Offense Classes (The Scout | The Soldier | The Pyro)
Defense Classes (The Demoman | The Heavy | The Engineer)
Support Classes (The Medic | The Sniper | The Spy)
Real name: Unknown
Voiced by: Dennis Bateman (English), Serge Thiriet (French), Aleix Estadella (Spanish), Konstantin Karasik (Russian), Christoph Jablonka (German)The Spy is an enigmatic Frenchman constantly clad in a balaclava mask and an expensive two-piece suit, with a past shrouded in mystery and speculation. He does have a weird, snooty accent and acts like a James Bond ripoff, swooning women, smoking cigarettes, and having more class and manners than his teammates. Of course, he's Not So Above It All and can easily dismiss everyone else as halfwits, while he himself can sometimes roll with others' wacky antics for the hell of it. He has an affair with Scout's mom, and very well may be his biological father. This is the Spy's official TF2 Wiki page.Everyone, Meet the Spy!
The Spy, like other Support characters, is ill-suited for direct combat. With 125HP, 107% base speed, and his only proper firearm being a large-caliber revolver, one shouldn't seek open confrontation when playing as him. The Spy is a stealth-based class who uses espionage and trickery to infiltrate the enemy lines, as his wristwatch can render him invisible, and his cigarette case allows him to disguise as any class. His defining feature though is his ability to Back Stab people with his Knife, resulting in an instant kill in most circumstances. With that set of tools, the Spy can lurk in the enemy's side of the map, navigating through their defense and assassinate lone enemies or key targets like that one distracted Medic with his Ubercharge ready. Because of that, the Spy's possible presence shapes a lot of the meta-game, and people will be wary of Spies, checking corner and whether or not if anyone is a disguised Spy. His natural enemy is the Pyro, whose flame thrower can be easily spammed everywhere to detect any Spy.
The Spy shared an update with the Sniper, and they'd been trying to constantly kill each other over it.
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- Achilles' Heel:
- The most consistent problem any Spy will ever have is game knowledge. A Sniper's big strength comes from his unmatchable burst damage with the best range in the game. If you can't get out of his area of denial, you will almost never beat him.
- Spy's biggest strength is his ability to trick people. Spy's entire game plan is centralized around personal knowledge and disinformation. A great spy can fool a team into letting its guard down and getting on a killing spree.
- But as time went on, many viable Spy tricks like back-walking towards enemy teams and trick stabs simply don't work on a lot of players now because they're all heavily dependent on the element of surprise and nobody is really surprised anymore after 12 years of the constantly-evolving metagame. Even then, after the art of Spy-checking (shooting at your teammates to see if they are a Spy in disguise) becomes a free-for-all, thanks to friendly-fire getting disabled, it's pretty much second nature for many classes to litter any nook and cranny on the map with gunfire to check for a potential Spy hiding while invisible or just occasionally turning around during conflicts to ensure a Spy won't stab them. It doesn't really matter what class you are or how good you are, simply knowing what a Spy will likely do is enough to counter him entirely. This is especially true in competitive play where Spy is considered the worst class by a long mile, to the point that even if the Spy somehow becomes a mandatory pick, he's almost always reduced to just an intel feeder who occasionally goes for a trade with high-value targets because no one will be fooled by the disguise because of the smaller, tighter team structure. When playing with 8 coordinated people who are all limited to one class, there's certainly no way that when someone dies the rest of the team won't immediately shoot the place up.
- Pyros are the absolute bane of Spies. The afterburn caused by their flamethrowers makes a Spy just as vulnerable to being burned to death as the other 125-HP classes, though what really screws him over is that being on fire will give him away as a Spy during his most important functions (disguising and cloaking). And since Pyros often form a partnership with Engineers, destroying sentry nests can be exceedingly difficult, especially if said Pyro has a Homewrecker or a Neon Annihilator, which are the only melee weapons other than the Engineer's Wrenches that can destroy Sappers. Thankfully, afterburn was nerfed in the Jungle Inferno update to only apply for the time that player was doused in flames, with a hard minimum of afterburn for 2 seconds.
- Snipers. While an unprepared Sniper is an easy meal for a Spy, the various tools they possess can easily screw up even the best of them. Jarate will form a layer of yellow around the afflicted Spy and make him visible, not only making him an easy target to take down, but also makes him take more damage than he would normally. There's also the Razorback, which pretty much renders a Sniper immune to the first backstab they receive in each life. Although it's a huge sign to notice, so most Spies just switch to their Diamondback or Ambassador and kill those Snipers in only a few seconds.
- Scouts. While most classes are easy for a Spy to backstab, Scouts are astronomically difficult to catch without a planned ambush due to their sheer speed and evasiveness, and they can easily dodge any Revolver (because of their slow fire rate) while blasting the Spy away with the Scattergun in a straight one-on-one fight. On top of that, being hit by a Scout's Mad Milk will also expose Spy, much like Jarate, only that instead of hurting the Spy more, it lets Scout and his teammates to heal off of shooting him, ultimately undoing any damage a Spy may have made with their revolvers.
- Archnemesis Dad: To his adult son, Scout, although in the comics and Expiration Date short itís more of a comedic workplace animosity than a bloody hatred between them. For his part, Spy likes to mock and belittle Scout like heís an idiotic and low-class annoyance, and when convinced to help him score a date with Ms. Pauling he takes obvious amusement in painfully smacking him around as discipline, culminating in a smug and satisfied smirk when he thinks theyíre both about to die with Scout being a failure. Scout in turn is more than happy to return the sentiment by screwing with him until he actually needs his help. Ingame the animosity turns into hilariously juvenile taunts the two will throw at each other as Domination lines, with Spy in particular going out of his way to make fun of things like banging his mom, putting on an annoying high-pitched voice to mock him, and making fun of Scout for (to his knowledge, at least) dying a virgin.Spy: May I borrow your earpiece? [mocking high-pitched voice] "This is Scout! Rainbows make me cry! Over!"
- A Glass of Chianti: Some of the Meet Your Match quotes indicate that he has a certain knowledge in wines. He likes to let them "breathe" for a brief moment and he seems to like the "1942 Chateau Backstab". One of Miss Paulings' contract quotes has Spy hosting a wine-tasting session. He is also seen sipping a glass of wine in Expiration Date and as part of his Luxury Lounge taunt.
- Apologetic Attacker: Many of his kill lines are some variant of "My apologies", usually with a barely-hidden sarcastic tone.
- An Ice Person: He gets a bit of this with the Spy-cicle, a "knife" in the form of a simple icicle which freezes enemies into ice statues on backstabs. Offensively, this isn't much more than a cosmetic effect (and in fact is actually listed as a downside since it makes what weapon you're using very obvious to the opposing team), but it carries an additional benefit of melting if the Spy holding it is hit by fire, negating its damage and keeping him immune to afterburn for several seconds, albeit at the cost of using it as a knife and needing to wait for it to recharge.
- Animal Motifs: Snakes, due to his sneakiness and the instantly fatal nature of his attacks. His Nanobalaclava item gives him a slightly serpentine appearance, while he also slightly draws out his 's'es as in Snake Talk, including having a Sudden Death jeer that's literally a frustrated hiss. The Your Eternal Reward was based on Jafar's weapon, who not only was disguised as another person while using it, but is also associated with vipers. Finally, he has the Backstabber's Boomslang as a cosmetic, a pet venomous tree-snake which hangs out of his arm. The motifs are not lost on enemies who dominate him:Engineer: Dominated, you SNAKE!Demoman: Yer a back-pokin' snake, and by God you'll die like one!Sniper: Backstab that, ya snake!
- Antagonist Abilities: Everyone else fights using their own skills and fairly straightforward tools (Ie. Healing ray invented by self, turret guns, explosives, firearms and bludgeons, etc.). Spy uses mail-order magic invisibility watches and disguise kits to jump pass the whole "Fight" bit and get to the "I win" bit.
- Anti-Structure: His Sappers function as a tool specifically designed to screw over Engineer buildings, with two possible options:
- The default Sapper, when applied onto an enemy building, immediately causes them to cease functioning, then rapidly drains their health, destroying them once they hit zero. The Engineer the building belongs to will immediately be notified of their building being sapped, and Sappers are removed after someone hits the building twice with a wrench (thrice if they use the Jag), but if someone manages to stop the Engineer from doing so (or better yet, kill them before you start sapping), Sappers can be a devastating tool for destroying backlines. It has functionally infinite ammo, an instant cooldown, and — unlike the Spy's other weapons — doesn't remove disguises, meaning it's really easy to slap onto clusters of enemy buildings if they happen to all occupy the same space.
- The Red-Tape Recorder has much of the same mechanical properties as the vanilla option, but instead of doing direct damage over time to the enemy structure, it reverses their building process, with Engineers needing to invest re-upgrading any levels lost even if they manage to remove the sapper. This is a considerably slower and more indirect means of messing with buildings, but it does have its uses: its slower drain speed can really punish inattentive Engies as they must either manually remove the sapper or wait twice as long for the building to expire for them to replace it, since Engineers can't manually destroy buildings as they're being sapped. This can especially mess up Gunslinger Engineers dedicated to plopping down more disposable, lower-maintenance mini-sentries.
- In MvM, due to the considerable lack of enemy buildings, Sappers instead function as a disabling tool that briefly stuns (but does not damage) enemy robots, groups at a time when upgraded.
- Ascended Glitch: The Spy class itself was inspired by a bug in the original Team Fortress, where players would sometimes see other players with the wrong team's color.
- Ascended Meme:
- The "Spycrab" trend is something a Spy can do by taking out their disguise kit and looking directly up while walking forwards, causing the Spy to waddle forward with his arms cocked above his head like a crab's pincers. Not only does he have an exclusive cosmetic, the literal "Spycrab", dedicated to this trend, it is revealed in "The Naked and the Dead" that Spy buys his suits custom tailored from "Louis Crabbemarché": a direct French translation of "Crabwalk".
- One Tough Break contract voiceline has him uncork a bottle of "1962 Chateau Matador". Incidentally, "matador" is fan slang for when a Spy manipulates an aware enemy's vision to backstab them from the front.
- Assassin Outclassin': When dominating enemy Spies.Spy: "You are an embarrassment to spies everywhere!"
- Awesome, but Impractical:
- The Spy as a whole fits into this, especially when under the scrutiny of competitive play. He's undeniably one of the most thrilling characters to play, with a menagerie of unique tools including stealth, sappers, disguises, and most famous of all, One-Hit Kill backstabs, all contributing to a conceptually powerful role as a deceptive saboteur. This ends up being offset, however, by both his mechanical difficulty, as well as the fact that this ends up accomplishing things which other classes can do more consistently — backstabs secure picks on important targets, but so can a Sniper with good aim, and he doesn't need to reach breathing distance to do so. Sappers can put enemy buildings out of commission, but Demomen and Soldiers each come with better options for blowing them up entirely, again from a long range. Spies are also hugely gapped by experience and communication, with veterans able to spot disguised spies just by recognizing odd behaviors, and any Spy whose position has been pinpointed by an enemy team with good coordination is almost always as good as dead. Spies are very rare in competitive games as a result, and in the rare cases you do see one, it's usually to capitalize on other, much more abstract traits (such as using his invisibility for reconnaissance and gathering intel on the enemy), and it's widely accepted that he will die immediately after getting one kill, with the value coming from making sure that the kill is on a very important target.
- Many experienced Spy mains will tell you that trickstabsnote shouldn't be something done on a daily basis. They do look awesome and is often rewarding to one's ego, like seeing a Spy run up a ramp before jumping backwards to kill the pursuing Pyro, but they should only be used as a last resort, since it requires you to take a blind guess as to what the enemy player will do (new players are unpredictable, veterans are savvy enough to see when a trickstab is attempted), and if you trickstab enough times your enemies will likely wise up and stop falling for them.
- Another variant of the trickstab is the Matador stab, where the Spy takes a sudden sidestep or large turn to backstab anyone who's charging him on even ground. Handy for killing rushing players who see a Spy out in the open and don't expect to be backstabbed, but it's easily countered by just keeping your distance from melee range and taking wide turns around corners. Chances are that not many players are going to fall for it after being on the receiving end for about one or two times.
- Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other:
- Meet the Spy reveals that he had slept with the Scout's mother in a particularly explicit display judging from Heavy's and Soldier's shocked/aroused reaction to the photo evidence, but to the Spy it wasn't just a one-night stand - after stealing BLU's intel, he goes out of his way to grab the most romantic photo of them holding hands together, cracks a warm smile and leaves with it in his pocket.
- It's extremely one-sided, but when Spy thinks Scout is about to die of blood loss in "The Naked and the Dead," he, with Sniper's urging, confesses to him that he is his long-absent father, and that he loves him. However, he does it while disguised as Tom Jones, letting Scout die happy, thinking his father is someone he looked up to. It's implied that, despite feeling guilty for not revealing their blood relation, he knows Scout would be devastated by the truth due to his enmity towards him in the present. And even when Spy is vocally frustrated about Scout reviving mere moments later, completely deflating the intense emotions of that moment, his expression implies he's holding back Tears of Joy.
- Badass in a Nice Suit: According to the comics and one in-game line, the suit and tie alone are worth a whopping $10,000. No wonder he gets all pissed when you get blood (or worse, Jarate or Mad Milk) on it.
- Balance Buff: A few days into the Gun Mettle Update, the Spy's base movement speed was buffed from 100% to 107%, the same speed as the Medic's. This change gives the Spy a marginally easier time zooming away from some of his biggest threats... and catching one of his biggest targets.
- Batman Gambit: A large part of effective Spy tactics, especially against Engineers, who can generally be relied upon when it comes to immediately drop everything and rush towards their equipment whenever it's damaged, and also make frequent trips between an ammo source and their equipment. The ability to predict the actions of an opposing player is what generally sets veteran Spies apart from new ones.
- Also comes up in the "Meet the Spy" video, with the BLU team trying to find a RED Spy in their base. The Soldier, being the crackpot that he is, eventually kills the BLU Spy thinking he's the intruder. It's actually the BLU Scout, who drops his disguise and proceeds to kill everyone else.
- Berserk Button: He loathes getting hit by Jarate. Considering what Jarate is, it's not surprising.
Spy: I still don't see why you couldn't have stolen some pants off the dead man.
- In general, Spy does not take it well when his suit gets soiled (or is in danger of it). In The Naked and The Dead, he goes off at the mere suggestion that Sniper use his coat to cover himself (since he's naked and covered in blood as a result of being recently revived by Medic):
Sniper: Y'do know what people do in their pants when they die, right?
Spy: Yes. I am aware. It would still be preferable.
Sniper: 'Ere, I've got an idea. Give us your coat.
Sniper: I said give us y-
Spy: I heard exactly what vou said. Bushman, this is a $10,000 custom-tailored Louis Crabbemarché jacket. The cloth is from silkworms raised at a suit microfarm in Tuscany, from a secret pattern passed down by monk tailors since the seventeenth century. I will let you use it as an adult diaper...when you pry it off of my cold, dead body.
- Big "NO!": The Spy, when he gets hit by...Spy: "Jarate? Nooooooooo!"
- Also done mockingly in a taunt assigned to when a Spy is being ÜberCharged and attacking:Spy: "They should call you whiners 'Dr. NOOOOOO!'"
- Also done mockingly in a taunt assigned to when a Spy is being ÜberCharged and attacking:
- Big "OMG!": He gives one in French when getting hit by Jarate and finding out what it is.Spy: "Is this... MON DIEU!"note
- Blending-In Stealth Gameplay: This is the Spy class's main ability. They can randomly take the appearance of anyone on the opposing team or their own team in order to get close enough to use their One-Hit Kill backstab.
- Boom, Headshot!: The Spy's Ambassador is the only weapon in the game aside from the Sniper's rifles that can benefit from headshots.
- Bond One-Liner: "I never really was on your side...", among others.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: He is well-aware that his presence isn't popular or expected in the competitive scene."Finally, you've come to your senses and welcomed a Spy to your ranks!""Finally, 6s is worth playing, because you can play as me."
- Brief Accent Imitation: In a few of his lines to an enemy Scout and Engineer.
- ÖBut He Sounds Handsome:
- When dominating an enemy Spy, he may say "I'll see you in Hell, you handsome rogue!". Since the two Spies look identical except for color scheme, he's really just complimenting himself.
- Inverted in "Meet the Spy". The RED Spy uses his disguise as the BLU Scout to make fun of himself (and insult his opposite number at the same time)."BLU Scout": Oooh, big problem. I've killed plenty of Spies; they're dime-a-dozen back-stabbing scumbags - like you! No offense.
- Butt-Monkey: The BLU Spy is subjected to some comically brutal treatment in "Meet the Soldier", "Meet the Sniper", "Meet the Spy", "Meet the Demoman", and "Meet the Medic". In all videos, he dies in various gruesome ways — being hit in the face with a shovel before being decapitated and mounted on the Soldier's fence, being stabbed all the way through with a Kukri, having his head blasted off with a Shotgun by the oblivious BLU Soldier, and being exploded in a Stickybomb trap with the rest of his team respectively — and his disembodied head is kept alive and openly begging for death after being attached to a life-support battery in the Medic's fridge in the last one.BLU Spy's head: [flatly] Kill me.RED Medic: [ignoring him, as he reaches for a nearby Mega Baboon heart] Later.
- The Casanova: The Spy is an extremely romantic man, with his official description pegging him as a "ladykiller (metaphorically), and [a] mankiller (for real)." One of his in-game lines even implies that he can set up orgies with little effort:Spy: I like my teams like I like my romances: in groups of six.
- Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys: Averted, although some of the Soldier's domination lines invoke this on him.Soldier: Dominated, you rifle-dropping coward. [...] Your white flag does not stop American bullets!
- Coat, Hat, Mask: He has the suit and the mask as part of his default look, with his cosmetic pool further made up of various stylish hats, suit jackets, and the occasional Badass Longcoat. Particular mention goes to the Fancy Fedora, the Federal Casemaker, the Au Courant Assassin, and the Chicago Overcoat.
- Combat Pragmatist: Definitely the biggest example after the Engineer, who lets his buildings do the fighting for him. He utilizes invisibility, instant-kill attacks, and the ability to disguise as part of his job description. And let's be frank - with his meager sum of base health and no other methods to make up for itnote , he kind of NEEDS to fight dirty in order to survive.
- The Comically Serious: With the "Love and War" update he becomes the embodiment of this trope. Half of his voice lines from this update are him either being lightly amused or saying the same line with an annoyed or deadpan tone in his voice. He still has his moments.The Spy: "I have a tie. I'm wearing it, it's silk, and it costs $9000. I do not need another one!"
- Confronting Your Imposter: One of the Spy's most dangerous (and not to mention awkward) moments is to run into the person he's disguised as. There's even an achievement for doing this in-gamenote
- Convenient Color Change: This is part of the Spy's infiltration.
- Crippling Overspecialisation:
- He's seen as the lowest-tier class in competitive formats not because he's a bad class on his own, but because his role is so specialized that other classes (particularly Sniper) paradoxically end up doing his job better than him. The only reason he ever saw action outside of Highlander (where you run one of each class) is because nobody expects you to run a Spy.
- In MVM, he's typically built towards eliminating Giants: though his Back Stab requires the armor piercing upgrade to deal the considerable damage it is known for, it still deals quite a lot per hit, and it's especially effective against Giant Medics which won't turn around to retaliate when stabbed. Outside of this and his middling-to-underpowered disruption via robot sappers, he has very little other capabilities that simply blasting metal into scraps won't also solve. That said, when it comes to support he's only outperformed by Scout and Engineer, as his disguises are effective at letting him walk straight into a horde of robots and collect money without trouble and his sappers can stall giants and stop hordes, in addition to being able to single out Snipers that give his team trouble.
- Critical Hit Class: Spy's Back Stab is considered a critical hit by the game, and it's powerful enough to completely bypass any opponents health advantage save for an Uber.
- The Ambassador is the only non-Sniper weapon that allows headshots, giving the Spy a considerable damage boost in one-on-one fights if he can aim well at close range.
- The Diamondback grants itself critical hits if an Engineers building is sapped or if someone is backstabbed, making it monstrously powerful for Spies who are good enough at their jobs to store a reservoir of crits when they need them.
- Crutch Character: Spy with the Spy-cicle is this when compared to those with any other knife. Whereas other knives aside from stock start him off on an active disadvantage before rewarding him for getting successful backstabs, the Spy-cicle comes with a passive benefit of extinguishing any flames he may end up getting hit with, making him significantly fireproof and able to survive spy-checking Pyros, one of his biggest weaknesses. However, this extinguishing effect deprives you of a knife entirely for several seconds, meaning you'll need to wait for it to respawn or resort to using your revolver to fight. Other weaknesses include the fact the extinguishing sound is loud and something an alert Pyro can take notice of, and the fact that backstabs turn stab victims into ice sculptures — since the Spy-cicle is the only weapon in the game with this power, it's a huge red flag to the enemy team to watch out for Spies that may be carrying the weapon.
- Cutscene Power to the Max: In-game, Spy's non-backstab attacks with the Knife deal piss-poor damage, and if he can't pull off a trick-stab, he's dead (Dead Ringer notwithstanding) unless he makes a really good retreat. In the promotional material, he's shown to be surprisingly deadly in one-on-one combat; in "Meet The Spy", he takes out a bonesaw-wielding BLU Medic by breaking his arm (and neck) with just his bare hands, since he'd already lost his Knife while assassinating a Sniper. In the same video he's also able to instantly destroy an Engineer's sentry from range by sliding his sapper underneath it, then kill the Engineer with a headshot from his standard revolver, even though the Ambassador is the only revolver in his arsenal that can deal headshot crit damage.
- Dashingly Dapper Derby: His Backbiter's Billycock hat is a team-colored bowler hat. Can overlap with Dastardly Dapper Derby, if the Spy is on the enemy team.
- Deadpan Snarker: Compared to his childish insults in-game, he hands out some surprisingly good quips in the comics.
- Devious Daggers: Spy is known for two things: his sneakiness, thanks to being able to both turn invisible and disguise himself as an enemy, and his ability to inflict a One-Hit Kill with a Back Stab from his butterfly knife.
- Difficult, but Awesome:
- People who are new to the Spy class will feebly attempt a backstab and continue to jab at their foes until he is inevitably gunned down or forced to flee using a Dead Ringer. A good Spy will commit the size and shape of the map they're in to muscle memory and surprise his enemies, fake people out by walking one way before cloaking and changing directions, get back-to-back headshots with the Ambassador, and know when the perfect opportunity for a chainstab comes.
- That said, the Spy is actually the only class which can counter every other class with impunity, but unless you're actually good at quick-switching weapons and have the reflexes to use them, you'll be lucky to average 1 kill per lifetime, whereas other classes aside from the Medic can easily average an upwards of 5 kills per life. At the same time, who a Spy kills is more important than how many, so often make that stab count.
- The best spies are those that avoid the trap of Complacent Gaming Syndrome, basically switching up their loadout, disguises and tactics to keep the enemy team guessing. If you keep using the same disguise, the enemy team will notice, keep using the Dead Ringer, and people will plan for it. On the other hand, disguise as a class no-one would expect, like Heavy or Demoman, and they will never see the knife coming.
- Diminishing Returns for Balance: Just like the Sniper, one (maybe two) Spies is sufficient enough for the "precision-elimination" role and curb the enemy's numbers from behind while forcing them to take precautions that slow them down ever so slightly. Too many will make any kind of progress slow to a crawl due to the lack of frontline units (Scouts, Soldiers and the likes) any team needed to win, and an overabundance of Spies leads to the enemy team becoming Properly Paranoid before long.
- Dirty Coward: Discussed and subverted; while the Spy is as brave as the rest of the mercenaries, the others are quick to label him a coward due to his preference for deception and subterfuge over direct confrontation — or, in Soldier's case, because he's French.Scout: Dominated, ya shapeshifting rat!
Scout: Hard to stab a guy in the back when he's beating your frickin' head in, huh?
Soldier: Dominated, ya rifle-dropping coward!
Soldier: Your White Flag does not stop American bullets!
Demoman: Dominated, ya alley-skulking backstabber!
Demoman: You're a back-poking snake, and by God you'll die like one!
Demoman: I hope I didn't scare you with my face-to-face man-fighting!
Engineer: Slither on back to Hell, coward!
Engineer: That's what my daddy taught me to do to backstabbers!
Engineer: You are a coward and a scoundrel!
Sniper: Sneak around that, ya phony scoundrel!
Sniper: Cloak yer way outta that, ya filthy spook!
Sniper: I win, ya bloody, backstabbing fraud!
- Dissonant Serenity: Part of his schtick of being a high-class gentleman. Being set on fire barely does much to dissuade him, injuries only get a rise out of him if they're fatal AND incredibly painful (for example, himself being the backstabbed victim), and falling into the depths of hell starts boring him halfway through.
- In-game, invisible Spies can take peaceful strolls behind enemy lines with little to worry about until their cloak runs out and can often backstab many of the more fearsome enemies in the game very easily.
- Distressed Dude: In "The Naked and the Dead", the Classic Sniper kneecaps him when Spy tries to lure him out of his nest, disguised as the Classic Engineer. Without the option of using a cyanide cigarette to escape the torture Classic Sniper had planned for him, he could only stall for time until Sniper managed to come around through the window and blows his Classic counterpart's head off.
- Dressing as the Enemy: The Spy can disguise himself as an enemy player of any class, wearing clothing of the opposite color while doing so.
- Enemy Scan: The Spy has the unique ability to see enemy players' current HP and enemy Medics' Übercharge percentage, making him good at feeding information to his allies. In competitive play, his disguise ability can also be used for intel purposes, letting him scout for off-classes (if your disguise doesn't have a stock loadout with no cosmetics, then the enemy has a player of that class) and the Medigun that the enemy Medic is using.
- Evil Laugh: Subverted. During the Schadenfreude taunt, he laughs, then begins snorting. See Un Evil Laugh below.
- Even the Guys Want Him: If the description for the Ninja Cowl is anything to go by.
- Everything Sounds Sexier in French: His seduction of the Scout's mother probably counts.
- At the end of his video, he calls her "Ma petit chou-fleur" ("My little cauliflower")note .
- Face Palm: The Spy on any given losing team is seen doing this (unless he's in disguise) during Humiliation. The Square Dance Taunt causes the same reaction.
- Fair-Weather Friend: Left Scout's mother when he found out that he had gotten her pregnant, but returned many, many times to have sex with her while pointedly not sticking around to actually raise his son.
- False Friend: After he disguises and makes a kill.Spy: I never really was on your side...
- False Teeth Tomfoolery: An espionage variant. Usually, you hear about some spies having false teeth containing microfilm and the like. Roughly a fourth of the Spy's teeth, at least as far as we've seen, are all false, containing the various elements to a miniature dinner by candlelight. He also has teeth containing a tiny passport, and a tiny roll of toilet paper. While being tortured by the Classic team, he also reveals that he has a cyanide capsule in one tooth, and offers to share the contents with Miss Pauling. They end up not being able to use it.
- Fedora of Asskicking: If there are any players who still have Spy's first hat, The Fancy Fedora, expect some professional play.
- First-Name Basis: Most of the classes refer to each other only by their class titles, or by a nickname, like "Demo," or "Engie". The comic "Old Wounds" has Spy referring to Heavy by his given name of Mikhail◊, though, being the first class to canonically do so.
- Foreign Cuss Word: One of the Spy's responses for losing a match or going to sudden death is "Ohhhhh... merde." "Merde" is the French word for "shit".
- Fragile Speedster: In some circumstances. The "Meet Your Match" update buffed his base speed from 100% (baseline) to 107% (same as Medic's), and the post-Gun Mettle Dead Ringer grants him a speed bonus for 3 seconds upon activation. For more fragility and speed, he can equip the Big Earner—20% less health and a speed boost on backstab.
- French Jerk: Is quite condescending towards his enemies and allies alike, particularly Scout.
- Friend to All Children: Maybe not all children, but the BLU Spy seems pretty happy to be giving a kid a piggyback ride in this newspaper image.
- Gadget Watches: One of his item slots are dedicated to "Invis Watches", which give him his signature power to go invisible. His default option is a silver wristwatch that provides stealth while gradually draining its battery life, the Cloak and Dagger is a gold wristwatch that has a much faster drain rate but can naturally recharge if he's standing still, even while invisible, and the Dead Ringer is a gold pocket watch that — when fully charged — causes him to feign his death upon taking damage, becoming invisible while leaving behind a corpse.
- Glamour Failure: Spies often have to be as careful or more so than the people they're trying to backstab, as there are a lot of ways for his disguise or cloak to be exposed, including but not limited to:
- Being set on fire by an enemy Pyro.
- Bumping into an enemy (causes his cloak to flicker and enemies can't pass through opposing players).
- Getting splashed with Jarate or Mad Milk.
- Not getting shot at by an 'enemy' Sentry Gun.
- Being hit by anything while cloaked.
- Calling for a Medic and having the wrong speech bubble color for his apparent health level.
- Glass Cannon: He's a very squishy character limited in mobility and the ability to carry himself in a straight-on fight, but his ability to instakill enemies with a trusty Back Stab can utterly ruin someone's day. The Conniver's Kunai takes it to its logical extreme by reducing him to a mere 70 HP at the start, but allowing him to drastically overheal himself upon getting his first backstab, making him bulky enough to continue a nasty backstab chain or temporarily retreat to terrify the enemy team all over again.
