SSCU Trench Wars Proper Sharking Guide

SSCU Trench Wars Proper Sharking Guide by milosh

Table of Contents –

I. Introduction

i. Preface

II. Sharking Fundamentals(For Beginners)

i. “rep three times and die”
ii. “don’t mine”
iii. “time”

III. Exceptions to the rules(Intermediate)

i. Mines
a. Where not to mine
b. When and where to mine
c. The push, pass, mine
ii. Learning to bomb
iii. A different approach to timing
iv. How to deal with special ships
a. Javelin
b. Warbird
c. Lancaster
v. Working with beginners

IV. Advanced Sharking Techniques(Experienced)

i. Location, Location, Location
a. Control the high ground
b. Protect the terrier
c. Positioning > Flag
ii. Custom Key Definitions
a. Attaching
b. Repels
c. Shark Key Settings
iii. Custom Graphics
a. The Repticle
b. Custom bullets
iv. Aggressive vs. Defensive
v. The power of distraction
vi. Conservation: The winning word
vii. Under

V. Basing Strategy: Where the Shark Fits In

i. Prioritization
ii. Chemistry
iii. Full scope
iv. Flag room battles
a. Camping vs. Pushing
b. Resolving the “under” issue
c. Ears and lobes
d. Momentum and positioning
v. Cramming
a. Camping vs. Pushing
b. Re-visiting conservation
c. Bad mines
vi. Holding mid-base
a. Mining the main tube
b. Left and right sides
c. Reacting to a main tube breach
vii. Communication: Distracting vs. Informative

VI. Closing Comments

I. Introduction

i. Preface –

The purpose of this guide is to promote and increase the Trench Wars basing community. It has been designed mainly for intermediate players; however, if properly understood it can be a valuable resource for beginners. Advanced players may find some value in it as well, but no guide can be considered the end all of all guides. There are some topics not discussed as well as some possibly controversial. If you would like to submit a question, comment, or suggestion, I can be contacted at or in Trench Wars. Again my earnest hope is that such guides will increase the level of play and number of players in Trench Wars. If you share this dream I strongly suggest that you make use of the available Trench Wars advertisements created by “Desai” and “The Unliked One…”. Links are provided below.

Desai’s Subspace Continuum Video:
The Unliked One…’s Trench Wars Poster:…ing/poster.jpg

II. Sharking Fundamentals(For Beginners)
This section is intended for those who are new to basing and sharking.

i. “rep three times and die” –

I couldn’t begin to estimate how many times I’ve heard this understatement. Although its a vast misconception of the depth of sharking strategy, it obviously holds a fundamental truth. Your main job is to repel for your team three times and then die so that you can get more repels. This tells you nothing about where or when to repel, laying mines, or throwing bombs which is why it’s commonly paired with the following.

ii. “don’t mine”

I’ll come right out and say that this is absolutely false; however, the connotation trying to be conveyed by it is true. Usually this is stated when your teammates have become terribly frustrated by dying from your poor mine placement. Use your common sense. Do not mine anywhere that will endanger your teammates or give the other team an advantage in any way. This generally means inside the cram or anywhere outside the flag room entrance that could possibly be repelled at your team mates. It also includes mining on the flag or on the side of the flag room that your team has occupied. Other specifications are mostly common sense which is fully developed by experience.

iii. “time”

Shark timing cannot be summed up in one sentence because its rules change depending on the variable factors in play. In its most basic explanation timing means waiting for the other shark to die before spacing three repels across five seconds then dying as quick as possible. By not repelling at the same time as your partner you don’t waste repels and by spacing them it protects the team and terrier while your shark partner spawns and attaches.

