Spy match-ups

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I'm going to gut you like a Cornish game hen.
The Spy on his battle plan
Class Strategy
vs. Scout.png
Relative merits: The Scout is one of your main counters. A typical Scout rarely stands still and is difficult to hit with any of your weapons. With his speed, he can simply bump into you to Spy-check and chase you down. Additionally, the Scout is far superior in a direct duel as his weapons are deadly at close range.

Tactics: When behind enemy lines, have a plan to escape, whether by making sure no living enemies are around or retreating to teammates. The Scout has plenty of tools to track you down, including the Force-A-Nature’s knockback, Mad Milk, and the Boston Basher’s bleed effect, so consider waiting until he is gone before conducting your business.

The best time to backstab a Scout is when he is engrossed in a duel, wherein he may backpedal straight into your Knife.

Useful weapons:

  • The Revolver and Diamondback (only upon the success of your business) are your best options for fighting off a pursuing Scout.
  • The Ambassador deals critical hits on a headshot at close to medium range, dealing substantial damage to a Scout's flimsy health.
vs. Soldier.png
Relative merits: The Soldier walks slowly and brings a large amount of firepower, making him a prime backstab target. He tends to be hard to reach, as he will make use of rocket jumping and frequently be ahead of his team or on high ground.

Tactics: You have more opportunities to backstab a Soldier in enclosed spaces, where he is less likely to rocket jump. Try not to draw his suspicion, as his Rocket Launcher's damage and splash radius can easily track you down.

Useful weapons:

  • The Soldier's slow speed, should he remain grounded, encourages Ambassador headshots if you stay at a range where you can dodge his rockets.
  • The Dead Ringer's feign death can easily trigger and still be believable, given the Soldier's high area damage.
vs. Pyro.png
Relative merits: The Pyro is one of your main counters. Most of the Pyro's weapons are fiery and inflict afterburn, which nullify your cloak and disguise. Team Fortress 2 does not have friendly fire, so the Pyro can use their Flame Thrower to Spy-check at almost no cost. Even if the Pyro does not target you, the Flame Thrower's large spread may inadvertently reveal you anyway. Pyro's compression blast can keep you pinned in a corner upon discovery. Additionally, the Pyro can destroy any sappers you put on an Engineer's buildings with the Homewrecker.

Tactics: When behind enemy lines, avoid the enemy Pyro entirely, as being set aflame will draw all nearby enemies. Get a feel of how the enemy team acts and constantly be on the move to avoid suspicion. If you are forced to fight directly, keep a medium distance and steady aim; your Revolver can match the Pyro's secondary weapons.

Note where health kits and bodies of water are so that you can always extinguish yourself when retreating. If you can escape the Pyro's range but can't extinguish yourself, cloaking reduces the fire's duration.

Should the Pyro be engaged in a fight, predict where they will move in order to land a successful backstab.

Useful weapons:

  • Avoid disguising as an enemy Spy when around an enemy Pyro.
  • The Dead Ringer and the Spy-cicle can extinguish afterburn and give you some protection to routine Spy-checks.
  • Backstabbing an enemy with the Conniver's Kunai eliminates afterburn.
vs. Demoman.png
Relative merits: A Demoman is often too focused on combat or laying Sticky traps to pay attention to you. He moves relatively slowly and cannot Sticky jump without sacrificing a sizable portion of health, allowing you to catch up for a backstab.

Tactics: Your Cloak and disguise help you pass over Stickybomb traps a bit more safely while relaying to your team the potential danger.

In a direct fight, remain within medium range but outside melee range. The Demoman's explosive projectiles can be dodged and his Stickybombs take time to arm, but he may have a strong melee weapon equipped.

Useful weapons:

  • The Dead Ringer's damage reduction gives some insurance when passing over a Stickybomb trap.
vs. Heavy.png
Relative merits: A Heavy is a large, slow target who provides a lot of firepower for his team; killing him should take some pressure off your team. When firing the Minigun, the Heavy must continuously look at his target, leaving his back exposed.

Tactics: Before attacking, be sure the Heavy is distracted; if you are discovered, his Minigun’s wide spread and fire rate will easily track your Cloak if the sheer damage doesn’t kill you first.

If a Heavy is using the Huo-Long Heater, you can jump over the flames and stab him before you land on the ground.

Useful weapons:

  • When targeting the Heavy, disguise as a class who would fight alongside him (aside from the Medic, who is expected to start healing).
  • The Dead Ringer's cloak does not flicker for its first few seconds of activation, leaving you unable to be tracked by the Heavy's Minigun.
vs. Engineer.png
Relative merits: Your Sappers can disable Engineer buildings, allowing your team to freely move in. Your Cloak and disguise won't draw the attention of his Sentry Gun. By chaining a backstab with Sapper placement, you can kill the Engineer and destroy his equipment in one fell swoop. The enemy Engineer is keenly aware of this dynamic, likely having been sabotaged many times before.

