Spy Guide by Dark_Necrid

Version 2.0, Last Updated 2013-01-28

Would you recommend this FAQ? Yes No You must register to leave a comment. Submit

1.1 Introduction

Hello, I am (Dark)Necrid. I am by no means the best Spy out there, however I do have a lot of experience in just playing the game and playing against (and being an annoyance to) people of various skill levels, from the new F2P players to some of the more well known competitive players in 6v6 and Highlander.

A few of you might know me because I played in GameFAQs 6v9 #2 on here, and also went on to play the Alumni game: http://img163.imageshack.us/img163/6454/spuf69alumnifinal.jpg

After that I have been on a couple ESEA-Open teams and have played UGC 6s & Highlander at the Platinum level there (former member of Tangerine!).

I am a firm believer that Spy is a class that does not rely on luck, at least no more than any other class does. Like Medic hes really a class that at its core is all about interpreting advantages/disadvantages and playing off of those, alongside figuring out how the enemy team plays and being as big a nuisance as possible to them.

The Spy is a Specialist class who excels at assassinating people up close and personal. He can instantly kill people in areas that a Sniper might have trouble doing the same thing. He can also sap buildings and provide information to the team while cloaked.

No matter what though, the Spy is a specialist. He isnt good enough to be run all the time, there are plenty of areas where a Spy will do poorly, and areas he will excel at over the other classes.

Spies cant carry bad teams, they support good ones.

1.2 The Golden Rule

No matter how good of a player someone is, they have to expose themselves to kill somebody.

To play a Spy not based around luck, you have to identify a weakness that any player regardless of skill suffers from. No matter if youre a noob or the greatest player in the universe if you want to kill somebody you have to look at them, which means your back has to be exposed. They want to kill the person so bad that they cant possibly fight your teammate and look behind them at the same time, and thats what you have to take advantage of to stab really good players.

Before I get into taking advantage of this, Im going to highlight the mechanics of all the Spys items. Im going to be including some lesser known tricks here as well and some advanced stuff, so even if you arent completely new you might want to have a look.

2.1 Revolvers

Revolvers are somehow still the Spys best kept secret. If you instantly want to become a better Spy than 90% of the spies in this game, learn to use your Revolver. Dont be afraid to pull it out. Dont underestimate this gun.

All revolvers have the same spread (contrary to what some would have you think! - although the Ambassador's spread is variant based on its cooldown) and they all fire 1 100% accurate bullet every 1.25s you dont fire. This spread means the Revolvers are best up close/mid range, and make poor long range sniping weapons.

All Revolvers reload in 1.16s and reload all their shots at once.

The stock Revolver is a solid all-rounder, it hits for 40 base damage, max of 60 up close (without damage spread), and crits for 120. If you cannot land Ambassador headshots and do not want to practice getting better at them (or want to be a bit more up close and personal), use the Revolver.

The Ambassador is only superior in damage output to the Revolver/Enforcer if you can land headshots with it constantly. You need to pretty much have a 75+% headshot accuracy to make the damage dealt worth it. If you feel confident in your headshotting abilities, then go ahead and use it. The Ambassador is unique in that the spread on the gun shrinks as it heads towards becoming perfectly accurate.

The Letranger (lay tron jay) is really only useful if youre using the entire Saharan Spy set or using the Dead Ringer and trying to fulfill an annoyance role. So...not very useful to be honest.

The Enforcer owns, even after the nerf, but is (un)fortunately banned in Highlander.

The Diamondback has a great firing sound and is a cool concept, but realistically I would only recommend someone to use this gun if the enemy team has a ton of mini sentries and you cant ambassador headshot people. If this gun got 1 crit per level of the building destroyed, then Id use it. Until then it is just way to niche, especially against better teams, to be used very often.

2.2 Sapper

You walk up to a building (hopefully disguised) and left click with the Sapper out. The building is disabled but the Sapper can be removed in 2 wrench hits or 1 Pyro Homewrecker hit. You dont have to stand near the building after you put the Sapper on.

Really basic stuff I know but this was a mistake I made when I was new

The Red Tape Recorder is overpowered as of this writing and if you can get one feel free to use it all the time in pubs.