III. Exceptions to the rules(Intermediate)

c. The push, pass, mine –

Momentum is a big part of all sharking aspects. After all, you spend most of your time pushing people around. When you catch somebody coming towards you or past you quickly a repel can completely change their direction unexpectedly. This can possibly allow you to thrust past them in the direction you’ve repelled them and lay a mine. This technique is highly valuable but should not be overused and should be executed with great caution depending on your location in case you happen to miss. There will be more discussion on this in section V.

ii. Learning to bomb –

A shark bomb drains nearly all of your given energy which means you should utilize it carefully. Often bombing can become a distraction from your main purpose – winning. If you find yourself staying alive so you can lob another bomb at the cram you’re probably a victim of this. Also if trying to bomb impacts the effectiveness of your repels, I’d suggest directing your thoughts elsewhere. Bombing into a cram, whether in a shark or javelin, requires proper timing. Because throwing a shark bomb is more difficult and slower than using a rocket in a javelin, there are less oppurtunities to bomb a cram in a shark than in a javelin. You have to anticipate a gap in the enemy shark pair’s repels due to one of them dying on attach, being killed by a warbird, or just repelling speedily. When this gap comes you’re also going to have to be fairly close to the cram, have a bit of momentum, and have close to full energy. All of these factors must be present to throw a bomb properly which is why it rarely occurs. If you can’t be sure you’ll be able to throw your bomb at least to the angle of safety(illustrated below) do not even attempt to throw a bomb. Generally five spiders are more affective than a single shark bomb, so it’s more productive for you to die and obtain three more repels for those spiders than possibly killing, emping, or mispositioning your teammates. Throwing shark bombs is also directly coupled with energy efficient repels(This will be discussed more in section IV,ii) and grows easier with experience.

After a TeK, sharks tend to throw a bomb down the main tube on their way down. I did this for 3 years even knowing its ineffectiveness. It has about a 1 in 100 chance of hitting the terrier, so in my opinion those odds aren’t worth your entire energy bar. Use a repel to bomb or push, pass, mine the enemy terrier instead. More discussion on this in section V.

iii. A different approach to timing –

The general consensus of the basing community is that, as discussed in section II,iii, the purpose of a shark is to space three repels over a period of five seconds and then die. That means if I repel once exactly every 1.667 seconds after my partner has died my timing will be perfect, right? When I state it that way it sounds completely ludicrous. Your main goal is not to repel every 1.667 seconds, but to protect your team and inhibit the other team. Sometimes your partner won’t be able to die before your team’s well being becomes threatened. On occasion your terrier will need you to repel before your partner has even used all three of his. These are exceptions, and when they happen you need to adapt to them. If you only have one or two repels left you may have to sacrafice saving a few spiders lives to conserve that repel for what’s really important. Conserving that repel also will give your partner a chance to spawn and give the team some breathing room with his three repels, provided you protect him from dying on arrival. You must be able to prioritize a situation quickly based upon your own life, your teammates’ lives, and your team’s position. Also there are times when pushing the other team away or into a less ideal position is more important than spacing your repels. You may find it necessary to use all three repels quickly to force the opposing team into a stranglehold; however, when doing this you should keep in mind what could happen to your team in the following three seconds that they are exposed.

iv. How to deal with special ships –
Special ships are specifically used to foil your plans as a shark. When they are in play you must counteract their intentions, to find a flaw in your timing.

a. Javelin – The Javelin is probably the most prevalent of special basing ships due to its ability to fire bombs quickly that can destroy multiple targets. When a javelin is in play you can generally expect to be more aggressive since there are less spiders on the opposing team and no constant barrage of warbird or lancaster bullets forcing you to repel. Playing aggressively does not necessarily mean that your repel times should be shorter. Always be aware of where the javelin is and whether or not he has energy to fire with. This includes a roof attack during which you must stay near your terrier to deflect the javelin’s bomb. Remember that you don’t have to stay in the cram to deflect a javelin bomb at a safe angle(see illustration below). When you die fasten your eyes on the javelin and what he’s preparing so that when you spawn you can be ready to repel if need be. When a javelin rockets into one of your repels its speed increases by almost five times. Be aware of aiding him in speeding past you and towards your terrier. If you don’t have enough repels to keep the javelin subdued until his rocket wears out, the job of dismantling his efforts becomes largely the part of your spiders and shark partner. The terrier will also undoubtedly attempt to dodge and shoot him. If you’re out of repels, do your best to catch the javelin bomb as a human shield if it will save your teammates. After all, you need to die anyways.

