Riot Games has banned two professional players, phox and w3ak, who were accused of cheating after their performance in recent tournaments, apparently confirming the community's suspicions.
Valorant is no stranger to cheaters, even with its controversial Vanguard anti-cheat system, but professional players using them to get an edge during competition is something the young FPS hasn't had to deal with, until now.
— belal 🏃 (@fgbVAL) July 20, 2020
Both phox and w3ak played for A.S.M.R. in the Nerd St. Gamers Open tournament, where they placed third, and were set to compete with Echo 8 in the PAX Arena Invitational until they got hit with a ban by Vanguard.
W3ak, to their credit, came right out and admitted that the cheating allegations were true (after a twitlonger where they blamed Echo 8's organization), and said that their team had no idea what was going on at the time.
"Not gonna try to prolong this anymore. None of our teammates knew we were cheating," w3ak wrote on Twitter once the news broke. I got a message from phox this morning saying he got banned, so I checked if I was too. I have now logged in to being banned, thought I could play it off."
Phox revealed in a twitlonger posted when the news came out that he wasn't getting any enjoyment out of Valorant recently, and blamed a "series of unfortunate events" for what transpired.
"With the release of ranked I was playing over 12-15 hours a day just grinding but overtime after about 250 games played I started to lose enjoyment, I just kept playing because I had nothing better to do with my life," phox wrote in the twitlonger.
"Yes I had fun but I haven’t been truly been happy in so long and I feel like this isn’t what I was made to do in life, I understand there is potential but I simply don’t enjoy it and my mental state isn’t where it should be. After a series of unfortunate events recently and things just not going my way I am just going to take it as a sign this isn’t for me."
Taking a break
— phox (@phoxNA) July 20, 2020
Whether or not either player will be able to return to the Valorant esports scene remains to be seen, but a Vanguard ban on your record for cheating certainly won't help with most major or minor esports orgs looking for players.
Even though Valorant esports are still in their infancy, it's clear the game will have to deal with the same issues that have plagued others like CS:GO and Valorant.
What do you think about one of the first major instance of cheating in Valorant esports, and who do you think Echo 8 will pick up to replace the pair? Let us know on Twitter @ValorantUpdates.