Olivia R. July 21, 2020
Two Valorant pros have decided to leave the competitive scene indefinitely after Riot Games banned them for cheating.
phox and w3ak finished in third place in the Nerd St. Gamers Open tournament while playing for team A.S.M.R. It was a good start to a promising career and they were soon on their way to compete with Echo 8 at the PAX Arena Invitational. But that plan was thwarted when the pair was caught cheating multiple times.
The two players were initially defensive in response to the allegations. w3ak called Echo 8 "unprofessional" for dropping them in a TwitLonger in which he blamed being "burnt out" as his reason for retiring from Valorant.
phox took a similar route. He wrote his own TwitLonger in which he discussed his mental health. He claimed he "played the living shit" out of Valorant, but felt it just "wasn't for him" after some "unfortunate" events.
phox and w3ak admit to cheating after Valorant bans
Later, w3ak decided to come clean before deleting his Twitter account.
"Not gonna try to prolong this anymore. None of our teammates knew we were cheating. 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," w3ak tweeted.
Riot employee Matt Paoletti decided to also call out phox, who hadn't been as forthcoming in his TwitLonger.
phox came back with a second TwitLonger, admitting to being a "compulsive cheater" in every game he's ever played. He outlined how he got involved with the cheating community and how it kept him interested in games he would otherwise drop due to getting bored of the grind.
"I think I have a problem with losing, like beyond being a sore loser. Or a problematic addiction for winning [that] routes back to when I was playing football," phox said.
Despite not liking to lose, esports organization eUnited pointed out that phox didn't even come in first place when he cheated in a recent charity tournament.
While Valorant developers have been consistently harsh on cheaters these past few months, Paoletti seemed to soften up a bit after phox came forward and told the truth about his compulsive cheating.
"We're rooting for you to reform and hopefully eventually be able to enjoy gaming and competition in a legitimate manner," Paoletti told phox.
Other former cheaters came forward with their support as well.