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I really want to know what the pros and cons of the spy knives are. The normal knife gives you all your health, disguise kit, and backstabby goodness and all, but YEH (Your Eternal Reward) is perfect for blending in. I haven't found a use for the Conniver's Kunai.

What knife, what situation? Any tips?

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Comparison table

        Base (Max)  Disguise  Backstab  
         Hitpoints    Kit       Icon    On backstab

Knife    125 (185)    Yes       Yes     Disguise drops
                                        Enemy screams (crit-death)
YER      125 (185)     No        No     Disguise as the enemy, silently
                                        Corpse cloaks
Kunai     60 (180)    Yes       Yes     Disguise drops
                                        Enemy screams (crit-death)
                                        Health is stolen from enemy
Earner   100 (150)    Yes       Yes     Disguise drops
                                        Enemy screams (crit-death)
                                        Cloak is restored

Knife / Sharp Dresser

The normal knife and Sharp Dresser are the most balanced of the knives.

They are the easiest knives to use when you need to sap enemy sentry guns. Not only can you choose your disguise, but you can sometimes take up to 3 non-crit hits from an Engineer's wrench before dying... more if they're using the Jag.

Your Eternal Reward / Wanga Prick

The Eternal Reward and Wanga Prick are very good for killing several enemies in succession, such as those pushing a cart that are not looking behind them.

It also makes a Stab and Sap on an Engineer and his sentry gun considerably easier, provided you already have a disguise.

Be aware that you cannot disguise as your own team with these knives!

Note: You disguise only if the enemy dies from the backstab. This means you will not disguise if they: turn when you kill them and die a normal death, are ubered, have a Razorback, or are using a Dead Ringer.

Conniver's Kunai

With 60 health, you are a one-hit kill to any non-Scout melee weapon. Most ranged weapons will also kill you in one hit.

Because the health you gain is capped at 180, you actually have less health than a fully overhealed Spy with the Knife or YER (they would have 185).

The Kunai may be good for escaping due to the extra health, but it requires that you get a backstab first.

Big Earner

With 100 health, your survivability is a bit higher than with the Kunai, but a single rocket, grenade, or scattergun/shotgun shot may kill you if their pellet spread is right.

The 30% cloak you gain from using this knife is not a lot in the grand scheme of things. For the Invisibility Watch, collecting a small ammo box restores 25% cloak, a medium ammo box restores 50%, and a large ammo box 100%. For the Dead Ringer, collecting a small ammo box restores 25% cloak, a medium ammo or large ammo box restores 45%.

The Cloak and Dagger would be the watch that gains the most from this, but it's also the watch that recharges if you stand still while cloaked...

What I use

I use the Knife or Your Eternal Reward as appropriate to the situation:

  • CP push/PL defense (RED): Start with YER (Saharan Spy Set) and Cloak & Dagger. Switch to Knife and Dead Ringer as appropriate.
  • CP push/PL offense (BLU): Start with Knife and Dead Ringer, disguised as BLU's Soldier or Heavy. This is to draw the enemy Sniper's fire, or set off the demoman's sticky trap. Switch to YER and C&D as appropriate.
  • PLR: Varies. Usually YER and C&D.
  • CP symmetric / koth: Varies. Usually Knife and DR.
  • Arena: That's a trick question. I rarely play Spy in arena.
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YER can't use the disguise kit. You might want to edit this (I attempted to, but it wouldn't let me because all I was changing was "yes" to "no", which isn't 6 characters). –  Mr Smooth Sep 4 '11 at 11:15
    
@MrSmooth Remind me to whack badp over the head. The version I posted didn't have it laid out as a table, and had it listed correctly for the disguise kit. –  user2974 Sep 4 '11 at 16:25
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My personal opinion is that the stock knife is by far the best for most situations. It doesn't have the bonuses for backstabs like the other two knives have, but it's far easier to actually get the backstabs in the first place, and the bonuses won't do you much good if you rarely get them.

Your eternal rewards is great once you start get going on a spree, but until then is very hard. It's not too difficult to blend in when disguised (if you play your cards correctly), but without your kit, you'll be caught as soon as your uncloaked. Once you get that first backstab, getting more isn't too hard, but that first backstab is a real pain to get, and that's what you'll spend around 80% of your time trying to get.

The kunai I haven't played with much, but my impression of it isn't exactly positive. You have a base health of 60 or so, and you can overheal via backstabs to about 180. However, this extra health slowly disappears on its own, and you can't reheal without another backstab. Plus, until you get a stab, you have ridiculously low health, and healthpacks don't heal you much at all.

Perhaps a really good spy (one far better than myself) could profitably use the kunai or the eternal reward on a regular basis, but for most people, the low health/lack of disguise kit is just a handicap that will be difficult to overcome.

Hope this helps.

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