Dead Ringer

From Team Fortress Wiki
(Redirected from Dead ringer)
Jump to: navigation, search
By the time your adversary races towards your 'body' to frisk you for cash and pull gold fillings out of your mouth, you'll already be behind him, poised for the killing blow.
Dead Ringer publicity blurb

The Dead Ringer is an unlockable PDA weapon for the Spy. It is a gold-plated pocket watch with an engraving of a hummingbird on its lid, and a circular Cloak display within.

This weapon's main attribute is to Cloak the owner for 6.5 seconds upon being injured, leaving behind a fake Spy corpse to distract and deceive enemies. If the player is disguised as a friendly class, activation drops a ragdoll corpse of that class (which, to your team, will appear as a ragdoll of you wearing a mask of the class you were disguised as). To use this Cloak, the Spy must be holding the watch by pressing secondary fire before taking damage. The watch must be fully charged before it can be held, and holding the watch prevents the Spy from being able to attack. The Cloak generated is instantaneous and can generate certain information in the game that will claim the Spy is dead.

The Cloak of the Dead Ringer is quite different to the cloaks provided by both the other Spy watches. It does not flicker, and the Spy receives a 90% damage reduction to both the initial activating hit and to all subsequent incoming damage. This effect lasts for up to 6.5 seconds, however all damage that the Spy takes whilst cloaked reduces the duration of these effects. This damage reduction allows the player to survive fully charged headshots by Snipers, backstabs from enemy Spies, and Taunt kills as long as the user has a sufficient amount of Health before the attack was made. Since backstabs have a base damage of 6 times the victim's current health, and the initial hit that activates the Dead Ringer does 10% damage, backstabs will deal 6/10 of the Spy's current health. If a Spy is cloaked for more than 6.5 seconds (less the duration lost by taking damage) using the Dead Ringer, through collecting ammo or other sources such as having the L'Etranger equipped, it will revert to a standard Cloak, losing the 90% damage reduction and flickering if the player collides with an enemy or gets shot.

The Dead Ringer uncloaks with a very loud and distinct sound. The uncloak noise is quite loud up-close, but rapidly fades with distance. Emerging from the Dead Ringer's Cloak before it drops below 40% charge will drain the meter down to 40%, though this penalty does not apply if the Cloak has been extended beyond the initial 6.5 seconds. Like the standard Invisibility Watch, resupply areas, Dispensers, picked up weapons, and ammo can also replenish the Cloak meter. A large ammo box and medium boxes will restore 35% and small boxes 25%. Dispensers in particular recharge a cloaked Spy with this watch differently depending on the building's level. Level 1 will only slow down the time it takes to decloak. Level 3 Dispensers, however, will very slowly recharge the Cloak to full.

Activating the Dead Ringer will heal the Spy from certain status effects:

However, other status effects are unaffected. Notably:

  • Covering-inflict weapons and Water will still coat the cloaking Spy.

Therefore, feigning whilst suffering under these effects will not be convincing. In addition, once the player is cloaked, there is no protection from any status effects. Hence the Spy can easily, for example, be re-set on fire.

The Dead Ringer is automatically given to any player who obtains 17 Spy achievements.

Feign death effects

Feign deaths have certain characteristics that affect the game. Some kill effects are replicated or faked as if the Spy is actually killed, while others are not, which may alert vigilant players of the feign.

Mechanics replicated
Mechanics faked
Unreplicated mechanics

Function times

Function times (in seconds)
Effect 90% damage reduction
Cloak maximum duration 6.5 s
9.1 s
Cloak fade time Instant
Decloak fade time
2.2 s
1.8 s
Recharge time 16 s
Activation time Instant
Values are approximate and determined by community testing.



