Dead Ringer

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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 an advanced cloaking device disguised as a gold-plated pocket watch with an engraving of a hummingbird on its lid.

Unlike the Invis Watch, the Dead Ringer does not immediately cause the Spy to cloak when the alt-fire key (default key: MOUSE2) is pressed. Instead, the Spy holds the Dead Ringer in his left hand. The Dead Ringer's cloak meter must be fully charged before it can be held, and holding the watch prevents the Spy from attacking or placing Sappers, as when cloaked. Pressing the alt-fire key again causes the Spy to put the Dead Ringer away. Upon taking damage while the Dead Ringer is being held in hand, the Spy immediately and fully cloaks, leaving behind a fake corpse to deceive enemies. If a player is disguised as one of their own teammates, the fake corpse appears to enemies as the player they were disguised as, and to their own team as a friendly Spy corpse wearing a disguise mask. Certain in-game information is also faked to make the Spy's "death" more convincing.

The Spy takes 75% less damage from the initial attack that activates the cloak. In addition, the Dead Ringer's cloak differs from that of the Invis Watch in several ways:

  • Upon activation, the cloak meter immediately drops to 50%, and the Spy receives a 3-second speed boost.
  • During the first 3 seconds of cloak, the Spy does not flicker on contact with enemies or upon being shot, and he gains immunity to afterburn.
  • The Spy gains a 65% damage resistance upon the Dead Ringer's activation, fading to the normal 20% cloaked damage resistance after 3 seconds.

The cloak takes 7 seconds to fully drain (from the initial 50%). The initial damage reduction allows the player to survive massive amounts of damage as long as the user has a sufficient amount of Health before the attack was made, with the exception of fully charged headshots by Snipers using the Machina, backstabs from enemy Spies, and most taunt kills.

Activating the Dead Ringer extinguishes afterburn and stops bleeding. However, other status effects are unaffected. Notably, soaking effects, including water, is not removed, making it difficult to convincingly fake a death while under these effects. In addition, afterburn and bleeding are only removed by the initial activation; once the player is cloaked, the Spy is not immune to these status effects, although such effects have a reduced duration as with the normal Invis Watch cloak.

The Dead Ringer uncloaks with a very loud and distinct sound. The uncloak noise is noticeably loud up-close but rapidly fades with distance. Unlike with the Invis Watch, ammo pickups and Dispensers cannot replenish the Cloak meter.

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

Feign death effects

Feigned deaths replicate or fake certain HUD elements in order to look more convincing. However, some effects are not replicated, which vigilant players may notice.

Replicated mechanics
Faked mechanics
  • Kill feed for the enemy team
  • Final hitsounds
  • Domination/Revenge notifications (not reflected on scoreboard)
  • Medium ammo box (does not provide ammo or metal when picked up)
  • Death state on scoreboard and team status display (does not last as long as a true death)
  • "Killstreak Ended" notification if the Spy is using a killstreak weapon
Unreplicated mechanics

Function times

Function times (in seconds)

Upon activation:
  Drop a fake corpse, 75% damage reduction, remove some status effects

For the first 3 seconds:
  Speed boost, no cloak shimmer upon collision with an enemy, up to 65% damage reduction

  Normal invisibility

Cloak maximum duration 7.0 s
8.2 s
6.0 s
7.6 s
Cloak fade time Instant
Decloak fade time
2.0 s
1.8 s
Recharge time 10-20 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

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 to 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.

July 2, 2015 Patch #1 (Gun Mettle Update)

  • Changed attributes:
    • Triggering Feign Death instantly removes 50% cloak meter.
    • Changed increased drain rate to a decreased drain rate. Overall duration of invisibility is still 7 seconds when accounting for initial spend of 50 cloak meter for triggering Feign Death.
    • Decreased cloak regen rate from +80% to +50%
    • When Feign Death is triggered, the Spy receives a 3 second speed boost.
    • Initial attack that triggers feign death has its damage reduced by 50%.
    • Damage resistance on triggering feign death scales over time. 65% to 20% over 3 seconds.
    • Feign Death stealth has no bump shimmer for 3 seconds.
    • 3 seconds after triggering Feign Death, the Spy is under normal invisible conditions (20% armor and shimmers if bumped or shot).
    • Can no longer pick up ammo for cloak meter while cloaked.

July 8, 2015 Patch #1

  • Fixed a case where speed-line particles were visible for enemy players when a Spy triggered the Dead Ringer.

July 15, 2015 Patch #1

  • Fixed an issue with Unusual Revolvers where the unusual effect would sometimes not disappear when the Spy would feign death, disguise, cloak, etc.

December 17, 2015 Patch (Tough Break Update)

  • The HUD 'Cloak' meter now displays 'FEIGN' when Dead Ringer is equipped.
  • Changed attribute:
    • Initial damage reduction when feigning death increased to 75% from 50%.

March 3, 2016 Patch

  • Updated the draw sound for the Dead Ringer.

April 25, 2016 Patch

  • Fixed ragdolls not drawing the head properly when a Spy feigns death.

November 14, 2016 Patch

  • Fixed a bug related to using the Dead Ringer while carrying the flag.

February 14, 2017 Patch

  • Fixed Spectators seeing the fake death notices for the Spy when he feigns death.

October 20, 2017 Patch #1 (Jungle Inferno Update)

  • Changed attribute:
    • Ammo kits and Dispensers no longer refill the Spy's cloak meter.

June 21, 2022 Patch

  • Fixed the Spy's feigned deaths with the Dead Ringer not showing up in the matchmaking quick team status bar.

June 23, 2022 Patch

  • Fixed Spy feign deaths not showing the correct class portraits.


  • The Cloak meter displayed on the watch does not properly correspond to the actual amount of Cloak available, similar to the Enthusiast's Timepiece.
  • If a Spy is holding a Dead Ringer and takes damage while taunting, any damage taken after the taunt is finished does not trigger the feign death.
  • Feigning death on circumstances that should trigger a unique death scream sometimes issue a normal death scream.
  • The damage reduction from the Dead Ringer applies to drowning damage as well. However, the Spy recovers 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 sometimes causes 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 the feign death is activated, the killfeed reports that the Spy's killer "got revenge" on him, even if they were not dominated or do not exist. The same bug may report that the Spy's killer is dominating him even if said Spy was already being dominated by that player, or if they were nowhere close to dominating them. Both bugs may also play the accompanying sound cue. When the Spy is killed by environmental hazards or fall damage, "ERRORNAME" gets revenge on the Spy. These messages are only broadcast to the other team, just like all faked mechanics of the Dead Ringer.
  • When reloading the Revolver, switching weapon to the Sapper, or using the Sharp Dresser while quickly activating the Dead Ringer, three hands can be momentarily seen.
    • This can also happen when holding The JACK in PASS Time.
  • Some achievements that involve killing cloaked Spies can be achieved by attacking a Spy with his Dead Ringer ready.
  • When a player holds the Dead Ringer with Specialized or Professional Killstreak weapon, the sheen is replicated on the Dead Ringer.
  • If the user has final hitsounds enabled, they do not always play if they activate the Dead Ringer of an enemy Spy.
  • Just like the Invis Watch and the Cloak and Dagger, if the Dead Ringer is deployed during the reload animation of a revolver, the reload itself is sped up.
  • Disguising with the Your Eternal Reward or Wanga Prick while holding out the Dead Ringer results in it still being held out and showing it charging. Upon it being fully charged, it acts normally. However, if the user takes damage while the uncharged Dead Ringer is active, they still receive the 75% damage resistance on the first hit taken.
  • If the player is holding the Dead Ringer after their team has lost the round, taking damage does not cause the feign death trigger, but the 75% damage resistance triggers each time.
    • If an enemy player damages a Spy in this state, damage numbers do not reflect the 75% damage resistance.

Unused content

  • The Dead Ringer has an unused model featuring a chain, similar to the backpack icon's model.


  • 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 Spy 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 the player decided to get up.
  • 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 would not 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."



See also