A century from Sussex captain Ed Joyce gave his side much the better of a chaotic opening day at Edgbaston where 20 wickets fell after Warwickshire were skittled for 87.
Three scalps each for seamers Steve Magoffin, Chris Jordan and Jon Lewis dismissed the hosts, whose stand-in skipper Ian Bell had won the toss, inside 28 overs.
Joyce then struck 117 of the visitors’ 229 all out, a collective effort that ended with what became the day’s last ball.
After Bell placed trust in his impressive-looking batting line-up, Jordan, Magoffin and Lewis stole the show in a stunning first session.
Varun Chopra became the first to fall, edging Jordan to Michael Yardy at second slip to bring Jonathan Trott to the crease in the fourth over.
Trott was off the mark straight away with a single but he soon had a new partner as Laurie Evans nicked a Jordan delivery through to wicketkeeper Ben Brown.
The hosts hoped England pair Trott and Bell would have started to build, yet the latter departed for a four-ball duck, finding Joyce in the slips to give Jordan his third victim and leave Warwickshire reeling on 20 for three.
Tim Ambrose and Trott at least managed to forge some sort of partnership to steady the innings. However, from 64 for three, Warwickshire lost their final seven wickets for just 23 runs.
— Sussex CCC (@SussexCCC) April 13, 2014
Lewis picked up his first scalp when Ambrose offered Yardy another catch on 20 before James Anyon trapped Chris Woakes in front to dismiss the all-rounder for just three.
Rikki Clarke was bowled by Magoffin and Keith Barker became the second of four batsmen to make ducks when Jordan held an edge off Lewis.
Amid the madness, Trott looked untroubled, but his knock would end 13 shy of a half-century when he played on to a Magoffin delivery which stayed low.
Sussex wrapped up the tail before lunch, Magoffin and Lewis respectively accounting for scoreless pair Chris Wright and Oliver Hannon-Dalby.
In reply, Luke Wells picked out Trott at midwicket off Barker's bowling to depart for four but Joyce was in imperious form.
The first of back-to-back boundaries brought up his fifty and he continued to score at around a run a ball before Woakes bowled Yardy for nine to end a 59-run stand, which owed much to Joyce's brilliance.
Sussex's captain put his side ahead by plundering an extra-cover drive to the fence and, although Hannon-Dalby snared Rory Hamilton-Brown lbw for 24, Joyce pressed on to reach three figures from 116 deliveries.
He was dropped by Trott at deep midwicket from the next ball but Warwickshire claimed seven wickets after tea.
Woakes tempted Matt Machan to edge behind on 19 and Ashar Zaidi was dismissed lbw by Jeetan Patel before Trott caught Joyce at the second time of asking off Clarke, who also accounted for the scoreless Anyon to leave the visitors on 209 for eight.
Barker struck again when Jordan was caught behind on 15 and Lewis holed out to Patel off Wright, with stumps called at the end of the innings.