b. Warbird – A good basing warbird has two main goals on his mind. Disable the sharks and kill the terrier. Since you’ll be in his sights a lot more commonly than your terrier will, he will be aiming for you often. Warbird bullets are fast and kill absolutely, so you’ll have to be on your guard for quick repels. Dodge as many bullets as you can even if it will hit one of your teammates(non-terrier) because one repel is more valuable than one spider.

c. Lancaster – The lancaster is probably the easiest special ship for a shark to deal with since his purpose focuses more on tearing apart the spiders. You need to be aware of that though and protect your teammates from his spray. Treat a lancaster as if he were a warbird. You must assume that your teammates do not have energy to spare.

v. Working with beginners –

If you’re trying to improve your sharking skills, the reality is that you won’t be working with the cream of the crop. You’re going to have to play countless ?go base games with sharks that frankly suck. Instead of building much needed confidence in the chemistry between you and your partner you’ll expect to be let down by your other half. To make it through this conflict you need to anticipate your partner’s actions as less than ideal. Expect that he will always come off of the terrier repelling away whether you’re alive or not. This means you’ll have to let him go in front of you even if you were there first, and you’ll need to die as quickly as possible when he’s spawning. Show players that you’re a good shark no matter who your partner is, but don’t get too used to this style of play because it will hinder you later on.

IV. Advanced Sharking Techniques(Experienced)

i. Location, Location, Location – Experienced players usually don’t even bother trying to put these concepts into words because they are just better understood when seen. The downside to that approach is that you cannot give commentary in real time while playing. In lue of that, I will do my best to try and explain this in an accurate comprehensible manner.

a. Control the high ground – The whole purpose of basing is to control the flag for a period of time. Flag room battles can last anywhere from 2 seconds to an entire game, but no matter how long the battle lasts you want to be controlling the flag during it. To control the flag your whole team needs to control the high ground. Positioning is one of the main jobs of the terrier; however, if your terrier is not completing this task you’ll have to make up for his error and quickly get into position to hold this area. Never give up ground or back off if you can help it. Remember, if a flag room battle lasts the entire game and you control the high ground the entire game, you win. Killing the enemy terrier is important, but if you rush at the enemy terrier using all three repels and your team loses the high ground because of it, you are working against yourself.

b. Protect the terrier – We’ve already discussed this as a fundamental duty of the shark, but I would like to go into a little more depth on it. Detaching is overrated. Yes, your duty as a shark is to keep the high ground by pushing the other team back, but if your partner is still using his repels then there is no reason to detach. Not only is staying on the terrier relatively safe since he should be dodging bullets, but it also gives you the oppurtunity to be right there if anything comes his way. Attaching can also be useful if you’ve already detached but your terrier has gotten too far away from you for you to be of help. Even if you only have one or two repels left, if you have full energy and your terrier is in danger, it’s worth it to attach and utilize those repels. Always make sure your terrier is safe before you begin to rush off and push the enemy.

c.Positioning > Flag – This probably seems like a contradiction to the other statements I’ve made, but my point here is that if you’re a shark and your partner is dead, you’re the only person on the team capable of physically pushing the other team off the high ground. There are 6 other members of your team that can touch the flag. It should not be your concern to touch the flag as much as it should be your concern to gain control of the high ground.

ii. Custom Key Definitions – If you’re ready to get into more advanced sharking I strongly reccomend redefining your key settings. There are multiple reasons for this.

a. Attaching – There are two major problems with keeping F7 as your attach key. The first is that you have to move your hand to press it, which takes time and accuracy. The second is that when its set to F7 you cannot do a thrust detach. A thrust detach allows you to begin thrusting at full speed as you detach from your terrier. It is extremely useful for flying up the main tube in front of your terrier to deflect any incoming bullets, bombs, mines, or enemies. To thrust detach just set your attach key to anything except F7(or any other F# key), attach to a terrier, hold down shift and your forward arrow key, and while holding those press attach again. On my normal key setting I have set my attach key to tilde(~) because it’s comfortable for me; however, in my ideal shark key setting I would set my attach key to ‘z’. I’ll explain my ideal shark key setting in more detail in a moment.

