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Dota 2 Pros Shave Heads At TI11 As A "Sacrifice To The God Of Dota"

Dota 2 pros are shaving their heads for good luck at The International 11, and it's actually working. But what is the "bald buff"?
Dota 2 Pros Shave Heads At TI11 As A "Sacrifice To The God Of Dota"

There’s no denying that almost every esports team performs at least some form of good luck chant, ritual, dance, or gesture before they play a competitive match or tournament. It’s simply tradition, and funny enough, it goes a long way to boost morale and positivity -- in fact, some think it brings them good luck.

As for Dota 2 players, well, it’s something a little more extreme. Or should we say fashionable? During The International 2022, professional players and coaches have started shaving their heads completely bald as a measure of good luck and to continue an unusual yet hilarious trend. Better still, it's sort of working. 

Double Damage Rune? No, It's The "Bald Buff"

bald buff yatoro win ti10
The "Bald Buff" was inspired by Illya "Yatoro" Mulyarchuk's legendary haircut that helped his team win TI10. (Picture: Twitter via The International)

It all started with Team Spirit’s Illya “Yatoro” Mulyarchuk, way before the team was crowned TI10 Champions. On 15 October 2021, Yatoro shaved his head right before Team Spirit’s Lower Bracket elimination match against Virtus.pro.

Naturally, most people chuckled at the sight of Yatoro’s new hairdo. But little did they know, it’d surprisingly help them take down Virtus.pro, a group Team Spirit’s always had trouble overcoming in tournaments. Thanks to Yatoro’s “bald buff,” Team Spirit triumphed over Virtus.pro with a score of 2-1 in the Lower Bracket Quarterfinals, going on to later win TI10.

After beating Virtus.pro, Yatoro opened up about his legendary performance and, more so, even greater haircut in a post-match interview. When asked about his bald head, Yatoro said, “I shaved my head as a sacrifice to the god of Dota.” And ever since then, Yatoro’s lucky hairdo has inspired other players to follow the trend, all in hopes of gaining a slight advantage over their rivals.

More recently, BOOM Esports player Rolen “skem” Ong shaved his head during TI11, especially when the team was so close to being sent out of the tournament. Followingly, BOOM Esports’ triumphed over Soniqs, Gaimin Gladiators, and even fan-favorite team, Evil Geniuses, during the Group Stage.

Thunder Awaken player Jose “PandaMoo” Hernandez also shaved his head before playing against Evil Geniuses and ended up beating them in the playoffs with a score of 2-0 during the Upper Bracket Quarterfinals.

That wasn’t the end of Evil Geniuses' downfall, though. Despite Artour “Arteezy” Babaev also shaving his head to keep the dream alive, the team faced equal power. Unfortunately for Arteezy, Beastcoast's assistant coach Eduardo “Raykill” Nuñez shaved his head right before their Lower Bracket match. As a result, Evil Geniuses lost again to the bald buff via another perfect sweep of 2-0; so clearly, the shaved head was doing numbers.

players shaving heads slightly better chance winning
Players have been shaving their heads, hoping to gain a slightly better chance of winning. (Picture: Twitter via The International)

So if being bald had some sort of boost for other teams, how'd it work? It's hard to pinpoint the reason behind this trend working for some teams, but it could simply just be explained by a boost in confidence and overall team morale.

I mean, there's nothing funnier than your best friend shaving their head because of a trend and showing it off during a live broadcast in front of millions of people, right? That said, the bald buff seems to be working, but will it help the teams push through until the end? Only time will tell.

For all the exciting MOBA action, head to our section dedicated to the latest Dota 2 news, updates, guides, features, events, and more.


Featured image courtesy of Twitter via The International and Evil Geniuses.