The game provides a freezecam shot of who killed you, and if gibs are on and any of your body parts are in the shot, it very helpfully points out which parts they are ("Your spleen! Your pancreas! Your torso! More bits!")
If it's a domination or revenge kill, your opponent's character may also make fun of you. (The Medic and Pyro are the only ones who don't.) And on rarer occasions, they will even if it's not.
Several classes have special achievements for taunting during the enemy's deathcams, sometimes more than one. The Sniper can either doff his hat at the enemy (basically, paying respect), or wave (to mock them). The Soldier has one where he taunts over at least three pieces of the enemy's remains, and the Medic has one for taunting over an enemy's ragdoll.
Headless Horseman: During the 2010 Halloween update, the Horseless Headless Horsemann appeared about every eight minutes in the new "Mann Manor" map. He's extremely powerful, and prances around the map gleefully with an axedecapitating all in his path. If a player actually manages to defeat him, they'll score an achievement and a free hat. If they go the extra mile and land a hit with a melee weapon near his dying moments, the player may get an extra rare crafting item as well. He is so powerful, that he can even defeat MONOCULUS! and Merasmus.
Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: No matter which team wins on the Helltower map, both RED and BLU go to Hell. The winning Mann brother sends his mercs to Hell so he won't have to pay them, and the losing Mann brother furiously drags his team down to Hell with him. The advantage to winning, however, is that the winning team is giving a health buff that will help them survive the inevitable clash against the losing team in Hell.
The Blutsauger Syringe Gun side-grade also allows a Medic to self-heal... by leeching health from his enemies. On the other hand, it reduces his natural Healing Factor.
A Sniper with a Cozy Camper can now regenerate 1 HP a second.
In Mann vs Machine, all players can upgrade themselves to regenerate up to 10HP a second.
Healing Factor: Along with examples from the before-mentioned trope, Mann vs Machine upgrades can allow this for all classes.
Helium Speech: Those in Pyroland will hear other players speak like this.
Heroic Sacrifice: Whoever pushes the cart during the last elevator push in PLR_Hightower. Someone must be with the cart to the very end of the elevator rise until it explodes to achieve victory. However, a clever Spy with a Dead Ringer can capture it by himself, thus saving both himself and his teammates.
Most payloads result in this, since the blast radius is huge. In most cases, even Dead Ringers can't save you, since the floor automatically opens up to an instant-death pit afterwards.
Highly Conspicuous Uniform: The classes' outfits are designed to be brightest around the torso, to make identifying and aiming at them easier.
Hoist by His Own Petard: An Engineer can be killed by his sentry if he stands in front of it as it shoots, and a Demoman and Soldier can gib themselves with their own projectiles if they're too close to the blast. Scouts who can't aim with a Boston Basher/Three Rune Blade might bleed to death, and a Detonator-wielding Pyro can damage himself from the explosives.
Skilled airblasting Pyros can intentionally invoke this on any character using a projectile weapon (Soldiers and Demoman usually, but can also happen to Huntsman Snipers, Flare Gun Pyros and, amusingly, even Sandman Scouts) by reflecting the projectile right back at them, or at their teammates. This is actually encouraged, since reflected projectiles gain minicrits if they're not already full crits.
Hold the Line: RED team's job on Payload and the Attack/Defend style CP maps, as well as everyone's job in Mann vs. Machine.
Holiday Mode: "Party Mode", which was set to activate on the anniversary of the original game's release. A Halloween event was started in 2009 featuring a special map, two hats (one with "Holiday Restriction: Halloween and full moon"), and five achievements. 2010's Halloween event added four more achievements, another special map (one of the Art Pass Contest winners), several hats (some with the restriction, and some that could only be bought during the 2010 event), and an exclusive weapon. The 2011 Halloween event added 9 achievements, some hats and miscellaneous items, and a new map with MONOCULUS!
The Australian Christmas Update has made it official with Christmas themed crates, weapons, and hats. Although it lacks a holiday-related map, unlike the Halloween updates.
Holler Button: By default, pressing the E key makes you call out to Medics, warning them that you need assistance. The other voice commands are managed by small menus, though with some console commands any key can become a Holler Button.
Hyperactive Metabolism: The Heavy's unlockable lunch item, the Sandvich, must be laced with Human Growth Hormone. It regenerates all of the big lug's health. Should he drop it by dying or throw it with alternate attack, it will heal half of the health of anyone who picks it up.
The Scout is the exception, receiving 75 points of health (3/5 of his health) for a stolen Sandvich instead. This is an allusion to Sandvich's first appearance in Meet The Scout, where the Scout physically wrested it from the Heavy.
Speaking of which, his drinks also take effect immediately.
Hyperspace Arsenal: Like many First Person Shooters, most weapons that are not equipped do not appear. However, they still take up inventory space (the Scout and Heavy cannot carry lunchbox items and sidearms at the same time). The current exceptions are the Demoman's and Sniper's shields; the Cozy Camper; the Soldier's backpacks (but not the instruments); Ali Baba's Wee Booties and Bootlegger; and of course, the Gunslinger. The Medic also carries his backpack around all the time, supposedly holding much of the machinery that powers his medigun. Same for the Pyro's oxygen tank.
Hypocritical Humor: Some of the Engineer's domination lines against the Sniper insult his tendency to camp, despite the Engie being designed for much the same purpose.
Similarly, the Demoman has lines about the Sniper camping, yet defensive Demos lay out carpets of stickybombs and wait for long periods of time.
The Sniper will also insult his headshot victims for "standin' around like a bloody idiot", despite a Sniper's own tendency to do the same thing.