Tip

You can shoot the buildings with your Revolvers while they are sapped to destroy them quicker.

You sap the Sentry Gun & Teleporters first and save the Dispenser for last, just in case if you need to heal and no health packs are nearby.

2.3 Backstabs

Backstabs work in a special way. Basically if your cursor is within a 180 degree arc behind the targets crosshair, you can backstab them. This leads to interesting circumstances, like being able to backstab someone by hitting their head while on top of them while they look slightly down.

Its also the leading cause of facestabs. Because the game is lag compensated, it favors the person who shoots you typically, which is why you often get shot while I was around the corner etc. To the Spy, your crosshair was in a place that his was still behind yours, so even if you turned around or whatever, you still get stabbed. People who move their crosshair around wildly and Spies who are lagging a lot are more susceptible to getting facestabs.

The stock Knife is by far the most reliable knife in your arsenal. You should be using this knife most of the time to be honest.

The Your Eternal Reward is a fun concept, but to be truly useful you really do need to use the whole Spy set with it.

The Kunai is a high risk high reward knife. I would never recommend using it in anything super serious except maybe for one life, but it is a really fun choice in a pub. The main problem with the Kunai in a serious setting is making yourself easier to kill is a bad thing when your life actually truly matters.

The Big Earner is a great item to pair with the Letranger for maximum annoying Dead Ringer spam, but other than that the knife falls flat.

The Spycicle is, IMO, a completely overrated knife. It dominates in pubs, but once you start playing in higher skilled games the knife winds up less reliable and becomes pretty situational. Potentially losing a game cause your knife gets melted 0.1s before you stab a Medic with full uber who is about to pop it is an awful feeling. It is annoying to play against, but this knife really does limit a Spy in higher tier games and IMO all it winds up doing is padding the users stats often - they die less, probably wind up getting the Medic less, but they can get more garbage frags cause of the Silent Killer bonus, so your K:D with the Spycicle winds up looking pretty good. Ill get more into this later, but K:D isnt that important in the grand scheme of things as far as being a good Spy goes. Pretty much if youre in a pub - give this knife a try, sure. If youre playing Highlander, be careful with it and dont use it if youre trying to suicide pick ever.

Tip

The Knives are very unique melee weapons in one respect, every other melee weapon fires a hitscan bullet after a small delay. You can test this yourself by attacking a wall with any other melee weapon and quickly switching away no bullet hole. If you do the same thing with the Knife and switch away right after you attack, youll see a bullet hole. All the Knives have no firing delay.

But why is that important? I can hear you saying. Its simple, if you attack with the Knife then switch away and back to it and attack again, and keep doing that, youre actually attacking faster. The Knives have a 0.8s delay before you attack again, but the weapon switch firing delay is only 0.5s, so youre shaving 0.3s off of every attack. This makes chain stabs much easier, and allows for some otherwise impossible stabs to happen.

Aerial stabs are a very useful trick, by jumping from a height advantage and air strafing around people on the ground and stabbing them that way, you can catch them by surprise.

Stair stabs are another handy trick. Basically you go up some stairs or ramps etc with height while someone chases you, then jump backwards and stab them. Against good players they will probably expect this, so its less useful, instead you should predict when they are going to go up the stairs or be near you and stab them that way, without them seeing you.

Corner stabs are useful vs Scouts and Pyros, you turn a corner and then back up and stab the target as they turn the corner and expose their back.

Matador stabs are when youre facing someone, strafe in one direction then stafe to the opposite direction when the target turns to where you originally strafed and then stab them.

All of the above are trickstabs which while you should know how to do, dont rely on them. They work very well against those who dont know about them, but against the best players in the game they will really only work once or twice (if that) in a game and then fall flat, as they are all pretty predictable tricks once youve seen them a few times.

2.4 Cloaking

When you cloak/uncloak you fade in/out during which period you can be seen temporarily. If shot while cloaked with the IW/CnD, you blink in and people will see you as a faint image of whatever youre disguised as. You cant walk through enemies while cloaked.