- Gratuitous Disco Sequence: Does a disco dance in his Disco Fever taunt.
- Gratuitous French: It's a given. "Ohh, merde."
- Gratuitous Spanish: "My appreciation, amigo."
- The Grays: Spy is human, but the Graylien cosmetic turns what we can see of his face into the typical grey alien look.
- Guest Fighter: He appears as a playable racer in Sonic & All-Stars Racing: Transformed, with the Pyro and Heavy.
- Head Pet: Spy has one of these in the form of Monsieur Grenouillenote , a large frog who sits atop a French beret on his head while wearing a beret (and smoking a cigarette) of his own. While they don't go directly on his head, Spy can also equip the Spycrabnote , the Backstabber's Boomslangnote , Aristotlenote or the Bird's Eye Viewernote , all of whom he carries on his shoulders.
- Heroic BSoD: In "The Naked And The Dead", Spy looks downright heartbroken when Scout dies in his arms after indirectly confessing that he is in fact his father. The next time we see him, he coldly ponders his revenge when Sniper asks if they should bury Scout.Sniper: Should we bury 'im?
- Hidden Depths:
- The RED Spy seems to be genuinely in love with the BLU Scout's mother, as apparent from his warm smile when he finds a photograph of them holding hands in a parking lot.
- In the 2011 Christmas comic, the BLU Spy has a surprisingly tender conversation with a frightened child and even gives him a piggyback ride later on.
- When everyone thought they were going to die of cancer from using the teleporters too much, Spy spearheaded a bucket list initiative so that he and the rest of the mercenaries could make the most out of the time they had left, complete with a riveting speech. If it wasn't for Scout's foolishness and his team's apathy, he probably would've gone through with it all.
- As of The Naked and the Dead, it is revealed that Spy is very much proud of his son, Scout, despite both their Jerkass tendencies and his abandonment of Scout, even though he's afraid to say it without a disguise (likely because he's aware of how much Scout hates him and wants his son to die happily).
- Ho Yay: Invoked in "Expiration Date". "SEDUCE ME!" Doubles as Squick since the Spy is Scout's father.
- Hypocrite: Two of his domination taunts against a Scout are "So, your deadly skill is jogging? Mine is murdering people." and "You died as you lived: running away!". Yet Spies themselves in-game also spend a good amount of time tucking tail and running from trouble (usually cloaked) and simply can't compete with competent Scouts in terms of kill efficiency.
- Even worse, the supplementary materials reveal that Spy's canonically a deadbeat dad who effectively abandoned Scout for most of his life. Given how positively (and understandably) miffed Scout is by this, Spy has no right to mock Scout for "running away" when a.) the Scout already is a class suited for close-combat confrontation while the Spy is not, and b.) his own effective abandonment of Scout.
- I Banged Your Mom: The Spy is having an affair with the Scout's mom. He even taunts him about it occasionally when dominating him. It turns out to actually be true (complete with photographic evidence). Except the "affair" part..Spy: "Well, off to visit your mother!"
- Implacable Man: This is what a master Spy player is, even to his checks. Pyro's and Scouts get shot, Snipers get out-witted, and even experienced players find their best strategies ruined. These spies even use the kill feed to determine the best course of attack and ambush.
- Incredibly Obvious Bug: The Spy parodies the Spy Cam trope with the Camera Beard and Shutterbug hats, which have giant lenses clearly visible.
- Ineffectual Loner: No matter how skilled a Spy is, he alone cannot win a match (unless the enemy is supremely incompetent). A sufficiently destructive Spy who manages to draw the wrath of the entire enemy team still needs a teammate to capture the point, push the cart, steal the flag, etc.
- Instant Death Stab: Played with; his knives do little damage from the front. In the Back, however, they will kill an enemy instantly, provided that they are not Ubercharged.
- Interface Spoiler: Spies get an achievement, Master of Disguise, for tricking enemy Medics into healing them. Any sane medics paying attention to the chat and announcements may notice this achievement dropping after they start healing someone (granted this is only a problem the first time). Using chat commands can also give away their disguise as the dialogue in chat will appear in the team the Spy actually belongs to.
- Invisibility: One of the Spy's unique features is the ability to "cloak" using his Invis-Watch, allowing him to move unnoticed through enemy lines or make a quick escape, though he can't attack or interact with objectives while in stealth.
- Invisible Jerkass: Using the Cloak and Dagger's perma-invisibility for the sole purpose of screaming "NEED A DISPENSER HEAH" or "POOTISPENSER HERE" in the enemy Engineer's ears all day is a legitimate way to distract them.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: There is an affectionate heart somewhere in there, just buried deep under many layers of arrogance and stiff formality. Namely, he does seem to be sincerely enamored with Scout's mother, is willing to put up Scout's antics and help him out (such as helping him fufill his dying wish of dating Ms. Pauling, driving him to the bank when his arms were broken, comforting him in the form of Tom Jones when it seemed like he was bleeding to death, etc.), and was wholly committed to using his last living days on earth to help the rest of his team complete their dying wishes before cancer took them all (before he found out nobody really cares that they're dying).
- Jerk With A Heart Of Jerk: Probably ranks as one of the higher jerks in the game, since he often shows that despite how handsome and charming he can appear, it is really just an act. In battle he frequently drops it and resorts to petty insults and juvenile taunting. He'll also lose his cool if certain things happen to him: one of his responses to Jarate is an amazingly vicious growl of "I hate you!". However, he's clever enough to do nice things to make himself look good, but still sports a very belittling attitude while doing it...
- Ladykiller in Love: The RED Spy with the BLU Scout's mother.
- Lean and Mean: Just listen to how fond he is of fat-shaming the Heavy when he dominates him; practically everything he says is a spiteful jab at his weight.Spy: You died as you lived... morbidly obese!Spy: Aww... too bad this wasn't a pie-eating contest!Spy: Oh, what's the matter? Fat got your tongue?! [laughs mockingly]Spy: Your precious Sandvich won't save you now, fatty.
- Leitmotif: Right Behind You, and Petite Chou-Fleur.
- Like You Were Dying: Encourages the team to do this during "Expiration Date", but save Scout, none of them do and he himself seems content to spend his last few days on Earth relaxing in his room.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: "Meet the Spy" reveals that the RED Spy is dating the BLU Scout's mother. The trope is lampshaded: there's currently an achievement for killing Scouts called "Who's Your Daddy?". In the comic "A Cold Day in Hell", the RED Scout dreams that his father is the RED Spy. In "Blood in the Water" Scout explains to Heavy that his dad disappeared on him and his ma and Heavy replies that Scout's father "disappears often."
Pauling: [in a fax] Hey, Spy. Pauling. I took care of that DNA test for you. You owe me one and I'm cashing it in. Take care of this.
- Then there's his contract...
- Finally in "The Naked and the Dead", Spy admits that he is Scout's dad. He's still nervous though, and he disguises himself as Tom Jones to do it.
- Magikarp Power: Several of the Spy's optional knives only carry power through a successful Back Stab, and as a tradeoff to their benefits, he requires beginning at a steep disadvantage when compared to using the stock knife. The floodgates really open once he gets that precious first Back Stab, as each one greatly improves his survivability, lethality against enemy groups, or some combination of the two.
- The Conniver's Kunai reduces his HP down to 70, low enough for a stray shotgun blast or lucky grenade to instantly kill him if the player isn't careful while sneaking, and God help them if they're actually caught. However, on a backstab the knife will give the user a considerable overheal boost based on the opponent killed, with Heavies in particular boosting him to over 200 HP, enough for him to challenge someone in a fight, endure enough punishment from attackers to go for another backstab on someone unaware of his presence, or make a getaway with plenty of health to spare.