The Engineer, the shortest of the mercenaries, has the line "Take it like a man, shorty" when killing someone with his wrench. Also, he has a domination line that calls the Soldier a Yankee, when he's from the United States as well. If one applies the meaning of the term used within the States, the Soldier, who is not from the northeastern United States, is as much a Yankee as the Engineer is.
I Banged Your Mom: The Spy's Domination lines to the Scout, derived from the plot of "Meet the Spy".
Spy: Well, off to visit your mother!
The Demoman also claims to be shagging the enemy Medic's wife in domination taunts.
I Call It Vera: With the addition of Name Tags, players can now call their weapons and hats whatever the hell they want. Even stock items.
I Fell for Hours: Ghost Fort has a large pit into Hell for you to fall down. Six of the nine classes have their own yell for falling into it. Scout and Spy take the time to lampshade the situation.
Scout: "AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH- Holy crap, this goes on forever..."
Spy: "AAAAAAAGH!... Come on, I don't have all day!"
I Love Nuclear Power: The aim of the attacking side on Payload maps is to detonate a bomb in the enemies' atomic fuel dump. This being a reasonable approach to nuclear waste disposal.
Bonk! Atomic Punch's ingredients: Water, radiation, sugar. "...which as we all know is pretty great for givin' people superpowers."
Implacable Man: The super-huge, super powerful, super unstoppable Giant Robots on harder waves of Mann Vs. Machine mode, who only take knockback from the Heavy's rage attacks and simply walk over obstacles they can't quickly destroy.
Soldier: You're dead, that's good, amen. Spy: Here lies Scout. He ran fast and died a virgin.
Injured Vulnerability: Certain weapons do more damage if the player they hit has been "prepared". Example: the Flaregun does more damage to flaming targets, as does the Axetinguisher, and certain Soldier weapons do more damage when in-flight or attacking flying players.
In-Series Nickname: Demoman and Engineer are often shortened to Demo and Engie. Medics and Heavies call Medics "Doktor" sometimes. And Soldier has a lot of nicknames for allied Medics. The namecalling in domination lines probably doesn't count as "nicknames" per se...
Soldier: We have you surrounded, at least from this side!
Instant Gravestone: An update replaced the bonuses of certain Set Bonus loadouts with this when a player kills an enemy. The only set that doesn't get this is the Saharan Spy set, given how this trope would undermine the Spy's effectiveness.
Instant-Win Condition: No matter how any member of the team fares individually, so long as the overall map objective is completed, victory is achieved. This is especially noticeable on Attack/Defend style CP, where a single BLU can win the game even if everyone else is getting massacred.
In Mann Versus Machine, all the robots marked as "support" will instantly drop dead once all the non-support bots are killed. For example, if a wave consists of 30 Soldier bots and unlimited "support" Scoutbots, killing the 30th Soldier bot causes all the Scoutbots to die instantly, no matter how much of the field they control or how far they've advanced the bomb. This also applies to Sentry Busters, which will disappear without detonating once the main robots are destroyed.
Instructional Film: The original release maps (as well as a few later maps) are introduced with a black-and-white instructional film explaining the map's objective and, sometimes, unique elements of its topology.
Getting hit with the Sniper's Jarate causes the screen to go yellowish and warped until the effect wears off.
The Scout's Holy Mackerel causes the killfeed to broadcast whoever he's hitting with the fish until he stops or kills the target.
The Spy's Dead Ringer screws with the enemy's kill feed and, in some cases, gives out completely legitimate achievements.
Being lit on fire adds a ring of burnination to your HUD (and a constant HP drain, of course).
Visiting Pyroland on maps that support it turns the textures psychedelic, everyone's voice becomes high-pitched, and death screams become laughter.
I Shall Taunt You: Each class has a wide variety of taunts. Vocal taunts are triggered automatically as the result of kills, while taunt animations can be triggered manually at any time. Certain taunts can even kill other players if they stand right in front of the one doing it.
Item Amplifier: The Backscratcher increases the amount of health gained from health kits by 50% for Pyros. However, other healing sources such as the Medic's mediguns, Engineer's dispenser, and the Payload cart heal the Pyro 75% slower.
In Mann vs Machine mode, the Medic can upgrade any of his Mediguns to share Canteen abilities with their healing target.
Just Add Water: You can take unwanted items and smelt them into scrap metal, which then gets combined into reclaimed and refined metal, which then can be made into weapons and hats. Specific recipes exist to craft specific other items and weapons without having to wait for the random drop system to give them to you. There are many recipes that make little sense (metal + wrench = wrapping paper, metal + 8 jars of piss = marble bust) among some that do (metal + backpack = another backpack, batter's helmet + 2 cans of soda = batter's helmet with 2 cans of soda attached).
Just for Pun: Many of the achievement names, some of which would not be out of place on this wiki. ("Tartan Spartan", anyone?)
Kaizo Trap: After a success for BLU on Payload or either team for Payload Race, don't think you're sure to get some free kills in humiliation, as the detonation can still kill you. Of course, some people enjoy throwing themselves into the explosion or the pit of death that it leaves behind.
Kill 'em All: During Humiliation, the winning team gets a 10% speed boost and crits for 15 seconds so they can kill the losing team, who have been slowed to 90% of their normal speed and stripped of their weapons.
Kill Streak: Some achievements require this, albeit with restrictions, like using a certain weapon. Most classes also have increasingly enthusiastic responses when they kill a number of enemies within a short period of time. Also, killing the same player four times without being killed by them in between (doesn't have to be in a single life) results in a Domination.
Sentries controlled with the Wrangler have one, which is justified since it would be difficult to aim it otherwise.