Invisibility Watch

  • Lasts 9 seconds without ammo pickups.
  • Takes 1.2s to cloak in (note: You appear fully cloaked in before you actually are by 0.2s).
  • Because of the above, try to cloak before going around a corner.
  • Takes 1.8s to uncloak. (note: To you this appears to take 2.2s)
  • Cant attack for 2.2s after you start the uncloak.
  • Refills meter off of ammo pickups/dropped weapons/Dispensers.
  • Takes 30 seconds to recharge from empty to full with no pickups etc.
  • Has a 3.33 recharge:duration ratio.

Cloak and Dagger

  • Lasts 6.2 seconds while straight running.
  • Takes 1.2s to cloak in (note: You appear fully cloaked in before you actually are by 0.2s).
  • Because of the above, try to cloak before going around a corner.
  • Takes 1.8s to uncloak. (note: To you this appears to take 2.2s)
  • Cant attack for 2.2s after you start the uncloak.
  • Doesnt refill meter off of ammo pickups/dropped weapons/Dispensers.
  • Takes 15 seconds to recharge from empty to full.
  • When the meter is empty you dont uncloak, rather you shimmer while moving as if permanently blinked in.
  • Has a 2.41 recharge:duration ratio if you just run while cloaked.

Dead Ringer

  • Right click holds it out, trigger by damage.
  • Lasts 6.5 seconds without pickups.
  • While cloaked you take 60% less damage from all sources.
  • If the cloak is extended past the 6.5 seconds, you take normal damage and blink in like normal during that extended period.
  • The cloak has no fade in time.
  • Takes 1.8s to uncloak. (note: To you this appears to take 2.2s)
  • Cant attack for 2.2s after you start the uncloak.
  • Makes a louder uncloak noise.
  • Uncloaking will always at least 40% of your meter.
  • Takes 16 seconds to recharge from empty to full with no pickups.
  • Has a 2.46 recharge:duration ratio.
Tip

When you want to juke somebody, if the person in question is a non-hitscan user (Soldier, Demo, Pyro) you should try to juke to the left (if they are using right viewmodels, which they probably are). This is because its much easier for these classes to hit things to their right, so players will typically try to hit things by turning clockwise as its easier for them.

2.5 Disguises

  • Disguises take 2 seconds to apply during which you create smoke around yourself.
  • Smoke doesnt appear while cloaked. You should almost always Cloak -> Disguise, rather than Disguise -> Cloak (smoke will be around you while cloaked) unless youre sure you wont be seen at all.
  • While disguised you are immune to all knockback and enemy on hit effects dont work (Blut, Ubersaw, Black Box, etc).
  • Disguises do not change your hit box etc to match the disguise, meaning several disguises make it harder to headshot you.
  • Picking up health/getting healed heals your disguise too.
  • Sapping doesnt remove disguises.
  • Disguises dont let you run through enemies but you can still run through allies.
  • If you disguise as someone with an unwearable item (ie: Sniper with Razorback) you will have that on your character but still be able to use a disguised SMG, which will give yourself away. Be careful.
  • You cant taunt while disguised.
  • You can change your disguised weapon by changing your real weapon and hitting B (by default).
  • Disguises break when you attack.
Tip
  • Be careful, if you apply the same disguise while disguised as it or go to a resupply your disguised weapon will change to your disguises melee weapon. Make sure to change it!
  • While being immune to knockback while disguised seems like a good thing, be aware that intentionally breaking your disguise so you can ride an enemy projectile into the air can be an excellent escape maneuver when spotted.
  • You can fake reload your disguised weapon by reloading your Revolver. If your active disguised weapon can be reloaded, it will reload. A lot of weapons do not work well with this however. Weapons that reload one shot a time can reload multiple shots by reloading your Revolver, but canceling it right after by switching weapons back and forth and re-reloading over and over to be more believable.

3.1 Which Disguise Should I Use? Or why anyone who tells you the Scout disguise sucks is wrong

When you first join a server you need to make a pretty big (especially now that the game is F2P) starter assumption: assume the people on the server are competent. If you discover otherwise you can always adjust your play later, however assume they are good for now. Good players, if not distracted, will spy check you regardless of what you disguise as. No matter what style youre playing you really shouldnt be hanging around people who arent distracted. This means disguises serve 2 purposes:

  • Not getting shot by Sentry Guns and letting you be healed by Dispensers.
  • Not getting instantly shot at by distracted people.

These two purposes mean that the best disguises have a few qualities:

  • they let you move at your normal speed
  • they dont look odd in many (if any areas) when viewed by a distracted eye
  • they have a small stature that make you harder to see when you blink in while cloaked and allow you to hide better around map geometry like corners and such
  • the small stature makes it harder for you to get headshot and hit in general because the classes hitbox doesnt match up with your hitbox
  • it makes sense for the disguise in question to come towards the team (or Dispensers) for heals
  • nobody keeps track of this disguises class
  • lets you fake reload well as a side bonus.

If you read the title of this section and correctly guessed the Scout disguise has all these qualities, youre a winner!

The only drawback people can ever bring up about the Scout disguise is that if people see you, they will notice you are slow. If those same people saw you as *any other disguise* and were apparently not distracted because they can notice your speed, theyd shoot you anyways. The whole point of Spy is to stab people who are distracted and generally *not be seen*, so this is a poor argument against the disguise. Scouts go everywhere and anywhere, generally come back to the Medic for heals, are small and have nothing in common with the Spys normal hitbox really (Snipers have to aim wayyy above your fake Scout head to headshot you), they arent really tracked by teams, and his 2 weapons all fake reload very well. All the benefits outweigh this very small con.

Tip

If you mash jump & crouch, its possible when going over some obstacles for your disguise to mimic a Scouts double jump animation.

Walking backwards while disguised as a Scout makes it even harder to notice the speed difference.

Problems with every other disguise that make them less ideal to be ran commonly:

  • Soldier: Slows you down.
  • Pyro: Long primary weapon reveals you (and having your secondary/melee out is too obvious), hitbox is close enough to the Spys, very common and if youre a Pyro and not shooting fire very often youre going to get spy checked, fat which makes blinking in more obvious to see, Pyros have a lot of areas that are questionable for them to be in, especially if youre playing more organized since it is expected for Pyros to be near the combo.
  • Demoman: Slows you down, generally reloading/shooting something 24/7, generally around the team rather than roaming randomly, and in organized play things tend to happen around demos so they are tracked.
  • Heavy: Slows you down, usually near the team, generally has no fake reload because people dont use Shotguns much anymore, he is huge however Snipers just have to try to bodyshot you in the chest to headshot you.
  • Engineer: Should be near his stuff wrenching things. Generally if youre going to sap something in a pub you can probably get a bit more away with it with this disguise, however people tend to keep a vague idea of their Engineers whereabouts and as skill level increases in a server the Engineer will be more and more watched, making this disguise poorer. Outside of areas Engineers typically build, he will be more obvious too.
  • Medic: Medics should be healing most of the time so this is usually a clear give away, but on top of that the Ubercharge % meter still likes to freak out and read like 6 billion % and people generally keep a good idea of whats up with their Medics.
  • Sniper: Its hard to play a convincing Sniper disguise because you cant make him do the scope in animation, and Snipers are pretty odd to see on pubs in a lot of areas because they tend to play back.
  • Spy: Matches your hitbox perfectly which isnt so good, and people really enjoy shooting Spies so youll typically get spychecked a lot quicker if anyone does happen to notice you in my experience.

I personally disguise as Scout most of the time, Pyro/Spy the 1% of the time the other team doesnt have a Scout at all, and very rarely Demoman/Soldier/Heavy if I feel like I can trick a just respawned Medic.

Tips
  • Try to act as the disguised class would on that team as much as possible. A very obvious beginners mistake is they still act like a Spy or run away when people shoot at them barely something a real person on that team wouldnt do, basically instantly blowing their cover.
  • Playing the other classes will help a ton in making your disguises more believable.

3.2 Pub Spying effectively

Spy is an interesting class in that it is one of the only classes that is completely different from a pub and an actual competitive match (the other one being Medic). In a pub you dont have people you know who will listen to you (most of the time) so the whole "communicate with your team" aspect is lost, most pubs dont really do pushes/holds off of ubercharge so the whole "picking the Medic" aspect isnt nearly as important, and in general people arent going to capitalize on whatever you provide most of the time - because of all of this your life also means very little. This is pretty much the exact opposite of what a competitive Spy is, and means that in a pub you can be pretty care free if you die prior to a stab, and usually you will go on very long backstab/kill streaks. All of this means things like the Kunai, Spycicle, Dead Ringer, etc are all extremely great in a pub even though they fall off against better teams.

