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(Up to Schemes)
Click to watch (W:A + Beta Update required) W:A replay: Excellent Hysteria Game
with Auto, Dario, KRD, Muzic & Husk
Download · Info
Click to watch (W:A + Beta Update required) W:A replay: How NOT to play Hysteria
starring Snoots, Rioter & AlMightyBob
Download · Info
In Hysteria, the player's turns are only 1 second long.
Game setup
View scheme settings
Any open island map
As many as the map will support for automatic placement

Hysteria (or simply Hyst in worms terminology) is a special scheme where quick thinking and reflexes are vital. Each turn only lasts for a meagre one second, in which the player must select and fire a weapon.

There is one weapon available on each of the function keys, and they all come in infinite supply, except for 1 cow. Each turn also has 10 seconds of 'hot seat' time before it, which gives the player time to think about their turn.

Sudden death occurs in 10 seconds. However, because the turns are only 1 second long, the timer will not decrease unless a player runs out of turn time, meaning that matches can last indefinitely provided no player times out. When Sudden death occurs, the water rises very quickly.

Each player also has infinite jet packs. These require that the player instantly drops a weapon after equipping them, so they have an additional 5 seconds of retreat time during which the player can get to otherwise hard-to-reach places.


Weapons in this scheme
Util. Jetpackicon.png
F1 IconBazooka.svg
F2 IconGrenade.svg
F3 Shotgunicon.png
F4 Firepunchicon.png
F5 Mineicon.png
F7 Blowtorchicon.png


F10 Petrolbombicon.png
F11 Madcowicon.png
F12 Skipgoicon.png Surrendericon.png
Weapons are unlimited in number,
and have a power setting of 3,
unless otherwise noted

Hysteria can be played without any rules at all.

Some players however prefer to use the following house rules.

  • No worm order manipulation (commonly expressed as no telecow/jetcow) - players are forbidden to use the jetpack or teleport to move their worm next to an opponent's worm knowing that their worm will get another turn before their opponent's worm does (see worm order manipulation in the strategies section below)
  • No skipwalking - players must not exploit this quirk of worm movement to walk faster over the terrain.
  • No roofing - in cavern maps, players must not climb onto the top of the map above the indestructible border.


First off, use the hotseat time to think out your move. Think of which worm to hit, which weapon to use for it and where you want to end your turn, as you're going to need that worm another turn later on, preferrably with plenty of health points left.

The jetpack retreat

Triple jet pack nade bounce
The jetpack retreat

The jetpack retreat is an invaluable move. Simply activate the jetpack, plant a mine, and use your five seconds of retreat time to fly to your destination. Since your turn-time is a second long, you have just enough time to make a very short flight before you plant that mine—good for attacking a nearby worm before carrying on with your journey. The mine need not be the only attack—with an extra key-press you can release a cow, for example.

Even after you've dropped your weapon you can still make an attack. With careful manoeuvring you can use your jetpack to push mines onto nearby enemies. Or if you're using a particularly unhealthy worm, you can drop onto an enemy worm from a great height for a suicide bombing. The jetpack knock is the hardest trick of all—time your retreat so that when time runs out, your worm falls and knocks another worm down.

While choosing the weapon to drop from the jetpack, keep in mind where you want your worm to end up. If you're stuck in a deep hole and want to get out, it's very likely that your worm will end up close to the upper edge of that same hole. As a consequence, your worm is easily shot back in again and if that happens, you most certainly don't want to land on the same mine you dropped only a turn earlier! In such cases, it is perhaps better to drop a grenade from the jetpack (or a bazooka) since the additional fall damage is not nearly as high as the one you'd get from an additional mine explosion.

Some people actually go so far as to activate the mine they dropped in that same turn. This is a very risky manouver, since recently dropped mines have a delay before they are activated, giving you about a second to move away from the mine before it is activated. Since this action spells disaster virtually all of the time, DarkOne's law has been formulated: never activate a mine you just dropped. The penalty for breaking this law is self-inflicted damage, though like in reality, the system is not perfect.

Experienced Hysteria players dominate the art of attacking from jet pack, specially knowing how to deal with the Instant self-bounce/hit of a Jet Pack weapon drop phenomenon.

Worm order manipulation

If you have fewer worms than your opponent you can use the worm rotation order to get an advantage. Teleport your worm next to an enemy worm such that you'll get another turn before he does. If you only have one worm, you can do this to all his worms until he too only has one left.

This tactic can be countered by having your worms close together, so that your opponent can always be attacked regardless of which worm's turn it is.

