Would-Be Valorant Pro Phox Banned for Cheating

by in Valorant | Jul, 21st 2020

Do people not read the news? Valorant has repeatedly been on record stating how seriously they were going to take banning. We have covered it more than once here, as an example. So when we saw top Valorant amateur Phox was taking a break from the game, we were curious, and it turns out that he was actually banned earlier in the day for cheating. Valorant is still brand-new in the esports/virtual world, and while it’s a shame to see this, it’s important.

This way, we see that Valorant is serious about their anti-cheating initiative and that nobody is safe from punishment. We aren’t going to make light of mental health issues, which Phox did state were a part of his “taking a break”. If that is accurate, we do wish him a safe and swift recovery, but that doesn’t take away from cheating and getting caught. It’s not “taking a break”, it’s “getting caught with your hands in the proverbial cookie jar”.

Actions Have Consequences

Again, mental health is a very serious issue, and the “grind culture” that streaming/esports has is pretty self-destructive. People are ignoring real-life responsibilities in the name of trying to get that big paycheck. Ignoring their real job, their educations, et cetera.

We have to ask the important question though: What happened? Phox was training together with “Weak”, on the amateur team Echo 8. This was in preparation for the 25,000 dollar PAX Arena tournament, coming this week.

At first, Weak was defending himself and Phox on social media, claiming that they did nothing wrong and were definitely not cheating or banned for it. However, it got out that he and Phox were both using exploits/cheats in-game, but the rest of their team did not know this.

When confronted with the evidence, Weak had this to say:

“Not gonna try to prolong this anymore. None of our teammates knew we were cheating. I got a message from [P]hox 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.”

We cannot help but wonder how long they were getting away with using cheats in game. Perhaps Riot Games were building a case, or if it simply needed more reports/data to prove the two were cheating. Phox and Weak were both playing on Echo 8 for the recent EsportsDoug x eUnited Charity Clash, and finished third. But is that victory tainted?

Throwing It All Away

Phox had a 1.45 KDA, and Average Combat Score of 286, which is phenomenal if we’re honest about it. Phox has a 75% win rate on the North American Ladder and is Radiant Rank (the highest in-game rank), so they have been remarkably successful. Phox has been playing with some of the biggest names in the esports scene in his ladder matches, but sadly has now been banned for cheating.

Now, Echo 8 is still going to compete, because only Weak and Phox were accused of cheating and saw subsequent bannings. It’s just a real shame to see people have to get caught up in the risk of cheating. This is definitely a break from the game, but it’s not one that Phox chose.

Well, Phox chose it by cheating and getting caught, so perhaps that is fair. However, Matt Paoletti (RiotK3o) responded to the Twitlonger by Phox with:

“If you come back, please don’t cheat next time.” Nuclear-level burn, that. It doesn’t sound like Matt wanted it to seem like Phox was simply burned out from playing constantly. His Twitlonger in no way discusses that he cheated and got caught, after all.

The TLDR of his Twitlonger reads as follows:

“I appreciate all the support i got and all the friends i have made but i really think it is best for me to take a break and focus on myself And mental health before I end up wasting my life on something I no longer enjoy but only use as an escape.”

Mental health is incredibly important. We cannot possibly stress this enough. But as a player, you choose to play by the rules of the game, work, and grow on your own. You also choose to be a cheater, use exploits and software that helps you get an advantage in-game.

You choose the path you take in situations like this. We can only hope that the path you choose next time is a fair one.


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