b. Repelling – The downside to leaving your repel key setting as SHIFT+CTRL is that you’re normally pressing arrow keys rapidly while using these two buttons, and if you press a forward or backward arrow key while holding down shift you will thrust which uses up energy. You want to make your repels and thrusting two completely seperate entities. This way you can repel enemies three times and still have a full energy bar to bomb them with. On my standard key setting I have left my repel as SHIFT+CTRL so I can still use that key combo for other ships. I am experienced using it and it feels comfortable for me, but when I get into serious sharking, such as TWBD or TWLB I switch to my shark key settings.

c. Shark Key Settings – This is my suggestion for an ideal shark key setting. Attach – ‘z’; Thrust – ‘x’; Bomb – ‘c’; Mine – SHIFT+’c’; Repel – SPACEBAR.

iii. Custom Graphics – To get your hands on these custom graphics email me at with your Trench Wars username and which graphics you want.

a. The Repticle – This custom graphic is invaluable. I would not shark a game without it. It makes all the difference in the world and if you’re looking for a get shark skills quick scheme, this is it. This custom graphic not only allows you to see your bomb damage radius but also shows you the size of your repels. When pushing against an enemy shark with the repticle you always have the upper hand because you can precede him with a repel the instant you know he is in range. Also it allows you to clear mine clusters singularly as you please and without damaging yourself.

b. Custom bullets – Custom bullets can be extremely helpful for your eyes. I use large white bullets for warbirds and larger red bullets for spiders. I also have made my bursts large and bright blue so you can’t miss them.

iv. Aggressive vs. Defensive – All things in moderation. With every ship in basing you can be either too aggressive or too defensive. You must always keep a forward momentum, but if you push too hard you start drawing from the law of diminishing returns. If you stay too far back or “camp” you’ll inevitably lose ground to a more offensive team. If you’re out of repels you should rush the other team dramatically, but if you still have repels you need to be wary of losing them unused.

v. The power of distraction – You’ve repped three times, have little energy, and still the opposing team is starting to take the high ground. What do you do? Never underestimate the power of distraction. If you can dodge and distract the firepower of a few spiders for just a few seconds while your team gains energy and better positioning it can make all the difference. Any time an empty shark can take away firepower from the enemy for a short time before dying it is a great idea.

vi. Conservation: The winning word – Conservation is again a universal ship term. Don’t waste repels, energy, rockets, bursts, or warps… ever! Don’t shoot into walls or empty space, don’t mine in nonsensical places, and don’t bomb a terrier with two fully loaded sharks. This should be common sense; however, it is commonly overlooked and is essential to victory.

vii. Under – As a shark you should generally never go under, but if your team has secured the high ground, your terrier is laying back, and your spiders are having trouble maintaining the underflag, you may want to assist them with a few power repels. If your spiders have gone fishing and enemies are swarming through the under, use common sense and back track to dismantle them with your repels instead of charging over. As you know, repels also go through walls so if you’re sitting on the flag give them a nice bump outside while your under spider gains some energy. Keeping the under secure is essential to pushing in flag room battles, but if your spiders are doing their job, you shouldn’t have to worry about it.

V. Basing Strategy: Where the shark fits in
This section is the opinion of the author and in no way states there is only one correct basing strategy. As the title states, this section will primarily focus on the shark’s role in strategy and specific situations.

i. Prioritization – Here’s a list of priorities as a shark you can take or leave 1 being the most important and 20 the least.

2.Keeping the terrier alive
3.Controlling the high ground(for at least five seconds)
4.Saving five spiders’ lives simultaneously
5.Saving four spiders’ lives simultaneously
6.Protecting your partner until his turn
7.Saving three spiders’ lives simultaneously
8.Killing the enemy terrier
9.Repelling three times instead of two
10.Saving two spiders’ lives simultaneously
11.Saving one spiders’ lives simultaneously
12.Touching the flag
13.Killing other enemies
14.Laying Emp Clusters, Spear heads, or other mine formations
15.Shouting obscenities at your teammates
16.Calling the other team newbs
17.Picking your nose
18.Blaming Duel Pasta
19.Pondering the Grand Unified Theory
20.Your record!