Worm order manipulation is one of the reasons why you'd want to damage all your opponent's worms before you start killing them off: a kill at the start gives him/her the opportunity to use this tactic to easily reduce the difference in health points. Even in doing this, you should be mindful for the jetpack suicides you inevitably enable your opponents to if you damage a worm to almost 0 hp.

Summoning the flood

If the flooding will bring you a tactical advantage, then try missing a few turns to activate Sudden Death. This works best when your enemy has too many worms near the bottom to stage a mass evacuation. If missing a turn is too costly, use the shotgun to get one shot in, while missing the second.

Sometimes, your opponent will position a worm to the side of the map, hoping for strong wind and basically firing the bazooka until it hits (either by luck or skill depending on the person using these tactics).

Having said worm on that edge also places it lower than your own worms. Though trying to hit them is of course possible, it's still more difficult than vice versa, which makes these placements an opportunity to set off sudden death.

Knowing who to kill

Most Hysteria games end up with players firing bazookas and grenades across the map. Getting a hit takes a lot of skill, so you might want to plan ahead and make it easy for yourself by killing off the more skilled players first, while the game is still in its chaotic infancy.

Keeping a healthy worm

The end-game of firing bazookas and grenades everywhere usually takes place between distantly separated worms, because no worm is healthy enough to risk getting close for an easy shot. With the full health of 80 points, however, you might be able to chase a weak enemy around the map, safe in the knowledge you can survive a hit and return the favour with a fatal shot.

Some people try to realise this healthy worm for the end by keeping it in an isolated space until the time has come to bring it out. Although this definitely can serve its purpose, be mindful that some people will see through these tactics and will purposefully lose a worm in order to use the worm rotation abuse. They will then place their worm close to your isolated worm to be able to kill it or deal sufficient damage to be able to kill it in one shot later on.

Isolating one worm also results in that worm being most likely useless for the duration of the isolation; if you both have 4 worms left and 1 of them is isolated, this means that while your opponent has 4 opportunities to deal you damage, you will only have 3 turns to do so.

In addition, the most isolated spots are usually at the bottom of the map. Having your worm there makes it vulnerable to triggering of sudden death.

Picking the right weapon

Double bank grenade shot (exactly 30HP)

When picking your weapon, you must pay attention to the landscape, the wind and whether there are still mines scattered around. Grenades are well suited against worms hiding inside holes, since they naturally go to the lowest point until they explode. When a big chunk of land is protecting your worm from direct from shotguns or bazookas, it's possible to bounce a grenade from the wall to the opposite of your opponent. Very useful to deal damage and blow them down into a hole where they are very vulnerable to grenades. Sometimes in these situations, it's better to use a bazooka. This is only possible if the wind blows away from your opponent, so the bazooka will pass over the land and then blow back towards your opponent. Note that this is possibly the hardest kind of bazooka shot to do.

Sometimes, people place their worms on an almost vertical part of land. If there is no land to the side facing your worm, then the opponent's worm is vulnerable to bazooka attacks. Make sure the wind is turned towards your opponent as wind away from your opponent makes it much harder to hit and even impossible if the wind is strong.

Naturally, there might also be land above your opponent's worm in order to protect it from direct grenade throws and bazooka shots (specifically if there's no wind!). In these instances, you can use the protective roof against them: a petrol bomb is the weapon to use now. This is a weapon that's also effective against worms hiding on the edge of the map. The protective roof should be hit and the burning petrol will rain down on your opponent, making them fall into a hole or the water.

Don't forget about shotguns! Though this weapon is not often used in hysteria games, sometimes this weapon can be be very useful. Sometimes, what seperates you from your opponent is a plethora of small objects. Using a bazooka will only proof useful if you shoot them over those objects, while the same is true for grenades. However, with the shotgun, you get 2 shots and it shoots in a straight line, regardless of wind, making the shot less complicated.

Petrol bombs can also be used to simulate a napalm attack (although less powerful). Throw a petrol bomb somewhere close to your enemy on a flat piece of land, so all the petrol gets concentrated in one spot. Next turn, create an explosion close to the fire pit and the fire will fly up and rain down over a large area. Though each little fragment will cause little damage, it will limit the moving possibilities of your opponent and it makes it easier to damage distance worms (or even drown them in case of worms on the edge).

Sometimes, you face an opponent who doesn't kill your worms until the very end (as described above). You may find yourself in a situation where your opponent has one healthy worm, while you have 2 worms with almost no health points. This could be the perfect opportunity for a suicide teleport/jetpack.

Save your cow for when it really matters. Using it at the start of a game, while there are still many worms in play gives your opponent the chance to abuse worm rotation, meaning he or she can catch up in health points. The result of this is that while you both will have equal health points later on, your opponent still has a cow with possibly devastating attacks while you do not.

