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"
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.
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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.
i like your cut g @skemdota2pic.twitter.com/MUJt7MGgPB— BOOM Esports (@boomesportsid) October 18, 2022
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.
No hair buff pic.twitter.com/RRVdlVA2eu— Evil Geniuses (@EvilGeniuses) October 21, 2022
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.
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.
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Featured image courtesy of Twitter via The International and Evil Geniuses.