Sniper rifles merely have a dot that shows up on the object they're aiming at; the Machina also emits a bright beam of light when fired. Sniper bots in Mann vs. Machine, however, have highly visible thick blue lasers, to serve as an easier warning to where they are in the heat of the battle.
Last Lousy Point: The grind-based achievements, particularly Pyromancer (1 million points of fire damage as a Pyro), Tartan Spartan (1 million points of explosive damage as a Demoman), The Best Little Slaughterhouse In Texas (5,000 kills with sentry guns), Chief of Staff (1 million points of actual healing — overheal doesn't count — as a Medic), and the Replay achievements (100,000 views on YouTube) and Metal Massacre (kill a million robots, which will take FOREVER).
Also frustrating are the achievements that require players to get a number of something (kills, points) within a life.
If you want to obtain all the items by crafting only, have fun getting the Rocket Jumper, Sticky Jumper, and Solemn Vow. The former two can only be crafted by luck, using the "fabricate class weapons" option. There's a 1/5 chance of getting a Rocket Jumper and a 1/4 chance of getting a sticky jumper, respectively. Then the Solemn Vow requires 8 Jarates, which is WAY beyond what the average player would reasonably stock up. That's not counting the reskinned promotional items.
Jarate drops more commonly than it used to, and one can always trade weapons for it. However, one is more likely to just get the Solemn Vow itself as a weapon drop. Some of the once-promotional items (like the Sharpened Volcano Fragment, a RIFTShout-Out) now drop randomly as well. It usually goes down to the age of the item in question.
The June 27, 2012 Patch (Pyromania Update) added both the Rocket Jumper and the Sticky Jumper to the random drop system. The March 4, 2013 Patch added crafting recipies for both weapons.
Lead The Target: Required of some slower projectile-based weapons, such as the Syringe Gun and Huntsman.
Heavy: Arguably the main theme (simply titled "Team Fortress 2"), as he's almost the main character of the game.
Soldier: "Rocket Jump Waltz", "The Art Of War", "Intruder Alert"
Engineer: "More Gun" (based on Wilco's "Someone Else's Song")
Demoman: "Drunken Pipe Bomb"
Scout: "Faster Than A Speeding Bullet"
Sniper: Not in the game for copyright reasons, but his is a pastiche of the Magnum Force theme.
Spy: "Right Behind You", "Petite Chou-Fleur" (although that could arguably be Scout's Mother's theme, too)
Medic: "A Little Heart To Heart", "MEDIC!", "Archimedes"
Pyro: "Dreams of Cruelty", "Do You Believe in Magic"
Lethal Joke Weapon: All the melee weapons have a much higher chance to do Massive Damage by Critical Hit (except for the knife, which works differently due to its design around Backstabs, and all weapons that register headshots), including the bottle, the shovel, and especially (from a gameplay standpoint) the boxing gloves.
The Sniper has an unlockable jar of a certain yellow liquid that causes anybody within the "blast radius" of where it's thrown to take 35% more damage for 10 seconds.
All of the kill taunts also count as Lethal Joke Weapons. They are slow to play out and often have very limited range, but they usually instantly kill on contact. The Lethal Joke is most especially funny with the Heavy, who can kill people by pretend-firing an imaginary gun with his outstretched index and middle finger and miming shooting people by pointing at them and saying POW!. Surprisingly, that taunt can kill from a damn good distance.
The Ullapool Caber is an unlockable melee weapon for the Demoman; all it is is a German WW 2 stick grenade that explodes when it hits an enemy or a non-friendly solid object, dealing 100 damage to the Demoman and launching him high up in the air, likely to be finished off by fall damage. But it's capable of dealing upwards of 180 damage to any enemies caught in the explosion, and, if combined with the Chargin' Targe for a guaranteed melee critical... 400+ easily. Your team not able to keep the cart back? Just charge in and clear out the entire thing and buy them some time.
Many 'useless' or 'underpowered' weapons become very powerful in Mann Vs. Machine mode. Of particular note is the Third Degree, a Fire Axe that deals damage to anyone linked by a Medic's healing beam. A single critical hit on the giant robot or ONE of its Medics will instantly kill ALL of the Medics. Also, the usually ignored Beggar's Bazooka becomes very powerful after a few rounds, as it can rapidly fire a bunch of rockets in a wide radius. The normally only-good-to-play-around-with Righteous Bison, when fully upgraded, is an absolute beast, due to its penetrating laser beams. Add in the fact that the robots travel in huge groups...
The Mecha Upgrade on Christmas 2012 introduced three new weapons, one of which (the Vaccinator, a new medigun for the Medic) is fairly useless in normal play against human players due to its many drawbacks, but it's obviously intended for Mv M play in the first place.
Level Grinding: Somewhere from a half to a third of the Achievements to unlock new weapons are based on merely doing fairly common things several times, like running or double jumping. The Pyro has one for causing a million damage. The Medic has one for healing a million damage.
Complaints about this brought Valve to formulate a new mechanic for weapon unlocking for the Sniper Vs. Spy Update. It backfired and introduced the easiest form of grinding ever.
In response to these complaints, the achievement method was reintroduced with much lower requirements, making it fairly easy to get the alternate weapons without any of the excessive achievements. Good luck with getting Hats, though.
Life Drain: While some weapons can do this by default, Mann vs Machine upgrades can allow all weapons to do this.
Like a Badass out of Hell: In the 2011 Scream Fortress update, the boss MONOCULUS! occasionally teleports around the map and leaves behind a portal to the underworld, which grants the effects of Über, Kritz, and a speed boost to your character upon escaping it.
The doors through which the superpowered characters reemerge onto the map are labeled Warning: Dead End.
