How can I tell if the spy I just killed is using a Dead Ringer?

Is there even a way to tell if they feigned their death (without additional Spy-Checking)?

  • 6
    Not a 100% safe clue, but you should get suspicious if the spy is "killed" with very little damage.
    – TidB
    Feb 13, 2015 at 20:14
  • Are there any other ways?
    – The Man
    Feb 13, 2015 at 20:16
  • If you know the player's name, you can check the scoreboard frequently after the "kill". The Spy will appear dead while cloaked and appear to have respawned once decloaked. If the "respawn" is suspiciously fast, you may want to turn around and look for a Spy. Feb 13, 2015 at 23:34

4 Answers 4


I'm not sure I should be giving away my tricks, but...

Not all on hit/on kill effects are replicated by the Dead Ringer. Some things that could give it away are:

  • No hit sound is played. It's unclear if this is intended or if this is a bug.
  • Spies covered in jarate or mad milk remain visible as an outline. Technically, this applies to Spies who were recently underwater, but this effect is much more difficult to see than the other two.
  • You can still run into a cloaked dead ringer Spy.
  • Not all kill effects are replicated (as TidB mentioned)
  • If a Spy is disguising when they cloak, the disguise puff of smoke continues its animation.
  • If you hit them with a crit or mini-crit, the words "Critical Hit" or "Mini-Crit" will follow the Spy around for a few seconds.
  • If they were stunned by or at the time of activation, the stun particle effect follows them around.
  • If they are hit with fire and have a Spy-cicle equipped, the Spy-cicle's evaporation sound plays.
  • Ragdolls from a Dead Ringer sometimes don't have the correct velocity and seem to just drop to the ground. This is much rarer than it used to be, but still happens.
  • Dominations and revenges will be faked in the kill feed and sounds, but not in the scoreboard.
  • Characters will not play their domination/revenge sound clips for a fake death, unless the server has the appropriate plugin installed.
  • Spy killstreak scores still show up in the scoreboard as they only reset on real death.

Things that make seem like a Dead Ringer activated them, but may not be:

  • Hitting a Spy disguised as your team with the Ubersaw will not grant you Uber, even if you kill them.
  • 1
    Will Eyelander do a similar thing like the Ubersaw?
    – The Man
    Feb 13, 2015 at 21:04
  • 1
    @ShadowZ. Eyelander is a replicated on-kill effect. You'll get a head if they Dead Ringer.
    – Powerlord
    Feb 13, 2015 at 21:08
  • Also, picking up their dropped weapon, if it gives you only 1 ammo slot, its a Dead Ringer but if it fills you up, its not.
    – Neffer_23
    Mar 9, 2015 at 20:22
  • 1
    @Neffer_23 Picking up a Dead Ringer weapon doesn't give you any ammo back (not even 1)
    – Powerlord
    Mar 9, 2015 at 20:58
  • 1
    @Neffer_23 Having been playing the game lately, it definitely does not give you 1 ammo - it doesn't give you anything at all.
    – Zibbobz
    Apr 3, 2015 at 13:44

Take a look on this table in the row "unreplicated mechanics" that shows effects that don't apply as they would normally do.

Besides this, there are some classical signs the spy is still alive:

  • Coating effects like Mad Milk and Jarate are visible as well as waterdrops.
  • Watch out for vanishing ammunition packs (that are restoring the Spy's cloak time) and healthpacks.
  • The Dead Ringer has a very distinctive and loud sound; but you'll only hear it if the Spy is still near you.
  • It's possible that a faked death leads to you dominating the Spy twice.
  • Also, while being on fire won't remain when they go dead ringer, unless they have a spycicle you can immediately light them on fire again to reveal them.
    – Zibbobz
    Apr 3, 2015 at 13:45

All the listed answers above are correct, but I have one more:

You can see the spy's cloaked outline for a split second as his rag doll counterpart falls to the ground. Try looking for that.


Whenever you kill a spy, use the "thanks" voice command. If your character says a generic "thanks" (not referring to a specific person) then the spy is still alive. If they say something like "we make good team" or "I didn't need your help, you know" (referring to a specific person) then the spy is dead. I'd say this works about 95% of the time. Only time it won't work is when the kill happens under extreme circumstances, it's not sheer luck.

If you want to get used to using this just say "thanks" after every kill. This will get you used to the voice clips used when you get an actual kill.

I have yet to see this mentioned anywhere else. Am I blind, or did I actually discover something?

  • Hmm. I'm gonna test this out...
    – aman207
    Feb 27, 2016 at 0:44

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .