There are multiple different typical reasons and situations which lead somebody to backstab. They include situations with no provocation  or ones that are seemingly "legit" or justified. However, whatever the excuse, backstabbing is looked upon as cowardly and dishonorable.
Backstabbing without provocation
Some of the time, people backstab for no particular reason and to accomplish nothing significant, usually for their own amusement and extra challenge.
Occasionally, backstabbing may be done in a good spirited nature, comically, and jokingly, usually with no intents to completely eliminate a victim. However, it may lead to a serious retaliation.
Backstabbing with provocation
Sometimes, backstabbing is utilized to "punish" players or silence them for a wrongdoing the victim may have been responsible for. Basically, backstabbing has become a way to quasi-physically "beat" somebody; in efforts to vent anger and frustration or to damage one's morale, ideals, or credibility.
Backstabbing often comes suddenly and are mostly unseen until the last minute. Advanced players tend to integrate backstabbing scenario responses as well as anti-backstabbing techniques into their strategies. Common scenarios include:
- Backstabbing in a "comp stomp" game - A person (or people) will proceed to backstab one or more allies once the computer is defeated. Usually the computer is a distraction for the efforts of the intended backstab victim.
- Unallied victory - A backstabber may be in a game with at least 2 other people but secretly keeps the "allied victory" option turned off. In so doing, once the enemy is defeated, it is then impossible to determine who has not checked for Allied Victory. The backstabber may then decide to backstab other players under the excuse that the victim had not chosen to ally the victory.
- Situations where two supposedly allied players share a combined base - When one player's forces are engaged elsewhere, the backstabber may suddenly break the alliance with the first player and cause their defensive structures (usually surreptitiously positioned throughout the combined base) to open fire. By the time the victim realizes what is happening, breaks the alliance themselves or can recall their forces to stop the damage, their base is wrecked and the game is a rout. This is usually perpetrated by semi-experienced players, and their victims are often new players ("newbies", or the derogatory "noobs").
- Outnumbering - Sometimes, there may be more than one backstabber who could be in collaboration with each other.
- If on separate teams, they often are allied in secrecy from the beginning of the game and mostly unwilling to attack each other. Information regarding teammates is exposed to each other to ensure each other's success and survival. When there is an opportunity to strike (e.g., the victim's forces are away/there is a clear significant advantage), the backstabbers "gang up" on a victim and rely on the strength of numbers.
- If on same teams, a group of backstabbers decide to collaboratively attack their teammate(s) once it is opportune.
- Betrayal - As of late 2009 a growing number of players have been involved in betrayal with the ultimate goal of winning. In this scenario two or more players secretly decide to betray their allies before joining a game. Once a game has been joined these secret partners will purposefully join opposing teams with the goal of back stabbing them during the height of the game. Typically, these players use subtle avatar clues to announce their true intentions. Some avatar examples of this may include: Japanese1941, Judas, Arnold1776, Preying_Mantiss.
- backstab. Dictionary.com. The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. (accessed: March 26, 2007).