Location, location, location

Placement is everything in this game. If your position is superior to your opponents', skills in weaponry may not matter much. It's an art in itself to find a position where you can easily hit your opponent (or work your way through to him/her) while your opponent will have a hard time doing the same.

Some players prefer putting a worm on the edge of the map, particularly when the worm is nearing its death. Staying on top of the map is then not a good idea, as your opponent will have a far easier time hitting you (the game engine seems to favour wind directed towards the majority of the map while on the edge). However, placing your worm low on the map will allow you to dig through the land towards your opponent, giving you the tactical upper hand.

Players hiding in the interior of the map are best countered by digging holes from above, preferably not a very straight one, as that gives them the opportunity to shoot bazookas. Grenades with big timers can bounce around until they hit their targets and petrol bombs can then be used with great effect. Around the end of the round, you may want to use your cow right around then.

These are just a few examples of placement strategies. With time, you will find out that every placement has its merits and its faults. For every placement, there's a different strategy and it's best to find the spot that can be best exploited with your strengths.


Creative modifications of the scheme.

0-second turn time

(See full article: Paranoia)

A variant of Hysteria with zero seconds of turn time and zero seconds of hot seat time, called Paranoia, was created by StepS in August 2012. This variant requires players to have the relevant keys pressed before their turn even begins.


Modifications with relatively small detail changes to the scheme.

Low Gravity version

Low Gravity is a common addition to the scheme, adding new possibilities to players' shots. LG requires exceptional keyboard speed, requiring the utility key to be pressed twice, then spacebar, then the selection of another weapon and spacebar again. When using Jet Pack, there are two ways to activate Low Gravity: one might be easier to do, but will cost more fractions of a second of Jet Pack movement (using LG before Jet Pack by hitting space), the other might be harder but will save fractions of a second, since Jet Pack will take off faster and the combo will be done during its movement (using LG after Jet Pack by hitting enter), causing it to travel a little bit further before the weapon drop.

Random worm rotation order

To avoid the worm order manipulation or simply for a preference, some players set the worm rotation order as random. Note that this might change a bit of the strategy.

Additional weapons

The nature of the scheme lends itself to myriad weapon variations without losing the core theme. Although the original scheme has, as one of its defining characteristics, exactly one weapon per Function key (F1-F12), some variations feature more weapons.

Such variation comes from the LigaWorms official league scheme (Histeria), which includes a Mole as an additional F5-key weapon. The purpose of the Mole is said to be an aid against darksiding (digging in) in league matches.

Other variations include a single Homing missile as a second F1-key weapon (and one which requires especially quick use of the mouse), and unlimited Drills and Girders as second and third F7-key weapons.

Randomised Hysterias

Click to watch (W:A + Beta Update required) W:A replay: A "typical" randomised Hysteria
with Run, Parker and Splongul
Download · Info

Another Random Scheme Editor is capable of generating Hysteria schemes with a randomised selection of weapons. Power settings are also randomised, giving players a few 'turns of discovery' in each game as they test the various weapons.

Avoiding being kicked

Even though Hysteria is not necessarily a game with rules, many players who are not familiar with the scheme will easily miss their turns, which has the effect of bringing on Sudden Death much sooner than it might otherwise. Many hosts find this difficult to tolerate and may kick someone who misses their turns and seems to be a newbie to the scheme.

Informing the host that you know the scheme - particularly that it has 1-second turns - is a good idea. So, a good practice to avoid being kicked is to send a message like "1 sec game" or "1sec" to the host, similar to what is done in schemes with rules like Shopper. If you know that you are playing a variation with rules, you can confirm you know the rules too (or ask the host if any are in effect).


WO icon
Click to watch (W:A + Beta Update required) W:A replay: Early Hysteria game
with Run, KoreanRedDragon and Wyv, in which
the name for the scheme "hysteria" is proposed.
This early version also features unlimited,
albeit low-powered, Mad Cows -
which were replaced with the single
full-power Mad Cow shortly afterwards.
Download · Info

The scheme was created in March 2007 by Run who wanted to do something with 1-second turns (which had recently been made available by the beta updates). Expecting it to be a massive flop like all his other schemes, he was most surprised to find that it has since become one of the most popular schemes.

After much deliberating, the scheme was named Hysteria on KoreanRedDragon's suggestion.

Competitive events

The scheme has featured consistently in competitions, featuring:


In most years of the Worm Olympics from 2010 (and possibly earlier) to when it ended in 2016, and tournaments hosted on The Ultimate Site between 2009 and 2020.


In cups hosted on TUS, between 2009 and 2023.

External links

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