However, if youre new or trying to pick up Spy Im going to suggest you dont use any of those things - seriously. If you want to learn how to be a good Spy you need to learn the mechanics of it and optimize what youre doing. Stick with the Revolver (Ambassador if you think you can do well with it), RTR (if you have it), stock Knife, and Invisibility Watch. Ive seen so many spies who start out with the Dead Ringer and their actual Spy mechanics are almost always just atrocious. They have no sense of their cloak meter, are not very good at being unseen, and are insanely predictable most of the time.

Cloak somewhat before the enemy team -> Disguise while cloaked -> Uncloak somewhere safe -> Backstab distracted people -> Revolver if you ever get caught out and cant juke away. Rinse and repeat - do this until you get really good at it. If you get caught out in your cloak, position yourself better. If you miss backstabs, time your approaches better. If you miss people with your Revolver, keep practicing your aim. Once you have a solid grasp of how the stock loadout works (and can contribute to top 3 with relative ease), experiment with all the other spy items.

This isnt a very long section because being a "good" pub Spy is not especially difficult. Here is a list of tips that will help though:

  • Whenever you die, analyze why you messed up. Think about what you could have done to prevent the death that you just received, and try to not place blame on luck.
  • Every pub is different. Figure out who the best players on the other team are and shut them down. Figure out what is wrecking your team and shut them down too.
  • Even if your team wont capitalize off of what you do, try to avoid going for "garbage frags" as much as you can. Try to get rid of the important players on the other team instead of padding your stats.
  • The #1 Rule to being the best pub Spy ever: if there are 2 or more spies on the team, dont play Spy. Play another class, preferably Scout (will help your revolver aim + selling Scout disguise to others), Medic (do your best to not get backstabbed!), and Pyro/Engineer (for the interactions with spies and how you deal with them as each). Playing as any class will up your Spy game though since you will get a feel for how every class fits into the game and acts.

Pub Spy is really just about knowing the basics and exploiting the lack of awareness/communication/gamesense the best that you can. Honestly, if you can think about how you are playing and where you are failing and can attempt to improve you can be a great pub Spy without too much time invested in the game.

3.3 Thinking Critically

I read an interview on Buick a long time ago who is this cool competitive Medic, and he talked about how he sorta uses a number system to dictate what to do with Medic. It is basically a way of mathematically determining if you have the advantage or not. Like if it is a 6v6 game and we have ~5s uber advantage and the other team just lost their Demoman, it is a safe bet we can easily win the push etc, it puts all that into numbers.

I loved the idea and basically applied it to Spy, and really if you think about it that is how pro players typically play Poker as well, another thing typically considered to involve luck. They analyze the odds and numbers and determine if they have the advantage or not.

However it has to be adjusted for Spy a bit obviously. With Medic you are determining if you have the advantage to push or hold, I use it for Spy to determine if I have the advantage to go somewhere or if I can get a pick on somebody.

Not everyone is great at doing math however, so I am going to put it into simple question form, before you go into any area, ask yourself the following:

Do I know what is mostly in that area? Is that area large and not a choke? Is this the best way into the area? Do I have most of my cloak meter or can get it full easily inside that area? Is it possible to get into that area without my team revealing me because they are fighting?

If you answered yes to almost all these questions: go into the area. If you answered no: do not go in. Either find another better way in or wait until the odds are in your favor. It is ok to fold until the numbers are better.

Before you go to get a pick on somebody (like an Engineer, or a Medic) ask yourself the following: Will they be distracted? Is my team nearby to help me/help distract them?

If you answered yes to almost all these questions: go handle the Engineer/Medic. If you answered no: do not do it.

After all, if you turn a corner into an area and get killed by a Pyro, that really is not luck at all, that just displays that you had no idea what was around the corner, which is really your fault for making the decision to turn the corner.

Just like in Poker, you need to know when to fold. Be patient, be smart, and wait for the numbers to make sense.

