Isn’t spy awesome? I can’t help but give mad props to the character for what he willingly puts himself through in the line of duty. More than any class he relies on wits and positioning to outsmart the enemy, and all of his weapons put him dangerously close to an entire arsenal of retaliation the millisecond after he stabs, saps, or shoots. Boy, I wish I could do that.

But I can’t. I really really can’t. No matter how much I try to play spy, whether I’ve equipped the most overpowered loadouts on the best spy maps against the worst of teammates, I can go a whole round with 15 deaths and maybe 3 kills. His skill ceiling is so high that I can only admire it from my comfy enemy-provided indentation in the ground.

But I happen to own a very nicely coordinated level 100  black & white outfit that I just adore, so I’m constantly drawn to finding dumb excuses to try and play Spy. So here are some situations where even I can find justification to play spy and hopefully not be a complete waste of a teamslot. Anyone proficient at spy need not bother reading further.

"Cloak and Dagger on the platform over the bottomless pit on koth_lakeside_event" isn't a playstyle per se, but it gets a mention due to being hilarious as hell.
“Cloak and Dagger on the platform over the bottomless pit on koth_lakeside_event” isn’t a playstyle per se, but it gets a mention due to being hilarious as hell.

Playstyle 1: The backcapping bohemian. Join an Attack/Defense or 5CP map and commit to the backcapping. Never try to take the currently contested point; your job is to use the Cloak and Dagger to get to the next one and prepare to grab your team two control points for the price of one. If you spot an Engineer with the same forward-thinking mindset who’s building on next, consider attempting to remove his nest. Even if you remove the nest (or even just the Engineer) but die, your team has one less roadblock for when they attempt the next cap.

Playstyle 2: The teleporter terror. In any game mode, the Engineer’s teleporter is a godsend that delivers freshly-spawned teammates right to the second line of combat. The actual sentry nest often has Pyros and all sorts of other horrible things guarding it, but the teleporter entrance sitting peacefully at spawn is another matter entirely. Reach the enemy spawn and then keep Tab open; after a respawn wave has taken the teleporter and you’ve got a bit of time, try to down that teleporter. Once you’ve succeeded, keep it down.

Playstyle 3: The A-robot A-ssassin. On Robot Destruction, reach the very first rooms of the enemy base. Use the walls to find somewhere you can hide from the eleventy-billion sentries that are guaranteed to be there (or sap them if you’re feeling productive) and then just farm the robots ’cause they don’t fight back. Most of your revolvers will 3-shot each robot, though I have to recommend the Enforcer because you can 4-shot the B and C robots if you decide to move forward once the A-Robots are dead. If you focus only on the robots and time your attacks for when there are no enemies in sight, playing the Robot Repo Man can really help your team.

Playstyle 4: The sniper stopper. Certain maps have legendarily popular sniper spots. The platforms near the Australium pickup on sd_doomsday. The catwalk on koth_viaduct. The cubbyhole near spawn on plr_hightower. All of these spots overlook the objective and are almost guaranteed to deliver a never-ending supply of New Zealanders for you to introduce your knife to. Focus on keeping those spots bare, allowing your team some much-needed freedom to focus on the enemies actually playing the objective.

Trust me, nobody on the server will feel bad for the Snipers.
Trust me, nobody on the server will feel bad for the Snipers.

You might get a bit bored if you stick steadfastly to just one of these playstyles, but luckily they’re quite versatile and you can feel free to interchange them if you find your chosen target isn’t showing up for the battlefield this time around. The main focus, if you haven’t noticed, is to maximize your reward while avoiding most things that can actually fight back, because if you’re anything like me you’re need all the advantages you can get. Let’s end this article with a bonus playstyle for those willing to branch out into custom game modes:

Playstyle 5: The Zeppelin Pilot. Spy missed his true calling. In balloon_race, the two teams are competing to see which can speed their blimp around the map first. The balloon speed is dependent on how many teammates are standing at the bow of the ship, which is fittingly the most exposed part and the entire enemy force will be focus-firing any poor saps who dare to show their head near that steering wheel. Which is why you use the Cloak and Dagger to not show your head. It really cuts to the root of Spy’s status as a Support class, but camping on the ship’s bow while cloaked can give your boat some bottomless speed boosts that the enemy will find very hard to consistently keep controlled because you’ll constantly be out-of-sight, out-of-mind. For bonus points, wear this.