What is the ‘9-3 curse’ in VALORANT?

Is this a Supernatural episode or what?

Image via Riot Games

The battle between two teams in VALORANT kicks off with agent selection. Teams can start feeling the pressure before the first round even begins and staying calm in challenging situations becomes a vital skill to climb up VALORANT’s ranked ladder.

Even superstitions can be a factor behind a team’s downfall, meaning there could be some psychological warfare between the two teams battling it out. The 9-3 curse, for example, is one of the worst nightmares from squads that are leading by that score in VALORANT.

Players who haven’t been keeping up with VALORANT’s competitive scene may not be familiar with the 9-3 curse since it started to take off after the VALORANT Champions Tour Stage Three Masters event in 2021. Here’s what you need to know about this phrase.

What does the 9-3 curse mean in VALORANT?

If the score is 9-3, that means the first round in a match just ended. And if you believe in the 9-3 curse, the leading team is destined to lose the next round despite its advantage.

Though it may not make any sense from a logical standpoint, the 9-3 curse has happened enough to turn it into a superstition during the 2021 VALORANT Champions Tour. Pros and content creators have even commented on the curse, saying it can be better to lose the last round on purpose if you’re up 8-3 to head into the second round with an 8-4 lead.

In the example above, Team Liquid were comfortably leading the match against Na’Vi during VCT 2021 EMEA Stage Three Challengers Playoffs. The 9-3 lead meant nothing in this match, however, since Na’Vi pulled off an epic come back, winning the match 13-10. Despite leading the match during its first part, Liquid were only able to secure a single round in the second portion of the match.

If you believe in the curse, you should start mentally preparing yourself to avoid it. The best way to counter the 9-3 curse will be through building confidence. While the score difference can be significant enough to allow your team to make some mistakes, let the curse be a grounding experience and try to play your best as if you were playing from behind.

If the enemy team suddenly finds a way around your strategy, don’t hesitate to spice up your tactics, since catching the enemy team off guard can allow you to bring home a few extra rounds.

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