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Before almost every VALORANT match he plays professionally, Tyson “TenZ” Ngo posts a gif of an anime character powering up on Twitter, usually of Killua Zoldyck from the popular series “Hunter x Hunter.” Other players have followed suit, posting gifs of anime characters and even changing their Twitter profile picture to their favorite characters.
— TenZ (@TenZOfficial) December 4, 2021
The trend caught on internationally at Masters Berlin according to Gambit Esports’ Nikita “d3ffo” Sudakov.
“I was posting a gif on Twitter before every game and it’s still working for me,” he said.
But some players, like TenZ, set the trend before international events in VALORANT began.
An avid anime fan, D3ffo’s Twitter profile photo is the main character in one of his favorite shows, “Seven Deadly Sins.” He said that the practice is kind of a joke, but he has won almost every match since he started using the avatar. Before his most recent win against Team Vikings at VALORANT Champions, he posted a gif from “Tokyo Ghoul.”
— Gambit d3ffo (@d3ffo111) December 4, 2021
Other VALORANT players who participate in the anime gif trend are Cloud9’s Erick “Xeppaa” Bach and KRÜ Esports’ Roberto Francisco “Mazino” Rivas Bugueño. While neither player won the matches they played after tweeting out the short videos – Cloud9 fell to Fnatic 1-2 and KRÜ lost to Team Liquid 0-2 – Mazino said that he likes the trend and finds it does help him before matches.
— KRÜ Mazino (@Mazinofps) December 2, 2021
“It’s my experience that guys that have an anime profile picture just did more and are better at tournaments and that’s where it came from,” Mazino said. “Posting an anime gif to kind of intimidate the opponent.”
Much like other rituals that some players may have before a match, like changing their mouse grip or breathing exercises, this trend is a great way for players to set the tone for their upcoming match. Whether it is a revenge arc against a previous opponent, or a general power up before taking on a tournament favorite, there is almost no wrong way for players to join in.
“Those that are trending are good ones you can go with,” Mazino said about choosing the right anime gif before a match. “The classics, you can never fail with the classics.”
Declan is an esports journalist and part-time editor for Upcomer. He is an avid gamer and League of Legends player. You can find him at the bottom of the leaderboard in most games or on Twitter.