In contrast to what a spider’s priorities should be:

2.Keeping the terrier alive
3.Controlling the high ground
4.Killing the enemy terrier
5.Killing any other enemy
6.Covering under
7.Touching the flag
8.Making enemy sharks waste repels
9.Shouting obscenities at your teammates
10.Calling the other team newbs
11.Picking your nose
12.Blaming Duel Pasta
13.Taking a drink
14.Watching this video…
15.Your record!

When drawn out like this it looks pretty shocking! If you disagree with these lists thats fine. Just draw up your own list of what you think takes priority and make sure that you’re sticking to that list in the heat of battle.

ii. Chemistry – On the professional level, chemistry is one of the most important things a basing squadron can have. I define chemistry as the ability to anticipate and be confident in the actions of your teammates. This can increase if you practice and discuss strategy with your teammates, such as reading this guide together and debating!

iii. Full scope – Teamwork works when everyone understands eachother’s needs. If you improve your skills in every basing ship instead of just one, your overall perspective will improve tremendously. You will no longer be only concerned about what you’re doing because you now have a better understanding of how to help your teammates do their jobs. All the things I’ve said to do during this guide are the things the other team is trying to stop you from doing. If you learn to play the terrier, then you’ll know there are certain places you don’t want to be. When you have this knowledge as a shark it helps you not only to get your terrier out of those places, but also allows to know where to push the enemy terrier. Playing every ship will give you a full scope of strategy.

iv. Flag room battles –

a. Camping vs. Pushing – It is my belief that camping has no place whatsoever in the flag room with one exception which is the utilization of lining across the under flag, but even that can be abused. While in the flag room the entire team should be prioritizing taking the high ground and pushing the enemy into a corner, ear, or lobe. With that said I must reemphasize my earlier point of all things in moderation. There is such a thing as pushing too hard.
b. Resolving the “under” issue – I am a believer in the one and a half man technique. One spider should clearly understand that it is his duty to cover under. The whole team should know who this spider is, but at the same time must realize that this spider is not Jesus. Not everyone can cover under like mikes, but even mikes doesn’t come out of a game with 0 deaths. The spider covering under will die and under will be uncovered temporarily. During this time the closest spider must quickly see the need and act upon it.

c. Corners, Ears and lobes – If your entire team is attempting to push your enemies into a corner, ear or lobe then you must assume that they are trying to do the same to you. Point being, never put yourself into that position or you’re only aiding the enemy. Do all that you can from getting stuck in a corner, ear, or lobe.

d. Momentum and positioning – The sharks set the momentum while the terrier sets the positioning. The sharks and terrier should make these two factors so obvious to the spiders that they can just do their job without even thinking. If under needs another spider, the terrier should place a spider there. If sharks are pushing hard towards a certain corner, ear, or lobe, the spiders should follow their lead.

e. Deciding on sides – When holding the flag but not securing a side, all of the sharks focus should be on repelling against the side the enemy terrier is on while all of the spiders focus, except maybe one, should be on clearing the opposite side. If you sense the enemy terrier is changing sides, there are mines, or other factors influencing the teams decision on which side to take this can only be resolved by good chemistry or an alternate form of communication(discussed in V,vii).

v. Attacking the cram –

a. Camping vs. Pushing – Camping has its place here, but is vastly overused and abused by the basing community at large. When attacking a cram there are two goals: killing spiders and pressuring the sharks. Camping easily kills spiders. Pushing strongly pressures sharks. So why is there not some mixture of this? Camping when attacking is mainly to rid your team of pesky enemy corner campers and can also kill a shark quickly detaching, but after that has been achieved you must give up your prized camping spot and push with the rest of the team. For every one spider camping there should be three pushing. With only five spiders you can do the math here. Sharks should always be pushing and rushing in to mine or bomb when possible. Mining further discussed below.

c. Bad mines – Rushing in and mining is useful, but only if you position the mine within the angle of safety. This is illustrated below. If the enemy has left bad mines below the flag room entrance you should do your best to use these to your advantage. When enemy mines are on lobe ends you should start your rep very close to the mines, so you can get below them in time to repel straight upward. This is illustrated below as well. Other enemy mines can require assistance from your shark partner, such as spear heads. This is encouraged to be practiced with your partner and requires good chemistry.