- Your Eternal Reward makes disguises cost the entirety of the Spys cloak meter to put on even one disguise, and drains it at a drastic rate if it's ever used. As a tradeoff, backstabs are now almost completely silent save for a soft stabbing sound, corpses will vanish in a second and the kill will never appear in the killfeed on top of instantly disguising him as the victim killed. In the best-case scenarios, this means a lone Spy can cut a huge swath through an enemy push while they remain none the wiser thanks to no audio cues to go off of.
- The Big Earner slices his HP by 25, not as bad as the Kunai but still enough to get him instantly killed in botched moments. Upon backstabbing someone however, he gains a speed boost for 3 seconds that allow him to go even quicker than a Scout can run, opening up opportunities to backstab entire groups of enemies before they can even react or make a getaway while survivors try to take aim at a ridiculously fast, and probably cloaked, target.
- Major Injury Underreaction: "I do believe I'm on fire" and "I appear to have burst into flames." However, the third reaction is "Fire, fire, FIRE!"
- Man of Wealth and Taste: He's quite proud of that suit, and gets rather upset if you get any of your blood on it.
- Master Actor: Acting like one's disguise is an important skill for Spy players.
- Master of Disguise: His whole toolkit revolves around disguising himself as the enemy and fooling said enemy's teammates. He can even look like an allied Spy disguised as an enemy Spy!
- Metagame: Good Spies are aware of common strategies and playstyles and exploit these when moving around enemy territory. Knowing common Sniper/Engineer spots is an easy way to score kills, for example, and knowing how to act convincingly like the class they're disguised as is key to remaining undetected.
- As noted above, a good deal of the metagame consists of anti-Spy tactics since sooner or later, one will show up to wreak havoc.
- Mini-Me: The Itsy Bitsy Spyer, which is a Voodoo Doll cosmetic for the Engineer and Sniper. You can also sort of count the Spycrab cosmetic, a simplistic crab plush version of the Spy that sits on his shoulder.
- Mobile Shrubbery: The Box Trot taunt. Spy goes full Solid Snake and hides under a cardboard box. Unsuspecting players either outright ignore the box, thinking that it is a part of the scenery or don't notice it. Especially hilarious because he can still block captures when under the box. Cue BLU teams confused as to why it says the capture is blocked when there isn't a RED player in sight.
- The Mole: Any player that doesn't understand why Pyros compulsively try and set their allies on fire will quickly learn by getting a knife in their back from a supposed teammate.
- Mugged for Disguise: With Your Eternal Reward equipped, the Spy gains the ability to instantly take on the disguise of whoever he backstabs. This allows him to lure enemy players to a secluded area, kill them, and return disguised as them all within a few seconds and without making any noise.
- Must Have Nicotine: He's always smoking a cigarette (and we do mean always, the cigarette is part of his character textures), with his disguise kit hidden inside his cigarette case.
- Non-Indicative Name: While Spy does have some use gathering information on enemy positions and movements while he's disguised or invisible behind enemy lines, his primary function is assassination, sabotage, and disrupting the enemy team. Mobile classes like Scout, Soldier, and Demoman are generally better at finding and calling out enemy movement to their team.
- Non-Standard Character Design: While the Spy has a class icon (his knife), heís the only one of the nine mercenaries to not wear it anywhere on his clothing. This is due to how much his dapper outfit already stands out from his teammates' own, especially how it bears a consistent shade from top to bottom, whereas the others have some form of color contrast. Some prerelease materials show him wearing his emblem on a stitched-on armband, but this was quickly changed for the final game.
- Not So Above It All:
- Pretends to be the most professional of the classes, yet when he dominates enemies, he has some very immature things to say to them.
- Doesn't like the Square Dance taunt. That said, he'll still do the dance, just on the condition that he'll Face Palm for some of it, and he has absolutely no issues reveling in the other silly dance taunts the game has.
- Not the Intended Use: A lot of the Spy's kit has some extra, unintended utility beyond their base functions.
- Since its debut in 2009, the Dead Ringer was always meant to be a tool for the Spy to fake his death and kill his opponents once they've let their guard down. However, the earliest versions of the weapon gave Spies an utterly gargantuan defensive buff while their invisibility was active, prompting players to use the Dead Ringer not as a stealth tool, but as a shield. This persistently upset the game's balance, even after most of the development team's many attempts to address the weapon's problems. It wouldn't be until 2017's Jungle Inferno update that the Dead Ringer reached a satisfactory state for both the developers and the game's community. Its current state as a means of speed boosting and ability to absorb heavy hits means itís ironically found favor in Spies who prefer a more rapid and direct hit-and-run approach over the watches meant to be used for pure stealth and stalking.
- The Spy-cicle can be used to intentionally leave ice statues to sow paranoia, essentially being psychological warfare.
- The Big Earner is supposed to make it easier for the Spy to escape, but it is often used for chain stabs due to the speed boost.
- The Disguise Kit, normally used to blend in with the enemy, can also be used to, much like spies in real life, gather intelligence on an enemy team's composition and loadouts. This is particularly dangerous when team chat is enabled—any surprise factor the enemy team could have had is lost, and a team can prepare a counterplay based on what their Spy reports.
- Offing the Offspring: Scout, being the son of Spy, can be regularly killed by him in your average match and with extreme prejudice based off his domination lines. Not that it has any lasting consequences or even bothers either of them.
- One-Hit Kill: The Spy can instantly kill anyone who isn't Übercharged or a Sniper with the Razorback with a single stab to the back, dealing damage worth six times the amount of health the victim has. His Fencing taunt can also instantly kill others who are in the path of its final stroke.
- Only Sane Man: Plays this role quite a bit in the comics and plays the unofficial leader in "Expiration Date" by trying (and failing) to organize everyones wishes to make their final three days count.
- Open Secret: It seems like most of the mercs know that Spy is Scout's father, namely Heavy, Sniper and Pauling. In this comic, Sniper urges Spy◊ to talk to his dying son. Heavy knows that Scout's dad disappears a lot.
- Other Me Annoys Me: He sees his counterpart on the other team as an inferior knockoff.Go to hell and take your cheap suit with you!
You are an amateur and a fool!
You are an embarrassment to spies everywhere!
- Out-of-Character Alert: Even when teams aren't routinely spy-checking everyone, failing to act like the class, and the player, one is disguised as is sure to draw attention. Common examples are being in places that the imitated class has no business to be in ("friendly" Spies tend not to hang around the back of columns near the Heavy and Medic unless wounded) or holding weapons inappropriate for the situation (not even the most dedicated and/or foolhardy of Battle Medics will run toward the battlefield holding their bonesaws).
- Overt Operative: Makes no secret of his profession, up to and including wearing his face-covering balaclava even while boning someone. On the other hand, practically nothing else is known about his true identity (other than his relationship to the Scout's mother).
- Paper-Thin Disguise: While enemies won't be able to tell the difference between a class and an enemy spy disguised as that class, the spy's allies just see a paper mask with the disguised class's face scrawled on over his face.
- Paranoia Fuel: Invoking this trope is the point of this class. Your allies? Could be enemy Spies (yes, even the Spies!). The Spy you just killed? Might not be dead. See something in the corner of your eye? A cloaked Spy, waiting for you to pass so he can stab you in the back. Distracting a team by forcing them to perform constant spy-checks is almost as valuable as actually killing them.
