The Classic Spy

He’s last in every class lineup, so it’s only fair to save the Team Fortress Classic spy for my final class breakdown article.

The Classic Spy has a huge arsenal of toys and tricks available to him. Interestingly, he fills almost the same role as our spy but the tools at his disposal are almost completely different.

But not the knife. Backstabs never change.

The first thing you’ll notice is some serious firepower that our spy could only dream of. Super shotgun, hand grenades, nailgun…when push comes to shove I’ve seen a cornered spy simply shoot his way out of pretty hairy situations.

1) You can throw grenades without losing your disguise. This was how old-school spies dealt with sentries. A hand-grenade and two super-shotgun blasts was enough to take out a close range sentry, and most other threats while you’re at it. The sapper was basically Valve’s attempt to apologize for spy no longer being able to grenade sentries while disguised.

2) Get to know your loadout. The TF2 spy and this guy bring completely different stuff to the table, and even the more familiar weapons have different relationships with each other.

1 – Knife. Your signature weapon. Not only can it backstab for that OHKO, but it also deals twice as much damage as the crowbar, making it almost viable as an emergency weapon.

The knife is kinda buggy. If you’re too close you won’t get the OHKO. The sweet spot is the end of the arm during the swing. As a spy friend said: “To get better at backstabbing try stabbing their ass. Don’t crouch, just look down when you get close.”

2 – Tranquilizer gun. Operates as a slow-firing nailgun that slows enemies who are hit by it. Despite this shares an ammo source with the Super Shotgun instead of the nailgun. Far too difficult to hit opponents with to really be worth using.

3 – Double-barrel shotgun! Eat it, Frenchie! Kick some serious ass, this beast is ready for you to go toe-to-toe with straightforward combat classes. Never underestimate this weapon in scary situations.

When push comes to shove, you’ve still got hand grenades and a super shotgun. Use ’em.

4 – Nailgun. Great for taking out sentries, especially when combined with grenades.

F – Hand grenade. Remember, you don’t lose your disguise when you throw them, meaning you’ll normally use these against sentries. Of course they’re great against most everything else too.

G – Hallucination grenade. Releases yellow bubbles that deal light damage to enemies and cause them to hallucinate harmless explosions, gunfire, and grenades. The damage does stack up quickly if you don’t leave the area of effect, so they’re best used to flush out enemies who have entrenched themselves somewhere hard to get, or to drop one on top of a sentry to dissuade Engineers from turtling it.

I’ve specced some great spies, and I have a hard time attempting to explain everything you can do, because they always seemed to have SOMEthing to do to get out of any situation (or at least take their target with them). This is an extremely versatile loadout, try out everything.

3) Feign death is still a thing. The Dead Ringer has its roots from Team Fortress Classic. You’re gonna want to bind this to something other than default because it’s normally buried on the Shift menu. On command you can fall to the ground, either silently or making the death noise, whereupon you gain a floating, 360° rotatable view of your surroundings. Its mostly useful to drastically minimize your view to the enemy and lie in strategic hiding places (for example, doing it while hugging a wall makes only your feet visible) but good spies can also fake their death in the midst of combat.

In this great display I witnessed, Spy backstabs the engineer, feigns death, then disguises while dead and blows the sentry up with grenades.

One thing to be wary of; if an enemy player walks over your fake corpse, they’ll notice a slight bump that isn’t present with real corpses. They can also throw their access ammo at you and you’ll collect it if you aren’t full. If they do stand on top of you, you can’t get up or do anything. They can take their time beating you to death with their melee (or just crouch-hump you) and there’s not a thing you can do besides yell ‘Nooo!’ or suicide.

A popular setup is to bind mwheeldown to throw flag; feign; toss backpack for the most realistic death.

Speaking of programming downsides…

4) There are a number of discrepancies with the disguise kit. It doesn’t do a perfect job of letting you blend in with your surroundings. For one, your speed doesn’t change ever. Scout, HWGuy, you’re moving at 100% speed. Also, you’ll always be holding the weapon your disguise spawns with. Most classes, this is fine (Soldier spawns with the Rocket Launcher) but some are dead giveaways (Engineer spawns with the never-used railgun).

These two combine to make it tough to fool experienced players. At higher levels this means your disguises are mainly useful to fool sentries. And finally, your (real) corpses will change to match whatever disguise you have on at any given moment, which may help the enemies sleuth you out in future lives.

 5) Choose your targets. In case it wasn’t obvious yet, sentries are your primary target, and you have a dozen different ways of screwing them (and their Engineers) over. Other high-value picks are defensive Demomen and distracted HWGuys. You’ll also probably get a lot of chances to backstab Snipers too, but they aren’t really a priority. Your job is to clean out the heavy-hitters from the defense so that the Scouts and Medics have an easier time of grabbing the flag.

Before you play spy, spectate some good ones. They will blow you away with what they can accomplish.

Sorry for how long this particular guide turned out to be. I guess the main thing to take from this is just how complicated the spy is. He really shouldn’t be your first class; there’s a reason I saved his guide for last. You have to know most other aspects of TFC before you can really get into the subterfuge and multi-faceted role that the Classic spy emulates.

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