The Spy is considered an offclass in the 6v6 metagame. As a low health class, the Spy is designed to get behind the enemy team and get a Pick to turn the advantage in his teams favor. Most often, this pick is the enemy Demoman or Medic and the objective is to use or drop the opposing team's uber. The Spy relies on the ability to be unexpected, thus it is rare to run a Spy more than once or twice during a full game.
As a Spy, there is often only one chance to get a pick on the opposing team before the Spy's cover is blown and it is thereafter expected. For a Spy offclass to be considered "worth it", he must pick the enemy Demoman, Medic, or (when applicable) Heavy. As it is often a Scout or Soldier that offclasses to Spy, a pick on an opposing Scout or Soldier (or any offclass besides Heavy and Engineer) would be considered a trade and not a pick and will often not create a sufficient advantage.
Strategies + Tips
- Always focus on the Medic. If you have to, pick the Demoman, but there is only one try when running a Spy. Make it worth it.
- Try to make sure that you time your attack with your team. If you attack when the enemy team is preoccupied by your combos spam you have a much higher chance to get a pick.
- Be patient! Sometimes waiting for just a moment will give you the opening you need to get a pick, but don't wait too long or your opportunity might be lost.
- Switching to Spy whilst you're on the defense is considered not a good idea. Try offclassing to Spy when your team has the advantage, that way your team is not put at a major disadvantage should you fail your pick attempt.
- Your cloak management and movement are the most important attributes of going for your pick. Conserve your cloak, learn ammo pack locations, and try to move as quick as possible whilst at the same time avoiding as much spam as possible.
- Disguising as an enemy Scout does not lose any speed like you would if you disguised as an enemy Demo or Soldier. Jump and crouch a lot to disguise your slower speed.
- When pushing last, you can disguise as a friendly Sniper and peek at the enemy to give the impression you are playing Sniper instead of Spy, because teams almost never run two pick classes.
- If your pick is successful and there is no other immediate backstab available, use your Revolver and deal as much damage as possible to the next most important targets (the Demoman or Pocket Soldier).
- If available, the Cloak & Dagger is an excellent tool in timing your pick. Consider it at all times, especially when pushing last.
- If available, another way to play is to use the Dead Ringer. You can fake the death of an important class, such as Demo, Medic or Heavy, make them push, and then have an even fight with your full team against theirs. However this is very situational and can instantly reveal your presence as a Spy against knowledgeable players, leaving you at a disadvantage due to the Dead Ringer's predictability.
- Always ask yourself whether it's more effective to run a Spy or a Sniper. In most situations, the Sniper is more effective at getting picks than the Spy, can live for longer, and have multiple attempts.
- The key to beating a Spy is awareness. Be wary of Scouts or Roamers suiciding, they could be switching to Spy (or Sniper).
- If you suspect they have a Spy, you can keep the Medic's back to a corner for maximum protection, or have him stand in a difficult-to-reach place (like the tank on cp_snakewater last) or both.
- A common time for a Spy to appear is when you are defending your last point. Be wary at that time.
- Spies will generally attack when least expected such as if you don't know they are running a Spy, or if you are currently fighting an enemy already. Try to expect this and catch them in the act.
- When checking hiding spots, remember that Spies like to stand on props and against walls. Check vertically as well as horizontally!
- Don't underestimate the killing power of the Revolver. It can 3 shot your Medic, and 2 shot him if the Ambassador. Be as erratic as possible to avoid both his backstab and his gunfire.
- Jumping and spamming crouch makes it more difficult to be headshot by the Ambassador.