Limit Break: After filling his ÜberCharge meter, the Medic can unleash a devastating attack where he and one teammate are invincible (or, with the Kritzkrieg, have unlimited Critical Hits) for eight seconds. The soldier's backpack-type weapons work in similiar fashions: the Buff Banner fills as he does damage and gives all nearby allies guaranteed mini-crits (+ 35% damage); the Battalion's Backup allows him to protect nearby allies from critical hits and severe injuries (-35% to damage taken) — it used to charge by taking damage, rather than giving it, but a patch changed it so that it charges exactly the same way as the Buff Banner; the Concheror fills rage like the Banner. Upon activation, it negates crits like the Battalion's Backup and everyone affected by it receives 20% of the damage they deal as healing.
Shooting Superman: Even when the Medic's ÜberCharge is activated, many people keep firing out of desperation. It makes more sense with rockets and grenades, though — the stock medigun's ÜberCharge does not protect from being pushed back. (In fact, a properly aimed explosive or a Pyro airblast can essentially ruin an ÜberCharge rush; even if the two aren't separated, they won't get their momentum back before the charge ends.)
Snipers even have an achievement for getting a killing shot on an Über-Duo right as their charge wears off.
Loads and Loads of Loading: One of the worst offenders in modern videogaming. Which isn't too surprising considering the game uses the notoriously poorly coded Source engine. Expect to wait at least two minutes to get on a server, and then have wait even longer when someone connects right before you do and fills the last player slot.
Loading Screen: The game's loading screen on Valve-made official maps shows the map you're going to, your stats, and a random tip. On community-created maps, instead of stats, there's a list of top donors, players who bought the most stamps that represent the map.
Locomotive Level: The custom Capture the Flag map Convoy takes place on and within two team-colored trains.
Lost Forever: Between when Valve implemented the "Delete" button for unlockable items and the new method for unlocking items, there was no way to get unlockable items back after deletion.
The website describing the "Classless Update" had a hidden page that awarded a medal to the first 11,111 players who found it (the medal itself is just a Cosmetic Award for the Soldier). Players who missed that secret will never be able to get the award, so it is truly lost forever.
The Soldier/Demoman update featured the Soldier and Demoman fighting each other for one week. At the end of it, the Soldier class won the fight and received boots that dampen their own splash damage, which the Demoman will never receive.
Valve has since gotten into the habit of offering something for a limited time for doing something that usually has nothing to do with the game itself (such as preordering Left 4 Dead 2, and later havingLeft 4 Dead 2 by a certain date).
The Golden Wrench, which led up to the Engineer Update, was only obtainable by a rare chance when crafting. Only 100 in total were given, not including the six drops.
All the items from the Japan Charity Bundle cannot be crafted or traded. Since April 6, 2011, they are never available again.
Notice how long the list of "All Class" hats is? Notice how cheap the crafting cost is compared to class-specific hats? That's because of that entire list of items, only a few are actually craftable. Namely, all of the ones you can craft under normal circumstances (i.e: not event or promotion related) can literally be counted on one hand (there are 5 craftable ones as of this entry, as opposed to the 30 in total, 33 if you count the prize versions of the three Tower pile of Hats.). The rest are all promotion or event related, and are quite possibly lost forever.
This has been altered greatly, with the introduction of giving items in Genuine quality for taking part in promotional material, and releasing basic (yellow-name) versions of the item into the drop and crafting system about a week later.
Actively enforced as of January 10, 2013. Certain hats are now being "retired" meaning the item server will no longer give them to you from random drops and crafting, and there are plans to retire more hats as time goes on.
Ludicrous Gibs: Not only will characters who die from explosions explode into their component parts (which will be identified if they're in frame when the game shows who killed the player), but the game also offers a second set of gibs (developed for markets like Germany that prohibit high amounts of violence) where you explode into things like hamburgers and rubber ducks. Ludicrous gibs, indeed.
The Birthday mode made them even more ludicrous, turning the gibs into presents. If only you could find hats in said presents.
In Mann vs. Machine, this does not happen by default if a player dies from explosions unless a Bombinomicon is equipped.
MacGyvering: Several classes have weapons built out of random junk. The Pyro's Degreaser, the Sniper's Bazaar Bargain, the Soldier's Beggar's Bazooka, and the Medic's Quick-Fix are all built out of things any sane person probably wouldn't try to build a weapon out of.
Frequent during the WAR update, when nearly everyone was playing Soldier or Demoman. The first five seconds of any game were a blistering hail of explosive ordinance from both sides.
In Mann vs. Machine mode, the robots often target a single player. Players close enough to a wave of Soldiers or Demomen as they enter the field should expect a barrage of explosives. The Giant Rapid-Fire Soldier spams rockets like there's no tomorrow.
The Soldier has a rocket launcher that lets him launch up to three rockets at the same time.
In the Mann vs. Machine mode, said bazooka (Beggar's Bazooka) can be upgraded to launch 11 missiles.
Level 3 sentries send a barrage of missiles to their target in a spiraling inward fashion.
Made of Explodium: An update on June 8th, 2011 introduced doves into 21 of the maps. They explode rather violently (for no damage) when you shoot them. Or use your melee attack on them. Or just touch them.
The Bombinomicon introduced in the Very Scary Halloween Special, when found, can be equipped as a badge in the miscellaneous slot. When equipped, it causes the wearer to die in a glorious, flashy purple explosion no matter what their cause of death was. However, Spy players hated this, since slipping in, getting a few kills, and slipping out unnoticed is very difficult if your victims keep exploding every time you stab them.
Made of Plasticine: The game was originally going to take this literally, with all of the mercenaries replaced by claymation models of themselves.
