(screaming) Holy crap, this goes on forever.
— The Scout
A death caused by a map element, commonly known as an environmental death or abbreviated env 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. Awareness of these hazards can not only prevent needless (and potentially embarrassing) deaths on all levels of play, but can even be taken advantage of to bait or push enemies into a quick demise.
- 1 Instant death hazards
- 1.1 Saw blades
- 1.2 Trains
- 1.3 Pitfalls
- 1.4 Lava
- 1.5 Deadly waters
- 1.6 Crocodiles
- 1.7 Gator
- 1.8 Payload Cart explosion
- 1.9 Crushing
- 1.10 Cauldron fire
- 1.11 Rocket exhaust path
- 1.12 Grinder
- 1.13 Tyrannosaurus Rex
- 1.14 Big Mama
- 1.15 Bubbling Cauldron
- 1.16 Pendulum Blades
- 1.17 Fire Pit
- 1.18 Falling Elevator
- 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.
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.
A new type of saw blade, the Flying Saw Blade appears in Gravestone. These hazards fly various routes through the Sawmill, give short sound cues of their approach, instantly kill players that they hit, and get covered in blood after killing someone.
- Maps with saw blades
- Bonesaw (Hell)
Trains are neutral entities that 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 does 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 "chews" and instantly kills any unfortunate players standing in front of it, regardless of team.
- Maps with trains
- Banana Bay
- Cactus Canyon
- District (as subway trains)
- 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 in a 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 Parachute) have no effect on a Pitfall, other than to delay the inevitable, unless the area of the Pitfall can be avoided entirely.
Certain items are treated differently in Pitfall deaths, since they cannot be collected once they fall into a Pitfall. The Intelligence is reset if the player dies in a Pitfall while carrying the Intelligence, which also applies to the bomb in Mann vs. Machine, the briefcases in Special Delivery, the reactor core in Robot Destruction, and the JACK in PASS Time. Credits that fall down pits are considered collected and are immediately credited to the players. Soccer Balls that fall into Pitfalls remain there for the rest of the round.
- Maps with Pitfalls
- Bread Space
- Cactus Canyon
- Carnival of Carnage
- Coal Town
- Cursed Cove (in Davy Jones's Locker)
- DeGroot Keep
- Double Cross
- Ghost Fort
- Ghost Town
- Gorge Event
- Hassle Castle
- Hydro (Power Plant vs. Radar Dish configuration)
- Los Muertos
- Mann Manor
- Mercenary Park
- Moldergrove (Underworld)
- Monster Bash
- Mountain Lab
- Nightfall (third stage)
- Pit of Death
- Thunder Mountain (first and third stages)
Lava is a hazard that appears on a few maps, mostly Halloween-themed.
Infernal Lava: Introduced in Helltower, except for the lava flow animation, Lava is indistinguishable from a 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 a 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 at 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)
Certain waters in some maps are deadly to the touch. The kill mechanics are similar to a Pitfall, but, like Lava, no great fall height is necessarily part of the kill zone design. The death animation is a corpse bobbing in the water.
Stygian waters surround islands in some Underworld locations.
Whitewater rapids instantly kill anyone stepping or jumping in.
- Maps with Stygian waters
- Maps with whitewater
Crocodiles, introduced in Mercenary Park, are an animated water hazard with sound effects.
Coming in contact with water swarming with Crocodiles causes certain death, as a Crocodile leaps out of the water and chomps down, instantly gibbing the player regardless of their health or if under the influence of an ÜberCharge from a Medic.
- Maps with Crocodiles*
- Mercenary Park
- Terror (inside of GONZO's mouth)
- * excluding maps with inaccessible crocodile props.
A Gator cutout can be found underwater. Contacting the Gator's mouth causes instant death.
- Maps with Gator
- Moonshine Event (beneath the Bayou Shipping House)
Payload Cart explosion
During the final (or sole) round of any Payload or Payload Race map, the Payload Cart explodes either when it reaches the final point, or shortly after, triggering a Payload Cart explosion which kills all players in the surrounding area. In some maps, the resulting explosion creates a crater; falling into it results in a Pitfall death.
