American players phox and w3ak have both been banned by Riot Games' Anti-Cheat Vanguard, barring them from competing in Valorant indefinitely. Both players previously played for A.S.M.R., and were set to play with Echo 8 in the PAX Arena Invitational.
w3ak first announced his break in a Twitlonger, claiming that Echo 8 Echo 8 North America Rank #24 captain AYRIN wanted to have phox join Echo 8 and drop w3ak from the team in the process, despite it originally being stated that the two would return to A.S.M.R. at the end of the EsportsDoug x eUnited Charity Clash. Following the incident, w3ak stated he grew tired of Valorant, deciding to take a break from the game indefinitely.
Roughly ten hours later, phox also announced in a Twitlonger that he would be stepping down from playing Valorant. In his Twitlonger, phox cited personal issues conflicting with his dedication to the game, along with recent events in his life affecting him and his enjoyment of the game personally.
After another ten hours had passed, Riot Games' Senior Anti-Cheat Analyst Matt Paoletti sternly replied to phox's tweet, telling the American player "if [he comes] back, please don't cheat next time."
If you come back, please don't cheat next time.— Matt Paoletti (@RiotK3o) July 20, 2020
After the tweet from Matt Paoletti broke the news, w3ak was pressured by users on social media into proving that he wasn't banned along with phox. However, in a follow-up tweet, w3ak admitted to having used cheats alongside phox, stating also that none of their teammates were aware.
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.— weak (@w3ak) July 20, 2020
phox was one of the stand-out players in the EsportsDoug x eUnited Charity Clash, being the best performing player on Echo 8 during the event, and also recently played for A.S.M.R. in the Nerd Street Gamers Open #15 with w3ak.
Nerd Street Gamers has announced that A.S.M.R.'s winnings from the NSG Open #15 will be transferred to the fourth place team MIXUP MIXUP North America Rank #15 instead, with both phox and w3ak banned from Nerd Street Gamers' events for two years.
Update: phox has released a final Twitlonger. You can read it here:
Final statement— phox (@phoxNA) July 20, 2020