Two Valorant players, Phox and Jack "w3ak" Hughett, have been permanently banned from the game for cheating, the players themselves confirmed on Twitter. The two previously compete for team Athletic Strong Muscular Ragers (ASMR), with w3ak stating that "none of our teammates knew we were cheating".
W3ak, who also used to stream Valorant before the ban, told a shifting tale on Twitter about his absence from the game. In a statement from July 19, w3ak wrote he's taking a break from the game, citing he was feeling burnt out and he needed some time to clear his head. W3ak also gave details on his team situation ahead of PAX Invitational, where both he and Phox were supposed to be playing with team Echo 8. After a week of playing with Echo 8, however, captain Jordan "AYRIN" He allegedly dropped w3ak from his plans, only wanting to keep Ohox, Tanner "TiGG" Spanu, and Jamal "jammyz" Bangash (ex-team Smoke), the three of whom also being tested as temporary stand-ins.
In follow-up Tweets, whose message would crumble just a few hours later, w3ak went on to boast his and Phox's prowess of the game and doubled down on him not being banned.
Phox made his own TwitLonger, announcing that he too is taking a break and citing mental health issues following the suicide of a friend.
The permanent ban against w3ak and Phox came shortly after, at which point both players came clear. While w3ak chose to issue a very short statement, Phox posted a lengthy TwitLonger, admitting to being a "compulsive cheater" in "almost every game I have played", including Modern Warfare 2 and CS:GO.
Phox added [sic]:
"I want to apologize against anyone / most importantly people recently that i have competed against or played against . Not only did i screw the results and outcomes of tournaments, ranked matches , and more i stole the attention of true talent , the money of true talent , and much more it affects someone’s person to lose and now they know they lost to a cheater it must make it feel worse and for that i am sorry , and still i am not asking for forgiveness or anything of the sorts , i was aware of what i was doing and at the time had no remorse."
In the same Tweet, Phox also stated that he and his family are being doxxed and harassed online, with his little brother receiving threats to his life.
Phox and w3ak are the first professional players to receive a permanent ban in Valorant, but it raises the question of how many more will follow. Despite the rapid growth of tournament prize pools, the Valorant professional scene is still in its budding, wild west stages, which is a fertile environment for the type of players who hope their cheating passes under the radar.
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