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How to Circle Strafe Stab


Mildly Menacing
Apr 7, 2017
I made this tutorial so that new spies won't look like complete derps. Spies can also increase their stabbing "vocabulary" and know more than just 3 or 4 trickstabs now! This is not a "how to become pro at spy" guide. There are a lot of things to learn about spy like acting, illusions, cloak management and positioning. Those come with time, game sense and guides that are specifically about those topics.

The Circle Strafe Stab
This technique has existed for a long time. In 2017, CulRulDud improved upon the circle strafe stab, making it an entirely different stab. His tutorial is 4 hours long in length. I will shorten his tutorial into comprehensive points here... The main difference between a strafe stab and a trickstab is that you need to trick someone into moving or looking in a certain direction to pull off a trickstab (matador, strafe n snap, etc.). When you strafe stab, you look at their movements and try to find the best way to move to out strafe them to reach their back, no trickery is involved. Basically, when you trickstab, the other person reacts to your movements. In a strafe stab, you react to their movements. Players who normally wouldn't fall for trickstabs can get strafe stabbed. Even b4nny (was a level 3 circle strafe stab). It's important to know that these stabs only work on players who are aiming with strafing rather than aiming with mouse. If they're aiming with their mouse primarily, you'll have to matador.

What is the Level System?
Every player in this game moves in a certain way. When they play the game, players normally don't focus too hard on how they move and focus more on spotting targets, aim and avoiding damage. Every consistent way of strafing has a level. The higher the level, the more advanced their movements are. The currently known levels are 1, 2, 3, 3/1, 3/4, 4, 4.1, 4.2 & 4.3. You want to see how the enemy's moving and remember their level. Every single level has a counter stab, so theoretically, if you pull off the strafe stab perfectly, the strafe stab is unavoidable.

Why is There a Level System?
Some spies will argue that the level system is unnecessary, players like gloom don't even know about the levels. They just do what feels right. That's perfectly fine, however, I prefer knowing the levels since it helps me remember what stab to do easily. Also, if a team mate who also knows about the level tells me what level a player is on, I can easily get a stab on him immediately without having to think about what steps I need to do to get to his back.

Level 1(Click the level to watch a video summary instead)
Notice how he's only strafing using his A key...

The simplest strafing level is someone who strafes towards or away with long A or D strafes. When someone strafes at you in this way, it is impossible for you to actually matador them. Strafe in the same direction they are and try to out strafe them and reach their back. Never change directions unless you hit a wall. This is not a matador, and this may go against all your instincts as spy. Strafe in a single direction and remain calm. Just keep strafing until you reach their back and get the stab. Some players can turn away from you and "turn the strafe", when they do, you they can break away from the circle even if they're on level 1. There are 2 different ways to counter, but the easiest way is to make them strafe into a wall and force them to backpedal. You can backpedal stab them from that point. If you fail, you keep strafing in the same direction until they give you their back again, or you just get a backpedal stab on them.

Backpedal Stabs
Walk and meet their side. Press S to backpedal and strafe into them. Make sure that when you strafe, you're actually looking at their back instead of looking straight forwards. You can backpedal stab someone even if it looks like they're behind you, because of lag. There's nothing you can do about lag. Note that this isn't a face stab either, face stabs don't actually exist in this game, but it can look like a face stab.

Level 2(aka Level 0)
This is someone who uses their W and S keys only. They move forwards with W and move back with S after they attack. Since they're aiming with mouse, you can just matador. Make sure you time the matador as they're walking towards you or just starting to back up from you. Go for swift matador-like movements. This stab can be recovered with a backpedal stab.

Level 3
The pentagons represent his 2 points. The arrows are his movement.

Someone who strafes side to side to attack. This is most commonly seen with demos and scouts. They strafe using A, D, A, D over and over again. When someone strafes like this, they have 2 imaginary points where they will switch directions. Take note if this. If someone is making decently sized strafes, go for their empty point as they're switching directions or starting to strafe back. You will intercept their movement and get the stab. If they're strafing in quicker motions, you should strafe directly at them when they're at a point. Since they're strafing so quickly, they will back away and strafe back without even knowing what happened to them. Some people will actually change their levels when you get near them. Level 3/1 (three-slash-one) is someone who is strafing side to side when you're far away, but will strafe in level 1 to attack once you're close. You counter them with either depending on what level they're on by the time you're at knifing range. The same goes for level 4. Some level 3s will switch to level 4, aka the 3/4. Spies who are trying to matador you are on 3/4. You can counter them that way. If someone is strafing too quickly for you to fit in between their two points (aka juking), you glue stab them. You run at their middle, stick to them like glue (hence the name) and when they reach your side, you turn 180 degrees for the backpedal stab. Some people who are juking will have an occasional longer strafe every once in a while. If you notice when they make a longer strafe, just intercept their longer strafe. It's easier than glue.

Level 4
Players on level 4 will try to attack from your side or get behind you. They'll start from facing you and try to make it past your side. If you walk at them, they'll "let you pass". Basically, they'll try to avoid bumping into you. You can get them by strafing to their side and then pressing S to get a backpedal stab. The
He tries to strafe around me. When I back up, he turns around expecting me to still be in front of him. This gives me his back.
theory behind why this works is because the other player is trying to get around you. Once he reaches your side, he turns 180 degrees because he's ready to be behind you. If you continue to back up, he'll never manage to actually get behind you, and you can stab him because he turns 180 degrees and shows you his back. If you keep backpedaling and reach a wall, you need to change directions and get a "managed matador" on him. Basically, the level 4 will edge out at the wall and you're forced to change directions and get a level 4 from another direction. It's called a managed matador since the motion looks very similar to a matador, but it's actually just a level 4 that has turned into a different angle. Sometimes, for level 4s, you'll actually go forwards and sideways rather than forwards and back for the stab. Sometimes you don't even have to move forwards and you can just go straight into a backpedal stab.

This guide is not finished! I will try to edit it whenever I can.

My YouTube tutorial series if you prefer to watch rather than read. Happy espionage!

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