Tactics: The Engineer is typically near his Sentry Gun. If the Engineer is working on his buildings or the area is heavily guarded, decide whether you want to "sap and stab" or "stab and sap". If you disable the Sentry Gun first and then stab the Engineer, you have more space to maneuver but he has more time to react. On the other hand, stabbing the Engineer then quickly sapping his Sentry Gun before it can attack you is more efficient but risky. It is best to "stab and sap" while the Sentry Gun is facing away from you or in the midst of upgrading. If you are unable to quickly dispatch both the Engineer and his buildings, sap his Sentry and give him pressure with your Revolver to buy yourself time and make him decide whether to fight you or repair his buildings.

If there are too many enemies guarding the area, coordinate with your teammates. Ideally, your team can engage the enemy team. Then, merely disable all nearby buildings so your allies can destroy them, or allow your team to draw the Sentry Gun's fire while you take care of the Engineer. Other strategies include targeting the Engineer's Dispenser to deny him metal or Teleporter system to slow enemy reinforcements and split his attention.

If an Engineer is between you and his Sentry Gun, it is possible to bait the Sentry Gun into firing at its owner by revealing yourself.

Useful weapons:

  • Disguising as a friendly Pyro who is "helping out" can shake off some suspicion.
  • Your Eternal Reward allows you to maintain a disguise immediately following a backstab, so you can backstab the Engineer without drawing his Sentry Gun's attention.
  • You can place Sappers faster than the Engineer can remove them, forcing him to abandon his buildings and attack you.
  • Use the Red-Tape Recorder to quickly downgrade a nest of buildings from multiple Engineers, or force a Gunslinger Engineer to waste significant time replacing a Mini-Sentry.
vs. Medic.png
Relative merits: The Medic's ability to heal his teammates makes him one of your most important targets. He is often backed up by his teammates, allowing him to keep an eye out for you.

Tactics: Approach from behind when the Medic and his patient are distracted. In order, backstab the Medic, then his patient, who won't immediately be looking backward. If you are discovered, Cloak and retreat, as several enemies will now be looking for you.

If the Medic Spy-checks you with the Ubersaw, you can prevent him from gaining charge by not removing your disguise. If you are feeling particularly devious, you can disguise as a viable Medic buddy and trick him into healing you, following you into a trap, or wasting an ÜberCharge on you.

Useful weapons:

  • Use a disguise that lets you retain full movement speed to keep up with the Medic, or disguise as an enemy the Medic would prioritize healing to draw less suspicion.
  • Decide which cloaking device lets you reliably approach the Medic. The Invis Watch provides the most mobility, the Cloak and Dagger lets you wait for the Medic to come your way, and the Dead Ringer's feign death can give you a second chance if you are found out and attacked.
vs. Sniper.png
Relative merits: Your Cloak and disguises allow you to get behind the enemy Sniper easily enough, as he is typically focused on targets that are far away. However, he has a few tools to deter him from being a completely free kill, especially if he discovers you.

Tactics: As the enemy Sniper focuses on your teammates, sneak up on him. Consider how the enemy team will react to a dead teammate, then either backstab or gun the Sniper down. The Sniper may take chip damage from your allies who harass him, so observe his health; If he goes below 102 health points, a headshot from the Ambassador or a crit from the Diamondback will put him down quickly. Should the Sniper discover you, keep a modest distance while firing your Revolver or retreat to try again later. If you stick around too long, the Sniper can use Jarate or bleed from the Tribalman's Shiv to leave you visible to all nearby enemies.

Be wary of crossing open areas that you know the Sniper is watching over; he could decide to Spy-check you with a fully charged shot, which will instantly kill you.

Useful weapons:

vs. Spy.png
Mirror match-up: You and the enemy Spy will likely be with each other's team, leaving you fewer chances to interact. What you observe on the enemy's side of the map can help your team discern the enemy Spy and other threats.

Tactics: If you see an enemy Spy, report his disguise and whereabouts to your teammates, then continue about your business without breaking character. If you end up directly fighting an enemy Spy, dodge his attacks while retaliating with your Revolver.

When you are with your own team, pay attention to "teammates" who are walking behind other allies. You can Spy-check by approaching a teammate's back with the Knife active; if you automatically raise it as if to backstab someone, that "teammate" is an enemy Spy. Backstabbing an enemy Spy is a guaranteed kill, as it will not activate the Dead Ringer.

Useful weapons:

  • The Enforcer ignores the damage resistance provided by Cloak and can be used to kill a fleeing enemy Spy with proper prediction.

See also