vi. Defending the cram –
a. Camping vs. Pushing – Camping has its place here too, but again it is vastly overused and abused. When defending the cram there are two goals: staying alive and pushing outward. Camping makes it easy to stay alive, but contributes nothing to pushing outward. Camping can still be considered useful though because you’re keeping the enemies’ camping spots tacked down by doing so. Keep good spider motion while staying alive in the cram. Remember conservation, the winning word. Sharks should be focused primarily on timing to deflect incoming bullets/bombs, but pushing the enemy ships(especially sharks) away is vital. The Repticle comes in very handy here.
c. Bad mines – Inevitably they happen, so when they do you need to have a strategy. Warn your teammates that a teamkill is coming so they can reposition away from the impact. If it’s your mine and you have repels you should stand in the line of fire until after the impact when your partner can take over. The terrier should stay just outside the damage radius of the bomb and reseat himself. Resist the urge to corner camp here as it is vital that spiders push out immediately after the impact. If the other team leaves bad mines in your cram, DO NOT leave the cram to repel them down. This is a common mistake. Repel the mines as best you can away from your teammates and leave it at that. If you’ve put mines on the lobe ends and the enemy shark is attempting to rep them at your team mates, you can possibly block their efforts by repelling them before their second repel. This is illustrated below.

vii. Holding mid-base –

a. The main tube – Mining locations for the main tube were discussed in section III,i. Review that section. You can only do so much as the enemy terrier is rushing up the tube, but use your repels to slow their team down so your spiders can get some positioning against them. Three spiders should cover the throat holes while two push down the tube towards the enemy.

b. Left and right sides – If the enemy goes up a side tube, inform your teammates as soon as possible. The entire team should not abandon the main tube since the enemy may have a warp there, but if the tube is clogged with mines its safe to leave only 1 spider guarding. Develop a strategy amongst your teammates for holding a side tube. I reccomend that you assign each spider a spot which he understands he is supposed to cover. I’ve illustrated a possible strategy for this below.

c. Reacting to a mid-base breach – Once the enemy has inhabited the mid-base your focus must change. You are now battling in an open area with no pressure centers and you must begin to reform your cram. One shark should sit on the middle bar to deflect incoming enemies, bombs, and bullets. Spiders in the mid-base should do as much damage as the can then reattach to strengthen the cram.

viii. Communication: Distracting vs. Informative –
Typing is distracting not only to you but also to your teammates. The time it takes to type and read messages alone is enough reason to refrain from communication. Not only can it take up time though, it can also have an effect on your team’s performance. If you are telling a teammate they are not doing their job, they will probably get frustrated by this and their play will continue to deteriorate. Also as you type out your frustration it in turn begins to multiply. Your brain switches from complex basing strategies to venting frustration and back so quickly that you are distracting yourself unknowingly. Communication should only be used when absolutely necessarily. Most of these are already commonly known sayings.

“<<<” – The enemy is going up the left side tube.
“>>>” – The enemy is going up the right side tube.
“>><<” – The enemy has come back to the main tube.
“1”,”2″,”3″ – I have 1, 2, or 3 repels left.
“td” – The enemy terrier is dead.
“doa” – I died on arrival/attaching.
“port” – The enemy is about to warp into our cram.

If you are a terrier you may want to set a few macros such as “no warp- greens” or “warp outside base”.

In the case that one of your teammates is not doing his job and you feel he needs to know so he can correct it. Use indirect speech. Never accuse or blame a teammate of the games current status. If a player isn’t performing up to their norm I guarantee you they know it. Here’s an example of indirect speech. Duel Pasta is slacking in shark, but you don’t want to accuse or blame him so you say “Our sharks aren’t getting enough spider pressure to perform guys, let’s step up.”

If your team is extremely serious about being the best, I would advise not using any of these forms of communication. Instead use an alternate form of communication such as headsets with Skype. This will allow you speak quickly and clearly while playing.

VI. Closing Comments – Please provide your feedback for the improvement of this guide. If this guide is succesful I will consider doing guides for spider and terrier. Big thanks to Anidalife for helping with the images. Also big thanks to Greven my friend and mentor. Pasco is the inventor of the repticle and a basing strategist as well.
-bete noire-

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.