A death caused by a map element, commonly known as an environmental death, can take many forms depending on the various hazards in each individual map. Hazards can be used as a weapon or deterrent against the enemy team, and almost all map hazards grant a tactical advantage to those mindful of them.
- 1 Instant death hazards
- 2 Non-instant death hazards
- 3 Bosses/Event-specific Hazards
- 4 Related achievements
- 5 See also
Instant death hazards
The following hazards cause instant death regardless of the player's health. They also affect players who are under the effects of invincibility, such as Bonk! Atomic Punch or an ÜberCharge (with the exception of one).
Saw blades are neutral entities that were officially introduced on Sawmill, and would later appear on a number of custom maps, most notably Trainsawlaser. They move back and forth along a designated path and instantly kill anyone that comes in contact with them. Cosmetically, a saw blade gets permanently coated in blood if it kills someone, which persists until a new round starts.
- Maps with saw blades
Trains are neutral entities that will instantly kill anyone who stands in their path. The arrival of a Train is usually signified by flashing lights at each end of the track and a bell sound playing, which can be heard if players are close enough. In addition, Trains often sound horns immediately upon arrival, most likely as a final warning for players to get off the track. The train appears to be an EMD GP38-2, and its paint scheme strongly resembles Southern Pacific, which once operated these.
It should be noted that touching the sides of a train will not damage players; in fact, players can safely ride on top of trains. This is more prominent on Freight, as trains on said map tow multiple carriages which act as occasional blockages. The carriages come in two variations: shipping containers the same size as the train itself, or flat carts which allow players to jump on top of them.
A notable variation of sorts is "Lil' Chew-Chew", the unique, rideable cart on the map Frontier. If escorted by three or more BLU players, it will "chew" and instantly kill any unfortunate players standing in front of it, regardless of team.
- Maps with trains
- Cactus Canyon
- Frontier (as rideable cart "Lil' Chew Chew")
- Well (Control Point)
- Well (Capture the Flag)
A Pitfall is a common environmental hazard that results from a fall into a pit or off of a ledge or cliff into an area that causes Pitfall death. Common Pitfalls include cliffs at map edges, large open pits at the end of certain Payload tracks, pits that open just before or during #Payload Cart explosions, and various smaller pit traps set on several maps.
Different from fall damage, the amount of which is determined by distance falling on to a playable surface, Pitfall acts as an instant kill regardless of the distance fallen or any specific contact with the ground or an object. Pitfalls kill players by way of a
trigger_hurt entity, which constantly and rapidly deals damage once within its area.
The point or depth of a Pitfall death in a fall area is not necessarily the visible surface at the bottom, as Pitfall death can be set at an invisible plane through which the player's ragdoll, gibs, weapon, or ammo drop may continue to fall.
Once the level of death is reached, there is no chance of survival with Pitfall, not even if the player is under the effect of an ÜberCharge. Effects that can delay or slow a fall (e.g., Jumping or B.A.S.E. Jumper|Parachute]]) have no effect on Pitfall, other than to delay the inevitable, unless the area of the Pitfall can be avoided entirely.
Certain key items are treated differently in Pitfall deaths since they cannot be collected once they fall into a Pitfall. The intelligence will be reset if the player dies in a Pitfall while holding the intelligence, which also applies to the bomb in Mann vs. Machine and the Australium package in Special Delivery. Credits that fall down pits are considered collected and are immediately credited to the players.
- Maps with Pitfalls
- Cactus Canyon
- Carnival of Carnage
- Coal Town
- DeGroot Keep
- Double Cross
- Ghost Fort
- Ghost Town
- Gorge Event
- Hydro (Power Plant vs. Radar Dish configuration)
- Mann Manor
- Mountain Lab
- Nightfall (third stage only)
- Pit of Death
- Thunder Mountain (first and third stages)
Lava is a hazard that appears on a few maps, mostly Halloween-themed.
Infernal Lava: Except for the lava flow animation, Lava is indistinguishable from Pitfall in most cases. Death is instant for most Lava regardless of how short the fall may be. The death animation can be the same as for Pitfall, but can vary with the particular map.
Hellfire Lava: In Hellfire, which is not Halloween-themed, the Lava death is not instant for players in full health, but does occur within a very few seconds, allowing a slim chance to grapple out of the Lava. The Hellfire Lava animation also includes small flares and Fireballs, the player and resulting ragdoll are set aflame and, rarely, the killfeed can indicate a fire kill.
- Maps with Lava (excluding the extended Halloween Pitfalls, e.g. Ghost Fort)
Payload Cart explosion
During the final (or sole) round of any Payload or Payload Race map, the Payload Cart will explode either when it reaches the final point, or shortly after, triggering a Payload Cart explosion, which will cause all players in the surrounding area to be killed. In some maps the resulting explosion creates a crater; falling into it will result in a pitfall death.