- Maps with Payload Cart explosions
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 both captured, closes after a certain amount of time, provided the last point isn't captured. If a player is standing underneath the gate when it lowers or is too close to the gate when it opens, they are 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 crushes 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 or 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 Hightower and Helltower, if one team can prevent the other from pushing the cart to the top of the Capture platform, the platform falls down and crushes any player below it.
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, possibly causing a death by fall damage.
In Mann vs. Machine, the Tank Robots can crush any players that are unlucky enough to be caught between it and a wall or prop as it turns.
On Snowplow, the large device used to damage the train can crush players standing below it.
On Enclosure, Gate 01 can crush players when it closes after Capture point (B) is captured.
On Megalo, standing under the turntable while it is lowering crushes players.
- Maps with crushing
- Carnival of Carnage
- Coal Town
- DeGroot Keep
- Dustbowl (third stage)
- Enclosure (Gate 01)
- Farmageddon (Gourdon closing)
- Ghost Town
The cauldron is an environmental hazard specific to Foundry, located next to each team's first spawns. Any player who steps into it is instantly killed while aesthetically on fire. A player that manages to push an enemy into the cauldron receives 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 pushes 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 receives 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
The Grinder is an environmental death that happens when a player gets sucked into a grinding machine. Players killed in this way cause one of two loud sounds of flesh being crushed to play.
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
- Enclosure (hidden under the plants in the "raptor" enclosure)
- Farmageddon (Combine Harvester reel)
Tyrannosaurus Rex is an environmental death specific to the final point "T-REX" of the third stage of Enclosure. When the cart has been pushed a short distance onto the platform in front of the Tyrannosaurus Rex enclosure's gate, an immediate Payload Cart explosion is triggered. A second or so later, the T-Rex slams the gate open, killing and knocking back anyone who has rushed up to see Rexxy. T-Rex steps halfway into the room, amidst smoke and flames, killing any close players and letting out a climatic roar. Any player that then runs up to the Tyrannosaurus Rex during Humiliation is instantly killed and knocked back.
- Maps with Tyrannosaurus Rex
Big Mama is an environmental death specific to the final point of Bread Space that causes causes intant gibs on contact (see map page).
- Maps with Big Mama
Bubbling Cauldron is a Halloween environmental death hazard. Any player that steps around the Bubbling Cauldron suffers health drain, while falling into the Bubbling Cauldron suffers instant death and knock back. When the Bubbling Cauldron is used as the final point on a Payload map, the Bubbling Cauldron has a unique killing explosion.
In Cauldron, standing on or jumping into the Cauldron as it is spewing out Fireballs instantly kills the player.
- Maps with a Bubbling Cauldron
Pendulum Blades are neutral entities that were officially introduced on Monster Bash. They swing back and forth and instantly kill anyone that comes in contact with them. Cosmetically, a blade gets permanently coated in blood if it kills someone, which persists until a new round starts.
- Maps with a Pendulum Blade
Fire Pit is a Halloween environmental death hazard found on Cauldron. Any player that steps into it is instantly killed.
- Maps with a Fire Pit
Elevator is a environmental death hazard found on Bread Space. It is a malfunctioning elevator falling down at high speeds. Any player that is hit by the bottom of the elevator instantly dies from the impact, and standing on the elevator drags the player down into a death pit.
- Maps with a Falling Elevator
Non-instant death hazards
These environmental hazards do not kill players instantly, but can eventually cause environmental death.
Lasers are an environmental death specific to Asteroid that move up and down along a designated path. Players who come into contact with them let off visible "sparks" and have 200 damage dealt to them, though it can partially be resisted with the Battalion's Backup buff to deal less damage.
They can also be harmlessly passed through while under the effects of the standard ÜberCharge or Bonk! Atomic Punch.
- Maps with Lasers
Environmental fire is different from flamethrower fire or other fire damage produced by players, as it does not result in an afterburn effect. Instead, environmental fire slowly damages the player's health only as long as they stand directly in the hazardous zone.
Environmental fire does not ignite Sniper arrows.
- Maps with environmental fires
Fireballs, introduced in Hellfire, are rising plumes of Flame that cause fire damage to any player coming in contact with it.