Magnet Hands: Every class has a taunt for weapons they have, and if a taunt involves the weapon (e.g. Demoman drinking out of his bottle, Heavy cuddling with his minigun), it'll stay in their hands. Before it was fixed in a patch, if the player switched weapons via quickswitch immediately after the pressing the taunt key, the weapon the character was holding for their taunt changed, resulting in some strange moves (the Spy pulled a cigarette out of the barrel of his pistol, the Heavy ate his minigun, etc.).
The Demoman will sometimes say, "Ohh, that smarts" when he's damaged, whether it's 3 hit points shaved off or most of his HP bar depleted. Or even if he gets gibbed.
Man on Fire/Incendiary Exponent: Any class who falls victim to the walking inferno that is the Pyro. Pyros themselves are an exception; while they still take damage from fire directly, their heavy asbestos suits and chemical filter masks prevent them from being set ablaze.
Marathon Level: The final stage of Dustbowl is usually an example. RED has to Hold the Line while BLU attacks. As the final portion of Dustbowl, the point is hardest to capture, and BLU has about 15 minutes to try to cap it.
"Wave 666" on Halloween!Coaltown. Nine hundred and eleven zombiesnote reskinned robots and nine tanks. No checkpoints. Have fun!
Martial Arts Headband: The game has two Hachimakis. The first of which was a tie-in with Homefront. The second one was part of the Japanese bundle, where the sales from the item were donated to help with the Japanese relief efforts.
Mecha-Mooks: The Mann Vs. Machine update, wherein you and five other friends fight to survive a horde of robot versions of regular classes, as well as Special Robots and giant, Super Robots. Also, to a lesser extent, Sentries, which are stationary guns built by Engineers. They're pretty much his Mooks, albeit immobile and (probably) non-sentient.
Tell that to half the entries for the 2012 Saxxy Awards. Hell, the Overall Winner was about Engie and his Sentry.
Mechanically Unusual Class: It could be argued that all the classes are like this, a few stand out. Here they are in order of uniqueness from most to least:
The Engineer is mechanically (har har) interesting, as while he can deal a bit of damage, his primary purpose is to build gadgets which can teleport teammates across the map and replenish their ammo (as well as heal and deal damage). Other classes fight in a more direct manner.
Then there's the Spy, who focuses on mindgames; he can turn himself invisible, and can disguise himself as the enemy, and is one of the only classes to focus on facing and is the only class in a normal game who does most of his best damage at melee range.
The Medic is focused almost purely on healing and turning himself and one teammate either invulnerable, nearly invulnerable, or a source Critical Hits
The Scout is the most maneuverable class in the game, and the only class capable of a Double Jump.
The Pyro is pretty much the only class that can set people on fire (a rather unpleasant experience).
The Sniper is the only class with an accurate distance weapon, and the only class besides the Spy with a guaranteed kill method (a fully charged headshot will always kill a non-invulnerable enemy).
The Demoman is the only class that can reliably kill around corners.
The Heavy is the slowest character in the game, but also able to utterly block anybody coming in a narrow cone.
The Soldier is mostly mundane... unless you can Rocket Jump.
Medal of Dishonor: There's an achievement for the Sniper called "Consolation Prize" that requires the player to get backstabbed 50 times.
Milestone Celebration: For the update with the most prestigious and well-rounded of all milestone numbers... 119. (It was meant to be for the 100th update. As you can see, Valve missed that mark, but that didn't stop them from celebrating all the same.) Also provides the page image.
The Missingno.: Since its removal in an early patch, the Civilian. Through cheating and bugs, players can enter the "reference pose" of the Civilian (standing with feet shoulder width apart, arms at sides).
Mission Briefing: When you join a server, you get the bare bones of your mission presented to you in an old-timey black and white movie (and on Territory Control, what parts of the map have been won by which teams drawn on the blackboard).
Mistaken for Spies: Any sufficiently competent team will treat every living thing as a Spy and act accordingly.
Mobile Shrubbery: The mod PropHunt turns one team into map objects, and they must hide in the scenery from the "hunters". This frequently happens while the props find somewhere to hide or flee from the enemies.
Money Spider: Parodied. The Mecha-Mooks in "Mann vs. Machine" mode run on piles of money for whatever reason, and hence drop them when destroyed.
Monster Roommate: Merasmus the Wizard. Though, given that he's roommates with the Soldier, it's hard to say which one of them's more monstrous.
The Pyro can set enemies on fire, which does damage over time. This means that it's possible for someone to die from the burning even after they've killed the Pyro. The Pyro update includes two achievements for killing enemies this way.
The Huntsman fires relatively slow-moving arrows, which can kill a target even after the death of the Sniper who fired them. In one instance, two Snipers, one using the Huntsman, the other the normal sniper rifle, headshotted each other.
The WAR! update gave the Soldier an achievement for killing a Sniper with a rocket after he dies to one, aptly named Mutually Assured Destruction.
There are a few weapons that cause bleeding, also damaging the opponent over time.
This can happen to classes with splash damage weapons. If you're playing as Soldier or Demoman, are badly wounded, and fire on your attacker point blank, you can expect a shower of both your and your opponent's chunks. Can also happen with Engineers if they're foolish enough to stand between an enemy and their own turret.
Similarly, it's quite common for an Engineer to die getting metal, only to watch their own sentries avenge them on death cam seconds later.
My God, What Have I Done?: In Helltower, when someone casts an ultimate spell, the mercs are left terror-stricken by the power of the magic spell.
Scout: "No! NO! It's too much magic! We toiled in God's domain! Oh no! I knew this would happen! I foresaw this!"
Demoman: "Too much magic! It's the devil's work!"
Heavy: "Heavy cannot believe eyes! Everything is insane!"
Engineer: "What dumb son of a bitch cast that?"