- The Cloak & Dagger has added a new level of paranoia, though - there could now be a Spy ANYWHERE, waiting for a large, confusing battle in which to strike, stab, and sap. Meanwhile, the Dead Ringer hardly helps matters - you finally killed that Spy that was causing your team no end of misery! Except... maybe you didn't...
- Normally the Spy-cicle is avoided precisely because it makes the other team really paranoid. The key word here is 'normally'. Some spies deliberately use it, especially when team communication is enabled, specifically to mess with the other team.
- Perfect Disguise, Terrible Acting: To the enemy side, disguises are indistinguishable from legitimate teammates at first glance, but don't hold up to much scrutiny even if the Spy player is behaving convincingly. Some things can't be helped, such as his inability to fire any weapons, some things like suspiciously walking towards a supposed teammate's back are big red flags, and sometimes the terrible acting can be something as small as being in the wrong place at the wrong time if your enemies are experienced. The reverse is also true, as excellent acting can make up for the deficiencies that cannot be helped. Things like looking at your own teammates or having them take potshots at you can really make a disguise more convincing. If you are disguised as a sniper in a perch with long range and cover, the enemy team will almost never give you a second thought.
- On the other hand, in comics and animations, this is usually Averted as Spy is noted to be rather convincing actor when using the disguise kit. Even Classic Sniper admits he did made a good job at faking being Classic Engineer by mentioning he only managed to see through the charade thanks to an eye implant that allows him to see beneath disguises. Also, in Meet The Spy, no one ever suspects Scout is actually the Spy and succesfully fools Heavy and Soldier, making it a bit of a case of Gameplay and Story Segregation.
- Perma-Stubble: Has a five o'clock shadow on the part of his chin not covered by his mask.
- Pet the Dog: Even the Jerk With A Heart Of Jerk has his moments. Along with the Scout and Soldier, the Spy defends Teufort's children from getting abducted by Old Nick. He teaches one to defend himself and later even happily lets the boy ride on his shoulders.
- He really does care about Scout's Mom. He takes Scout to the bank to fetch his savings.
- Later, in "The Naked and the Dead", he discovers Scout bleeding out after taking on an entire swarm of robots alone. Spy, overcome with emotion, prepares to tell Scout that he is, in fact, Spy's son. But he knew that Scout wouldn't accept the truth, not after everything else that's happened. So what does he do? He disguises as Tom Jones and lets Scout die happy.
- He shares a somewhat twisted moment of friendship with Ms. Pauling in Old Wounds. While RED and one of Heavy's sisters are imprisoned by the Classic Team, Ms. Pauling blames herself for them getting captured. While she's crying, Spy reassures her by saying that he won't let them be tortured, offering to share his cyanide pill with her.
- Pragmatic Villainy: He may not have any qualms about killing his fellow man, but he needs a reason. Like, a good reason. "The perfect date" is not one of them.Spy: Final question: You have a dinner date for 7. What time do you arrive?
Scout: 7 a.m. Case the restaurant, run background checks on all the staff. Can the cook be trusted? If not, I gotta kill him, hide the body, replace him with my own guy no later than 4:30.
Spy: ... You're ready!
Spy: No! Everything you said was insane.
- Professional Killer: Part of the rivalry with the Sniper.
- Put Down Your Gun and Step Away: One of the Spy's taunts is "Just lay your weapons down and walk away."
- Refuge in Audacity: Using an uncommon disguise such as Heavy or Scout sometimes works because no one expects Spies to show up with their worst possible disguises.
- Also present in Competitive settings, where Spies are so rare because they're universally recognized as overly specialized and weak in most scenarios. Thus, going Spy to assassinate a key target because no one's spy-checking and then switching back to your other class is a reasonable surprise attack.
- Revolvers Are Just Better: His primary ranged weapons are all various kinds of revolvers. Not the most powerful weapons in the game, but they're still impeccably accurate and can put down the weaker classes in a shot or two if he can't get the opportunity to backstab. The Ambassador and Diamondback in particular can deal crits (the Ambassador on headshots and the Diamondback by storing crits from sapped buildings and backstabs), making him quite lethal even from a distance.
- Rousing Speech: Uncharacteristically gives a heartfelt one in "Expiration Date", which is immediately wasted on the likes of the RED Team.Spy: [This bucket] contains the dying wish of every man here. Scout, you did collect every man's dying wish, correct? [...] Gentlemen, synchronize your death watches. We have seventy hours to live... For most men, no time at all. We are NOT most men! We are mercenaries! We have the resources, the will to make these hours count! The clock is ticking, gentlemen... Let's begin!"
- Sadist Teacher: Take a great teacher, and add a twist of gleeful sociopathy to the mix. To the Spy, if you fail, he fails, and he demands results. In "Expiration Date", he's a brutal instructor even when it comes to putting on the perfect date for a nice lady, and in the Tough Break update he speed-teaches Miss Pauling the piano with the help of electroshock treatment. It works.
- Sensei for Scoundrels: He taught a kid how to stab a man in the neck. Granted, said man was attempting to kidnap the boy.Jack: ...I was so scared.BLU Spy: And are you still scared?Jack: Hm. No.BLU Spy: Good. Merry Smissmas.
- Shaped Like Itself: His self-described "deadly skill" is "murdering people".
- Shapeshifting Sound: A soft but long and distinctive swishing sound is heard whenever Spy disguises himself.
- Sharp-Dressed Man: Cosmetics aside, the Spy is arguably the most well-suited of all 9 classes. The "Naked and the Dead" comic provides us the details of his suit:Spy: [to Sniper] Bushman, this is a $10,000 custom-tailored Louis Crabbemarché jacket. The cloth is from silkworms raised at a suit microfarm in Tuscany, from a secret pattern passed by monk tailors since the seventh century.
- Shoe Phone: In classic Tuxedo and Martini fashion, his gadgets are disguised as innocuous items. His cloaking devices are wrist watches (and one pocket watch), his disguise kit is inside his cigarette case, and he also has a few cosmetics that feature cameras (poorly) hidden inside of things like a hat or a fake beard.
- Signature Headgear: He is never seen without his balaclava. Ever. Not even during sex.
- Skill Gate Character: Pyro isn't his absolute counter, it's experience. More experienced players are far harder to fool, more prone to Spy-checking, and more likely to see the flaws in his disguise (such as lack of Uber as Medic, oddly-lethargic Scouts, lack of shooting, attempts to get behind allies, and picking up crates and health he doesn't need). In Highlander, getting one good pick as Spy and dying immediately afterwards is considered to be doing a pretty decent job.
- Spies are so uncommon in higher levels of play that it actually comes back around on itself. Spy is bad against a competent team who can communicate, so in 6v6 teams can rarely ever expect a Spy to be played, leading to teams not bothering to spycheck and making Spy the ultimate surprise pick. Up until the first stab or sap, that is. After that, you're a dead man walking.
- Smoking Is Cool: Spy always has a cigarette on his model and always looks sophisticated while smoking them. At least until he starts snorting.
- Sniper Pistol: The Spy's Diamondback revolver has no distance penalty. In fact, many of his revolvers are useful at long range.