Here is a solid example of how to abuse the Golden Rule:

On cp_badlands, let us say your team is attacking last (assuming 24 man vanilla here). The best place for the enemy teams combo to be is (from the upper lobby area) the top left as it is much safer for the Medic. (The top right area people can come up the stairs because there is an entrance to the stairs and get you from behind in general, the top left only a spy can do this if people are watching the last area correctly) Your team is mostly in upper lobby, holding onto (or about to get) an uber.

You cloak in through main, the little hallway at the bottom, and get ready to uncloak by the top left staircase. You politely tell your friends to make noise, spam rockets down the upper lobby hallway towards the top left etc. This accomplishes two things: a) It makes noise. b) It makes the other teams combo move up so they can try to put pressure on your overextending allies.

At this point, you uncloak while they shoot the rockets. The noise completely hides your uncloak sound. You walk up the stairs and stab the now moved up Medic who is intently focused on healing his teammates who have moved up, unaware of a Spy. Bam, the defending team just lost an uber, and considering most pubs only have 1 Medic most of the time, and competitive teams only have 1 Medic, the defense just lost a major resource. Your team pushes in with their uber while you cloak to the side, shoot people, or sap stuff. You probably just won your team the round.

The key here is to identify when the numbers are bad, and try to talk to your team to fix them if possible. Fixing the numbers wont always be possible on a public server so you might just need to wait it out (or switch to a different class), but asking for people to tell you whats going on, where things are, to make noise in certain areas, etc, certainly cant hurt. Try to get a constant feedback loop going so you know where things are and how the important map areas are looking, make sure you tell your team whatever you see, that will try to get them talking back to you if you save their life with your info.

Another way to help the numbers be better is one you can do yourself. While everyone likes to joke about it, there is nothing wrong with hitting comma and switching classes, wait for the other team to be a lot less paranoid/active and go play any other class. You will get better at another class and pick up skills to make your Spy stronger in the process. The Spy is a specialist, he is not designed by Valve to be ran 24/7, so *dont*!

3.4 Getting into Highlander Spying

This section is only going to be helpful if you can consistently top MVP almost any standard pub consistently and are currently trying to make the jump to Highlander Spy. As mentioned above, competitive Spy is an entirely different beast from pub Spy. Often your opponents are much more aware and are consistently talking which makes your job far more difficult, but on the flip side your team will (hopefully) listen to you so you can actually communicate a lot (which you should be doing) and make plays happen. Pretty much pub Spy is a lone wolf class, a good Highlander Spy is extremely teamwork oriented .

Your job as a competitive Spy is:

  • Communicate extremely often. (especially the uber % of the opposing Medic)
  • Get important picks (Medic/Demo/Sniper, whatever is wrecking your team)
  • Be in the heads of the enemy team as much as possible.
  • Work with the Heavy/Medic combo & your Soldier to setup picks. (ie: say when you are going to go for the Medic so that your Soldier can jump him and create a distraction for you)

Typically you are in one of two modes as a Highlander Spy - recon where you try to stay alive a lot more and communicate enemy positions while cloaked, or suicide picking where you try to get a very important pick (usually a Medic) and then (probably) die right after. Knowing which you should be doing at any point is very important and is really all about if you need to be more defensive (recon) or aggressive (suicide).

At the start of a round you should check the enemy Medics Medigun (disguise as Medic -> switch to Sapper -> hit last disguise key). This is a pretty common tactic that helps out at most levels of Highlander to try and prevent a surprise Kritzkrieg or whatever. Feel free to check out other important class slots (Engineer wrench to check for Gunslinger, Scout/Sniper secondaries, etc) and communicate anything important with your team.

Just like in pubs, every team is different. Part of being a great Highlander spy is recognizing the weak points of the enemy team and consistently abusing that hole in their play. An example relevant to my games for example is in one of my matches I noticed early on that the other teams Engineer was not very good with dealing with spies unlike most of the other teams we played against, so I focused him to remove him as a threat to the rest of my team. (www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bn4_u7afSG8&t=2m04s) This is especially important since against really good organized teams there is very little a Spy can normally do against an Engineer on his own, so if you can exploit a big weakness like that you wind up freeing your Medics ubers and your Demoman to do other things.