Medic: "I can't take any more of this insanity! Someone make the magic stop! Too much magic! I can't take it anymore!"
Sniper: "We used too much! The magic's in my bloody hand! It's only magic, it's only magic...!"
Soldier: "Son of a cussing cussword!"
Spy: "What the hell is that? What have you done? God, help us!"
My Rules Are Not Your Rules: In PVP maps, human players can't push the payload or carry intel while übercharged. In Mann vs Machine, bomb-carrying robots can be übercharged, which is part of the spawn pattern of some waves.
Named Weapons: The Heavy has some named miniguns (Sasha and Natascha), and naming one's items is possible thanks to the Name Tag.
Near Misses: A Scout under the effects of Bonk! Atomic Punch will dodge every attack until the drink wears off. Also, when an enemy shoots at you and narrowly misses, you can hear the bullet/flare/dart whiz by you.
Necro Cam: When you die, the camera shows you a still of whoever dealt the fatal blow (or his corpse/gibs), his health, and the weapon he currently has on hand. If your ragdoll appears in the shot, it may be labeled 'You!'. If you were gibbed, your body parts are marked with humorous labels such as 'Your head!', 'A bit of you!', 'More bits!', and so on.
Never Bareheaded: Five of the nine classes wear hats by default. Four of them can be made hatless by obtaining hat-free items equippable in the headwear slot. However:
The Soldier can only have his hat replaced by other hats.
The Spy and Pyro can't have their balaclavas and gas masks removed, either. The Pyro can, however, have his entire head replaced with a different mask. The Spy just wears whatever over his balaclava.
Never Trust a Trailer: The trailer for the Mann Vs. Machine update seems to suggest that the players would be divided into three RED players and three BLU players fighting against the AI-controlled robots. In the game, the players are six REDs fighting the robots who are on the BLU team, though this is less Gameplay and Story Segregation and more for the sake of easy identification.
The same trailer shows MvM being a Darker and Edgier arc, taking place during a stormy, snowy night, and having the robots ominously arrive like they're straight out of an alien movie. In actual gameplay, two of the MvM stages take place during broad, sunny daylight, and the robots act like a typical Tower Defense horde.
Never Was This Universe: Soldier's story about Sun Tzu may not be true, but in this universe, stairs were a nineteenth century invention. It's implied, however, that these differences may be due to the presence of magic, as well as Alien Space Bats.
Nice Hat: The unlockable hats introduced in the Sniper/Spy update began the madness, featuring nifty headwear of every possible size and shape, including several hats that are just hats stacked on top of hats.
They will also go down as one of the most base-breaking elements in video game history. Especially that goddamn halo.
Reporting that the Retraux "demake" Gang Garrison 2 has been updated, the TF2 blog says "it's pretty much better than TF2 in every possible way now. Except for the total lack of hats. Guess we know who the real pros are around here."
In one of the Halloween 2011 blog posts: "...We’re debating taking all of the scares out of this year's Halloween Special. For instance, one playtester thought the Pyro was a little scary, so we’ll probably remove him as a class. Someone else swore he remembered reading something about somebody getting hurt by a gun once. And that sounded scary. So probably no more guns, either. Then Dracula called from the hospital. "Hey guys," he said, "hats are pretty scary." Well, now, that must have been the morphine talking. So we’re adding more hats just to be safe." Valve tends towards a lot of Self-Deprecation when it comes to hats.
No Fair Cheating: "This server is VAC-secured. Cheating will result in a permanent ban." Cheating on VAC-secured servers can permanently ban your entire Steam account from VAC servers in any game.
Noisy Guns: Every weapon makes a distinct noise when you select it in the Backpack, or switch to it during gameplay.
No Name Given: Ignoring team affiliation, the Scout, Pyro, Heavy, Medic, and Spy's names haven't been revealed.
A fairly funny example is the map "Gorge", whose eponymous land feature according to a blog post is not a gorge but "a large-ish hole not big enough to meet the U.S. Geological Survey’s standards for a gorge, disguised as a by-the-book, nothing-to-see-here gorge."
The unlockable Heavy secondary "The Buffalo Steak Sandvich" is not a "sandvich", just a steak. ("Who needs bread?")
What the team names are acronyms for, Reliable Excavation & Demolition and Builder's League United, are rather the opposite of what the teams tend to when both sides don't have the same goal: RED is defense, while BLU is offense.
Furthermore, it's likely that neither of them do any construction or demolition; they're both intelligence agencies posing as holding companies.
In TF2, the sapper is responsible for clearing the enemy front lines by destroying Engineer buildings. In Real Life, a sapper is a military engineer responsible for construction and other tasks of military engineering on the front lines.
According to canon, the Australium Briefcase on the map Doomsday does not contain any Australium whatsoever.
Killing a Demoman in will cause all the explosive traps he's laid to disappear. There's even an achievement for the Heavy for removing a certain amount of traps by killing the Demomen that set them.
Similarly, killing an Engineer during Sudden Death and Arena mode will make all his buildings explode. Note that this does not happen in any other game mode, where the Engineer can then respawn and go back to his hopefully still standing buildings. If the Engineer switches to another class, all of his buildings will disappear. If he switches melee weapons (but not classes), his buildings will be destroyed, presumably because of the differences between build time of the Jag and different sentries for the Gunslinger.
Nose Art: It seems that the Heavy (and on the Hoodoo level, also the Scout) likes to graffiti the Payload carts.
Nostalgia Level: 2Fort, Badlands, Dustbowl, and Well, though they've been redesigned somewhat.
Notice This: Everything about the game's art direction is designed so you can figure out what's going on at a glance...