- Sophisticated as Hell: His default attitude is a cold, collected professional. When he's dominating someone, he instantly switches to a snorting, juvenile pun-thrower with all the elegance of a 12-year-old (which he makes up for by being screamingly funny.)(to enemy Scout) "May I borrow your ear piece?" [in falsetto] 'This is Scout! Rainbows make me cry! Over!'"(to enemy Scout) "Here lies Scout — he ran fast and died a virgin."(to enemy Engineer) "Did I throw a wrench into your plans? (laughs maniacally)"(to enemy Heavy) "What's the matter? Fat got your tongue?"(to enemy Medic) "I'm looking at your X-ray, and I'm afraid you suck!"(to enemy Medic) (while laughing) "Laughter really is the best medicine!" (laughs again)(to enemy Soldier) "Oh, Soldier, who will they ever find to replace you? Anyone!" (laughs)(to enemy Demoman) "I've merely finished what your liver started!"(to enemy Demoman) "Here's what I have that you don't: a functioning liver, depth perception and a pulse!"(to enemy Sniper) "Boo! You repulsive bushman!"(to enemy Pyro) "Burn in hell, you mumbling abomination!"(to enemy Spy) "Go to hell, and take your cheap suit with you!"
Spy: "Slap my hand!"
- He also has an unprofessionally goofy grin. And he's the class with the most excited (and most enthusiastic) line when setting up a High-Five with his teammates.
"Slap it now!"
"Who is with me?"
"This is not a trick!"
"Leave me hanging and you will regret it."
- He can also throw a Fourth Wall Leaning line when he does his Buy a Life taunt.Spy: "Here. Go buy a nicer hat!"
- So Proud of You: What he says to the at the time dying Scout while disguised as Tom Jones.You're stronger than you'll ever know, Jeremy. I'm proud of you. I've always been proud of you... son.
- Spies Are Despicable: The Spy is despised both In-Universe by the other classes and by non-spy players for their deception, backstabbing, and deceptive tactics.BLU Scout: [to BLU Spy] I've killed plenty of spies. Bunch of dime-a-dozen backstabbing scumbags. Like you! No offense.
- Spot the Impostor: Bad juju awaits if you happen to bump into the person you are disguised as.
- Then again, not everyone is so quick on the uptake.
- Spotting the Thread: Disguised Spies look entirely like their enemies but are limited in what they can do - The TF2 Wiki provides a detailed list of possible indicators that give the disguised Spy away. Good players will notice these signs (plus other suspicious behavior) and immediately spycheck, so conversely, good Spies imitate natural behavior and try not to attract attention to themselves.
- Spy Versus Spy: When two or more Spies who are on opposing teams are playing, this will likely happen at some point or another. Namely, it would be a wise idea to try and disrupt the enemy Spy's operations and to out-predict their routes and plans to both save your team and to continue your plans without risk of being backstabbed yourself.
- Stat-O-Vision: He can see the names and health of his enemies, making it easier to pick off heavily wounded enemies. One of the most important things you can use this is to call out the enemy Medic's Uber percentage to your team.
- Stealth Expert: Can turn invisible, is a Master of Disguise, and generally works best while skulking behind enemy lines.
- Tele-Frag: Any class can do this, usually on accident, but Spy is the only one who can do it as a deliberate tactic since Sappers affect both ends of a Teleporter, and some Engineers canít help but stand right on top of their exit. Find a teleporter entrance, put on a disguise, drop a sapper on the tele, and stand on it. If an Engineer on the other end comes running to fix the exit, and stands too close when he breaks the sapper, you'll instantly teleport into his face and kill him.
- There's No Kill like Overkill: The Spy's One-Hit Kill mechanic works by dealing 600% of the target's maximum health, far more than any overheal or damage resistance ability can provide.note
- This Is Gonna Suck: Most of his lines for Vs Saxton Hale drip with frustration, because he's aware that he's a Support Party Member placed in a scenario that prioritizes raw damage, his main tool for dealing damage isn't a One-Hit Kill anymore, and there's no one else to disguise as.Spy: Before you ask, no. I cannot disguise as Saxton!Spy: Of course it's my fault that you barely even scratched him!
- Tsundere: Platonic example towards his son the Scout. Though it's more TSUNdere, given how much they jab at each other (and Scout's animosity towards him is far more genuine) and Spy giving some of the most hilariously juvenile insults when dominating a Scout in-game, but Spy does care about the guy like a father would.
- Tuxedo and Martini: Everyone is dressed appropriately for a warzone, except him.
- Un Evil Laugh: If he'd quit smoking, maybe he wouldn't snort in the middle of his Evil Laugh.
- Ungrateful Bastard: Invoked with the 'FYI, I am a Spy' achievement: Stab an enemy Medic who just healed you.
- Virgin-Shaming:Spy: "Here lies Scout. He ran fast and died a virgin."
- Voice Changeling: Using emotes while disguised produces a perfect rendition of the disguise's voice.
- Weak, but Skilled: The Spy is fairly ineffectual in a straight fight, with a gun that pales compared to most classes' primary weapons and the worst melee weapon in the game in terms of direct damage output. However, his ability to infiltrate enemies and assassinate them with instant-kill backstabs while sabotaging Engineers makes a skilled Spy a lethal adversary that the enemy team must constantly be prepared for.
- We Need a Distraction: Assassination and building-destruction aside, the main purpose of a Spy is to provide an ever-present threat in the enemy's mind and make them waste time. A Spy that's being a menace will force the enemy team to go out of their way to try to find him, which could be just the right opening for the Spy's team to make their move, or make them spend too much time trying to chase or flush Spies out when they could be attacking the frontlines.
- This can also work in inverse - as LazyPurple demonstrates, a Spy getting their team to fake a push and distract the enemy team long enough to make a crucial kill is a legitimate strategy (and can be especially effective when even a single Medic kill can allow your team to demolish the enemy's push/defense, particularly in 6v6 competitive matches). In fact, distracted adversaries are the Spy's best picks for backstabbing - when an enemy is fighting one of your teammates, they're usually much less occupied with trying to look over their shoulder for a Spy. The best way for someone to help an allied Spy is to draw the enemy's attention so the Spy can make their move.
- What the Hell Is That Accent?: Somewhere between French, German and Italian, not to mention he occasionally drops some Spanish phrases in his speech. The Other Wiki actually had an Edit War on his page over his nationality, because no one could figure it out. This was settled when "Meet The Spy" established that, regardless of his accent, he's supposed to be French.
- Wicked Cultured: He's a well-dressed gentleman with a professional attitude... who's also a sinister assassin that delights in his enemies' suffering.
- With Cat Like Tread: For a stealth-based class, the Spy has some very distinct sound cues tied to his equipment. His default Invisibility Watch and the Cloak and Dagger emit a de-cloaking sound thatís easy to catch in a quiet location, and the Dead Ringer produces a very loud crackling noise when it deactivates. Moreover, players who are backstabbed with anything but the Your Eternal Reward will let out highly audible howls of pain when they die, more than likely drawing the attention of nearby players if they have experience with Spies. As such, Spy ironically thrives in chaotic battlefields over quiet and hidden locations, where the chaos of gunfire and explosions can drown out most of his sound cues long enough for him to make an attack and slip out before too many people can process what happened.
- Worthy Opponent: BLU Spy seems to regard his RED counterpart in this sense in Meet the Spy, where he vehemently warns his team of the threat he poses, vouches for his reputation, and refuses to underestimate him. If one follows the theory that BLU Spy knew RED was in the room with him disguised as Scout the whole time, then handing him his knife back, covertly confronting him with photo evidence of him being out-Spy'd and trying to out him near the end of his speech is an extension of the profession respect he had, as if he was ready to give his rival a final and intentionally dramatic defeat. Too bad he was in the same room as Soldier.
- Your Mom: One of his taunts. This doesn't really apply to Scout, as he genuinely cares for his mother. (Being Scout's father might help).