VALORANT: Is the 9-3 Curse Real?


John Paul Santiago

Writer and Storywriter

John creates game guides and covers the latest updates and developments in Valorant, Diablo Immortal, and GTA V for PlayerAssist. He is a PC gaming enthusiast with an affinity for FPS and RPG titles, but he has recently also developed a newfound appreciation for MMORPGs.


The only game where players wished they didn’t lead by 9 rounds at the end of the first half.

VALORANT: Is the 9-3 Curse Real?

Many players and teams have been left scratching their heads after being on the receiving and delivering end of the dreaded 9-3 Curse in VALORANT. Teams down by three rounds at the end of the half love to see it, while those leading by nine probably wish they didn’t stomp the other team too much in the first half.

The VALORANT devs themselves have been intrigued by the same questions, so they went digging and unearthed some interesting data about the 9-3 Curse. There’s a lot to digest here, so we’ll bring you only the most important points in this guide.

What is the 9-3 Curse in VALORANT?

The 9-3 Curse in VALORANT means the match score at halftime stands at 9 won rounds and 3 lost ones for the leading team. Generally, having a six-round advantage by halftime means the leading team has a lot of rounds to work with on their way to a 13-X score by the end of the game.

However, many players and teams have noticed a peculiar pattern in this number combination – in a 9-3 game, the trailing team somehow suddenly unlocks Super Saiyan mode and storms through the next few rounds en route to a comeback win.

9-3 Curse in Numbers

The devs first looked at the Real World Comeback Rates according to Leading Scores at half-time. Generally, the greater the lead one team has on the other, the less likely it is for teams to be able to mount a comeback in the next half.

The following are the Real World Comeback Rates for Leading Scores from 7-12.

  • 7-5 Lead: 40.28% chance for the trailing team to mount a comeback.
  • 8-4 Lead: 23.74% chance for the trailing team to mount a comeback.
  • 9-3 Lead: 11.10% chance for the trailing team to mount a comeback.
  • 10-2 Lead: 3.74% chance for the trailing team to mount a comeback.
  • 11-1 Lead: 0.72% chance for the trailing team to mount a comeback.
  • 12-0 Lead: 0.05% chance for the trailing team to mount a comeback.

The numbers above show an almost exponential drop in comeback chance the greater the lead a team has by the half. A 7-5 lead, while not exactly a stomp, shows a very high chance (40.28%) for the trailing team to turn the game around and mount a comeback by the next half. The Comeback Rates for higher leads drop the chances even further, with just a 0.05% chance to come back from a 12-0 stomp.

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Looking at the numbers for games with a 9-3 lead by the half, we see a minimal chance for a comeback at just 11.10%. However, these numbers don’t really reflect many players’ experience when playing a 9-3 game, otherwise, the community wouldn’t be making a big fuss about the 9-3 Curse in the first place.

After scouring through 25+ million matches, the devs compiled data such as map side played, rounds won at halftime, and win rates to create a projected rate graph. The results shed a bit of light on the 9-3 Curse.

On maps such as Ascent, the devs found that teams trailing 4-8 or 3-9 have a higher chance of coming back compared to teams trailing 5-7, which completely goes against the first set of data above, which suggests a linear drop in comeback chance the higher the lead at half-time.

What’s causing the comebacks?

The devs believe that economy has a lot to do with how teams manage to come back from a typically insurmountable 3-9 deficit by the half.

Because the money for both teams reset at half-time, the trailing team can regroup and attempt to win three of the most important rounds of the half – the Pistol, Eco, and Bonus rounds.

Pistol, Eco, and Bonus rounds, known internally as P.E.B rounds, can dictate how well the rest of the half goes for either team. Generally, teams who win all three P.E.B. rounds will go on to win 36.33% of the time, while those who win zero P.E.B. rounds win only 0.33% of the time.

How do you counter a 9-3 curse in VALORANT?

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The devs point to Pistol, Eco, and Bonus rounds as the biggest factor in determining a team’s ability to come back from a 9-3 deficit at the half. With this in mind, players and teams must start taking P.E.B. rounds more seriously if they want to win more games and come back from being down by half-time.

This means buying pistols for your most skilled players in Pistol rounds, purchasing armor and SMGs at Eco rounds, and buying the appropriate guns/armor in Bonus rounds.

Remember, teams that won all three P.E.B. rounds while being down 3-9 at the half won these games 36.33% of the time, which is roughly a 1 in 3 chance of winning from being down 3-9.

Is the 9-3 Curse Real?

From the numbers the devs have shared in their blog post, the 9-3 Curse is far from what players make it out to be. While it is definitely one of the more common half-time scores where teams mount unthinkable comebacks, being down 3-9 at the half does not automatically mean you’ll lose the game as well.

There are a ton of factors to consider still, but the devs believe that whenever teams do lose after leading 9-3, they can blame themselves for taking it easy or just blame the fact that the economy resets at half-time, giving the opposite team a much-needed economic reset.

You can read the official dev blog post here: VALORANT DATA BREACH: 9-3 CURSE.

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