Each class has a unique silhouette, uniform, and character quirk. Valve wanted the characters to be immediately distinguishable by their physical build and their way of running.
The uniforms are the most brightly colored around the head and chest, to aid in the identification of the weapon each player is carrying.
The bases are uniquely themed with both color and architectural design, and you get color-coded arrows pointing you to the map objective.
The cart on Payload/Payload Race and the Intelligence on Capture The Flag have glowing outlines that can be seen through any obstacle. (Valve added this feature after something similar was successfully implemented in their Left 4 Dead series.)
Characters that are dominating you have a large icon over their heads.
No Hero Discount: In Mann Vs. Machine mode, Mann Co. charges you for all of your upgrades even though you're the only thing keeping their facilities from being destroyed. This is lampshaded numerous times in supplemental materials, as it turns out they're not even being paid for their services and the blurb for the canteen acts as if Mann Co was being super generous by giving them a small plastic container "filled to the damn brim with life-giving air".
No OSHA Compliance: Two out-of-control sawblades on the aptly-named 'Sawmill' map stand between the competing teams and the Control Point.
A few maps are also home to numerous Bottomless Pits that can be the death of many players, especially if the control point sits over one.
Parodied with faux-safety warnings put in the levels. RED's building on the ctf_2fort map, for example, has "building condemned" notices plastered on the front.
No One Could Survive That: With the introduction of the Dead Ringer cloaking watch, your opponents will probably be thinking this quite often. Watch as a Spy takes a direct hit from a critical rocket (something only two fully overhealed classes can survive), bursting into gooey bits... only to appear behind the Soldier who fired it.
Incidentally, the same item inverts the trope. Given that the Dead Ringer can activate when you suffer any damage, no matter how minuscule, be sure that enemies will be suspicious when you die from a single pistol shot.
No Recycling: Averted, as the Engineer can earn back most of a destroyed construction's metal by running over the scraps.
Not-So-Harmless Villain: Several classes that are usually meant to stay behind the lines/not get directly involved are actually devastating if they catch you by surprise thanks to their melee weapon's high crit rates.
Not the Fall That Kills You: The Scout can fall/jump from high places and double jump before a landing to negate any fall damage. The Soldier has a pair of tanker boots that also negates fall damage, but only if he's landing on an enemy from the jump. Other classes will take damage from a long fall, and at low health, can die from it. The kill feed will notify everyone of the player's clumsy, painful death. There's an achievement for the Medic for healing a player in the air that would've been killed from such a fall.
Number of the Beast: For the Halloween event of 2012, Coaltown has a wave of 666, and you fight zombies instead of robots.
One Bullet at a Time: The Stickybomb Launcher can only place 8 bombs at once. If you shoot any more, the first ones start detonating in sequence. The second launcher available, The Scottish Resistance, can have 14 bombs out at once but will only detonate the ones you are actually aiming at when pulling the trigger. Other projectiles in the game (such as rockets, arrows, flares and syringes) are only limited by their reload rate.
One Bullet Clips: Played straight or averted, depending on the weapon. Some weapons like the pistol and syringe gun replace the entire magazine. Others like the shotgun and rocket launcher reload one shot/rocket at a time. Miniguns and flamethrowers don't have a reload function; they just need an ammo supply to keep them loaded. Some weapons have literal One Bullet Clips such as all of the Sniper's primary weapons and the Crusader's Crossbow. The only weapon that doesn't reload like the others is the double-barreled Force-A-Nature; if you have one round in the barrel and reload, that unused round is lost.
One-Hit Kill: Headshots, backstabs, and killtaunts. While those attacks deal more damage than even a overhealed Heavy can take, they are survivable under some conditions, usually a Dead Ringer. Tele Frags, however, always kill.
A plugin called "Roll the Dice" has Instant Kill as one of the possible results. Predictably, this is best used with the Heavy, which can spray 1-hit kill bullets everywhere.
One-Hit Polykill: While the Righteous Bison and Machina (when fully charged) can do this by default, upgrades in Mann vs Machine can allow some weapons to do this.
One Nation Under Copyright: Reliable Excavation & Demolition controls one half of the world. Builder's League United controls the other half. The woman officiating the war between the two companies is the CEO of both of them.
One-Woman Wail: In the "ROBOTS!" soundtrack, a single woman hits the high notes of the melody near the end.
OOC Is Serious Business: Again in the Mann vs Machine Trailer. When the BLU Soldier and Demoman are found playing cards and smoking by the RED Heavy, Scout and Engineer, they expect to be slaughtered (you can see the Oh Crap in the Soldier's face). So when the RED Heavy instead tosses them a shotgun to arm themselves, they immediately know serious stuff is going down.
Organization with Unlimited Funding: TF Industries controls the world, utilizes armies of paper-pushers to solve problems, and has enough money to finance death rays, doomsday devices, bombs, and rockets, and outfit their mercenaries with guns that would be impossible today — in particular, they can resurrect the dead and build ammunition and health dispensers that defy the laws of thermodynamics, on a whim. In the sixties.
Ornamental Weapon: The Demoman's vest has extra pipes, the Pyro's bandolier has napalm grenades, and the Soldier carries a couple of frag grenades on his bandolier. The Soldier only uses a grenade in a kill taunt.
Our Slogan Is Terrible: The slogan for Mann Co. Ready-to-Use Corpse-Grade Quicklime is "Just Add Body!" And underneath on the bag, the bullet points read, "Minimal Residue", "Hose Down", and "Flowery Scent".
Overdrawn At The Bloodbank: The mercenaries lose a lot of blood when shot, especially if the weapon has a bleed effect. Coupled with the healing provided by a Medic, one can lose a lot of blood in a life.
