From TF2 Wiki
The Dead Ringer watch is a unlockable gadget for the Spy, replacing the Invisibility watch in the 'PDA' slot. Mailed to him on express order from Mann Co., this gold-plated pocket watch cloaks its owner for 6.5 seconds after he is injured, leaving behind a fake corpse to distract and deceive his enemies. To use it, the Spy must be holding it in his left hand while he takes damage. The Spy immediately cloaks, and fake corpse is created, along with fake death messages. It can also 'fake' dominations, revenges, HLstatsX messages and even achievements. If the player is disguised as a friendly class, activation drops a ragdoll corpse of that class.
The Dead Ringer blocks 90% of the damage from the activating hit. This allows you to survive fully charged headshots by Snipers or backstabs from enemy Spies, as long as you have some health. Since backstabs have a base damage of 6 times the victim's current health, and the initial hit that activates the Dead Ringer does 10% damage, causing backstabs to do 6/10 of the victim's current health.
The Dead Ringer uncloaks with a very distinct sound. The uncloak noise is quite loud up-close, but rapidly fades with distance. Its cloak meter drains significantly upon uncloaking, and cannot be used again until fully recharged, though emerging from the Dead Ringer's cloak drains up to 60% if the meter is at least 40% full. Like the standard Invisibility watch, picking up ammo can replenish the cloak. Resupply areas, dispensers, and ammo can also replenish your cloak meter. A large ammo box and medium boxes will restore 35% and small boxes 25%. When triggered in an Arena before any other player is killed, it grants the attacker the First blood buff. If a Spy is cloaked for more than 6.5 seconds using the Dead Ringer, through collecting ammo or other sources, it will revert to a standard cloak, losing the 90% damage reduction and letting the cloak flicker if the Spy collides with an enemy or gets shot.
Activating the Dead Ringer while already on fire extinguishes it. You can be immediately set on fire again, however. The Dead Ringer cloak will activate even if the Spy was previously covered by Jarate (the increased damage will still be in effect however), but will short out if he is hit by Jarate while the cloak is active. A Spy under the Dead Ringer's cloak will not flicker when bumped into; this is to offset the obvious difficulty of not being able to decide when and where to cloak.
It is important to note that when a spy has his dead ringer out in his left hand, it counts as being cloaked. This means it is impossible to stab, shoot or place any electro-sappers as with any other cloak. He may still change his diguise however.
Activates upon injury. The Spy will take only 10% damage from attacks while he is cloaked, including the initial triggering attack.
- Cloak maximum duration: 6.5 seconds
- Cloak recharge time (from 100% depletion): 16 seconds
- Using the Dead Ringer, It is possible to survive: a deadly fall (non-trigger), 16 stickies, taunt attacks, fully-charged headshots, backstabs, and the initial hit by a train or saw blade.
- Though it is possible to momentarily survive a train hit, the train will plow into you again and kill you if you do not move out of the way to avoid a second hit.
- It is also possible to survive the explosion at the end of maps like Goldrush and Badwater Basin.
- When ping and network transmission are not an issue, a Spy can bring up the Dead Ringer and be protected in less than 1/100th of a second. In the average online match this margin is greater, but the times serve to show that the Dead Ringer was designed with no real activation delay.
- Dead Ringer is a phrase used to describe something or someone looking nearly identical to something or someone else. (e.g. 'He's a dead ringer for that BLU Spy we shot earlier!' )
- If a Spy has a Domination against you, triggering his fake death it will NOT trigger your revenge, only his real death will achieve this.
- Sniping someone while they have the dead ringer activated will award the "Shoot The Breeze" Achievement (if you do not already have it). Similarly, decapitating a Spy with the Dead Ringer active will award the "Shorn Connery" Achievement, as well as add a head to your total. It will also activate the following achievements, FYI I am a Medic, Quickdraw, Revengineering, Kook the Spook, Spyalectical Materialism, Communist mani-fisto, Rationing, Come in from the cold, High Value Target and Identity Theft.
- The ability to feign your death was present in Team Fortress Classic, and the Dead Ringer's function was likely inspired by that ability. However in Team Fortress Classic, you did not turn invisible, instead being rendered immobile and having to hope that the enemy would pass by.
- When reloading the revolver at the same time as pulling out the Dead Ringer, the Spy appears to have 3 arms. This is the same as pulling out the Electro sapper when Dead Ringer is equipped.
- The Dead Ringer is the only thing short of an ÜberCharge that you can use to survive a taunt attack. This is also achievable by using the Fists of Steel, except for the Fencing, Dischord, and Decapitation taunts.
- Engraved onto the surface of the Dead Ringer is an image of a hummingbird, considered to be a symbol of eternity and everlasting life.
- If you are hit by the Tribalman's shiv or Southern Hospitality, you will still suffer the bleed effect while cloaked. Sharp-eyed opponents may track you by spotting the bleed indicators.
- If a Spy is disguised while using the Dead Ringer, he will make the death sounds of the class they are disguised as if he is shot.
- It also possible to stay cloaked indefinitely while sitting on a level 3 dispenser as it refills your cloak meter faster than it drains.
- When the complete Saharan Spy set is equipped the set bonus of a lower de-cloaking sound makes the Dead Ringer 100% silent.
- When hit with The Holy Mackerel while cloaked, the combo notification still appears.
- If the dead ringer is taken out at the same time as you fire a shot with a pistol, you will not lose any ammo but the shot will still be fired.
- When having the deadringer out and then switching to the sapper the spy appears to have a third arm that flicks the sappers switch.
- When having the deadringer out and taunting you will only take a small amount of damage from an attack if you are hit and not cloak.
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