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 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 user for 7 seconds upon being injured if it is held out, leaving behind a fake Spy ragdoll corpse to distract and deceive enemies. The Cloak generated is instantaneous and can generate certain information in-game that enhances the legitimacy of the user's "death" (listed below). If a player is disguised as one of their own teammates, activation drops a ragdoll corpse of their current class (which, to their team, will appear as a ragdoll of the Spy wearing a mask of the class they 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 attacking. This also means the Spy is unable to cloak on command and will have to rely on damage instead.

Upon activation, the Cloak meter will immediately drop to 50%, and the Spy will receive a 3-second speed boost. The Spy takes 75% reduced damage for the initial attack that activates the cloak and will gain damage resistance depending on how much time is left for his cloak (from a maximum of 65% to a minimum of 20% after 3 seconds). 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 Taunt kills.

During the first 3 seconds of cloak, the Spy will not flicker on contact with enemies or upon being shot, and he gains immunity to afterburn. This returns to standard cloak once 3 seconds pass (cloak flickers on contact, 20% reduced damage). The cloak takes 7 seconds to fully drain (from 50%) down to zero.

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 the standard Invisibility Watch, Dispensers and ammo cannot replenish the Cloak meter.

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

However, other status effects are unaffected. Notably:

  • Covering-inflict weapons and water will still coat the cloaked Spy.

Therefore, feigning whilst suffering under these effects will not be convincing. In addition, once the player is cloaked, the Spy is not immune to status effects, although such effects will have a reduced duration, similar to the Invis Watch.

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.

Replicated mechanics
Faked mechanics
  • Kill feed for the enemy team
  • Domination notifications (not reflected on scoreboard)
  • Medium ammo box (does not provide ammo or metal when picked up)
  • Death state on scoreboard (does not last as long as a true death)
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 a 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

  • 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.

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 (Jungle Inferno Update)

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

Unused content

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


  • In medium to high lag situations, pulling out the Dead Ringer and attacking at the same time while disguised will keep the player disguised, leaving bullet wounds on the enemy. However, the attacks done under this bug do no damage to players or buildings.
  • 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 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 sometimes 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 reports that the Spy's killer "got revenge" on him, even if they were not dominated or don't 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" will get 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.
  • 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 death for enemies.
  • When a player holds the Dead Ringer with Specialized or Professional Killstreak Weapon, the sheen will be replicated on the Dead Ringer.
  • If the user has final hitsounds enabled, they will 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 primary weapon, the reload itself will be sped up.
  • If the Spy has the Your Eternal Reward and disguises while holding the Dead Ringer, it will still be held up and appear charging despite the Dead Ringer not allowing the Spy to hold it while charging.
  • If the player takes out the Dead Ringer after their team has lost the round, the Dead Ringer will trigger upon being attacked and block one Humiliation Crit. If the player brings up the Dead Ringer again after getting hit, it will make a noise, and the Spy can take another Humiliation hit.[citation needed]


  • 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 term dead ringer has also been suggested (implausibly) to have risen from the 18th-19th century concept of installing bells on coffins, which people mistakenly presumed dead could ring to signal they were still alive, similar to how a Dead Ringer Spy can be presumed dead, only to reveal he is still alive.



  1. Day 3 of Sniper vs. Spy Update

See also