Pacifist Run: The the Medic class achievement "First Do No Harm" entails reaching the top of the scoreboard in a game of six or more players on a team without killing anyone, instead relying on assist kills while healing others.
The Scout has a similar achievement called "No Hitter", where you take the intel and bring it back without firing a shot (the icon is even a dove holding an olive branch above an intel case).
Papa Wolf: The Sentries are often thought of as the Engineers' children. If the Engineer's Sentry is killed, and they are using the special Frontier Justice shotgun, which gives an automatic two critical hits for every time that the dead sentry got a kill, then you'd better "Start prayin', boy", 'cause if you're not uber-charged, you're one or two shots away from the respawn room. It's also clear from listening to his "<X> down!" lines that he sounds more distressed about Sentries being destroyed than any other buildingnote Although this may also be due to the fact that Sentries are usually watching important points. A Dispenser or Teleporter going down is a minor inconvenience but a sentry would likely mean the enemy is breaking through..
Paper-Thin Disguise: To their teammates (or supposed teammates, if a Spy disguises as the enemy Spy), Disguised Spies use this trope literally, wearing a paper mask with the face of the class they are impersonating (see the trope's page image).
Inexperienced spies can also result in this in-game. The easiest way to catch a Spy is to find one that isn't using their weapon. Medic and Pyro disguises pretty much give themselves away. The other, more combat-oriented classes make better disguises.
Hilariously and heavily lampshaded in the Sentry Operating Manual, where detailed instructions are given for sentry maintenance and upgrading, all of which boil down to "just keep smashing it with the wrench."
Plot-Based Photograph Obfuscation: Someone is obscured from the photograph of Zepheniah Mann and company, and his section of Zepheniah's will is similarly obscured. His will shows that he left the entirety of his something to somebody, and swore them to utmost secrecy in its keeping. In Loose Canon, the third recipient to a life-extender machine is out of the panel.
It was revealed that he left his entire stash of "miracle gravel" (implied to be Australium) to Elizabeth in order to keep it from Gray, who had previously tried to blackmail him for it, and it's implied that Gray is the third person who recieved a life extender machine.
The Points Mean Nothing: It doesn't matter how many points you get as long as your objective is done, though it's an indicator of how well you're helping your team and how balanced the teams are.
Prank Injuries: There's a hat that appears to be a butcher knife (actually a meat cleaver) stuck in the mercenary's head. It's unclear whether this is a real knife or not.
The cleaver looks exactly like one of the Scout's secondary slot ranged weapons, the Flying Guillotine.
Pre-Ass-Kicking One-Liner: The Engineer. "Start prayin', boy." note If the Engineer has the Frontier Justice equipped, when his sentry is destroyed, he gets revenge criticals based on the number of kills it had, boosting the damage up to 180 per shot if all pellets hit, enough to floor nearly any class in 1 shot, and a guaranteed 2 hit kill on any class that's not overhealed.
Premature Encapsulation: The first update to two simultaneous classes was named the "Sniper Vs. Spy Update". The next update, where kills between the two classes actually determined the results of the update, was known as the "WAR!" update.
Press X to Die: Pressing the taunt key as a Soldier with the Equalizer on hand will make him perform a taunt kill that blows him to gibsnote unless he has the Rocket Jumper equipped, which nullifies all self-inflicted blast damage, or has maximum blast resistance in Mann vs Machine. However, it'll also gib anyone within 6 feet. Also, typing "kill" or "explode" into the console will result in just that. It can even be bound to a key, for convenience.
Pretty Little Headshots: Exaggerated with most weapons, as headshots deal no extra damage at all. Played straight with the Spy's Ambassador and any of the Sniper's primaries.
Product Placement: The Preorder Bonus cosmetics above tend to become this for the game in question. Such cosmetics, with some such as Strong Bad's Dangeresque shades being specifically singled out by the game's creators, also have the negative tendency of destroying the game's art style, since futuristic monocles from the 21st century tend to clash badly when placed in a 1960s world.
Promoted Fangirl: Makani, a popular fan artist, created a very popular fanart of the Administrator, which eventually became her official design. She was later hired by Valve, and draws most of the comics that Valve releases these days.
As of the fully community created Robot Boogaloo update Valve promises a lot more of this.
Promoted Fanboy: Tony Paloma (AKA Drunken F00l), creator of the immensely popular SourceOP plugin and the infamous idling program, as well as (unjust) crafter of a Golden Wrench. He ended up being VAC-banned. Fast-forward to present day: Tony is now working for the TF2 team, after being hired by Valve last summer.
Valve often features fan works on TF2's main blog as well.
Properly Paranoid: While it pays for everybody to cognizant of threats (Spies in particular), priority targets such as Engineer and Medic tend to be more paranoid by necessity, and if a Pyro isn't bathing everything and everyone around them in a near-constant baptism of fire, then they're highly suspect.
Prop Recycling: Noticeable in the interior of some maps are a pair of extension cords that go from one wall and plug into an adjacent wall. Playing PropHunt in different maps allows the player to notice familiar-looking props. The trope is averted with promotional items (even items that appear in another Valve title such as Bill's Hat), as new models are created to fit the style of the game.
The Soldier, firing/swing his weapon while standing on a control point will yell, "Stand! On! The! Point! Maggots!", and when ignited, might shout, "I am on fire!"
Parodying There Will Be Blood, the Scout has, "I. Eat. Your. Sandviches! I eat 'em up!" He also has a bunch of other punctuated phrases along the lines of "You! Suck!" and "You! Are! Terrible!"
Punny Name: Bots with certain names will tend to favor certain classes - for example, CreditToTeam usually spawns as an Engineer (the Heavy, upon being teleported, will declare: "Engineer is credit to team!").