- Maps with Payload Cart explosions
- Badwater Basin
- Gold Rush
- Thunder Mountain
Crushing causes instant death to any players unfortunate enough to be trapped between two hard surfaces.
The gate of DeGroot Keep, which opens when points A and B are captured, closes after a certain amount of time, provided the last point isn't captured. This is approximately 60 seconds after the gate opens or when capture progress has run out, whichever is longer. This also resets the first two points, making them available for capture again. If a player is standing underneath the gate when it lowers (or is too close to the gate when it opens), they will be crushed to death.
On Stage 3 of Dustbowl, if the BLU team captures the first control point, the spawn gate in the left spawn leading out to the first control point will crush all players unlucky enough to be caught underneath.
On Doomsday and Carnival of Carnage, the platform that raises the player up to the rocket hatch (or ticket lock) can crush the player if one is unlucky enough to be standing under it if the Australium (or ticket) carrier is knocked off, or after the rocket is launched (ticket is captured).
On Egypt, all gates open and close slowly, and may crush players. Additionally, on Stage 1, there is an interior room on the path from the RED spawn to point A in which the player may get stuck between two doors if the BLU team captures the first control point. A short while after the capture, the ceiling of that room falls slowly and crushes all players unlucky enough to be underneath.
On Carnival of Carnage, if a player walks over the red strongman button, the giant hammer is swung down on top of it, crushing any players too slow to move away in time. The hammer strike also causes a shock wave that launches nearby players into the air, possible causing a death by fall damage.
On Snowplow, the large device used to damage the train can crush players standing below it.
- Maps with crushing
- Carnival of Carnage
- Coaltown Event
- DeGroot Keep
- Dustbowl (third stage only)
The cauldron is an environmental hazard specific to Foundry, located next to each team's first spawns. Any player who steps into it will be instantly killed while aesthetically on fire. A player that manages to push an enemy into the cauldron will receive the Terminated, Too achievement.
- Maps with cauldron fires
Rocket exhaust path
The map Doomsday features a path where, at the end of the round, the exhausts of the rocket will push a player into a pit located at the end of the route. A player from the winning team that manages to push an enemy into this pit will receive the Lift-offed achievement.
On Steel, if RED successfully defends point E until the end of the game, the rocket above the final point ignites and kills anyone underneath its exhaust.
- Maps with Rocket exhaust paths
On Mannhattan, this death can also happen to Robots, which causes one of three unique death sounds of grinding metal to play. Additionally, the Manhattan grinder features an inconspicuous banana peel positioned near the machine; stepping on it causes a slipping sound effect and pushes players (and robots) directly into the grinder.
- Maps with Grinders
Lasers are an environmental death specific to Asteroid that move up and down along a designated path. Players who come into contact with them will let off visible "sparks" and are killed instantly.
These lasers are notably the only instant-kill hazards that can be safely touched while under the effects of an ÜberCharge.
- Maps with Lasers
Non-instant death hazards
These environmental hazards do not kill players instantly, but can eventually cause death.
Environmental fire, introduced in Egypt, is different from Flame Thrower fire or other fire damage produced by players, as it doesn't result in an afterburn effect. Instead, environmental fire slowly damages player's health only only as long as the player stands directly in the hazardous zone.
Environmental fire does not ignite Sniper arrows.
- Maps with environmental fires
The amount of damage a player receives from a Fireball broadly corresponds to the player class health; that is, each player that stands in full contact with the center of the plume will lose over half of its health regardless of class. Each class (except Pyro) also suffers brief afterburn from even the slightest contact with the plume.
Fireballs do not ignite Sniper arrows.
- Maps with Fireballs
Players under deep water (water in which the player is completely submerged) have a period of approximately 12 seconds before they begin to suffocate. Failure to rise above water will cause them to continually lose 5 health every second until they drown. Any health lost by suffocation will slowly regenerate at a rate of 10 health every 2 seconds as soon as a player reaches the surface. Going back underwater, however, will cease health regeneration until the player surfaces again.
- Maps with deep water
- 2Fort Invasion
- Badlands (Arena version)
- Badlands (King of the Hill version)
- Carnival of Carnage
- Nightfall (third stage only)
- Pipeline (third stage only)
- Thunder Mountain (second stage only)
These environmental hazards are unique to Halloween event maps.
Pumpkin bombs are special objects found on Harvest Event, Eyeaduct, Mann Manor, Ghost Fort, Helltower, Carnival of Carnage, Hellstone, Gorge, Moonshine, and Sinshine during Halloween events (or on servers running Halloween mode at other times). They are rigged with explosives and detonators visible on their exteriors from certain angles. Additionally, their detonators will occasionally glow.