See also: Crafting


Class Token - Spy Slot Token - PDA2 Scrap Metal Possible Results
Item icon Class Token - Spy.png + Item icon Slot Token - PDA2.png + Item icon Scrap Metal.png =
Item icon Cloak and Dagger.png Item icon Dead Ringer.png Item icon Quackenbirdt.png

As a crafting ingredient

Dead Ringer Huntsman Tribalman's Shiv
Item icon Dead Ringer.png + Item icon Huntsman.png = Item icon Tribalman's Shiv.png
Dead Ringer Reclaimed Metal L'Etranger
Item icon Dead Ringer.png + Item icon Reclaimed Metal.png = Item icon L'Etranger.png
Reclaimed Metal Frontier Justice Dead Ringer Diamondback
Item icon Reclaimed Metal.png + Item icon Frontier Justice.png + Item icon Dead Ringer.png = Item icon Diamondback.png

Strange variant

Related achievements

Leaderboard class pyro.png Pyro

Spontaneous Combustion
Spontaneous Combustion
Ignite 10 cloaked Spies.

Leaderboard class demoman.png Demoman

Shorn Connery
Shorn Connery
Decapitate a cloaked Spy.

Leaderboard class heavy.png Heavy

Spyalectical Materialism
Spyalectical Materialism
Kill or assist in killing 10 cloaked Spies.

Leaderboard class engineer.png Engineer

Search Engine
Search Engine
Kill 3 cloaked Spies with a sentry gun under control of your Wrangler.

Leaderboard class sniper.png Sniper

Jarring Transition
Jarring Transition
Use Jarate to reveal a cloaked Spy.
Shoot the Breeze
Shoot the Breeze
Kill a fully invisible Spy in a single hit.

Leaderboard class spy.png Spy

Burn Notice
Burn Notice
Survive 30 seconds after being ignited while cloaked.

Sleeper Agent
Sleeper Agent
Kill an enemy who triggered your feign death in the last 20 seconds.
Spies Like Us
Spies Like Us
While cloaked, bump into an enemy cloaked Spy.

Update history

May 21, 2009 Patch (Sniper vs. Spy Update)
  • The Dead Ringer was added to the game.

May 22, 2009 Patch

  • Fixed Spy feign death not being reflected in scoreboard.

May 26, 2009 Patch

  • The Dead Ringer now fully drains the Cloak meter, even if the Spy uncloaks early.

May 29, 2009 Patch

  • Fixed Spies not being telefragged when standing on an enemy teleporter exit with this item enabled.

June 8, 2009 Patch

  • The Dead Ringer can now be activated while carrying the flag.

June 23, 2009 Patch

  • The Dead Ringer's Cloak consume rate has been slightly reduced, giving about an extra second of Cloak time on a full meter.
  • Emerging from this item's Cloak now drains up to 40% of the Cloak meter instead of 100%. This drain only happens if the meter is at least 60% full.
  • The Dead Ringer's Cloak meter can now be regenerated from ammo sources.
  • The Dead Ringer's "extra" Cloak powers (damage reduction and no-flicker) are not extended by obtaining ammo.
  • Being attacked while taunting with the Dead Ringer out no longer triggers a Spy's Cloak, but instead keeps the damage reduction for the remaining duration of the taunt.

June 25, 2009 Patch

  • Fixed the Dead Ringer's damage reduction exploit involving Spy taunting.

July 14, 2009 Patch

  • [Undocumented] The Dead Ringer's recharge time was shortened from 18.5 seconds to 16.5 seconds.

January 6, 2010 Patch

  • The Dead Ringer now reduces Cloak to 40% when uncloaking early.
  • Made a 35% cap on the amount of Cloak it can gain from an ammo pack.
  • Has as a quieter decloak sound.

January 13, 2010 Patch

  • Feigning death can now play custom death animations like a normal death (head loss, Sniper shot, backstab, etc).
  • Feigning death due to explosive damage now has a chance to gib, like a normal death.
  • Corpses from a feign death now use the correct wearable behavior (hats stay on, or fall off as they should).
  • The weapons dropped by feign death corpses now have appropriate physics and collision for their type.
  • Fixed Spies that feign death while disguised as enemy Spies dropping fake ragdolls wearing a mask.
  • Fixed a couple of physics issues on ragdolls created by feign death.

