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The skill difference between two players can often decide a match in VALORANT, especially if the most skilled player pilots an agent like Jett – an agent that can run away, or in, at a moment’s notice and fly in the air above enemies and allies alike. Jett players can completely take over a game and when one outdoes the other, it’s almost customary to let the enemy know the reason they lost the game.

Two simple words that let those in the server know who decided the outcome of the game, Jett diff. The term has thousands of Twitch clips dedicated to the phenomenon, usually accompanied by a remarkable play using her signature ability Tailwind to reposition instantly. The in-game voice lines from the agent perpetuate her high skill ceiling, letting the player and team know how well they’re playing.

“Oh, my back hurts…Everyone’s so heavy.” Jett says after earning match MVP in-game.

The character is not dissimilar than another wind-ability user that wields a sword in Riot Games other title, League of Legends. That champion, Yasuo, was also the poster character for his game at one time. He was played often and featured on many of Riot’s marketing materials. The same can be said for Jett. She, along with Phoenix, were some of the first characters shown from the game and featured in its first cinematic.

Jett diff in competitive VALORANT

Jett diff is a phenomenon in competitive VALORANT as well. The agent was a staple of the meta for most of 2020, and is still picked to this day as a high-skill agent with a high-risk, high-reward, playstyle. The current VALORANT meta has slowed to pace where Jett is less viable according to Gen.G coach Matthew “mCe” Elmore, but the agent still has her uses.

“A lot of the teams don’t run Jetts as much anymore, and the guys that do run Jetts, it’s because they have such talented Jett players that they can justify taking a Jett,” mCe said. “Because they know they’re going to be making big plays,”

Gone are the days of Jett vs Jett battles in early Ignition Series tournaments. Fights between Tyson “TenZ” Ngo and Matthew “WARDELL” Yu in North America or Oscar “mixwell” Cañellas Colocho and Leonardo “mwzera” Serrati’s highlight reel plays in Europe and Brazil respectively are now a  thing of the past.

But even as the meta shifts away from the flash-and-dash meta with flashy Jett duels, teams still pick her and their battles are still exciting to witness. In the North American VALORANT Champions Tour Stage 1 Challengers 3 TSM vs Gen.G match, two Jetts went at it near the B bombsite on Ascent. In B garage the two Jetts, WARDELL and Danny “huynh” Huynh, exchanged a flurry of Jett abilities. They both threw smokes, Updraft in the air, Tailwind to different spots and pulled out Bladestorm. The two players also brandished an Operator and exemplified what a Jett diff looks like as WARDELL sniped huynh as the smokes cleared from the battle.

“If you just have your main Duelist dropping 30 and the other Jett on the other team is only pulling like 15, that is absolutely Jett diff,” VALORANT caster Gustavo “Upmind” Franco Domingues said. “You already know that the coms are going off, you got the ‘lets goes’ going on, you got people dapping themselves up, it’s just that morale boost that you need. I think Jett is the character that adds to that vibe,”

In that TSM v Gen.G map, WARDELL finished top of the server with 25 kills. In contrast, huynh put up 14 kills as his team lost the map, 13-9, and the series 2-0. A Jett diff, some might say.

Professional Jett players, the final frontier

Jett twirls her knife in the air, to represent Jett diff in a Riot Games promotional image
VALORANT Agent Jett twirls a knife with her wind abilities. | Provided by Riot Games

In the early days of competitive VALORANT, if someone threw a rock at the preverbal group of professional players odds are it would hit a Jett main. But as said before, those day are gone. TenZ, mixwell and mwzera play other Duelists and provided other utility for their team. The church of Jett only has a few remaining followers, but those who practice are devout in their faith.

TSM and WARDELL frequent the parish often, but the player who preaches the loudest is FaZe Clan’s Andrej “babybay” Francisty.

“He’s just so strong on it [Jett], his numbers are so good he makes so much space. He is truly just like the epitome of a Jett player, he completely fools in every single round,” mCe said. “When you play babybay, you know that he’s going to come. It doesn’t matter he can be 0-10 or 10-0, he is going to send it at you.”

While FaZe rose through the ranks of North American VALORANT, fans and analysts sung the praises of babybay as the catalyst for the team’s success. Was this all thanks to Jett? Probably not, but there is not a character babybay could take over a game with besides the Korean wind master.

Jett transcends her normal place as a Duelist in the game and crosses into mascot and poster child for VALORANT and some of its professional players. Now, and possibly forever, she has one of the more satisfying playstyles and phrases when a player feels confident.

“‘I’ve done it once and it felt good.” Upmind said when asked if he’s typed Jett diff in a VALORANT chat before. “It felt real good.”

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