Duo partners - Nate "Kreo" Kou and Logan "Bucke" Eschenburg - and Andrew "Keys" G and "Slackes", have been suspended by Epic after they were caught teaming in the finals of Week 1 of the FNCS.
And they may not have got caught if they hadn't performed so well, at the end of the weekend they were atop of the rankings in their region, in 1st and 2nd place and stood to take home ,500 per Duo and earn a spot in the FNCS Chapter 2 Season 2 Finals set to be held on 17-19th April.
But their performance aroused suspicions and Twitter user "droxide" decided to VOD review the players and notice, that both teams would allow the others to fire at them, just enough not to kill them, thus reducing their chance of activating storm surge in the end game.
Storm surge is an AI mechanic that attacks players who have dealt the least damage throughout the match and is designed to make players more aggressive.
- Read more: FNCS Week 1 Highlights: Controller players top EU, NAE rocked by cheating, and 100T's dominate NAW
Further evidence was unearthed when it was noticed that Kreo was actively watching Keys' Twitch stream during the tournament.
With the evidence mounting, within hours of celebrating their wins Epic had banned the players from the atop the leaderboard and banned the four players for teaming, with the ban set to for 60 days they will miss the entirety of the FNCS season
Under section 8.2.2 of the FNCS Chapter 2 Season 2 Official Rules, “players may not work together to deceive or otherwise cheat other players during any match…[including] working together during the match while on opposing teams.”
All four players issue statements in the aftermath to apologise and in Bucke and Key's attempted to defend themselves, but clearly didn't understand the seriousness of the offence with each of them admitting to, and attempting to minimise their actions.
"Everyone has their own sturge routes/techniques." argued Bucke. Adding, "The impact on our game that taking a bloom battle with another team is very minimal. Even when other teams land at slurpy swamp, we bloom battle them because there's unlimited shield."
While Keys also stressed that it's a common practice in the competitive community, "people preemptively communicate about drop spots and who gets what chests/loot routes. We play in the same scrims so sometimes they'll bloom us."
"Obviously, in a tournament, we don't wanna take a dumb fight."
The ban was roundly supported by the community with the only dissent being arguments about the length of the ban.
Twitter user FortniteBRLive, a popular competitive Fortnite news page, said:
"It's not that 60 days is too long, it's that 14 days for cheating in World Cup Qualifiers was just nowhere near enough."
It's not that 60 days is too long, it's that 14 days for cheating in World Cup qualifiers was just nowhere near enough.— Kristian - Fortnite esports (@FortniteBRLive) March 23, 2020
I'm glad that Epic are enforcing a stricter ban, the fact it has happened again shows that the 14 day ban was not enough to stop people, hopefully 60 will.
A reference to Damion "xxif" Cook and Ronald "Ronaldo" March who were both banned for 14 days after feeding kills to each other during the Fortnite World Cup qualifiers, bizarrely are serving their ban they both returned to qualify for the showpiece LAN in New York.
While Timothy "Bizzle" Miller who brought who retweeted the video asked people to stop "hating". Adding, "I'm not the one who cheated, the video was already on twitter before I reposted. I had nothing wrong with kreo/bucke keys/slackes in the past but they cheated and got caught."
People are hating on me, I'm not the one who cheated, the video was already on twitter before I reposted. I had nothing wrong with kreo/bucke keys/slackes in the past but they cheated and got caught. They're both good duos and could of done fine without colluding for Storm Surge.— Bizzle (@Ghost_Bizzle) March 23, 2020
The Fortnite Championship Series returns next week with Week 2, the online-only event runs for five weeks before the Regional Finals are held on April 17-19th.