, on No Fear at Pinburgh this year, I was fortunate enough to get two balls rolling on the right flipper during multiball. I shot that left ramp forever and racked up tons of jumps by “abusing” how it tracks jumps.

I say fair play and creative ruleset knowledge.


Sure, the rules can claim that pushing the game, when the ball is considered lost in a drain, is illegal. I don’t know how easy it will be to enforce. But neither is shooter lane jugling or proper not-taking-advantage of stuck balls in multiball play.

It would not be too bad, actually. As it would also put emphasis on the not so nice testing of the tilt or setting the tilt in motion for the next player to enjoy.

I preferred the Kosmal method . . . after the ball goes down the wrong unlit Free Spin lane, just start doing the bangback maneuver like crazy, but keep the flippers down so you’re not actually executing a bang back.

I’ve seen Koz able to get the ball bouncing like crazy off the apron wall and flipper/rubber setup on the center to get the ball back up into the correct spin lane.

Not recommended for any players that don’t have giant bear paws for hands. I quickly hurt myself trying to do this once :slight_smile:

Lol. Bangspins?
Free spinbacks?
Ha. That would have been awesome to see