The amount of damage a player receives from a Fireball broadly corresponds to the player's base class health; that is, each player that stands in full contact with the center of the entire plume loses 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.
Another type of Fireball, introduced in Cauldron, has a chance of spewing out of the cauldron when the point is capped. These Fireballs rain over a large portion of the map, dealing large amounts of damage to unsuspecting players. However, these Fireballs do not cause afterburn.
- 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 causes them to continually lose 5 health every second until they drown. Any health lost by suffocation slowly regenerates at a rate of 10 health every 2 seconds as soon as a player reaches the surface. Going back underwater, however, ceases health regeneration until the player surfaces again.
- Maps with deep water
- Thunder Mountain (second stage)
- Well (Control Point)
Health drain is a steady or increasing rate of health loss experienced in one or more specific areas of particular maps. Basic examples are Underworld locations in certain Halloween maps. The effect is also experienced inside the flying saucer in Probed. The drain is a damage-over-time effect similar to the effects of bleeding or afterburn; but, it is neither triggered nor time-limited. Health drain occurs only when a player enters a specific area and continues only as long as the player does not leave the area or until the player is killed.
- Maps with Health drain
- Bloodwater (Purgatory)
- Brimstone (Hell Island)
- Cauldron (Underworld)
- Eyeaduct (Purgatory)
- Erebus (Underworld)
- Gravestone (Underworld and Cauldron Edge)
- Hellstone (Underworld)
- Los Muertos (Underworld)
- Monster Bash (Underworld)
- Moonshine Event (Underworld)
- Pit of Death (Underworld)
- Probed (Flying Saucer)
- Slasher (Underworld)
- Spookeyridge (Underworld)
- Terror (Underworld)
Steam, volcanic gas, or poison gas is a damage-over-time effect introduced on Brimstone. The time and area of effect are indicated by a rising cloud of vapor and fluid splashes (compare with Pumpkin bomb explosion splash). Players that enter the cloud suffer damage-over-time so long as they survive and remain in the cloud.
- Maps with steam
Shake, tremor, or earthquake is a visible and audible cue effect that shakes a player's world view and aim. While the effect causes no direct damage, the effect can be somewhat disorienting and otherwise interferes with a player's ability to attack, defend, and navigate. The effect can serve as a warning of a monster or another effect. The world violently shakes for players as the Horseless Headless Horsemann chases them down. On Eyeaduct, shaking accompanies the spawning of MONOCULUS. Strong shaking is a map-wide cue of the Skeleton King on Helltower, while only very weak tremors warn of a Baby Skeleton spawning nearby. Earthquakes warn of the release of hellish steam on Brimstone.
- Maps with shaking
- Bloodwater (Horsemann charging, MONOCULUS spawning)
- Brimstone (Horsemann charging, Skeleton spawnings, Steam release cue)
- Carnival of Carnage (end of play)
- Doomsday (rocket launch and crash after play)
- Eyeaduct (MONOCULUS spawning)
- Gorge Event (skeleton spawnings)
- Gravestone (Horsemann charging)
- Hellstone (Horsemann charging, Skeleton spawnings)
- Helltower (map-wide Skeleton King cue)
- Mann Manor (Horsemann charging)
- Pit of Death (localized cue of the Underworld portal opening or closing)
- Slasher (Horsemann charging, MONOCULUS spawning)
Shrinking Water is a fast-moving wall of water that closes in, shrinking the playable space. When entered, the player starts to drown at a rapid rate; if not acted upon quickly, the player soon drowns.
- Maps with Shrinking Water
Acid is a bright green liquid that damages players standing in it over time.
- Maps with Acid
Saw Blade Cart
Saw Blade Carts are a type of Payload cart equipped with a saw blade on its front. While the sides of the saw blades are harmless (as well as the rest of the cart), the front and top deal 45 damage per tick to any players who make contact with them, regardless of their teams.
A player who is hurt by a cart's saw blade causes it to become bloodied (a purely cosmetic effect), and those who die from it are turned into gibs.
- Maps with Saw Blade Carts
These environmental hazards are unique to Halloween and Invasion event maps.