May 20, 2010 Patch

September 30, 2010 Patch (Mann-Conomy Update)

  • [Undocumented] The Dead Ringer was added in the crafting blueprint for the L'Etranger.
  • [Undocumented] Your silhouette can be seen if touching an enemy.

October 13, 2011 Patch (Manniversary Update & Sale)

  • [Undocumented] The Dead Ringer now plays a tone if Cloak is fully recharged.

February 2, 2012 Patch

  • [Undocumented] Added Strange quality.

June 28, 2012 Patch

  • Death pits on sd doomsday now properly kill Dead Ringered Spies.

December 21, 2012 Patch

  • Fixed a Dead Ringer Spy exploit in Mann Vs. Machine mode.

July 10, 2013 Patch

  • Changed attribute:
    • When under the effect of Feign Death, damage taken decreases the duration of the effect.

July 11, 2013 Patch

  • When disguised as a teammate, the Dead Ringer will drop the body of the player the Spy is disguised as.

November 12, 2013 Patch

January 27, 2015 Patch

  • Fixed a bug with Dead Ringer Cloak meter being lowered to 40% after Super Armor duration ends when Cloak was extended via pickups or the L'Etranger.

Unused content

  • The Dead Ringer has an unused world model featuring a chain which would have likely hung on to the Spy's suit.


  • The Cloak meter displayed on the watch does not properly correspond to the actual amount of Cloak available, similar to Enthusiast's Timepiece.
  • If the Dead Ringer is out during a taunt and the Spy takes damage after he is finished taunting, the Dead Ringer will not activate.
  • Feigning death on circumstances that should trigger a unique death scream will issue a normal death scream.
  • The damage reduction from the Dead Ringer applies to drowning damage as well. However, the Spy will recover the full amount of health that would have been lost without the Dead Ringer, allowing players to heal themselves by intentionally drowning.
  • Activating the watch upon round start will sometimes cause the Spy not to hold up the watch. This can only be fixed by dying.
  • There is an occasional bug that occurs with the Dead Ringer where, once activated, the watch will report that the Spy's killer "got revenge" on him, even if they were not dominated or don't exist. When the Spy is killed by environmental hazards or fall damage, "ERRORNAME" will get revenge on the Spy. These messages are only broadcast to the other team, just like all faked mechanics of the Dead Ringer.
  • Causing an enemy Spy to feign death with the Dead Ringer may trigger the domination sound cue and notification, even if said Spy was already being dominated by the player.
  • When reloading the Revolver, changing weapon to the Sapper, or using the Sharp Dresser while quickly activating the Dead Ringer, three hands can be momentarily seen.
  • Some achievements that involve killing cloaked Spies can be achieved by attacking a Spy with his Dead Ringer ready.
  • Often the fake body will slide on the ground without moving its actual limbs upon faking your death for enemies.


  • Dead Ringer is a phrase used to describe an exact duplicate of something or someone else; for example, "He's a Dead Ringer for that BLU Spy we shot earlier!". The "ringer" part of the phrase refers to a replacement or impostor, especially in sporting events, making the fake corpse an actual "dead ringer".
  • The ability to feign death was present in Team Fortress Classic, and the Dead Ringer's function was likely inspired by that ability. However, in Team Fortress Classic, feigning death was limited to being rendered immobile and having to hope that the enemy would have already passed by when you uncloaked.
  • On the third day of the Sniper vs. Spy Update where the Razorback was introduced, the Dead Ringer can be seen in the "dead" Spy's hand, despite the fact that it wouldn't be officially announced until the next day.[1]
  • The Dead Ringer is mentioned by the Heavy in Poker Night at The Inventory during a fold response with the line; "The cards flop worse than Spy with Dead Ringer."



  1. Day 3 of Sniper vs. Spy Update

See also