What loadout you use is extremely dependent on the situation - for instance if you are trying to suicide pick, running the Spycicle is a poor idea as it can ruin your pick on its own. If you are playing a more passive recon role, using the Cloak and Dagger is a fabulous idea. Personally, if I need to be more aggressive I use Revolver/Knife/Invisibility Watch, if I need to be more recon style I use Revolver/Knife/Cloak and Dagger and if I need to be a distraction tool (for whatever reason) I use Ambassador/Spycicle or Knife/Dead Ringer - that is just me though, you should use whatever you feel would best help you contribute to your team.

Communication wise, focus on saying 3-4 word sentences to minimize drowning the voice chat out. You should honestly be one of the most talkative people in the game, with really only the Heavy/Medic/Demoman talking more than you. Call enemy positions ("their combo is choke"), call enemy Medic uber % ("their med is at 85%"), call when the enemy team is going in/where they are falling back to ("they are all pushing flank"). Pay attention to when your teammates are going to push and time your approaches to that as well.

Do not focus on your KDR, as a Spy you can be near the bottom of the scoreboard in an organized game and be one of the most useful people in the entire match. Focus on quality of your kills over the quantity of them - one dropped Medic uber is easily worth 10 Soldier kills or whatever. Some of the most important picks (Medic, Demoman, Sniper, Heavy) you make can decide the fate of the entire round and most of your communication calls can help turn the tide of a fight by giving your team positional advantages.

Try to get into the enemy teams heads. Distractions work both ways, if the enemy team is focused on you your team will have an easier time - for instance if you become such a threat to the Medic that the enemy Pyro dedicates his entire life to focusing on you, your teams Soldier will have an easier time bombing people. Harass the enemy team or getting consistent picks leads to the enemy team getting distracted with you very quickly.

If you are getting caught out by Pyros a lot, call when you are going to do your approach and have people on your team distract the Pyro while you go in.

If you really want to up your game and climb divisions past Iron fast you are going to want to look over maps with your team and discuss strats and what to call places in the map, or have someone help you go over the map - also scrim often with your whole team. Another big thing is to record demos of you playing and look over them afterwards and try to (as unbiased as you can) point out your mistakes and then fix them in the future.

Highlander Spy is very versatile, really as long as you are trying to contribute to your team in whatever way it needs you are doing great - fill the holes in your team and exploit the holes in the other team.

3.5 Bugs

An update to my bugs section: it has now been 4 years since I sent Valve a huge bug report on the Spy (multiple times). In the time span of 4 years they managed to fix 3 of the 6 bugs I sent them (disguises not mimicing unusual effects & dispensers overhealing disguises, disguised weapon slots not being accurate). The following 3 still remain:

  • The Ambassador crosshair is not only off centered on several resolutions, but the Ambassador cools down before the crosshair fully shrinks.
  • Doing voice commands (calling for Medic etc) while disguised & near the enemy team will display your real name & team color to them, rather than your disguised name & disguised team color, letting the other team know there is a Spy.
  • Occasionally Sappers cant be removed by any means if placed mid upgrade animation of a building.

3.6 Video & Special Credit

SubtleArt aka Lt. Cyndi Lauper aka LouLou http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWotblooMIo

One of the first Spies who really got me interested in playing the class. He made a ton of excellent videos even though he was never recognized or as popular as other people like OMFGNinja. He passed away February of this year : (. RIP bro.

You can see solid usage of the Ninja Style, Revolver, and Scout disguise in this video.

You also get to see the magical trademark of all good Spies: they switch between the Revolver & Knife constantly because the sound is COOL!

3.7 Rest of the Credits

  • Sylent for the Enforcer and making good posts.
  • Xander coz he helped push me to make this with his post.
  • TheDL because he also inspired me a lot and gave me a lot of good advice that is actually used in this guide back when I was new to Spy.
  • Everyone on team Tangerine, they are the coolest.
  • Everyone else I play with on Steam.

4.0 Legal

Copyright 2011 Hans (Dark_Necrid)

This may be not be reproduced under any circumstances except for personal, private use. It may not be placed on any web site or otherwise distributed publicly without advance written permission. Use of this guide on any other web site or as a part of any public display is strictly prohibited, and a violation of copyright.

View as a single printable page: Variable | Fixed-Width | Source Code