What does “NT” mean in VALORANT?Why did your VALORANT teammate tell you “nt” after you lost the round? What exactly does it mean, and should you say it too?
We’ve all been there: the attackers took site for free, your entire team died before you even got there, and they left you in a 1v3, 1v4, or even a 1v5 situation.
“Sage is dinked!” “Skye’s low!” “Jett’s OPing main!” they yell into your ear. Yet, even with all these pristine comms and your best efforts… you die and lose the round.
“…nt,” comes the half-hearted mumble from your teammates.
Should you get mad? Should you say something back to them? …what does “nt” even mean in VALORANT in the first place?
Even after hundreds or thousands of hours logged in competitive VALORANT, the best and most seasoned players tell you that one of the hardest parts about Riot’s tactical shooter isn’t the gunplay, the movement, or even the game sense.
Those get easier with practice. What doesn’t get naturally easier is dealing with the rage, tilt, and frustration that comes with lost VALORANT rounds, halves, and games. A whole 40 minutes, and for what?
For many players, this emotional hurdle on their rank-up path is too high to jump.
However, a good mental state is paramount toward quick and efficient victories, and an encouraging word can pull back games that are otherwise lost. This is where that oft-heard acronym—“nt”—comes into play.
“NT” = “Nice Try”
In short, “nt” is an acronym that stands for “nice try,” a conciliatory phrase uttered by a team member on the losing end of a round. Usually, you’ll hear it when a teammate tries and fails to salvage a difficult game state, like a 1v3 clutch or a tight defusal.
There’s very little that can lessen the sting of a lost round, especially when you’re the one who could have played the metaphorical hero. How many times have you died to a headshot and immediately thought to yourself, “I could have won that”?
Demoralization comes easy—“nt” is used as a way to keep morale up, and to communicate that a teammate is still engaged and willing to try despite the setback. So if you hear a teammate say “nt” to you, it’s a good sign: in not so many words, they’re reassuring you that you did your best with the cards you were dealt.
In any case, it’s always preferable to the classic “wow, you suck.”
NT: A lesson in psychology
But even more than a way to console demoralized or frustrated teammates, a simple “nt” can have far-reaching psychological consequences that could give your team a much-needed competitive edge.
Positivity: The real performance enhancer
It’s helpful to think of “nt” as more than just a passing, insignificant gesture: even though it only takes a few words or a few keystrokes (the latter if you don’t use comms… but please, for the love of everything radiant, please use comms in comp), even minor affirmations tend to have major, unanticipated mental effects.
In 2021, a group of researchers found evidence that verbal encouragement during high-intensity physical exercise demonstrably increased performance in participants, compared to a control group that didn’t receive any affirmation. What’s more, participants found themselves capable of trying harder following the words of encouragement, beyond what might have been possible otherwise.
But the potential benefits aren’t limited to just “trying harder”: though the exact mechanism is unknown, a 2012 study demonstrated enhanced skill memory among participants who received compliments and verbal affirmation.
(“Skill memory” is a technical term for a skill that gets better the more your practice, and in VALORANT, this could involve all sorts of repeatable mechanics—counterstrafing, aim, jump-peeking, even lineups.)
Words: More powerful than we think
Imagine the implications for the game: the overwhelming body of literature suggests that verbal affirmation, even something as simple as “nice try,” could potentially encourage teammates to both try harder and perform better than they would have otherwise.
Seem far-fetched? You’re not alone in feeling that way: a 2021 study conducted by Harvard Business Review concluded that most people drastically underestimate the potency of small compliments and verbal affirmations—it’s not worth it, we think, so we don’t say anything.
But the evidence suggests the exact opposite: a simple word of encouragement has the disproportionate power to get people to feel, think, and perform better at any given task. And it’s not all altruism: the latest psychological research suggests that giving out compliments actually rewires the giver’s brain to focus on the positive in a given situation, rather than the negative.
Down 0–2 in the first half? That just means that you’ll have better guns to bring it back. Lost a clutch? Now you know how they play, and you’ll be able to take advantage of it next time.
In short, “nt” might just be the scientifically backed cheat code that you need to pull ahead in games that you have no business winning. Just make sure it’s sincere.
This is the way
None of this is meant to imply that it’s easy to genuinely tell teammates “nice try” after they botch an easy gunfight or lose a round they should have won; it’s much simpler to get frustrated, mute your mic, and hope for the best while you play for KDA.
But like anything important in life, encouraging others is a learned skill, with payoffs that you might not immediately notice. Remember that keeping things positive is the key to coming back from hopeless situations… and as LOUD learned the hard way at LOCK//IN 2023, comebacks can happen to the best of players.
Stay positive, try your hardest, and give a full-throated “nt” to your teammates even when they fail. We’re all doing our best, and sometimes, that’s all you can ask for.