North American VALORANT players Phox and W3ak banned for cheating

The two aspiring pros have had their promising careers ended prematurely.

Image via Riot Games

Amateur VALORANT players Phox and W3ak have been banned by Riot Games’ anti-cheat, Vanguard, barring them from competing in the game indefinitely.

Phox announced yesterday that he’d be taking a break from competing professionally in the game. In his statement, he cited personal issues conflicting with his dedication to the game, along with his waning personal enjoyment of the title.

But Matt Paoletti, an anti-cheating developer for VALORANT, responded, saying “if you come back, please don’t cheat next time.”

After it came to light that Phox was being forced away from playing VALORANT as opposed to voluntarily stepping away, he released one last statement on the matter.

His TwitLonger confirmed that he had recently been “banned permanently” for having “cheated in VALORANT.” He then wrote a long-winded explanation as to his motivation for cheating, citing his extreme mental health issues.

Phox’s former teammate, W3ak, was also banned indefinitely for cheating. The player confirmed the ban on Twitter, saying “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.”

Phox and W3ak had been playing together on one of the best amateur VALORANT teams in North America, Echo 8, in preparation for the upcoming $25,000 PAX Arena tournament this week.

Last week, Phox starred in Echo 8’s amazing underdog victory over top NA team Immortals in the EsportsDoug x eUnited Charity Clash. Despite finishing outside the top two, Phox produced a 1.45 kill-death ratio and a 286 Average Combat Score.

Echo 8 will still compete in the upcoming PAX Arena Invitational, which starts on July 22.