Pumpkin Bombs and reskins are special objects found on all Halloween maps except Ghost Town (Mann vs. Machine) and Monster Bash. On Cursed Cove and Laughter, they are replaced by Explosive Barrels and Dynamite Balloons, respectively. Additionally, exploding Alien Walker part reskins appear on 2Fort Invasion. Pumpkin Bombs are rigged with explosives and detonators visible on their exteriors from certain angles. Their detonators 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 triggers 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 rotate similar to Health packs or Ammo crates. Pumpkin Bombs always spawn in the same spots, while Halloween Pumpkins drop where a player is killed.
Pumpkin Bombs should also not be confused with Pumpkin MIRV, a magic spell.
- Maps with Pumpkin Bombs
Dynamite Balloons or TNT Bombs appear in Laughter. They explode when damaged, similar to the Pumpkin bombs and produce the sound of children laughing when destroyed.
- Maps with Dynamite Balloons
Explosive Barrels appear in Cursed Cove. They explode when damaged, similar to the Pumpkin bombs. However, their damage is much greater, capable of instantly killing anyone albeit in a smaller range. Jumping from the explosion is only possible under the effects of Invulnerability.
Maps with Explosive Barrels
Alien Walkers are placed around the Invasion maps, which explode after being damaged, similar to Pumpkin bombs.
- Maps with Alien Walkers
Snowman Bombs, also know as Snowmenn, appear in some Christmas maps. They explode when damaged, similar to the Pumpkin bombs.
- Maps with Snowman Bombs
Area Explosion occurs in order to punish players who have stayed for too long in certain Underworlds. A while after the gates to the exit back to the main portion of the map have lowered, the place is engulfed in a series of explosions that instantly kill anyone still there.
- Maps with Area Explosion
- Bloodwater (Skull Island)
- Eyeaduct (Loot Island)
- Ghost Fort (Skull Island)
During battles against Merasmus, the Bombinomicon turns random players' heads into bombs, forcing their view into third person and temporarily removing their weapons, and instructs them to run into Merasmus to blow him up. If they take too long to run into Merasmus, the bombs on their heads explode, causing a lot of damage and rocketing them skyward if they survive the explosion, which may also cause them to take fall damage once they land. If they manage to run into Merasmus and explode on him, they are still thrown high up, but are granted temporary Invulnerability and Crits.
On Carnival of Carnage or Gravestone, during the bumper cart race picking up Magic spells might give the player a Bomb Head spell which does 50% damage upon exploding to the user and nearby enemies. It explodes either when its timer runs out or the user makes a head-on collision with an enemy.
On Laughter, players who stay too long in the Underworld have their heads turned into bombs as an incentive to speed things up and return to the regular map. If they fail to leave the Underworld, the bomb explodes, gibbing them.
- Maps with Bomb Heads
Horseless Headless Horsemann
The Horseless Headless Horsemann was the first boss enemy in Team Fortress 2. Introduced in Mann Manor, it now appears in other Halloween maps as well. He rises out of the ground or floor and proceeds to hunt down and kill players on both teams. 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 with the Horseless Headless Horsemann
- Carnival of Carnage (Falling Platforms and Bumper Car Soccer)
- Mann Manor
Merasmus first appeared as a boss in Ghost Fort, but now can be found in other Halloween maps as well. Merasmus 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. Any death caused by Merasmus is classed as environmental.
- Maps with Merasmus
MONOCULUS is a boss that first appeared in Eyeaduct, but can now be found in other Halloween maps as well. MONOCULUS takes the form of the RED Demoman's missing eye, haunted by the Bombinomicon. MONOCULUS spawns out of the contested control point or other locations under various conditions, which also instantly kills any players unfortunate enough to be standing there at the time. 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. Any death caused by MONOCULUS is classed as environmental.
The boss MONOCULUS should not be confused with "invokum monoculus", the magic spell that summons a team-loyal MONOCULUS.
- Maps with MONOCULUS
Skeletons were introduced in Helltower and appear on several other Halloween maps. They are animated skeletons that can appear in varying circumstances. Green skeletons attack everyone, 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 with skeletons
- Farmageddon (reskinned as scarecrows)
- Gorge Event
- Hassle Castle
- Los Muertos
- Sinthetic (reskinned as the Toastmaster)
Mann vs. Machievements