Once a Pumpkin bomb receives any amount of damage from any source, or is hit by a projectile which would not normally damage anything (for example, the Rocket Jumper's projectiles and Mad Milk), it will trigger an explosion, dealing heavy damage to all players near it. This does not cause instant death; any class with enough health or who is under the effects of invincibility can use these bombs for an explosive jump.
Pumpkin bombs should not be confused with Halloween pumpkins. A simple way to tell them apart is that Pumpkin bombs do not move, whereas Halloween Pumpkins will rotate similar to Health packs or Ammo crates. Pumpkin Bombs will always spawn in the same spots, while Halloween Pumpkins will drop where a player is killed.
- Maps with pumpkin bombs
- Carnival of Carnage
- Gorge Event
- Ghost Fort
- Harvest Event
- Mann Manor
- Moonshine Event
Horseless Headless Horsemann
The Horseless Headless Horsemann is an enemy boss that appears in Mann Manor and a few additional maps. As the undead form of Silas Mann, this character rises out of the currently contested control point after a pre-determined amount of time, and proceeds to hunt down and kill players on both teams. Due to his immense size and strength, the Horseless Headless Horsemann deals heavy damage to any player or building that he strikes. He continues his massacre until killed by a player (or players). All kills by the Horsemann count as environmental deaths and trigger the relevant achievements.
On Carnival of Carnage, the Horseless Headless Horsemann appears during the "Bumper Car Soccer" and "Falling Platforms" bumper car duels, wielding a gigantic blood-spattered Necro Smasher. While he can be killed as usual, he is unable to directly damage players, and can only knock players back with his swings in an attempt to send them into the map's Pitfalls.
- Maps that feature the Horseless Headless Horsemann
MONOCULUS is a boss that appears in Eyeaduct and a few additional maps, and takes the form of the RED Demoman's missing eye, haunted by the Bombinomicon. MONOCULUS spawns out of the contested control point after a pre-determined amount of time, which also instantly kills any players unfortunate enough to be standing on the point at the time. MONOCULUS spawns on other maps with different triggers. A spawned MONOCULUS proceeds to kill players on both teams using rocket-like eyeball projectiles, which are always critical hits and can kill any class (apart from the Soldier and the Heavy) with a direct hit. Such rockets can be reflected by a Pyro's compression blast. MONOCULUS continues attacking until it is killed or its time is up. Despite naming the killer as MONOCULUS, any death caused by MONOCULUS is classed as environmental.
The boss MONOCULUS should not be confused with "invokum monoculus", the magic spell.
- Maps that feature MONOCULUS
The Underworld is part of the Halloween-themed map Eyeaduct and is usually only reachable through portals that are created when MONOCULUS teleports or is killed. If the player gets close enough to the portal before it closes, they are restored to full health and transported to one end of a chain of small islands in the Underworld. Players on the islands suffer a health drain similar to bleeding, afterburn, or drowning, which continues as long as they remain there. The damage inflicted per second on each player increases over time, making it impossible for a player to stay in the Underworld indefinitely. Waters of the Underworld are also hazardous, and will kill instantly on contact with a player. The health drain, hazardous waters, and explosion all have the same kill icon.
- Maps that feature the Underworld
Loot Island, while technically part of the Underworld, is slightly different in its hazards. While on Loot Island, players do not suffer the Underworld's constant damage effect, though they can still fall into the water. If players remain on Loot Island for too long, an explosion will engulf the island and instantly kill anyone caught in it.
- Maps that feature Loot Island
Merasmus is a boss that appears in Ghost Fort and a few other maps. He is the former roommate of the RED Soldier on a vendetta since the Soldier ruined his home. On Ghost Fort, Merasmus spawns near the control point after a pre-determined amount of time. A spawned Merasmus kills players on both teams using a variety of spells and attacks. Merasmus continues rampaging until he is defeated or his time runs out. Despite naming the killer as Merasmus, any death caused by Merasmus is classed as environmental.
- Maps that feature Merasmus
Skeletons appear in Helltower. They are animated skeletons that can appear in varying circumstances. Green skeletons attack everyone and appear every second Witching Hour (stroke of 12 on the Helltower clock tower), while team-loyal ones can be summoned by Magic spells. They come in different sizes, from tiny ones, medium-sized skeletons which split into smaller ones when killed, to the huge and durable Skeleton King who is guaranteed to drop a rare magic spell upon death. Any death caused by neutral (green) Skeletons is classed as environmental.
- Maps that feature Skeletons